Following a round of strong storms, yesterday morning started out promising. Sun shining, birds singing, big puffy white clouds… then the wind picked up. The clear sky and warm sun continued throughout the day, but that blasted wind! If it isn’t like Wisconsin to throw us a nice day and then make it impossible to go outside and enjoy it.

Mom and I made the most of it and trekked downtown to the Milwaukee Public Market and Whole Foods. I “treated” at lunch with a gift card to Beans & Barley. The nip in the air steered us to hot cups of their famous veggie chilli; mine with avocado and onion, hers with onion and cheese.

P1030741Taking the scenic route home along Lake Drive. 

The weather was coming around about this time. Oh, the wind was still kicking, but ever-so-slightly less. To the greenhouses for warmth!

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We took in the vibrant colors and rich aromas, taking note of the plants we’d purchase later for our garden [if it ever gets warm enough to plant]. Consistently warm and bright, slightly humid – maybe I should live here?

Before supper we nibbled on some treats my dad bought at a work party. Several of the Hmong nurses decided to sell traditional homemade snacks to earn money for Hmong refugees. We could eat Southeast Asian food every night of the week, so I can only imagine Dad was like a kid in a candy store at their table. In the end he came home with six pork egg rolls and three stuffed chicken wings.

Forget the Chinese egg rolls you’re thinking of; these two aren’t so similar. Hmong pork egg rolls are like thin crispy cigars. Rice paper wrappers covering bean thread noodles, cabbage, carrot, onion and pork. Deeply aromatic from cilantro, as well as oyster, fish and soy sauces. The rolls came with containers of dipping sauce: one sweet and sour-ish with a tiny kick and one bird’s eye chilli and cilantro sauce with a wollop!

And then there were the stuffed chicken wings. Stuffed. Chicken. Wings. Chicken wings on their own are always kind of a letdown for me. The meat is so tasty, but there’s so little of it. If you feel as I do, these are for you. The wings are stuffed to maximum capacity with almost exactly the same ingredients as the egg rolls; it’s a miracle they stay together in cooking.

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To many Hmong, stuffed chicken wings are “a gift of love to make” – deboning and filling is painstaking. To me they are known as “a gift brought by angels.”

So absolutely wonderful I can’t remember what we had to eat for supper!

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