Man I have been so busy with work and various trips that I have not been doing much cooking. And I can feel it. So much eating out and eating junk food. But it is now February 2023 and I am finally feeling a little less busy.
I don't have a nice theme to tie these all together, but here are a few meals that I cooked this past week:
I had four pieces of rice paper left in my cabinet, and while I don't have a picture of the spring rolls I made, I do have a picture of the salad I made with all of the same ingredients. I cooked some pork butt, and tossed it in toasted rice, which is something that my aunt taught me how to do. One day I'll post a recipe for that pork.
One of my friends has really been in the mood for "savory bread" lately, but I was definitely not prepared to make bread. She looked up a recipe to see if she could find something easy, and we decided to make this savory quick bread with cheese and olives, which is bread in the same sense that banana bread or zucchini bread is bread. Basically, it's cake in the shape of a bread loaf.
We added a bunch of extra things that the recipe didn't even call for, like green onion and sun dried tomatoes. I think we went a little overboard. This recipe also called for four eggs, which is way too many eggs, especially considering how expensive eggs are nowadays. But what we didn't add was salt. Bad decision. You always need salt. The recipe simply said to "salt to taste", but how am I supposed to salt to taste when there's raw flour and eggs?! I can't taste that!
I was a little worried I was going to hate this because I don't like egg-y things, but it turned out to be...okay. Not great. Would not make this recipe again. I'd probably try a different bread recipe though.
And finally, here's my breakfast from this morning that I spent way too much effort on. It was worth it though. My family gave me some beef jerky, and I just love the combination of beef jerky and white rice. I also added a marinated soft boiled egg and some cucumber slices to trick myself into thinking this is a well balanced meal.
So, I made spring rolls about a month ago. Two months ago? Who knows at this point. I had this whole blog post planned out in my head about how I was making these fancy lunches, but now it's many weeks later and I don't remember any of it. But I'm looking at these food pics that I took, and I'm like, man, I really want some spring rolls.
Why did I wait so long to make this post? Well, I've had ideas brewing in my head about revamping the layout, and I didn't want to make another post until that was done. Turns out that web design is hard, and I still have things I want to change. But I think I need a break from tinkering this layout.
I don't know why I thought making spring rolls for lunch on a weekday was a good idea. Spring rolls are so much work! And then I decided to make this even crazier by seeing if there was a way I could wrap these so the shrimps were on the outside to make it all aesthetic.
Okay, I know, it's not about how it looks. It's about how it tastes. And spring rolls are delicious. But I think I actually prefer pork over shrimp. I mean, I prefer having both pork AND shrimp, but if I have to choose one, I think I go with pork.
But it doesn't matter if I add pork, shrimp, chicken, whatever. Spring rolls are always good. And even though it is freezing cold outside, I could really go for some spring rolls right now.
It's hard for me to have two active projects at once. I started my Teochew site in 2018, then took a break from it and started my food blog in 2019. Now that I'm working on the Teochew site again, it's hard for me to find the energy to devote to the food blog. But I did take a few pictures, so I wanted to share some of the things I cooked (or helped cook) over the past couple of weeks.
Bao wasn't the only exciting food I helped make while I visited my grandma's. We made fresh spring rolls every day for "pre-dinner snack". It seemed a little excessive, but it was delicious.
I need to figure out how my aunt prepared that pork. It was SO GOOD. On the first day, I just ate three spring rolls, but by the last day, I was eating five, which is more than I what I eat for a meal sometimes. It's okay. It's healthy.
When I got back, I made some strawberry pizza. (I actually made it twice!) My sister and I made this pizza way back when I first started the food blog, and it was one of my favorite recipes that we tried. I think it tasted good, but not as amazing as when I had it with my sister. On my second attempt, I added goat cheese, and I think that was a good addition.
Every other week, I have a "co-working day" with my friend, and after work we pick a dish to cook together. This week we made chicken tikka masala and a roasted eggplant salad. It was all very good, but my friend ended up replacing 1.5 teaspoons of chili powder with 2 teaspoons of ground red pepper in the tikka masala, and it was way too much heat for me. I usually only stick to 1/4 teaspoon if I add any hot pepper 🥵
Finally, my boyfriend requested some poke, and while I didn't have any sashimi grade fish on me, I did have half a pound of frozen shrimp. I cooked that and grabbed whatever poke appropriate ingredients I had for toppings. Poke is great because apart from the fish, I really don't have to plan for it at all. I always have poke ingredients in my kitchen.
I've made spring rolls a lot in the past, but every time I make it I feel like I'm missing something: pork belly. My family always puts pork belly in their spring rolls, and whenever I don't have it, it just doesn't quite hit the spot. The reason I never included it is because pork belly is kind of hard to get around here, and I had no idea how to cook it.
Well, we have a meat place really close to the Asian place, and it turns out that all I have to do is boil the pork.
Simple, right? Well, I don't know. I did just plop the pork belly in the boiling water, but I had no idea how long to cook it for. When I asked family for advice they told me "just take it out and cut it up and see if it's cooked." So I did that. And I did that again. And again. And again. And again. Man this pork takes way longer to cook than I anticipated. I really should have been keeping track of the time or at least noted how much pork I bought in the first place. Can't say I'd change how I cook this next time since I have no idea how long I cooked it this time.
Oh well, it all worked out in the end. I was dipping it in soy sauce and just eating it like that to begin with. So good.
But even better in some spring rolls.
Every time I make spring rolls, I try and figure out where to put the shrimp to make the spring rolls look all fancy like they do in the restaurant. I don't think I ever figure it out. In fact I think I'm getting worse at wrapping these. They definitely looked nicer last time.
Doesn't matter though. These taste so much better. It's the pork belly. And the oyster-sauce-y onions. And it's lunch time, and I'm hungry, so I think I'm going to eat some more right now (: