In This Issue...
Found an awesome vegetarian meat product this week, and tried a yogurt made with buffalo milk. I also surprised my coworkers with some Valentine’s macarons!
★ My weekly Food Diaries are a way of tracking what I cook, buy, and eat every day. They provide insight into my eating preferences, allow me to analyze patterns in my spending, and help improve my cooking. And I always share my recipes! ★
Bean Sprout Egg Cups
Frankly, these are so nasty 🤢
I hear that egg cups are a great way to clear out your fridge leftovers. Clearly, though, there are some vegetables that just don’t belong in there. The egg cups I made today were a combination of bean sprouts, shredded carrots, and spinach, with about a dozen eggs thrown in and a bit of mozzarella cheese on top of each. My hopes were high when they came out of the oven, because they smelled nice. But as soon as I took a bite after they’d cooled, I realized this had been a big mistake.
The egg texture was spongy and watery from all the water released from the veggies. I can’t tell if the cheese made it better or worse: the top cheese layer was tasty on its own, but combined with the flavour of the rest of the egg cup, the taste was enough to make me nauseous.
I threw them all out immediately. Ngl, even looking at these pictures again makes me kind of wanna throw up from remembering the taste.
Veggie Soy Roll
This is an amazing Asian supermarket find. After the horrible egg cups, I needed something to cleanse my palette. I took a knife and sliced off a nice chunk of this Spam-like product, eating it straight out of the package. It’s delicious! The flavour is really really close to the taste of luncheon meat. The texture is more fibrous and chewy than ham (think a cross between seitan and firm tofu), but this would make a wonderful meat substitute in fried rice or sandwiches.
The protein isn’t bad, either; the nutrition facts say there’s 9 g of protein per 50 g or 102 calories of the stuff. I’m not saying this will become a staple in my diet; something this processed can’t be the healthiest product in the world, but neither are Beyond Meat and those other faux meat products out there. Speaking of which, why aren’t Asian products like these more well known? There are already millions of wonderful Asian meat analogs being sold in places like T&T, and Westerners are out here thinking Beyond Meat is the work of a visionary genius. I still dream of that vegan hot pot restaurant in Shenzhen I visited three summers ago with my grandparents. Can you imagine how fat I’d be if we had a restaurant like that here!
Freeze-Ahead Alfredo Mac ‘n’ Cheese
A couple of weeks ago, I prepped a small batch of Alfredo mac n cheese and froze them into my tiny ramekins for a quick bake-and-eat snack. Today I popped one in the oven after work, and the result was… disappointing to say the least. It was edible, but just barely. The top had burned by the time the centre finished warming up, and the whole thing was so dried out that it was a jaw workout to chew everything properly. I should have covered with tin foil for the first 15 minutes in the oven before letting it bake uncovered.
Happy St Valentine’s Day! Heart-shaped macarons, anyone?
Macarons are one of those intimidating baked desserts that make people go “ohhhhh” when they see them, and an even bigger “OHHHHH” when they find out you baked them. But it turns out they are not even close to the most challenging thing I’ve tried baking!
Originally, I wasn’t planning on making macarons at all for Valentine’s; I had been meaning to try some kind of heart-shaped cookie or biscuit. But when I realized I didn’t have a heart cookie cutter, nor food colouring to make my cookies pink, I found my options dwindling. So I settled on macarons, because I had all the ingredients on hand, and they didn’t require any kind of mold to achieve that cute heart shape.
I followed the video from Natasha’s Kitchen, and this lady’s recipe is literally foolproof if a fool like me can make them successfully and call it “easy.” Of course, I didn’t use the food colouring that she did, but otherwise measured out my ingredients to the exact gram. Although I over-baked a few, most of the macarons turned out well, especially since it was my first attempt. The hardest part was piping them in a heart shape: I had to use a ziploc bag with the corner cut as my “piping bag.” It was hard to control the flow of batter, resulting in a lot of different sizes of cookies. Halfway through, I gave up piping hearts and just did circles instead, which was magnitudes easier.
I brought the cookies with me to work, and they were gone pretty fast! Today there were quite a few treats around the office, since it’s Valentine’s and all, but I’m happy to say my macarons evaporated the quickest. Incidentally, I almost had a heart attack because one of my coworkers who has a severe nut allergy ate one. I’d always thought he was only allergic to peanuts, but turns out almonds is another one. And almond flour is a key ingredient in macarons!! I was full on ready to call an ambulance, but luckily nothing happened. I have no idea how (maybe something is removed when grinding whole nuts into flour?), but it must have been St Valentine watching over us today. 🥰
Stuffed Pepper Soup
I had some sad-looking bell peppers in the fridge this week, so I made stuffed pepper soup. I subsituted 1/2 lb of TVP for the ground beef, and used regular canned diced tomatoes, which worked pretty well. Unfortunately, the brown rice hadn’t fully cooked even after I let it run for another two hours on High. The rest of the soup was tasty enough, so I ate it as is, but it’s definitely off-putting to have some crunchy bits of rice in every bite.
The great thing is that the soup is so filling. This bowl here wasn’t even 200 calories! With all the spices and flavours from the veggies, it feels like you’re eating a lot more than you really are.
I picked up an interesting yogurt at No Frills this week. I’ve heard of buffalo mozzarella, of course, that classic Italian pizza cheese, but buffalo yogurt was new to me. Kevin was pretty disgusted when I told him about my find, but of course I had to try it. This is going to sound weird, but I love trying different animal dairies. I love the off-center gamey taste of goat’s milk and goat’s cheese, so buffalo seemed like the logical next step to take.
Is it wrong to be disappointed that it tastes so… normal? If you didn’t tell me this was made from buffalo milk, I’d have no idea I was eating anything but regular yogurt. The flavour, texture, mouthfeel, were all the same. Then again, I can’t taste the difference between mozzarella di bufala and fior di latte unless I really, really focus, either!
Now I want to try drinking buffalo milk.
Beans and Cheese Burrito Bowl
I went back to Waterloo this week, and as always we spent most of our meals eating out. (Sidenote: I wish I’d been able to save a valentine’s macaron for Kevin to try this weekend. Alas, they got eaten so quickly.) This here was one small exception: I was feeling hungry this evening and looked in the freezer and found this.
It doesn’t look pretty, and tbh it tastes like what you’d expect a 4-month frozen meal reheated in the microwave to taste like. But it’s hard to go wrong with that much cheese on anything, so I still ate it all, no problems!
It’s my birthday on Tuesday (which I will be sadly spending alone in Toronto), so over the weekend, Crystal being the sweetie that she is brought over her homemade Japanese curry to celebrate. This curry may as well be her signature dish at this point; she makes it for any occasion and it’s always delicious. My girl brought over an entire rice cooked filled with rice in her backpack, too. I love her.
I ate way too much curry in one sitting, but even still, my heart is fuller than my tummy is. ❤️