Posts Tagged 'adventurous'

Bigos

I picked up a Russian, Polish, & German cookbook at my friend’s yard sale the other day. I love Eastern European food, but the only thing I can really make is borscht. I decided to try something different – a dish called bigos – but I don’t think I did it right. It was tasty, but I mistook/read the “chuck steak” as “ground chuck,” so it didn’t seem as meaty and fun. It has lasted me all week though, so that’s pretty great. I also decided not to take a picture because it doesn’t look as appetizing and pretty.

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My Mostly Failed Garden

As you know, I’ve been trying to grow green beans since I’m basically addicted to them. After over 60 days of nurturing, they did not turn out so well. In fact, they were kind of disgusting. And I mostly blame one thing: the dirt. When I planted the seeds, I noticed the dirt wasn’t very dirt-like, but I didn’t know why. After the first big storm here, I went to water my plants and found that the dirt had completely hardened. It was like the earth was trying to suffocate my plants! As I explained my story to my manfriend’s parents, his mom nodded and said to me “Yeah, that Georgia clay.”

Clay. How can I possibly grow delicious and nutritious food in clay? Whenever I have time and money, I will build a garden box with good soil. The bugs were also an issue, but moreso with the sunflowers. They’ve been fighting to survive, and one has finally successfully blossomed!

this sunflower says "screw you, bugs! i do what i want!"

So those are my gardening adventures. I learned about the importance of dirt, and hope to make a beautiful garden full of yummy vegetables another time.

Shrimp and Grits

I’ve been dying to try the traditional Southern dish Shrimp n’ Grits. I’ve been to numerous restaurants with their infamous or not infamous shrimp n’ grits, but I always get something else that looks equally delicious. But then last week I saw an episode of Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives that featured a Southern restaurant not in the South, and the chef showed the viewers how he prepared the dish. I watched it and thought “Wow. I could totally make that. I think.” So I did. And it was delicious. Here is my picture of my shrimp, cheese grits, and green bean beet salad:

a mountain of cheese grits topped with heavenly goodness amongst a field of greens? yummm.

And this is a picture of my breakfast for dinner: bacon, scrambled eggs, cheese grits, and grilled broccoli for some healthy greens:

breakfast. it's what's for dinner.

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Herb Roasted Chicken

Finally! A recipe! So exciting! Exclamation points and fragments!

This was a pretty delicious and easy recipe. The only difficulty of it though was that, since I moved, I don’t have a meat thermometer (my old roommate had one), and as a result, I had to guess how long to cook my bird. I usually buy less meat than suggested in recipes since I cook for one, so I chose a smaller chicken. It turned out a little dry, but still pretty tasty.

brussel sprouts and chicken with fresh rosemary. not the most attractive picture, but yummy!

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Jook: Chinese Porridge

Kudos to my Auntie Mei for helping me with this. I really had no idea how to start. The recipe she sent me was:

1 1/4 cup rice
3qt chicken stock
2 green onions
1-2 slices ginger for taste (isn’t it always for taste?)

Of course, since it’s jook, I can pretty much do whatever I want. so this is what I did…

my jook! it looks like it's smiling at me (kind of retardedly)! so proud of myself.

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Cooking Asian Food is Hard

Let’s be honest: one of the main reasons Asian food tastes so delicious is because they add MSG to it. Another reason is probably because every restaurant has a family recipe or a certain way of making things. That’s how I feel about pho restaurants. Almost every place I’ve been to has had a unique broth, which can make all the difference. And those are the reasons why I didn’t enjoy my own pho. I bought a standard pho buillion, but of course it’s nothing like the restaurants. Sure, it smells the same for the most part, but there was just so much flavor missing from it all.

these are all my pots: tendon, noodles, and broth. insane.

I’m not going to include my recipe because it will vary depending on the ingredients you use. (Plus, the noodles and the buillion came with directions.) The only thing that I really learned was how to cook soft tendon: boil it for 2 hours, then cut it up. Considering how soft and chewy and delicious it is in the soup, it takes a long time for it to get that soft (that’s what she said?).

my lunar new year dinner: custard dumplings, rice and chinese sausage, and thai iced tea with pearls. YUUUUM!

Anyway, instead I’ve decided to share with you the two almond cookie recipes I tried for the Chinese Lunar New Year. I’m also not going to post these recipes because they’re slightly different. Ultimately I’ve learned that, as much as I love Asian food and embrace my Chinese heritage, I will never be able to cook as well as my grandfather did. I wish I had a picture of him to share with you. He was such a big, happy man who was always so excited to cook for me. I have a fuzzy memory of being in his kitchen while he was cooking, and he showed me what he was doing. My dad tells me that, when he knew we were coming to visit, he would cook a ton of food and just wait for us to arrive. Whether or not he actually did, I can completely imagine it being true.

I’d like to think that Grandpa watches me and cooks with me and is proud of me for eating and cooking all that I can.

Pho #1 (Seriously) and Hi, Auntie Mei!

First, I’d like to say hello to my Auntie Mei. She’s always telling me about the awesome food she’s cooking, and I’m excited to get her recipe for jook! Yummm.

Anyway, last week I finally made it out to Buford Highway where there are tons of Asian restaurants and markets! It was really exciting. I almost peed myself when my boyfriend and I walked into Pho #1. I ordered a large bowl of pho with flank steak, eye of round, and soft tendon, and a thai iced tea with tapioca pearls. It was heaven. I was only disappointed in two things. First, the bean sprouts were kind of sad-looking, but I’m guessing it’s not easy to find fresh bean sprouts in Atlanta. Second, I didn’t get as much tendon as I wanted, but that could be for any number of reasons.

so so so so delicious. it's like a bowl of happiness with a side of awesome.

After lunch we went to the Buford Highway Farmer’s Market. I’ve learned that farmer’s markets here are not the same as the ones in California. Why? Because they’re basically big grocery emporiums and not actually markets for local farmers to showcase their products. Regardless, it was an awesome time. And for next week, I bought pho buillion cubes, pho noodles, eye of round, and tendon. That’s right: I will attempt to make pho. Prepare yourself, ladies and gentlemen.


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