Sunday, November 7, 2010

Shopping, cooking and tasting notes

Tofu HouseImage by pkingDesign via Flickr
The red-pepper color of this soft-tofu stew tells you it is very spicy.

I spent more than an hour at Whole Foods Market in Paramus today and it was filled with customers, in contrast to the usually uncrowded weekdays.

Another difference were the free food samples near the entrance -- a delicious squash soup, crisps with non-meat toppings, cheese cubes and pear slices, and real apple cider (with alcohol).

I bought organic and conventional apples and pears, and pasta -- all on sale. The farfalle made with organic durum wheat in Italy is our favorite ($1.29 for a one-pound box). I also picked up 16 ounces of spinach penne for $1.69.

The store is open until 10 p.m. on Sundays.

Pasta with wild-caught shrimp

For dinner last night, I prepared a full box of the farfalle with about a pound and a half of wild-caught Mexican Pacific brown shrimp I bought at Costco in Hackensack. I deveined the shrimp, shelled them and cut them in half to more or less match the size of the bow-tie pasta. 

The sauce was extra-virgin olive oil with chopped fresh garlic and the marinade -- the juice of one and a half lemons, plus dried garlic, red-pepper flakes, salt and black pepper. I added a can of organic diced tomatoes, drained, to a half-cup of oil with garlic, then when it was hot, threw in the shrimp and marinade. 

I started cooking the shrimp about four or five minutes before the pasta was ready, then added the drained bow ties and combined everything thoroughly. I made sure to add grated cheese at the  table for even more flavor.  

A salad of organic spring mix and a glass of red wine completed the meal.

A simple birthday meal

I invited two good friends to join my family Friday for a birthday meal at So Gong Dong, the soft-tofu restaurant in Palisades Park. 

(For my birthday, my wife and son joined me for dinner at Spanish Pavillion in Harrison, where "Kitchen Nightmares" was being taped. See previous post, Our dinner with Chef Gordon Ramsay.)

So Gong Dong serves filling, nutritious Korean comfort food -- soft-tofu stew, steamed rice and side dishes -- for $10, including tax.

We also ordered pork-filled dumplings, a pancake with scallions and seafood, and thin-sliced prime beef, which my son and guests loved. There were five of us, and we couldn't finish the food.

So Gong Dong, 118 Broad Ave., Second Floor, 
Palisades Park; open seven days for lunch and dinner.

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