February 2016, in food

Another belated post!

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chili (with sweet potatoes and guacamole)

recipe: riffed off of this one from Serious Eats
notes: I didn’t follow the recipe all that strictly — I didn’t use dried chilies, for example, used ground beef instead of short rib, and didn’t use dried beans. I mostly just used whatever I thought should go into chili and had on hand — ground meat, canned beans, tomatoes — and used the recipe as a reference point for what other flavor enhancers I could add. I used varying amounts of canned chipotles in adobo sauce, fish sauce, vinegar, and bourbon to make the flavor pop. Was very happy with how the flavor came out, though I’m not sure if I could exactly recreate it!

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pork and cabbage dumplings
recipe: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/04/pork-and-leek-dumplings-with-homemade-wrapper.html
notes: Was yummy! The wrapper dough was a little tough and chewy at times, but dumplings are still always good. Made these for Chinese New Year — boiled half the batch, and baked the other batch (brushed with oil). They’re picture here in their pre-cooked state.

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rice congee with beef, mushrooms and garlic chips
recipe: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2014/12/brown-rice-congee-shiitake-garlic-chip-beef-recipe.html
notes: I think this dish photographed well, and was good enough, but the flavor was just a little too mild/bland. I couldn’t resist putting in a little fish sauce to amp up the flavor. Garlic oil was very nice!

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saffron rice pudding
recipe: ??
notes: I had some leftover rice and decided to turn it into rice pudding. I just browsed online to look at recipes for inspiration, then came up with this. It was fine — added some golden raisins, cardamom, and slice almonds — but not something I’d remake in a hurry.

ramen bowl
restaurant: http://goodymonsterfusioncafe.eat24hour.com/
notes: I actually wanted to eat at this place after my triathlon last year, but they are closed on Sundays. My boss really likes the ramen here, so a bunch of us went out for lunch one day. From the perspective of having a hot and spicy bowl of soupy noodles, this was satisfying. From the perspective of ramen… I like my ramen a little more traditional, with chashu pork, menma, green onions, etc. Not in a rush to return, but would like to explore other ramen places in the Denver metro area.

turkey shepherd’s pie
recipe: none
notes: I wanted to make dinner one night and was trying to figure out what to do with the ingredients on hand… and realized I had just about everything for shepherd’s pie!  It was pretty good — nothing to write home about, but made a ton of food and great lunch leftovers.

grapefruit cake
recipe: used several online… I need to track them down at some point.
notes: I loved how this came out! Very moist. I made this egg-free by using chia eggs. Would definitely make again (and would make it without icing if not serving to company).

orange spiced date nut muffins
recipe: Smitten Kitchen
notes: Would not make again. They were fine, but I just wasn’t a huge fan. I did use deglet noor dates instead of medjools, which might have made a difference… and used a gluten-free flour blend (Bella) that makes a somewhat crumbly/sandy muffin texture, which might have been part of my dislike. I still ate them though!

cubano + empanadas

restaurant: http://www.cubacubasandwicheriaboulder.com/
notes: Went out for a team lunch to Cuba Cuba Sandwicheria. They have a nice lunch combo where you can get a side with half a sandwich. Portions were surprisingly large! Kat’s chicken sandwich looked really good, as did a steak sandwich that came with chimichurri sauce.

buttery pigeon peas + rice 
recipe: the pigeon peas were from 660 Curries, the rice I just improvised
notes: I’ve had a package of dried pigeon peas for a while now and wanted to try them out with a simple recipe. I… think I like pigeon peas? They have a distinct flavor from other dried lentils/legumes that I’ve had, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. Will have to try out additional pigeon pea recipes 🙂

banana cream pie (gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free) 

recipe: the crust recipe was from Against All Grain, pudding was made up
notes: The crust was very “healthy” tasting but generally worked for this recipe. I used coconut milk to make it dairy-free, and gelatin and cornstarch (instead of eggs) as thickeners. Not a dessert to win any prizes, but still pretty good!

no-bake cheesecake 

recipe: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2013/03/no-bake-strawberry-cheesecake-recipe.html
notes: I followed the cheesecake portion of the recipe exactly, though I decided to skip the apple jelly + strawberry topping and just used fresh raspberries instead. I made the crust as described, but decided to bake it because I like a crust that really “holds” together. This one certainly held together very well! Almost too well… it was a bit like eating a cookie in some of the thicker edge portions. The cheesecake filling was quite a bit softer than a traditional cheesecake, but still really great. I would use this recipe again.


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