Last weekend I went to this amazing Asian market in Minneapolis called United Noodles. A friend of mine had been meaning to take me there since he found out about my mochi obsession a few months ago. So we made an afternoon of it. As we walked into the store, he immediately grabbed a cart by the front door. Assuming we’d just grab a few snacks, I asked, “Do you really think that’s necessary?” He just gave me a look that said, “Who are we fucking kidding,” while silently pushing the cart into a goddamn candy store for adults. My eyes widened at the array of novelty snacks in whimsical packaging.
The first section we stopped at had Hawaiian macadamia nuts covered in chocolate, along with a selection of Hawaiian coffee. WHY DID I EVEN BUY SOUVENIRS IN HAWAII? It was a whole production just to get me to decide on what to purchase. Then the motherfucking TSA made me take all that shit out of my tightly packed carry-on. That carry-on was filled to the fucking brim. I was pissed. It was a goddamn Tetris game getting all my shit in there, and they wanted me to unpack? Then it took them 20 fucking minutes to make sure I didn’t hide a bomb in my snacks. I left my janky-ass hair dryer behind for this shit. I could have gone to United Noodles this whole time. Except for the fact that I’m a terrible liar, and know that I would immediately tell all my friends where I purchased their fraudulent swag. I would hand it to them with a look of guilt on my face before declaring, “It’s a LIE,” with my head hanging low.
So we pass the Hawaiian section, where I made a mental note of their price for pink Hawaiian sea salt ($5.99), and walked into the aisle full of ramen. Now, I grew up with instant ramen just like anyone else, but we only had one brand option with 3-4 flavors to choose from. This was an entire aisle of various brands, flavors, sauce options, etc. My friend started pointing out his favorites, explaining the different sauces and such. I grabbed two to try, but wasn’t that amped about it. He threw handfuls into the cart.
I was sending a video to Cortney in the middle of this store full of people, trying to share my Asian market experience. My friend turned a corner and I followed, with my nose in my phone as I sent Cortney a quick text. I heard him say my name, so I looked up. He was standing smugly with his arms crossed, nodding to his right. I looked across from him to the case of fucking mochi ice cream standing before me. My jaw dropped. HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS? I turned into an unsupervised toddler in a candy store. There was no shame at all as I shoveled the mochi into our cart both in this aisle, and in the regular mochi aisle. We literally grabbed novelty ice cream treats that didn’t have a word on English on them, and no photo. WE DIDN’T EVEN KNOW WHAT THEY WERE.
The snacks were cheap as shit and we still managed to spend nearly $50. They had PLUM WINE mochi ice cream. WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? I also purchased cookies and cream mochi ice cream, which tastes like a motherfucking marshmallow.
Happiness is a good Asian market in the middle of the northern midwest.
I have been meaning to learn how to cook farro. It finally happened when I got one of those Hello Fresh meal kits last month. This recipe uses it instead of the traditional arborio rice. It’s a little nuttier, and has a chewier consistency. I added butternut squash because ’tis the season, plus some mushrooms and spinach because duh, why wouldn’t I?
Farro Squash Risotto
1 1/2 cups farro
2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
6-8 button mushrooms, sliced
1/4 to 1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons butter
6 cups veggie stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 leaves of fresh sage, minced
3 cups baby spinach
1 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (optional)
Take one cup of the squash and toss with olive oil on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes (start about halfway through cooking everything else).
In a large pot, heat the butter over medium heat until melted. Add the onion, mushrooms, and 1 cup of the squash, sauteing for about 5 minutes. Throw in the garlic and sage and cook for another minute. Stir in the farro, fulling coating it with the butter. Add the wine and cook for about 2 minutes (while also pouring a glass for yourself). Pour in 2 cups of the stock, along with the black pepper. Stir well and let simmer (increasing heat to medium-high) for 5-10 minutes, until the farro soaks up most of the liquid. Once it’s starting to dry out, add in another 2 cups of stock. Again, wait until it starts to dry out before adding the last 2 cups. Stir occasionally. When it looks like it’s almost done (should be creamy, not soupy), fold in the spinach. Continue simmering until it’s thick and creamy. Slowly stir in the parmesan. Serve with a fresh sprinkling of parmesan, some fresh sage to garnish, and a tablespoon or two of fresh pumpkin seeds for added crunch.
This shit tastes like fancy-ass mac and cheese. Have a glass of white wine with it. Then finished with a mochi ice cream.