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Cooking Project: Reverse Sear

So this weekend I was feeling a little tired and I also wanted to try something new–so I decided to get some extra Iron into my system and make some steaks! It was actually the first time I’ve ever cooked a steak and the first time I’ve cooked beef since before I was pescetarian for a little over a year.

I had read about a technique called reverse sear, which essentially means that you cook the interior of the steak first and the exterior last. This is in contrast to the typical process, where grillmasters will sear the steak to “lock in” the fats and juices, and then finish the rest of the steak in the oven to get it to its right temperature. One of the advantages of reverse searing is that you are more easily able to evenly cook the entire steak and maximize the area of the ideal doneness. Searing the steak first will generally cause different “layers” of doneness within the steak due to the uneven heating; as a result, only a small part of the middle is actually the truly desired outcome.

Here’s the process:

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Austintatious

Long time no blog, but honestly I really should post more–especially considering I have some more free time. Anyways, In the last few months, I’ve:

  • Gotten a new, awesome job
  • Moved to Ohio for said job
  • Trained and completed a marathon
  • Turned 25

I could recap all of those, but hey, might as well move forward and not dig too far back. Anyways, to celebrate my 25th birthday I went to FunFunFunFest in Austin, TX and got to see one of my best friends, hear some of my favorite artists, and devour some of the best Tex-Mex this country has to offer (although I’ll say, my favorite Mexican torta still resides in Columbus). Not pictured: a beautiful run around the Colorado River, Texas’s football victory over ranked West Virginia, and even more food.

Here are the photos. I think I’ll start taking more of these.

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Culinary adventures from the past week: rendering duck fat and shucking oysters.

This past week was quite an adventure in the cooking realm. Last weekend, my roommate and I went to Jessup, MD to a fish market to scoop up 112 oysters (and 4 lbs of mussels for myself). We also learned to shuck them as well, which is not nearly as easy as it looks — some took about five minutes just to shuck! However, it made it all the more rewarding.
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Taiwan Panoramas

Pursuant to my last post, here are some of the panoramic photos I took while I was in Taiwan. Click to enlarge, then click again to see them in their full glory:

View from the 89th floor of Taipei 101. (Click here for full-size)

Juxtaposition of the giant duck in Kaohsiung. (Click here for full-size)

View from the top of the hike of Jiantan Mountain. (Click here for full-size)

View from the coastal side of Tamsui. (Click here for full-size)

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Vacation to Taiwan!

It’s actually been one of my longest goals to go back to Taiwan. The last time I’d been to the island was when I was 2; and, needless to say, I don’t remember anything from the trip! Unfortunately, with school, a lack of breaks, expenses, and work (in that order) it wasn’t a possibility to return for the longest time. Thankfully, the stars all aligned this past October and, two $1,400 tickets later, my mom and I were jetset across the Pacific for ten days in Taiwan. I took over 1400 pictures during the trip, but I’ll trim to down to the more interesting snapshots.
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The West Coast Food Diary

So late late November (yes, this posting is ridiculously late), I decided to go on a solo West Coast tour through the wondrous cities of Seattle, Portland, San Franciso, San Diego, and Los Angeles. Armed with a lot of paid vacation time, the soundtrack of Kendrick Lamar’s “Good Kid M.A.A.D. City”, a resourceful amount of Yelp! reviews, and a nice shiny debit card, I ended up having a pretty good time. I’ll spare from the typical travel stories — those are best told in person (ok, except for maybe the Golden Gate Bridge double-rainbow that I already blogged amount) — and instead show the journey through food. The West Coast had a ridiculous amount of culinary specialties and tastes that I simply did (slash do) not have access to in the suburbs of Washington D.C.

Here are the dishes and their stories.

First up was Paseo in Seattle. One of the more famous sandwich shops in Seattle.  It was a bit far away from my hostel in the Fremont district, so I bussed all the way up there. Internet rumors are the place gets so busy that they often end up selling out of rolls and have to shut down early.

I had the Sauteed Prawn sandwich. Came with some wonderful aioli and crisp bread. Absolutely delicious. The sauteed onions are just as good as they look–they were whipping out entire cast iron skillets of them at a time. So mouth watering.


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“The Rainbow and the Bridge.” The only proverb I’ll ever write.

Let me forecast this story as something that’s pretty corny. But seeing as I’ve rarely been inspired to actively blog, I have to say that this was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had.

For a brief backstory, I began to enjoy running over the summer. I was working longer hours over the summertime for my job, so a lot of my stress relief was dictated through forms of exercise–whether it be dancing, running, or lifting. Eventually, I had run so far that I decided to run in the Seattle Half-Marathon for my first road race. (If you’re asking “why so far away from VA?”, the answer is that I also had a lot of vacation time saved up from the year!). The half marathon in itself is another story–I smashed my race goal–but basically I traveled to Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco for a 9-day “tour of awesome” (as described by a couple of locals I met in Portland).


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DC Records Fair diggin’

So, believe it or not, my mom of all people told me about this records fair in DC. I’ve been a bit out of touch with the vinyl since working full time, but I still enjoy the occasional dig. At first I was a bit hesitant to go due to the fact that it was published in the Washington Post, and that dealers always know what vinyls are worth what (I prefer digging in the non-priced bins). Even so, everyone I met was pretty nice about it and the prices were reasonable. Came away with some cool stuff and it was a good vibe. Good music playing and people were just hungry for that good music. Here are some of my finds:

LP, still mint.


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Recipe: Cajun Bacon Mac-and-Cheese

I made this a while ago, but it’s one of my favorites. It’s pretty simple to make.

You’ll need:

  • Diced green bell pepper
  • Cheeses–mozzarella, gouda, white cheddar, sharp cheddar are the ones I used. Shred them all.
  • Box of macaroni pasta
  • Bacon
  • Milk
  • Some butter
  • Cajun spice mix
  • Panko/breadcrumbs

First, cook the bacon! All of it. And then break it up into little bacon bits.


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