In This Issue...
What a hectic week. I’m getting settled into my new sublet, and cooking has been a struggle at times because I’m still in the process of stocking my pantry with essentials. I’ve been relying heavily on baked goods and stuff I can cook in my Instant Pot (when am I not?) for this food diary.
★ 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! ★
My new Blendtec jar came in today! The first things I made with it were these egg waffles. I’ve seen a recipe for this floating around, but since I was so eager to break in the blender jar I just went ahead and tried to engineer my own waffles without thinking about it first. My wafflemaker has handled some pretty weird things I’ve thrown at it, so I figured eggs should be no different, right?
I preheated my waffle iron, cracked a few eggs into the Blendtec, added half a bell pepper and half an onion, some salt and pepper, and blended it on the lowest speed setting until everything looked fairly pureed.
Maybe not surprisingly, it didn’t turn out as well as I imagined. The first two waffles I dropped into the iron came out very thin and was hard to get off the iron in one piece. Because the mixture was so runny, it couldn’t form anything substantial. So then I added some flour… and some more for good measure.
And that’s how I got to the waffles in the picture. They definitely look pretty, and I have to say I got the timing down perfectly! However, the flavour was pretty disappointing. I was hoping for something like a cross between fried and scrambled eggs, you know, crispy on the outside and soft inside, with a decidedly eggy taste… The extra flour I added made these pretty bland, and kinda… bouncy. Also, I didn’t add enough salt.
Since, as mentioned, I’m short on ingredients this week, I tried out a very basic cookie recipe that doesn’t need much beyond your barest baking essentials. According to the recipe page, these cookies originate from Sweden in the 1800’s. With such a long past, you’d expect the recipe to have been perfected throughout the generations to become foolproof. Sadly these were some of the most disappointing cookies I’ve ever made.
Even just by looking at them, they seem pretty boring, don’t they?
I have to say this isn’t necessarily the fault of the recipe, since I didn’t follow it exactly. I didn’t have butter on hand, so I substituted shortening. And I hadn’t brought over my giant box of baking soda, so I used baking powder only. Minor changes, or so I thought, but it ended up having a big impact on the finished product.
Also, it’s my first time using the oven in my new apartment, and I think it may be hotter than most ovens. The bottoms of my cookies were almost burned when I pulled them out at the 10-minute mark, which is the shorter end of the recommended baking time listed in the recipe.
Eating one of these was basically just biting into something crunchy with absolutely no flavour profile beyond “sweet.” I felt pretty sad because the batch I made ended up yielding a lot of cookies (what is pictured is probably 1/4 of the whole thing), and I really didn’t look forward to eating them. So I’ve frozen the rest and… currently dreading about finishing them.
That said, I’ve learned a lot of lessons from this one failure, like
- butter and shortening cannot be used interchangeably
- lower the temperature of the oven by 10-ish degrees
- don’t make a big batch if you aren’t sure you’ll like it
so it hasn’t been a complete waste!
Tuna Cottage Cheese “Salad”
This recipe is from Maybe I Will . It’s meant to be a dip, but since I didn’t have crackers, I just ate it on its own. It was okay, but I added way more pepper than called for and it was still pretty tasteless. Also a bit too watery. I was hoping it would turn out more like a classic tuna salad taste, but I guess you can’t really replace mayo with cottage cheese!
Maybe I’ll add some Greek yogurt to see how that goes.
Egg Waffles Again (With More Success)
So I tried making egg waffles again, this time using a recipe (skipping the cheese). So I did have more success this round, and the texture was on point, but the taste was still not quite there. When I eat eggs I want something that’s really savoury and filling. This doesn’t exactly hit the spot, but it’s not bad! I think I will keep experimenting with making these until I find the perfect formula, since the idea of waffle-shaped eggs remains super appealing to me.
I might try this recipe next; it seems even simpler than the one I’ve just tried, so maybe if I can get the basics down using this technique I can then move on to adding in more veggies and stuff.
Since tea eggs is an overnight process, I started making them on Thursday. (I know, I don’t blame you for thinking again?! how many eggs does this girl eat?! But I bought an 18-count carton of eggs this week so I have quite a lot to play with, and luckily I’m a fan of eggs in basically any form. I made ten of these eggs using this recipe and plan to eat one or two a day.)
When I was a kid, my mom would make these tea eggs a few times a year and I always DEVOURED them. And since it’s a pretty simple matter of boiling eggs and marinating them, I decided it was time I started making them myself. On the way to Toronto from Calgary after winter break, I brought with me a pack of old loose leaf black tea, which are essential for this recipe.
For the marinade, I looked around at various recipes online but ultimately used my own formula.
I pressure cooked the eggs on HIGH for 5 minutes, since I prefer a soft yolk, using the guidelines from Pressure Cook Recipes. I cooked the eggs directly in the marinade. I think heating the spices in the marinade releases more of their flavour.
The egg yolks were surprisingly a lot firmer than I expected, but I still loved them! My family has always hardboiled eggs until they’re absolutely firm, so this was definitely an improvement for me even though the yolk wasn’t runny. But I don’t think the flavour was quite as strong as I wanted it to be, even though I soaked it for an entire day. I will try to go for an even longer marinating time the next time I make this.
BBQ Seitan Ribs
Now onto the seitan ribs, made using this BOSH recipe. This is my first time making seitan; my mom occasionally made it at home, but I don’t have experience with it myself, but I absolutely should, because it’s such a great source of vegetarian protein.
Since the recipe repeatedly reassured me it was fine if the seitan “misbehaves” or gets “unruly,” I wasn’t too concerned that my final dough wasn’t super smooth. But oh man, this mf was so hard to shape into that nice flat shape like the one in the recipe video. In the end, I sort of left it as a blob, like you can see in my photo, and went ahead and baked it.
The texture was honestly not good. It was SO rubbery and tough, like trying to chew through a giant elastic band. I have no idea how people can compare this to steak. Additionally, this is one of those recipes that smells better than it tastes. It got a little better with a generous layer of sauce on top, but it was generally bland. Didn’t reach that satiating, meaty level I was expecting. I’m not discouraged, though. I’m planning to try Veggie Rose’s deli meat recipe next. I’ve had this recipe on my mind for a while now.
Friday was also the day I made the most successful batch of pb cookies yet. I mean, it’s hard to run into a bad batch since you’re essentially just eating shaped peanut butter, but these were on some next level with how soft and rich, and beautiful they were.
The trick is to let these cookies cool on the baking sheet. They’re too soft to pick up right out of the oven, but reach the perfect texture at room temperature. Definitely ate too many of these at once, and felt sick after :’)
Not the healthiest recipe, so I won’t be making them that often. It sucks that peanut butter is high in calories. How can something so bad taste so good…
Waffled Grilled cheese
As I was making this, I suddenly thought of another perk to moving out/living on your own: being able to eat crustless sandwiches! At home leaving the crusts off bread would be unheard of, but now that I’m here my parents can’t control how I eat my food hehe. (Don’t worry, I didn’t throw the crusts out. I’m storing them up in a ziploc in the freezer to turn into breadcrumbs when I have enough.)
So this is literally two slices of cheese (Monterey Jack, I believe) between two slices of bread and flattened in the waffle iron.
Not an amazing success; I definitely should’ve kept them in the waffle maker longer to achieve that nice golden-brown colour, but I was impatient and hungry. The cheese had gotten warm, but could’ve been more gooey and melty. I’m certain that a few more minutes would’ve gotten this from mediocre to amazing.
Cast Iron French Toast
Ya… I tried to make a nice Sunday brunch for myself and it turned into this. It turns out my cast iron skillet gets EXTREMELY hot, even on the absolute lowest setting. I swear I only put the toast on there for ten seconds before I turned into this 🙁
Not a complete failure, though. The French toast (the non-burnt parts, at least) was delicious and so much easier to make than I expected. I’ll just have to figure out how to keep my cast iron from burning food before cooking it through.
Overnight oats: not the most picturesque meal out there. But seriously good! This month is the first time I’ve had overnight oats and I was surprised by how yummy and satisfying they are.
This jar is for bringing to the office tomorrow. It’s got almonds, rolled oats, honey, vanilla extract, and honey. Very basic but tasty! I think adding some fruits next time will spruce things up.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with this week’s diary. Lots of new things were tried!