Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Chicken Katsu

Chicken is the best choice for poor college students (poor college students that like to cook, that is). Unless you buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $5 a pound or something.

A 5 pound pack of chicken thighs for 99 cents/lb? ohh yeah.

It's been a while since I fried anything, so I made chicken katsu, which is very simple. Skin and debone your chicken pieces (try not to cut yourself like me), pound them flat, dredge in flour, dip in egg, cover in panko, and shallow fry until it looks right.

This was more of a test run, so I never bothered to make macaroni salad or buy tonkatsu sauce.

Next time I do this, I will make a full plate lunch for sure.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Lots of food.

Alright, I have a lot of food to document here.

To begin with, this is a soup my roommate Bryan made. He said he doesn't cook, but he wants to start--so after coming back to the apartment with ingredients and a recipe from his mom, we have this soup. What's it called? I should probably ask him.

Water + chicken bouillon powder, chopped tomatoes, potatoes, tomato sauce, onions, chicken thighs and drumsticks.

Funny story about the cans of tomato sauce...even after using the can opener, the lids seemed to be stuck, and pulling them off didn't work. However, if you pulled hard enough, they would come off...with an explosion of tomato sauce. Same problem happened with the 2nd can, so we had 2 separate explosions of tomato.

You can see the aftermath here, which looked worse in person, trust me. Some tomato sauce landed on Matt, a friend who came to visit--you can see him here wiping his leg.

Leftovers of the soup. You know, the color kind of reminds me of bún bò Huế, a Vietnamese soup.

Closeup of a nice, tender drumstick. The soup was served over rice. Overall, a pretty good-tasting soup!

Also, my other roommate David brought some more thinly sliced meat suspended in Korean magic marinade--but this one isn't bulgogi. What's it called? Shoot, I should probably ask him.

Serve with rice and kimchi.

And now food item number 3 (I told you it was a lot): Horrible, horrible burgers. Oh no, they tasted great, as a matter of fact! When I say horrible, I'm referring to how I made them. You'll see.

We begin with a close-up of bacon, not fully cooked yet. Why do I have a closeup of bacon? Why not?

One of the great joys of life is seeing a closeup of bacon, cooking in all its glory (and by glory, I mean bacon fat).

The other joy is eating it.

As you can see, the ends aren't as cooked as the middle, because the bacon strips were so long (uncooked, that is) that they went from one edge of the pan to the other.

Also: Chili, and burgers (ground beef, salt, pepper, form it into a patty shape) cooking in some of the resulting bacon fat.

Butter a bun, toast it, add the burger with melted pepper jack cheese (done by putting cheese on top of the burger in a skillet and covering it, which steams and melts the cheese quickly), add bacon, and add chili on top of that.

And that's your result. You know, compared to the stuff that fast food restaurants serve, I guess it's not too bad. But then again, that's just my weak justification for making eight of these burgers.

Maybe I should make some Vietnamese food...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Yep, steak. And breakfast.

But not together. Anyways, my parents brought 4 new york steaks to my apartment, so hey, might as well cook them. Oh, and I got a new camera.

Unfortunately, the smoke alarm in our apartment is so sensitive it's annoying. I set it off right when the steaks touched the cast iron grill. I had no choice but to improvise--broil them. It turned out...alright...I guess. Two steaks turned out fairly red, and the other two turned out a bit too done. That nice crust isn't there from grilling, but whatever. Also pictured: homemade mashed potatoes.

Ah, but the next morning...that's a different story!

Bacon, eggs, and some little sliced potato chunks, fried in bacon fat. I just wanted to see how it would taste.
Also, pineapple-orange-banana juice.

But wait! What do you do with all of that leftover bacon fat?

Save it, of course! Now what do I use it for...

Monday, October 8, 2007

The finished pot roast...

...complete with not so good pictures, but oh well.

So the recipe I use for pot roast is pretty easy...although pot roast in general is pretty easy. Prep all the ingredients, add them to a crock-pot, set the crock-pot to low, and wait 8 hours...in other words, go to work/class/whatever, then come back to a finished meal.

What I like to do, once the pot roast is done braising, is to take all of the juice that it gives (and trust me, it's a lot), put that strained juice into a pot, and add a slurry of flour and water, in order to thicken the juice. However, it won't thicken fully until you bring the juice to a boil, so do that, and keep stirring so you don't get burnt pot roast juice. That's...not good.

Once it starts thickening, you have a nice gravy! Pour it on the pot roast, the vegetables, the rice, bathe in it, whatever.

It's so tender, you don't need a knife at all. You can rip pieces off with a fork.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Bulgogi! And more...

So for yesterday's dinner, we had Bulgogi, written in Korean as 불고기 (I just wanted to put that in). One of my roommates, David, brought a big tub of it from home, already marinating, thanks to his parents. He said it's typically grilled, although it can be sautéed as well, although it won't taste as good.

Luckily, we had a piece of equipment that could give that grilled taste without using an actual grill. Remember that cast iron griddle that I used for cheesesteaks a while back? Flip it over, and it's a cast iron grill.

Some info about Bulgogi...it's like the most popular form of Korean barbecue (and Korean barbecue itself is already popular around here), and it generally just consists of thinly sliced beef, typically sirloin, marinated in some form of liquid magic that I should probably ask about. Although there's soy sauce in there for sure. Cause that totally helps.

Hey, last time I had sirloin, I sliced it thinly too...cheesesteak, bulgogi, close enough.

So here's the traditional way to eat bulgogi, courtesy of David:
Get a leaf of lettuce.
Put rice on it.
Put bulgogi on top of that.
Put some Korean hot sauce that I don't know the name of on top of that.
Optionally, put one of the 378 million side dishes that your meal comes with on top of that.

By the way, I cut my finger slicing those green onions. I love my knife even more.

Why? Because it's so sharp that it gave me a clean cut, with minimal pain (maybe some stinging). If you cut yourself with a dull knife, you won't be happy. And I've cut myself with both before.

Eventually, I got too lazy to wrap it in lettuce, so I just ate it out of a bowl of rice. Great stuff!

This morning, before I left for my early (read: 10am) class, I prepared the pot roast that I'm going to have for dinner today. Prep the ingredients, put it all in a crock pot, set to low heat, and leave it on for 8+ hours while you're away.

The cool thing was, I woke up a bit later than I planned to, so I had to do prep for the pot roast FAST, then run out to the shuttle stop before I missed it. You don't know what you're missing until you have to wash, peel, and cut a bunch of stuff under a really short time constraint.

I know what you're thinking. No, I didn't cut myself again.