I came home on Monday from 5 days out in the woods, living out of a cooler (though a very methodically-stocked gourmet cooler, if I do say so myself), and the only errand I could come up with that seemed appealing on my 89-degree day off was a trip to Fubonn. Oh man, do I love Fubonn.
Even though at this point I like to think I have a handle on it — which items I’m looking for, their approximate location in the store, I prove myself wrong every time, and even if I think I’m just going to pick up a gigantic $3 bottle of sesame oil, I end up wandering the aisles in a daze for at least 2 hours, comparing brands of coconut milk ounce-for-ounce, wondering whether it’s worth it to get the bamboo shoots in the glass jar rather than the can, and marveling over how the Indian curry paste is clear across the warehouse-size store from the Thai curry paste! And then, just when you think you’ve wrapped your head around it all…here comes a whole new aisle of soy sauce. It looks just like the first aisle from 75 minutes ago, but here it is again! Why?!
I always begin with a Vietnamese iced coffee from the deli counter-esque area right at the entrance which is served over the most finely crushed ice you can imagine, and with a vacuum-sealed plastic cover. How do they do that? I ponder this while I snake up and down the aisles with a gigantic shopping cart and just let it take me where it will. This usually lands me in the checkout line with the most random assortment of foods you can imagine, and an absurdly low total bill. I regret not having taken a picture of my loot, because truly, it carpeted the entire register area and somehow came to only $50-something.
And it is also how Tilapia Yakisoba became a thing. I didn’t think I wanted to actually end up cooking anything Tuesday night, on what had been a swelteringly hot day. But you never know…after the sun goes down in Portland, the temperature really plummets — enough where I was even able to go for an evening run, shower, change into pajamas and decide I was done sweating for the night. And then cook a meal on the stovetop.
This was definitely a “get rid of all the veggies that are about to go bad” kind of meal, especially the ones we’d chopped up for the weekend and brought in the cooler but had never used in the chicken masala Sunday night. And, I was curious what dirt-cheap tilapia from an undisclosed location tasted like. It was already frozen, and not going to be the main star of the show, so I fried it up in the skillet, letting it defrost as it cooked.
These mushrooms and green onions had already been sliced and stored — ready to go, there was no clearer option than to toss them in with a little salt and chili flakes and let them sautee up with the fish. I also sliced up a red bell pepper and added this into the mix.
Then, of course, my favorite green to throw in the mix when I don’t have anything fresh is some wakame seaweed, perfectly salty and chewy once it gets a little dose of whatever juices it’s cooking in.
Maybe this is a misnomer, because I didn’t actually use soba noodles for this, but rather those wonderfully light Asian noodles that come curled up in these little balls and loosen up into wavy kinks like ramen once you cook them for just a minute or two.
I didn’t even use a colander to strain these, since I wanted a little extra water to loosen it all up, so I just drained them using the lid and then added them to the skillet with everything else.
I already had some sauce on hand that I’d made a few nights ago when I had made a delicious garlicky Asian green bean salad, comprised of soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, honey, and garlic, which I added to this skillet-of-everything, and then augmented by adding a little more of the soy, vinegar, and oil.
By this point, the fish had broken up and distributed throughout the dish, so a few quick little stirs was all I needed to mix the sauce in, let it rest for five minutes, and then dish it up with a handful of bean sprouts on top to give it a refreshing crunch. It was, after all, still 80 degrees outside by the time I took this out to my (new!) back porch to enjoy in my camping chair. Someday soon I’ll have to get an actual table to eat at.
This Week’s Groceries
Grocery Outlet 8/4
- Chopped walnuts: $3.99
- Bagged cole slaw: $1.19
- Tortillas: $2.09
- Eggplant: $1.29
- Bacos: $0.99
- Ground turkey: $1.99
- Almond milk: $1.49
- Onion: $1.00
- Tomatoes: $2.99
REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $110.44
Trader Joe’s 4/7
- Fruit leather bits & pieces: $2.49
- Bombay simmer curry sauce: $2.49
- Turkey bacon: $2.99
- Red pepper spread: $2.49 — my favorite condiment in the world!!
- Cottage cheese: $1.99
- Sliced black olives (x3): $3.57
- Crumbled feta: $2.79
- Orange peach mango juice: $2.99
- Firm tofu (x2): $2.58
- Tricolor radiatore pasta: $3.98
- Salt & pepper potato chips: $2.99
- Light champagne salad dressing: $1.99
- Basil in a pot: $2.99 — I don’t live in a basement anymore so now I can plant this in my kitchen!!
TOTAL: $36.33 (split with Jesse, as these were ingredients to prep for camping, so really $18.17)
REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $92.27
Fred Meyer 8/7
- Red onion: $0.95
- Green lettuce: $1.50
- Cucumbers: $1.00
- Crimini mushrooms: $4.19
- Spinach: $0.99
- Cheez-Its: $2.50
- Garlic: $0.34
- Collard greens: $1.39
- Coffee beans: $6.63
- Bell peppers: $4.18
- Deli ham: $6.09
- Deli turkey: $5.82
- Deli salami: $2.75
- Shredded cheese: $2.29
- Pork sausage: $3.99
- Limeade: $1.25
- Grapefruit juice: $3.29
- 1% milk: $2.99
- Half & half: $2.49
- Sliced provolone cheese: $3.00
- Sliced gouda cheese: $3.00
- Dozen eggs: $2.99
TOTAL: $63.57 (split with Jesse for camping supplies, so really $32.29)
REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $59.98
Grocery Outlet 8/7
- Spring greens mix: $4.99
- Strawberries: $1.50
- Eggplant: $1.29
- Avocado: $0.99
- Blue cheese crumbles: $2.49
REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $48.72
Fubonn 8/13 (detailed list coming soon)
REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: -$8.59 — Okay, a little bit over for this month, but just you wait. I’m going to be making yakisoba till the end of time.