These past two weeks featured the basics: hot and salty, sweet and sour. Salt and pepper on shrimp, vinegar in pie, vinegary chopped “mayo”, salty fish sauce with lime and sugar.
So far, knowing exactly what I have in my pantry and being feeling accountable for using items has really proved motivational. In the past 9 days, I have made ramen noodles from scratch, baked a pie, and tried my hand at Korean pancakes. I’m an inspiration!
Some things take planning, but the payoff is worth it. In order to have challah French toast, I first needed to bake challah. Continue reading “Pantry Update #4: Premeditated brunch”
Until Fronx suggested “how about soba noodles? or udon” on Friday, this past week was dominated by takeout and fresh ingredients. Continue reading “Pantry Update #3: French treats and fresh vegetables”
Good thing it was just me and Fronx for dinner, and neither of us were that hungry.
After my recent successes, today I was weak. For tonight’s dinner, I wanted to use up some fresh ingredients I had, and I really wanted to finally make rava upma. Two problems: I used a poor recipe for the rava upma, and none of the dishes I made went together.
It has been almost a week since I posted my pantry inventory, and since then I have prepared five different dishes for three different meals using (or using up) items! That doesn’t even include the cheddar omelette and vegetarian carbonara I made with fresh things I already had around.
When brainstorming dinner plans (as we drank our breakfast coffees) I said I was thinking of perhaps roasting vegetables. Fronx said he would rather have something crunchy, like a Greek salad. Vegetables and low effort was the main motivation for me suggesting roasted vegetables, so I agreed that Greek salad was also good.
But thinking about romaine lettuce reminded me of the fantastic grilled meal we’d had over at Ole’s in the summer …
The only thing I wanted to eat when I was in NYC was Chinese food that I can’t get in Berlin. I succeeded.
In addition to a lunch stop at Congee Village, I ended up having what is my new all time favourite Chinese dish, Biángbiáng noodles, from the Shaanxi province, brought to New York by Xi’an Famous Foods in 2005. I have since learned, from this great post on Lady and Pups, that “Xi’an famous foods” is a known phrase in Chinese referring to a collection of dishes from Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi province. The chain has been so successful and influential that is even has its own Wikipedia entry.
Upon my return – actually, no, it was when I was still at Newark waiting for the plane home – I looked up how to get these amazingly sloppy, slippery wide noodles in Berlin. And the only way was to make them myself. Using the Lady and Pups recipes as my guide, I made a vegetarian version using a trio of mushrooms instead of lamb.
Morgan has been on a mapo tofu kick since he went to Mission Chinese when he was in San Francisco. Even before he got back from that trip, the Lucky Peach newsletter landed in his inbox, including the mapo tofu recipe from Mission Chinese!
The very tasty recipe is here:
After sourcing all the ingredients (except the beef fat), Morgan invited me over to prepare it. We made it using a technique best described as “pair cooking”, a reference to “pair programming”. In pair programming, often one person is at the keyboard doing all of the typing, and the second person formulates and talks over ideas with the person typing.
It was four years ago this month that I made myself shakshuka for the first time. At that time, a future with Fronx in it was uncertain. I spent an indulgent Sunday cooking for myself. Today, I spent an indulgent morning cooking for the two of us, and he popped out for bread while I finished up. Bliss.