Category Archives: cookordie

CookOrDie: Curried chickpeas, chard, carbs

One of these days, I'm going to try properly following the recipe for curried chickpeas. I like curries - Japanese and Indian-style curries in particular. Apparently, cooking curry isn't just a matter of mixing water, flour, and curry spice. Or at least I *think* it's curry spice. I inherited it from my very first roommate here last year. The jar didn't have a label, but I vaguely remembered that I had curry in my cupboard somewhere, and it was in either that or the jar labelled "pepper".

Right. Someday I'm going to learn how to do a proper curry.

The chard that showed up in my Organic Good Food Box worked out quite well, though. I actually followed a recipe this time around, instead of treating it as some random leafy green. Joy of Cooking gave a recipe for chard sauteed with garlic and seasoned with red wine vinegar, which turned out to be pretty nice and easy to prepare.

As for carbs: I've decided to work my way through the frozen bread that I've accumulated over several months. The oval pita I picked up on sale reheats quite well under the broiler. Ah, for a little toaster oven instead of these less-flexible slice toasters. (Although I suppose slice-based toasters make it harder to burn toast unattended.)

My mom will be pleased to know that I've gotten back to regularly taking vitamins. I'm also succumbing to peer pressure and becoming semi-vegetarian. ;) Not for ethical reasons, mind you, but for purely practical ones.

  • I'm less likely to give myself food poisoning as long as I stay away from dangerous plants.
  • It'll be easier to entertain friends, many of whom are (aspiring) vegetarians/vegans.
  • I can get through the Good Food Box and other food arrangements faster.

That said, I still like bacon and eggs, and I'll have to work my way through the chicken in the fridge eventually.

As long as I make sure I cover possible deficiencies in a vegetarian diet, I should be fine. =) Besides, I don't mind eating meat when I go out. I just want to learn how to cook veggies in a way that makes me want to actually eat them. ;)

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Merienda madness and my 23rd birthday

Last Saturday (2006.08.12) was my birthday, and every Filipino knows that birthdays mean lots and lots and lots of food. Things didn't go exactly according to plan: they turned out even better! It was the first time I tried cramming over 15 people into my suite, and it worked out surprisingly well even though we were constantly washing mugs and everything.

Plan A was to spend the morning preparing a traditional merienda of Philippine delicacies. I woke up late and spent the rest of the morning celebrating my birthday with a virtual party thrown by my family and friends in the Philippines. That was totally worth it.

Plan B: buy traditional delicacies from a Filipino bakery or something like that. Except I had *no* idea where to find one of those downtown. Google wasn't helpful, either. The one Filipino restaurant I remembered along Yonge turned out to have closed a while ago. I asked Joey de Villa, but he couldn't think of any off the top of his head. Meep.

Plan C, of course, was to declare cookies and brownies traditional Filipino treats. ;) As long as the other Filipinos played along, I'd be home safe! Also, I was totally craving tropical fruits, so it was a good excuse to splurge on mangoes, pineapples, and other good things. Richi Plana and I raided Chinatown and Kensington Market for assorted foodstuff, also picking up ingredients for champorado and palitaw.

What could be better than that? Plan D: Have your *guests* cook! ;) That was just amazing. Friends demonstrated their l33t pineapple carving / brownie making / champorado-from-scratch cooking / dishwashing skillz. I did actually manage to cook something: palitaw, one of my favorite Filipino snacks.

Palitaw

Glutinous rice flour, shredded coconut, sugar, sesame seeds

  1. Add boiling water to glutinous rice flour, kneading it into dough. Don't make it sticky!
  2. Roll the flour into balls and flatten them with your hands into small pancake-like shapes.
  3. Slip the cakes into boiling water.
  4. Scoop the cakes out when they float.
  5. Toast sesame seeds until they turn golden.
  6. Mix shredded coconut, sugar, and sesame seeds on a plate.
  7. Coat both sides of each cake with the mixture.
  8. Enjoy!

Preparing all this food kept me a bit too busy to connect with everyone, and I wish I had a bit more time to spend with people who had to leave early. Maybe I'll figure out a better way to do this next time...

Anyway, after I made sure everyone had something to eat, I took a break from the kitchen and got to the main part of the party. I talked about the past year and how my 22nd year of life was mainly about learning to live on my own. I then asked them to help me brainstorm cool things to do in Canada so that I can make the most of my time here. I also asked for help figuring out what I can do after graduation, and I got a number of suggestions that I hadn't considered before but which seem like pretty good fits. I'll blog about these later.

I asked for letters instead of gifts, and the letters I got were really, really, really heartwarming. =) I also received some absolutely wonderful chocolate, an interesting book, and a beautiful set of cat-themed dishes. (I'm behind on my thank-you cards and letters, but I'm looking forward to catching up soon!)

I demoed my strange street-performing-ish hobbies, too. (Thanks, Kathy, for getting me into that stuff!) Then we headed over to the Linux Caffe for dinner and more relaxed conversation. I *love* the Linux Caffe to pieces. It's so nice knowing and being known by a place...

Anyway, that was how I spent my birthday. I can't think of any better way to celebrate finishing a year and starting a new one than in the company of such good friends. =)

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CookOrDie last Saturday: Decadent Dessert party

I confess: I threw a dessert party just to have an excuse to bake more brownies.

You see, I'm a social chocolate eater. Knowing it to be one of my weaknesses, I try not to have chocolate unless I have company. And as 9x13 pans result in a _lot_ of brownies, I absolutely must have friends over if I'm going to even think of baking.

So I did. Dan Howard, Quinn Fung and Jedediah Smith came over. We had this absolutely decadent dessert: freshly-baked double-chocolate brownies topped with French vanilla ice cream and hot fudge bought especially for the occasion.

As a concession to healthy eating, we followed it with pineapple chunks and loose-leaf green tea. (I've graduated to loose-leaf tea! With a tea ball! Proper.)

Now _that's_ a terrific way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Proper.

Kelly blogged about brownie sundaes. I _so_ want to have a Sundae Sunday now, complete with whipped cream and a light dusting of chocolate shavings or almond slivers or toasted rice or _something_ equally indulgent...

Life is so much better when you know how to make dessert.

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CookOrDie: Danger, Will Robinson!

Uh oh.

I now know how to bake brownies from scratch, and I can make them as moist and chocolatey as I want.

I have vanilla ice cream in the freezer.

I am so dead.

...

Hmm.

IF I promised a tray of chocolatey desserts for a potluck dinner at 7:00, AND I have enough ingredients to bake a second batch of brownies...

Don't even think about it, Sacha. That way lies danger.

They won't mind if I try a bit of it first.

Maybe a bit more.

Hmm.

More cooking misadventures

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CookOrDie: Bacon, eggs and toast

I think I've figured out a neat way to store bacon. If you roll slices up individually and loosely pack them into a plastic container, they're easy to break off even when frozen. I think it's because you minimize the contact points between each slice, whereas freezing it as an entire slab requires you to hack parts off. To unroll, microwave the bacon until soft (30 seconds?), unwind, and cook as normal.

This means that I can have bacon and eggs for breakfast practically any time I want, which *might* not be a good thing. <laugh>

In other news, lunch today will be some kind of cold chickpea salad. I soaked the chickpeas yesterday and then boiled them in my rice cooker while having breakfast. They turned out nicely cooked, and I didn't even have to pay attention to them. Neat.

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More cooking misadventures

CookOrDie: Vegetarian virtues

After quite a hiatus from CookOrDie blogging because I'd either been eating out or cooking simple things, I decided to experiment a bit today. I had leftover vegetables from Saturday's barbecue, so I broiled them. The mushrooms got special treatment, courtesy of a recipe suggestion from the Joy of Cooking: I tossed them with garlic and olive oil, and _then_ I broiled them. Wonderful stuff. Zucchini, green pepper, red pepper, and portobello mushrooms. I rounded off dinner with corn on the cob. Yum yum!

Now I just need to figure out what to do with the eggplant...

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Random Japanese sentence: 犬が1匹、猫が1匹、カナリヤが3羽います。 We have a dog, a cat and three canaries.