tasty nom nom an exception to the daily meal



Dear J -

As I sit here and eat a fried dough breakfast (thanks!), my thought turns to whether cooking for others is more fun, or is it more enjoyable to eat what others have created.

I must say, feeding others is immensely more satisfying than feeding myself, but only when they enjoyed the meal. Perhaps it is cultural? Or maybe it is just selfish of me to cook for others so I can try out new recipes, techniques, styles, and etc.

Speaking of... I was lamenting the Chicken Mole at the now defunct Taco Del Rey in Renton.  That was yummy chicken mole. Then I got to thinking about all the yummy "taco trucks" in the Bay Area. I know nothing about Mexican cookery. So I borrowed Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen from the library. I am not sure what will come out of this experiment ...

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Fried Stuff

Good morning, E!

It has taken me three days to recover from the fried mess here! I also had camnesia on Saturday, so I'm going to use your iPhone pictures!

burger and fries (salad not shown)

N and I were so involved with making three different types of dough that we slacked on the dinner plans and just made burgers with buns from Top, homemade french fries (a frying disaster!), and a salad I didn't bother to toss but really enjoyed eating as counter to all of that fried stuff.

I had already planned to make beignet, but N decided he wanted to make funnel cake since we were going to be frying anyway.

funnel cakes
funnel cakes

N made two different funnel cake recipes because he couldn't decide which would taste better and they are very different recipes.

He made Alton Brown's Funnel Cake recipe, which we all thought had a superior texture.

He also made this recipe, which we felt had a superior taste.


I made Buttermilk Beignet. The dough was really easy to make -- mostly buttermilk and flour. It was very wet and I had to resist the urge to add more flour to it. I liked being able to refrigerate the prepared dough until we were ready to fry them up.

The texture of the beignet changed quite a bit depending on the oil temperature -- we had some trouble keeping the temperature consistent on the large burner. At a lower temperature, the beignet were more oily. At a higher temperature, they puffed too quickly and were almost hollow inside. At the proper temperature of 375°F, they had dough texture inside and were crispy outside.

They were fairly bland, but very tasty dipped in pastry cream and raspberry purée!

After dinner and cleanup, G really wanted to play Uno! So once again, we played many games of Uno and kept score this time. In the end, the Uno champion reigned supreme. 🙂

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Fried Birthday Dough

Dear E --

Phew! I am still full from the delicious Chinese New Year dinner. I think my favorite part was the black bean spareribs. Nom! Happy Year of the Tiger!

Since you always make a birthday cake (pie, dessert) item for each of us and your birthday just passed, it is your turn for a special birthday dessert. When we asked what you would like, your answer was simply, "fried dough."

I thought about cannoli, cruellers, funnel cake, hand pies... none of which really felt inspired to me. Then I was falling asleep and the simple word "beignet" whispered in my ear.

There's Orange-Scented Beignet, Paula Deen's recipe, Emeril's recipe, Buttermilk Beignets, white chocolate and cardamon beignet and many others.

What do you think? Do beignets satisfy the fried dough birthday request?

As for actual dinner planning, I haven't done any of that yet. I am craving Thai and sushi...

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Chinese New Year


Dear J

Happy Year of the Tiger!

When I was prepping / cooking ahead for this meal, I thought to myself that this meal is not balanced. I have too many chicken dishes. When I mention that to you, you told me I was over-engr!  I worry a lot when I cook, especially when it is something 'different'. I am naturally a worrier but I am taking the first step in my 12 steps program to stop worrying. Ahem.

Below are links to recipes.

  • Drunken Chicken recipe and Soy Sauce Chicken recipe
    with chili dipping sauce (inspired by Hainanese Chicken Rice), dark soy sauce (from a bottle), and a ginger dipping sauce like this one
  • Pot Stickers, (store bought, frozen) with soy, vinegar, and ginger dipping sauce
  • Mapo Tofurecipe, I mistakenly bought firm tofu instead of silken. It hold it's shape, but not as er... silky.
  • Black Bean Spare Ribs, recipe with additional few hours of braise time in oven. I browned meat and simmered the sauce, then pile on top of an onion to braise in the oven for a few hours.
  • Hot and Sour soup, I tried lily buds for the first time. recipes are here and here and everywhere
  • Greens, recipe
  • Daikon / turnip cake, recipe here and there
  • Red Bean soup, red beans + palm sugar + brown slab sugar + tangerine peel + ginger + a few hours of simmer. I like my beans more broken down, which makes the soup thicker and more puree like.

After dinner, N and G watched Apolo Ohno win the Silver Metal in the short track. We had some quiet time and Red Bean soup. Hope you liked it!

We played a couple of games of Castle, but I think mostly everyone was in food coma. What happened to being hungry a couple of hours after Chinese Food?

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Chinese Super Bowl

Dear E,

How are the preparations for Chinese New Year feast going?

N's mom is passing through town on Sunday and we are meeting up with her -- it will be nice to see her, albeit quickly -- so I am not sure we can also finagle meeting up for a Super Bowl get together.

I was daydreaming of hummus and veggies and guacamole and Chile-Chicken Posole. Some other time, I guess!

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NY Deli Plus

Good morning, E!

I hope you are recovering nicely from dinner on Saturday and hours of UNO. I'm looking forward to some of your leftover mushroom-barley soup for lunch today! Yum.


This NY deli inspired meal included:

  • mushroom-barley soup (Zingerman's recipe -- E added thyme and bay leaf)

  • cabbage salad

  • cabbage salad with homemade mayonnaise

  • cucumber and red onion salad

  • corned beef

  • corned beef and pastrami sandwich on homemade rye bread (smitten kitchen's homemade NY deli rye bread) with fresh grated horseradish

  • a taste of smoked brisket

I modified the rye bread recipe a bit due to not having any instant yeast -- I used rapid rise in one loaf and active dry in the other and proofed it before mixing up the sponge. It seemed to work out just fine. The recipe is wonderful. Now I can't wait to try making pumpernickel.

Maybe in a couple of weeks we'll get back to playing games other than UNO...

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