flailing in my kitchen 2.1

How can I be sad when I have breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
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Cinnamon swirl pancakes

August 23, 2022 12:15 PM

Prior to this entry, I had six posts tagged with "pancakes", and every single one of them has been a savory pancake. But that all changes today! Twice this week I have made your typical breakfast pancakes. In the oven. Can't be too traditional.

I remember when I first saw the recipe for cinnamon swirl oven pancakes close to a year ago, I decided I had to make it. That day. I've actually made this a lot of times in the past, but this is the first time I've taken any pictures.

A large pancake in a baking pan, with a notecard next to it, showing the recipe
It's become one of my go-to recipes!

When I made this pancake earlier in the week, I'll admit I didn't do a very good job. For some reason the batter was super lumpy (I know they say you're supposed to have lumps in it, but this had A LOT of lumps of dry flour). The batter itself was also really thin. I noticed that when I mixed the melted butter with the rest of the wet ingredients, it just solidified again.

And at first, I was just going to leave it at that. I had used up the last of my bag of all purpose flour, and I didn't want to buy another huge bag. But as I was organizing one of my kitchen cabinets, I noticed an expired bag of self rising flour that I got from one of my coworkers at the start of the pandemic.

BEST IF USED BY 1/22/19

Totally fine!

The pancake batter in the pan, before it went in the oven. There is a nice cinnamon pattern to it
Chopsticks are very versatile

The second time, it went a lot better! I actually heated the milk up to room temperature before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients, and I must have done a better job measuring because the batter was more viscous and less lumpy.

I like to double the amount of cinnamon mixture and use white sugar instead of brown for it. When I make the cinnamon swirl, it reminds me of childhood, when I often made box marble cake with my 细姑. The last step before putting the cake in the oven was to pour a chocolate mixture over the batter and run a chopstick through it to make a cool pattern.

The pancake with cinnamon swirl, right after it came out of the oven, with the recipe instructions next to it
If you look really closely, you can find the hole that I created with the chopstick

A closeup of the pancake's cinnamon swirl pattern
I was really happy with this design

These pancakes were much fluffier than my first batch! The only thing that didn't work out so well was that I ran out of vanilla, and I could only use a quarter of what the recipe called for. But that's okay. I had some expired maple syrup that I could pour on my pancakes to give it some extra sweetness.

BEST BY 1/19/19

I mean, maple syrup can't go bad that quickly, right?

A piece of pancake on a plate, with some maple syrup on the side

Despite the questionable expiration dates, it was a very tasty breakfast.


A quest for canned olives

June 2, 2022 10:23 PM

Speaking of eating food that's way too warm for the summer, I've been making lots and lots of 糜 lately. My aunt recently sent me a bunch of 鱼干 (I'm only about 60% sure I chose the correct Chinese characters there) from Cambodia, and porridge is really the only thing I ever eat with dried fish.

Porridge, dried fish, and pickled veggies
I never introduced the new bowl I bought in my last post!

I do eat other things with porridge though. My aunt also sent me some 咸菜. Really salty foods go great with porridge. Salty eggs, salty fish, salty and sweet Chinese sausage, salty and sweet pork floss, and salty olives. It's childhood for me. Growing up, I was a super picky eater and all I wanted to eat was porridge with salty things. I've expanded my tastes a lot since I was 5, but I still love coming back to this.

Porridge, dried fish, pickled veggies, and a hard boiled egg
These eggs are not salted. That's why I have soy sauce on the side.

While I do love salted hard boiled eggs the best, those take about a month to prepare, and I don't have that kind of patience. But I remember those salted olives just came in a can that we bought from the Asian store!

So I drove to my local Asian grocery store last week, and I looked for these canned salted olives, but the closest thing they had to that were dried olives, and I wanted the ones in a can, with the pits still in them. I then drove to an Asian store further out, which was pretty big for Pittsburgh standards, but they didn't have these olives either.

I ended up going to eight different Asian grocery stores in the area and not a single one had the olives I was looking for. One place had Mediterranean olives. Another place claimed that they sold olives, but when the lady went to her computer to check the inventory, she exclaimed, in an almost comical way, "We're sold out!" I'm not totally convinced they actually stock the canned olives at all since I didn't actually show her a picture of them >.>

Porridge, dried fish, Chinese sausage, and picked veggies
I added Chinese sausage, but I still had no olives ):

And, well, that's it. I never got my olives. I also realized that none of my Asian friends have even heard of Chinese olives, so maybe it is just that rare. (But they're out there somewhere! I know it!) I think I've also hit my quota of porridge for a while, but I'll come back to it. Next time I'm visiting family I'm definitely buying some olives to bring back.

And maybe, just maybe, I can make those salted hard boiled eggs too.