So, I came up with a great idea a few weeks ago. My little sister is staying with me for a few months, and she loves food photography. I like cooking, but whenever I take pictures of my own food it's super ugly, mostly because I don't know the first thing about photography, let alone food photography. But my aunt is always asking me what I'm cooking, and I want a better way to show her that I'm being a functioning adult. So I decided that I should create an Instagram and post awesome pictures of food that I make and my sister takes!
Anyway, I downloaded the app on my phone, created an account, and attempted to set a username. I kept getting an error, so I decided to restart the app and login again. Then I got this message:
"Your account has been disabled for violating our terms."
WHAT?! I didn't even post a single picture! I actually attempted to restore my account (the link to do so was super hard to find by the way), to which I received an email:
"Thanks for contacting us. Before we can help, we need you to confirm that you own this account.
Please reply to this email and attach a photo of yourself holding a hand-written copy of the code below.
Please make sure that the photo you send:
Includes the above code hand-written on a clean sheet of paper, followed by your full name and username
Includes both your hand that's holding the sheet of paper and your entire face
Is well-lit, and is not too small, dark or blurry
Is attached to your reply as a JPEG file"
WHAT?! Now you need my face?! This seemed suuuper sketchy to me, so I did some googling and reading about Instagram on Reddit, and yes, this is totally legit. I actually started to try and get this picture of myself taken, until I realized that I needed my username in the picture, and I wasn't even sure if I had successfully set a username. So at that point I said "Screw this."
Yeah, I write code for a living, and yet I'm awful at technology. I should have let my little cousin create the Instagram account for me. But anyway, Plan B. I'm going to start a food blog. Food blogs are the reason I can even cook in the first place. (Perhaps a future blog post will explain my initial foray into cooking) And I love reading food blogs.
Now even though I like programming, I decided that this project will mainly be focused on food, sentences, and pictures. Not code. Not system administration. I've created a website on my own before, but I didn't want to deal with the overhead for this. So WordPress it is. Maybe once I have a decent amount of posts, I'll consider moving this content into my own domain and actually make the site look less generic.
Oh yeah, as I was creating a WordPress site, I realized I already had one. From over 5 years ago. Since then, I stopped using Linux desktop and have switched to a Chromebook. Hopefully I actually keep up with the blog posting this time.
For now, here's a poorly taken photograph of some tacos I made last year.
I had two cans of tuna sitting in one of the kitchen cabinets, so I figured it would make sense to make some tuna salad. Now I know I could just throw tuna, mayonnaise, and chopped celery in a bowl and call that a tuna salad, but that's boring. I went to Allrecipes.com to try and find something better. I typed in "tuna salad" in the search bar, and this is the first result:
Tuna and lettuce salad with garbanzo beans, chopped egg, and cucumber. Great with French dressing.
Uhh, that's not what I call a tuna salad. That's a "Salad with Tuna". And you know what the second result is?
Quick and easy vegetarian main dish made from pantry items in just a few minutes. Perfect for summer picnics or fast weeknight meals. Serve on bread, buns, crackers, pita bread, or plain.
WHAT. That's not a tuna salad at all! Why would you show me a vegetarian recipe as one of the top results? If I had typed "vegetarian tuna salad" then I totally get it. I even understand if it's say, the fifth result, after other results that are traditional tuna salads. But Allrecipes needs to redo their search algorithm.
So Recipe #3 it is: Barbie's Tuna Salad. What I liked about this was that it didn't call for celery, and it did call for lots of spices. I do like celery in my tuna salad, but I don't want to buy a huge piece of celery just to use a single stalk. Unfortunately there was no crunch at all in this recipe, so I replaced the dried minced onions with fresh diced onions. And I put waaay more than 1/8 tsp. It was at least a 1/4 cup.
As I mixed up all the ingredients, something hit me. I was missing a crucial tuna salad ingredient: hard boiled eggs! NOOOO. Why doesn't the recipe call for hard boiled eggs?! Well, it was too late to add it since I was hungry. Next time.
I burned the roll even though I literally stared at it the whole time it was in the toaster oven.
I'm exhausted. My company had their semi-annual company meetings this past week, and even though I'm pretty sure I had about 8 hours of sleep each night, I feel incredibly sleep deprived. I ate nothing but hotel and restaurant food all week, which makes my body feel really weird. I don't know how I went most of college only eating out.
Anyway, I needed to do some real cooking on Friday night. I had bacon that had been sitting in the fridge for a week, so naturally I decided to cook brussels sprouts. I actually had brussels sprouts the day before at Altius, but they were so crispy and salty I was practically eating potato chips. I decided to cook Jessica Gavin's Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon.
I skipped the breadcrumb step out of laziness. I also doubled the amount of bacon because that's just how much I had on hand. And I replaced shallots with red onions. Can you believe one red onion at Giant Eagle costs more than a whole bag of red onions at Aldi? I don't even want to think about how much a shallot costs. Also onions are delicious and you can never have too many onions in your dish.
Brussels sprouts aren't exactly a meal in itself, but I didn't want to do that much cooking, so I decided to be half lazy and buy pierogies from Whole Foods. My absolute favorite pierogies are Gosia's Pierogies, and I used to frequently buy their frozen packs at a local farmer's market. Every single year they've increased their prices, so much so that now they're the same price as the pierogies in Whole Foods.
The pierogies were just OK. My sister isn't a fan of starch inside starch, so next time we'll go with a less traditional filling. I cut up and sauteed a whole onion to go with them, but it wasn't enough. Two onions next time.
I just happened to be at Trader Joe's the other day, and I remembered a Budget Bytes recipe that I really wanted to try: Seafood Rice Skillet. Now this recipe calls for some sort of seafood mix, but Beth used the one in Trader Joes so I figured, why not.
Note to self: never buy Trader Joe's Seafood Blend again. It is tasteless.
I followed the recipe exactly, and the end result was a really beautiful dish. I think it needs some adjustments though:
Oh, and I also replaced parsley with cilantro. Because parsley smells weird and cilantro makes everything better.
...is unfortunately not as successful as part 1.
Last Christmas my aunt made these shrimp avocado cucumber bites, and it was probably the most Californian thing I've ever seen. And I was convinced I needed to make these myself. I googled "shrimp guacamole cucumber" and grabbed the first recipe I saw: Avocado Cucumber Shrimp Appetizers from Natasha's Kitchen. Now it probably would have made sense to actually buy some shrimp for this, but I had half a bag of seafood blend that I needed to use up.
I also had guacamole that we had made earlier in the week using Skinnytaste's Best Guacamole Recipe. So really all I took from that other recipe is the Cajun shrimp part. It wasn't so bad, but next time we'll just use shrimp, and actually use freshly made guacamole. Or be lazy and buy it from the store.
We actually had leftover pieces of seafood, and my sister remarked that we could throw some pasta in it. I checked my cabinets and I found a box of that Banza chickpea pasta...that expired last year. Hey, it's a box of pasta! It should be fine!
Second note to self: Do not eat expired chickpea pasta. In fact do not even buy chickpea pasta at all. It is way more expensive than regular pasta and doesn't taste as good.