around 1:45pm i left for boston. i arrived at c-mart about an half hour later. i was here to gather mostly ingredients for refilling my sichuan paocai jar: chinese cabbage, carrots, and daikon radish. i probably bought too much of everything, but better to have more than less. i looked for cherry plums but they were all sold out. they had longans but they weren't on sale ($4.49/lbs.) so i didn't get any. i checked out the prices on some of our backyard vegetables. bitter melons sells for $1.99/lbs. (although i saw it last week for $1.49/lbs.) and long beans go for $2.99/lbs.
the weird thing about all these chinatown supermarkets is the lack of produce scales. i wonder if it's because scales need to be inspected, and that requires a fee, and these supermarkets are too cheap to provide their customers with this convenience. so basically you just have to guess how much the produce cost, unless you're one of those people with a perfectly calibrated hand that can gauge how much something weighs.
i bought everything from c-mart so i didn't need to go to ming's market. instead i traversed chinatown, downtown crossing, and post office square to get to haymarket.
i stocked up on rainier cherries, which were at rock bottom prices, probably the last time i'll have cherries this season. i got the kind that came in a plastic box (2 for $3), they seemed to be in better condition, i ended up getting 5 total. i also got some mini cukes at $1/lbs. before i left, i saw a vendor selling kiwano melons AKA horned melons. probably the first time i've ever seen a horned melon was at a fancy fruit stand at the shanghai airport back in 2006. i'd never seen anything like it. i've always wanted to try one, but they were usually too expensive - $6-7 a melon. so when i saw they were just $1 each, i bought 3 to try out.
i left boston by 3:15pm, got back home by 3:40pm, across the longfellow bridge.
i watched as my new neighbor had a shipping crate delivered. at first they were going to park it on the curb, but for some reason that wasn't possible, so the delivery guy dropped it in her shared parking lot, which should've been the original plan. later she came out in a moving outfit to examine her stuff, make sure nothing was damaged during transit.
around 5pm i started making a new batch of sichuan paocai. the one that i currently have have gotten so old (i filled the jar back in late january, 7+ months ago) that the cabbage and radish have turned soft (they should be crispy). the carrots however were still firm. with sichuan paocai you reuse the liquids since they contain flavors and fermenting bacteria. i started by scooping out the old fermented vegetables. it was easy to do using my newly acquired stainless-steel straining ladle. i ended up having to scoop in two batches, saving the carrots since they're still edible. originally i was just going to toss out the old vegetables, but decided i could recycle it in the compost bucket. i ended up scooping everything, including old peppercorns and chili peppers.
next i started chopping up my ingredients. unfortunately i forgot to weigh them, but it was one large chinese cabbage, 2 large carrots, and 1 large daikon radish. after chopping everything up, only then did i start filling up the paocai jar: a layer of cabbage, followed by a layer of cubed carrots and radishes, sprinkled with some hot chili peppers and a good amount of peppercorn. i managed to do a second layer before i filled up the jar. i've found that the previous paocai didn't have enough peppercorn flavor, so i made sure to add plenty this time around. the volume of vegetables was just perfect that i had none left over, and the liquids came up and filled the jar, so i didn't need to add any additional brine. i didn't add any baijiu (my thinking is once i have active leftover fermented juices, the alcohol would just kill them) and i forgot to add the rock sugar to balance out the salty-spicy-sour taste. i figured i could always add the sugar later if the flavor wasn't right.
once i finished, i still had a leftover cabbage, carrot, and daikon. i'll probably start a fresh jar of sichuan paocai in a fido jar.
i started at 5pm and didn't finish until 7pm. to reward myself, i toasted some frozen soft bagels in the toaster oven, sprinkled with plenty of pretzel salt. i ate them with some mustard.
for dinner i used up the last of my peppered ham to make a sandwich. i cut up a leftover tomato and sprinkled some sour plum powder. i also ate half a box of rainier cherries.