Roasted Cauliflower and Mushroom Carbonara

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Tonight I made Roasted Cauliflower and Mushroom Carbonara from closetcooking.

I'm trying to get more vegetables in my diet. So adding mushrooms and cauliflower to a classic carbonara, instead of the Italian sausage, sounded like a good idea.

And it was! It turned out really well, and came together easily, though roasting the vegetables does make the whole thing take about 20-30 minutes.

This is making me curious: What other vegetables can I add to carbonera? Asparagus perhaps? Broccoli maybe? I'm definitely going to need to experiment here!

Roasted Cauliflower and Mushroom Carbonara in a bowl

Honey Sriracha Chicken Drumsticks

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The main reason for the new blog format is so that I can write posts after I cook, while it's all still fresh in my head (and my stomach).

I tried this recipe for Sticky Honey Sriracha Chicken Drumsticks from Homemade Hooplah. Click through for the recipe, and sorry about the invasive ads on that site. I strongly suggest an ad-blocker. Ad-blockers won't protect against the 2 pages of introductory narrative though...

Sticky Honey Sriracha Chicken Drumsticks

Editing and narrative comments aside, these turned out well. The glaze was tasty, tangy, and sticky, and reduced quickly on the stove (unlike my attempt at Chicken Adobo last week, but that's another post). Do keep an eye on the glaze though. I turned my back to cube some potatoes and it immediately boiled over!

The mess a boiled over glaze leaves

Also be sure to start checking the chicken at about 20 minutes. Or even reduce the heat after 20 minutes to keep the skin golden and crisp, not blackened and burnt.

Time permitting, I'll revisit this recipe, and do a full writeup. For now, these photos will have to do.

6 drumsticks glazed on the pan

New Year - New Format

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It's been just about a year since I started this blog, and as I hoped, my skills have vastly improved. I'm cooking better, I'm eating better, I'm saving money, and I'm learning a lot about food.

However, I haven't been posting nearly as much as I'd like. I think it's mostly because creating an entire recipe post, with photos and instructions, takes a few hours. Posting one of those a week has been difficult, especially when it may be months since I actually made the recipe.

I'd also like to talk about the things I'm doing today, not 4 months from now. If I find a new recipe and try it out, I'd like to quickly show it off, and invite you to try it yourself.

I'd also like to start collecting bits of food knowledge: When to buy things for freshness and lowest cost, how to store them, how to cook them, how to prepare them. So much food can be made without regard to a recipe, just preparing a bunch of different foods and combining them together. A nice egg scramble with mushrooms and onions doesn't require a recipe, it requires cooking and knowledge that these things go together.

So, I'm changing up the format of this blog a bit: The blog will contain all the posts as I make them, with some new posts reporting on recipes I find around the Internet. Full recipe writeups will still be produced, but likely at a slower pace, and organized alphabetically. I also hope to open a space for me to keep food knowledge soon, and I'll post updates to those pages to the blog as they happen.

Here's to another productive year of cooking and learning!

Why I Will Never Be a Chef - Raw Meat

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Reason #1 why I will never be a professional chef: I find raw meat to be absolutely disgusting. The cheaper the meat, the less processing to remove skin and bones, the more disgusting it is. I will eat any processed crap that looks good. If I don't have to cook them, I've got a savagely destructive method of eating chicken wings that ensures I get all the meat (the trick is to break all the bones away from their tendons/cartilage). But touching raw meat makes me want to break down and drown myself in liquid soap.

This week, I bought a 8lb bag of chicken leg quarters, because I've never cooked with them, and they were $0.40 a pound ($3.50 for 8 pounds of chicken!). Since I'm cooking for one, I split the whole bag up into 3 freezer bags (2 quarters each).

During the process of moving the chicken from one bag to another, I washed my hands three times. Afterwards, I spent a whole five minutes washing my hands again. After that, I washed the counters, washed the sink, and washed the trash can lid where a drop of chicken juice fell.

And the plucking of the chickens wasn't complete, so there're some thin strands of what I assume are feathers sticking out, and the skin's sloughing off, and there's blood and bone and juice and slime and ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh gross!

But not doing this because its gross shuts me off from an entire world of culinary experience where meat, not sauce, not starch, not cheese, not vegetables, but meat is the centerpiece. In addition, the less-processed meat is cheaper, the skin and fats provide more opportunity for flavor, and the bones and other such provide opportunity for homemade stock. And just doing "boneless skinless chicken breasts" and "boneless skinless chicken thighs" and of course "ground chicken" is boring, just because anything with skin and bones requires me to touch something gross.

So I'm going with immersion therapy: Force myself to do it, and it might eventually become tolerable enough that I don't feel compelled to talk about it on my blog.