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I’m Back (Again)!

Weeellll, HELLO!

I haven’t posted in quite. some. time. Sorry ’bout that. A lot has happened since my last post: dating woes, finding full-time work, moving across town and then having to move back to the other part of town within a year, more dating woes, being swamped by life in general, quitting full-time job because it was terrible, hoping to find a new FT job right away but HAHA life’s never been that easy, and… y’know, those sorts of craptastic hurdles to overcome.

But anyway, I think that I’m back for real this time. Ready to share some culinary experiments that I documented (but didn’t have energy to share via blog) and then maybe, just maybe, consistently update on a regular basis. We’ll, uh, see how that goes.

Stay tuned…!

Easter/Springtime Stuff – Dyed Deviled Eggs, Flower-Shaped Mini Quiches, and So On…

Easter Sunday went by in a flash, as I spent most of the day in the kitchen, testing cutesy recipes like dyed deviled eggs, flower-shaped mini quiches, etc.

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18April2017 008The dyed deviled eggs looked great! I wasn’t particularly fond of the texture of the eggs, since they had been dyed in a vinegar-water-dye mixture, and as one could expect, the vinegar had a noticeable effect. Overall, still definitely a worthwhile idea to try on occasion!

The flower-shaped quiches were not as easy as I had anticipated. One reason being that I accidentally bought the rolled pastry with perforated strips, rather than the full-sheet type. Whoops. After smooshing everything together and meticulously cutting out one flower-shaped piece at a time, I then set each piece in an oiled mini muffin pan. In retrospect, I should’ve turned the pan over and placed each flower piece over the cups, rather than dropping them into the cups and fighting to hold the shape. Mental note for next time…

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By the end of the day, I was exhausted, my feet were aching, and I just wanted to be READY to eat dinner. I tossed some sliced up sausage in a pan, popped a boxed mixture of Potatoes Au Gratin in the oven, and soon enough, I was finally ready to relax. Whew!

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The next day, I tossed some leftovers together for lunch, took another flower-shaped cutter to the cheese that I had on hand, put a dollop of chicken salad over some salad greens, and there it was, another plateful of (mostly) aesthetically pleasing noms!

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Sources:

Dyed Deviled Eggs – http://www.foodjimoto.com/2011/04/easter-eggs.html

Flower-Shaped Quiche – (mentioned here) http://kitchenfunwithmy3sons.com/2012/06/egg-spect-best-brunch-with-egglands.html/ / (basic recipe) http://www.food.com/recipe/mini-quiche-105651

Flower-Shaped Cutters – I found mine at a local kitchen supply shop. They could also be purchased through EBay or Amazon.com!

What I Did When I Wasn’t Blogging

Alrighty, here’s a blast from the (not-too-distant) past! Check out this series of photos–kitchen experiments that I documented while I was on hiatus from the blogosphere…

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A pound of butter, to be used in a vintage pound cake recipe. (The cake turned out DENSE, just as I had anticipated).

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Using day-old flatbread that I got for free, plus a few odds and ends (cream cheese, seasoning, chopped veggies), I made some delicious ham sammiches.

 

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Speaking of chopped veggies… I made “chop” for my dear little cockatiel. At first, he was much more interested in the flatbread nearby, but after some extra encouragement, he gave the chop a try…

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Om nom nom! ^_^

 

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Photos of homemade cheese sauce…

 

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Sweet potato casserole… that I accidentally dumped salt into. ::Grimaces:: Added honey (if I recall correctly) to offset the saltiness a bit. Couldn’t quite get adjusted to the flavor, but dammit, I finished it all! :-p

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Ah yes, one of my favorites… When I was working evening shifts at a homeless shelter, I would often drop by Wawa on the way to catch my bus home. My usual indulgence was the buffalo chicken focaccia ‘pizza’ that they sold at the time. It was terrible (50% bread, nasty globs of cream cheese, no actual bits of blue cheese to be detected), but it was ALSO addictive. So, I bought it… more often than I’d like to admit.

After they stopped selling that monstrosity, I thought about concocting my own variation–one that would be less of a shit show and more of a legit “Buffalo chicken / blue cheese” combo.

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After carving out a large boule (that I got for free–yay, free bread!), I slathered it with oil, dumped some hot sauce all over it, and then started adding the rest of the ingredients…

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Awww, yeah! In the oven it went.

 

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YUM!

 

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This photo shows the remnants of a green bean casserole that I prepared for a “Friendsgiving”. Almost ruined the recipe by accidentally adding condensed milk instead of evaporated milk. Threw in mayo, soy sauce, and a few other things that I can’t even remember. The final result was a rich, complex casserole that significantly strayed from the bland traditional preparation. All in all… success!

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This past December, I attempted to make a gingerbread house (from scratch!) for the first time ever in my life.

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I decided to try designing a Philly rowhouse, rather than a more ‘traditional’ cottage or farmhouse. Drew some very rough ideas…

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Rolled out the dough to a thickness that I deemed acceptable, and laid the templates on top of each designated slab.

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Sometime during the holidays, I made bread pudding out of panettone.

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Plus, homemade cranberry ginger ale!

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There were many struggles to assemble the rowhouse, but I did eventually get it together (the house, and also the fragments of my sanity)…

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Yeahhhh, those cracks on the side? Totally intentional. ::Dodgy eyes::

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A view of the other side…

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The ‘rear patio’ side. First side that I had attempted, and, heh, it shows. :-p

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I said “Fuck it!” to the idea of placing a roof, and instead, took delight in the idea of using the house to store seasonal treats.

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(Here’s a closer look at the front-facing facade. Hard to tell, but the cookies ‘n’ cream bit up there has the house number carved into it. The thing below it is the mailbox, coated in black cake gel).

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With the arrival of January, I found it cathartic to destroy the house, and nibble away at anything that had not already gotten completely stale.

 

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In February, I ventured into the realm of lunch box order preparation. There was a seasonal theme, of course–Valentine’s Day!

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This is a sample box that I prepared.

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Deceptively plain-looking box…

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And, here is one of the orders that I filled!

It was stressful, but fun. Thinking about doing spring-themed box lunches soon!

 

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After being repeatedly disappointed by bland store-bought tiramisu, I decided it was time to make my own.

There was much vigorous stirring and folding of ingredients, but ha!, I made my own tiramisu, and it was fuckin’ delicious.

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Will be making it again, for sure!

 

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In an attempt to have some semblance of portion control while still having fun mixing and matching ingredients, I started making simple lunches for myself. This one involved tri-color pasta, red grapes, and seasoned (cooked) broccoli, with a banana on the side. Tasty! Mostly healthy! Success!

 

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My most recent ‘experiment’ involved the concept of “stained glass” or “broken glass” jello. I’ve prepared this recipe in the past, but this time, wanted to veer away from the usual cubed cuts. My goal was to create something that resembled an actual stained glass panel, with copious light (both natural and artificial) being able to shine through the clear, colorful flavored Jell-o pieces.

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For the condensed milk and gelatin mixture, I tried to mix several food dyes to create something more akin to “lead came”. Couldn’t quite get the right color, but at least it differed from the original color significantly.

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This batch wasn’t quite what I had intended, but I did achieve the main idea. There was just too much “lead came” and not enough “decorative glass pieces”, so for the next batch, I’ll try something a little bit different…


Phew…! Okay, hope that y’all enjoyed the update! As mentioned in the previous post, I will try to add new content on a semi-regular basis. 🙂

Holiday Hangover

The holidays went by in a blur, as usual. I’ll post photos of my kitchen mishaps and successes for your amusement.

CHRISTMAS EVE
The cart of ingredients, ready to go.
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Green bean casserole (recipe: http://www.campbellskitchen.com/recipes/classic-green-bean-casserole-24099)
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Buffalo wings flavored mac ‘n’ cheese that I found at the store, after deciding that I was too lazy to prepare regular mac ‘n’ cheese myself.
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Potatoes au gratin with bacon bits.
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Stuffing, of course.
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Aaaand, kielbasa sausage!
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Should also mention that I attempted to prepare homemade eggnog for the first time in my life (recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/eggnog-recipe2.html). It was a… very messy process. HOWEVER, it was successful, despite the fact that I was buzzed on other boozy drinks and forgot to take photos.

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NEW YEAR’S EVE
Before heading out for festivities in the city, I prepared some kielbasa (of course) with a mug of hot chocolate and a glass of zinfandel wine.
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HANGOVER BRUNCH
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Co-hosted a very laid back brunch a few days after the new year’s festivities. I used slices of panettone with the usual ‘French toast’ mixture (eggs, whole milk, cinnamon), and the final result was pretty damn tasty.
Very fluffy, not too egg-y, and the tiny bits of fruits and nuts added a pleasant texture.
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Buon appetito!

I’m back!

Well, the blogging drifted off track for quite a while, but ’tis the season for gluttonous and culinary delights, so I’ll be adding some updates in upcoming days.

Since my last post in July, I snapped photos while making fresh lemonade…

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Ah, summer… Seems so far away now.

For Thanksgiving, I attended a friend’s vegan potluck brunch. Vegan recipes are quite the challenge (for me), so I was happy with the final result of the vegan double-layer sweet potato (instead of pumpkin) cheesecake (recipe found here: http://www.vegkitchen.com/recipes/special-occasions-and-entertaining/double-layer-pumpkin-cheesecake/)…

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In addition to the cheesecake, I tried a butternut squash lasagna recipe, which was… Eh. I’ll stick with run-of-the-mill meat lasagna or creamy vegetable lasagna from now on.

The day after Thanksgiving, I was craving the typical comfort food goodness of mac ‘n’ cheese, stuffing with chicken broth and homemade mushroom gravy (recipe found here: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Mushroom-Gravy-12013), potatoes au gratin, and kielbasa (wasn’t in the mood for poultry). Since I was feeling especially lazy, I bought a bunch of pre-made, boxed stuff.

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Yeah… Definitely a “once in a blue moon” type of meal, but completely worth the faint pang of guilt.

Alright, that should do it for now. Look out for some holiday recipes to be posted soon!

4th of July

This past weekend had its ups and downs, most of which involved the traditional Independence Day Fs: fireworks, food, and festivities!

I decided to throw a casual 4th of July party because… Well, I don’t need an excuse.

Here’s the “menu” that I threw together:

-Ultra-smashed Cheeseburgers – source: Serious Eats
-Spiral-cut Hot Dogs
-Chili-ghetti – source: Taste of Home
-Pepperoni Pizza Pitas
-Warm Lemony Olive Potato Salad – source: Keepin’ It Kind
-“All-American” Banana Split – source: The Recipe Link

Due to time constraints, the pizza pita idea was pushed aside (to be consumed eventually). The Ultra-smashed Cheeseburgers, albeit fairly easy to prepare, were also pushed aside in favor of the typical fat and flavorful fresh-off-the-grill variety. Additionally, the spiral-cut hot dogs were left intact. Amongst those decisions, a simple menu of grilled party grub emerged. My friend/housemate added some sliced pineapple to the grill, and all seemed well.

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Introduction

(Previously called “Poor–But Not Hungry!” blog)

This blog is my way of publishing posts about my culinary experiments, without annoying my captive audience on Facebook. In addition to trying new recipes/ideas/preparations, I also intend to use this blog space to share information about local hunger relief organizations/efforts/events, and perhaps the occasional commentary not quite related to food.

I have a fairly direct and informative writing style, and try not to derail my posts with psychobabble or needless information. The acronym to keep in mind is KISS (“Keep It Simple, Silly”).

Aaaand here we go!