Life is pretty good right now.
Work has been relaxing, but productive. Summer is approaching and I'm not getting anxious about it. I'm still cooking, but I'm doing it for fun--planning out one dish at a time, going to the grocery store four times a week, buying just the amount that I need, and not worrying about how much money I'm spending.
I planned to write a post like three weeks ago, but I bought a new laptop, and I had to put that together, and then I had to figure out how to move over all the code for this blog onto the new laptop.
But I did it! And now I have some food photos to share (:
I was at Aldi and I saw that their ground pork had $1 OFF stickers on them, and I learned that seafood and ice cream are not the only things I impulsively buy. It was one pound, so I used a tiny amount of it for some stir fry and saved the rest for dumplings.
It had been a while since I made dumplings, so I wanted to put my not-yet-published dumpling recipe to the test. I decided to buy thicker wrappers this time so I could try using the leftovers for scallion pancakes. I think I prefer the thinner ones though. And it turns out I pretty much used exactly one pack of dumpling wrappers for this, so I really could have just bought one pack of thin wrappers and one pack of thick wrappers.
...but I'll get back to the wrappers later. I think I spent about two hours prepping and wrapping and cooking, and probably another hour eating and cleaning. Yup. That was a Tuesday night. You may think that three hours spent on dinner is way too much time, but it was relaxing and it was delicious.
A few days later, I made the scallion pancakes at my friend's house. My original plan was to make them with her, but she was busy with work, so I did basically everything except make the dumpling sauce. Not quite as time consuming as dumplings, but still pretty time consuming. I really enjoyed it though. There is something so nice about working with your hands and being in motion and not having to think or stare at screens. And then I have something I can eat as a result!
The thicker dumpling wrappers were definitely a good choice for these. I thought they were delicious, and my friend thought they tasted pretty good too. I'll have to make these more often.
If I had the time and energy, I think I'd spend three hours cooking every day.
I know, it's been over a month since I last posted. I'm still cooking. I cook a few times a week, and most of those times I'm really happy with what I cook, but when I'm done cooking my food, I just want to eat it and not have to take photos of it. I really don't like taking photos of food, and lately I haven't had anyone else taking the photos for me, so it's hard. When my sister was living with me it worked out really well because she would plate the food really nicely and take all the photos and she really liked doing that.
Anyway, I made Chicken Tikka Masala because I had half a cup of heavy cream, and I needed a break from pasta. I had no intention of taking a photo of it and posting it on the food blog. But today, in the midst of the incredibly rainy and cloudy past few weeks, a glimmer of sun came out. I was just finished cooking and I thought "ooh! I have natural light!" I usually cook after work when it's already dark, and the photos with the kitchen and living room lights on just aren't that great. So I had to take this opportunity.
I had intended to eat this with just a piece of naan, so I initially didn't cook any rice. But once I decided I was going to take a photo, I also decided that I needed rice for the aesthetic. (Don't worry, I still ate it)
And no, I didn't make the naan. I just bought it from Aldi. Normally I would say something about how dough scares me, but I've actually made naan before! And it was good! But I was not feeling up for making both tikka masala and naan bread on the same day.
So, after I start the rice cooker, I drag my table all the way across the living room so the light is hitting it juuuust right. Or at least better than how the lighting is where it normally is. And then I think, it's finally sunny out! I should take a walk after I finish eating!
Well, it's a good thing I managed to take the photo when I did. It started raining again once I finished eating, so unfortunately that means no walk ):
But the chicken tikka masala was very good. Very happy I made that, and also happy that I have two photos to show for it.
Some of my co-workers mentioned a food blog called Half Baked Harvest and when I hear good things about a food blog, I have to check it out. I've been scrolling through all her recipes deciding on one to make, and I settled on these quinoa burgers, which is kind of a complicated first recipe to try, but I still had quinoa from who-knows-when and I really wanted to use that up.
The recipe also called for making some caramelized onions and sweet potato fries. I love caramelized onions so I was all for that, and I also love sweet potato fries, but this was already getting too involved, so I just bought frozen fries. Plus I also decided to fry up some bacon.
Bacon?! Doesn't that defeat the purpose of a veggie burger?
Hey, my goal wasn't to make a veggie burger. It was to use up the rest of the quinoa. And I want my burger to taste good. The bacon added some nice texture to this.
Not that the burger tasted bad without the bacon. This came out surprisingly well and had plenty of flavor. The shredded cheese that melted into a gooey blob with crispy edges was a really nice touch. I always thought that getting sliced cheese is better for a burger, but no, definitely go for shredded and sprinkle the cheese all over, making sure some of it spills off the patty to create extra crispy cheese pieces.
I even took the time to sauté more onions and fry an over easy egg during lunch on a workday just so I could fully enjoy my last burger.
No hectic or busy workday is going to stop me from putting together a delicious gourmet lunch.
Whenever I go over to my friends' places and they cook for me, I find it so inspiring. Homemade food is always so good, and usually so simple. I go to restaurants and I eat take out, and I'm pretty much never impressed, but there is something about a homemade dish that is incredibly satisfying. Everything that my friends make, I want to make too.
A few weeks ago, one of my friends showed me this spaghetti aglio e olio recipe that she had been making a lot of. (It took me a few times of saying that dish out loud before I could remember it) It was pretty good, but my friend loves spicy foods and doesn't like things too salty, so she doubled the red pepper and added way less salt than the recipe called for, and well, it tasted very pepper-y to me. So I wanted to try making this myself.
Also, the recipe says Don't serve cheese with this and I know I'm basically asking to be told what to do when making a dish, but I don't appreciate recipes telling me not to add cheese to my pasta. So I searched for another recipe, and I was feeling Love & Lemons take on it more.
I was feeling fancy so I used bucatini instead of spaghetti, and I wanted some vegetable in this so I added some grape tomatoes. Cooked tomatoes are delicious and this dish was delicious and the noodles were so fun to eat 😊
As part of my newly established Lunar New Year tradition, I made fish tacos! I have no idea how long I've been keeping these tilapia fillets in the freezer, but I'm really trying to actually clear out the food in my kitchen. I've made these spiced
catfish tacos so many times, and it's become one of my go-to recipes.
In the past, I've sliced up the sweet potatoes in thin quarter circle shapes, but this time I went with dicing, and I think that makes their flavor stand out more in the taco. And in my continued effort to not accumulate more food in my kitchen, I bought a bag of "RAINBOW VEGGIE SLAW" instead of buying a head of cabbage. Plus it's easier since I don't have to cut up any cabbage.
I cooked five tilapia fillets and we just about finished all of it. That mayonnaise + lime + sugar dressing makes it so good. We just had a single half of a fillet left, which I ate the next day (as well as a pork taco using leftover pulled pork from another meal).