Farmer's Market is mother-daughter bonding time on Friday mornings. Last week we went at 9:32 am, which we thought was pretty darn early, but when we got to the free range chickens-slash-ducks table they were all out of chickens! There were tons of little quackers though, so we settled for one of those. It wasn't bad; our mom made a delicious ginger duck stew with it. But we were determined to get vengeance on those chickens...so this time we woke up super early, sped through breakfast, hopped into the car and whisked ourselves off to the market once more. We waltzed up to the table and there was the cooler. Sticking up through the mounds of ice were countless pairs of feet...and they weren't webbed! Chickens! But where were the ducks? "Sold out," explained the farmer. Something smells fishy...I mean, chickeny...But it didn't matter, we got our chicken and were on our way to overload on strawberries and green veggies from the rest of the market.
For dinner, we made a hot pot soup with the chicken and put various veggies in at the table. This was one of the best hot pots ever because the soup was so simple - just chicken and ginger, and a little salt, and the flavor of the soup gradually evolved to take on more complex flavors as we put more stuff in the pot. In the end, the soup was a delicious medley of flavors from the three kinds of mushrooms, the durum wheat pasta, scallions, tomatoes, and cabbage.
The spicy red pepper dipping sauce was awesome too. Think of something that has complex flavors of roasted red spicy pepper, sesame, and the umami richness of fermented black beans, all suspended in a silky smooth bright red oil. It's sweet, spicy, salty, smoky, sour, and fragrant all at once, and was phenomenal with anything, but the best pairing was of course with the chicken.