Archive for the ‘Making Food’ Category

Bacon Jam!

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

I’m not a huge fan of bacon — but I like it in small quantities and everyone I know LOVES bacon. So why not?

I loosely followed this recipe: Not Quite Nigella’s Bacon Jam

What I actually cooked was probably closer to this:

  • 1 lb center cut bacon
  • 1/4c maple syrup
  • 1/4c cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water (added in 1/4c increments)
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 whole brown onion, diced
  • 1/2 grated nutmeg (half the nutmeg, grated)
  • a couple spoonfulls of brown sugar
  • a large dash of black pepper
  • a couple large dashes of tapatio
  • some amount of: cinnamon, a tiny bit of salt, ancho chili powder, chili powder

…so I apparently started writing this as a draft in March. Posting it now.


I should really blog more. :/

Waffle Science and Waffle Dog

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

A few days ago, I had planned on making waffles for dinner. All set, I plugged in the waffle iron… and kaput. In a quest for a new waffle iron, a coworker suggested the Williams Sonoma one, saying he loved his. On an impulse, I drove over and got myself a shiny new All-Clad $200 Belgian Waffle Iron (the 4 square one). Epic self-control fail.

So now I’m doing waffle science. I must determine the following: a. best batter for waffles b. what else I can make in a waffle iron c. if it’s worth $200 d. if I really want a Belgian waffle iron versus a ‘normal‘ waffle iron.

To date, I’ve made the Belgian Waffle recipe that comes in the little WS booklet, and another — Waffles of Insane Greatness. The latter wins… by a lot, surprisingly.


Waffles of Insane Greatness
originally adapted from Aretha Frankensteins, then adapted from the link above


* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup cornstarch — I had none, so I used 1/2 cup rice flour. How asian!
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 2 cups buttermilk
* 2/3 cup vegetable oil
* 2 eggs
* 3 teaspoons sugar
* 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* Butter and syrup, for serving


In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; mix well. Add the milk, vegetable oil, egg, sugar and vanilla and mix well. Let the batter sit for 30 minutes, if you have the time.

With my waffle maker, I cook them for 4 minutes at heat setting ’3.’

Yay waffles! They tasted great, crunchy on the outside, light and chewy on the inside. They also made great dog hats.

Brown Velvet Cheesecake

Monday, September 13th, 2010

I tried to do science…

Cake science!

Goal: Layer cake of red velvet and cheesecake. Not frosted together, but actually one cake.

Hypothesis: Bake red velvet layer, then dump cheesecake batter over it and rebake.

Results: Fail. Cheesecake is tasty, bottom cake layer tastes a little odd (I guess that’s what happens when you bake red velvet for 90 minutes!)

Follow up: Some theories — Partially bake red velvet, then add on the cheesecake layer. Layer the batters, see what happens.


Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Lunch today — giant sandwich (didn’t quite fit in my mouth) of home grown tomatoes, basil, sprouts and store-bought bread, cilantro pesto and mozzarella. Yum! A little olive oil on the bread (or maybe aioli?) would have been ideal though.

I’m so excited that my tomatoes are finally ripening!

Beet Cupcakes & Frosting

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Beet Cupcakes + Beet Frosting. (pilfered from here)

1.5 cups grated beets
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1 pinch cinnamon powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chopped toasted nuts (walnuts, cashews)

Beat eggs till frothy and add sugar. Beat well, till the batter is thick. Add oil and the extract. Then add the sifted flour+baking powder+salt+cinnamon powder. Mix till just incorporated. Fold in the grated beets and chopped nuts. Bake for 35 mins at 180 C.

…I mostly followed the recipe. I did a little less sugar, no nuts and added pinches of cinnamon, nutmeg & allspice. Think carrot cake, but with beets. For the frosting, I did a standard cream cheese frosting (creamcheese + lots of confectioner’s sugar) and added beet juice for coloring.

It tasted like any other root veggie-cake (carrot cake, parsnip cake etc). Next time I’m going to try using canned beets (much easier) or slow roasting them in the oven first (until they caramelize and develop that rich caramelized beet flavor). I will also try to take a picture before I’m so tired that everything is blurry.

Padron Peppers

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

This is my dog, Moogle. He’s an almost two year old Maltese. He loves food. Possibly more than I do. This picture was taken with the help of some padron peppers (more on those later).

Unlike most dogs, he doesn’t seem to have an aversion to spicy food. He loves curry paste and seems to enjoy scrounging around for chili pepper bits on the floor. However, he’s not a big fan of basil or arugula, but he’ll still sit, beg and chew on whatever you give him — he’s a good sport. He’ll just spit the leaves out when you’re not looking.

In other news, here are some cherry tomatoes from my plants — the orange ones turned out much sweeter than the red ones, though the red ones aren’t bad by any measure. I’m going to try saving seeds from the orange ones, though I suspect everything in my garden is cross pollinated anyway. The flower is from a small flowering bush of some sort I adopted from work.  It’s produced some pretty flowers, but they’ve been full of bugs and spiders (though of course I realized this AFTER picking them and bringing them inside).

And one of the two pounds of padron peppers I purchased from the Ladybug truck. I’ve been eating these quickly fried in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. So tasty.  I’m going to try to save some of these seeds too.

Now I just have to figure out what to make with the coriander berries I bought…

Frozen Yogurt

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

I made* frozen yogurt! It was tasty!

2 cups yogurt (European Strauss Family Creamery, low fat) + 1/4c sugar. Mix together, toss into ice cream maker (Kitchenaid stand mixer attachment in my case) and let it do it’s thing for 15 minutes. Eat with cacao nibs and sliced fruit.

I like my yogurt tart, so I didn’t add much sugar. I’m sure this varies from person to person, but I suspect most people would like more sugar than I included.

Next up is trying out different kinds of yogurt. Most of the recipes I’ve seen have involved Greek yogurt. I just used what I happened to have in the fridge.

*More like I froze the yogurt. I haven’t been courageous enough to make my own yogurt from scratch yet.

Eggplant, Chawan Mushi, Miso Soup

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Since the main purpose of this blog is for my own amusement… I figured I should document the things I cook that I’d like to make again. Most of last night’s meal falls into that category.

Eggplant and beef in sauce – Modified the recipe here in an attempt to make something that tastes like those sauces you get out of packets, but from scratch. Success! I used two Chinese eggplant and 1lb of beef. Next time I’d do less beef or more eggplant.

Chawan Mushi – Recipe from here. I’ve really liked this dish since I was a little kid and I’ve finally made it! Mine had some ugly bubbles at the top, but I’m using my ricecooker as a steamer, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a little hotter than it should be.

Miso soup – I did eight cups of water to one 10g packet of dashi. Then 1 tbsp of miso to each cup of dashi. In the future, needs more dashi. Miso to liquid ratio was fine.

Banana Chocolate Springrolls

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Har! I felt like drawing, so I thought I’d illustrate (more as a note to myself than anything) how to roll spring rolls… Since I’ve been doing it a lot lately, first making lumpia, and last night making banana-chocolate spring rolls.

1. Flip wrapper diagonally, glop on ~2 tablespoons of filling or in this case, half (vertically) of half (horizontally) a banana

2. Optional. Add chocolate! Tiny sprinkle of nutmeg too. Possibly sugar if your banana is lame. I made another roll with silken tofu + chocolate and that one definitely needed its sugar.

3. Fold the bottom up, this should pretty much cover up all the filling.

4. Fold the sides in, the filling should be completely covered up now!

5. Roll the filling up then seal it shut with a little water.

6. Fry! I use an electric stove, and I find myself cranking it up to medium-high.

7. Nom. <3

I’ve got a mind to try some other combination — mango rolls also sound promising. Maybe some poached (and drained) pear?

Using Tofu… in Chocolate Mousse

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

After throwing away a pack of expired tofu I swore I’d figure out how to cook the stuff… And have it be edible.  I toyed with making tofu scrambles in college, but they always turned out bland, mushy and not very interesting.  Since then, I never quite figured out how to cook tofu.

My Tofu Cooking Failures:

  1. I don’t like firm tofu and silken tofu turns to mush easily
  2. Tofu is pretty bland
  3. Comes in big packages and I can’t eat that much bland tofu at once
  4. Stir-frys are lame (plus they result in tofu-mush)

My remedy for my tofu ineptitude was to ask one of my vegetarian coworkers. I figure that since he eats a lot of tofu, he must know how to cook it.  And ta-da… Since then, I’ve made three things with tofu.

  1. Ma po tofu. I cheated on this one. I used a sauce packet and added silken tofu, ground beef and chopped onions, garlic and chili oil.  Tasty!
  2. Shirataki noodles, tofu & veggies in a chili beef broth.  Homemade beef broth, chili oil, shirataki noodles and silken tofu boiling together in a pot for an hour so that beef-y taste seeps into the noodles and tofu. The veggies go in last minute so they don’t end up as mushy stewed lumps.
  3. Chocolate mousse. Equal parts by weight of silken tofu and melted chocolate blended and cooled in the fridge. It was very dense and chocolatey. Tasty with bananas! I’m going to try to integrate that into a cake or with other fruit.

I have one package of silken tofu left and one package of ‘multi-purpose’ tofu. I’m thinking of a cheesecake for the silken tofu and an eggplant-tofu dish with ‘fragrant sauce’ for the regular tofu.