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The Burner Project

Hello, hello.  It has been quite a while and I figured it’s about time I shared some of the creations coming out of my little False Kitchen.  I do not have nearly as much coursework as I did last year (when I originally pitched the “False Kitchen”/”The Burner Project” idea to the virtual universe), so I am hoping to double my efforts this year in both cooking and cataloging my meals.

Living in a studio with nothing but an electric burner and a microwave has dealt a great blow to my culinary inspirations.  I have been keeping a low-profile with respect to making fanciful foods – it’s hard not to when you’re entrapped in a 155 sq. ft., very unfortunately, multi-purpose room.  As a result, I have been eating out more than I should, dumbing down my meals more than I should, and sometimes even fasting more than I should.   But starting from two weeks ago, I vowed to put an end to all that and refresh the ways I cook.

Okay, I lied.  In line with the idea of having a False Kitchen, I have started to cheat, cheat, and cheat some more to dress up stuff you can get in your local deli or supermarket and pass them off as, well, not crap you can get at your local deli or supermarket.  This post is about being fake and finding contentment in doing so.  I’m talking pre-handled, pre-made, pre-cooked.  I’m even talking about frozen.  Let’s bring it? Read More

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I have not churned out a new post in ages! It is now mid-term, I can hardly believe it. As my Property professor, now Wills & Trusts professor, aptly puts it after an especially invigorating class, time flies by when we are having fun!

I have not posted any Burner Project stuff because, if you don’t know by now, I am a very lazy person by nature. That and because I have been recycling many dishes that I already have posted on. This past Sunday however, I went over to a friend’s house (yes, with a full kitchen!) whereby she put my cooking skills to the test. I have never cooked for her before, and the challenge to entertain another foodie was plenty exciting. I think she ended up being one happy (un-paying) customer!

For dinner, I was thinking something along the lines of fajita styled chicken strips over yellow rice with some salsa and chips to snack on. (And Coronnnna!) Per her request, we ended up with chicken breast with pesto pasta. I chose penne as my pasta of choice.

Menu: chicken with pesto penne.
Notes: every kitchen needs a sharp knife. Also 1) no in-the-process photos (too busy laughing); and 2) no DSLR, sorry for the fuzzy pics! Read More

I haven’t been cooking recently because T. visited me over Labor Day weekend and stocked me up on tons of food. (As of today, my fridge is finally officially out of food from last weekend).

But last week, I had the opportunity to stop by an Asian market and pick up chinese sausage. Or as the package reads, “Chinese Style Sausage.” And on Friday I went ahead and made what I have always dubbed, the poor college kid’s rice bowl. It consists of chinese sausage and an egg, served over white rice and two heaping tablespoons of unhealthy. Click below.

Menu: chinese sausage and egg over rice.
Notes: it’s okay once in a while. Read More

I hate egg yolk. The only way you can get me to eat any is if it’s 1) all scrambled and mixed with the egg whites; or 2) all runny and gooey. Otherwise, if it’s all solid like it is in hard boiled eggs or in mooncakes, I will not be able to eat it.

That said, I made poached eggs for dinner.

Menu: poached eggs.
Notes: the vinegar is not optional, at least not in my books. Read More

I made fried rice and dumplings today. What can I say? Sometimes a girl just needs to get back to her roots. In my most humble and honest taste budd-ery, I have to say that Asian cuisine is simply the best, best, best. And that’s the reason why it is often the hardest to learn and mimic. You go into any ah mah‘s kitchen and ask her how to make something, she’d always give you the same ol’ recipe: “A little this, a little that. Nothing special, not too hard.” They lie.

Except for fried rice. It’s the one thing that I often make simply because it’s so easy! It’s a dish meant to reinvent leftovers into something sparkling new (I just made that up, I actually have no idea if that was the dish’s original purpose), and because of such, it’s so very versatile.

Dumplings are not easy to make from scratch, but I had some frozen ones in the mini freezer  — so hah, they were easy for me.

Menu: fried rice and dumplings.
Notes: if you can, invest in a good wok. Read More

I have had grilled cheese sandwiches before, but never with tomato soup. In fact, I’ve never had tomato soup in my life. On a particularly lazy evening, I went out to get a can of Campbell’s tomato soup and decided to give it a go. What I learned: tomato soup tastes pretty bad when it has cooled down. Otherwise, it’s ok. Can’t top clam chowder or cream of broccoli though. There are no pictures of the actual steps in making this meal, because come on, I’m just toasting bread and heating up soup. No one has to see that.

Menu: grilled cheese sandwich & tomato soup.
Notes: this was a very boring meal, I probably wouldn’t do it again.

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All I could think about this morning was pesto shrimp pasta. I couldn’t run out of my last class fast enough; as soon as the clock hit 2:10 pm, I stood up (because all my stuff were already gathered and packed), said my goodbyes, and made a beeline for the door.

My escape did not go as smoothly as planned — got caught here 10 mins, caught there 5 mins, stopped somewhere for 45 mins, stopped somewhere else for 15 mins. I need to be more suave about things, a lot more suave about things.

When I got home, I feverishly tore into my cabinets, grabbed the pasta stuff and started cooking. Here’s the proof for today.

Menu: pesto shrimp pasta.
Notes: I miss white rice. Read More

Today I decided to make an ol’ favorite of mine, taco beef with yellow rice. It’s super easy, tastes pretty good, and the best part is, it doesn’t cost much to make — especially if you do like me and stock up with ingredients from your local wholesale warehouse. I added some veggies, the frozen ones that you find in supermarkets, just to make it a somewhat balanced meal. In the past, I’d use fresh lettuce and tomatoes. Did I ever mention that my market does not sell fresh lettuce and tomatoes? It does not sell fresh lettuce and tomatoes. Yeah.

This is going to be a shorter post than usual because it was getting late, I was starving, and I had an article to write. As I’m writing this post, the article is still unfinished. I think I have successfully convinced myself that it can write itself as long as all my research is done.

Menu: taco beef with yellow rice (& veggies).
Note: not much to say except it was really yummy. Read More

I love me some raw fish, but I do not trust myself preparing any. That’s why I make california rolls at home rather than my favorite spicy salmon roll or unagi roll. I learned this recipe from a good friend of mine from high school. Since then, I’ve made it for picnics, pot luck dinners; for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I even made a bunch for my mom to bring to her friend’s dinner party — and yes, she took credit for it.

Menu: california rolls
Notes: for a simple sushi rice recipe, click here.

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One of my most favorite pasta dishes comes from a little restaurant called Gee Whiz in downtown New York. It’s fettuccine in spaghetti sauce, with big, sauteed portobello mushrooms on top. The mushrooms were so flavorful and juicy, it completely made the dish. I have attempted to recreate it for T. last year, and he loved it. It was a great success, if I do say so myself; getting T. to like anything that doesn’t have meat is always a great feat, indeed.

Like I said in a previous post, I found mushrooms at my local market — albeit, not portobellos. So, with my supply of penne, I went ahead and created a variant of the dish.

Menu: mushrooms with penne in spaghetti sauce.  Read More