Locally-grown mushrooms at Sunset Valley Farmers Market

We’re still on our gastronomical kick here in Austin. Over the week-end we attended a Farmers’ Market in Sunset Valley, one of our favorite local activities and a great way to get fresh, seasonal produce and sample specialties from the region. Austin, being a very food-oriented city, has several major Farmers’ Markets which offer a plethora of choices in organic vegetables, honey, chocolate, raw cheeses, mushrooms, and pastured (grass-fed) meat and eggs. We load up at these places and will stuff as much as we possibly can into the RV fridge in preparation for many splendid evenings of gourmet cooking at home.

Fresh and luscious veggies

And we looooove cooking at home, absolutely love it. For many years we believed in “the bigger the kitchen the better the cooking”. That was our motto right up until the time we moved to Asia and spent 2 years living in Hong Kong in a mini-apartment. The kitchen, believe it or not, was far smaller than one we currently have in our RV, having no oven, no fridge, a simple portable 2-burner stove-top and only barely enough space to squeeze by each other if we held our breath. It was, simply put, the worst kitchen we had ever lived in, and we were flummoxed as to how to cook in it…..until the day we discovered the Wok.

My beloved wok

We actually had a Wok, like many people do. It was something we’d bought 6 years or so before our Asia experience with great excitement. We paid ~$15 for it in San Francisco China Town, seasoned it ourselves, proceeded to do 2-3 stir-fry’s in it and then promptly stored it away for all eternity, because after all, how many stir-frys do you really need? Our mini-kitchen experience brought it back to life and it was only then we discovered the true value of this fabulous Asian tool. The wok is both deep, voluminous, can handle all kinds of heat and yet is a super-space saver on the stove-top. During our years in HK we learned to use it almost exclusively. Besides the basic stir-fry we discovered we could make soups with it, steam vegetables, create curries, do pasta, roast meat, cook stews, make flat-bread…just about anything! It became our ultimate cooking machine and we finally understood why Asians (who often have v.small kitchens) love it so much.

Steaming pastured duck from a Farmers' Market in CA in the wok

When we moved into the RV the trusty wok came with us, and it’s been a super-utensil ever since. If I could have only one pot, this would be it and I try to promote it whenever I can. So, if you’ve never discovered the ultimate RV cooking utensil you may want to go Asian-style and give this a go. Cooking gourmet-style in the RV is just one pot away :)

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16 Responses to Farmers’ Markets & One-Wok Cooking

  1. Julie says:

    Just went to an amazing farmer’s market yesterday and had a fabulous Strawberry Shortcake for just $2…LOVE a good farmer’s market. You have motivated me to pull the wok out! Thanks for yet another great post! Julie

  2. Lisa says:

    Thanks for the tip on wok use. I am an avid cook and my husband and I are currently purging our home in preparation to go on the road fulltime, hopefully in the next year. We plan on purchasing a 5th wheel and the kitchen is one of the key parts of the floor plan in my mind. I hadn’t thought about the versatility of a wok until you brought it up. Many thanks! Lisa

    • libertatemamo says:

      Lisa,
      So happy the post was useful. The kitchen was a major consideration when we bought the MH as well. The fact that we have a little “pull-out” table really sold it for us. We cook just as much on the road as we did at home and find it super-enjoyable to hunt down local produce.
      Nina

      • Lisa says:

        Agree completely! I intend to cook just as much on the road as I do now in the S&B…maybe even more because we will be retired (no more going out for lunch because there don’t happen to be leftovers to take to work).
        Lisa

  3. We had an electric wok at one time, but it wasn’t very deep. We used it a few timers before it went away. Who knows, maybe we’ll get another one someday, but I sincerely doubt that we’ll steam any ducks in it!

    • libertatemamo says:

      I like the “regular” wok instead of the electrical ones. Lots more versitility in terms of heat and size.
      Nina

  4. jil mohr says:

    sooooooo r u just going to tease or are you going to include some of these great recipes for cooking in the wok…..;-)

  5. Caroline says:

    Gotta love a wok! I’ve had one for years and in the past have used it often when I was watching Asian cooking shows. My recent use was for fried rice and making Popcorn. I live so close to the Sunset Valley Farmers Market but have never been there. You have inspired me to go next weekend.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Caroline,
      Oh yeah, the Sunset Valley market was great! It’s not a huge market, but it has simply everything you’d want. Lots of gorgeous produce there.
      Defintely recommend it!
      Nina

  6. […] area providing a full assortment of authentic food and Asian markets. And then there’s the farmers’ markets, and the health stores bringing a spot of the bohemian to the place. The pretty town square at […]

  7. Yay, the wok! We still haven’t gotten around to buying one yet, though we’ve been on the look-out since you mentioned the wonders of wok-cooking in NOLA. We’ll keep looking for a really cheap one we wouldn’t mind getting rid of in a few months when we pack everything into a couple suitcases. :)

    • libertatemamo says:

      Christy, Cool! So, you guys have decided to take the next step w/ suitcases I see? Can’t wait to see where your travels end up. Nina

  8. […] can’t live without my wok. I use it for stir-frying, soups, curries, steaming…you name it. We’ve had the same wok ever since we met each other and we bought it for less than $20 in […]

  9. […] written a little bit about our favorite kitchen gadgets and small-space cooking (e.g. with wok cooking) before, but for today’s post I want to focus on one thing only and that’s buying & […]

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