Really excited for this one!

Hey guess what, I finally made a successful and delicious dish+dinner! You know what is even better? I didn’t use a recipe at all! I can say that I “developed” it on my own to put it in fancy food blogger terms. I think I just now realized that there are two types of cooks. Cooks that cook strictly from cookbooks and recipes, and ones that sort of just throw whatever they have together. Of course, as with anything, there are people who fall in between. It’s not just black and white like that. However, I think that I fall pretty close into the latter group. I tend to cook out of my head.  I look at tons of recipes, and hopefully one day I’ll be good enough to pull those recipes from my head and adjust and tweek them to what I have to cook with. That also explains another reason why I haven’t been using Mark Bittman’s book recently. I know that the recipes in there are supposed to be simple and made with things you have in your pantry, but I often find myself lacking a few key ingredients essential in a lot of the dishes in the book. Of course, my pantry and fridge is different from your pantry and fridge, but it’s also fundamentally different because my family doesn’t really use “western staples”. Many recipes call for lemon, or cheese, or some type of herb that I don’t have. Also, the main ingredient in some of the recipes like certain types of fish or cuts of meat, I don’t have at home. And I can’t just go to the store and buy them whenever since I don’t yet know how to drive, and my mom is reluctant to make that trip just so I can make the dish and take a couple of photos.

So I guess that is my incredibly long excuse for not sticking to my plan and original goal. Come to think of it, that sums up my life pretty well; in fact, I should be studying for my Latin final, instead, I’ve spent an hour and a half cooking and eating and now going to spend another hour blogging and on there blogs.

Anyway, back to my original reason for the post. The food! I’ve always been a big fan of stuffed anything, specifically mushrooms. So, naturally since we had some delicious mushrooms at home, guess what I made?

The best part is, since this is my own recipe, I get to post a recipe on here like bloggers do on those nice, semi-professional food blogs!

Corn and Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms (are recipes capitalized like titles? It seems weird now that I’m actually typing one out myself)

Prep Time: 15 mins ( it took me a lot longer, but for the average person who knows what they’re doing and has read the finished recipe, that seems like a good amount of time)

Cook Time: 45 (total cook time, since there were multiple “sessions” of cooking)

Ingredients: ( is there any particular order to list them in?)

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup frozen corn (no need to pre-thaw)

2 slices of regular bakery bread

1/2 cup diced onion

salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp cayenne pepper (if you’re feeling spicy)

about 20-30 button or crimini mushrooms

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup Pellegrini Kitchens Lemon and Cilantro Artichoke Pesto (or any other tapenade/pesto)


To make the breadcrumbs (my style…probably not correct and very inefficient, but nonetheless still delicious)

1. Place the bread on a baking rack and bake at 375 for about 15 mins or until its crusty and golden brown. But not too brown, don’t burn it. Flip the bread over when half the time has passed to let it brown on both sides.

2. Once it’s done, just crumble it in your fists over a bowl. It should crumble really well into minuscule pieces, just like you grated or processed it. Since the inside of the slice won’t be as crusty, just chop up the rest of your remaining wad of bread and throw it in the bowl. The different textures of the extra crumbly finely “grated” crumbs and the chewy and crusty bits provide good contrast in this dish.

I did my filling and breadcrumbs together. Ignore the sliced onions.

The filling

1. Spread out the frozen corn on a baking sheet and the diced onions. You’ll probably have enough room to do them both at once like I did to save time, but you can do them separately if you wish also. Spread it into an even single layer. Drizzle 1 tbsp of the oil on the onions. Add some salt and pepper and the cayenne if you like. Bake at 375. The corn should be ready when its slightly more golden and  a bit more crusty, which should be about 10 mins. The onions need to stay in longer, about 5 or 10 minutes longer until they’re soft and browned and bubbling in the oil.

2. Combine the onions, corn, breadcrumbs, pesto, parmesan (not all of it, leave a bit for topping at the end, probably a tbsp), and 1 tbsp of olive oil in a bowl and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste, although at this point it was already nicely seasoned for me.

Mushroom Time!

1. Wash and dry your mushrooms well. Hollow them out by pulling out their stems, and then using a small, precise knife, carefully take out the root of the stem still attached in the well of the mushroom. Do so by inserting the knife at a 45 degree angle into one side of the cylindrical stem still remaining in the bottom of the mushroom, and the slowly rotating it around until you’ve made an incision around the entire part. Then just pluck it out.

2. Fill the mushrooms up! A little over the top is fine, just don’t let the stuffing fall out. Then sprinkle on the remaining parmesan and bake in a hot 375 degree oven for about 15 mins, or until the juice from the mushrooms is spilling out from the bottom and the tops of the stuffing look hardened.

Pre-baked mushrooms

There you have it! Hopefully that was helpful, and I explained it in a logical manner. It wasn’t too concise, but it’s okay because I was only aiming for clarity.

Yields about 20-30 mushrooms ( a bit redundant, but every recipe has a yield at the bottom)

I also made some scrambled eggs with our very own tomatoes and green onions from my mom’s backyard garden. I should show you a picture of the garden as it’s still in full bloom now. It’s very pretty.

It’s supposed to be a traditional Chinese tomatoes and eggs stir fry that looks like this:

but I stirred it waayyy too much and I put the green onions into the egg, and I didn’t have enough tomatoes to give the dish its moistness:

*sigh* I’ll have to work on that one, but luckily my mom is a pro at it so I can learn from her!

That’s it for now, phew that was a long post!



Finally made the cookies

It’s finals week, and everyone just looks like they need a break. That is why I thought, hey, those funfettti cookies that I was drooling over two days ago sound great. Thus, after some memorial day shopping, I went to our HEB (the grocery store in Austin), and bought myself some sprinkles. Mmmm… I think I did sneak a few bites of the sprinkles while baking. Anyways, I’m pretty busy right now since I’ve got to study for finals, and I’ve been procrastinating quite a bit this weekend. So I’ll get to the point, they were delicious cookies, and I have a picture of them all wrapped up and ready to go! 


Relaxing Saturday

I just realized, this blog is turning more into just an everyday food blog, rather than strictly a “me failing at cooking” blog. I guess I can accomodate to that. Plus, it’s a lot more fun that way. I figure that I will keep on editing my blog mission throughout my blogging, which is why I am still shy to write a blog description, because I’m still not really sure. I do enjoy the freedom of changing it every now and then, and posting whatever suits my fancy.

Today was a pretty nice day, and my family and I went to Fredericksburg, Texas, about an hour and a half drive from Austin. The area was originally settled by Germans, and naturally I guess, right outside of town, there are dozens of peach farms. We went to Muelburger Farms(excuse my spelling) and althoughit was still a bit early in the season for peaches,  they still did have two varieties for us to pick. We decided to go with the Gala, which is a smallish, yellow fleshed peach. It’s a bit more tangy than other varieties, which I like, but still the same sweetness. They gave us a huge box, about the size of a microwave oven, and told us we could fill it up for $35. It was really fun picking the peaches up high in the trees. Also, I learned that redness doesn’t indicate the ripeness of a peach, it only indicates how much sun it gets. The yellowness of the peach is the true indicator. While picking, I couldn’t help but sneak a peach into my mouth, with the fuzz and all. It was simply too tempting, and equally rewarding might I say. 🙂

Anyway, afterwords, my dad and the dad’s from the two other families wanted to go and taste wines, so we came along too. The parents bought the kids this sparkling grape juice too sip along with them too. I won’t tell anyone, but I was secretly pretending to be really sophisticated and all and sipping along, convincing myself that it was wine.

We finally ended the day with lunch on Main Street, at this place called Auslander, which means outsider in German. That’s they’re logo, “Auslander, which means outsider in German” but to be honest, I don’t really get the meaning or point. It took us forever to find a parking lot by the way, so if you ever go, make sure you get there early. Apparently Auslander had a parking lot behind it though. The food was great! I’ve never really had Germanly German food, and I guess this is as close as I’ll get. They had Opa sausage, stuffed cabbages, and plenty of other German foods. I ordered the Reuben sandwich on pumpernickel bread with swiss, corned beef, saurkraut, and mayo. It was huge, but delicious!! So savory, fattening, and rich! I only ate half though. You could choose a side, and they recommended the potato pancakes, which I got and quickly gobbled up.

(except it was much sunnier that day, the picture looks like a scene from Shrek)

Here is a picture of one of their dishes (from google, sadly I didn’t bring my camera) but the potato pancakes are the yellowish circles depicted.

So now, we’ve got delicious fresh peaches, some fresh bulbs of onions that they also sold at the farm, and really full bellies. I feel like doing something with the onions, one of which is a beautiful red hue. Maybe I’ll pickle them! I feel like that is the best way to capture the flavor of something as fresh as the red onion.

Here is the recipe for the paste used in the tandoor chicken

One Life to Eat

My mother is in the habit of making every ingredient she uses in her cooking from scratch. In recent years, while she has ‘outsourced’ a few items such as paneer (cottage cheese) and a few spices from local stores in Mumbai, for the most part, she uses from-scratch ingredients. One important ingredient she makes at home is the ginger-garlic paste.

Ginger-Garlic paste is an essential ingredient in North Indian cooking and is used to put together curries and sabzis. The place where I have personally found it most useful is in meat marinades; as ginger is a tenderizer, having the paste on hand helps put together a quick marinade for a non-vegetarian dish. If you’ve been following OneLifeToEat, almost all my recipes use this paste.

Many of my friends use ready made ginger-garlic paste available at all Indian grocery stores (and I did too for a while). However, those…

View original post 159 more words

Have always loved Indian food, and this actually seems like a do-able recipe!

One Life to Eat

Tandoori chicken

I’ve been missing home particularly a lot lately. Maybe it’s the freezing winter here, or the Christmas spirit that’s all about families… or maybe it’s also because it’s been a while since I visited home. As my semester winds down to an end and I look forward to 6 weeks of no classes, I am craving a trip home and catching up with my friends and family. As a substitute, I’ve been trying to replicate a few dishes from home.

Tandoori chicken wasn’t that big a part of my childhood; however the few times my family ordered it from the local Mughlai restaurant, we relished it thoroughly. I loved the deep red color of the tangdis although I knew I was shoveling tons of artificial color down my body, and loved squeezing lime juice over the chicken pieces, then nibbling on the charred bits (my favorite). What I probably enjoyed…

View original post 674 more words

Diving Headfirst

I had originally planned on doing some basic recipe today, however, I never got to go to the grocery store since my mom was so busy with her work. She is a realtor, so today she dropped me off at Barnes and Noble at 11am and went to go do an open house and some showings. I stayed there until about 2:30pm, with lunch at Whole Foods in between. It was delicious, I had a seafood stew called ciopinno, which has (I think) fish, clams, and scallops in a tomatoey sauce. I also ate really good chips, which were described as sweet potato corn chips. Highly recommended!

Anyway, I hope that one day I’ll be able to make ciopinno on my own.

Today though, my brother and my mom decided to make pesto, and it just so happened that Mr. Bittman also had a pesto and pasta recipe, so I decided to take over and do the job. 🙂 I guess it was unexpected and not according to plan, since that recipe isn’t in the beginning section for pastas, but oh well. Life is unexpected. When it throws you basil, you make pesto.

My mom has this huge garden in our backyard, and she happens to grow basil. So I had a bunch of fresh basil to work with which is nice. Plus, basil is pretty expensive when bought.

Even though pesto and pasta seems pretty easy, I guess I somehow managed to screw it up a bit. There was just so much in the kitchen to keep track of. Making sure the pasta doesn’t boil over and is cooked to al dente, keeping track of all the bowls and measurements, and also just washing and chopping. Plus, our food processor is TINY, so I had to do the basil in batches, which meant that I had to estimate on some of the ingredients. I ended just eyeballing pretty much everything I put in there, which probably isn’t a great way to start cooking. Anyway, I had hoped that my dish would turn out something like this…

but, it ended up looking more like this… (well, granted my camera isn’t as great too)

How is their pesto so green????!!! Maybe if I followed the recipe exactly, measure for measure, it would turn out a brighter green. Despite the appearance, it was okay in terms of taste. Did I mention I forgot to add two very important ingredients, garlic and salt?

So, all in all, this is my first attempt at cooking something a bit too advanced for me. Although it’s not too great, I won’t count it as a failure, because at least its edible. My mom said she liked the pesto, but probably just to make me feel better.