gardening 

Ok so it turns out I was super wrong: they're actually somehow grape tomatoes and not the shishito peppers I planted 😬 not sure how grape tomatoes got in there, but some critter must have planted them by accident.

I don't mind though. Now I've got their seeds and can plant my own next year!

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alcohol 

My friend just came up with this awesome impromptu cocktail:

"Approximate spec for that spiced drink (I didn't do actual measurements): 1 oz Kraken spiced dark rum, 1/2 oz Mount Gay Barbados rum, 1/2 oz velvet falernum, 1/3 oz lime juice, 2-3 oz sparkling orange juice, garnish with sprinkle of cinnamon"

I didn't even think to take a picture of it because I was hungry, but tonight I used the Roma tomatoes to make a fresh tomato sauce for pasta! I didn't measure anything, and it turned out great!

gardening 

So I've been letting this mystery plant grow in my garden for a while now because I thought it looked kinda like a tomato plant and I wasn't sure. It FINALLY started growing a fruit after getting enormous, and it turns out it was actually a shishito pepper plant I had planted! It was just growing in a place completely different from where I planted the seed! I guess it must have gotten moved around when I watered at some point.

baking 

Whoa, I've been watching these two chefs on YouTube for about a year now, and I'm actually absorbing things from it just listening and watching! I've never really baked anything (especially without a recipe), but today I wanted to try baking something and it turned out shockingly well! At least, shockingly well for me having just ad-libbing it.

Ended up with a little sweet loaf using 1 cup of flour, ~2+ tbsp sugar, 1/2 tsp baking powder, a small handful of chocolate chips, 1 egg, a few punches of salt, a little less that 1 tbsp melted coconut oil, and ~4+ tbsp water! I just combined the dry ingredients, then mixed in the wet ingredients until I had a loose, sticky dough.

Then I let it sit for a little while, maybe 15–20 minutes(? Longer probably would have been better but I was impatient), to let the flour hydrate. I greased a bread pan well with some more coconut oil and poured the dough in, spreading it all the way to the sides and trying to make sure there weren't air pockets in it. (This small amount of dough doesn't fill a bread pan very deep, and the end result only rises a little bit, maybe double the height.)

Then I put it in the oven, which was preheated to 350℉, for an hour, and out came a tasty little treat with a slight crust on the bottom!

dog food; baking kibble 

So I have to make food for one of my dogs because he has dietary restrictions, and today I actually had a successful kitchen experiment! The food has a decent amount of rice and lentils in it, so I figured I'd try to bake his food recipe into kibble instead of the free-form sticky kind of paste it normally becomes. The idea arose because that paste ends up leaving residue in his teeth that make his breath stink terribly because there's essentially days-old food stuck in there going bad! I've had to start regularly brushing his teeth to help him not have to suffer the feeling of rotting food in his mouth (and to save his teeth).

So instead of cooking the components separately and combining them, I looked up how to make rice flour. Once I learned that it was literally just ground up raw rice, I threw the raw rice and lentils into my Vitamix dry ingredients grinder and had my flour in about a minute! Then I realized I could probably do the same thing with the frozen peas and carrots, so I threw those in the regular Vitamix pitcher and I was right!

So I had my mostly dry ingredients, and I thought hey, cakes and other baked things like that have egg in them, right? I'll just use the egg that I'd normally hard boil as the binding for the flour! And the oil I top the food with can go in the batter too! Finally, I just threw in the raw ground turkey, mixed it all up as much as I could in my stand mixer, and I ended up with some really sticky batter.

I had preheated the oven to 350℉ and for my first test batch, I just spread the batter on a greased quarter baking sheet and broke the resulting sheet of stuff into pieces. But I actually did teaspoon-sized scoops for the second batch, which took longer and were bigger than I wanted for kibbles, but they were much more in the direction I wanted to go! Next time I'll probably combine the strategies and spread it flat on the baking sheet before going through with a flexible tool to split it into strips and separate it into kibbles from there... it should work how I'm thinking of it.

So anyway, I just wanted to brag about how I figured out how to take the ingredients for my dog's food and transform it into something completely different that took much less time to prepare than before with much cooler results! I'm mostly just happy I was able to pull it off at all, and I'm even happier because it's a better and faster solution for a chore that took way too long before!

Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad 

My partner found this recipe for a "Mexican street corn pasta salad" for dinner today, and it turned out surprisingly good!

midwestfoodieblog.com/mexican-

The sauce is really tart by itself (and that's after I added some extra seasoning to it beyond what the recipe called for), but once it's combined with the pasta, corn, and cheese, it balances out surprisingly well.

Also, the recipe doesn't say what to do with the corn, so I'd recommend mixing it into the cooked and drained pasta so it can warm up (or thaw if you're using frozen charred corn as suggested) before it's cooled again.

We ran out of cold brew coffee so we didn't have any for this morning, which made her very sad. So I whipped up some iced cinnamon lattes with oat milk using the espresso maker I pulled out of storage recently! It turned out a lot better than I expected!

Another side note, eating out in the city is expensive... I've gotta find a good cheap place to frequent.

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$10 for a burger, wtf are you thinking??

Side note, can I open a restaurant and do that?

microwave mug cake 

I found a recipe for chocolate mug cake that works super well and takes only ingredients you're already likely to have in your pantry and cooks in just over a minute in your microwave! And if you don't already have the ingredients, they're easy to get and then you can make mug cakes every day for like a year or something.

tablefortwoblog.com/the-moiste
(Apologies in advance if there are ads/trackers on the page—I use a blocker so I don't know.)

I substituted oat milk for regular and it still worked fine, and I found that the half-scale recipe is probably the best serving size for how rich it ends up tasting. Also, there are some other notes below the recipe card that are worth reading before you start cooking to help you understand what's going on. For example why the recipe is eggless and that regular sized cake recipes take 1–2 eggs so putting a whole egg into one mug cake is comparatively overkill. (Side note, I derived from that note that if you're making 2+ mug cakes worth of batter, mixing 1egg in there can get you a slightly spongier texture in your cakes if that's something you like.)

The page also links to other mug cake recipes derived from this one like vanilla, espresso chocolate, and apple spice, which is why I decided to try a matcha cake! It turned out really well, but next time I'm gonna borrow some ingredients from the apple spice recipe (namely, apple sauce) to make it a little less bitter and maybe use coconut milk to make it a little creamier/coconuttier. I bet a sugar frosting would be nice on the matcha cake, too, but that's more work that I'll ever personally put in for a mug cake...

One final note, the recipe says to mix the batter in a bowl before transferring to the microwave-safe mug (a 14 oz mug is ideal for the single serving, an 8–10oz mug worked great for the half serving). I successfully mixed everything directly in the mug with a fork, but I made sure to get all the crevices and stuff mixed in so there were no dry ingredients left at all. So keep that in mind if you want to dirty fewer dishes 👍

You know how peanuts have shells? You can just eat those fuckers! One place deep fried them whole and flavors them and they're actually pretty good! (They're fine plain, but there's not much flavor.)

eggs 

Today I learned that you can cook eggs into a satisfying little puck in the microwave in about a minute:
eggs.ab.ca/recipes/basic-micro

I cooked mine in a microwaveable coffee mug with cooking spray and salt as recommended in the article (piercing the yolk and white is pretty important, too), but just covered it with a paper towel instead of plastic wrap, then I sprinkled a little pepper on it.

It came out fully cooked after the 40 seconds on high and a 30 second rest, but I flipped it for another 10 seconds to firm up the yolk a little more. (My microwave is 1000 watt—the higher yours is, the less time you'll need and reverse for lower wattage.)
It's a cooked egg, but in a manageable puck form without any extra kitchen tools for shaping it in a pan! I'm definitely gonna be using this method for breakfast sandwiches and such in the future.

I believe this will also work if you scramble the egg in the container before cooking it, which could lead to some interesting results, but I haven't tested it.

Japanese curry 

Hell yeah, that's way better. Japanese curry over rice with all the fixins: onions, beef, carrots, and potatoes. It was amazing and I'm a very happy guy.

meat, tobacco, alcohol 

My partner is out of town so I'm on my own for food, which means I can make stuff for myself that I don't usually eat when I'm with her. I went to the supermarket to get some ingredients for beef stew, but found this beef roast kit instead with a powder for the sauce and decided that was better because I hate putting a lot of effort into my own food! I just plopped the whole thing into my pressure cooker, took a walk with the dogs, and 45 minutes later, it came out pretty nice, if a bit plain. It smelled good though.

I decided to make a night of it and grabbed one of the cheapo cigars I got from this deal I found online and a little bit of my 12 year Glenlivet scotch, sat outside in the nice night weather, and listened to My Brother, My Brother, and Me while I enjoyed.

Gotta say, this sort of spread is really not my thing. The only cigars I've had before the one tonight were ones I brought home from Cuba a couple years ago, and this one was not great by comparison (which is probably not a fair comparison, but still). Plus I didn't want to waste it so I smoked the whole thing over the course of a little more than an hour, even though I should have definitely stopped half an hour earlier than I did. The aftertaste and I guess a nicotine rush(?? I got lightheaded and slightly shaky and a teensy bit nauseous?) kinda soured the whole experience for me. I had to wash to get the smoke off my hands and out of my beard, but the aftertaste is still lingering in my mouth after a thorough brushing and swishing... I think if I stopped earlier I could have spared myself some of the negative experiences and enjoyed a more appropriate amount of tobacco. (I'm no expert, but maybe going from zero tobacco to a full cigar in a relatively short time is not a great idea.)

To make things worse, the scotch did not pair well with the food or the cigar like I thought it would, which is a bummer. But you can't win them all. Live and learn or whatever.

So yeah, I'm gonna be sticking to things I know I for sure like the rest of the time my partner is gone: Japanese curry with white rice, peanut butter and jelly, and Taco Bell. My digestive tract will be in shambles by the end, but I'll be a happy man!

Why have I been repeatedly told that using oil doesn't cause pasta to stop boiling over when it CLEARLY DOES??

Like literally look with your eyes! Watch as the oil immediately stops it from boiling over!!!

I'm attempting a puff pastry-wrapped baked brie with a Kahlua-macadamia-maple sauce right now... wish me luck! I'll post pictures if it goes well and I don't forget.

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