Mac & Cheese

I’m going to stop trying to figure out the weather, as it’s cold one day and hot the next and now the winter winds are kicking up.  I used to really enjoy the sound of strong winds, until last winter when it knocked out the power in our house for three days.  I just have to keep my closet stocked with summery dresses and winter sweaters (although tights are always a nice accessory to help carry over thinner dresses into the autumn season.)

I haven’t posted any food-related posts lately, but luckily I have just the thing to break my dry spell- baked macaroni and cheese, mmmm.  Mac & cheese is one of things that elementary school ruined for me (for a while.)  My cafeteria was definitely not the worse eatery around, but it didn’t do some things very well.  Like mac & cheese.  Pretty sure it came out of a box (no offense to any Kraft lovers) as it was the color of a Cheeto and tasted like chewy glue.  At least my younger self thought so.  Anyways, I refused to eat it for the longest time and it finally took a homecooked version to convince my taste buds that mac & cheese is a delicious dish.

My friend & former housemate used to make this recipe and I am very happy she gave me the recipe she used, as it made for a very happy family over the weekend.

Gooey and crispy and crunchy and cheesy goodness, all smushed into one pan.  God, I’m salivating just thinking about it.

I had to make do with Colby Jack cheese instead of Sharp Cheddar like the recipe called for because our stash of orange cheese had turned into an appetizing white and green medley of mold (since I obviously check to see if we have all the proper ingredients when I cook/bake), but the taste didn’t change too much.  It was a little more mild in taste and creamier in texture, but overall nothing too dramatic.

Glad for SAD

Isn’t it a little scary that the older you get, the faster time flies?  Remember when you were 9, itching to be 10, thinking that a year was an insufferably long amount of time to finally reach the double-digits?  Don’t worry, I’m not launching into a nostalgic post about 2011- yet. We have to wait until it’s a little closer to New Year’s, don’t we?  But honestly- it’s a week until Christmas!  Where did time fly?  WHAT am I supposed to buy for my brother? He is literally the hardest person in the world to buy for, even more so than my grandparents, who have everything they could possibly ever want.

I made this spinach and artichoke dip (or SAD for short) for a potluck at my internship.  Apologies for not having any pictures; you can either blame me for not having a nice camera to take pictures with or you can blame me for forgetting to take a picture in my haste to eat the dip.  Of course, I had to make my own tweaks to the recipe, because what would be the point of me posting a food-related post if I just copied it word for word?  Then I would just be stealing the author’s recipe, although I doubt they can claim credit for having invented the SAD.

Firstly, I obviously had to omit the mayonnaise because I hate it.  And I was reasonably sure that not having it wouldn’t mess with the texture too much.  And because I’m a lazy resourceful cook, I didn’t want to buy a pack of mozerella cheese because I already had a pack of “Mexican” cheese, aka a 4 cheese blend that included mozzarella.  Added some salt and pepper and more Parmesan cheese (honestly, you can’t really mess SAD up), and voila.  I had a yummy SAD.  It was easy to make and, more importantly, could be made well in advance.  The reasoning for this was twofold.  One, because who likes cold SAD?  No one.  And since my commute is at least 30 minutes, it wouldn’t have made sense for me to bake it at home and then again at work.  And two, the dial on our oven fell off, which meant that although the oven still worked, you couldn’t tell what temperature it was on.  Luckily, it’s fixed now.

My house is currently prepping for Christmas, which we are hosting this year (which is usually about 90% of the time).  We’re expecting more people than my aunt’s birthday (that was only 19 people-a “small” number in my family), probably around 25+ people.  So of course, we’ve got to scrub the house from top to bottom, buy food, the works.  It’s tiring, but so worth it.  There’s nothing nicer than being with your family and loved ones during the holidays, don’t you think?


90’s Nostalgia and Scallion Pancakes

It’s the weekend, so prepare yourself for a nice long post.

I went to a 90’s themed party last night, which made me feel super old.  Were the 90’s so long ago that we can already have themed parties about it?  Apparently yes.  As I was thinking about what to wear, I realized that in the 90’s, I had no real conception of style.  I’m pretty sure I wore whatever my mom bought for me.  Anyways, they went all out and got 90’s snacks (like Fruit by the Foot) and of all things, Squeeze-its.  I used to love those things as a kid.  I haven’t seen them in the grocery store for so long, so I’m a little suspicious about the expiration date on them, but I haven’t died yet.  Anyways, drinking one last night, I don’t know why I ever liked them because they taste AWFUL.  Like watered down Kool-Aid.

Speaking of nostalgia, I’m slowly starting to clean out the house that I’ve been living in for the last three years, and it’s a little bittersweet.  I’m happy to move out because the management sucks, but it’s a little weird to move out permanently.  For the last three years, I’ve moved out in the summer knowing that I’ll be back in the fall, but this time around, I won’t be coming back.  I’ve had the same room and taking down all my decorations made me sad and also returned my room to its bare, cell-like state it was in prior to my arrival. But change is good, as is moving on with the next stage of my life (which will happen when a job comes my way which is hopefully soon!)

Building off of the nostalgia theme, today I made something I love to eat and have always been interested in making, but just never got around to it: green onion pancakes, a staple at Chinese restaurants.

I used this recipe, and only substituted kosher salt with regular salt because I didn’t have any kosher salt.  Also, you might notice that I have way more than one bunch of green onions, but that’s because the Korean market I go to had a sale for 3 bunches for $0.99.  I love Asian grocery stores.  Everything is so cheap but still of decent quality.  Plus, I like a lot of green onions in my pancakes.

Please enjoy a few photos that I took while making them (which is not an easy thing to do when your hands are covered in oil):

They turned out pretty good, considering that this was my first time making them.   I like to eat mine with rice porridge or in today’s case, a dipping sauce of soy sauce and vinegar, a mixture that only partially takes the place of the black vinegar we use at home.  It took me about 2.5 hours to make and the recipe made 8 medium pancakes.

Some things that I noted while making them:

1. Although lots of green onions are good, you can’t put too many in your dough or else when you roll out the pancakes, the heavy onions will fall out and make holes.

2. You think you’ve used enough oil?  You haven’t.  There’s a good reason why the literal meaning of the Chinese name is “green onion oily cake.”  I found that in order for the dough not to stick to the pan, my hands, the rolling pin, etc. I had to brush oil on every surface after every batch of dough.  You can try to get away with using less oil, but good luck not having it stick to everything.

3. You should roll out the dough to be as thin as you can without ripping it.  I didn’t roll it out too much the first time and while the pancake was still tasty, it was a little too dense.

Don’t get too used to food entries, because I’m definitely not a foodie, but they’ll show up every once in a while.