Friday, January 20, 2012

Mandarin Rice Pudding

One of the downsides of being a hobbyist cook is that when I want a snack, simple things will no longer do. Unless I've cooked something, especially when I'm in the mood to cook, it doesn't feel like it's worth eating. Tonight I was struck by the sudden urge to cook, but since I did not feel like looking up a recipe, I decided to just cook the chicken we had in the fridge. Once I looked in the pantry I saw the jar of mandarin oranges, and decided to MacGuyver a mandarin sauce for my chicken.

As I started cooking the mandarins I decided that they could do with some cinnamon and brown sugar to sweeten the sauce some more, a nice sweet sauce for the savory chicken (fried plain in olive oil) was just what I needed.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Kraft Mac and Cheese

I have tried to make Kraft Mac and Cheese before. At first it was bearable, but after a while it became clear just how terrible the food of my childhood was.

This is what drove me to find proper mac and cheese recipes, and I've come across a few that are delicious. But Kraft mac and cheese is anathema to me.

At least until tonight.

Mom just made some kraft mac and cheese, since I'm hungry but don't have the energy to make anything. I expected something edible, but not great, since I always remembered her doing a better job than me at making this.

But somehow, my childhood taste buds were not wrong. The kraft mac and cheese my mom just made is delicious. I get the feeling that I could spend my whole life learning all the secrets of being a cook, but I could never compare to the simple food made by a mother.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I Literally Bite Off More Than I Can Chew

I am a very ambitious person. When I think of a cool new idea, I can't help but go for it. Which often ends with me trying to write more blogs than I can handle. In order to keep this blog up, I've decided to periodically write small, autobiographical segments about my life and cooking.

I can't make any  promises about how often this will be. But I'll make sure that I just post something about cooking every once in a while. I'll even get around to posting actual reviews.

What No One Told Me About...

I've learned something over the course of my journey to become a cook. When you know how to cook, people expect you to cook for them.

I know, right? It's pretty shocking. I didn't even think of this before, but it's just like playing the piano. If you can do it, people expect you to. Sure most of the time I don't mind, since I enjoy cooking, it's very therapeutic for me. What I'm having trouble getting used to is the fact that now more often than not I'm making dinner for my mom. Rather than the other way around.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy cooking for people, and that includes my mom. What I'm having trouble adjusting to is that for all my life she's been the one to make dinner. Nothing in those last twenty five years prepared me for hearing my mom ask, "So what's for dinner?"

"I dunno, what are you making?"

"Weren't you going to make dinner?"

"Well, I can..."

It's just really weird.

What isn't weird is the appreciation. People just like it when you make them food, and I like it when they are happy. I don't know how many people watch the anime Blue Exorcist but there is an episode that summarizes how I feel about cooking. The main character learned how to cook because it made the people around him happy. That's mostly why I'm learning how to cook, because seeing happy people eating good food is just a treat.

That and I really like food, so there's no reason not to know how to make it.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sunday Cookery: Cafe Rio Burritos and Salads

A while back I decided I wanted to learn how to cook, so I started cooking dinner every Sunday, and had some friends come over to eat.  Since I haven't done much with this blog yet, and I've been trying to figure out what kind of segments I can do for this blog, other than just reviewing restaurants.  So for the sake of having something to post every week, I've decided to review my Sunday meals.  Whenever I try something for the first time I'll let you know what exactly it was, and whether I succeeded.  I might even revisit meals I've already made, so you can learn about the surprisingly successful Schnitzel and SpƤtzle, or the hilariously disastrous attempt at stew.

This week we decided to give a shot at making Cafe Rio's award winning sweet pork burritos.  We started with mom getting up early to put the pork in the crock pot, while I kept sleeping.  Not the greatest of starts on my part, but she was already getting up to talk to my younger brother, who is currently serving a mission for our church in the Czech Republic.

Now, I'd heard that Cafe Rio uses Dr Pepper in their pork, but the recipe we found called for Seven-Up or Sprite.  After a few hours of cooking I took the pork out of the crock pot and shredded it.  I then let it cook in the sauce a bit longer, so that the slightly dry pork could absorb the juices.

It was of course incredibly delicious.  However, next time I try it I think there are a few things that I'll do differently.  First off, I'll try out the recipe with Dr Pepper, and will use dark brown sugar, rather than lighter brown sugar.  The main reason for doing this is to see how it affects the taste, but also to see if I can get the color to match up with what Cafe Rio serves.  Our version was a bit on the light side.  I would also shred the pork a bit sooner, and let it cook in the juice a bit longer, just so that the individual strands of pork have some more time to absorb the flavor.

However, I highly recommend this for anyone that intends to feed a lot of people.  It makes a lot of pork, so we have some left overs I still need to eat now.  I'll be sure to post an update about how it works next time I try the recipe out.  I'll also post the modified recipe then, for anyone that wants to try and make this on their own.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Welcome to the Blog

It's been a while since I started blogging.  Mostly I got into it to write about the things I like, which started out as writing about anime, manga, fantasy literature, movies, basically writing about entertainment - and later expanded to a second blog where I write about my writing and provide updates on my current projects, in the off chance that eventually someone will want to learn about my development as a writer, who would then have a detailed account of when I finally started to become productive.  Even if I had started this when I started writing there wouldn't have been much to say.

With the thought in mind that I write about the things I like, I now present the opening of the Eatery Evaluation, a blog where I write about one of my favorite things, eating.  I tend to eat out more often than I did when I lived in Europe, which is a shame considering how many great restaurants there are there, and figure that if I'm going to be eating out I might as well use my new found aptitude for writing reviews towards reviewing the restaurants I visit.

This blog won't be updated quite as frequently as my other blogs, as while I do go out probably more than I should, a lot of times it is to places I've all ready been before.  Creature of habit and all that.  But for the sake of this blog I'm going to try and expand my horizons, and find places for my soon-to-be-loyal-readers to try out as well.

Since I tend to visit places around where I live most of these reviews will be focused on restaurants in Provo, Utah.  I'll try to expand my horizons a bit, and will be certain to write about the places that I visit when traveling out of state.

With that being said, enjoy the first review, and the backlog of unwritten reviews waiting behind it.