Thursday, March 22, 2012

Initial attempts at cooking

When I was sorting out my living arrangements for this semester, I ended up making the fateful decision to cook for myself, despite having no experience with cooking.

My very first attempt at cooking something on a stove here was an "egg with tomato" dish. Originally, I wanted the egg to be in one piece, but it just kept breaking apart. (I probably shouldn't have prodded it so much with the spatula.) In the end it was a big mess, consisting of tiny chunks of tomato mixed with even smaller pieces of egg. And I didn't know how to tell when the egg was done. I was well aware that it was not a good idea to eat raw eggs, so I probably overcooked the egg by a lot.

When I first came here, I did have the idea of taking a picture of everything that I cook, but I was feeling so discouraged and embarrassed after this first attempt that I didn't take a picture. (I didn't even mention what had happened to me before I even started cooking: while lighting the gas stove with a match, I burnt my thumb nail!) I didn't take pictures of the next few dishes either, which consisted mostly of stir-fry vegetables. Not taking pictures of any of these is quite a regrettable decision.

Here are the pictures that I do have. Before moving on to them, I should give a warning: When people usually write about food and include photos, those photos probably contain food that looks super delicious. But when you see these, I highly doubt you will think "Wow! I wish I could try that!" (But maybe my photos will for some people! I'll keep my fingers crossed!)

I should also talk about how these dishes ended up tasting. Being the overly health conscious person that I am, I didn't add any salt, pepper, spices, or other seasoning to these dishes. People might say that these dishes have no taste, which confuses me a little. Don't vegetables have taste on their own?

4 March 2012

Here were some vegetables with a little bit of lentils on the side. I don't know what I did, but the lentils turned into mush!

10 March 2012

Some more vegetables, but with rice this time. I started with around half a cup of uncooked rice. I didn't know it would turn into this much!

11 March 2012

Cooking with tofu for the first time! (I got it at a local health food store. There's no Asian supermarket within walking distance.) I didn't end up with too much rice this time!

14 March 2012

Ever since I became acquainted with tempeh at Princeton, I've always been fascinated with it for some reason. I could never find it at any of the supermarkets back in California, but I found it here at the health food store. Cooking with  baby bok choy makes me feel Asian!

15 March 2012

I was finishing up the rest of the tempeh. I also cut up an entire eggplant, so I ended up with more than I could eat in one meal. (Note the pot to the left of the pan. I was using it to cook the rice. I always add too much water to the rice, which I have to pour out at the end. It's better than not adding enough water though.)

17 March 2012

I took the leftovers from the previous photo and made a noodle soup. My mom did this so often back home, and I always loved how the noodle soups turned out. So I knew I had to try that here! And I liked it, so now I know what to do with leftovers! (I got the noodles at an Asian supermarket I found during my exploration of the city centre.)

18 March 2012

Here, I tried to cook with a type of tofu called dou gan. It's drier than regular tofu. I like how the carrots make this dish look brighter and more colorful!

20 March 2012

Surprise! Leftovers turned into noodle soup!


  1. This looks really awesome, Alan! :)

    About your EVOO comment on Facebook... Isn't the concern with a low smoke point the only potential problem with cooking with EVOO? But I really have no idea...

    1. Thanks Charlotte! It's really nice to hear from you! :)

      Yeah, I have no idea about EVOO really, but I'm concerned because I read on the internet that heating oil past its smoke point can create carcinogens. (I originally bought EVOO because I read that it was good for you, but perhaps that's not the case when you cook with it. >.<) So I guess I'll play it safe. :X


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