Aloo Gobi

AlooGobi

It’s August! Where did the summer go? It seems like summer just started, but it’s already almost over…

Since the wedding, life’s been pretty busy. We went to Boston for a few days to see my parents. We chilled out there, watched fireworks on the fourth, and had a banquet for my parents’ friends. Then we headed to Taipei for a bit to see the husband’s side of the family. Did a lot of eating and had another banquet. I dubbed that the international wedding tour.

We’ve been home for a few weeks now. Life continues to be busy here in Madison. This is pretty much the first Saturday we’ve had to ourselves. So I tried cooking the hubby’s favorite Indian dish.

The first time I heard of aloo gobi was from the movie Bend it Like Beckham. The main character learns from her mother how to make this traditional dish. I watched the movie when I was in high school, but I think it wasn’t until I moved here that I actually tried the dish. It never really sounded appealing to me, but I think I tried it at an Indian buffet place one day and discovered that it was good.

I looked up recipes on the internet and decided on this recipe. I sent the hubby outside to play basketball and made this dish to surprise him. I followed the recipe pretty closely, but used ground cumin, ground ginger, and ground coriander instead of cumin seed, fresh ginger, and fresh coriander. I’m not a fan of chomping down on cumin seeds or chunks of ginger, so I think I made a good choice to use ground instead. Otherwise though I followed the instructions pretty closely. I also got to use our new LeCreuset dutch oven that we got for our wedding.

I didn’t really bother taking a good picture of it. Just snapped a quick picture on my phone. I used a rice cooker to make basmati rice and got some naan at the store which I pan-fried in butter and garlic. It wasn’t the best naan I’ve ever had, but it wasn’t awful. All in all we both enjoyed the meal so I’d recommend this recipe.

Sous Vide Pork Sliders

The plate was tiny, so this picture is a bit of an optical illusion.

The plate was tiny, so this picture is a bit of an optical illusion.

Today my fiance and I went to a church potluck today for the “families” in the church. It’s a little weird in my mind to think of us as a family since we aren’t quite married yet and we certainly don’t have any children (at least not that I know of). I guess we’ll get there soon enough though.

For the potluck, we ventured into the land of sous vide. A good number of years ago a friend of mine told me about the concept and how he was thinking of buying a semi-ghetto build-your-own sous vide machine kit. The idea is that you seal (or vacuum seal) meat with seasoning and cook it in a water bath at a low temperature. This prevents it from getting overcooked. Then you take it out and sear the sides for texture. At that point I thought the method was kind of cool, but thought this friend was pretty nuts to buy a make your own kit.

Fast forward a few years to now. A different friend (although these friends do know each other) has gotten into a sous vide craze. It’s great for cooking meat and for cooking things in large quantities. Today was my first time doing it by myself. I don’t really know where I got the idea for asian style sliders, and as usual I ended up just winging it. So I’ll go into what went into it, but I don’t have any measurements.

So what I did was marinate pork tenderloins overnight in gallon size ziplock bags. I put them in a pot with water and the sous vide cooker at 140 degrees (F) for around 3.5 hours. Then I seared the outside. To make the sliders I used King’s Hawaiian Roll and topped with some Asian-style slaw made with cabbage, carrots, green onions, and some seasoning.

They turned out pretty well. The pork was really tender and the flavors paired well with the sweetness of the Hawaiian rolls. Overall I’d call this one a success!

Pork tenderloin marinade:
Soy sauce
Sesame oil
Minced garlic
Brown sugar
Salt
Pepper
Rice vinegar
Red pepper flakes

Slaw:
Shredded cabbage
Shredded carrots
Finely chopped green onions
Soy sauce
Sesame oil
Sugar
Salt
Pepper
Rice vinegar
Minced garlic
Sriracha sauce

Spaghetti Burgers

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So the other day I was surfing the internet when I saw this article about spaghetti burgers. I was intrigued by the concept, but thought it was just a carb overload. Spaghetti on bread? I was skeptical.

And then I had an idea. What if the spaghetti was the bun? And what if the burger was a meatball? So of course I had to try that.

I finally was able to find some time and grab a couple friends to experiment. The article mentioned the ingredients that were in the spaghetti “patty” but it didn’t say what the proportions were. Here’s what I ended up with:

For the “buns”:
1 box spaghetti
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 6oz can tomato paste
Oregano
Sugar
Salt
Garlic powder
1 cup grated pecorino romano
2 eggs, beaten

For the “burgers”:
All the ingredients from this recipe from allrecipes.com

In a pot, heat crushed tomatoes and tomato paste with oregano, salt, sugar and garlic powder to taste. Simmer for 20 min.

While the sauce is simmering, cook spaghetti until al dente. Drain and cut into small pieces with kitchen scissors. Add around 1/2 cup of sauce (the noodles should be covered but not too wet), the pecorino cheese, and the eggs to the spaghetti. Using a small pyrex dish or a ramekin, press the spaghetti mixture to about 1 cm thickness. Place on a cookie sheet. Continue until you run out of the spaghetti mixture. Put cookie sheet in refrigerator for 10-15 min. You should be able to make around 14-16 buns (7-8 burgers).

Combine all the ingredients from the meatball recipe in a large bowl. Form 7-8 patties. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Take the spaghetti buns out of the refrigerator. Heat oil in a frying pan or cast iron pan. Fry the spaghetti buns over medium heat for 4-5 min on each side or until crispy.

Sear the meatball patties for about 1 min of each side. Remove and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 5-6 minutes.

Serve with extra sauce.

Overall the experiment was quite good and we had a lot of fun cooking. The spaghetti buns didn’t solidify/stay together too well so we ended up having to eat with a fork. Perhaps next time I’ll try baking them instead. Or maybe bake them in muffin pans and make meatball sliders instead. But all in all it tasted really good!

Baked French Toast

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2 posts in one month! Haven’t done that in a long time.

This past weekend was pretty busy and eventful. It was fun, but also tiring. I have retreats the next two weekends, so the next couple weeks will be equally if not more exhausting. Saturday started off with a brunch for the non-undergrad women at my church. My roommate and I “hosted” (albeit at someone else’s house), so we made lots of food including the french toast from this post, scrambled eggs with cheddar and spinach, and hashtagbrowns (aka #browns). We also played some get-to-know you Bingo which revealed the “beliebers” among us as well as the die-hard T-Swift fans, and made cute bookmarks.

Yesterday I played basketball and badminton for the first time in months. It was really fun and it was nice to get some exercise, but man I am SORE today. My roommate and I hosted Sunday dinner last night, although I didn’t actually help cook. As many of you know, my church has hangouts on Sundays that involve sports and dinner. We started out a few years ago with just a handful of young adults (like, 15), and last night we had 49 young adults and undergrads! We are looking to find a new venue though since 49 people in an apartment is just a teensy bit cramped.

There were a few other things that happened this weekend, but those were the highlights. A few people at brunch asked me for the recipe for the french toast, so I figured it was worth putting up here. It’s funny because my pastor’s wife actually sent this recipe from Rachel Sheldon’s blog almost 2 years ago for a baby shower. She was at the brunch on Saturday and didn’t recognize it!

I ended up making a few adjustments, but all in all the recipe was really good!

Ingredients
1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 loaf Texas Toast
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups of whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
cinnamon for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350.
Mix melted butter and brown sugar.
Spread 1/2 of the butter/brown sugar on the bottom of a 9×13 pan
Layer Texas toast slices on top of that.
Spread the other 1/2 of the butter/brown sugar mix on top of the bread slices.
In a separate bowl, beat 4 eggs. Add in milk and vanilla extract.
Pour 1/2 of the eggs mixture on the bread. Sprinkle on a little cinnamon.
Put a second layer of toast.
Pour the rest of the egg mix on top and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 min, covered.
Remove foil and bake an additional 15 min.

Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies

Winter = dark = no good natural lighting

Winter = dark = no good natural lighting

So it’s been a while since I last posted (I feel like I say that a lot). As usual the lack of posts hasn’t been due to an infrequency of cooking here, but rather due to the fact that a) I haven’t cooked many new things lately, b) of the the new things I have tried, none of them have been all that visually appealing, and c) I’m often times too lazy to try to make them visually attractive for a picture.

I did try some new slowcooker recipes for coq au vin, chili, and broccoli cheddar soup. The first two turned out quite well, but the broccoli cheddar soup was a major disaster. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but some form of dairy curdled and stuff burned, and it was all in all unpleasant. I think it’ll be a while before I attempt another cream-based slowcooker soup.

The coq au vin recipe turned out pretty well. Unfortunately I can’t remember what recipe I used (it happened in September) and I also didn’t take a picture of it. All I can remember is that I used chicken thighs, garlic, mushrooms, frozen pearl onions, carrots, and red wine. I think I browned the chicken before putting it in the slowcooker so that the chicken would maintain intact, but that’s about all I remember. It was good though, so I might try it again and actually write down what I do.

The chili was for snacks after service at church one Sunday when my family group was in charge. We ended up making probably around 100 servings in 8 slowcookers. I have a picture of how it turned out (below), but it’s not a picture that’s worth making a whole post on. I also freehanded a lot of the recipe, so I don’t have measurements of what went into it. I might also try this one again to actually get a recipe.

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Anyhow, for some reason I felt like baking cookies, looked through my repository of saved off cookie recipes, and well here they are! The recipe came from Scrambled Henfruit. I followed it pretty closely, but instead of using the individually wrapped caramel candies I used caramel bits because they didn’t require manually unwrapping each caramel. As a result, the caramel to cookie ratio ended up a little low because I wasn’t sure how many bits to use per cookie. I used 5, so probably 7-8 is the right number.

Regardless, the cookies still taste pretty good. I guess I’ll find out tomorrow whether other people (other than me, my fiance, and my roommate) like them.

Guest Post: Mama Oh’s Kimchi

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Awhile back I was talking to my pastor’s wife about making kimchi. I love eating kimchi, but I had no idea how to make it. I guess I didn’t have enough motivation to try to find a recipe online or anything either. But at some point in the conversation we agreed that it was the mark of a “real Korean woman” to know how to make homemade kimchi.

Recently, some other friends who shared my enthusiasm for kimchi and I finally decided to give it a try. I didn’t actually organize this experience so it was nice to just join in. I didn’t even have to find a recipe because some of the others are Korean and asked their mothers.

The process took up much of the day — we soaked the cabbage for 3 hours, made the paste, then coated the cabbage in the paste and jarred it. Now it has to ferment at room temperature for 24 hours, then in the refrigerator for 3 days. But we did a preliminary taste test and it tastes really good. It’s definitely cheaper and better tasting than anything you can get in stores here in Madison. I’m really excited to eat it when it’s fully ready.

Below is the hand-transcribed recipe of Mama Oh’s kimchi
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Note the quote of the day at the bottom of the page. “Get into the armpits of the kimchi; get it all in there so you hear it laugh when it’s tickled!” It sounds ridiculous, but there actually is some logic behind the statement. In order to get the best flavor, it’s important to get the pepper paste in between all the leaves of the cabbage. But yeah. Kimchi armpits. Sounds delicious right?

Achievement for today: I am now a REAL Korean woman (despite being Chinese-American). Yay!

Fruit Pizza

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As usual, it’s been a really long time since I’ve posted anything here. Time has really flown. I can’t believe it’s already mid-June (looks like I last posted in February). Winter is finally gone and the sun has finally come! Yay!

With summer comes summer family groups at Harvest. This summer we’re doing gender-specific studies. The women are going through this book called Breaking Free by Beth Moore. I’ve done a few of the studies on my own in the past, but I haven’t gone through the whole book before. I’m excited to see how God will work in the group (and in me) this summer. Will hopefully keep you updated on that.

My brother’s getting married next Saturday, so I’ll be going home on Wednesday. It’ll be nice to get away for a little bit, but I think it’ll be a pretty busy week. I have a lot of work to get done and I have to drive to Chicago for my flight on Wednesday so I have a feeling it’ll be pretty hectic. But exciting and fun! I have a lot of weddings to attend coming up (this weekend, one in July, one in August, one in September, and one in November…as far as I know right now). I guess I’m at the age where that’s pretty normal.

This weekend seems like one of the chiller, more laid-back weekends I’ve had in a while. I slept in, then had lunch with some friends at Joe’s Kitchen in Monona. It was pretty good, but the place was super small and hidden in the back of a Vietnamese grocery store. Then I spent the afternoon cooking for a dinner at my pastor’s house.

I ended up making lo mein with snow peas, red peppers, carrots and chicken. It wasn’t particularly exciting. But for dessert, I made fruit pizza, which I’ve been wanting to try out for some time now. I think it turned out pretty well – although I would also say it looks much more impressive than it is. The actual recipe is quite simple. I guess next time I could make the crust from scratch.

This time I followed this recipe pretty closely. I used Pillsbury ready to bake sugar cookie dough for the crust, cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract for the frosting, and topped it with strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and kiwi slices. I ended up skipping the glaze but I think it would have been too sweet with it.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of cream cheese, so I would consider making the frosting into more of a whipped cream or a whipped topping (Cool Whip-esque), but I think if you like cream cheese frostings this recipe is quite good and fairly simple.

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