Verdict: Win

I bought a jar of kimchi last semester and unfortunately haven't had the chance to use it. I was determined to not let it go to waste, so I found the recipe above. I liked it because it was a little more complex ingredients-wise than other recipes that I found, but was still simple to make. All of the ingredients were mixed together and then put in the fridge for a few hours before dinner. Changes: liberally added the soy sauce and sesame oil, and omitted the sambal (sriracha all the way!). I also added one shaved carrot that easily picked up the taste of the kimchi. Next time I'll shave two carrots, just to be able to eat more vegetables and dilute the kimchi flavor a bit. If you like kimchi, then the flavor is good. Cooking the kimchi toned it down a bit, and after DY's suggestion of lowering the temperature to medium, the chicken came out more tender. I served this over a bed of leftover lo mein noodles, which I think acted as a good canvas for the strong kimchi flavor.

Verdict: Win

I've been putting off this recipe for nearly 2 weeks now. I'm not much of a soup baby, but this soup hit the spot. Because I didn't already have roast chicken, I had to divide the recipe into 4 parts and use 3 pots and 1 pan. I substituted roast chicken with home-cooked chicken leg quarters. Instead of leeks, I chopped up a yellow onion. I also added chopped celery and used a little extra Sichuan peppercorns. Below is an adapted version of the recipe, in 4 parts.

Verdict: Win

I stopped by Asia Market last week and was pleasantly surprised that a pound of glutinous rice flour only cost a buck, so I picked up 2 1-lb bags with the intent of making sesame balls, tang yuan, mochi, or nian gao.

DY and I made tang yuan tonight just because it was so easy and fast, and we needed something sweet post-dinner. He filled his up with store-bought red bean pasta, whereas I ate mine plain in a homemade ginger-brown sugar syrup. They had a little bit of an adverse rice dough smell/taste, so next time I'm going to use sugar water (with a lot of sugar) instead of plain water, as well as fill more of them with red bean paste. The recipe still did the job and it was rather nostalgic.

***Update 1/29
I stored my leftovers in a container with the syrup, and it looks like not only did the tang yuan double in size after absorbing the syrup, but they also lost that odd dough smell/taste after reheating them in the microwave. Yum!

Dropped by Walmart yesterday night because I was too tired to study, so instead I picked up 10 lbs of chicken for next week's big dinner and some Montreal chicken seasoning. I vaguely remembered Cecil telling me it tasted great with tilapia, so I picked it up since I couldn't find celery seed and other overly priced spices.

Dinner was so basic that I won't include a recipe. Simply thawed and washed tilapia fillets, seasoned with the Montreal chicken seasoning and some cilantro, and stuck them on a pan in the oven for 16 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Then I stir-fried some broccoli with garlic and salt and drizzled with lemon juice. I also had a bag of carrots to use up, so I took one and shaved it. Stuck the shavings, salt, and lemon juice in the wok, put the lid on, and cooked it for a few minutes. I like carrots, but sometimes the big chunky pieces don't bide well with my stomach. These shavings were much easier to digest.

And I love lemons. That's all.

Verdict: Win

This dish is not Chinese. It's so American. (Ok, maybe it's Chinese-American). Usually I don't care for bastardized Chinese dishes because I think it takes away from the true deliciousness of real Chinese food, but now and then I'm okay with it. This dish I was very okay with, and I forgive it for not being 100% Chinese. The sweet (but not too much!) and sour tangy-ness was exactly what I needed today. I made very few changes: substituted yellow and red peppers with green peppers because they are cheaper and I am a poor college student (though I prefer red and yellow peppers all the way), and I added 2 teaspoons of cornstarch to thicken the sauce a bit. All in all, I am satisfied. Now to go tackle homework.

Ah, I love my roommates. First Em inspired DY and I to make yummy pizzas after eating her yummy calzones. Then Sarah made some delicious chicken parmesan that I was lucky enough to taste. Better yet, she said it was an easy recipe and shared it right away! I love my roommates...(did I mention that Rachael is particularly talented with jello?).

Here's Sarah's recipe before I forget it. I need to write it down so I remember it myself.

***Update 2/23/2011 10:38 PM
Sarah has her mom's exact recipe here :)

Verdict: Win

DY just got hungry. Well, I was hungry too, but I've been unusually ravenous all week. I suggested making baked oatmeal because, frankly, all DY has in his cupboard is oatmeal, raisins, salt, and sugar. Great. I did have to drop by my house for a few ingredients, as well as swipe some milk and vanilla extract from DY's roommates (after obtaining approval), but overall this recipe is quite simple. We substituted the dried cranberries with raisins and almost forgot the cinnamon. The recipe called for a 9x13 inch pan, but recipe barely covered the bottom of the pan. Next time I'll use a smaller pan or double the recipe. The baked oatmeal wasn't as crispy as I typically like (instead, it was rather soft and flimsy), but it still pleasantly helped subside our hunger.

I'm really confused right now. For as long as I remember, my parents have called congee "zuo." I looked up congee on wikipedia and found that the Chinese word for congee is "zhou." I googled everywhere, I can not find evidence that congee is also called "zuo" in Chinese. I feel cheated.

Anyway, DY wasn't feeling to hot this afternoon (or so he says), so I cooked up a pot of congee for him. Congee is basically a rice porridge that is light and easy on the stomach (perfect for the unwell). Typically, my family makes regular white rice congee or sweet congee with red beans, but my preference is actually inspired by my last meal in Hong Kong. In the Hong Kong airport before my departure back to the states, I grabbed a bowl of chicken and black preserved egg congee from a fast food chain restaurant. It was unbelievably good and exactly what I needed.

I've made chicken congee a few times now, but as a novice I started with this recipe. Now, I just eyeball it and adjust accordingly. It's so easy to make, especially with leftovers. Below is an extremely rough recipe (until I can get actual measurements).

Verdict: Win

I wanted to try this recipe out in hopes of serving it at the Chinese New Year party. Although the consensus was a win, I'm not sure how I feel about these tarts. My biggest problem with them was the difficulty of handling the dough. The dough was very stiff and crumbly, so I couldn't roll them like how they did in the recipe. Instead, I was forced to make little pies/tarts by lining the cupcake tins with the dough and just placing the pineapple on top. Once baked, the dough was really crumbly, and for me, borderline dry. I'm not going to give up, though, because it still was kind of tasty. Next time I'm going to try whipping the butter until it's fluffy, and possibly use more butter or add a touch of ice cold water to the dough.

Verdict: Win

I really liked this dish! I cheated and used ground pork instead of pork tenderloin just because it was in my fridge. It was still pretty good, but next time I definitely want to try cooking with the pork tenderloin, and am going to use dark soy sauce and add some more cornstarch to the actual sauce. It was a quick dish and finally a way that I could eat some vegetables. I like this the best with a touch of Sriracha sauce.

Verdict: Win

I was a little disappointed by this recipe, but it was still tasty. Most of the problem was that I didn't have all of the proper ingredients, so I made several substitutions. Next time I am definitely getting the right ingredients (like dark soy sauce! the color wasn't right without it). Additionally, the chicken was a little pink inside, so next time I am also going to boil the chicken on high for a little longer. I actually made this dish a day in advance because I wanted to chicken to soak in the sauce over night for better flavor, and it also made the next day much easier for me. Unfortnately, I didn't get to try the ginger and scallion dip, but I would like to next time.

Verdict: Win

I had a bad sore throat and headache tonight, which prevented me from effectively studying biochemistry. Instead, I craved chocolate chip cookies, so I whipped these up. In the process, I ended up feeling a lot better (until I gobbled down two cookies, which led to a sugar overdose). Honestly, I was craving the best chocolate chip cookies from one of the dining halls, but since I lacked the recipe I tried to substitute with "one of the best" chocolate chip cookie recipes out there (according to the food blog world). These cookies were pretty tasty, but they had a slight off-putting dough smell, even after baking them (maybe it's just me who doesn't like that doughy smell). I used bittersweet chocolate baking chips, but next time I'd like to use semi sweet chocolate chunks (or large chips) just because I like my cookies a little sweeter. I'll also add some chopped nuts (pecans or almonds or something delicious). Finally, I under baked these cookies by a minute for chewier cookies, but it wasn't exactly the kind of chewy that I was looking for. Overall these were really good, but I'm still on the search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie (I may try David Lebovitz's version next).

Verdict: Win

All in all, I liked this recipe a lot more than the allrecipes version. I tweaked the original recipe a little bit because I didn't have some of the ingredients. WARNING: add a ton of Sichuan peppercorns only if you want your face to go numb. love.

Inspired by Em's recent homemade calzones, DY and I whipped up some homemade pizza for lunch today. I like my pizza with a thin crust, while he likes his nice and fluffy, so we each made our own pizza.

Pre-Baked

Post-Baked

Bulgogi from Allrecipes

Verdict: Meh

Not a complete win because my finished product wasn't truly bulgogi, but more of a beef stir-fry. DY didn't slice the beef thin enough. It's too cold to grill, so instead I cooked the beef in a wok. The onions were great (side note - add more next time), but the beef was not tender enough the first time (note to self - chopped Asian pears will not tenderize the meat well enough), but we salvaged it the second time by adding some cornstach-water mixture and applying the velveting technique when I stir-fried. Instead of a rump roast, I think I'll use flank steak or some kind of tenderloin next time. And possibly a different recipe.

Arabbiata Sauce from Allrecipes

Verdict: Meh

Part of this fail might be the fact that (as DY puts it) I just don't know how to cook non-Asian foods because I don't exactly know what it's supposed to taste like. I know what tastes good, but I'm not sure what's missing when something doesn't taste right. I was really looking forward to trying this sauce, though, because during our trip to Mexico we had this fabulous penne with an arabbiata sauce that had a good spicy bite to it, but was still so tasty. This sauce, however, didn't have much depth to it and was boring, despite it's spiciness.

Verdict: Win

I've never cooked fish before, but it was a nice change from chicken for once. It wasn't amazing, but still likeable because it was light and was drizzled with lime juice (making me reminisce of Mexico). Some parts were squishier and not as flaky as others, though I don't know what to do to fix that. I would add more salt and lime next time to jazz it up.

Garlic Shrimp With Basil, Tomatoes, And Pepper Flakes from Serious Eats

Verdict: Meh

This fail has nothing to do with the recipe, and everything to do with me. Strike one: bought pre-cooked shrimp. Strike two: didn't use fresh basil. Strike three: just kind of winged it...which in some cases can work, but this time it didn't. The whole dish wasn't bad, per se, but I didn't care for it. I served linguine instead of orzo with the dish, which may be another strike, because DY says I suck at cooking pasta (okay, he didn't say that, but it was implied). I did, however, absolutely love the little cooked grape tomatoes. Grape tomatoes may be my favorite kind of tomatoes ever.

Verdict: Win

I'm not sure how Asian this take on cashew chicken is, but DY and I still enjoyed it. I used soy sauce, but used less than for what it asked for in fear of making the dish too salty. Instead of raw cashews, I used the roasted and salted cashews (only available cashews at Walmart...) and omitted any salt. As a vegetable component, I added chopped celery (very mom-esque), but omitted the mushrooms. I did use the optional minced ginger though. The chicken was pretty tender (even without cornstarch).

Grilled Chicken Fajitas from Annie's Eats

Verdict: Win

First, I have to say that I love Annie's Eats not only because the recipes are wonderful, but I love hearing about Annie's life, who is a resident physician in Indy with a family consisting of her husband and a beautiful baby boy. Her life just seems too perfect.

Anyway, I cheated and had to pan-fry the chicken since it's too cold outside to grill chicken. I also just served it over rice, instead of on a tortilla, because it was going into my (now broken) bento box. I omitted the cilantro (I'm cheap) and only stir-fried one bell pepper. I liked the touch of the Worcestershire sauce and the lime. It's a little plain pan-fried on rice, so next time I'd like to try following the recipe to the tee.