Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Kitchen Re-Stocked!

I got Spicy Pickles today. It was delicious. It is definitely my favorite American chain sandwich place. However, if you're in California, try Lee's Sandwiches. Or if you're in Denver, go down to Federal Blvd and Mississippi and try Ba Le Sandwiches.

Vietnamese sandwiches are the best! Hands down. They are simple, delicious, and uber inexpensive. Mario Batali made a Vietnamese style sandwich on Iron Chef once. It looked delicious.

Very few of Vietnamese food can be made so readily. Most takes days to prepare and make. That's why I don't make them often though I love them so much: wet rolls, egg rolls, phở, etc.

Shopping Spree today!! It's not clothes. It's groceries! I'm so excited. Restocking the kitchen for the first time in a few months. I got curry roux for my spontaneous curry cravings. Furikake for rice balls. Rice vinegar. 20lbs worth of rice. Olive oil, sauces such as hoisin, fish, and soy.

Oh, so many possibilities!!! I am so giddy.

For dinner was stir fry with rice. I haven't had stir fry in so long. Oh yes, I also bought egg noodles. But it's rice tonight. Awesome, delicious, yummy rice.

It's a quick stir fry with baby bok choy, fried tofu, onions, and ginger with hoisin sauce and a little bit of fish sauce. Salt and pepper, of course.

I am fairly satisfied with my kitchen now. So, as always, Happy Cooking!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Budget Cooking 101: Meatloaf! (recipe)

As I have stated before, funds are limited. We barely have enough money for rent. So, money for food is next to non-existent. For the first time in my life, there is absolutely no rice in the house, not even those weird rice they sell at American market. If I have rice, dinner would be very easy. Rice and some sort of vegetable stir fry. See? Yummy meal. Left over rice plus left over meal equal fried rice. See? Equally yummy meal. Without rice though, I'm at lost of what to do. I have two chayote that is going bad because the only thing I know how to make with them is with rice.

With my current situation, I'm glad that it was my mom that taught me how to cook.
That means our cupboards aren't that bare, and I can whip a meal with very little. Again, I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing for me as cook.

I've been thinking all day trying to come up with dinner meal plan, as dinner time comes along, I opened the fridge, for the fifth time today, to see what's inside. So, in my fridge are the following: half a pound of ground beef, some celery, some carrots, one slice of bread, 3/4 of an onion, garlic, and ginger.

I came up with two things to make: sloppy joes, but no buns, and meatloaf. So, meatloaf it was.

The way I learned how to cook was through my mom. She would sit and instruct me what to do and I would do it. The first meal i cooked was cabbage and carrot stir fry with pork. Then, I made muffin mixes from boxes. Then, I would scour the cooking books for things to make, but most of the time, my house, being asian, wouldn't have a lot of the ingredients, so I would always have to make do. So, when I cook, I rarely follow recipes too closely. As I grow older, I tend to be more and more creative and instinctive. I would replace things and come up with new ways to make certain things.

So, when ingredients are fewer and fewer. I just need to be more creative. Thus, with this meatloaf. It would be a meatloaf like no other. After just going through the fridge just pulling out what's left of all the ingredients, this is what I came up with. Remember, measurements aren't exact. Just, you know, do what "feels" right.

Budget Meatloaf Number 2

A few stalks of celery
half an onion
four cloves of garlic
half a pound of ground beef
1 tbs baking powder
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp molasses
salt and pepper
1 1/2 tbs butter

-preheat oven to 375 degrees
-mince the onion and garlic in a food processor
-saute the onion and garlic with butter for a couple minutes
-chopped up the celery - i like to add a lot of the leafy part
-mix in well the ground beef, baking powder, bread crumbs into with the celery
-add the rest of the ingredients
-grease baking pan
-shape mixture into loaf - i made a bed of chopped celery sticks and onion rings to add a little something and i greased the pan with sesame oil
- bake for 35-40 mins

I think this meal wasn't too bad. For a side dish I blanched some carrots, saute up some garlic in oil and add about a couple of tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese and a pinch of key lime peel, and mixed them together.

It was pretty good.

As always, Happy Eating!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Curry Cups!

With my current situation, unemployed and without any funds, cooking has been a challenge. I am torn excitement and frustration. With limited ingredients, I am forced to be more creative with the things I make. Also, with limited ingredients, I get frustrated because I can't just go in a make something quick.

I am always running out of meat and veggies. My cupboards are getting more and more roomy. Everything I make, I have to make it from scratch. It's getting harder and harder to come up with meals idea let alone quick meals ideas. I'm always running out or completely out of something. The only thing that seems to be consistent flour and water. Even then, the flour is getting low.

Anyway, one gloomy Sunday morning, I stood in front of the fridge staring, again. A care-package came in from Michael's mom. In it were some peanut butter, bean soup bags, and a few instant curry package. I wanted curry -yes, even for breakfast...although it was already past noon. However, there were nothing to eat with the curry. I was a little sad and annoyed, again. Then, Michael had the idea of making a curry-bread with the pre-made Pillsbury dough I still had in my fridge.

*DING* While I was staring at the dough and the muffin tray, which just happened to be there - My kitchen seriously needs cleaning. An idea popped into my head. This is what came out of it.

That's right. Curry Cups. I cut out the dough. Pressed it into the muffin cups and then pour the curry into it and baked it. It turned out pretty delicious. It's pretty cute. I think when my situation turns better and I can have company over for dinner. I will make these again. They make great little appetizer. What do you think?