In This Issue...
It’s tacos tacos tacos this week, and not just on Tuesdays. Anyway, I’ve been cooking and baking a lot in general as I procrastinate on studying for exams.
★ 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! ★
T&T Junk Food
It’s another lovely snack haul from T&T, this time featuring four different kinds of chips (one of them is made from peas!), some dried tofu kebabs, packets of savoury bean curd rolls, and a pineapple cake pastry. Everything here was delicious. Out of the chips, my favourites were both bags of Calbee brand chips (although the pea crackers were very unique and tasty, and the Cadina Hot & Spicy were so addictive too).
This recipe is over a hundred years old! I got it from Mrs Beeton’s All About Cookery, a famous cookbook by Isabella Beeton (since it’s now in the public domain, you can read it for free; there’s a link at the Free Cookbooks collection).
I followed her recipe as closely as I could, except for reducing the sugar content just a little.
- 113 g butter or margarine
- 113 g granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 230 g all purpose flour
- 1/2 rounded tsp cinnamon powder (or 1 heaping tsp lemon zest)
- 50 g milk
- Cream the butter or margarine with sugar and beat in the egg.
- Sift flour with cinnamon, or add grated rind, and add to the creamed fat mixture. Mix to a stiff consistency, using milk if required.
- Roll out fairly thinly and cut out with a 2½-inch cutter.
- Place on a greased baking sheet and bake at 350 °F till light fawn colour.
I used the rims of a measuring cup and empty vanilla extract bottle to cut my doughnut-shaped cookies. Others, I forwent the smaller hole in the middle and just shaped them into circles. Still others, I shaped into adorable thumbprint cookies, filled with a spot of huckleberry jam.
This is a great cookie to go with some jam. It would also be a nice canvas for a decorative icing design. On their own, however, the cookies were a bit lacking in flavour despite all the butter, and way too brittle. I think I overbaked them. I tried to follow Mrs Beeton’s instructions to bake until they were “fawn”-coloured, but they turned out more like a “dark fawn.”
Really, I prefer soft cookies over crisp ones anyway, but I’m happy to have tried a recipe that’s over a centuries old.
Shitty Food Porn: Cheese Curds Edition
Yes, that is me eating cheese curds straight out of the bag. I don’t have much of a caption for this one, but is an explanation really necessary? Me + cheese = love affair of the century. Granted, cheese curds probably aren’t the best kind of cheese to snack on, with how expensive they are, but I don’t think I’ll be making poutine again anytime soon and I don’t know of another way to use these.
Veggie Egg Hash with Rice
This humble lil sheet pan dinner was inspired by /r/PutAnEggOnIt, although I only kept the egg and zucchini and took liberties with everything else.
Roast chopped zucc, kernels of one fresh corn, and chunks of sauteed chorizo sausage with some salt and pepper at 325 °F (I did around 20 min). Then I added an egg, switched to the Broil setting on my oven at 400 °F and baked it for another five minutes.
Kevin surprised me by enjoying it! He didn’t really care for the zucchini and said the egg was a bit overdone—it wasn’t runny, even though I thought from the looks of it that it was underbaked rather than overbaked—so next time I think I’ll swap the zucchini for bok choy or something and broil the egg for three minutes.
Oof, these are not pretty to look at, aren’t they? They look like the Incredible Hulk’s poop or something.
It’s probably a matter of using the wrong kind of matcha, but I’ve never been able to get a bright green colour out of anything I’ve baked with matcha. For this batch of cookies, I used a recipe for matcha cookies with white chocolate chunks, leaving out the chocolate.
I also ran out of egg and didn’t realize it until I’d already committed to the recipe, but one of the commenters on the post said they’d had success using 6 oz of applesauce instead. Now, this seemed like a lot of applesauce for replacing just one egg and an extra yolk, so I should’ve trusted my judgement and used a lot less, but instead I added about 113 g, or 4 oz.
It’s my fault that the cookies didn’t turn out amazing. Don’t get me wrong—I ate all of them, that’s how much I love matcha flavours—but the taste and texture left a lot to be desired. It was too soft and had no chew whatsoever, and tasted a little flat.
Twice-Baked Potatoes with Chorizo
This is a very generous interpretation of Fine Cooking’s recipe. Instead of sweet smoked paprika, I used regular paprika. Instead of Manchego, I used marble cheddar. I completely left out the roasted red pepper, sour cream, and parsley, because I didn’t have those on hand. You gotta make do with what you have!
Despite the modifications, Kevin had no complaints. I tried one as well and agree it was delicious! It’s such an easy recipe, too, so I’ll definitely be making this again.
Round 1 for Taco Thursday: Chorizo Breakfast Tacos
I bought some corn tortillas this week, planning to make Crunchwrap Supremes, but then I thought, in the meantime, why not use them for their ultimate purpose, tacos?! For lunch, I served up a simple recipe of chorizo “breakfast” tacos with potato hash and eggs on top, recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit.
Instead of frying the egg on a skillet, I cracked it directly onto the tacos before putting them in the oven. I didn’t squeeze the water out of the grated potatoes as directed, either, but this recipe was still a total success. The only thing Kevin said was missing was the chives, which would quickly be remedied this evening.
Also! He said he could’ve done without the eggs, which was totally surprisng to me. His final critique was that the tacos could be just a bit less cooked, as they were getting a little crispy and it was hard to fold them into a taco shape.
Round 2 for Taco Thursday: Chorizo Tacos with Chives
Dinner this evening was made with some improvisation on my part, but turned out great.
- 1 fresh chorizo or italian sausage taken out of its casing
- 1 small yellow onion
- 2—4 cloves of garlic (depending on how garlicky you like things)
- 1 small potato (approx 100 g or 4 oz)
- 4 corn tortillas
- Chives, hot sauce, and shredded cheese to garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 °F.
- Sautee one fresh chorizo sausage on high heat, breaking it up with your spatula as you go, then leave it to get a bit of sear on while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Dice up onion and garlic and add it to the skillet to caramelize.
- While that’s going on, finely grate potato and add it into the pan, moving it around in the skillet frequently.
- Line or spray a baking sheet. Lay the tortillas on it and spoon an equal amount of the skillet mixture into the center of each one. Top with cheese if desired and bake for about 3 minutes (or until the edges get a little brown).
- Serve hot and fresh with some chives if desired.
Also, we drizzled some hot sauce (Tabasco and Grace brands) to give it a little extra kick. It’s fantastic! Kevin also added that something creamy, like sour cream or a spicy mayo, would’ve elevated this even more.
Lifehack: if you don’t wanna go out and buy chives, just leave your onions sitting on the counter instead of in the fridge for a couple of weeks. BAM the freshest chives you’ll ever find! 😀
Reheated Frozen Salami Cheese Sandwich
I prepped this back in June for a quick meal solution. I finally got the opportunity to eat one today, as I woke up feeling hungry and very lazy.
I reheated it in the microwave, wrapped tight in a damp paper towel, which did a great job of sealing in the moisture. The bread wasn’t too tough or dry, however, the overall sandwich left a lot to be desired. It definitely filled me up, but the reheated salami had a slightly unpleasant smell to it and the bread had a bit of that old freezer odour.
A year ago I was totally into the idea of meal prep, freezer meals, and once-a-month-cooking. Now I’ve totally rejected those concepts. Frozen cooked food does not match up to fresh at all. I’m still all for frozen raw ingredients, but something cooked should be eaten immediately or within the next week. Food kept in the freezer just sucks so much.
Italian Sausage and Bok Choy Tacos
Well these tacos are a bit unorthodox. I sauteed up some fresh Italian sausage and chopped baby bok choy, and threw on some minced garlic, then topped it with avocados after I took them out of the oven (to add some of that creaminess Kevin wanted).
Kevin: “The Bok Choy surprisingly works.” The avocado didn’t, though, much to my surprise because my boy luvs avo. Looks like we’ll have to buy some spicy mayo for next time.
Greek Yogurt Scones
Once again, I was craving something carb-forward tonight, so I decided to try out these Greek yogurt scones.
I followed the recipe quite precisely, but I don’t think the baking time given in the recipe was nearly enough. The top was lovely and fragrant, but there were spots within the middle that were still gummy. Nevertheless, with all that butter, they were bound to taste rich and delicious.
The one odd thing that’s still a mystery to me is, it tastes distinctly cheesy, even though there’s no cheese in it at all. I didn’t think Greek yogurt would have such a strong cheesy flavour once baked! Kevin even went so far as to say that this dough would make a great pizza crust, lol! In fact, it was supposed to be sweet, what with the raisins in there. I ate it with some more huckleberry jam. It was definitely edible, but the cheese taste was so weird and unexpected.
Shitty Italian Sausage
Well, there’s not much to say here either. This was the single remaining sausage in the fridge, and it was taking up quite a lot of room in its bulky container, so I decided to get rid of it. I threw it in the oven’s middle rack and checked on it every few minutes until it looked decently browned. The taste is quite good, even if it does look like an actual turd.
Baked Fresh Teriyaki Tofu
Remembering how delicious a simple teriyaki glazed tofu can be, I decided to try it again, this time using “fresh tofu.” Despite my love of tofu, I’m actually not too sure on what differentiates the different kinds of tofu are—I think this is because I adore tofu so much I’m willing to eat any and every variety without discrimination—but I’m only aware of “silky,” “soft,” “firm” and “extra firm.” I’m guessing fresh tofu is somewhere between a soft and firm, which is supported by the results of this baking experiment.
As you can see, these tofu could quite puffy in the oven, and when I bit into them, there was still a good amount of water. Again, even though I baked these for longer than my last batch, they could do with even more browning and crispiness on the edges. Not quite as tasty as the batch made with firm tofu, but definitely not bad. With some taco seasoning, I could see this as a pretty good filling for tacos.
Samyang Spicy Dumplings, Fried
I wasn’t a huge fan of these dumplings the last time I tried them, but this time I tried pan-frying them after boiling. The crispy skin definitely proved to be an enhancement, but the overall flavour still isn’t there for me. These aren’t bad by any means, it just tastes a bit flat, and not quite as savoury as you’d expect from the wonderful smell.
At least this time I finished the pack, which leaves more room in the freezer for future dumpling tests.
Japanese Tofu Bread with Huckleberry Jam
I had high hopes for this tofu bread recipe, because tbh I’m excited by the idea of adding tofu into everything . The last time I’d made a tofu bun, it had been better than my expectations. However, this batch didn’t turn out quite as well. I actually made this bread twice today—once in the morning and once in the evening—following the same recipe. The flavour is definitely good, but there was a distinct taste of alcohol. The inside was SOOO GUMMY. Either it was overproofed (I’m leaning towards this, because of that alcoholic odour) or underbaked (although, as you can see, the top crust was edging into burnt territory), because some of the slices toward the end of the loaf became so squished by the pressure of my knife alone as I sliced it that they became inedible.
Honestly, it was a little gross! and I’m disappointed, because I was looking forward to some good strong bread to spread heaps of huckleberry jam on. Instead, I got loose, fragile crumbs that were barely strong enough to hold the bread itself together, nevermind a thick layer of jam.