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.
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
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.
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?
Despite the questionable expiration dates, it was a very tasty breakfast.
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.
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.
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 >.>
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.
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.
Last Sunday I made some fried rice.
I needed an easy, filling meal for a lazy Sunday and I figured this Chinese Sausage Fried Rice 香肠炒饭 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
I gotta get back to making more Asian food next week!