Category Archives: Food

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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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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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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New Year’s Eve recipe: 12-hour Smoked Pork Shoulder

The end of the world is coming! Eat as good as you can.

So instead of doing an unnecessarily high expectation New Year’s event, my roommates and I decided to throw a BBQ potluck. The star dish of the day would be a smoked pork shoulder/butt (although they seem to be opposite ends, they are the same cut of meat). Mind you, neither of us had smoked anything in our leaves but we were eager with excitement. (This was my roommate’s idea by the way–I don’t want to steal the credit. Thus, we went to Costco and bought a 17 pounder of pork shoulder. We then cut it to half the size for maximum cooking efficiency to about 8 pounds and froze the rest.

The juices of the meat after unwrapping it:


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Recipe: Lunar New Year’s Bonanza – Four Dishes!

Chinese/Lunar New Year happened very recently so to celebrate I cooked some dishes up with my friends. Here are the ones I made:

Peanut Butter Noodles (Vegan)

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Peanut Butter Noodles

1 lb spaghetti
9oz peanut butter (Use half a jar; I prefer crunchy for texture)
5 tsp soy sauce (approx–you add to taste/thickness preference)
3 tsp red wine vinegar (approx–you add to taste/thickness preference)
2 tsp sesame oil
water (to thin it–up to you!)
cilantro

1. Boil spaghetti; when it is done, rinse and leave in cold water so it doesn’t stick together. The water will naturally turn warm from the spaghetti though so make sure to replace it with cold water again.
2. Mix together sesame oil, peanut butter, vinegar, and soy sauce. It should be like a pasta sauce consistency. The vinegar breaks it up. It’s ok if it’s a little thin! Add some water to make it thin. The soy sauce and vinegar is up to your taste preferences. However, the vinegar does not have too much taste; it’s more of a texture enhancer.
5. Mix with the cold noodles! Add sesame seeds on top and cilantro and toss the noodles around until it is mixed. So easy but very yummy and filling.

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Tofu and Seaweed Soup (Vegan)

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Seaweed Soup

1 package tofu (soft or very soft), cubed into about 1/2 inch or 1/4 inch
2-3 dried seaweed sheets
32 oz vegetable stock
Sriracha sauce (personal preference)

super easy recipe.
1. Boil vegetable stock.
2. Add tofu and seaweed.
3. Keep stirring.
4. Add Sriracha sauce! Enough to your taste!
5. You can also add an egg if you want and stir it around; it will be like an egg drop soup texture.
6. You can eat it like a soup or eat it over rice.

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Salt and Pepper Shrimp

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Salt and Pepper Shrimp

salt
pepper
some flour
1 lb shrimp (not peeled; everything on, even legs)
enough vegetable oil to deep fry

1. Rinse shrimp in some water. Leave it there.
2. In a small bowl, mix flower and salt and pepper. Put enough pepper so that it is visible to see it in the flour. Put about 15-20 shakes of salt.
3. Coat each shrimp in the flour; repeat for all shrimp.
4. Heat up a pan of vegetable oil.
5. Fry until it is golden brown!
You can eat these with the shell on (like the Asians do) or you can peel it. Either way, it should still be good!

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Scallion Pancakes (vegetarian)

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Scallion Pancakes

1 lb flour
water
green onions/scallions
salt
sesame seeds
vegetable oil

1. Mix flour and water. Be very conservative with the water–if it’s too sticky, add flour. But you don’t want it to be sticky and have no flour left!
2. In the meantime, chop up green onions and scallions into small pieces. Usually one typical sized bunch of green onions from the grocery store will be good enough; cut up to the point where the stalk stops being dark green.
3. Add the scallions into the dough. Add sesame seeds as well.
4. Add some vegetable oil to the dough; enough to the point where it is just a little greasy to handle the dough and that the dough won’t stick to a plate and comes off easily.
5. Grab a palmful of dough and roll it out like a snake. The longer the better.
6. Roll that snake like a snail.
7. Repeat for the rest of the dough
8. When ready to cook, flatten each pancake. This produces airbubbles and layers because of the snail structure being flattened. The outside will be crispy with a softer inside as well!
9. Put some vegetable oil into the pan, fry each one, flipping when one side looks nice and golden brown. Better to undercook than to overcook. They can still taste pretty good when doughy!
10. Serve with soy sauce or a soy sauce mixture. Enjoy.

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Recipe: Garlic and Soy Sauce Salmon with Sauteed Lemon Pepper Mushrooms

Mad easy recipe for you to cook. Takes less than 30 minutes.

Need (1 serving):

1 6oz portion Salmon (defrosted if frozen)
2 tbsp soy sauce
a few garlic cloves, depending on taste
a few pinches basil
a few grinds of black pepper
a few shakes of lemon pepper
5-6 regular mushrooms
extra virgin olive oil

What I ate it with:
1/2 avocado
a few shakes of Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
Sriracha sauce
Jasmine rice

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Salmon is such a great fish because it is really easy to cook, versatile, and very very healthy for you. Word to omega-3! It’s very tender too and works well with seasoning. Anyways, here are the steps:

1. Make sure salmon is defrosted or fresh. Peel then cut up or mince one clove of garlic and put it in a sandwich bag. Add 1 tbsp of soy sauce and add some black pepper and basil, not too much though. Just to whatever your taste is. Then add the salmon in the bag, seal, shake it to cover it with spices, and put it in the fridge while you prepare other things.
2. Heat up 2 pans, one to about medium heat the other to low. Add some EV olive oil. Cut up the mushrooms into slices. Mince another clove of garlic. Add 1/2 of that clove into the low-heat pan.
3. When the salmon is done, take it out and put it on the pan without the garlic. It will take a while to cook. Let the outsides get nice and semi-charred. The key is to not overcook the fish though; nothing is worse than dried-out seafood.
4. Put mushrooms in the pan with 1/2 the clove of garlic. Start sauteeing. Add a few shakes of lemon pepper to taste. Mushrooms are really easy to cook. When they start to get darker, softer, you’ll know when they are ready. Do not let them get too soggy though.
5. Salmon is ready when the inside doesn’t look raw. You can cut some parts open and take a peek.
6. Plate and serve. I ate mine with steamed jasmine rice and avocado with seasoning and hot sauce.

Feb 2 Dinner
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Enjoy!

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