flailing in my kitchen v3

How can I be sad when I have breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
Showing posts filed under: not weather appropriate

A quest for canned olives

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.

Udon noodle soup

Speaking of slowly cooking, I spent a couple of hours making udon noodle soup a few nights ago. I think it was 11pm by the time I actually produced this bowl of soup.

Udon noodles with some cut scallions on the side
Scallions cut on a long bias because it's fancier that way

Worth it. So worth it.

I wanted to make some udon noodle soup because I had gone to an udon restaurant a couple of months ago, and at the time I didn't think I really wanted noodle soup so I got a rice bowl. But everyone else was ordering the udon noodles, and by the end of dinner, I really wanted those noodles.

It was also a little more appropriate a couple of months ago because it was colder. Now we're hitting 90° outside and it is definitely not soup weather anymore. But I don't care. I made the noodle soup and ate it three times and will eat it again twice more because I still have leftover noodles.

I don't know if this is normal or not, but whenever I eat noodle soup, I like to make a nice little spoonful for every single bite. A little bit of noodle, some soup, a couple of other garnishes on top, and a wonderfully flavorful experience for my mouth.

Picking up a spoonful of udon noodles
A fancy scallion in every bite!

I actually don't think I've ever had udon noodles from a restaurant before so I have no idea how they're supposed to taste, and the Woks of Life recipe I used even explicitly stated that it's not really authentic. But it is delicious.

I do know that restaurants often put soft boiled eggs in their noodle soup, so I wanted to do the same thing. I've been using this ramen egg recipe from Just One Cookbook for a while and it's always been great. I figured it would be really easy to make a few eggs to throw in my bowls of soup.

But I figured wrong. Holy crap I have never struggled so much in my life to peel boiled eggs. The ramen egg recipe calls for putting the eggs directly in boiling water, but I thought it would work just fine if I put the eggs in cold water and brought it to a boil. When I stopped cooking them and tried to peel one, it all broke apart and every piece of shell I tried to remove just ended up removing more of the egg white. I don't think I initially cooked them for long enough so I boiled more water and tried to cook them longer, but that was still a fail.

Noodle soup, garnishes, and a book
What a sad looking egg ):

Me eating noodles while reading Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat
But a happy looking me!

I can't end on a fail though, so I did some googling and was determined to make better soft boiled eggs. I made a few adjustments for the second attempt:

  • boil the water first, and salt it (no idea if the salting made a difference)
  • put the eggs in the boiling water, then turn the heat down to about medium
  • cook for 6 minutes
  • be very very gentle when cracking the egg for peeling
  • the eggs might have been older?

And it was a success! It peeled so easily! Incredible.

Closeup shot of noodle soup, ramen egg, and some scallions for garnish
Eggs are so beautiful

Makeshift Chinese

This meal was somewhat inspired by the Sesame Slaw recipe I saw on Budget Bytes. Yup, it's something like -2° Fahrenheit outside, and we're making salad.

Salad with cucumber, cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, and onions

This was just one of those meals where I tried to utilize whatever was in my fridge/freezer as much as possible. We still had a small amount of frozen dumplings left over from the dumpling party. We also had one piece of sweet and spicy chicken left.

Preparing dumplings and salad with chicken
The bottoms of the dumplings are visible this time!

Oh, and lots of salad dressing packets. I keep buying various salad mixes that come with dressing packets, and then only end up using the veggies since I put them on my tacos.

Our makeshift Chinese meal on the table
Can you guess which plate is mine and which is my sister's?

It was a pretty delicious makeshift Chinese meal.

Pouring dressing on my salad
Action shot!

Close up of our makeshift Chinese meal

Of course, now we have a bunch of leftover salad. But you know what's great about cabbage? You can always stir fry it...

Showing posts filed under: not weather appropriate