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A Day in Juju’s Weekend Kitchen

Yes, it’s the weekend!!!  And that means Juju’s Weekend Kitchen is in business from 9:00am to 2:00pm (Saturday and sometimes Sunday).

Farmers marketJuju’s Weekend Kitchen includes splurging at my favorite farmer’s market in San Francisco in the morning.  Maybe splurging isn’t the right word because their prices are very affordable, but to me it feels like a splurge because I get to buy everything that I need and want with no reservation.  When I arrive, I get this high, as if I am about to go into a chocolate fair or an ice cream all-you-can-eat.

Before I walk in, I take a deep breath to calm myself down before I begin this adrenaline rush activity (checkout my farmers market tips here).  I begin from one end of the market and make a full loop through all the vendors.  Gradually, my 3 canvas bags get filled with fresh vegetables and fruits, honey, flowers, bread, dried goods and eggs.  Sometimes when I see people flocking a stall hassling for a vegetable or fruit that I can’t see, I try to squeeze myself in to find out what the frenzy is all about.  Usually it’s a vegetable or fruit that I never cooked before, but I buy it anyway, just to get out of my cooking comfort zone.

Find the farmer’s market near you here.

Once I am home with all my goodies, the Juju’s Weekend Kitchen is in full gear.  I begin by pairing up my vegetables, herbs, spices, and what not for each dish I will be making.  Sometimes I feel like a music composer, orchestrating different ingredients and cooking methods.

Then I will write them down and put the note next to my chopping board.  This step is very important for me because I have a track record of forgetting to add in ingredients I planned.  And then it makes me feel bad that these ingredients got neglected (as if they have feelings).

So in case you are wondering why I am cooking up a storm on the weekend, I usually like to make 4-5 dishes (main and side) so that during the weekday my husband and I can focus on our work and still have delicious lunch boxes and dinners everyday.  And for this plan to work, we have 2 shelves dedicated to storing glasslock containers.  They are fantastic for keeping food fresh and they are oven safe, too! If you are still using plastic containers, really consider switching over, the food lasts much longer, not to mention safer to heat up.

Weekend Kitchen DishesBack to my kitchen, I begin preparing all the basic ingredients like garlic, ginger, onions.  Then I wash and cut up all the vegetables/roots/herbs that I will be using.  Once all my none-meat items are prepped, I move onto the meats.  I always leave the meats last to prevent any contamination on my vegetables (and a separate chopping board for all raw meats of course).

The whole prepping and cooking usually takes about 2-3 hours.  By the 2 hour mark, our kitchen smells like an international food court with sukiyaki beef simmering, honey pork rib roasting, garlic chard woking (if that’s a word), and mushroom pesto sauce bubbling.

I make one more round of tasting and seasoning before turning the stove and range hood off.  When everything is done, I let it cool down before putting it into glass containers.  Meanwhile, the dishes and pans get washed, and Juju’s Weekend Kitchen sign is turned over to Closed.  The day is not completed without a chilled beer or a bubble tea to wash down all the mix-match samples I had!

Don’t forget tomorrow (past midnight tonight) is Day Light Saving!

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