Category Archives: Food

How to make boba

I wanted to make my own boba tea/tapioca, and went to Fubonn on a whim.  Luckily they actually had an entire section of the pearls and even drink mixes.  If you don’t have an Asian grocery near you, they are available on Ebay.  The boba turned out great! Here’s what you’ll need:

Boba supplies

Tapioca pearls, they had black, white and multicolored at the store.  Of course I got multicolored.  I picked up a honeydew flavor drink mix as well.  And you can’t forget the chunky straws!

tapioca pearls

Boil 10 cups of water, then add in one cup of the pearls.  Give the pearls a gentle stir.  Right away they will rise to the top of the water.  When they do, cover them and boil for 5 minutes more.

tapioca pearls, done

After 5 minutes, take the pearls out and drain them.  Mix them with some simple syrup (1 cup white sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, 2 cups water.  Heat in a pot and remove from heat as soon as it boils.)  I think the simple syrup step is to keep them from sticking together.

Next, in a shaker combine: 2 ounces simple syrup, 2 tbs. drink powder, and 2 tbs. non-dairy creamer (I didn’t have any so I used 2 tbs. milk and it worked perfectly).  Add a few ice cubes and fill to the top with cold water.  Shake to combine, making sure the drink powder dissolves.

Spoon some finished tapiocas into a glass, and pour the liquid over it.

finished boba

And that’s it!  It looks (and tastes) so impressive but is really quite easy.  I will definitely pull this recipe out next time I have friends over.  Enjoy!

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Angelhair Pasta with Bacon, Peas and Shallots

One of my go-to dinner recipes is so simple but yields delicious results.  Want to know the secret? Cook some pasta (Personally, I think angelhair is the most delicious shape); fry up some bacon; remove the bacon but keep the grease; cook some veggies in the bacon grease; add some cream; mix it all together! See how simple? I promise it is so delicious–I’d guess it’s probably the bacon grease… :/

Vegetarians beware: this post contains photos of raw bacon!

Bacon

First, fry some bacon

Cook some shallots in the bacon grease

Add some frozen peas and half-and-half (though I have been known to use heavy cream!)

Once it starts to thicken up, add it to the pasta!

I’ve had good results with all sorts of veggies, like squash and onions instead of peas and shallots.  Every veggie tastes better cooked in bacon grease!

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Recipe: Heirloom Tomato Tart in Parmesan Crust

Tomatoes are my favorite summer food.  I love putting them on sandwiches (with just a dab of mayo, salt and pepper), making an easy caprese salad and even eating them plain.  One of my favorite summer tomato recipes though is this easy tart.  It only uses a few ingredients, but the flavors are amazing.  The simple crust is buttery and parmesan-y (yes, that is a word).  Pick the prettiest diversely-colored tomatoes you can find for a real stand-out dish.  I can’t wait to make this again!

Tomato Tart

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Dill Pickles

I have wanted to can pickles for a long time, but everything I was reading online was scaring me off from the project.  You must buy this and this expensive equipment, keep your jars at exactly the correct temperature before putting your pickles in, etc.  However, I ran across a pickling basket at Wal-Mart (in their seasonal section) and decided that was really all I needed.  I already had a big soup pot, and the tongs/magnetic lid lifter/air bubble spatula/ etc. that came with the basket were all just extras.  I picked up a flat of quart jars, stopped for some pickling cucumbers on the way home, and decided to just go for it.

Cucumbers to be turned into pickles

Spears, chips and whole cucumbers ready to get turned into pickles

There are plenty of instructions online (from much more qualified writers) for pickling recipes and how-tos, so I won’t go into that here.  I simply used a dill pickle recipe that came with my supplies.  It was easy-peasy!  The hardest part was committing to the 3 hours or so that it took me to make 7 quarts, since I could only process 2 at a time in my soup pot.

Pickle bath

Amazingly, all 7 jars sealed correctly!  We opened a jar less than a week later when some friends came over for a BBQ.  Everyone RAVED about the pickles, and I couldn’t have been more proud. They are absolutely delicious!  Then at another BBQ a few weeks later we opened a second jar, and the pickles had only gotten better with age.  They were a big hit again.  They keep for up to 2 years, though I doubt they will last much longer with the rate we’ve been BBQing!

Finished dill pickles

I can’t wait to can many more foods now.  Pickled green beans are a favorite, but ones I’ve gotten at the store are so bland.  I’d also like to make some simple jams with local berries–come August the blackberries in the Portland area are absolutely everywhere.  The BF loves PB&J sammies, but I refuse to buy most jams/jellies because most of them have high fructose corn syrup as their second ingredient!  Trader Joes and “Just the Fruit”-type jams are so expensive, so I can’t wait to try my hand at homemade.

Of course, my loyal feline assistant had to check all the seals on the pickles to make sure we didn’t get botulism.

Cat and pickles

What are your favorite things to can?  I need some new ideas, suited for a beginner. 🙂

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Recipe: Zucchini and Chicken Salad

When we lived in San Francisco, the BF and I would go out most days to eat (nothing fancy, our neighborhood was filled with taquerias after all).  Our kitchen that we shared with 3 other roommates–not to mention 3 cats–wasn’t the most appetizing place to cook.  Now that we finally have our own place in Portland, I’ve been cooking dinner everyday.  Not only do we save bundles of money, but I also have a great time teaching myself to cook different things.  I’m learning a lot about what is in season when, how to “eyeball” measure ingredients, and even broadening my palate (I never used to like zucchini or asparagus but now eat both on the regular).  On my quest to make different meals, I’ve been cooking a different recipe every night.  This has been going well for about two months now, and most nights I’m very happy with the different meals.  I get a lot of the recipes from Everyday Food Magazine or cookbooks, because they tend to feature just a few cheap ingredients put together in new and creative ways.

Zucchini and Chicken Salad

The salad before the addition of spinach and chicken

This week I’ve made Cashew Chicken, Chicken Tostada Salad, and a couple different Barley Risottos.  Mmmm!  Tonight I made Zucchini and Chicken Salad.  The recipe is available here.  It was deeeelicious!  I was happy to get in three green veggies in one meal.

Zucchini and Chicken Salad

I also made artichoke on the side because they were so cheap at the grocery store.  For a quick dipping sauce I mixed some veganaise (the BF doesn’t really like mayo and it’s one of the small battles that I’ve lost…now it tastes the same as mayo to me) with some wildberry lemon vinegar.  That sounds fancy, but I didn’t have any balsamic!  Just mix the two until they are about the consistency of yogurt.  So good!

I hope to continue this pursuit of cooking knowledge and gain a lifelong skill and appreciation for food.  So far, so good. 🙂

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Widmer Brothers Prickly Pear Braggot

Widmer Brothers Prickly Pear Braggot One of the best things about being a journalist is getting to try new things before they’re available to the public, or try things you normally wouldn’t (in this case, because I couldn’t afford to!)  I was lucky enough to cover the release of the new Widmer Brothers Prickly Pear Braggot (half beer, half mead) and wrote about it for Bar Pilot.

The best part was getting to take home my own bottle of the fancy $10 beer that I’d never buy in the store normally.  Can’t wait to pop it open with the boy for some semi-special occasion!

Read the post here.

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