flailing in my kitchen (v2!)

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Showing all posts filed under: recipe searching adventures

Tilapia tacos

February 20, 2021 12:26 PM

First of all, I'm going to lessen the frequency of these blog posts. I'm trying to take it easy and also free up my time for other things. But I'll still be cooking, and I'll try to post at least once a week.


After impulsively buying tilapia a few weeks ago, I decided to finally make some tacos with it. Blue Apron has a catfish taco recipe that's been one of my go-to's, and I thought that if they have one good fish taco recipe, they must have others. So I went and searched for "fish tacos" and these are the top results:

Wait wait wait, these aren't fish taco recipes, these are fish OR taco recipes. Blue Apron, you gotta work on your search code. What is it with recipe sites and terrible search algorithms?

So after scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling I finally stumbled upon Baja-Style Tilapia Tacos.

Taco stuff

These tacos were easy to make, and they tasted pretty good too. But they're fish tacos. Of course they taste good. I don't know if I love the combination of avocado and orange, but it seemed to work well enough. The only problem with this recipe is that it doesn't work well for leftovers. The avocadoes end up browning.

Assembled tacos

I followed the recipe pretty closely, but I used green cabbage instead of red because it was cheaper. I also used corn instead of flour tortillas because that's just what I had already. As much as I think grocery store brand corn tortillas are awful, Aldi corn tortillas are actually pretty great once you toast them in the pan. And finally I added cilantro because of course I added cilantro.

And one final taco pic

Oh, so, I also went grocery shopping today, and as much as I told myself I wasn't going to buy any more meat/seafood, I ended up impulsively buying another bag of tilapia. It was $5! That's even cheaper than when impulsively bought it last month!


Shumai

February 15, 2021 7:10 PM

During this past year's Christmas, my family celebrated what we like to call "Dipmas". Everyone had to make a dip, so I decided to make dumplings (and dipping sauce to go with it). One of my aunts made shumai, so this ended up turning into "Dip and Dumpmas". Okay, maybe that name doesn't sound as good.

I really like ordering shumai when I get dimsum, and for some reason I figured that everything I order from dimsum places must be way above my cooking level. But I saw my aunt's shumai, and it was really good, and I thought "I can totally make this."

Making shumai

I asked her for the recipe, and she actually sent me a screenshot from allrecipes, but I thought, "This is fine, I can search for it."

...No I can't. There is no "shumai" recipe in allrecipes. I even tried various spellings of the word like "siu mai". I eventually decided to google "allrecipes shumai" and I found a very shumai-looking recipe called "Hawaiian Pork Hash". Of course Google knows what I'm looking for. Apparently this is Hawaii's version of shumai.

I had never folded shumai before. It took me a few tries before finding a method I liked. At first, I just kind of scrunched it all together, but that looked kind of ugly. Soon I realized that I just needed to make little folds in a spiral pattern.

Steamed shumai

Second batch

Hey, I'm really happy with my improvement just from my first to second batch.

The other part of this that was a little scary to me was steaming the dumplings because I had never used a bamboo steamer before. I looked up youtube videos to learn how to do this and there is a lot of conflicting advice. Do I place the steamer in water or not? Do I wait for it to boil, then put the steamer in, or just put it in at the start? Do I need another contraption to keep the steamer baskets up higher?

Plus, I hate watching videos to learn things. Most of these youtube videos are kind of obnoxious. I ended up going to my most trusted source for Asian cooking, The Woks of Life. I took out my largest pan, filled it up with some water, brough it to a boil, and then placed the steamer basket in and let it cook for 12 minutes.

This was a lot easier than I expected.

Shumai meal

Great, easy recipe, but there are things I think should be tweaked:

Well, maybe I'll just use the Woks of Life recipe next time.

Shumai bite

But I am very happy with my first attempt at shumai and I am definitely making this again at some point.


Tuna Salad

January 13, 2019 1:16 PM

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.

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/21406/tuna-salad/

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.

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/234227/no-tuna-salad/

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 burnt the roll even though I literally stared at it the whole time it was in the toaster oven.