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Backlog: Beef, beans, and bacon in buns – 2003.12.10

Whoops, hadn’t been writing. Have, however, faithfully adhered to
constraints of CookOrDie. Last Wednesday, threw together quickie lunch
of ground beef, pork and beans, and bacon (real bacon!) in hamburger
buns. Decent meal – reminded me a bit of some meal I’d eaten before
but forgotten.

Preparation was fairly simple.

– Attempted to cook bacon.
– Became disturbed as bacon does not brown after a few minutes of cooking.
– Suspected that constant flipping to check doneness did not contribute to quick cooking of bacon.
– Consoled self by browning 1/8 kg. of ground beef in same pan.
– Opened can of pork and beans impulsively bought day before and dumped contents in aforementioned pan.
– Stirred for a few minutes and poured results into hastily cleaned plastic container.
– Stuffed extra hamburger buns into storage bags and into ref.
– Grabbed remaining hamburger buns and container with meat and beans mixture and headed off to school.

Backlog: Mashed potatoes, beef, and bacon bits – 2003.12.11

Another quickie meal as had class in less than 30 minutes.

– Grab large pink potatoes from supermarket, as convenience justifies expense.
– Also buy 1/8 kg. ground beef.
– Ensure that salt, pepper, and bacon bits containers were firmly closed. Throw them into school bag for very quick lunch in school.
– Hastily wash large plastic container in school.
– Pop washed, pricked, pink potato into container and microwave for 5 minutes.
– Flip pink potato.
– Pack ground beef into small plastic container and place it into microwave along with flipped potato.
– Microwave potato and beef for 2 minutes.
– Pour some bacon bits onto plastic lid. Microwave for 20 seconds to make bacon bits crunchy.
– Pick up ground beef with fork, as fat had rendered in the plastic container. Place ground beef in large container with well-cooked potato.
– Dump bacon bits into large container.
– Tear potato apart with fork and spoon, effectively mashing potato with beef and bacon bits. Sprinkle with lots of pepper and mix thoroughly.
– Look at the clock and start panicking.

Backlog: Potatoes, beef, bacon – real this time – and cheese – 2003.12.12

- Microwave second pink potato for 5 minutes.
– Cook half of second slice of bacon. (Still unable to figure out how to get nice, crispy bacon, and am about to give up and always chuck it into the microwave.)
– Brown ground beef. Add plenty of salt and pepper. (This is starting to sound very familiar.)
– Flip potato and microwave for another 2 minutes.
– Mash potato, beef, and bacon together.
– Add diced cheese to amalgam and mix thoroughly.
– Pop into microwave and set for a few minutes under “Grill” in attempt to brown potato mixture nicely..

Rice

Parents very supportive of CookOrDie project. Suspect they find it
funny as youngest daughter makes far-out attempts to become
“independent girl” while still remaining v. close to parents. To wit:
have told them about double-entry accounting (but have been slipping
these days due to rush-rush CookOrDie grocery shopping), CookOrDie
project, and even contemplated SewOrDie project as cannot easily find
clothes to wear – teacher clothes somewhat boring, but most clothes my
size too casual. (That said, find The Black Shop a nice place to
window shop.)

As result of parental support, have now acquired full complement of
pots, pans, and knives. Parents have thankfully kept space and cooking
limitations of CookOrDie project in mind – no huge woks or
for-several-thousand-people pans.

Parents unbelievably keen on youngest daughter learning how to cook.
Parents enlisted help of company cook in teaching how to make rice,
although as had been very busy this weekend, had not actually had
time. However, performed rice experiment earlier with mom with great
success.

Cooked 1/2 cup rice traditional way and 1/2 cup rice microwave way.
Did not actually know correct microwave procedure, so guessed.
Microwave finished first, but had problems with boiling over – suspect
must use deeper casserole. Traditional way documented on rice package
resulted in good rice after 20 minutes, although also resulted in
crunchy part which most Filipinos like but personally am not
particularly fond of.

Also, prepared very first cup of tsokolate. May need strainer, but is
v. nice – although a bit rich. Perhaps water instead of milk is
advisable.

Backlog: Fish – 2003.12.15

- Find small sections of fish. I haven’t gotten around to eating fish bellies yet, although many people swear by them. I prefer the part
that browns and gets all salty when you cook it.

– Put fish into frying pan with a bit of oil.

– Wait.

This CookOrDie episode was hard because I couldn’t see what I was
cooking! It was early morning, so I hadn’t put my contacts on yet, and
I used chopsticks (yes, while cooking fish – darn difficult to hang on
to the pieces sometimes) to test if the fish felt crunchy. I also
peeked every so often to see if it was browning properly. The
sputtering oil from the fish made me loath to look closer, though.

Still, I think it was worth it. I’m particularly fond of daing na
bangus (milkfish that’s marinated and then fried), and my dad and I
usually fight over who gets to eat the brown parts. Actually, no, we
just try to be first at the fish. I haven’t actually tasted the
results yet due to a bit of a mix-up yesterday. I was supposed to
bring it for lunch but the car couldn’t take me to school. They sent
the containers along later, but now that it’s been out a few hours at
room temperature, I’m a bit wary. All that rice will also be wasted
unless I think of something to do later – and I’ll have to eat it for
lunch, as I’ll be going home today!

Hmmm. Which means I’m in a bit of a spot, as I have a couple of
potatoes earmarked for potato soup (or a reasonable facsimile
thereof). I am a little hesitant about rice and fish as they’d been
out for a while. I think I will have cream of mushroom + potato soup
later… The rice is such a waste, but I guess I can treat it as an
experiment.

CookOrDie

Beef with Oyster Sauce

(You gain a level!)

I was planning to cook the beef mexicana described on page 97 of “The
Starving Students’ Cookbook”, but the supermarket was inexplicably out
of canned whole kernel corn. So I decided to experiment!

Beef stroganoff was on sale at PHP 185 / 100 g, so I got 180g of that.
I couldn’t remember the ingredients for stroganoff, though, but I
remembered that this cut could be used for stir-fry as well. I picked
up a few vegetables, too. One imported carrot, one green capsicum, and
a bundle of organically grown Baguio beans. Then I spent some ten
minutes on a futile search for that straight-to-wok sauce I saw on my
way into the supermarket. I settled for the small package of oyster
sauce instead.

Couldn’t find a guide recipe anywhere, so I made things up as I went
along, basing it somewhat on the recipe on the oyster sauce package.

Microwave rice, sorta (serves 2; just keep the rest for tomorrow)

- 1 cup uncooked rice (duh)
– 1 1/2 cup water

1. Pour the rice and water into a large microwaveable container. Try

to remember to let it stand for five minutes. I keep forgetting,
which is why the rice is somewhat dry.

2. Cover the container lightly (not sure if I should cover it tightly;

must experiment) and microwave on HIGH for 9 minutes.

3. Fluff with fork and let stand. I think. Well, I left it alone because

I was cooking the next dish…

Beef with Oyster Sauce (serves 1)

- 90g beef stroganoff, cut into small strips (smaller than the butcher’s cut, if you want)
– 22.5g oyster sauce (half of the 0.45g package)
– 1/2 green pepper (the large capsicum), chopped into small bits, seeds removed
– a bundle of Baguio beans chopped into small segments—a handful or two should be nice (I think these are string beans, not really sure)
– carrot slices, which I forgot to actually include
– 1 minced onion (or whatever’s left from last time)
– 1 or 2 crushed cloves of garlic
– 1 tablespoon of butter or some oil

1. Cook the onion and garlic in butter or oil until golden. Hah! I’ve

finally gotten the hang of that! It’s easier when there’s a lot of
butter, maybe because the butter makes it look yellow. (Duh.) No,
seriously, I think the heat gets spread more evenly.

2. Add the beef. Saute, or make a reasonable imitation of

sauteing by constantly mixing the food with a spatula that won’t
scratch your pan. Do this until the meat looks brown and reasonably
cooked.

3. Add everything else. Mix it to make sure everything gets coated

with the oyster sauce. The beef will darken in a rather satisfying
manner.

4. Continue cooking until you don’t feel nervous about the

vegetables any more. A minute or two should do the trick. Just make
sure everything is heated through, and hope that Baguio beans don’t
belong to one of those vegetable families that have to be cooked
for ten minutes in order to destroy their poison. (Red beans are
like that. Pfft.)

I actually bought enough ingredients for two sets, but did half first
in order to get one serving. Seemed okay. Still alive. Anyway, cooked
another serving and will have it for lunch tomorrow.

To people reading this blog: I’d really, really, really appreciate
getting warned if I’m undercooking or overcooking stuff, as I’m really
just making things up as I go along… ;)

In other news, I finally got a microwave egg dish and a water pitcher.
Whee! I _still_ don’t have a decent wok. The one at Rustan’s is
somewhat expensive. I’m thinking about asking for a wok for my 21st
birthday, but (a) I can just spring for one myself, and (b) that’s
kinda sad, don’t you think? Kathy (my middle sister) got a rather
intimidating set of professional knives when she turned 21, but that’s
because she really, really wanted them. She’s into cooking. _Really_
into cooking. I just dabble, really. Survival cooking. Experiments.

I need to fix my pan set. Some of my pans are too small and should
probably be taken home. I still want that large wok. I think I can
budget it in. I only need one wok, anyway. (Perils of having just one
electric stove…)

I also want more shelf space. I don’t think I can do anything about
that, though. Hey, wait! There’s that corner near the door. If I get a
cabinet, I can store stuff in it. Hmm. Not that I need to store much.
I know! I can store books and canned goods.

Hmm. I hardly use the toaster. Would it be a good idea to move the
microwave from the kitchen counter to the space the toaster currently
occupies? It’d be pretty convenient on top of the ref, and the move
would free up counter space for an additional electric stove. Not that
I need another one at this point, come to think of it. I’m fine mixing
microwave and stove. It’s kinda fun, even. It forces me to practice my
microwave skillz.

I wonder if this beef recipe can be turned into a microwave thing.

Oh, nearly forgot to say this: I love Baguio beans. And oyster sauce.
Not necessarily together, but they’re cool.

Must make an inventory of the stuff I have in the pantry so that I can
plan better…