flailing in my kitchen 2.1

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Sea salt

January 21, 2022 9:40 PM

Last summer I visited my sister, and as I was browsing her bookshelf, I saw the book Salt Fat Acid Heat. I had heard good things about this book, so I read a little of it. The first thing this book talks about in detail are the different types of salt: table salt, sea salt, kosher salt. The author also insists that you should use sea salt or kosher salt. Table salt has iodine and other ingredients that aren't salt and I guess it's better to have "pure" salt. So I told myself that when I ran out of salt, I'd get something other than table salt.

Anyway, I was at the grocery store last week and as I was replacing some of my other spices, I decided it was time to get salt. I bought a small container of "sea salt". I read the ingredients. There was only one: sea salt. Okay, seems legit.

The author recommends tasting the individual salt crystals to really get to know the salt. So I tasted it. Then I tasted the table salt. Then I tasted the sea salt again. 🤔 I could certainly tell the difference in texture, but I don't think my palate is refined enough to tell the difference in taste.

I had to try another taste test! I had some brussels sprouts that I wanted to roast, and I decided to sprinkle half of them with sea salt and half of them with table salt. And all with pepper because that makes them taste even better.

Brussels sprouts, half with sea salt, half with table salt
The book also has salt sprinkling technique, but that's for another day

Cooked brussels sprouts, half with sea salt, half with table salt
Left: sea salt, right: table salt

I cooked these at 425°F for about 15 minutes, and then I popped them under the broiler for about a minute and a half more. I thought I cooked them pretty well! But what about the salts? Honestly, I don't think I salted either side enough. They still tasted good, but I think I'll have to try again.

A meal of brussels sprouts, ribs, and sweet potatoes in front of a book
I always prefer eating in the company of others, but a book is a good second choice

My aunt cooked those ribs and potatoes. I'm finally getting close to finishing all the food she gave me!


Mashed potatoes, chicken bites, and brussels sprouts

March 2, 2021 11:03 PM

It's later than I should be up for a worknight, but I'm excited to show off what I've been working on for the past two days: Tags! This is just the first iteration of it. More to come.


Last week I made a meal of mashed potatoes, garlic chicken bites, and brussels sprouts, except I spread out cooking the different components on different days so it didn't all come together until I made the brussels sprouts.

For the mashed potatoes, I used this slow cooker mashed potatoes recipe from Budget Bytes. I had that huge bag of potatoes, and I rarely make mashed potatoes so I figured I'd give this a try. It was alright. Needed some herbs. And more butter. And salt. And garlic. And maybe some cheese. I don't have a picture of the mashed potatoes because that's kind of boring on its own.

Garlic Chicken

The garlic mushroom and chicken bites was a recipe I had saved for a while. I unfortunately didn't have chicken thigh, so I had to settle for chicken breast. Would this have tasted better with chicken thigh? Absolutely. But it was still good. I followed the recipe pretty closely except I also added half a cup of chicken broth because I thought it needed to be a little more sauce-y.

Brussels Sprouts

I didn't use a recipe for the brussels sprouts. I just cut them in half, tossed them in salt, lemon pepper, and olive oil, threw them in the oven at 425°F for about 10 minutes, and then finished them off in the broiler for another minute. Delicious. I could eat the whole pound of brussels sprouts all in one sitting, but I made sure to save some for two more future meals.

The finished meal

Oh! I also made gravy. The recipe told me to keep whisking until all the lumps were gone. I didn't do a very good job of that. Just don't look too closely at the photo.


Social Distancing: Days 52 - 56

May 17, 2020 11:32 AM

Day 52 (Saturday): It's the weekend! Which means no work! Which means I actually had time to cook!

Chili Lime Shrimp Bowls (Budget Bytes)
Chili Lime Shrimp Bowls (Budget Bytes)

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.

My sister plated this

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.

Pork Loin Roast (Cafedelites)
Pork Loin Roast (Cafedelites)

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.

Red Pepper Fettuccine with Shrimp (Pinch of Yum) ... except I didn't have shrimp.
Red Pepper Fettuccine with Shrimp (Pinch of Yum) ... except I didn't have shrimp.

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.


Social Distancing: Days 42 - 45

May 5, 2020 8:00 AM

Day 42 (Wednesday): During this whole quarantine, I've made sure to have chicken breast stocked at all times. I know chicken breast is kind of boring, but my sister has gotten really good at cooking it well.

Chicken Piccata (Budget Bytes)
Chicken Piccata (Budget Bytes)

Seriously, it was really good chicken. We also had some scalloped potatoes and asparagus to round out the meal.

What a nice fancy, American meal.


Day 43 (Thursday): After eating that chicken and that shepherd's pie, I was starting to feel really sluggish, so I wanted to have something a little bit lighter. I stared at my whiteboard for a while until deciding on making some Greek chicken wraps.

Except I had pita bread, so it wasn't actually wrapped. My sister also made me some french fries since I told her I really wanted some (: We had to be a little creative for the hummus, since I realized in the moment that we didn't have any lemons. We replaced that with some vinegar and orange, which was a really strange combination. Not my favorite hummus, but it was still edible.

The sandwiches all put together were really good though! Once again, my sister did a great job cooking the chicken.


Day 44 (Friday): We ordered takeout. Yup, we finally supported a local business and got some fried chicken. It was alright. The cornbread was dry. I don't take pictures of food I eat at a restaurant, so I don't have a picture of the fried chicken we ordered.


Day 45 (Saturday): Rounding out the American-ish meals, we decided to make meatloaf!

Meatloaf (Cafe Delites)

Meatloaf (Cafe Delites)

We put the dry cornbread in this, which I think was a good use of it. I think it turned out great.

I know meatloaf isn't very visually appealing, but it had really good flavor. My sister loved it.

Sunday we're hitting up the Asian store and the Mexican store, so that'll spice up our meals for next week.


Mostly Mexican Food

October 19, 2019 5:16 PM

I've been so busy at work that it's consumed my brain, and I haven't had a lot of mental capacity left over for really giving my cooking as much thought as I'd like. Which means I end up forgetting to take pictures of things. But, I looked at my phone, and it turns out I have enough pictures to write a post on some random things that I made over the past two weeks.


Chicken Fajitas - Budget Bytes

I went a little crazy with the filters on these photos.

I had gone home to visit family for a week, in which I accompanied my mom in grocery shopping. She bought a ridiculous amount of vegetables that she wasn't going to be able to finish, so she gave me a whole bunch of stuff to take back to my place. Part of that was a lot of onions and bell peppers, so naturally, I had to make some fajitas. I've made these fajitas so many times, and they're always delicious.


Chili Rubbed Pulled Pork - Budget Bytes

Everything is extra bright and saturated.

Speaking of things wrapped in tortillas, I also made these pulled pork tacos. I don't have a picture of the initial batch of pulled pork, but I actually made it in non-taco form for my mom and her friend when they visited me. I also made cilantro lime rice (which you can kind of see in the tacos) and brussels sprouts and broccoli. Yes, there was a lot of flailing that day as I kept going back and forth between working and cooking.


Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs - Damn Delicious

I see cilantro and lime together, and I'm like "YES. I WANT THAT." So what happens is I buy those things for tacos, and then I just end up making more Mexican food because Mexican food uses a lot of cilantro and lime. (At least the kind I like does) These chicken thighs were really good, though I think using the cast iron pan was more trouble than it was worth for this. Next time, I'll just stick to one of my normal pans.

Oh, and obviously, I need to have some sides too, so I cooked some sweet potatoes and veggies. I didn't really use a recipe for them. I just cut them up, drizzled olive oil, and sprinkled various spices on them.


Chorizo and Sweet Potato Enchiladas - Budget Bytes

I forgot to take a picture before I started eating, so a few of the enchilada rolls are missing.

Yeah! Even more stuff that I wrapped in a tortilla! I just really like tortillas, okay? But, the heading for this is totally a lie, because when I went to the store they were completely out of chorizo, so I had to settle for just "sausage" instead. To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of enchiladas, but I had sweet potatoes, and I had been just roasting them so I wanted to do something different. This was good, but I think I just need to take a break from the Mexican food now.


Three Cheese Pizza

Apparently I'm not capable of making circular pizzas.

Yeah I know, this is totally random and why this post is only mostly Mexican. Hey, I had some pizza dough and pizza sauce in the freezer, so why not. I had cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan, so that's why it's three-cheese. This wasn't bad, but I'm going to have to improve on my pizza-making game. I definitely put too much sauce compared to cheese.


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