New site section: cooking!

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October 22, 2014 by NS

I like cooking, but I have a tendency to make things up as I go, take no notes, and then forget everything when I am done, which makes it hard to repeat anything or share my ideas with others. I’m going to start writing up the recipes I make along with my comments about how things went.

Here’s the new page for cooking. As of this post, I haven’t added any recipes there, but if I can dig up any notes from things I did in the past, I will add them. Also, hopefully when I do gâteau basque this weekend or next week, it will turn out well enough for me to put it on there.

I did make dinner on Monday night. There were two dishes:

(1) Tomato rice

1 1/2 cups white rice
3 cups water
1/2 can tomato paste

I cooked it on the stove but you can do this in a rice cooker too. You should check whether the kind of rice you are making requires more or less water; 2:1 water to rice is common, but sometimes you need less water. You can also add extra water if you like your rice sticky.

Notes: I was worried that I put in too much tomato paste, but it ended up not tasting too strongly of tomato, so I think it was fine. I didn’t put a quantity on the salt because I don’t think it’s too important – if you want your rice to be salty, you can put as much as 1tsp in for that amount of rice, but you can also put in just a dash or none at all. I didn’t measure, but I guess what I put in was around 1/2 tsp.

I had trouble dissolving the tomato paste as I put it in after the rice and water were already in the pot and it stuck to the rice. It might be easier if you dissolve the tomato paste in the water first, then add the rice.

I ended up overcooking the as I was rushing to finish the other dish before my wife got back from work. It still tasted fine though.

You can actually put all kinds of seasoning into the pot / rice cooker in order to make flavored rice. It seems to be uncommon in Western and Chinese cooking, but Indians do it all the time.


(2) Roasted vegetables with chicken

2 chicken thighs
1 zucchini
8 brussels sprouts
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 orange bell pepper
5 large mushrooms, quartered
about 1lb small potatoesolive oil to cover (perhaps 3tbsp)
herbs to taste
salt to taste (perhaps 1tsp)
black pepper to taste

I chopped everything up into roughly equal-sized pieces, spread it out in a baking pan, covered it with oil and seasoning, and put it in the oven for a while. I think it was at 350 for about 30 minutes, but this was too much.

Notes: I used a “herbed poultry” mix that came with my spice rack. I think it was mostly thyme and oregano. Rosemary also goes well with chicken. In the recipe, I listed all the vegetables and meat that I chose to use, but you could do this with basically any meat and vegetables.

This didn’t turn out super well in that some of the vegetables cooked faster than others. I think on the whole I overcooked it a little bit, but the chicken and mushrooms especially got a bit dry. I had hoped that juices would come out of the chicken and mushrooms and I could stir it all up at the end to coat everything in a delicious gravy-like sauce, but I cooked it for so long that all the liquid evaporated and the deliciousness was stuck on the pan. Sadness. If you have all the time and free hands you want, it will work out better if you sort out what items will cook faster and what will cook slower, and put the more sensitive things in later. In this case, the brussels sprouts and potatoes and maybe zucchini should have gone in first, and then maybe 10m later I could add the rest of the stuff.

I was inspired to do this because once a while ago I roasted some lamb and just put it directly on the rack, and put some mixed vegetables on the rack below, and all the juices from the lamb dripped onto the vegetables and it was awesome. It’s also pretty easy to cook.


Stir the pot!

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