8/18/16

I attempted a double today. Since it was just me, I woke up with lunch as my first meal (I wake up late), which was leftover chicken. I made fresh rice to complement it, but that’s nothing new. Growing up in a completely Asian family, you learn how to do it when you’re young.

Okay, so I didn’t technically wake up at noon; I just got out of bed then. I suppose I woke up at around 9AM? 10AM? Off to a good start, for someone who’s about to start school at 7:30 in the morning, eh?

What I tend to do is flip through my phone, first thing in the morning. Today, I was going through the short cooking videos on Facebook. I went to my usual pages: Tasty, Proper Tasty, Nourish by Tastemade, Food Envy, etc. I even went to the Tasty iPhone app, which isn’t as good, but they have…a lot of recipes, and I only say “a lot” because you can tell that there’s more. I know that I had just visited their Facebook page, but I only went because I figured there was probably an old recipe in my Favorites column in case I felt like trying it out now.

Since it was just going to be me and I have no job and school starts on Monday (I’ll tell you about that next time!), I spent my entire Thursday looking for recipes for dinner and dessert. For dinner, I wanted to go with Proper Tasty’s “Pull-Apart Cheesy Pesto Bread“. I know it’s probably an appetizer or a side, but it was just me and I wanted to try it! Plus, I LOVE PESTO!!!

Then for dessert, I finally wanted to try that Oreo cream puff that I’d seen once before, but forgot if I ever shared the link, so I shared it on Facebook again just in case I missed it or was just too lazy to scroll down. I found it on the Tasty app though: Cookies & Cream Puffs. Oh, and when they list Oreos in the ingredients, they just call it “Chocolate Sandwich Cookies”. When I wrote down the recipe so I could do my usual highlighting of ingredients I can combine during prep, I literally said, “chocolate sandwich cookies (Oreos…they’re called Oreos).” I know they probably couldn’t say it for legal purposes, but just thought a little sass would get you laughing!

I wanted to focus on the dessert first, so I could chill it and it’d be ready by the time I finished dinner. That was a pretty good plan, I think. I went to the grocery store and got everything I needed for both recipes. Well, almost. We ran out of cornstarch, so I knew I had to get it today. Except right when I got to the car, I realized I’d forgotten it. Now, I definitely could have waltzed right back into the store to grab it, but it was sort of too much trouble.

You see, at the entrance, there are always people asking for money for certain things, like charity, a children’s sports team, raising awareness for something. Not the beggars though; they camp out at the perpendicular entrance of the entire shopping complex. Today, it was a couple of young men from the halfway house near my neighborhood. They needed money for…something about kids having a music program.

Usually, I never want to donate money because I don’t have an allowance anymore since my parents are pushing me to get a job. And, plus, I grew up practically in love with music. In high school, I wanted to be a singer. In college, the dream was to be on Broadway. I’m all for their cause. I just wanted to get my things, so I said I didn’t have cash on me and he said that was all right, but I should think about it. So I did my thing inside the store and I was hesitant on leaving the same way since I knew they would still be there. Again, I apologized, but then changed my mind last-minute, remembering I actually did have some cash. While I was digging out my wallet, he said he liked my purse and that his sister had a very similar one. He’d said that just one dollar would have been enough support, but I gave him all the cash I had, which was just $4. I mean, it wasn’t much of a loss for me since I was never going to use that cash anyway, but it still feels good providing those people a second chance at sharpening their artistic tools.

But anyways, back to the current dream: I ended up just going straight home because I saw that you could just substitute cornstarch with flour. Apparently, you just need 3x more flour or 3 extra cups or something like that. I figured, maybe I’ll combine it with corn meal and everything will be okay…

I didn’t use the corn meal. In fact, let’s list everything that went horribly wrong for the dessert portion only:

  1. I think I was supposed to combine the egg yolks, half & half, sugar, and cornstarch (aka flour, apparently) WHILE heating it at low. I made a note to highlight them separately, but I completely forgot, so I combined them all beforehand.
  2. I knew I was supposed to whisk constantly, but stopped to read the directions so there were lumps EVERYWHERE.
  3. The mixture had already mostly thickened by the time I added the cookie cream, so add that to the lumps and you got a hot mess.
  4. And speaking of “hot mess”, the pot turned brown at the bottom. I don’t know if it was because of the heat or the fact that it’s a very old pot, but I just thought I’d make a note of that.
  5. The cream mixture didn’t look anything like the video. It didn’t look like pudding. It looked and tasted more like grits. I tasted it a few times, but thought it was really weird that it didn’t taste sweet even though I specifically ordered “Double Stuf Oreos”.
  6. I forgot to “remove from heat” and thought that came AFTER the four eggs, so basically I ended up with a poop-colored piece of clay with white and yellow specks all over.
  7. I have no idea how to make a piping bag, so I tried making a small hole in the corner of a Ziploc bag. We have the tip, but it didn’t really work. Sticking with the poop analogy, it was like trying to push out a–okay, you probably get the picture already. So instead, I just tried rolling it up myself. It was…hot.

Here it was pre-baking.

Post-ba–OH GOD, I MESSED UP BAD, YOU GUYS! I MESSED UP REAL BAD!!

So take a look at the list of what went wrong there and can you tell me what could have made these puffs…puff? I regretfully threw out the entire thing. I’m definitely not happy about that, but garbage day is tomorrow morning and I didn’t want my parents to come home knowing I’d wasted so much time, money, and ingredients on a failed experiment.

The good one was dinner, so I at least had that to eat tonight. There’s no official recipe written down online except the Proper Tasty comment on the video, which I screenshot: 

There’s something therapeutic about kneading. I don’t know if it’s because it’s fun or you’re just mentally massaging yourself or something, but you can knead all day long and it’s like all your problems are gone. I don’t know, maybe that’s just me and I’m crazy, in which case I would need actual therapy.

The first time I was waiting for it to rise, it didn’t really expand as much as I’d hoped, but the second time was more obvious. I think that was because the rolls were smaller, so the changes looked more drastic.

Fortunately, I have half a bottle of pesto left, which is how much was required for one attempt at this. I can make it again tomorrow truly as a side dish this time, and maybe I can make a classic spaghetti and meat sauce or something. Italian cuisine level: Olive Garden.

Also, I looked up the difference between all-purpose flour and bread flour and my source says that they are very similar, but bread flour has a “greater content” than all-purpose…? I mean…does it matter though? We needed flour so I got our usual all-purpose, so why is the bread flour important? I mean, I get that it’s in order to make bread, but is that really necessary? I always use all-purpose flour for bread anyway, so… I digress.

Does anyone know what “cling film” is? I just used regular plastic film, but I suppose it was clingy. I mean, it stuck onto everything pretty well, like the unwanted ex-girlfriend who’s grown too attached. (Hehe, get it? Because it’s “clingy”?)

The only real issue I had was with the cheese. I don’t think I’ve ever had a dish where the cheese bubbled like it was supposed to. I mean, I could have, but it’s obviously not important enough for me to remember. Last time we had a cheese issue that seemed to jump straight to burning (not that it burned this time), it was the pizza I tried to make from The Blue Bloods Cookbook. It turned out that the pie was just too close to the top of the oven, so we had to set it on the bottom rack.

Or perhaps I just missed the bubbling. I set the timer to the minimum, so I doubt I skipped it, but maybe the bubbling was just for a couple minutes. I think I added a little too much mozzarella cheese though, but I wanted to finish off the bag we had which was a little more than half a cup, I believe.

My parents arrived about an hour after I finished dinner, so I cleaned up the kitchen and washed the dishes (which didn’t seem like a lot, to be honest, even though I tackled two meals in one day). Mom tried one, but Dad took like seven or eight. When he was tasting the first one, he told me it was “meh”, but when I offered him some more on a plate, he immediately said yes. Then, he grabbed a few more pieces to eat upstairs in his office and said, “What? It’s a waste.” That’s sort of an inside joke now, since my mom has (or at least had) a habit of finishing off someone else’s plate, so she’d say, “What? It’s such a waste!”

If I did the math correctly, I had about nine: five during dinner and four leftovers; Mom had one; and there was a total of 18 pieces. That means that Dad shared the other eight rolls with the dogs. Hehe, he liked my cooking this time.

Right before the second rise: 
After it rose, I was like, “OMG, it worked!”

When I might have overdone it with the cheese:

All done!

The “Omnomnom” stage:

So obviously, there were some good moments, and a lot of horrible mistakes I made… I guess that about evens it up and since the good part came last, I’m satisfied with the results. We can just forget the Oreo debacle never happened and start anew tomorrow! Just like the Grilled Cheese thing: I’m not going to stop until I get it right.

Break six eggs! But when you add in the four, take the chocolate mixture off the heat first and then apply them one by one!

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