Bee & Flower soaps

If you live and shop near any Chinatown, you may have already helped yourself to the charming little soaps by Bee & Flower. These morsels of joy can be had for way less than a dollar, and if you find them in your vicinity and happen to have a few shekels on hand, pick up a few.

3barsofsoap

Bee & Flower soaps are made in China, decorated in charming wrappings that are certainly more than called for to adorn a rather inexpensive bar of soap. They catch your eye as exotic and grabable. They come in a variety of scents: Sandalwood, Rose, Jasmine, Bouquet and Ginseng, that I have seen. They’re $.99 on Vitacost and twelve for $12.45 on Amazon. If you’re in New York City, Pearl River is the place, a four-pack is $1.95.

dryunwrappedsoap

Bee & Flower is made to be perceived easily by your olfactory glands – they’re strong. Put one in your bathroom and every once in a while you’ll get a good waft. The soap is saying, “Hello!” If you’re sensitive to scents, they might not be for you.

Best of all, the lather is rich and creamy, making for a really pleasant hand washing experience.

soapysoap

Happy hunting . . . Anne

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Ode to Baby Bok Choy

Although it’s not particularly my goal to find recipes or products that are quick and easy, let’s face it – the Chinese vegetable baby bok choy, or mei quin choi,  is decidedly both.

Any bok choy – baby or adult – is in the cabbage family, although it grows not in a head but rather in stalks like celery.  The stalks are white and the big, oval leaves are a rich green.  It’s light and crispy and combines the tangy flavor of celery with the faintly bitter taste found in heartier dark greens.  Baby bok choy is called that because it’s harvested at a less mature point in its development, much as tea leaves are harvested at different times to get different colors and flavors.

I pick up neatly-packaged containers of about 15 heads for $2.80.  I’ve also seen them sold individually by the pound.  I typically rinse the baby bok choy, trim off any yellowing or otherwise damaged leaves, and throw them whole into a braise – although some prefer to chop off the end, breaking up the head into stalks with leaves (this is typically how you find it in stir-fry).  I give you a variety of ways from trusted sources to prepare baby bok choy, and all of the cooking techniques take 7 minutes or less.  Rinsing them is easy, trimming them is easy and cooking them is definitely easy.

Braise

Steam

Stir-fry

Raw in salad

Happy hunting . . .  Anne