I drive through Chinatown in New York City everyday.  I take the Manhattan Bridge  across Canal Street  in the morning. Then, in the evenings, I take the Holland Tunnel and cross back over Canal Street.  Though this is most people’s nightmares in terms of traffic, I have adjusted. Adjusted so much in fact that, I enjoy the drive.

Here is a funny thing I noticed while sitting in traffic one day.  Taken at the correct angle, a missing letter well, I just entertain myself so much

In the mornings for instance, I like to stop at a variety of places.  I can go for dumplings, or stop in for dim sum, I get Bahn Mi Sandwiches on Broome, Vietnamese Bun on Mott. There are lots of choices.

In the evenings, besides stopping for dinner at countless places, I also have access to all of the grocery stores and fish markets available.  This is where things get interesting.  Nowhere else in the city is there such a variety of wonderful fresh fish to choose from.  Not to mention the prices.  The prices are so cheap.  It has to be because of the volume.   For instance, at my local supermarket, they keep the fish tag on the mussels.  I like to take notice of how long the same two damn bags of mussels sit on that counter. I think the longest has been 3 weeks.  I promise I am not kidding.  While in Chinatown, anything moves for a price.  You lower something a buck, there are going to be elbows thrown to get that fish.

Last night, I purchased mussels, head on shrimp, live scallops, squid and a sea bass steak.  The whole purchase was 20 dollars. 9 of those dollars were from the scallops.  A lot of things could have been made from the purchase but, convenience was the key last night.  Since it was such a beautiful night, we went for a 3 mile run.  We arrived home at 830, ready to eat.

I looked in the fridge and noticed there were no fresh herbs, just one measly clove of garlic, one ugly looking carrot, a lemon and a red onion.  There was no parsley, basil, thyme, rosemary, or more garlic.  I was going to head out to the store but, why? Keep it simple and look around and use something else.

I figured paprika would be a good substitute for the herbs. Not a good one but, just adding a few more shakes than normal would add a sweetness. I also had no white wine in the house worthy of wasting in the pot. Sure we were drinking a bottle but, why waste it. I grabbed a bottle of Chinese Cooking Wine and added it to the pot.

First clean the scallops:

Then cook up the carrot and the onion in a pan, add the one clove of garlic, add a can of tomatoes, a can of water and let them all cook.  After 10 minutes, I used a stick blender to mix up the sauce.  I then added the fish steak that I had secured together with tooth picks, let that cook, then added mussels, shrimp, a can of chickpeas, then eventually the squid and scallops.

This is an uncovered shot but, it was cooking covered.

The whole meal took about 30 minutes to prepare. I sat down and drank wine while most of the cooking was taking place.  Not the best picture but, it’s a simple and cheap one pot meal.  Really effortless.