Monday, May 11, 2009

new year's resolution, step one

I've been whining about not being able to cook for years now. This is quite sad. So I've resolved to make bento lunch boxes at least twice each week. So I'm taking steps towards fulfilling one of my perennial new years' resolutions.


Also, a friend inspired me with his easy and scrumptious home-made Japanese curry. It looked like a lot of fun.


I tried to make 4 things on Saturday. One dish turned out quite well, one wasn't bad, and the other 2 were edible but not exactly good. It was my second time making 3 of the dishes, but I followed slightly different recipes.

A good experience for me, but it took 3 hours, all in all! I need a tool for shredding stuff. And how do you slice carrots diagonally?


The scorecard:
stir-fried asparagus and carrot

stir-fried shredded potatoes

teriyaki chicken (Yee Kum Kee sauce recipe)
cabbage and egg stir-fry

On asparagus and carrots:
I loosely followed this recipe for the asparagus and carrot stir fry:

Ever since my roommate made the dish years ago, I've wanted to replicate it for myself, as I've never seen it in Chinese restaurants.

I ignored the water chesnuts (didn't have any, and my roommate didn't use any) and cilantro (yuck), and didn't have nearly as much asparagus as needed, and instead of julienne cut I sliced the carrots thinly in diagonals (but they turned out as ovals). Despite all of these ad hoc modifications, the dish turned out quite tasty. I will try making it again this week for bento lunch to bring to work.

I really need to find my totoro lunch box; it's very annoying to have bought it (against my better judgement) and to not be able to find it. It's probably in that wall of boxes that refuses to unpack itself in the corner of my room.

On shredded potatoes:
I love this dish where the potatoes are washed free of starch so that they are crunchy, and lightly seasoned with salt and spicy green peppers (and probably some msg). However, I haven't quite found the right recipe. A lot of recipes add carrots and green onions, and while those are probably quite tasty, they are not the dish I am trying to re-create. Actually, I tried green onions and didn't think it added anything to the dish. I've managed to get the texture of the potatoes satisfactorily, but the taste still doesn't match my memory. I will try again! It takes way too long to julienne the potatoes though... must find tool.

On teriyaki chicken:
I followed the recipe on the back of the sauce packet, but in my opinion boiling chicken in sauce is very difficult to do without overcooking the chicken. I just don't know how to do it. The sauce itself isn't bad.

On shredded cabbage and egg:
I found a recipe that uses onion and cabbage, but in my opinion the onion just doesn't go very well with the cabbage. I'm going to try again with just cabbage. I also need to learn to make an egg pancake without over cooking the egg...

Cooking is fun, because I make whatever I want, but it's hard to actually replicate what it is I'm trying to make! I'm eating more veggies this way though.

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