This past week has been a busy week, but today is a lazy Saturday, so I was able to cook and take my time. Plus it was a very nice and sunny morning (as opposed to the wind and rain that's happening right now) and I had to take advantage of that natural lighting. I saw some youtube videos on scallion oil noodles, and they looked really good so I wanted to make some for myself.
I used both Binging with Babish and J. Kenji Lopez Alt for inspiration. I only had 5 scallions, so I cut most of them into these little strips, and also diced some little circles for garnish at the end. Cutting them like this takes way more time, but it's a lazy Saturday, so I don't care.
I wish I had more scallions though. I think this could have used three times as much.
See that last photo? That was perfect. I should have taken the pan off the heat before it got to that point, so the residual heat would actually cook it to that point, which is exactly what the youtube videos told me to do, but I didn't listen. So I may have overcooked my scallions a little, but that's okay. They were still tasty.
I tossed my noodles in the scallion oil as well as some sugar, light and dark soy sauce, and some Chinese black vinegar (which has been sitting in my pantry for waaay too long--that's gonna take a while to use up). The flavor was good!
The noodles themselves were a bit sticky, and that might have been because I bought the noodles from an American grocery store instead of an Asian one. I also used a little too much of the oil. But I've got more scallion oil and more noodles and waaay more sauce, so I'll be making this a few more times this week, and I'll keep tweaking it to my tastes.
Salmon. Brussels sprouts. Two things that I make so often, that I almost wasn't going to write another post about them. But I want to share more of my meals (and more photos of me prepping the meals!) so here I am.
I decided to make some brussels sprouts because I had some bacon left over from that pork sticky rice dish I made. And when I have a few strips of bacon, my mind always turns to brussels sprouts.
And then when I went to Aldi to pick up a bag of brussels sprouts, I saw that there was a bunch of salmon for 50% off, and I had to get one. That meant it was less than $5/lb! You don't see prices like that any more! Somehow I ended up buying like twice as many things from the grocery store as I intended to.
Of course that also meant that I had to cook it that day, because it was getting close to its sell-by date. That's okay. I can always come up with a way to prepare fish.
I decided to make a brown sugar rub for the salmon, similar to how I prepared it way back in this entry. Except I didn't include any of the citrus. And if you're wondering why I only zested half a lemon, it's because we didn't plan well, and we threw out the first half of it before I started zesting. But that's okay! Half a lemon is better than none.
We also had some white rice on the side. Very good meal.
If you've been following my blog for a while, you'll know that I'm not really a baker, or even just a person who makes desserts. I don't even make simple things like chocolate chip cookies or box brownies. But in my quest to get rid of everything in my pantry, I've hit the point where I have to start going through all my baking ingredients.
So I think it's finally time to start conquering my fear of dough.
Uhh, not bread dough though. Let's start with cookie dough. Can you believe that I had never made chocolate chip cookies from scratch before?! My sister has her own special recipe that everyone in my family uses, and they make cookies all the time. So I never really felt the need to make my own cookies. But I had some leftover chocolate chips from the last time my sister visited me and I wanted to use them up.
I looked into a few different chocolate chip cookie recipes, and I settled on the one from The Novice Chef. It seemed easy enough. I only really had about 1/2 a cup of chocolate chips, so I cut the recipe in half (except for the egg because I'm not about to just use half an egg). As I went to for the cookie dough balls on the baking sheet, it was kind of a mess. I have no idea how I was supposed to roll it up into a ball. It was all sticky so I just ended up plopping messy mounds of cookie dough onto the sheet. I was a little worried when I put them into the oven, but they turned out okay!
Just okay. Not amazing. I'll have to try a different recipe next time. Maybe my sister's?
So, I've made pancakes plenty of times before, but I usually stick to oven pancakes, because I find them so easy and convenient. I decided to try some more traditional pancakes though. I had some leftover ricotta from the various pasta dishes I've made recently, and I wanted to try ricotta pancakes, since the idea of them sounded so intriguing.
And man, it was a lot of work. And the pancakes turned out...also okay. I don't even think it quite makes sense for me to include them in a post about "sweet things" since they weren't that sweet and I didn't have any maple syrup, but whatever. I just sprinkled sugar on top of them as I was eating them. Close enough. I'll stick to the cinnamon swirl oven pancakes next time.
I'm realizing that I could have titled this post "things that involved a hand mixer" and I guess baking and hand mixers just go hand-in-hand! (thanks sister for being the reason I even own one in the first place!)
Anyway, I was browsing facebook when I saw a recipe for some really simple no-churn ice cream, and I thought it looked so good so I saved it. This Oreo ice cream only calls for three ingredients, and I already had some sweetened condensed milk!
This one actually turned out really well! It definitely has an extra creamy taste to it, which is different from most ice cream I get from the store, but I liked it a lot!
Finally, the only dessert I (used to) know how to make. Delicious as always. And I will keep making it at least a few more times, just to get through my expired cocoa powder.
My aunt keeps wondering if I'm still adding posts to my blog, and I am! It's just slow going because I've been busy! I've been doing a lot of cooking and I occasionally take photos, so hopefully I'll get a few short posts in just to show off what I've made.
In one of my cabinets, I have had a bag of sweet rice that's been sitting there for years. I honestly don't remember why I originally bought it. But it was a 5 lb bag, and I finally got through all of it.
I usually use my sweet rice to create kind of a sticky fried rice, but I wanted to try something different so I made this pork chop sticky rice bake. I actually liked this a lot better than I expected to!
I also tried sticky rice stuffing. This was pretty good too, but I'm not really sure why it's considered "stuffing". It kind of just tastes like the sticky fried rice that I've made in the past.
And just to round out the meal, I added this smashed cucumber salad. This was good too! I found the smashing a little unnecessary though. When I attempted to smash my cucumber, it didn't really work out so well, and I think this would have been just fine to cut the cucumber without smashing it.
I really like making baked ziti. It's kind of time consuming, but it's so relaxing, and it's such good comfort food. But the problem I run into with baked ziti is that it makes so much food, and it would take me at least ten meals to get through all of it by myself. And I don't want to cut the recipe in half either, because then I'd just be left over with a bunch of baked ziti ingredients.
Last time I mentioned baked ziti, I said it would be good to cook for my family. So I figured that it would be the perfect dish for me to make for Christmas! Every year, my family likes to do something special for Christmas. One year it was "dip-mas", where everyone had to bring a dip. This past year was "app-mas", and everyone had to bring an appetizer that starts with the first letter of their name.
Well, my name doesn't start with a B or a Z, but I still wanted to make baked ziti! I decided to look up various pasta shapes to see if any started with an M or a K. Macaroni didn't quite feel right. But I found something that would work!
Mostaccioli. It's penne with no ridges.
My cousin even made a silly tiktok video, and I was very awkward in it.
And it turned out great! Mostaccioli is a great substitute for ziti. But I learned that not all pasta shapes work quite that well. A few weeks ago, we had a friend over, and I decided to make baked ziti again. This time I did halve the recipe (because it's still plenty for three people), and I didn't want to buy a box of ziti just to have half of it left over. I decided to use what was already in the pantry, which happened to be half a box of radiatore.
This definitely felt different. The dish wasn't bad, but it wasn't as good as the baked ziti I normally make. Something about the extra surface area and lack of tubular-ness.
And somehow, I still haven't gotten sick of variations on baked ziti, so this past weekend, I decided to make baked ravioli.
I actually was going to suggest baked ziti, but I switched it up, and used ravioli instead so I wouldn't have to buy ricotta cheese. This probably resembles lasagna more than ziti, but lasagna is just ziti with lasagna noodles anyway.
This was even easier to make than baked ziti, and it was really tasty too! My friend really enjoyed it.
That salad was also delicious. The chopped caesar salad kit from Aldi is 👌