I know this looks bland but this is actually the most legitimately aromatic thing I’ve cooked this year so catch the tea on that…
For your information I emerged from home this week with a ziplock baggie containing cinnamon, 花椒, star anise, cloves, and that big seed thing that looks like a peach pit. I don’t know what it is but I DO know from 火锅 experience that it’s potent and quite simply terrible to accidentally bite into. And also some chunks of rock sugar.
All this is supposed to be for 卤肉 using beef tenderloin but beef is really just so extra so I used turkey instead… trust me I know it ain’t right so if you do this, please know it’s supposed to be a slab of braised beef sliced up and served hot or cold with cilantro if my life experience is to be believed….
I used 1 lb of turkey, 1/2 a cinnamon stick, a smattering of peppercorns and cloves and 1 unidentified seed thing plus a chunk of rock sugar. Then just barely cover with water because then you add soy sauce until you get a color you want the broth to be. In theory, there should be the same amount of sugar and salt/soy sauce but I don’t have the advanced knowhow to compare liquid vs solid volumes soooooo the alternate plan is to wait until the broth comes to a boil and then add more salt/soy sauce ~to taste~ . Sources say the soy sauce is mostly just for color anyway. If this were beef or pork you would have wanted to add some cooking wine too.
this is the color I settled with
there was a lot of turkey residue on the surface…
After the broth comes to a boil, lower to medium heat and let it simmer for an hour.
During this hour I made rice and kale and did whatever I do when I’m not faithfully blogging…
Then you’re supposed to take it off the heat and let it sit in the broth for a couple hours but I had 1 hour so I jumped the gun. Then you’re dunzo
However, in true “You Look Like You Don’t Waste Food” form, I used the broth to make tea eggs for lunch prep. And no… I haven’t reached peak Chinese grandma yet and believe me I’m eagerly awaiting the day so don’t even start
I hard boiled the eggs directly in the broth. For me this is 10 extra minutes after the broth comes to a boil because I mean Hard Boiled…
Then I plunged the eggs in cold water to make them easier to peel.
My grandma seeps them peel off but I seent other people crack the shell and seep to get the dappled pattern so just follow your heart I suppose….
I let them seep for like 16 hours in the broth while I was out and about in the outside world and also sleeping
I’m used to them being darker but I think it’s because I didn’t use tea leaves and not enough soy sauce but 16 hrs was enough for the spices to permeate.
I’m thinking about using the rest of the spices I have left over to make some bomb ass hot chocolate so we’ll see about that. Remember to pour one out for me this week as I desperately try to absorb a semester’s worth of “knowledge” even though I’m only a wee lass and should be exempt from these cruel ways…
Fare thee well until Thursday when I return with hummus
Hello earthlings… On Monday morning I slept in, so on Monday night I got food for 2.5 days) from the terrible horrible no good very bad expensif store that is close by… For comparison I spent as much on 2.5 days worth of food here as I usually do at the other place for 7 days worth…..Sorry not sorry to burden one and all with my pennypinching ways but it’s been really weighing on my conscience…..
Part I: grilled cheese! exclamation point!
Lunch takes precedence this week because it features one of my main joys in life…grilled cheese. I used accumulated leftover shredded mozzarella and cheddar, tomato slices, and Portuguese rolls. I really need to chill and I’m not a doctor but I’m 100% sure my southern chinese goblin body can’t sustain eating this much foreign elements (BREAD and CHEESE) and it’s only a matter of time (GOD FORBID) before my body gives out on me and I need to recoup eating only 稀饭和榨菜 and things of that nature…Just my silly thoughts though….
But anyways these are the choices I’ve made and I’ll see them through to the bitter end:
Began preheating the pan over med-high heat… meanwhile:
I feel stupid narrating things like, slice open the bread and put the cheese on there but that’s what I have to say to myself so y’all get to hear it too. Btw my shredded mozzarella had congealed into lumps sort of but I trust that those live cultures know what they’re doing better than I!
sliced 1/2 tomato and jammed it inside
spread coconut oil on the outside of the rolls in lieu of butter
Then I grilled each side for 3-4 minutes until it reached an acceptable level of crusty grilled ness. I like to listen to the TSSSSSS sound while pressing the bread down with my wooden spoon but that’s just me….
The grilled cheese flip is probably the only flip I can execute because all the pieces are glued together with cheese…what a beautiful thing…
Anyways, I’m satisfied with this. I had it with store bought coleslaw and some tomato slices that didn’t make it in the sandwich. Oh and some sliced cantaloupe too for a snack later. I honestly just like how the cantaloupe rind matches my cutting board and think the world deserves to know.
Part II: miscellaneous sustenance for dinner
Dinner “preparations” aren’t really anything to write home about on this day but I’m writing about it anyway in the interest of full disclosure…
First of all I really don’t know how to act and the world of prepared foods is a mystery to me. I might as well have just found all the free food events and taken a tupperware to each instead of spending my money to feel unmoored and confused at mealtime like a nine year old LOOSED at the Old Country Buffet with no parents…. And so we have here the quite frankly BEWILDERING combo of steamed veggies + semi dry chicken + dry ravioli with no sauce… truly a bad omen.
Not to be a philosopher but since food is the only thing that I have an opinion about… can I go off about expensive prepared food from expensive grocery stores for a minute? The Lil Miss Marx Hog (so help me GOD) says all smug… Just FYI prepared food is alienated from the labor that produced it….then Lil Miss Anarchy Hog goes… Go ahead. Run that mouth, Do YOU grow your own damn food? Do YOU churn your own damn butter? And then Lil Miss Gramma’s Angel Hog says… I’m just an innocent hog and I’m beary hungry and can’t read, please stop the madness…. In summary: Just eat your food and go.
I’ll be back next week because for the rest of the week I’m being claimed as a dependent on a tax return! Keep on gobbling on, you turkeys of Maine, you guineafowl of New England….
Considered calling this post “Lunch Dump” but I’m trying to choose civility in 2017. And dare I say what could be more civil and well adjusted than packing lunch… Please enjoy the following images of bread/bean/veg, a tried and true lunch template.
Last week: half pita and salami with a little leafless salad (olives, grape tomatoes, chickpeas, and frozen peas but they thaw in my bag). I broke out the mason jar again, how embarrassing.
Someone said to me this week “you look like you don’t waste food” and honestly I was shook to the core……finally my reflection shows… who I am inside… Shoutout S for putting some respek back on my good name
This week: refried beans, broccoli slaw, 1/4 tomato, corn, and shredded cheese with tortilla
A political plug: I fully endorse broccoli slaw because it uses the stalk of the vegetable and in my humble opinion reduces food waste. I have an image to maintain now! Also because my grandma used to always take broccoli stalks and dry them next to the refrigerator and pickle them and she is my moon and my stars….. Also because broccoli stalks are kind of like kohlrabi which is in my humble opinion one of the most underrated vegetables. Kohlrabi is really good “julienned” and then stir fried with some sesame oil and red pepper and a dash of vinegar… In conclusion I won’t stand for SLAW HATE and I will report any SLAW HATE I encounter as extremely despicable and closed minded hate speech
All out of new original material for this week so we’re a little scant on word count. Hopefully I’ve been able to trick you by having three whole pictures of two whole lunch sets. I’m also running out of far out ways to sign off these posts…
Until next time, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all…
Despite the fact that the seasons are disappearing, folks still believe in pumpkin accoutrements and aggressive pilgrim imagery and earth tones….doesn’t Being Human just positively break your heart??? As you can see I’m practicing what I preach with the aggressively autumnal SWEET POTATO this week.
Are you riveted? I’ll try something novel today called listing amounts. Sometimes I forget that the skill of counting is a gift and a privilege. I too Lean In in my own way…. For this sheet pan number I used 3 sweet potatoes, 1 large onion, and count em, 6 sweet Italian sausages.
sweet potatoes and onions
Preheated oven to 375. I had a bad experience with sweet potatoes, 425, and negligence so I erred on the side of caution this time.
Meanwhile, tossed veggies (cut in wedges) in oil with chili powder, paprika, rosemary, and of course salt and pepper.
Gently laid the sausages to sweet rest on the bed of veggies. As one does. The act felt morbidly maternal…love it
Meanwhile meanwhile while the sausages were cooking (I gave it 30 minutes on the timer while expecting 45-60), I sautéed some baby broccoli with garlic and pepper. In COCONUT OIL. Would I be a more peaceful and balanced soul if I were raised on coconut oil instead of canola? I guess that’s one mystery for the ages…
The sausages looked a little pink after 30 minutes but the sweet potatoes were done so I took those out and put the sausages back in for another 15-20 minutes. After turning and rotating and such. Have I mentioned I HATE the word “sausage?” I hate to be such a puritan (I’m lying. I LOVE to be such a puritan) but I would love to live in a world devoid of the idea of sausages. Read into this as you will…
I had this and the baby broccoli over rice. Maybe next time I’ll even switch it up and venture into ~broccoli rabe~ territory if things get really crazy…Wow
Be back soon with a double lunch update to make up for last week. Keep on rockin in the (is it really so) free world ladies and gentlefolk..
Hello friends and enemies… please excuse my lack of posts this week. At the risk of beating a dead horse… we all know what happened this Tuesday. I have no words….I just want to say that before pronouncing that one ugly syllable to name the orange demon, please hesitate lest the the whole entire North American soundspace vibrate with the mark of the beast…….
Anyways I got back to school late this week so I purchased ~prepared~ pesto chicken breast for deener. I mean I still had to cook it but I’m saying to myself life doesn’t have to be so BYZANTINE all the time….. especially in the dark days that loom ahead….
I also got baby broccoli and brussel(s? no idea…) sprouts. It’s kind of nice to have vegetables that haven’t been cooked down aka #Chummified but it’s only viable if I don’t have to freeze anything. That’s unfortunately why I can’t really experiment with most Chinese food…but I’m trying to think if there’s any tricks I have up my sleeve on that front…
Blah blah blah….I cooked the chicken for 4-5 minutes on each side and used the leftover juices/pesto and a little oil to sauté the baby broccoli with some garlic and pepper. Meanwhile I simmered the brussels sprouts in salted water. I think brussels sprouts are great and I’ll fight anyone on this…although I think they deserve to be roasted but I really wasn’t up to task this week. Oh and I had this with rice so balance has finally returned to my palate…
Also since this is such a short post and even in my subdued state I have to add a lil something petty that nobody asked for: I just want to say that the GIMMICKS OF THE WEEK are 1) that pomegranate “hack” using a bowl of water… get over it! let there be blood! 2) Broiled grapefruit. Hopefully no explanation necessary. Down with brunch culture………. Folks, please join me in remaining suspicious of anything and everything around you….
That’s a wrap… peace be with you in body and spirit my friends….
Unlike some people out there I’m not part of the breakfast food cult…. so please miss me if with that whole Waffle House after dark mess because I am not the one. But….. there’s a time and a place for everything, especially pancakes. (While I’m at it, please also let me make clear where I stand on the pancakes vs waffles debate since this is my only platform to make my stance heard now and unto eternity: Pancakes are the sensible choice. No extra accoutrements necessary, no pretensions at being BELGIAN or WHATEVER, flexible and adaptable, and dare I say cross cultural (thinking about my grandma’s 香菇饼 right now…) Waffles are fine but if you put waffles above pancakes then not to be rude but…check your privilege, Becky.)
Sorry for not being as DIY as the other fine ladies out there but I used Trader Joe’s Buttermilk Pancake Mix for this because that’s what I have (kindly recall that chick’n and dumpling soup, my definitive masterwork…). As you can imagine, it tells you what to do on the back and EVEN I dare not defy those sacred algorithms…. a cup of worter (OK, I used half and half) and an egg for 1 3/4 c of mix. Would you like me to cite the back of the box in Chicago or MLA? Fascists.
I didn’t preheat the pan because I like to keep things loosey goosey so the first batch took longer than it should have and came out ALL WRONG because I tried to flip when they weren’t ready to flip…but it’s OK!!! Pancakes are very forgiving and in my opinion they don’t have to be pretty…Also after the potato egg debacle I have to stay in my own defense.
The box suggests letting it cook for about a minute on each side but who’s counting?? Val from Bake Off said you can hear your baked goods sing when they’re ready so if it’s good enough for Val then it’s good enough for me….
I made 13 smallish misshapen pancakes because I love bad omens…Then I hid the crumbly and broken up ones at the bottom of the tupperware for the image below.
Served this up (TO MYSELF) with 2 slices of ham and frozen mixed berries and portioned out the rest for the next couple lunches.
This week was not a resounding success. You would think that since I’m only cooking enough food for 4.5 days this week I would find peace in my mind, body and soul and just go stand in line for some chicken over rice and that white sauce just like the other boys and girls. But no….Ever one for self sabotage and and needless intrigue, just as I was beginning to feel confident enough to attempt to lay claim to the Chum Method, I met the final boss. Not to be dramatic… but it’s called Poached Eggs. Be warned that these are the things we do to go that extra mile for protein.
I attempted this lovely recipe from Budget Bytes for a simple potato curry…..with poached eggs. It really is a beautiful, inspiring, and succinct recipe. So inspiring that it inspired me to think I can poach eggs. (Don’t talk to me about vinegar or whirlpool or ramekin hacks… I accepted my limits… no gimmicks please….). Curry I can do, especially with the added handicap of using curry paste instead of the real dealio….But let me not, how you say… count me chickens before they hatch…
Everything started off just peachy…diced 3 russet potatoes and boiled in salted water.
Meanwhile, onions, garlic, ginger sauteed over med-low heat. Added some paprika and plenty of chili powder and a nice glob of curry paste.
Added in leftover frozen veggies from last week (zucchini and eggplant) and the cooked potato. Tossed and turned a tad before putting in a can of tomato sauce. More paprika and chili powder for the hell of it.
It was pretty watery at this point so I let it cook a little bit so the potato could soak up some of the liquid and make it less like a stew…which worked! To my great surprise. By the way, I was already sweating at this point. I believe you call this…a sixth sense. I’m Cassandra but I’m also the idiots of Troy… I should have listened to my own self and quit while I was ahead……
Anyways, I “folded in” some spinach. I know this is baking lingo but I’m already very distressed….
But AS YOU CAN SEE in the bottom right picture… this is a decent curry at this moment in time! Perhaps not by any authentic standards but it’s out here! It’s hot and I’m proud to serve it! Dare I say!
The recipe over at Budget Bytes said to make several small wells to house the leetle eggs…how quaint and adorable…Too bad my pot was filled to the brim. I removed most of the potato curry and put it in tupperware and left some inside to ~OSTENSIBLY~ poach the eggs. Some girl came into the kitchen and told me it smelled really good in there but I think she really just sensed that I was losing control of the situation and needed a pat on the back. She washed her knife in the sink and fled the scene. I’m projecting!
I never claimed to be an engineer or even a decent gravedigger. The wells were not to be. I just cracked the raw eggs on top of the curry. At this point I knew that no good would come of this. I lost all confidence. As a preemptive measure I hardboiled half the eggs that I was going to cook because I could smell impending disaster. I’ll go down in the zombie apocalypse hardboiling eggs while sweating and crying.
Ten minutes simmering with the lid on…nada. The yolk is just sitting there without a care in the world and the whites are still translucent. Need I add that it’s 10:15pm and that festive halloween kitkat I had 7 hours ago is just a passing whisper in my large intestine.
In a pique of rage I poke at the raw eggs with a fork. It makes some lovely abstract designs as you can see on the bottom right. You can ALSO see that the eggs are indeed cooking, but my judgement was clouded. I was impaired… it was the worst of times… I was hangry and anxious and muttering to myself…..something wicked this way comes…. You’d think I’d be used to this state of affairs (eg….”hangry anxiety”) but it’s simply not so…
I stop fiddling with the eggs and put the lid back on. It occurs to me that the bottom might be burning. Spoiler alert: it is. It’s black at the bottom and smoke puffs into my face. I enter full insanity mode. I feel truly insane. May I confess? My biggest fear is to be the one to set off the fire alarm that evacuates the whole building. I…a self-respecting elderly spinster… am not to join the ranks of these DUNCES (DUNCI?????) who burn popcorn in the microwave and stick forks in power outlets and the like!!! Someday!!! But not today Satan!!!!
I DASH to take the pot off the heat and SPRINT to fan the smoke out of the window into the city below…on its little cat feet…I send a Just Try Me look at the smoke alarm. Not today, Beelzebub, Lucifer, Mammon, Leviathan, and friends….
Ever the cheapskate, I can’t bear to waste those 5 eggs (there’s 4 in the picture but trust me…I count my eggs before they hatch) and that curry (that is, what isn’t already burnt). It’s a huge mess but I salvage the salvageable and just kind of…. pretend I’m scrambling eggs and cook it so at least the eggs are “edible” if not intact and beautiful like in my shakshuka dreams….as I’m stirring the eggs around in the curry I swear I can feel my eyebrows sliding off into pot from overextertion. I feel sorry for the normal curry I’ve already tupperwared that it has to be associated with this despicable chum. But I’m also glad it escaped a sad fate.
I didn’t document this part. I don’t want that chum to ever see the light of day. Tasted alright though. But even by my standards the semiscrambled eggs inside made it look a little bit too much like vomit and y’all KNOW that’s saying something. Maybe sometime between writing and publishing this I’ll try to salvage a pic from the decimation.
Was it really that bad? No. It did take me down a peg though…. I had to consider for a moment getting off my high horse….Also, I put my poor dutch oven through a real beating. My fingers are pruney from trying to scrub away the evidence. But I think what we learned today is what happens when we confront the limits of our ability and choose to descend into madness as a result…If the Powers that Be ever see to it that I finally chill out an get a 9-5 job and disposable income, then maybe I’ll finally learn how to poach eggs. That’s my bargain. In conclusion, to quote the incomparable Too $hort: these are the tales…the freaky tales…these are the tales that I tell so well….
NEXT TIME ON THIS HOG’S BLOG: join me at 7am as I prep pancakes for lunch and make a full ego recovery from the scarring events of this day