flailing in my kitchen 2.1

How can I be sad when I have breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
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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.


I love 腊肉

January 16, 2022 12:11 PM

There is just something that I love about the combination of incredibly flavorful fried meat, pickled vegetables, and a bowl of white rice to balance it all out. It's 100% my kind of comfort food, and it reminds me of childhood.

Lat bhat, pickled mustard greens, and rice

Filed under: teochew words i love food

Fried rice

February 27, 2021 9:51 AM

Last Sunday I made some fried rice.

Fried Rice

I needed an easy, filling meal for a lazy Sunday and I figured this Chinese Sausage Fried Rice 腊肠炒饭 recipe would be good for this. In Teochew, I think I would tell my family I ate 炒饭合腊肠 (cha beung gat lat chiang).

There was a decent amount of prep work involved, so it took a while, but it was easy.

Prep

I think I may have had more rice than I needed. The recipe called for 5 cups of cooked rice, which is the most unhelpful measurement since I needed to cook the rice first and I have no idea what the ratio of "uncooked rice cooker cups" is to "cooked rice measuring cup cups". I used 3 cups of uncooked rice cooker cups, and I think I should have at least doubled the sauce.

Fried rice in the pan

But overall, this was a good meal that I would definitely make again. The best part of this was definitely the crunchy bits of rice at the bottom of the pan. If I have extra time, I'll reheat this again on the stove, which makes it even better.

Fried rice with sriracha

Just like my mother, I had to add some sriracha to top this off. Well, not exactly like my mother. She would have had this swimming in hot sauce.


Food thoughts: 2/6 - 2/12

February 13, 2021 10:45 AM

in which I buy real ice cream

At work, I'm a team lead, so I have to write two management updates every single week. Some of the other team leads at the company write their updates in the same exact format every week. I've tried to do that in the past, but I find that I just get bored or things change and the format makes no sense anymore. Some weeks I use paragraphs, others I use bullet points. Sometimes I have headers, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I write project updates, and other times I focus on people. It's just...whatever feels the best each week. And I feel the same way about these blog posts.

So, no whiteboard picture this week. Maybe no whiteboard pictures for a while. I'm still feeling the grocery store pics though.

Groceries

Recognize that "Good and Gather" brand? That's Target. That's right, I did my grocery shopping at Target because I needed to buy some non-food items and in these COVID times I figured I should limit my shopping trips.

Grocery shopping at Target is terrible. I don't know why anyone would willingly do their grocery shopping here. Also, note to self, never buy ground meat from a tube again.

You might be wondering why I bought a 5 lb bag of potatoes. Well, I wanted to make some beef stew (post to come later!), and yeah, I could have just bought two individual potatoes, but then I thought of other potato possibilities and the lower price per pound and the fact that I bought a single lemon three grocery trips in a row. So here I am now with way too many potatoes.

Even though I said I would limit my shopping trips this week, it just happened to snow way more than I expected it to on Tuesday, and for that reason I decided it was the perfect time to walk a mile to Trader Joe's to buy ice cream.

And I was right! There was no line when I got there. That's practically unheard of during these COVID times.

Ice cream

I'm of the opinion that Trader Joe's isn't a real grocery store (they didn't even have veggie oil!) but their ice cream is 👌 and for that reason I'm forever a sucker loyal customer. And those mini cones are so good! They're like tiny little drumsticks, but even better!

As far as what I ate this week, I'm also going to ditch the table of my breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, and just mention some highlights.

It was Chinese New Year and I missed being around family. I didn't even plan to make any Chinese food! But I figured I could eat something Asian and cook some more 腊肉 (lat bhat).

Lat Bhat

More Lat Bhat

Hey, I really am getting better at this deep frying thing! I didn't overcook the meat this time!

I also had some leftover Dim Sum from last week, and I made some cucumber salad to go along with it. Normally I don't take pictures of food that I didn't make, but the salad looked so sad by itself.

Leftover Dim Sum

I gotta get back to making more Asian food next week!


Meal Plan: 1/23 - 1/29

January 29, 2021 9:10 PM

Normally I would start with a picture of my whiteboard, but there's a ridiculous amount of photoshopping MS Paint-ing involved to get the image to look the way I want. So, I actually went and re-organized the whiteboard to make it a little easier on me. But you'll have to wait for next week's meal plan post to see it.

I will show you my groceries, though! This week I made shrimp scampi florentine and BBQ chicken pizza, which you already know. I bought ingredients for those meals, and I also bought a few extra things for snacks, like getting chickpeas to make hummus. I spent a little over $30 on groceries.

Groceries

Well, I impulse bought tilapia. (Frequent readers of this blog should not be surprised.) It was on sale for $6! It's normally $12 for the 2 lb bag! And that was from Giant Eagle, not Aldi. I know, it's always $6 at Aldi. But maybe this brand is better.

Also, Aldi was out of chickpeas! I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Aldi runs out of chickpeas a lot. I really didn't want to make another grocery store trip, so hummus will have to wait until next week. I really should just keep a constant supply of chickpeas like I do with eggs.

If you're wondering why I bought kimchi, it's so I could eat it with some meat that my grandparents prepared while I was visiting them.

Rice

My grandpa has the best recipe for both beef jerky and 腊肉. Deep frying things kind of scares me (but not as much as dough does) and I think I overcooked the 腊肉 a little, but it still tasted great.

I also asked several members of my family what 腊肉 (lat bhat) actually translates to. I know 肉 (bhat) means meat but what is 腊 (lat)?! No one was able to tell me! As I was looking things up in a Teochew app, I realized that 腊 is the same 腊 as in 腊肠 (lat chiang) Chinese Sausage. And then I looked this up in the Wiktionary and I learned 腊 basically means dry or dried meat. Now I know.

Okay, Chinese lesson aside, I only cooked two meals this week because I was still going through the leftovers in my freezer. It was my full intention to actually keep track of what I ate this week, but I realized I haven't written down anything since Monday. It was just bagels every morning, while rotating between the scampi, pizza, and leftovers during lunch and dinner.

Pizza

And I did add pineapples on my leftover slices of pizza. I love leftover pizza. It's the best leftover.


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