A few weeks ago, I was getting lunch with my friend from one of my favorite restaurants: Taco Town. This place is right next to the office that I work in, but because I've been working at home for the past year, I haven't been able to eat here. So we were very fortunate that we happened to order food here on the last day they were open before taking a two month break.
On the other hand, they were out of carnitas that day. How can they run out of carnitas?! It's the best thing on their menu! Taco Town used to be a solid 5/5 stars for me, but recently I've had to dock them a star.
But whatever. If I can't buy carnitas I'll just make them. Except carnitas are a little more work than I like sometimes, so instead I ended up making some chili rubbed pulled pork.
Obviously these are pictures of the prep work, and I actually don't have pictures of the finished product. I invited a friend over for tacos that night, and sometimes you're just having too much fun to take pictures. I can assure you it was delicious though.
The green beans weren't bad, but I don't think I'd make that recipe again.
I also made some guac to eat with this pulled pork. Guacamole is one of the few things I can make without a recipe.
Typically when I make guac, it starts to brown after sitting in the fridge for a day. But this time was different. I had that guac in the fridge for 5 days, and it was still completely green! It was insane! Like I did some sort of magic on it!
I wanted to make the guac to put it in tacos or burrito bowls, but I knew I wouldn't need a whole avocado's worth of guac just for that. I went to the grocery store to buy some chips, and I came across guacamole-flavored tortilla chips, which made me feel kind of nostalgic. I used to hate guacamole, but when I was in high school, I loved guac-flavored chips. I guess that makes sense because guac-flavored chips taste absolutely nothing like guac. Eventually, well after graduating college, I started liking guac, but I still hated avocados. And just two years ago, my sister showed me just how delicious avocados are, and here I am now, loving all forms of avocado.
So many great uses for pulled pork. All were delicious.
(No, I haven't forgotten about carnitas. I'm absolutely going to make that at some point.)
Day 52 (Saturday): It's the weekend! Which means no work! Which means I actually had time to cook!
Yeah, that's right. I did the cooking. I really wanted to make some shrimp bowls. Of course, it ended up taking me forever, and it really felt like I made four different things: shrimp, rice, pineapple salsa, and black beans.
But whatever. It was worth it. Absolutely delicious.
Day 53 (Sunday): My sister was feeling lazy (and I've been feeling lazy for the past three weeks), so we just ate leftovers. We had too many leftovers sitting in the fridge anyway.
Day 54 (Monday): We bought this big thing of pork butt in our last grocery shopping trip and I think it may have been sitting in the fridge for just a little too long. So we decided to cook it.
I really wanted to try another pork loin recipe (but using a pork butt), and this honey garlic pork loin sounded really good. Using pork butt for this was definitely a good idea. We also needed a veg and some starch, so we roasted some brussels sprouts and potatoes as well. Overall, it was a good meal.
Day 55 (Tuesday): My sister made 韭菜粿 and I think it's worthy of its own post. So you'll see it in the next one.
Day 56 (Wednesday): When we went grocery shopping earlier this week, we stopped in the Italian grocery store, and decided to look all the different fancy pastas they had. Both my sister and I really like wide noodles, and I normally find fettuccine not wide enough.
But the Italian grocery store had some really nice fettuccine. The one we bought was completely in Italian! It was also a whole $2! I think paying that extra dollar was worth it though. The recipe we used was a bit weird, but it still tasted good.
Day 33 (Monday): Every once in a while I feel the need to make a fried chicken sandwich. Because who doesn't love fried chicken sandwiches? I actually found a recipe on Budget Bytes for a baked chicken sandwich, but it looked like it was fried.
This meal was way bigger than I meant for it to be. We marinated the chicken in pickle juice overnight, which meant we had a jar of pickles with no juice, so we made fried pickles as well. My sister even made the buns from scratch.
But it was worth it. These sandwiches were really good, though I don't think they're quite as good as actual fried chicken sandwiches. I would definitely make them again.
Day 34 (Tuesday): So we actually were going to include sweet potato fries in Monday's meal, but we realized that was way too many things to cook. We moved it to Tuesday and paired it with a pork tenderloin. And...various leftover veggies because veggies are important.
I never actually posted this dish on my blog, but back when my sister was living with me last year, we baked pork and it was the best pork I've ever tasted in my life. We were hoping to replicate that here, but last year we used a pork shoulder and this time we used pork tenderloin. It was kind of dry. Lesson learned, never buy tenderloin. Always go for the butt. The pork butt, I mean.
Now those sweet potato fries were delicious. I'm definitely making them again.
Day 35(Wednesday): I was scrolling through food blogs and I saw a picture of some Bibimbap, and I don't know, but those fried eggs on top always get to me. So we decided to make some Bibimbap.
Bowl meals are great. Just get whatever ingredients you have on hand and chop them up and put them into little bowls and have a bowl party.
Day 7 (Wednesday): So during my multi-grocery store excursion, I impulse bought some Ahi Tuna, because of course I did. And because I was out for three hours, that gave plenty of time for that slab of tuna to already start thawing, so I figured we might as well keep it in the fridge and have Poke the next day.
One of our lessons learned from past poke parties is that we usually buy way too much fish. So we picked out the smallest piece (about 1/2 lb), and we decided to NOT add any extra items to our grocery list because the best way to do poke parties is to just use what you already have.
Another lesson learned is that we should just marinate the fish, and not any of the other ingredients because otherwise it gets too salty. My sister makes the most delicious marinade with soy sauce and other Asian sauces and ginger and garlic and onions and she even included some lime this time!
If you're wondering, yes, we ate everything on that table. There were no leftovers, and there shouldn't be, since this is raw fish we're talking about.
Day 8 (Thursday): We had a planned game night with our cousins this day, so I wanted to make something easy. I still had a lot of pulled pork leftover from a few days ago, so it's taco time again!
I was expecting to do another taco night, so I made sure to buy lots of cilantro and sweet onions. I also happened to buy Mexican cheese, which I wasn't even planning on using for this. (I like putting Mexican cheese in my green bean casserole...which will be for another blog post!) But it adds some nice color to the tacos!
Also, we're sitting here at my dinky table, when I realize how nice the lighting is at one particular spot. And I realize that I have a spotlight in my kitchen that is pointing RIGHT at that spot on the table, and I have two other spotlights and I'm like WHY HAVEN'T I NOTICED THIS BEFORE. I need to buy a ladder now so I can re-angle these lights and give my pictures better lighting for the future.
My sister also made some shaobing. She's so talented.
Day 9 (Friday): So one of my friends is really into those Bon Appetit videos, and I figured I'd watch one to see what all the fuss is about. I'm not really into watching videos about food, but watching this video of this guy making pasta with chickpeas really made me want to make pasta with chickpeas.
Except this is more like soup. Pasta soup? They call it "brothy pasta" which my sister thought was weird, but that's what it is! You eat it with a spoon! We also threw in some kale and celery that we just happened to have. I thought it was great. I'd make it again.
Oh remember how I was struggling to find flour at the grocery store? Well, that's not the only thing we struggled with. We also couldn't find butter. We did find butter substitutes though, so we bought two packs of margarine. My sister used it to make these croissant-like things that don't really resemble croissants at this point, but whatever. It was still tasty.
Happy New Year! This time I really haven't posted in a while. But I still took pictures of the food I've been making, and we're going to see how good my memory is. All of these things were made before Thanksgiving.
In the previous post I made some bulgogi. Any time I make a new meat dish I have to see if it'll work well in a taco. It always works well in a taco.
I've been on a no-instant-noodle diet since July (and until this coming July), because at the time I ate some really spicy instant noodles and totally regretted it, and I figured I was eating way too much instant noodle already that year. The problem is sometimes I just really want some noodle soup. This isn't a dish I'm completely comfortable with yet, so I looked for a super easy noodle soup recipe I could try. This was very good and very easy to make.
I actually make this dish all the time (in fact I'm eating it right now!) so at this point I don't even take a picture every time I make it. Sometimes when I'm at Aldi I look at all the interesting raviolis they have and I buy it just to make this recipe.
What kind of quesadillas?! I don't even know! My guess is that it's barbecue chicken, because I think I had chicken left over from those noodles, and that looks like bbq sauce reside on the side of the plate. Oh by the way, that guac is homemade too. But not the pico de gallo. I bought that from Aldi. Aldi's pico is really bad. I don't recommend. But my quesadilla and guac? I'm sure it was delicious.
I don't know how to cook steak. I don't really know why I have so much trouble with it, but this was such an ordeal to cook. The recipe said to put it in the broiler and cook for 5 minutes on each side, and I did that and it was still way below medium-rare temperature. I just kept cooking it longer, but it wasn't helping so I moved it to the stovetop. Maybe there's something wrong with my broiler. Maybe I'm not using the broiler correctly. Anyway, at the end of it, it was still delicious, and I made some great burrito bowls (plates?).
And for this last section, I had a lot of guests over, and you know what that means. Tacos! Tacos are delicious. What else can I say.