a few foodsss made by me!

I did mention yesterday that I enjoy cooking sometimes also.  Usually, what I make is dependent on a craving, many times it’s something on TV or the web that I saw that has inspired me to try to make it myself, and often times, I ask SW what he wants to eat 🙂

Here are a few of the dishes I’ve made:

I didn’t take a picture of the first time I made my five minute steak, but since then have made it several times and here it is shown with home made creamed corn and creamed spinach.  Ribeye for him on the left, filet for me on the right.

As well as an edible, not overly salted Shaking Beef and Garlic Noodle. (Redemption!)
SW got me Thomas Keller’s ad hoc at home cookbook, meant to contain recipes for simple home cooked meals.  I decided to attempt to make Braised Beef Short Ribs, since SW loves short ribs.  To make this dish, I wanted to have the proper tools and ingredients, so I went out and bought a dutch oven (yes, I’m a dork and saying this still makes me giggle), everything listed in the recipe such as cheesecloth, wine, and a bunch of veggies, etc.  For a “simple” meal, it sure took a lot of work, especially when the recipe called for making the meat and then letting it sit overnight in the fridge.  Then to be followed by more steps to complete the dish the next day.  I can *definitely* see why Thomas Keller gets paid the big bucks if this sort of dish is considered an easy one!

I don’t recall where I got my inspiration to make a Shanghainese meal one day, but I’ve always had this funny notion that if I decide to cook something, it has to be somewhat of a complete meal–entree and at least one side.

So I thought one day, I’m going to try and make:
Lion’s Head meatballs
Shanghai Stir-fried noodles
Dry Fried Spicy Green Beans

I had never made meatballs ever, and when I haven’t made something before, I always try to follow the recipe exactly–measure everything and have all of the ingredients as the recipe calls for.  After mixing everything together for the meatballs, I realized the mixture was WAY too mushy and wet.  But I thought I might as well try to continue on and coat them with flour as the recipe says to do (maybe it would all work out in the end?).  I didn’t realize what I was getting myself into and that I didn’t have the proper tools to fry mushy meatballs in a big pot of oil.  What I was missing was a metal slotted spoon.  You can just imagine what a mess it was..flour all over the place and mushy meatballs losing shape on the counter. I managed to get 2 or 3 into the pot, and when they started disintegrating before my eyes, I had to throw in the towel.

Luckily the Shanghai noodles and green beans came out yummy, but I was still really disappointed in myself that it was such a debacle!  Not to mention, I still had a huge bowl of this mushy meat mixture!

I decided to not let the lion head get the best of me, and the next day, I tried again.  This time, extracting a lot of the chicken stock out so it wouldn’t be too wet to form the meatballs.  The photo to the right is of it while it was still cooking.  It came out a bit soupier then it was supposed to, and I love soup so this was okay with me, but in the end it was still good!

It probably isn’t a surprise that I enjoy watching cooking shows.  I caught the previous season of MasterChef, the competition show where amateur cooks are trying to win a the Masterchef title and prize money.  One episode featured a sushi challenge, where they had to make nigiri, california roll, and tempura.  I nonchalantly stated that was such an easy challenge.  SW didn’t believe me, so I said I would show him.  And this is what resulted…

grocery shopping at Nijiya

california roll topped with masago
jalapeno hamachi w/ponzu sauce
                                       One Unagi Handroll for SW
 It really was just assembling everything together, but it was fun to re-create what the sushi chefs do in restaurants..almost like an art project, but with food.
**I would like to edit this.  I realized afterwards that my statement above was not giving enough credit to sushi chefs and sushi itself.  It definitely is not just assembling and takes creativity and skill**
 I made another ‘sushi dinner’ after that first one with similar dishes, but changed it up by adding an ankimo (monkfish liver aka ‘foie gras of the sea’) and a salmon ikura don.
Anyhow..Thanks for reading, so long for now..

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