The Newbie Cook
- 19,442 forkfuls since 16.Oct.10
Making everything for the first time
I feel really lazy today. I have had to deal with a lot of things regarding my immigration, current job, possible future jobs, and worrying about the previous subjects. And there’s also a husband who has a cold and demanded that he should be babied. My only kitchen activity will be opening a jar of 7-herb Ragu, tossing in a head of minced garlic, half of a chopped onion, a small knob of butter and a bacon and mushroom topping. And, of course, pasta. Some might say that it’s still considered cooking but it just feels wrong to take credit for spaghetti sauce that I didn’t make out of scratch.
However, I was more diligent last week. Aside from cooking up a storm almost every day of the week (even when we were in DC), I managed to try three completely new recipes. One is the dish which I’m just about to talk about as soon as I finish my small talk.
When I was in Singapore five years ago, I ate in kopitiams (food courts) almost everyday. I was particularly addicted to crispy fried noodles and I would order it often. Since then, I tried to find a similar dish in several Southeast Asian restaurants but nothing came close to the inexpensive but lovely noodles in Singapore’s kopitiams. So, I figured that I may as well try making it myself.
The first time I tried cooking crispy fried noodles a month ago ended in disaster — it was not edible at all. The result of this second experiment was not as wonderful as the Singaporean version but it is definitely edible. Who knew that crispy fried noodles would be such a pain to cook?
The noodles I’m familiar with were loosely cupped over a bowl. This one is more like a noodle cake that was browned on both sides. I’m not perfectly satisfied with it yet so I intend to tweak it until I get it right even if it takes 50 more tries.
In the meantime, here’s the recipe. It’s another version of my this pork and broccoli stir fry noodles I made a while back. Feel free to tweak it yourself. One thing’s for sure: saucy stir-fries taste so much better over a bed of crispy noodles than soft ones.
I will never forget Tita Edith’s potato soup. She brought some at work last year and I loved it so much that I ate a lot of it. I wanted to replicate the recipe but failed miserably the first time I tried. When C got sick, I thought it was about time to try making this comfort dish again.
One essential tool needed is an immersion blender to get that smooth perfect texture. But if you want a chunkier version of the soup, you can just use a regular masher.
This recipe is very versatile. You can add any vegetables you like. Most use celery but since C hates it, I chose broccoli and carrots. Any type of precooked meat (ham, cold cuts, etc.) can also be used.
The soup can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated. For some reason, it tasted even better the day after.
I think it’s disgraceful that the small pack of Chinese noodles (or what my mother would call pancit canton) cost me $3.50 in Shop Rite. That’s more than three to four times the cost of perfectly good noodles in the Philippines. *grumbles*
The local grocery also had a very limited supply of Asian food stuff. The only Pinoy thing there was adobo seasoning. I mean, who the hell uses powder seasoning for adobo when one could make a perfectly wonderful dish with perfectly ordinary ingredients. Maybe I can ask Danielle if there is a nearby Asian store that at least has bagoong or alamang to keep me satisfied for the next few years.
I was craving for noodles so I naturally visited my Asian food guru, Jaden from Steamy Kitchen. I didn’t have lots of the fancy stuff needed for the recipe so I had to improvise and make something that is edible. If I need to convert my husband to becoming an Asian food-lover then I need ammunition.
Thankfully, there were no leftovers. Yay!