Pantry Update #7: And then I got the flu

A week ago, Fronx was over having the flu, and I didn’t have the flu. I made a tasty Thai red curry with loads of shrimp and mushrooms. Tuesday I ate out with Morgan (liver and onions, mmm) but before I got home that night I was completely run down, coughing, and my neck hurt.

And then I was the sickest I’ve been for ages. My body ached a lot, and constantly. I barely got out of bed. I did manage to make food for myself here and there. And then, just as I was getting well enough to at least leave the house, Fronx got sick again. Today, I worked from home as he rested in bed, and I made us a big pot of vegetable broth and some wontons.

Dish #28: Thai red curry

I went heavy on the mushrooms in this version because we had a bunch of mushrooms we needed to use up while they were still fresh and plump.

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From back in the days before the flu.

Dish #29: Experimental noodles

This was definitely not my finest hour, culinarily. Spaghetti with some stuff thrown on top. Specifically with chili crisp, soy sauce, black vinegar, sesame oil, salt and pepper mix, and chopped cilantro.

I think the salt and pepper mix was a mistake. It just seemed to make the noodles gritty, and made them smell sort of dusty. I also should have mixed the noodles around in the sauces before putting cilantro on. But overall, for someone sick and hungry, they worked.

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Maybe … maybe I don’t like white pepper because it mostly smells like dirt to me.

Dish #30: French toast

Maple syrup
Maple syrup

On my second sick day, I made myself French toast using the last of leftover challah that I had stashed in the freezer. It was okay. Unlike the time I made it before, I did not have any salted butter, or cream cheese, or even lemons to zest. Compared to the glorious stack I’d made back in January, these were cloyingly sweet with little personality. Now I truly know the value of my earlier presentation efforts.

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So much promise! I also ended up dumping out the coffee since it was too stale.


Bonus dish: 6-minute eggs on sautéed vegetables with buttered toasted baguette

For a dinner, I made myself a simple dish of vegetables and 6-minute eggs with toast. I’m not counting this dish since I used fresh ingredients and olive oil only.

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This was good!

Dish #31: Udon

Udon turned out to be part of an all-day Japanese theme. On Saturday, the one day where I seemed to be recovering, and Fronx was unaware he was about to fall down sick again, we managed to go to Mamecha for bento lunches. Then Brooke came over and served us matcha and we shared a selection of cakes I bought from Mamecha for the occasion. Then later on I whipped up cold udon for us. A lovely day, though napping was required to get through it. Fronx went to bed early.

Cakes! Matcha!
Udon with steamed shrimp and all the trimmings


Dish #32: Small-batch brownies

On Sunday, we dragged ourselves out to our favourite place for phở. On the way home, Fronx said he wanted a brownie and was there a place on the way home he could get one. A quick search online, and I realized I had all the ingredients to make them at home, if I made a half batch (though, without the icing). They were pretty cute. We ate them up and then passed out from a combination of exhaustion and sugar coma.

ps: I ended up substituting brown sugar for white, because I was out of white sugar.

The glossy tops were like a thin toffee

Dish #33: Spicy cold celery salad

Whoa, I only just realized that I put basically these same ingredients in my experimental noodles earlier in the week. Anyway, on celery the combo works great. Or maybe I should have used the ingredients in the same proportions as in this recipe, mixed them first, and then let the noodles sit in it for 5 minutes. Anyway, the salad was great. For more details and a photo, see Pantry Update #1.

ps: I used palm sugar in place of white sugar.

Bonus dish #2: Pasta and sauce

Here is a short video I made of some tomatoes and zucchini softening in some olive oil flavoured with garlic. I later dumped a jar of Barilla arrabiata in there, and served it on fusilli with more olive oil drizzled on. The lightly caramelized zucchini and the extra oil did a really fine job of making up for the fact that we did not have any cheese.

Dish #34: Shiitake and cabbage wontons in homemade vegetable broth

I’m still coughing a lot, but I am mobile now, so today I worked from home, and used the opportunity to make vegetable stock from the stuff in the freezer and going wilty on the counter. I pumped up the flavour by tossing in some cubes of frozen shiitake re-hydration liquid. The result is a dark, rich broth. I made the broth to accompany some shiitake and napa cabbage wontons. I further seasoned the soup with soy sauce, sesame oil, and fresh ginger.

So, here’s the thing. I did not like the wontons. Like, take-it-out-of-my-mouth-half-eaten level of did not like. I don’t know if Lucky Peach 101 Easy Asian Recipes failed me, or if I failed Lucky Peach 101 Easy Asian Recipes. I followed its recipe for the vegetarian dumpling filling, but used it to put in wontons. The recipe calls for cornstarch. Maybe as dumplings, the filling has longer to cook, but in the wontons, I found that the cornstarch remained uncooked and pasty. I also thought they were mostly bland. Fronx thought they were yummy.

ps: I bought more white sugar today. Just in case you were wondering.


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Looks good, though, yes?


Items used up: two
Items added: none
Items partly used: twelve
Items used from the “Just use already” category: none

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