Thursday, June 25, 2020

The bok choy that devoured Cleveland

HALLIE EPHRON: I'm sure I'm not the only one out there who's, for the first time ever, been ordering groceries for delivery. I've discovered that certain things are reliable. Surprisingly fish is a good bet. Strawberries and Campari tomatoes? Slam dunk.

But don't bother ordering fruit like plums or peaches because that is a crap shoot in terms of ripeness and quality.
Consistently out of stock: flat noodles, ice cream (every variety conceivable), and fresh corn. Imagining a craze for noodles with ice cream topped with a sprinkling of corn.

And still, forget about
toilet paper unless you want the most expensive and most scented variety.

And then there's bok choy, available in abundance and reliably good. As I wrote awhile back, I ordered one and what came was the size of a tuba. Just cutting it up and washing it took fifteen minutes, and I needed my biggest bowl to hold the stuff.



The good news: it's delicious. First night I stir fried some with mushrooms, topped it with fried shrimp, and served it with rice. I stir fried the rest the next night and served it with broiled salmon teriyaki. 



Here's my recipe for the stir fry:

STIR FRIED BOK CHOY WITH MUSHROOMS, GINGER & GARLIC

Vegetable oil (enough to coat the saucepan)
2 T finely chopped fresh ginger
1 large (or 2 small) fresh garlic cloves, chopped (you could use garlic scapes instead... they're in season now, but add them chopped up at the end)
1/2 of an oversized bok choy, chopped into bite-sized pieces. (Enough to fill a 2-quart container)
6 or so mushrooms, sliced (shiittake are the tastiest... and even better if you've reconstituted dried shiitakes)
TO TASTE:
   Soy sauce
   Sesame oil
   Fish sauce (or rice vinegar)
   Hot sauce

1. In a LARGE saucepan, saute the ginger and garlic in oil over medium heat about a minute
2. Add mushrooms and cook until wilted
3. Add bok choy and cook, tossing and stirring until wilted. Try not to overcook.
4. Sprinkle with the remaining ingredients... to taste. A little of these goes a long way and the right balance is delicious.

(Salmon teriyaki: Marinate a hunk of salmon in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, and a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar for about an hour. Broil or barbecue until just done. (I cook it skin side to the heat element or coals for most of the time, then turn it at the end to let the unskinned side brown. Take it off the heat when it reaches 135 degrees. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Peel the (charred)  skin off. Serve)

How are your adventures in on-line shopping? Are you developing new tastes? Doing without? Have you found fresh corn and tasty peaches?? Or have you thrown caution to the wind and ventured back into the farmers market and the supermarket?

And the question for today's online shopping: WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THESE DARNED PLASTIC BAGS?

113 comments:

  1. I must buy some bok choy just to try this, Hallie . . . thanks for the recipe.
    No on-line grocery shopping . . . since John has to go to the store anyway, I just give him a list.
    I send the plastic bags back to the grocery store for recycling.

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    1. Our Stop n Shops have removed their plastic bags recycling bin... SO annoying.

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  2. That dish looks tasty, Hallie!

    I used the rest of my normal-sized bok choy last night to make an Asian rice noodle bowl with bok choy and oven-roasted pork belly.

    I take my abundant plastic grocery bags back to the public library (now open) for patrons to reuse for their checkout items.

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    1. Lucky you... our libraries are still closed.

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    2. Yes, a slight sign of normalcy with the reopening of our some of our libraries (6 out of 40 libraries), including mine.

      And more than half the stores are allowing us to use our reusable bags again so my stash of plastic bags should not be so large in the future.

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  3. Our FM are still not back to normal, and shopping there has been hit or miss. In May, the big FM had online ordering and then timed pickup. I ordered from the sole fruit/veg vendor and EVERYONE had missing items from their order. The woman ahead of me got only 1 out of 5 ordered items and was pretty upset. The guy in the stall did not care...just shrugged and told us to contact the vendor for follow-up. I phoned and emailed the vendor about my missing item and no answer. Poor customer service.

    My local FM (Byward Market) just started opening last Thursday for the weekend. But only 1 stall out of 11 vendors was there. And their debit machine was not working, so again it was a bust with no purchase (sigh).

    I got to my local 2 grocery stores with little problems or lineups, and I wear my mask inside. But shoppers still can't seem to follow the one-way arrow signage on the floor. I get glared at when I tell people they are going the wrong way!

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    1. It's a new world out there... I think they're doing a great job of 'routing' us for safety sake. Here in Massachusetts most folks salute and march. Less stress all around, and our numbers do seem to be going down for the moment anyway.

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    2. Yes, there is a lot of new procedures to get used to, and it does not help that every grocery store has a different system. Fortunately, our daily new cases of COVID-19 have dropped to levels seen in mid-March, with only 1-5 new cases/day in Ottawa. Mask wearing has always been OPTIONAL in both Ottawa and ON but I tend to wear them in stores still.

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    3. Grace, the problem is no doubt the supply chain. The quarantine came at exactly the wrong time for farmers, in particular, and so many were unable to get produce started because they couldn't get workers to do the work. Same with manufacturers of stuff like toilet paper.

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    4. Karen, it is partly the supply chain but also many FM vendors were not able to pivot to provide online ordering or paying for your order electronically. Still only 1/4 of FM vendors are coming to the FM.

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    5. Our FM is sparsely attended by vendors, too. One of my favorites isn't going to the markets right now because they both have compromising illnesses, so instead they are processing more produce and selling it via online/mail order.

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    6. I just came back from shopping at my local (Byward) FM. Now there are three vendors but still plenty of empty stalls.

      I know it is hard, but the vendors still need to be better organized. My fave fruit/veg stand guy remembered his debit machine, but the artisan bread stall gal FORGOT to bring her Square for electronic transactions.

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    7. It’s getting light so early here in Connecticut that I was up at five and at the stop and shop by 630. Not many shoppers at that hour! But I still did not manage to score any disinfectant wipes. What do you think happened to all of them??

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    8. Someone must be hoarding the wipes, Lucy. That is one item I have NEVER found since coming back home in March!

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    9. Medical home care offices, Lucy? Our staff hast clean shields and bags and reusable equipment between visits.

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  4. That sounds yummy, and reminds me we haven't had salmon in a while.

    We've been venturing out to senior shopping hour about every ten days all along. I never eat fresh corn until it's ready locally, so that's not an issue, same with tomatoes. And Market Basket has had regular TP back in stock for weeks. I've made a few forays to local farm stands for great eggs and a bit of produce lately, and my garden is yielding massive quantities of salad right now - yum!

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    1. There is nothing like eating fresh produce from your garden, Edith. I doubled my balcony planters this year since the FM are closed, and am enjoying plenty of salad greens, herbs and microgreens (grown indoors). And...the FM vendor said garlic scapes are COMING soon. I can't remember ever having to wait until July to get them but we have had wacky spring weather. And we still have local asparagus and strawberries are just starting to become available.

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    2. Oh, and so far Market Basket is still not taking bags for recycling. Ugh.

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    3. We've had fabulous local strawberries - and my rhubarb plant is bigger than ever.

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    4. I'm like you Edith, I only eat local corn. It is the best in the world. I know because I tried in different locations.

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    5. Edith, where exactly is your garden? I may need to take a road trip :-)

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    6. In my back yard in the northeast corner of Massachusetts!

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    7. Darn! Just a bit too far for a road trip for this NorCal girl.

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  5. I hear ya, Hallie. I've come to think of it as Grocery Pick-up Roulette. I enjoy it, since it gets me out of the house and there's always the adventure of not knowing what you're going to get. I am particularly fond of the creative substitutions--like the time I ordered honey maple ham and got honey maple turkey instead. I realized my personal shopper wasn't an English major, because they focused on the adjectives, rather than the noun. I loathe pre-packaged turkey.

    My biggest area of experimentation has been with bread. Sandwiches are a thing of the past here, but I'm getting really good at ham rollups in a tortilla, and tuna salad on toasted English muffin.

    The produce has, mostly, been great though. Fresh sweet corn is plentiful, and so are Brussels sprouts. I've learned to buy the living lettuce and keep it watered so it will stay fresh. I did venture out to the local farmers market last Saturday--safely masked and socially distanced from Deb--and scored fresh green beans and locally cultivated mushrooms, plus tamales, some delicious toffee, and a beautiful new luncheon plate. I probably need to stay away from there for budget reasons, but it was nice to get out of the house for a while.

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    1. Fresh tamales? I'll be right over!

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    2. "Grocery Pick-up Roulette"! Exactly!! Two things I discovered that I'd never have bought unless I was shopping online. Frozen clams. Sold by the bag. Not like any of our New England clams but delicious and perfect for a spaghetti with clam sauce. Also that fake crab that they use to make deli-style seafood salad? You can buy it by the pound (who knew?) and make a much tastier seafood salad.

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    3. Sadly, none of the food vendors have returned to the FM. For me, it's the falafel stall or the bao bun stall that I miss.

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    4. Frozen clams, hmmm. I've been wanting to make pasta with clam sauce. Anyone know if Trader Joe's has frozen clams?

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  6. I've never not gone to the supermarket. I wear the mask of course, but I don't order online. And for the most part I've found whatever I went looking for as of late.

    In the beginning, toilet paper, canned soup and tuna fish were the hardest things to fine. But things have balanced out lately and I find whatever I'm looking for now.

    As far as the plastic bags go, I repurpose them to carry other things when I need them. It doesn't help degrade them any faster but I get multiple uses out of them before they become too torn to be used.

    And considering I just had a bookshelf come crashing down on me (not literally on me, though) last night out of nowhere, I'm going to be packing stuff up so the abundance of plastic bags will come in handy for stuff I've decided to no longer hold on to and donate to the library should they ever reopen.

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    1. Wow, Jay: that is my nightmare -- having a bookshelf come crashing down. Whether on me or near me. Sounds like you weren't hurt, so that's good. But how did the books fare?

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    2. Ouch! Glad it was not literally on you... coulda been lethal.

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    3. Ouch, indeed! I have had a few hundred books fall down with no warning in the night, but never one of my 20 bookcases (yet). We do get some minor earthquakes here...

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    4. Yeah it sucked. I was on the computer and all of a sudden one half of the book shelves in my room just gave way and everything came crashing down. Took over 2 hours to clean up and in the midst of doing that, I decided to just cut the cord and let go of some books I know that I'll never read again. Reorganized what's left. But now sitting on the flat surface where the shelves used to be. Long way to go I suppose.

      Oh and one of those shelves had DVDs as well. It was not a fun evening.

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    5. Amanda, most of the books weathered the disaster fine. Some stuff got bent a little but nothing too bad. But the back cover of my paperback copy of Robert B. Parker's The Godwulf Manuscript was torn off.

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  7. Online grocery ordering has been a god-send, but oh my goodness, what a roulette game (thank you for that turn of phrase, Gigi!) it is at times: red pasta sauce in a huge jar instead of the (green) pesto in a small jar we wanted and had described in detail; instead of modest-sized zucchini, large ones that I would have left on the shelf; a giant bag of new potatoes that we are still working our way through -- there's only two of us here and whoever put our list together didn't have the same understanding of "small bag" that we did!

    Given all that (and, yes, it's totally a first-world problem at every level), Val went back in person to our produce shop and was HORRIFIED at the number of people inside and their behaviour. No social distancing, much pugging of the produce, and few to no masks. Honestly, what is wrong with people?

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    1. Amanda, I agree with you that people are being WAAAY too laissez-faire about mask wearing in indoors (stores). And sadly, I find that seniors are the ones here who are NOT wearing masks and yet they are the most vulnerable. Ottawa was the first Canadian city to make it MANDATORY to wear masks on public transit. I took 4 buses last week and less than 505 of people I saw were wearing masks (sigh).

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    2. Ugh typo above...less than 50% (!)

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    3. Grace, I hear you on the frustration. Masks are the new social-acceptance frontier.

      Even while admitting that I find it awkward to wear a mask and I feel self-conscious, I know it's the right thing to do. And every time I go out wearing one, I am reminded of how -- back in the pre-COVID days -- I thought it was so strange to see the occasional person wearing one. Nowadays, I wonder why everyone isn't wearing one!

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    4. Same here - I was so ‘judgey’ of those nutty folks who wore masks... now I want to ask them where you can buy them!

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    5. Hank: Exactly. Strange (and kinda wonderful) how quickly we've adapted to these new-normal conventions...

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    6. Yes, mask wearing in certain ethnic neighbourhoods took place pre-pandemic and it looked weird. But now, it's the opposite. We look at those who refuse to wear them as the selfish , inconsiderate oddballs!

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    7. I also wish that more people would wear the mask in public places.

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  8. Julie has started doing our own shopping after having three months of home delivery. Guess what? We are spending more. When you give someone a list, you avoid those serendipitous strolls past temptation, all those impulse buys!

    Bok Choy is to cabbage as Wonder Bread is to manna from heaven. We use it all the time, great in stir fry and sine qua non in chicken soup. Or just steamed, raw even.

    I feel much the same about fennel, which is a staple in my kitchen, much like onions, carrots and potatoes and celery.

    In the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, we are entering Phase 4 of reopening on Friday. We've done a great job of bringing the beast to his knees, thanks to the Governor who guided us through the tough days with daily news conferences that presented the daily facts and separated those from unfounded opinions. I'm still staying in, go for daily walks but keep my distance and wear a mask. Somedays I feel invincible and then I remember how many people I will harm if I get Covid-19.

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    1. Bok Choy in chicken soup? Instead of noodles? Ann, that's genius.

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    2. Fennel as a staple! Interesting concept... I love licorice and yet its licoricey flavor puts me off

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    3. Ixnay to liquorice flavour: I was introduced to Pernod, an aperitif drink, when I was an au pair in France between high school and university. I did not know what I was being served, and when I discovered the flavour, I almost choked on it, so unexpected was that liquorice taste. Yuck!

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    4. Amanda, I am the same. I HATE any licorice flavour, so no to fennel, Pernod and licorice candy! Same with cilantro (yes, I am one of those people).

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    5. I made a pizza recently with Santa and red onions and it was quite delicious!

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    6. Yes I did see your white pizza recipe, Lucy. I said I would make a variation of your pizza some day (i.e. without fennel)!

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    7. Pernod isn't licorice, it's absinthe. And super bitter.

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    8. Fennel loses most of its anise flavor when cooked. And the bok choy is great in any soup. Noodles are optional.

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    9. Pernod has anise which is similar to licorice, so I think this is why Amanda and I dislike both.

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    10. Karen in Ohio: Thank you for that clarification re. absinthe/pernod. I had no idea!

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    11. Fennel lover here. I have some in the fridge from last trip to TJ's that I have used. Thanks for reminding me, Ann. Going in my salad tonight!

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    12. Debs, I’m pretty sure we were separated at birth b

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    13. Now we know what Santa does in the off season! He makes pizza with Roberta! Was he naughty? Was the pizza nice? We want the details.

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  9. I never stopped grocery shopping. I did just recently go back to venturing in at other times of day than the seniors hour. If the parking lot suggests the store is really busy, I will leave and pick another time. When the store isn't too busy, I feel safe enough with my mask on and giving a wide berth to those with none.

    I keep hearing that the supply chain is working fine, but my personal experience suggests you should give a little slack to the shopper selecting your groceries for your online order. We are at the point where I can almost always get some version of what I'm looking for, but very often I can't find the exact item I am accustomed to buying. And I don't mean items that might be affected by seasonal growth patterns. I mean different varieties of pasta, or curly versus flat parsley. I have occasionally been able to find Israeli pearl couscous, but I haven't been able to find the smaller kind (that I thought of as "regular") for months. On the other hand, we're back to a plentiful supply of toilet paper.

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    1. Susan, I just mentioned to Liz, below, that I haven't been able to find any kind of couscous, and I honestly thought there were maybe five people in my town that bought it, beside me.

      I wonder if manufacturers are using the ingredients to make in-demand pasta instead?

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  10. We moved to the Green phase a couple weeks ago and things are still trending downward here. We are still ordering groceries online, but are more likely to stop for that "one thing" we need. The selection is pretty good. Even when they don't have the exact brand I'm looking for, they have something else. IMO, it's not quite the right time for corn around here. Another couple of weeks. But most of the produce I've ordered is good. The Girl complained the strawberries we bought went bad fast, but I don't think that's the fault of the berries. I think it's how she stored them.

    The last time we were at Sam's they had TP! Woot! Still limiting quantities of certain things though. Best time to get meat (of any kind) is first thing in the morning.

    Our local FM is opening on schedule with the tables spread out a little more. I haven't gone yet.

    I haven't heard whether the one grocery store has gone back to reusable bags. We used to take ours to Target for recycling and I don't know if the box is there. But we use them for doggy poop bags, so that keeps the stash from overflowing.

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    1. Liz, I've found early morning shopping is the way to go for everything. My household has gone in phases: March, we subsided on the pantry/freezer with a couple fill-ins by our young friends working in small groceries. April, the Smithie went to our local Hanneford once for a big shop, with fill-ins as above. She did one more Hanneford run, and then I took over because I'm the cook, and it was making me CRAZY not to see what was available/on sale!

      I go right at nine, immediately after senior hour ends. I find there's still an excellent selection of most things (still can't ever find couscous or quinoa, which, in our small rural town, baffles me) including TP and - yay! - bleach. The first people without masks don't start drifting in until I'm checking out around ten.

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    2. The Hubby was always a fan of going early - even pre-pandemic - to Sam's because he "has other things to do with his day." He's so practical. Me, I don't like getting up that early on a weekend!

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  11. Wow, Hallie, you must have been nonplussed to see that gigantic Bok Choy! I cannot imagine.

    Or maybe I can. Our next-door neighbors, both in their late 70's, have been at home since March 2, even self-isolating from EACH OTHER. (I begged them to stop that, they need the comfort of touch right now.) They've been ordering groceries all along, or having friends drop them off at the porch, while they stand at the doorway and shout at the deliverer.

    A couple weeks ago Mr. called us to see if we'd like to share some of what they received that day. It's just the two of them, and they both eat like birds, but the pound of green beans they ordered turned into five pounds! And the honeydew melon became two of the biggest melons any of us had ever seen. They were the size of basketballs.

    My garden is finally starting to produce, so we have lots of baby lettuces (which I invited Mrs. Next Door to pick any time), Swiss chard, kale, English peas, and of course garlic scapes. The tomatoes and green beans should be ready soon. I picked one small tomato yesterday so nothing would get it, and there are tiny little beans forming under the flowers. The potatoes are mostly all flowering, too, which is exciting. Less so are the carrots and beets that are not doing much at all, blast it.

    I always specify paper bags when I shop, but that's in person. We use paper bags for our trash (easier, since we compost most wet stuff), and Steve uses them to start the charcoal on the grill. It would drive me crazy to have all those plastic bags! I feel for anyone getting buried in them right now.

    I went to Costco last week, and managed to pick up everything on my list except their Kirkland toilet paper, which they still did not have. Costco's mask policy, and their sanitation practices, make it so much nicer to shop with confidence.

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    1. Hoping your neighbors stopped quarantining from each other - that’s nuts

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    2. Though you have to wonder whether one of them is not so fond of the other, don’t you? Yesterday I heard of a friend’s son who had made a decision to divorce from his wife. And then the pandemic came and they are all five quarantine together and not very happy

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    3. Oh, no, Roberta, they are devoted to each other, and usually very affectionate. Just terrified.

      We had them over for a very careful, spaced out dinner the other night, their first foray off their property since March 2, and by the time they left they were embracing for the first time in months.

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    4. Aw, Karen. So glad to hear that!

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  12. I am so grateful for the shoppers—so far every one of them has been patient and thoughtful. I’m messaging with them throughout—and they’ll send photos of items and ask : which of these do you want? And yes I have gotten items that were mistakes, It turned out to be kind of fun. We ordered pita bread but got tortillas, which come in a similar looking bag. Tortillas, huh? I decided I could make them work as pizza crust, which turned out to be absolutely fabulous!
    We also ordered tonic water for gin and tonic‘s :-) and the shopper purchased lime tonic water. Which is now our favorite!
    My favorite mistake: garlic scapes arrived instead of green onions. I had no idea, and was introduced to a whole new world.
    So this grocery store delivery has been an adventure.
    Am I crazy? I have not gone anywhere at all.

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  13. Dictation put the apostrophe in gin and tonic’s. There it did it again. I know, wrong.

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    1. The typos -- and the writer's response to them -- are some of my favourite comments on this blog! #writersnightmare

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    2. That is so funny! Thank you sunshine. OK, there’s another example. I said exclamation mark. And instead, it typed sunshine. I am leaving it.

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    3. Still waiting for garlic scapes to be available here, Hank. I hope you made some pesto or some other yummy dishes with them.

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    4. Hank: Hilarious what dictation tools can do to our words!

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    5. Omigod, Hank, that's a hoot. "Sunshine" as exclamation point?

      Even autocorrect is bored and looking for a way to stay amused, it seems!

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    6. I like it! I think we should all start saying, Thank you, sunshine. Make someone's day!

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  14. I never stopped to go to the grocery store. It is securely organized with limited number of customers and
    I wear a mask. We can use our own reusable bags but we have to pack by ourselves.
    I'm surprised that you are stuck with your plastic bags. Here, we have a very good management of garbage, recycling and composting items and it didn't stopped during confinement. It is considered as essential service.

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    1. Danielle: my city (Winnipeg) is still discussing whether curbside compost pickup is a good idea -- we are SO behind the times. We use a private service for weekly pickup and, like Karen in Ohio, find that our dry garbage now fits into a small paper bag every week. It would SO great if municipalities would get on the composting band wagon. Yours is clearly a leader! @savetheplanet

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    2. Thank goodness our weekly curbside compost pickup never stopped. And Ottawa has really pushed for apartment buildings to collect compost, along with other recyclables. Toronto is still behind the times on this, so I never got to compost while living there.

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    3. If you lucky Canadians think Winnipeg and Toronto are behind the times, I have to tell you I've never even HEARD of curbside compost pickup in the US. Many places now have curbside recycling (cans, bottles, paper) or, in more rural areas like mine, a transfer station where you take recyclables. But unless you have the garden space for your own compost pile, I'm pretty sure it goes in the trash here. Anyone else from the States know differently?

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  15. As far as I know there is no online supermarket shopping where I am so I go every week, as early in the day as I can which has generally worked out well. Now the seasonal tourists are back, making the store that much more crowded but everyone is wearing masks and giving each other rather wide berths.

    The many plastic bags are not a problem for me. The recycle bin at the store is now open again so that's where the holey ones go. Others I'll hang onto because sooner or later bags will be banned again but I will still want to use them for cat litter.

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    1. Judi, that's what I use mine for - not to line the box, but to put the scooped stuff in. I was okay forgoing it before, and I was very good with always bringing my reusable bags, but it's nice having them again. All mine are stuffed into a larger bag in my pantry.

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  16. , Tortilla pizza! Heat a cast-iron skillet with nothing in it. Pop a tortilla onto the hot pan for maybe 30 seconds or more a side, until it is crispy and brown. Not too crispy, just kind of crispy— It should look polkadotted with dark brown. . Put on a cookie sheet that’s been dusted with flour, and pretend it’s pizza dough. Proceed.

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    1. Hank, I use pita bread as crust

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    2. Hank, you're brilliant and this is a lifesaver. We've been getting (and asking our young delivery friends for) tortillas, because even if bread is out, you can reliable find them. I defrosted/cleaned the freezer yesterday and discovered SEVEN bags of tortillas, only one of which is open! And some of them are burrito sized, so plenty big to make pizzas.

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  17. Lettuce! So big it won't fit into veg drawer and takes up half a refrigerator shelf. Only 2 people live here. Husband has taken on conquering grocery delivery services as a sort of hobby ( "I will make this work for us...")so there are always some surprises in the kitchen. But we have had no problems getting household paper goods at least :-)

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    1. Triss, I've been noticing oversized veggies myself. It makes me wonder if there's some sort of extra-large varieties sold exclusively to commercial institutions. Or maybe it's just a really good year fro growing bumper crops.

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    2. Your lettuce should meet my bok Choy... one thing I Use Extra lettuce for is as a bed for steaming fish

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    3. Yum, lettuce for steaming fish, Hallie. What sort of fish? Recipe, please! (Sunshine!)

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  18. My sister is the grocery ordering expert, having to used the services back in 2017 when she started caring for our mom. Bananas didn't arrive in good shape and I do remember some odd items. I would have questioned bok choy being in the house back then. I still shop, have tried a couple early senior hours on a Saturdays, didn't like it so much. I find after 6pm is a good time, though it is hit and miss on the paper products at that time. Plastic bags problems huh? You can cut them into wide strips, double them and knit or crochet with them. Make a floor mat.

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    1. Deana, crocheting them suddenly makes me think of those crocheted TP and toilet seat covers grandmothers had back in the sixties. We can bring them back - in easy to clean (?) plastic!

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  19. Hallie: If one is really bored you can tie plastic bags together and braid them into rugs, or yoga mats, or stuff them into a pet bed.. but only if one is very very bored.
    Our grocery surprises have included peanut butter for leprechauns - the smallest jar ever. On a happier note, our shopper went on a quest for us and found baking powder; biscuits and shortcake to for all the JRW's.

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    1. Hopefully none of us will get that bored ...

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  20. We haven’t tried online grocery shopping. I play husband roulette instead and see how well he does with the shopping list. If he can’t find something he may substitute and that’s where it can be interesting.
    We are overflowing with plastic bags right now. Walmart had removed their box weeks ago. Normally we use our own bags but I was informed the stores don’t care for that during the pandemic.

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    1. When my husband goes to the market he goes with his cell phone and me on the other line... still, it's scary the things he sometimes comes back with.

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    2. Husband roulette, Pat! Too funny!

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    3. "Husband roulette" could have a completely different meaning if we weren't all socially distanced.

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  21. Hallie, what is the flowering plant you have in the vase on your table in the picture? I have the same plant growing in one of Ross's flower beds and I haven't been sure if it's something he planted or a pretty weed/native flower.

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    1. Beats me - we got a plug of them from friends about a dozen years ago (along with some siberian irises) and they've spread. I love them. Not a weed, but a *what* I do not know. ANYONE?

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    2. I think it's yellow loosestrife...
      https://gardenseedsmarket.com/dotted-loosestrife-large-yellow-loosestrife-spotted-loosestrife.html?currency=USD&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5uPj0a-d6gIVhQiICR0akgtUEAQYBCABEgIzWfD_BwE

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    3. Oops... looks like some classify it as an invasive weed. I"m keeping it.

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  22. Hallie, your recipe looks yummy! Regarding TP, we have been using wash cloths and baby wipes to save TP.

    What to do about plastic bags? Use them for recycling? No? Sorry I'm late to the party again.

    Stayed awake late last night watching Imitation of Life on Apple TV+

    Stay safe, everyone!

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    1. Wash cloths and baby wipes? You guys are good!

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  23. I don't think I'd be a fan of bok choy, as when I looked it up, it mentioned its taste was similar to cabbage, and I don't like cabbage. However, Hallie, your method of mixing it up with the mushrooms appeals to me. I'd probably sprinkle in my Hungarian paprika, as I do with mushrooms whenever I sauté them. What really grabbed my attention was your recipe for salmon teriyaki, which we might now be fixing this weekend. Thanks.

    My husband has been the one going to the grocery store since the stay-at-home lifestyle began. However, I've been going the last few weeks, too. So, we haven't really gotten any unexpected items in a grocery order. But, we have been affected in an item on our list being unavailable. And, the plastic bags. I use them as liners in the bathrooms' wastepaper baskets.

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    1. Bok choy doesn’t have that cabbagey smell/taste if you don’t overcook it

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  24. Hallie, when I went to Trader Joe's last week, there was no FRESH GINGER! Boo. That is usually a staple in my fridge.

    The last month or so, we've had a couple of home deliveries for the things I can't get at Trader Joe's, a couple of trips to the farmer's market (which is in full swing here) and a couple of trips to TJ's on Sunday morning senior hour. Last Sunday I was the only person shopping before 9 o'clock! I feel like that is probably as safe as getting groceries delivered, when someone else has just touched all your stuff multiple times. But things are getting very bad in Texas now, so I may have to forego the farmer's market. We'll see.

    Love your bok choy, Hallie! We love bok choy, although I tend to use the baby ones most often.

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    1. Can’t cook without fresh ginger... boo. The numbers in Texas aw scary — stay safe and out of denial .

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  25. I've been going to the grocery store all along. I've been to the Farmers' Market several times and plan to go tomorrow. Everyone has to wear masks but sometimes it's hard to social distance when you need to pass people in the aisles. I'm just happy to get out and buy food. Stay safe and well.

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  26. I've been trying to get on Stop & Shop's delivery list since March. I've stood in long lines outside leaning on my cane until I could get in. All the usual things I buy were gone before I got in. I saw people with overflowing carts meeting up with their significant others with their overflowing cart in the parking lot. Hoarders created the shortages. Now that the numbers of cases are dropping, people have returned to reasonable shopping.

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  27. The Chinese say that everything goes with bok choy.

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  28. I've signed up for delivery from Farm Fresh to You. They used to only deliver produce but now they also provide artisanal products as well as local dairy, meat, and bakery products. I can generally avoid going to the grocery store for two to three weeks. I do have to go out for things not available online or it's cheaper to pick them up myself. The only complaint I have with the delivery is the number of gel ice packs are piling up. They won't take anything back while the coronavirus is still on the rise. I've been letting them thaw out and dry before boxing them up. I'm hoping they'll take them in a couple of years. Early on in the pandemic, it was difficult getting toilet paper, tissues, and paper towels as well as the disinfecting wipes. Recently, they are easier to find. I'm concerned that the panic shopping will happen again as the number of infections has increased. Panic buying is happening in Australia. Stay at home order has taken place in Imperial County (Southern California). Panic buying may start up again. My county, in Sacramento, is being watched closely as the numbers has crept up again. I just wish everyone would wear their masks. It truly does make a difference. bluedawn95864 at gmail dot com

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