Tag Archive | Chicken


There’s a lot to cover, especially from the smaller lessons I’ve learned in class, so I’ve decided to post weekly every Friday or Saturday. No worries: I have a little notebook that I carry around, which I’ve started using as a planner (something called a bullet journal?), since cell phones aren’t allowed in any of my classes. It wasn’t that big a sacrifice for me since I love to write, especially in cursive (except that isn’t the font I am using for this personal datebook for some reason).

Well, thanks to my bullet journal, I have just been notified that I have a quiz tomorrow. No big deal, but I should still devote some time to brushing up on a few things since then. I also have to catch up on reading Julie & Julia, which I’ve chosen for my culinary history class. The paper on it is due next week, so hopefully I can immerse myself into it long enough before the irrelevant parts get to me. (No seriously, the first thing she talks about is her struggles to get pregnant, so I’m thinking, Honey, I feel for you, I really do. I love babies just as much as the next maternal soul, but the only eggs I want you to talk about is how to properly cook them as you’ve learned it. I don’t need to know how you got your sexual education from a French sex dictionary, because the only connection that has to your story is the French.)

Anyways, I have an entire section of the bullet journal to the “Blog Update”, so I guess I’ll start from the first point: about a week ago, probably on Monday, we were in the kitchen and as usual, everyone was hustling and minding their own business, asking to borrow certain tools or ingredients in order to do our tasks. In the middle of all the chaos, I was at the stoves and since the kitchen was so big, all the stoves are connected side-by-side (although according to them, they didn’t come they way, just arranged them like such). Then, behind each stove is an extra burner, I guess to keep food warm, but it has its own dial so you can set the heat. There was one chef on each side of me and the one on my left was finished with his stove portion of the dish, so he moved on.

The next person to use that stove pointed out that a plastic measuring cup had melted on the back burner. It basically looked like the Titanic, the way the spout was sticking out. Everyone wanted to know who was guilty and, while I knew exactly who the culprit was, I didn’t want to say anything since that person is human and it happens. I knew they probably felt badly enough about it, or at least humiliated even though nobody knows their identity. But I do know the man or woman responsible, so if he or she reads this by any chance, just know, “I know who you are and I gotta say, don’t worry. Your secret’s safe with me.”

Second point: in Knife Skills class, I told you about that adorable grandma who’s been teaching us. That class is always the same, especially at this point: cutting. Chopping, dicing, slicing. I mean, what else do you expect? The first few days of class, the homework was to read and then literally every lesson after that says, “Practice and Perfect” with a quiz or timed assessment here and there.

Well, we were chopping carrots into diamonds and during the demo, she joked, “Ladies, you might want to look into the size because this is one karat.” She said something like that so I had to include that moment. Not that it’s so funny now…or original even, but I felt as if it was something to note. I’m sure it would’ve been a better execution if I had the time to revise it.

Three: dumplings = pasta. That’s pretty clear-cut and dry. I had no idea that dumplings were considered pasta, but apparently, they are.

Fourth note: go get your meat thermometer. If you don’t have one or just don’t feel like digging it out, Google Image search. You know what? Just look at this one: Thermometers.jpg

This is the exact one I have. You see the hexagon? Apparently, if you slide the clip to the other side, the hexagon (not the clip, the actual hole) is free. That’s so you can slide the thermometer through the hole and on the other side of the dial is another hexagon, which fits perfectly into the one on the clip, causing them to click perfectly and stay together. #TheMoreYouKnow

Next: thermometer calibration! The dial can easily be manipulated, which is why it’s always important to calibrate before and after you use it. The Safety & Sanitation professor was so clever. She wanted us to twist the dial and then said, “Oh no! But you completely ruined the calibration! Here’s what you do…” I told you: clever.

So here’s what you do: since our class is in an actual classroom, we didn’t have access to boiling water, so we used the ice method instead. She basically gave us ice water and then all we had to do was stick it into the cup and set the dial to 32°F. Looking back at my notes on it, I specifically said, “I held it so the needle ‘pointed North’ and dragged the gauge so the needle pointed at 32°F.” That is essentially what you want. 32 to be “North”, like on a geographic compass.

Sixth point is sort of gross, but on Thursday’s Knife Skills class, we actually got to do something more than just cut. We had to chop roasted red bell peppers and we had to roast them ourselves on the stoves or the grill, which was a challenge, but I pushed through it. As always, I was the last one to use them and the last one to finish with them.

The roasting process is completely finished by the time the entire vegetable is black. That’s when you take it back to your station and tear off the burnt skin. I have to tell you though: once the skin is off and it looks all pink…it seriously looks like a tongue.

Speaking of disgusting things, this wasn’t actually on my list, but since I apparently never mentioned it before, I’ll tell you now. So, kids, you might want to look away because this is more for adult humor. I realize that makes you want to read along even more, but if you have any self-control, I advise you to skip the next paragraph.

In Knife Skills, the professor had a tip–I should NOT call it that and you’ll learn really soon why–it was a valuable piece of information. There. She says that if we chop off both ends of a cucumber and rub together the meat that was once connected, it lets out this foamy, white stuff (and that’s apparently the acid being released). And, I mean…the way you rub them together is okay, but think about it: you’re rubbing the tip of a very…interestingly-shaped object…in order to get white juice to…come out… Yeah, I know, it’s pretty gross and probably something you’ll never do to a cucumber, if you never knew about it before. Hey, maybe that’s why they call it a cuCU–never mind.

Okay, it’s safe to read from hereon out, kids. Point #7, I briefly mentioned earlier in this post: Julie & Julia, I expected to be 100% about cooking. Julie Powell’s experience in the project which she devoted a whole year of her life to, making every single recipe in Julia Child’s cookbook. I love the movie and, as expected, thanks to Nora Ephron (may she rest in peace), the film focused on the cooking. Because of this, you expect the book to do the same. Now, I know that the film is an adaptation of the book, which means whatever flaws were in the book were corrected in the film. That’s why I prefer the movie over the book, which isn’t something you would often say about book-to-film adaptations.

I’ve only read the first few chapters, but more than half of what I’ve read so far has only been about Julie Powell’s personal life, which makes me think that it’d fit more as a therapeutic journal. I mean, seriously, she described her sexual educational experience by flipping through this sex dictionary, which was in French. That just makes me wonder, Were her parents okay with her publishing that? It’s way too personal for me to be comfortable with. Just get to the parts that involve food and, if you need a filler, don’t talk about your–or even worse, your parents’–sex life. Not only is it any of our business, but we don’t want to know.

And that makes me question whether or not to move forward. But it’s for a grade, so I have to buck up and push through for just one more week. If not, I’ll just copy and paste what I just said about it and maybe that’ll be my review. I mean, when she talks about food and how obsessed with Julia Child she is and her personal relationship with this cookbook, yes I want to know that personal stuff. Just not certain other personal aspects of your life.

Point number eight: the strict cell phone policy. The official policy for the program is we are only allowed to use our cell phones upstairs during breaks. The kitchen we use for my classes so far is on the first floor. The head of the department teaches Professional Cooking Basics and on the very first day, he said that he could spot a cell phone in a pocket from a mile away. In fact, he actually said that if we’d stood up at that moment, he’d be able to tell who had a phone in their pocket. Policy dictates that we keep our phones in our locker and on silent.

The only professor who’s really uptight about this is the Knife Skills grandma (and I don’t mean “grandma” in a rude way–she really does look exactly like my grandma so I feel endearing calling her that. Here, of course, not in public). In fact, everyday she writes on the whiteboard and the first thing she writes is “Quiet!” (because our class has a habit of talking loudly about anything but the cooking) and “No cell phones in classroom!” Still, most of us take out our cell phones, at least during breakfast break (which we devote about 30 minutes of our class period to).

The thing is, we can at least use our phones during breaks, which is basically a pause in the class, right? Grandma isn’t so lenient about it, even during breakfast. I mean, we still take them out, but I suppose less nowadays because she takes note and marks us down. She only just notified us of this on Thursday, so I know I was marked down a couple times. I’m not too worried about my grade though. I feel as if the only way to truly fail the class is from the precision cuts. She’s slightly more strict about that, of course. I could think it’s perfect, but then she checks it on my ruler and it’s too small.

Speaking of the whole “Quiet!” thing, also on Thursday, she wrote down a little more than that on the board. She then added, “Or go home!” The head of the department actually interrupted our class and then talked to us about how the lack of talking about anything but the food shows more respect for the teacher. I’ve been itching to shut up the two guys in my group who are so talkative and just want to make conversation, but the three of us are quiet and try to focus on the precision cuts. The problem with me whenever I confront someone is something always goes wrong and we end up laughing at something I said, which is why I never confront. I just keep quiet and take it.

As much as I hate that it got to the point where the PCB instructor came in (especially since he’s a tall, old, white guy with clear authority while she is a petite Asian lady whose vocal strength matches her small stature), it seemed to have worked, since class was a lot quieter the rest of the day and that’s what matters. He pointed out that the more we talk, the less precise the cuts would be for the people around us. Honestly, I remember Grandma mentioning that a couple weeks ago, but obviously nobody listened. I don’t want to be the person whose first thought is always racism whenever there is an imbalance in the system, but I can’t help but think that that’s a small part of why her words didn’t impact the class, but did when those same exact words came out of his mouth. If it was a racist thing, it certainly was unintentional, since the biggest factor in why he would have more of an impact on the class is because he is of higher authority, not because of his skin color. Also, she has a pretty thick accent, so it’s sometimes difficult to understand her, but how many times does a woman have to say the word “quiet” or write it on the whiteboard in all caps before it sinks in? I mean, she’s the one who learned English as the second language, not us.

Anyways, that wasn’t even the note. There’s a rule in the kitchen–although I’m not sure if it’s in the general culinary world, but it should be–where, if it gets too loud in the kitchen, we do a thing called “Quiet Kitchen”, which we practiced that day. Basically, it’s where “the only talk around the kitchen that should be happening is if it pertains to the task at hand.” Simple for some of us since that’s all limit ourselves to anyway, not as easy for others. The discussion about Quiet Kitchen though was one of those “come to Jesus” talks as my college voice teacher calls them, which is apparently what a lot of other people call them too, but that’s when it really stuck with me. (I’ve had many “come to Jesus” talks, but never placed a name to them till college when it was obvious I hadn’t been practicing my singing.)

10: Since I’m gone all morning, the dogs get lonely even though my mom stays behind. Still, because my personal dog, Coco, has long nails (which reminds me, I should set up a grooming appointment for him), when he scratches me… I don’t know, man, they’re like for life. I had to wear gloves in the kitchen because hot water hurts the broken skin and I figured that since I was in Knife Skills, some of the juices (i.e. peppers or oranges) would sting. Like. A lot.

Point number 11: Remember in the movie “The Incredibles”? They have a Leftover Day, which is pretty self-explanatory. Well, knowing what I know now about how fresh a food should be in order to eat it…is that really a good idea? I was thinking they were eating leftovers from the entire week, but now that I think about it, finishing off week-old meals? Maybe for the past couple days, I could see. And, honestly, it’s a really good idea. For example, today was my own leftover day. I’m on an awesome streak of amazing dishes (the past two nights anyway…Mom cooked tonight so I could catch up on schoolwork and the blog). I’ll get to what I made in just a second because I have one more point to get to.

There’s an adorable children’s cookbook out there by Rachael Ray. There are cartoon versions of her making the dishes and they have fun names. It was probably in middle school when I got mine, not that I was into cooking. I didn’t start cooking until after college. Before then it was just ramen noodles or boiling water. Actually, that was for the ramen noodles. I had no real interest in cooking; just attracted to the colors, really. I never used it, so I threw it out, especially as I grew older because those were kiddie recipes. The only thing I remember is the Chicken Cacciatore, which she renamed “catch-a-tory”, so the kids could pronounce it. That’s literally all I remember.

Let me see if I can track down that book though. It shouldn’t be hard to find. I mean, how many children’s cookbooks could Rachael Ray have published since then? (Watch there be an entire library devoted to recipes specifically for kids.) Aha! Cooking Rocks! Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals for Kids. And it’s $4 on ThriftBooks! Whatever that is. Here’s the cover: 51HHFPR5BVL._SL300_.jpg

It’s pretty cute, right? Well, I was so inspired that one night, I wanted to be like, “Ooh, I can be a chef, too!” I had this plan to set up menus and I’d cook whatever they’d want. Of course, I was unprepared for any of that: not just with what ingredients to get, but five separate dishes for one little girl? Let alone the mise en place or the amount of time it’d take to actually make? As cute as that experience was (or lack thereof), I now choose what I get to make with mere suggestions from my parents.

I  made…(let me check my awesome bullet journal since I started a list of “Dishes Made” now)…Lemon Chicken on Thursday, Pesto Cavatappi on Friday, and Succulent Chicken Parmesan w/ Bruschetta on Saturday.

Here’s the entry for the last time I made Lemon Chicken, courtesy of The Food Network’s Rachael Ray. I skimmed over this in preparation for this attempt. I made sure to add vinegar this time because of that Dad had said. I did not, however, add broccoli this time, like I wanted, but noted for next time. Sort of. If I actually read this entry first. As you can see, I added a little side salad there. Went with cherry tomatoes this time, but no recipe. I keep forgetting that this recipe tends to be too sweet. I know that’s from the lemon curd, which is store-bought. I mean, I suppose I could experiment with just half the jar rather than the whole thing, but I’m not sure if that’d mean I would need more water in order to have more chicken coating.

Friday was the Pesto Cavatappi. Mom’s best friend from high school stayed the night and I wanted to make her something good. I’d made this dish quite a few times now, so I knew the drill. Everyone said it was delicious and, while I know taste is something you must experience, judge for yourself. How does it look? Okay? 

I know I’ve made it several times before, but I don’t have the experience documented here for some reason, even when I look up “Pesto Cavatappi”. Well, here’s the recipe for it anyway. It turns out I needed a little more pesto. I thought one jar was enough because that’s how much I’d previously used, but I suppose those recipes were cut in half. Oh well. It’s pesto. I think that’s more for the taste, not the way it’s cooked.

Don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I’d say the following dish was even better, mainly because I tackled two recipes at the same time. The timing is what I’m most proud of, especially since neither of them took too much anyway. I used two recipes from a site called Yummly.

First was the Bruschetta. The first time I’d ever seen or heard of this dish was when I was in a choir conference in Europe. We had toured Vienna, Salzburg and Prague. In fact, I distinctly remember visiting the chapel where they filmed the wedding scene in “The Sound of Music”–which isn’t where Maria and Captan von Trapp actually got married–and stopping by a restaurant directly in front of it and taking note of a rather handsome waiter and then posing for a picture with him. Apparently, other girls were itching for a photo with him and I was the first one.

This was in Vienna, I believe, and we were having dinner with our chaperones and choir directors. I remember overhearing a conversation taking place between our director and one of the altos and we were looking at the menu, which was still given to us even though our dishes were already chosen for us. He asked the alto, “Have you ever tried bruschetta? It’s delicious.”

So that was the first time the idea of bruschetta came to be, in my life. After that, I’d only seen them in other restaurants, but I’d never tried them. Yesterday, I was watching “Julie & Julia” for the hundredth time and decided, “Hey, why not try bruschetta?” It was one of the very first scenes where they’re talking about what Julie could write a blog about. That husband was REALLY into that bruschetta.

I didn’t expect bruschetta to be so hard–I mean, I was aware that that’s part of the meal, the toughness of the skin–but when Mom texted me that it was really good, I asked her if it was too hard and she said no. So I shrugged and said, “Okay, another successful dinner!”

Since Dad got home earlier than usual, I had to get started as soon as I got home from the store. Because the chicken needed more baking time than the bread, I decided to start with that first. (Plus, the oven temperature for the chicken was slightly lower than the bread so it was perfect since I didn’t have to worry about any cooling down period.) I didn’t really measure the panko since we had a little left. However much there was, it was the perfect amount. I mean, really, perfect. The scraps were, like, a pinch.

Also, this must be my Blue Bloods/Jamie Reagan-obsessed brain talking, but does anybody else (who watches the show anyway) think of “Janko” when they see or hear the word “panko”? I mean, it makes sense, since they’re just one letter off, but that damn name. Have I mentioned this before?

Sorry. Veered slightly off track there.

While the Succulent Chicken Parmesan was baking (the best way to cook meat, in my opinion, because my chicken always tends to be messy, dry, and burnt when I try to fry it), I got started on the Bruschetta. I was going to get basil leaves, but at the same time, didn’t really feel like it, and I knew we had fresh greens, so I took my chances. We didn’t have it at home, so instead I had an option to use cilantro or Italian parsley. I asked for Mom’s opinion and she said that for a basil substitution, she’d go with the parsley.

Bruschetta is surprisingly simple. The only ingredients you worry about is the vegetable mixture and you can mix it by hand. I thought that spooning them onto the baked bread slices would’ve also been a challenge, but you’re free to drop as many pieces as you’d like and there would still be enough leftovers to top off some pasta for the next day, which is what I did, mainly because the recipe says I have the freedom to.

Something I was wondering was which side of the bread to put the vegetable mixture on: the oily side that faces the foil or the clean side? I put it on the clean side or else the bottom would just be dry.

The bruschetta mixture took a little longer than expected, so I had to take out the chicken once it was done and then put it back in the oven after the bread was finished baking. Only while the oven was cooling down, hoping that whatever residual heat there was, was still enough to keep the chicken warm.

Janko Panko-coated chicken

Pre-baked bread slices. I was afraid of it not fitting onto the entire sheet, but it was actually perfect! Don’t you love it when that happens? When you rely solely on gut instinct and it turns out to be a happy ending?

The entire tray of bruschetta pre-serving.

And best of all: plating.

Unfortunately, the chicken did cool down, but that’s because nobody came to the dinner table in time. In fact, I had to take Dad’s plate upstairs to him because he wasn’t coming down and I didn’t want him to eat cold chicken.

Because there were four pieces of chicken and only three of us, there was one left, which was refrigerated and I ate for breakfast this morning. Since it was breakfast and I didn’t have my phone on me, and was also too lazy to get back upstairs, I ate it without taking a photo. It was too late anyway; by the time I realized it, I’d already taken a bite out.

I can describe it as best I can though: There was the chicken parmesan (half-breast), a few pieces of bruschetta, and some of the leftover pesto cavatappi. I sprinkled mozzarella all over the pesto and then microwaved it. This really helped with the bruschetta. It may be customary to eat hard, but I like my bread soft. The recipe for the bruschetta also suggests to use leftovers for pasta topping, which I did on the cavatappi.

This was my lunch, which got me thinking about that Leftover Day from “The Incredibles”. I figured maybe I can cook on the weekends and eat leftovers on Sundays. That way I can do my writing on Sundays and not have to worry about new updates. Plus, I will have time during the week to focus on school. 

But I suppose there’s only one day where I absolutely can’t cook. Since I get out in the early afternoons the other three schooldays, there’s no reason for me not to cook. The weekend thing is a definite plan though since I’ll actually have the energy to prep and execute.

For dinner, instead of eating what Mom made, I wanted to finish off the leftovers, so even more pesto cavatappi for me. (I’m gonna be morbidly obese by…there’s no end if this is gonna be my career.)

Break an egg!

P.S. If the culinary school stuff tends to be boring, I can definitely leave it out. I figured there was some wisdom I could share with you, but since I do talk a lot, I don’t want to be boring about it. Let me know, if you can! 🙂

P.P.S. I usually read over this, but it’s so long and I have to get to bed, like, now if I want to get to class by 7:30AM. Hope you understand!



I’ve had a pretty hard few days recently, but I’m starting to feel like myself again. (I just noticed that I’ve been feeling a lot more depressed lately, but not so deep that it takes me a while to bounce back. I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that I’ve finally taken my first step towards actual adulthood…) Long story short: I have my own chef’s knives now! It didn’t take that long to choose the correct chef’s knife for me (like, the actual chef’s knife–not the general set). At the end of the day, I’m actually quite satisfied with what ended up going for. I mean, it may not be the perfect blade for me, but it’s better than what I’ve been using: those really crappy house knives.

A few days ago, I made a chicken dish I’d seen on BuzzFeed’s Tasty app. It was really good, and then the leftovers turned out to be a very delicious burrito as well! What happened there was I wanted to finish them off the following day, but actually bought soft flour tortillas with the intention of eventually making breakfast burritos after watching yet another Tasty video. The hardest part of this new creation was how much of the insides to place inside the tortilla. I remembered, from last time I wanted to make the self-improvised breakfast burrito, that the ones I bought were too small. That was because I was aiming for the mini burritos they sell at McDonald’s. I don’t usually eat there, but we used to stop by the drive-thru and order breakfast burritos, right before church choir practice so we all had something in the morning.

Today however, I’m going to attempt this chicken dish again: the Chicken and Rice Casserole. I didn’t refer to the recipe however; I once again improvised. It reminded me of the time I completely BS’d one of my previous chicken dinners. This time, it was exponentially better with the extra stuff I added before the chicken breast. Wanna see? 

Initially, I added just 1/2 a cup of chicken broth, but decided to add a little more right before placing it in the oven. Even then however, the rice dried up a bit, so I added even more, so I predict I poured an extra 1/2 cup. Also, I added garlic salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper, all of which I just guessed.

That string cheese was the only cheese I had access to, so the mindset I was in was “you do what you can with what you got”: a very common belief in the modern world of rush hours and instant meals. As you can see, that worked out well.

I think it was still pretty good though. The chicken was slightly undercooked, but I only noticed a little bit of pinkness. It was the first time I’ve ever noticed that difference in the taste as well though, so I didn’t feed it to the dogs, just in case. Yeah, that’s why I didn’t give any to them. Sure, we’ll say that. Just kidding: I really did have their health in mind.

At least now though, I know what’d happen if I ate undercooked chicken, thanks to Sanitation & Safety: salmonella. I think. It’s not too serious though–just food poisoning. I know that probably shouldn’t be my attitude, especially if I want to cook food for other people, but in this case, I’m the only victim, so if I’m sick, so be it. Not like I’ll be dead. That would only be the case if I’d eaten the meat completely raw and that’s just nasty.

I took a lot of notes during class this past week. Even jotted down a list called “Blog Update”, with anticipation that I’d eventually be able to type it all out. Maybe I’ll mention it tomorrow, thanks to the weekend.

Speaking of updates, while I didn’t have time to type anything out, I did manage to take photos of my creations during my brief, educationally-induced hiatus. Here is the complete, original casserole dish I tried to replicate today–dammit, I forgot the broccoli! 

That same day, I also tried this apple bake thing, also inspired by a Tasty video

The idea was fine and I’m sure the recipe would have worked out perfectly…except the grocery store I went to didn’t have pre-made cinnamon bun dough. It was the very last ingredient I could find and I wasn’t sure if there was secretly a can inside with the dough already prepared, but took my chances anyway. Once I got home, it was all powder. I at least had the ingredients in order to turn it into a dough, but I feel as if the texture wasn’t the same or something.

By the time the dough had risen halfway, I noticed the apples might overflow because the dough was too moist to avoid sticking together. In fact, it had formed into one giant dough ball again, so the cinnamon sauce barely managed to go between the failed cracks even though I tried to form smaller rolls like the recipe advised. I had to stop baking midway in order to stuff the apple cubes back into the plate. Nothing fell out, but only because I took the liberty to shove it all back onto the platter.

I mean, it was good, but…still underdone. Hopefully the other store I go to will have it, so I can make it right one of these days.

Apart from the stuff I wanted to bring up from class, I think that’s all I have to say. Maybe I’ll find time to provide some insight on what I learned tomorrow. I mean, it’s not that I don’t have time, since I have Fridays off, but I had previous passions which haven’t been forgotten. I spent most of today on my Grey’s Anatomy marathon, prepping for the new season starting next week. If I wasn’t doing that, I was singing karaoke on the piano (I know that sounds redundant and silly, but there’s a freestyle feature on the app I use, which is just the recording function). So as you can see, I still want to live my life and practice my passions while learning about culinary arts. Cooking as actually become one of those passions, in fact, but I still love those other activities, so there’s no way I’m giving that up.

Break an egg!


Today is my busiest day of the week–Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, I only have a single class each while Tuesdays I have two lecture classes a couple hours after the first. I considered going back home last week, but during the drive back to school (which my mom did since I had car trouble, so no need to worry about parking), the middle school also gets out and since none of them drive yet, their parents have to pick them up. I figured I could use this time to update Chef’s Delight even though I have a quiz tomorrow night over stuff I wouldn’t ace if I took it at this very moment, but it’s not like I have just a little bit to talk about. This is cooking school, so there’s a lot to cover, even with the list of lessons or thoughts I made.

Still, my priorities venture elsewhere in this lonely habitat of cyberspace. It’s difficult though–since my parents are still out of town, I had to leave the dogs home and it’s for the entire day this time. They’re big boys, so I know they’ll be fine. We’ve done that before when visiting relatives a couple hours away, so they can survive. (Probably sit around, napping all day.) I left them with two bowls full of food and a large bowl of water. They have plenty of room to run around and play in the kitchen, and their bathroom crate is right in the corner and they know to go there (for the most part). I also left the lights on in order to keep a sense that they’re not alone. I should probably devote at least an hour of studying though, so I’ll try to make this quick with the stuff I do have written down:

When I look for recipes either on Facebook or the Food Network app, I realize I either have or should start to find something that can cater (no pun intended) to my specific needs as a culinary arts student when I make food for the family. If I need to practice chopping methods, salad might be the way to go. Not only do I have to be a better recipe hunter, but I also need to think about what I still need to learn while I have people who can teach me in the professional setting.

One small thing that I noticed while chopping in Knife Skills was how long my nails were. The way they determine if it’s short enough is if you look at your palms; if you can see the nails over your fingertips, then they’re too long. For me, when I’m cutting and using my non-dominant hand in the claw position (pretend you’re holding an egg), my nails feel like they dig into the food and that’s not exactly comfortable. That’s why I cut them a few days ago–it just feels more sanitary that way too, because scrubbing your hands for 20 seconds doesn’t guarantee you get every little piece of dirt out from under those nails.

If you’re a reader who either studies everything I say or at least skims through my entries, then you’ll be familiar with one of my biggest questions in cooking: when you have to cut a recipe in half, is time also affected? For example, if I have to cook 2 cups chicken broth, but want to cut that down by half, obviously I’d have to cook just 1 cup, but would it take as long? That’s a really stupid example because the obvious answer is, yes, it would take less time to cook, but you get the idea, right? If a recipe says to bake three chicken parmesans, does that heat affect all three with the same amount of heat as if I’d bake one? There, that’s a better example: would I have to punch in a shorter time for just one chicken instead of all three? The official answer was “yes, but not always.” It depends on the ingredients, temperature, and I think even what tools/appliances I use.

This morning, I also came up with a new study technique that probably won’t catch on: spending each night at the awkward stage when you’re already in bed, but waiting to fall asleep…flipping through the material you need to know. Not skimming, but actually reading and processing all the information–soaking it all in repeatedly everyday so you gain more retention. I’ve heard that the brain either is a muscle or it’s like a muscle; you need to exercise it everyday so it can get stronger.

I have a quiz early tomorrow morning, so that doesn’t do me much good at this point, but it’s a theory. I take photos of everything I think I need to know from the textbook–diagrams, tables, photos, side definitions, etc.–and so I just have to swipe left when I’m done with the page. (Anyone else think of Tinder just now, because of the “swipe left” thing? I’ve only used it once, but don’t have it anymore, but because of that app, the only thing that my generation at least, applies the act of swiping left to that social network. Sorry. Sidetrack.)

Anyways, then, on weekends at around the same time you’ve been looking over the material, quiz yourself on what you remember. Then, if you need to look at it again, it’s right there.

I also made Key Lime Pie last night. I’d gotten home from class and was like, “I’m probably set for dinner”–which was rice, steak, and salad–“so if I want to make something, it should probably be dessert. I want cake. Or at least pie.” So I flipped through the Tasty app (which needs improvements), the Food Network app, NY Times Cooking app, even some new ones I just signed up for called Kitchenbowl and Yum-Yum. I wanted something delicious yet simple. I aimed for what was easier because I’d already spent a good hour on it and I was starving.


I tried following the recipe exactly, but I feel like there was too much graham cracker involved. I remember from last time I made a pie crust using these exact same crackers, but they didn’t use the entire box, but the recipe told me to. That’s why I added the top garnish, and that was about half of what was left of the crust and I wanted to use as much as I could.

The butter also seemed scarce. Also, tip: butter pops in the microwave so make sure to cover it. I didn’t think it was too important even though that wasn’t the first time I’ve microwaved butter. Oh, I still have yet to clean the kitchen… Tomorrow after class. Maybe. I hope.

Anyway, you see how the crust didn’t stick together very well? Otherwise, it was good though! That’s what matters, right? And apparently there’s a difference between lime juice and key lime juice. We had two bottles of lime juice so I just substituted with that and, honestly, it tastes exactly the same. I think. My tastebuds aren’t quite trained enough to be able to distinguish that.

Speaking of training your tastebuds, in this morning’s class, one of the activities is to taste basically an entire pallet of all five or six flavors. (The sixth one is oleogram or something, which is the oily, rancid taste.) Through experience, I learned that often times, you can correct something if it’s too bland by adding something to literally spice it up a notch. This may have been obvious, but it goes deeper than that: the lesson was to try something else besides salt to un-bland a dish. I can’t tell you any more since I left my notes in my locker at the culinary building across the street and my memory sucks. I’ll fill you in next time, if I remember, but like I said: my memory sucks.

Back on track, the next point on my list was the PCB quiz I told you about (probably): it took about ten minutes total and we went over the answers after we turned them in. I got 10/10 and two of them were guesses! Although I don’t suppose they were guesses, since they were mostly multiple choice, but he was very flexible on the answers: if it was multiple choice and one of the answers was very close in theory, he accepted both.

The questions were really easy too and only like two of them covered sanitation while, like, four covered weights/measurements, which are both what he said they were on. The rest of the questions were about cooking eggs. One of the questions was literally “list three types of eggs we learned to cook in class.” I’m just like, “Take your pick.” Just list all the basic breakfasts where the egg is the main ingredient and you’ve got your answers right there.

One question that I’m still kicking myself for missing was one of the extra credits. There were two, and one of them was a measurement one that was like “how many oz. in a pound?” I recalled the number 32 somewhere so I took my chances and wrote that down. Turned out to be 16. I feel like that’s close, considering you just have to double to get my answer.

The big question that really got me described how to cook something. We had to answer with what the dish was. I knew that it was clarified butter, but for some reason, I can never think of the word “clarified”. I knew it started with a “c”, but I couldn’t picture what it was called: “Chlorinated?” “Colonized?” “Classified?” My brain was even convinced it was “Solidified”… I mean, at least it was an extra credit question, so I didn’t get any points off for leaving it blank. Maybe I should’ve written down “butter” with an underscore right before it, just to imply that I knew what it was, but couldn’t think of the word. Then I’d at least get .5 extra credit.

I also wondered why some classes were at least five hours long and others were two or two-and-a-half. It took actually attending all of my classes that first week, to realize that the regular-lengthed classes are– how is “-lengthed” not a word?–are actually straightforward lectures. No kitchen work is done because it’s just like any other class that involves an actual classroom with pen and paper. The stinkin’ long ones involve cooking and it takes a lot of time to cook and clean. For us, we have to devote at least half an hour to cleaning up the kitchen, even with everyone working together.

And final point even though I know I have lots of other things to say: so right now is around the same time where I felt really overwhelmed last week about everything happening at once. I was depressed and unsure if this was what I wanted to do and even considered dropping everything. Of course, I didn’t do that because smart, sane me said, “Wait a few more days and you’ll be over it. Soon, waking up at 6AM won’t be such a big deal to you. You just jumped into real life too quickly.” So fortunately, that’s all it was. I do get excited when working in the kitchen, especially with my classmates, who help out a lot. As long as this is the main feeling and it lasts all day, that’s fine.

I know there’s a lot more to say on that, but we’re down to one hour left and I should look over the material for tomorrow’s quiz. Not that I have anything on my person to study over, but that’s why some dude invented the Internet!

We cook everyday now and we’ve gotten more into how the kitchen works on a regular day, but I’m still making mistakes, which I know is fine since it’s school: we’re there to make mistakes and learn from them. I’ll see if I can list each one and talk about it next time too.

Till then, break an egg!

For the record, all this took, like, two hours, which surprises me. It feels like only an hour has passed.


Previously on Chef’s Delight: I have the house to myself for about a week, so that means I’m in charge of my own food. In turn, that also means that there will probably be more entries, or at least more paragraphs in these entries. That would make me excited, except I’m also back in school, which starts early in the day for four days straight, meaning I won’t be devoting my nighttimes to these updates, hence dedicating all weekday updates to Fridays, which is my day off.

For lunch, I just had ramen noodles. I wanted to make something for dinner, but I didn’t know what I was in the mood for, yet at the same time, didn’t know what I just felt like cooking. I combed through the videos on Facebook, but I just found mostly the same things since I didn’t want to go to the beginning of each page, trying to find something appetizing and worth trying out. I tried the cooking apps on my phone, but nothing really stuck to my interests.

That’s when I decided that maybe steak was an option. We don’t have it in our fridge, so I would have had to go out and buy it. That’s when I said, “Screw it, there’s still a whole raw chicken breast left from yesterday, so I’ll just eat that like a steak with a side of rice and the leftover salad.” It was a variation of last night’s dinner, which was just a chicken salad (it was very simple, so not worth discussing).

I didn’t want to fry it this time because I always end up burning the top and bottom, waiting for the internal temperature to turn 160°F. Instead, I looked up how to bake a single chicken breast and most of them said 30 minutes at 400°. Looking at that one chicken piece, I didn’t want it to be dull, so I added some lemon juice directly to the pan and then after inserting the meat, sprayed a little bit on top. Then, I added some cilantro (which one of my Facebook friends was complaining about yesterday for some reason?) in each corner of the dish. I covered it with plastic wrap and let it marinate for about 15 minutes (until the oven finished preheating) and then baked for half an hour.

(Are you supposed to cover it with foil when you bake it though? I didn’t even think to, but I see them do it all the time in the videos. How significant is it in this process?)

Toward the end, the only portion of the cheese that burned was the outline of the chicken, which was completely white and maybe very slightly uncooked. Like a teeny tinge of pink was still visible. When I looked at the meat thermometer, it said, like, 161°F or something, so I figured it was close enough, since the safe number is 160° or 165°, right?

Isn’t she a beaut? I know that on a balanced plate, veggies are supposed to take up half the plate while the grains and protein each take up their own quarter, but who’s counting?

Again, the chicken was total improv. I used garlic salt on the chicken before putting it in the oven because I freaking love it, especially more than regular salt.

As far as the lemon juice goes, I’m predicting that I added approximately a tablespoon of it total maybe? I’m a horrible guesser when it comes to volume. For the cheese, I can safely say that I used up 1/2 cup. I just wanted enough to completely coat the entire chicken breast.

Well, that was dinner! Quick and sweet. Speaking of sweet, when I had the cucumber with the Fuji apple salad dressing (courtesy of Panera Bread), I couldn’t help but notice that it tasted like a green apple-flavored lollipop. It was just that first taste though, so it was probably the dressing, but I specifically tasted the lollipop, not just some other apple-related food.

Anywho, break an egg!


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.


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!


So you know those very brief videos they show on Facebook? It doesn’t even have to be about food–sometimes it’s a DIY instructional video–but they show a person’s hands adding ingredients and they show what that ingredient is and how much to put in. Plus, it’s sped up for the sake of time, so they last up to a minute. If you’ve been online, chances are you’ve seen something like it.

This is the second meal I’ve made the day I’ve seen one of those videos. The first one was the Bacon, Egg, and Rice Dish by Buzzfeed. (I could have made something else too, but if there was, it has obviously escaped me.)

While scrolling through Facebook this morning, I found one of those short videos making food. As I watched, I thought, Okay, should be easy. It’s called Firecracker Chicken and the page Delish posted it. If you take the time to watch it yourself, you can see how simple it looks. I mean, it really was simple to make. Nothing went wrong. In fact, both my parents said to keep this recipe. Actually, the first thing my dad said was, “It’s not bad.” Mom was the one who told me to keep the recipe.

So I did. 

Here’s what it looked like in the end: My biggest surprise was how much buffalo sauce is involved, but I think that’s less about the sauce and more because of what I substituted it with. I saw that buffalo sauce was basically hot sauce (at the store), so I used the rest of one of our hot sauces.

Which reminds me, quick tip: if you don’t know what an ingredient looks like, look it up before the trip to the store. The only ingredient I needed was buffalo sauce and I had no idea what that was and neither did my mom, which is why she said we didn’t have it. (And I know she didn’t know because she would look over the list of ingredients and tell me what substitutions to use, especially if we already had it.) In order to make the trip useful however, I bought a bottle of pink lemonade, some foil cupcake cups (which my mom asked me to buy), and a cooking magazine whose issue was the food on the show Modern Family. I’ve only seen one episode of that show, but I figured, hey, if I get into it, then I’ll have the magazine if I want to find a recipe. (Not that I don’t like the show, it’s just one of those series you don’t get into easily. For me, at least. I know it’s still a popular show.)

It took around three rounds of the full skillet to complete frying the chicken, because there was so much (I used three breasts, instead of two). Also, I cut them into smaller pieces than I should have, I’m sure. I also drowned a bunch of them at a time in the egg and sort of let them sit like that until the first batch was done frying. I’m not sure if that could’ve altered the taste, but I’m sure that’s not how the chef wanted it to go.

While coating it with cornstarch, however, I was wondering if flour would’ve just been enough. I think I’ll try that next time, just as a test, but maybe that’s more something I should research in the culinary science textbook my parents got me from Costco: “The Food Lab” by J. Kenji Lopez, which I’m actually proud to have heard about before they bought it. I was scrolling through cookbooks on the iBooks Store and there it was. Almost bought it, too, but too expensive.

So what do you think? Are the pieces too small or just right? Or perhaps too big, by any chance?

Toward the end, timing was cut down and I figured it was safe because of how small the pieces were. Dad was getting impatient, so I figured I could just bake it for 30 minutes total instead of 35 to 45 minutes.

Whatever decisions I made during this process made the dish decent enough to try again. And by “try again”, I mean to enjoy again, not attempt for a second time because the first was so bad. (Coughs) Grilled cheese.

I think those are the important points. I’ve started using the measuring cups again, but there’s still guesswork with the salt and pepper. Oil is also guesswork, since I’m using one or two turns of it in the skillet and have no clue how much that is in cups.

Oh, by the way, huge update on my culinary education, which means this is actually happening. I haven’t paid tuition yet so it’s not 100% official, but I registered for classes. I actually did it during my initial registration process, but it’s weird as opposed to when I went to college in Michigan. For this school, you have to sign up for the first half of the term AND the second half. I thought it was just the first half, so I signed up for the introductory courses I could, thinking the second half meant the second term. I didn’t know when I could go back online and finish registering as soon as I found out that we had to sign up for both sets of classes, but I went on a few days ago and finished it. I’m just glad it came through and I wasn’t too late, since classes start on the 22nd. They showed me the bill, which we’ll pay sometime in the next few days and I got my first email from a professor about what to buy in preparation for the class!

I would need a textbook and my own chef’s uniform, both of which could be found at the store. I would’ve gotten these probably today if I were still at the small college in Michigan because the campus was so small you could go from one end to the other in less than ten minutes. My driving is so iffy that I’m just going to procrastinate a little bit on that. I know I may have to pay a price in that the store will run out, but I’m a professional procrastinator. It’s a risk I am willing to take.

For the first half, I am going to take Professional Cooking Basics, Sanitation & Safety, Culinary Arts Survey, and Knife Skills. Second half will consist of Professional Meat & Sauce Preparation, and Introduction to Baking & Pastry. A lot of these classes are a FEW HOURS long, which I’m not really a big fan of, but as someone who wants to take this seriously, I don’t want that to get in the way. I mean, you’re supposed to enjoy what you want to do in life. What’s that saying? “If you enjoy your work, then you’ll never work a day in your life”? For me, cooking is fun, so those few hours will just fly by like choir used to for me in high school or theatre rehearsal in college.

Speaking of Intro to Baking though, funny story: apparently there’s a local bakery and I noticed the name of it matched my professor’s name as I was filling out my calendar (I put my professors’ names in the Notes section of the event). What my parents got from the bakery was the Beehive Cake, which looks a bit like this (I know it’s not too clear, but that’s the only image of that cake that I found online): 180s.jpg

The first thing I said was, “It’s like a cream hamburger.” Ever since I mentioned that my soon-to-be baking professor owned a bakery they enjoyed going to so much, my parents were wondering if I would be taught how to make that particular cake. Obviously, I won’t know that for sure until I take it, but it shouldn’t be too hard once I see a recipe. I’m sure I could just ask for it, or maybe they’ll give me a cookbook of what they serve at the bakery.

I think part of the bakery concentration is working at that bakery because when my parents went there, the cashier had on a shirt with the college logo on it. Considering how much effort it takes to fill up a credit, I think it’s a requirement, but maybe that student just works there. Being a recent college student, I’m thinking it’s the former.

My personal focus is on Italian cuisine and/or baking. While Italian seems really fancy, I just think that baking is cute, but really hard, because it has to be so precise. I mean, you’ve probably seen the cakes I made: Red Velvet Birthday Cake and cheesecake. They tasted good, but looked sloppy.

Well, I think that’s about it! I mentioned all the stuff I forgot yesterday. I think I got to all the points with the Firecracker Chicken. So…

Break eggs, foodies!


Besides irreparable damage, I’d say a chef’s worst enemy that would completely get in the way of how they do their jobs is sour candies. I’m a sweet tooth and I don’t normally eat sour things specifically because they basically paralyze your taste buds for the next day or two. Still, there is sometimes a craving for them with me, so I get Sour Patch Kids. I get punished for having them by getting pain on my tongue, which motivates me to finish them off within the next couple days, causing even MORE hardly-bearable pain on my tongue.

Since that completely jeopardizes my sense of taste for the next few days, I had to rely solely on guesswork while making the chicken fried rice recipe I got from BuzzFeed. Actually, it was “Bacon, Egg, and Rice Dish“, thanks to their new Tasty website. (Which I recently learned because I have been obsessed with those short DIY videos, specifically the recipe ones. And, if you have time, check out Tastemade’s “Tiny Kitchen”: it’s not just tiny foods, but the entire kitchen is also tiny, which means so are the tools.)

We don’t have bacon, so I substituted chicken (as usual). I also didn’t use the measuring cups because I figured I could’ve predicted how much of something I needed. That might have been a mistake, however other factors still could have been at play to this so-so meal.

I had to make it twice because there was dinner for my mother, brother and myself, and then there was one for my dad, who got home later because he was working. In my opinion, the second attempt was better because I knew what to expect. The first was sort of a disaster, but not inedible.

When I made the first batch, the rice was freshly cooked because it took me the entire rice cooking period to prepare the rest of the recipe. I set all the ingredients out separately to make it easier to put into the pan while cooking: eggs, onions, meat, etc. Unfortunately, I thought that meant I could immediately use the rice once it was finished. I think I used a little too much water for the rice cooker because it was slightly too moist. I mean, I generally like it that way, but I guess specific dish didn’t.

My timing was almost perfect though. As soon as the rice was done, the timing of the recipe was just right, for it to be added into the pan. Word of advice though: just because it seems like perfect timing does not mean you should get a jump start on the next step. Just thought I’d clarify that for you guys out there who read this for educational purposes, not entertainment.

Because of this, I added the onions after the rice, but I don’t think that order makes too big a difference? I don’t know specifically because a) my taste buds have been compromised thanks to the Sour Patch Kids, and b) even if they were lucid enough for me to taste, I couldn’t tell what was good or bad about it. They just aren’t trained enough for that yet. I mean, I’m sure I’d have a better idea than the beginner I was just months ago, but I’m still not at professional level quite yet, obviously.

The second time, I let my mom taste it and she said it was fine, so I trusted her judgment, seeing as how she is the typical American housewife. She knew that the second try was going to be better just by looking at it.

Also, the green onions, while we do have them, are pretty old. They were brown at the tips and wilting, so I figured, yeah, I can skip the garnish.

My second attempt was easier, also because the rice was drier. Pulling apart the “clumps” of rice in the pan got me confused the first time because it seemed like they were more focused on becoming some kind of risotto. With the drier rice, I got a much better sense of what they meant by “breaking up the clumps”.

After all this hard work, it turned out my dad didn’t like it. He took one bite and…yeah. He says it’s because he doesn’t like his rice mixed with anything else, but I’m getting the feeling that he thinks this dish (for now) was one bad apple in a healthy bushel. Honestly, I don’t blame him. I’m mostly pointing my fingers at those dumb Sour Patch Kids. (Seriously, a chef loses her mojo when she’s on those things! Whenever you cook something, avoid them at all costs!)

As far as the guesswork goes, I’d say I was pretty accurate. I mean, then again, I wouldn’t really know since I never tasted it with my normal tastebuds, but my mom says it’s good and she doesn’t even know about my candy stash. While predicting how much of one ingredient goes into the pot, all I kept thinking about was, I can’t rely on recipes forever. One of these days, I have to memorize them and try to stick to them as closely as possible, so when I do manage to make it all on my own, I have my own variations of these dishes. I’ll eventually get a feel of how much a tsp. is as opposed to a tbsp. I’m sure. Like I said: cooking is a science experiment.

Oh, before I forget, Mom also said to cut the chicken chunks into smaller pieces after the first try.

AND…the first time, I used half a yellow onion while the second photo shows that I used red onion. A whole one, in fact.

Attempt #1:

Attempt #2: