Rhea tries to learn to cook: "The Food Lab" and "All Under Heaven"


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Rhea tries to learn to cook: "The Food Lab" and "All Under Heaven"

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Editado: Ago 28, 2019, 9:49 pm


Editado: Out 11, 2019, 3:16 pm


All Under Heaven
Chapter 1: The North

Napa Cabbage with Pressed Bean Curd- Nice light raw napa cabbage salad. This has the sesame oil problem a lot of the recipes in this cookbook have. It's a personal preference, but I'm not a fan of lots of sesame oil and this recipe has 2 tablespoons. There's a similar recipe online in Chinese that doesn't call for any sesame oil and adds dried shrimp that is fantastic. Finalized: Post 54 and 56.

Soybean Pods- Soybean pods boiled with five spice powder and sichuan peppercorns. They are delicious. Finalized: Post 60.

Spinach and Peanuts- 2-3 tablespoons of sesame oil coats 1 bunch of spinach. I had to throw it out and can't bring myself to try it again. #2 Didn't add sesame oil - much better. Post 89.

Manchurian Chicken Salad- I haven't been able to find the mung bean sheets. 1/2 cup of sesame oil and 1/2 cup of sesame bean paste in the dressing. When I ignored that bit and just added a little it was delicious. When I made it as directed I ended up throwing it out.

Consort's Chicken Wings- 7 tablespoons of soy sauce and 6 tablespoons of Shaoxing wine made an inedible, extremely salty sauce. On try two I decreased those amounts and it was one of the best things I've ever eaten. I make this over and over.

Cold Garlic Chicken- The chicken was nice but the sauce (1 tablespoon sesame oil again) wasn't. Need to look up a different recipe and try again.

Braised Beef Shank, Tendons, and Variety Meats- Too expensive.
Mock Shark Fin Soup- Too expensive.
Clear Beef Soup with Chinese Herbs and Radishes- Too expensive.

Russian Soup- Really liked this. Finalized: Post 52.

Sweet-and-Sour Carp- Most of my attempts to fry stuff fail so but apparently whole fish are extremely forgiving. Whole frozen carp are also really cheap. Very good recipe.

Abalone Shreds with Mung Bean Sprouts- Too expensive.
Braised Prawns- Can't find an ingredient.
Beijing-Style Smoked Chicken-
Jade and Pearls-
Ginseng Steamed Chicken- Too expensive.
Yellow-Braised Duck- Too expensive.
Rock Sugar Pork Shank-
Golden Pouches- Too expensive.
Tasimi- Too expensive.

Napa Cabbage with Dried Shrimp- This is hard. If I can get it so the cabbage caramelizes instead of steams it's amazing - but most of the time the cabbage melts and releases all its juices. Need to be better at cooking. Finalized: Post 58.

Stir-Fried Garlic Stems-

Three Fruits of the Earth- Perfectly fine but I don't think it's necessary to fry the eggplant first. Hate frying stuff. Post 7.

Stir-Fried Potato and Green Onions- Perfectly fine but not really a fan of this dish. Post 24.

Wood Ears Braised with Green Onions- The dried wood ears I bought didn't seem to ever plump up like I know they should no matter how long I soaked them. They stay leathery. Not willing to try with the more expensive ones.

Panfried Bean Curd- Can't find an ingredient.

Zhajiang Noodles- Repeatedly mess this one up.

Dalu Noodle Soup-
Steamed and Boiled Jiaozi-
Ignored by the Dog Filled Buns-
Chinese Hamburgers-
Fried Scallion and Flaky Flatbreads-

Corn Thimbles- Not offensive but not very interesting. I can understand them being a childhood comfort food.

Millet Porridge- I tried this with organic millet from a natural food store (as suggested) and Chinese millet from an Asian food store. The Chinese millet is visibly different and tasted much better. Post 76.

Rolling Donkeys-
Laughing Doughnut Holes-

Toffee Apples- This requires you to fry breaded apples (not forgiving) and then coat them in a caramel sauce (also not forgiving). I haven't succeeded at frying the apples properly, which is my fault for not knowing how.


Chilled Sour Plum Infusion- Either I bought the wrong type of plums or it needs several times the amount listed. It wasn't bad, just weak on plum flavor. #2 Bought the right kind of plums but too much licorice.

Jan 17, 2019, 12:10 pm

Pancakes, continued....

Yesterday I tried The Food Lab pancake recipe for what I think is the last time.

Someone online said that you should fold the egg whites in after you've mixed rest of the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. This seems to work much better. They were fluffier, but it was a heavy dense fluffy sort of like rich cake.

The recipe calls for 1 cup of sour cream, 1.5 cups of buttermilk, 4 tablespoons of butter, and 2 eggs. I think the recipe just might be too rich for what I imagine the perfect pancake to be and it isn't that I'm messing it up.

There's also something weird going on with the online recipe. Apparently the original recipe was different - then it was changed without notice to the whipped egg white version. Which means there's a bunch of people from 2015 saying the pancakes are the best ever, then a bunch of people complaining about the change, and a lack of people indicating the whipped egg white version is better. The whole thing is just odd.

Jan 17, 2019, 4:35 pm

Oh! I think All Under Heaven was referenced in a Bruce and Mark podcast. Three recipes: Dong-An Chicken, Ginger Achar, and Chinese Citrus Chile Oil with Black Beans.

I have to LOL at a 5-inch piece of ginseng or 5 pounds of specialty meats is not happening. Unicorn ingredients!

I'm fascinated by what you have tried. Also, if you hit problems with the waffles -- the best waffle recipe ever (IMHO) is Heloise's club soda waffles. The key is to just incorporate the dry and wet ingredients AND have your iron already hot. Yes, the recipe calls for biscuit mix. You can make your own if you are opposed to boxed mix. Heloise also has a great biscuit mix recipe.

Jan 17, 2019, 5:54 pm

>5 lesmel:

Yeah, I really wish I could but it ginseng's not happening lol. Neither are abalone, whole ducks, pounds of beef tendon, or lamb loin. To not hate on the cookbook too much - I enjoyed reading the Ginseng Steamed Chicken recipe and there's nothing wrong with having special occasion recipes.

The Food Lab waffle recipe calls for club soda. Bought club soda a few times planning to make waffles then drank the club soda instead of making them lol.

I've learned my lesson about trying The Food Lab recipes over and over again with the assumption that the recipes are flawless and I'm just messing it up. If I'm not happy with the result I need to try a different recipe. If I fail twice then it's probably a mistake. So thanks for the ready alternative!

Remembering the Yeasted Waffles from Cooks Illustrated were divine, but those need to rest 24 hours and you can't beat a 3 ingredient recipe for convenience.


Bought some ingredients to make more recipes today. Big snowstorm coming and none of these ingredients spoil fast so hopefully I won't have to go shopping for a while. :)
The Food Lab: Eggs Florentine, Tender Fancy-Pants Omelet, Potato and Corned Beef Hash, Super-Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits, Cheddar Cheese and Scallion Biscuits, and Creamy Sausage Gravy.
All Under Heaven: Three Fruits of the Earth, and Stir-Fried Potato and Green Chili Threads.

Also noticed enough oxtail for the Russian Soup recipe would only be $10. Price of the other ingredients would be minimal so that's not that bad at all especially since I've never had it and I'm curious.

Jan 17, 2019, 6:46 pm

All Under Heaven
Three Fruits of the Earth- This is fried eggplant and fried potatoes simmered with stir-fried red peppers, garlic, ginger, scallions, and water. I'm happy with it. It looks like the internet pictures (地三鲜) and tastes fine.

This kind of recipe where you fry something then simmer it in a sauce seems to be common in Chinese cooking. I want to see if I can try baking the eggplant / potatoes and get a similar result. Probably extremely arrogant but ovens aren't as common in China and it might work?

Jan 17, 2019, 7:23 pm

I make my mother's oxtail soup, nothing fancy but good. I made it a lot more often before oxtails became exotic and expensive.

Jan 17, 2019, 9:23 pm

>8 PhaedraB:

It looks like it got trendy all of a sudden along with a lot of offal. Looks like everyone simultaneously discovered they're delicious.

Grandmother used to make me and my brother boiled beef tongue. It was amazing. Haven't had it in years.

Jan 17, 2019, 11:26 pm

I loooooooooove oxtail stew. I'm from Texas. You'd think I'd grown up with it being from "The South;" but I grew up on Tex-Mex and chicken and dumplings.

I also love goat (cabrito), lamb, and barbacoa (usually beef cheek -- if it has other bits I never know); but I can't get beyond the shuddering thought of lengua. It's my step mom's favorite breakfast taco. *twitch*shudder*

Jan 18, 2019, 9:25 am

>1 Settings: If you truly are a beginning cook, you certainly have a lot of courage! *stands applauding*

I love reading your experience with the recipes you try. It's been a long time since I started out (hmm, 40 years?) and I'm still learning every day. Cooking is the best for creative energy and mad-science skills. :)

I have done your method of cooking through a cookbook, but something usually interferes at some point and I get distracted. I think the farthest I ever got was in Elena's Secrets of Mexican Cooking. I still pick it up now and then to continue, but my latest craze is Curry.

>10 lesmel: My grandmother also used to cook beef tongue, and my brother loved it, but I only tried it for the first time last year from a taco wagon. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't amazing. :) My grandmother loved calf brains scrambled with eggs, she never graced us with that, but I loved her fried chicken hearts.

Jan 18, 2019, 5:28 pm

>11 MrsLee:

I guess I'm sort of upper beginner? I know how to boil water but I don't know how to cook meat or fish in almost all of its forms. I guess I can say I can cook eggs now.

That cook your way through a cookbook thing was really popularized by Julie and Julia. Wish I could try it with something like Fannie Farmer or The Joy of Cooking, but Fannie Farmer's a bit antiquated and The Joy of Cooking starts out with like 20 different recipes for coffee, all of which seem to require a different type of coffeepot. :D

Editado: Jan 18, 2019, 6:46 pm

The Food Lab
Tender Fancy-Pants Omelet-

Involves stirring an egg / butter cube mixture in a skillet on low until it solidifies, covering it and letting it rest, then rolling it up.

Not happy with it. Combination of overcooked / undercooked eggs plus it stuck to the pan. It said the stirring part should take 2 minutes and it took over five so it wasn't that my heat was too high. I know that the top of an omelet does not solidify after covering it and removing it from heat - the whole thing just gets cold. So when that happened it was as expected.

Not going to try this again. I have a different omelet recipe that is superior in all ways (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-Wr401Bio4).

I'll make Eggs Florentine tomorrow and then that's it with eggs. :D

Edit- I was still hungry so I made some boxed mix pancakes. They were much better than the ones I made using The Food Lab recipe. :(

Jan 19, 2019, 4:20 am

>13 Settings: Something I recently learned (again with the Bruvce & Mark podcast) is that most people cook with their heat too low. This would explain your 5 mins vs the book's 2 min.

Jan 19, 2019, 8:40 am

>14 lesmel:

That Bruce and Mark podcast seems extremely informative. :D

I'm tempted into trying again, but remember the first omelet said it would cook in 45 seconds. But every time I increased the heat enough so that that actually happened it overcooked dreadfully. It might be a pan issue, a weather issue, or I might just be so bad at cooking that the more hands off the recipe the better results I get.

I'm seeing a trend. :P

Pancake mix >>>> homemade buttermilk pancakes.
No touch omelet >>>> lift and tilt.

Jan 19, 2019, 10:25 am

Excellent cookware is a blessing when you are trying for reliable results in the kitchen. Ideally, I would have a gas stove, but I've only ever had one once in my life. So, I try to make do without the ideal, and we usually get "good enough." :)

Jan 19, 2019, 10:36 am

>15 Settings: It's kinda crazy the amount if testing they do for all their cookbooks and Craftsy classes and whatnot. It's why I trust what they say. I've listened to all the episodes finally, so I will try not to be all fangirl over them. LOL

>16 MrsLee: Here! Here! The tools make a difference. Granted, you don't need crazy expensive pots & pans...but the right size, the right coating

Jan 19, 2019, 11:27 am

I do have a gas stove, haha. The pans are stuff the old roommates left so who knows their quality. It's not worth learning to cook to a pan I'm not going to have in 4 months though. :(

The Food Lab
Eggs Florentine

I tried to half the hollandaise sauce because it makes a ridiculous amount - but that meant it just sat in the well of the blender while the blender blades spun above it. It didn't work.

Eggs w/ spinach, English muffins, and lemon-butter sauce is still perfectly edible though.

Editado: Jan 19, 2019, 1:10 pm

There's a reddit subpage for Serious Eats. I was reading it and J. Kenji López-Alt is on there calling people assholes. :(

Idk, that combined with the low success rates of the recipes makes me want to try a different cookbook. I'll give it a bit. Might be being too knee-jerk.

Edit: Going to switch to The Joy of Cooking, even if I can't make the recipes in order or expect to make even a small fraction of them. I don't trust The Food Lab very much but I trust Joy of Cooking completely.

Jan 19, 2019, 1:18 pm

I've heard through the foodie grapevine that a surprising number of cookbook and other published recipes are not tested at all. Which is both discouraging and hopeful, because it might not be the cook making the error.

Jan 19, 2019, 1:34 pm

Back in Oz I used to swear by the cookbooks published by the Australian Women’s Weekly. (I’ve seen them on sale outside Australia.) No pretension about them and if recipes could ever be guaranteed to work those would be.

Jan 19, 2019, 2:28 pm

I think The Joy of Cooking should be okay. Might be lionizing it a bit too much - but 80+ years is a long time.

The Joy of Cooking
Hot Cocoa
You heat up milk and cocoa powder / sugar. I like how easy this was. :D

I halved it and added the suggested 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and cinnamon.

The chocolate flavor really punches you in the face. I guess in some ways it's better but it doesn't have that hot chocolate mix packet taste and that's one of my childhood comfort foods.

I assume the cocoa powder quality really matters.

Jan 19, 2019, 5:25 pm

Omelet - a trick I picked up from somewhere (and I've no idea where now) is to grill the top. Preheat the grill. You fry omelet as normal until the base is set but only just browning (to taste I hate burnt egg flavour) and the top still quite runny, then put it pan and all under a medium grill. It will start to fluff up and set quite quickly, keep an eye on it! Done easy and tasty. Obviously requires a suitable pan and the handle will get hot!

I normally put far too many other ingredients in to attempt rolling!

Editado: Jan 19, 2019, 5:49 pm

>23 reading_fox:

By grill you mean oven, right? I've seen that method recommended somewhere. :D Should give it a try.

All Under Heaven
Stir-Fried Potato and Green Chili Threads
I've had this before so I know what it's supposed to taste like - slippery potato matchsticks that are crunchy instead of soft. I overcooked it a bit and my matchsticks aren't professional looking but there were no disasters and it's fine. I like how there is an appropriate about of ginger (2 tablespoons).

This is an everyday-type side dish so it's not bad but not very interesting. Apparently people can cook more than three dishes at once. And just this one requires my full attention.

Joy of Cooking
Boiled Custard
This is extremely simple and it is heavenly.

Jan 19, 2019, 7:06 pm

Joy of Cooking
Had egg whites to use up. Wanted crispy ones with soft centers so I did the 275oF baking temp. They cooked a lot faster (40 minutes versus 60) than the cookbook suggested but I got them before they burned. They are good. :D

Jan 19, 2019, 7:59 pm

>23 reading_fox: That's the technique I was taught for frittatas.

Jan 19, 2019, 8:29 pm

Joy of Cooking is a terrific teacher of the classics. Don't skip reading the introduction to each new section of cooking. It's like having grandma by your shoulder telling you how to cook.

Jan 19, 2019, 11:16 pm

Sounds like ditching The Food Lab was a good plan!

Editado: Jan 20, 2019, 8:21 am

>24 Settings: - no not oven (although many ovens have a grill feature) direct heat from above only not all around.
>26 PhaedraB: - very similar dishes.

Editado: Jan 20, 2019, 10:54 am

>29 reading_fox: We call that broiling. Grilling happens outside, on the grill, with charcoal or propane.

When you get bogged down in a cookbook and are discouraged from going on, it is a great plan to take a break from it, just like any other book. :)

Jan 20, 2019, 11:45 am

Thank you guys for the support and the suggestions! You guys are great.

The Joy of Cooking
Cocoa Syrup
It burnt a bit where it stuck to the pan. Needed better stirring. But the burnt bit stayed stuck to the pan so it was okay.

Quick Hot Cocoa
Made with the cocoa syrup. Same as the Hot Cocoa recipe. Not bad, but it doesn't have that hot chocolate packet taste.

Jan 20, 2019, 2:52 pm

>31 Settings: but it doesn't have that hot chocolate packet taste

Some of us would think that's a good thing! There are a lot of recipes floating around online for chocolate packet-type mixes, sometimes suggesting putting it in a pretty jar for gifts. That might be more like what you are craving.

Jan 20, 2019, 6:19 pm

My go to "hot chocolate in a packet" mix is

8 qt box non-fat dry milk
11 oz non-dairy coffee creamer (I used coffee mate)
32 oz NesQuik

Combine it all until evenly incorporated. Store in airtight container. Use 1/4 c per 6 oz of hot water. I've never made it with Ovaltine; but I love malt flavor.

Editado: Jan 20, 2019, 7:45 pm

>32 PhaedraB:
>33 lesmel:

I can sorta tell that the Joy of Cooking hot cocoa is better, but the packets taste like my childhood. It's like how I've been served some really good quality tea but my favorite remains Bigelow's Earl Grey teabags.

I'll see if that imitation mix is more cost effective than buying the packets. I go through a lot of packets. I'm sure they're marked up through the roof but powdered milk is very expensive for some reason.

Went out and bought seltzer, ice cream, club soda, and bananas - that should let me try out most of the Joy of Cooking cocoa syrup drinks. Going to make Egg Cream, Ice Cream Soda, Milk Shake, and Flying Mocha Monkey smoothie. :D

Also have plans to make Lima Beans and Mushrooms and Creamed Eggs Au Gratin. My father tells me stories of the horrible hard boiled egg casserole my grandmother used to make him eat and that might be it. I like hard boiled eggs though. Looking forward to it. :D

Joy of Cooking
Egg Cream
I don't know what this should taste like because I've never had one but it's okay.

Jan 21, 2019, 1:39 pm

Joy of Cooking
Ice Cream Soda
It was good.

Lima Beans and Mushrooms
Thought the white sauce would thicken up but it didn't. I think what I did wrong was that I didn't simmer the sauce enough - it said one minute and I started timing when it began bubbling a little bit, probably should have started timing when it was fully bubbling. It's still tasty even if it's kinda soupy.

Jan 23, 2019, 1:18 pm

Been eating my leftovers so no hot cooking recently.

Joy of Cooking
Milkshake, Flying Mocha Monkey, Fruit Milkshake

They were all good, unsurprisingly lol. Excessive amount of milkshakes.

It doesn't say to freeze the fruit for the monkey smoothie or the fruit milkshake so they're not very cold.

The milkshake recipe is milk and ice cream (chocolate syrup optional). Gets you an icy sweet milk slurry that's like the milkshakes my mother used to make me. Every time I've ordered milkshakes at diners they've served me something like thinned soft serve that's pretty disappointing. But the imitation diner milkshake recipes online are the same - milk and ice cream. The ratio maybe?

Jan 26, 2019, 10:09 am

Tried to make biscuits just now. I've made biscuits dozens of times. D:

Difference was today I tried to wake up then immediately make biscuits. Skipped the part where you put the salt and the butter in and you can't really post-add butter but I tried anyway. Expect they'll be edible but they won't be biscuits.

Jan 26, 2019, 12:02 pm

Oops! I made bagels (again) last night. This time was cinnamon sugar bagels. Way too chewy for me. Not to mention, not enough flour.

Editado: Jan 26, 2019, 3:10 pm

Joy of Cooking
Buttermilk Biscuits, Quick Drop Biscuit Variation
Did not forget to add the salt and butter this time so they were fine. I tried to make biscuits for a while using a Dorie Greenspan recipe and they're biscuits so they always come out delicious but they are never anywhere near as good as the Pillsbury canister ones.

Sausage Gravy for Biscuits
Never had this before - guess it was okay? It's just sausage and white sauce. I used breakfast sausage.

Jan 26, 2019, 4:42 pm

>39 Settings: My dad made bisuits in our family. He never used a recipe, but they were perfect every time. Perfect for us meant about 2 inches thick or more, lovely melt in your mouth layers that didn't need a knife to cut. I watched him one day and measured as he worked. After30 years, mine are exactly what I want. :)

When my mom made sausage gravy, she would brown the sausage, and sprinkle red chili flakes over it along with some sage. Then she sprinkled the flour over the sausage until the grease was absorbed and cooked that at least 5 minutes. Then milk, salt and pepper until it was right. Hers always has a lot more flavor than most sausage heavies I've tried.

Jan 27, 2019, 2:46 pm

Biscuits and pie crust seem to be the kind of thing where you practice for 30 years then they're good. :(

Sage and sausage sounds delicious.

I bought the oxtail to make Russian Soup from All Under Heaven. I am ridiculously excited. I hope it's good.

Also got ingredients to make Zhajiang noodles and Jade and Pearls. :D

Editado: Jan 27, 2019, 7:52 pm

All Under Heaven
Russian Soup
Oxtail soup with tomatoes, carrots, onions, and potatoes. Seasoned with ginger, garlic, soy sauce, rice wine, and ketchup. Fresh parsley on top.

This is one of the best things I've ever eaten. I went really light on the soy sauce and the rice wine. Those are both really salty and I though 1/4 cup each plus 1/2 cup ketchup was excessive. Ended up adding more soy sauce because it wasn't salty enough.

Scratched the lens on my phone up so all my photos are awful - looks much tastier than this. Should probably have actually chopped the parsley instead of tearing it into large bits but I didn't want to wash the cutting board again. :|

It looks better when the cookbook author makes it.

Jan 27, 2019, 10:21 pm

The oxtail looks and sounds fantastic!

Jan 28, 2019, 9:28 am

Mmmmm, tasty goodness!

Jan 28, 2019, 7:31 pm

Joy of Cooking
Hot chocolate I

You mix chocolate with heavy cream to make a ganache, then mix it with hot milk.

It's a bit too rich for me, but not bad.

Jan 29, 2019, 5:08 am

There's a recipe in Gourmet's Old Vienna Cookbook that I recalled as similar. Looked it up and see you actually mix the chocolate with a bit of water and 3 times as much milk (and sugar, salt and vanilla) then beat the hell out of it. Serve with whipped cream on the side. Still has about a million calories per serving, but also delicious.

Editado: Jan 29, 2019, 5:35 pm

I need to work on making a hot cocoa / hot chocolate I'm happy with. That means trying other recipes. Thank you!

All Under Heaven
Zhajiang Noodles

It's Chinese noodles with a pork/eggplant/wheat paste/ginger/garlic/onion sauce.

Messed this one up and need to try again. I missed the part where it said simmer the sauce for 15 minutes so I started boiling the noodles at the same time. My noodles were getting cold and sticking together so I cut off the simmering part off at like 3 minutes. Everything's cooked but my pork bits would probably be nice and soft instead of hard if I did it correctly.

Also ignored the bit where it says 6 tablespoons of sesame oil. That is insane and based on similar recipes I've tried from this cookbook I'm 100% certain that much sesame oil would make it inedible. I only added a little.

Tastes very similar to those microwave teriyaki chow mein packages with the red plastic wrapping. Bears absolutely no relation to the Zhajiang Noodles I had in China but it does look like the cookbook author's picture.

There's a wikipedia page with info on a bunch of regional Zhajiang Noodle recipes. Apparently this is Shandong-style Zhajiang noodles because of the wheat paste. I don't know what kind of Zhajiang Noodles I was ordering.

Fev 7, 2019, 12:14 pm

Lost the cooking bug and haven't been making anything.

Been eating a lot of junk. Dinner yesterday was a microwaved English Muffin with cheese on top. :|

Did try to make a chicken/tomato/mushroom dish in the instant pot without a recipe. It's not bad, just not very interesting (I shouldn't have added any water). Had to put it in the freezer because I wasn't eating it.

Fev 7, 2019, 12:54 pm

>48 Settings: Haven’t we all done that ... the muffin particularly.

Fev 8, 2019, 9:15 am

Cooking slumps are like reading slumps. This too shall pass. :)

Editado: Fev 10, 2019, 11:29 pm

Joy of Cooking

Spiced Hot Chocolate
Says to add the spices for Spiced Hot Cocoa to Quick Hot Chocolate I or II. Problem is that the Cocoa recipe is for 3 servings but the Hot Chocolate I recipe is for 1 serving. I guess adding a third of the spices was the right choice? This does the thing a lot of the Joy of Cooking recipes seem to do where you have to follow through multiple recipes at once. This one is actually Ganache for Quick Hot Chocolate -> Quick Hot Chocolate -> Spiced Hot Cocoa -> Spiced Hot Chocolate.

I liked this one a lot. First hot chocolate I've made from here that I like better than the packets. The ginger is nice.

The biscuit recipe I messed up earlier does the space saving recipe hop thing too. Rolled Biscuits -> Quick Drop Biscuits I -> Buttermilk Biscuits.

It does save space but it's kinda annoying.

Editado: Jul 22, 2019, 6:34 pm

Want to try to get back to this lol and give things another try. Been a while, haha.

Jul 22, 2019, 8:48 pm

Tried two recipes from All Under Heaven - ones I've made before.

Napa Cabbage with Dried Shrimp
Finally got this one to work - recipe says to use 2 pounds of cabbage. It works much better for me if I used maybe a quarter pound of cabbage and half the seasonings. Otherwise there's just too much cabbage in the pan and it steams instead of stirfrying, the cabbage releases all the juices, and it's extremely watery. Pan needs to be extremely hot.

Zhajiang Noodles
Failed at this one for a second time. Forgot to turn the heat down while the sauce was simmering and burned it. First time I misread the recipe and cooked the noodles before the sauce - they congealed into a clump.

Editado: Ago 22, 2019, 11:20 pm

Napa Cabbage with Pressed Bean Curd

Finally happy with this one. I don't like the All Under Heaven recipe at all - this one I sorta followed from Carol Easy Life and it is much much better. I took out the sliced hot chili and added sesame seeds.

1 Clove Garlic
Equal amounts black vinegar and soy sauce (like a teaspoon)
Slightly more sesame oil (more than a teaspoon)
Handful tiny dried shrimps
Little bit sugar

1 Very Small Chinese Cabbage
5-6 Slices Pressed Dry Snack Tofu
1 scallion

Excessive amount toasted sesame seeds
1 handful chopped cilantro

Chop the garlic and mix with the sauces in a small bowl. Thinly shred the cabbage, scallion, and snack tofu. Toss everything together.


Ago 22, 2019, 9:33 pm

>54 Settings: I think you need to edit this a bit.

Right after "Slightly more sesame oil" (I expect you mean slightly more than the teaspoon of the previous two ingredients) you say "Handful tiny" and I am left to wonder what exactly there is that was tiny. :-}

Otherwise, it sounds interesting (although I don't think "Snack Tofu" is in my cupboard).

Ago 22, 2019, 11:25 pm

D'oh lol and I'm flattered you actually read my post. More sesame oil than 1 teaspoon and tiny dried shrimps.

Ago 23, 2019, 2:36 am

>56 Settings: My heart applauds this. It's lovely, and looks very tasty.

Ago 28, 2019, 9:14 pm

Napa Cabbage with Dried Shrimp

Finalized my version of this one. The original one is here.

Very small napa cabbage or 1 quarter (or less) of a large cabbage.
1 Tbl Tiny Dried Shrimp
2 Chopped Green Onions
2 Tsp Chopped Ginger
1/2 Tbl Soy Sauce
1/2 Tbl White Wine Vinegar

Separate the white and green parts of the cabbage. Shred the white part and tear up the green part.

Get a pan as hot as possible and add a saute amount of oil. Let the oil heat up then fry the tiny dried shrimp, green onions, and ginger until they brown.

Add the white part of the cabbage and fry until it browns. Add the green part of the cabbage and let it wilt.

Add the soy sauce and the white wine vinegar.

If the cabbage turns into soup instead of browning that means the pan wasn't hot enough or there was too much cabbage.

Doesn't look like much but I'm happy with it lol.

Ago 29, 2019, 9:43 am

>58 Settings: I'm betting it eats very well! Comfort food.

Set 3, 2019, 10:58 pm

Soybean Pods

You boil soybeans pods with 5 spice powder and sichuan peppercorns. All Under Heaven recipe: made it again for the picture. My soybeans were a bit freezer burnt.

Editado: Set 9, 2019, 6:42 pm

Zhajiang Noodles

Third time making the Zhajiang Noodles - didn't mess them up this time and they're fine. That is what they look like - the wheat paste is black like that out of the jar. Changes: cooked the eggplant in a pan briefly without oil instead of frying it in a 1/4 cup oil, fried the wheat paste in maybe 1 tablespoon sesame oil instead of 6-8 tablespoons, omitted the garnish because I forgot to buy a cucumber, and used dried noodles.

(Edit: You can see the grease on it from the pork in my photo pretty clearly. It's not bad once the noodles are mixed in - but I can't imagine it being edible with fried eggplant and 8 tablespoons of sesame oil.)

Russian Soup

Made this again. Really like it.

Editado: Set 10, 2019, 12:39 am

Corn Thimbles

Tried these again. It's steamed cornmeal/flour. My shaping isn't very practiced and they're on the dry/hard/gritty side. Still edible.

The starch base of internet recipes are extremely varied, as is how long you're supposed to steam them for. All Under Heaven was 30-40 minutes but most of them are 15-20.

Cornmeal/Mashed Yams
Precooked Cornmeal (and butter?)
Corn Flour/Glutinous Rice Flour
Corn Flour/Flour/Millet
Flour/Black Soybean Flour
Corn Flour (only)
Corn Meal (only)

They're historically poverty food. Suspect the original starch was whatever was on hand.

Edit: Well I just ate all of them and that was 1 cup of cornmeal. :|


Set 10, 2019, 8:53 am

I like how you work at a dish until it is right for you. :)

Editado: Set 10, 2019, 10:17 am

Ty MrsLee. :D

Set 10, 2019, 5:41 pm

>61 Settings: The Zhajiang Noodles sound very appealing!

>62 Settings: Two more steps and you would have a tamale. Ok, not really; but similar.

Set 13, 2019, 1:08 pm

Tried to make Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies from Martha Stewart's Cookies.

They flattened out horribly. According to the internet reviews they do that if you actually soften the butter like it says.

Set 17, 2019, 12:38 pm

Joy of Cooking's Chocolate Chip Cookies.

4/10? It looks like my oven temperature is too high? The store brand chocolate chips I bought are all sweet and no chocolate flavor - I won't buy them again. Chocolate quality seems to be getting worse and worse. Suspect it's cost cutting and not that my taste buds are dying off as I get older. :'(

Set 18, 2019, 1:56 pm

>67 Settings: I buy fewer and fewer baked goods at the supermarket anymore. Too much palm oil and no or little butter changes the flavor. I don't even binge on Oreos anymore because the taste is not what it used to be. I used to get some frozen treats from one company, but more and more they are labeled "chocolatey" instead of chocolate. Nice try, corporations. I can taste the difference.

I've really decreased my supermarket binge buys by refusing to buy things with palm oil, artificial sweeteners, or 'chocolatey' in the ingredients. But don't tell anyone, sometimes I don't check the ingredient list if I'm really stress-craving something.

Now that it's cooler here, I'm willing to turn on my oven. Apple crumble this afternoon, I think then maybe apple cake for a potluck on Saturday. I have to dig for a recipe for the latter; the last one I used (it was going around on social media) was pretty awful.

Set 19, 2019, 11:08 am

>68 PhaedraB: First Law of Cooking (which took me far too long to learn): "I can make it better myself, if I start from first principles." Works for almost everything, and then you know what's in it. If you start from suitably basic ingredients, there will be no preservatives, E-numbers or other nasties.

Set 20, 2019, 4:53 pm

There used to be an app called Cookulus that let you set exactly how you liked your chocolate chip cookies (I like mine thin and crisp on the edges with soft middles) and then provided the exact ratio of ingredients needed to hit the mark. And, of course, the developer stopped supporting it before I got screenshots of my most perfect CCC recipe ever. *sighs*

Set 21, 2019, 1:05 am

>70 lesmel: Heartbreaking!

>69 hfglen: Yes, I make many things myself. I have a sensitivity to wheat (not gluten, wheat) so I often make my own baked goods using spelt or GF flours. But I have health problems and sometimes scratch baking is more than I can manage. If I manage to get to the store, unfortunately, temptation surrounds me.

Set 21, 2019, 11:39 am

Think whether things taste better if you make it yourself says a lot about your personal cooking skills lol. I'm reminded of this blog.

I've gotten into reading about tea online. There seems to be a push against people who think tea should be brewed to personal taste and people who think there are perfect brewing recipes. It's the latter that are the ignorant ones. Especially bizarre considering they commonly use a "gongfu" brewing method modified from the Chaozhou gongfu regional brewing method. Chaozhou gongfu includes customizing the brew for your or your guests tastes.

So exactly like cookies. There is no all purpose perfect cookie recipe, only a cookie recipe that's perfect for you lol.

Set 21, 2019, 2:10 pm

Quite. But at least if you work from first principles you know that the chicken is real chicken, the peas are real peas and the unidentifiable little black bits are real unidentifiable little black bits (with a nod towards The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy).

Set 22, 2019, 11:11 am

Bought an angel food cake pan. Gonna make angel food cake. Excited.

Am now in possession of a glass 9x13 pan, a glass loaf pan, a 9 inch square cake pan, a nonstick cookie sheet, and a 10 inch tube pan. Bought the tube pan because I wanted to make angel food cake then realized that is not the right pan lol. Luckily it looks like I can make a lot of the Joy of Cooking cake recipes in the tube pan though so it's not a waste.

Editado: Set 23, 2019, 10:45 pm

Made the Angel Food Cake. Stuck in the pan horribly and didn't really rise much but didn't sink either. So intermediate fluffy lol.

Gave 3 people it who all have no idea what Angel Food Cake is supposed to be like and they liked it.

Editado: Set 23, 2019, 10:36 pm

Millet Porridge

Millet boiled in water for 30 minutes with nothing else. Tastes exactly how you'd expect millet boiled in water for 30 minutes to taste which is absolutely fantastic. Posting it so I can add the photo to my thread even though it's not very interesting looking.

There are many different species of millet and many different brands. Phillips recommended buying from a health food store not an Asian food store - I like the smaller grain millet the Asian food grocery store sells better.

Edit: Based on Wikipedia pages and changing the language, the smaller grained millet is likely foxtail millet (小米). Proso millet and pearl millet are possibilities for the health food store one. Asian grocery store also sells proso millet (黃米) but I haven't tried that one. The translations are hard. Know my bf is a fan of kodo millet but don't know where to buy that.

Set 24, 2019, 9:23 am

>75 Settings: I have not mastered the angel food cake yet. I use a recipe my grandmother wrote out when she was a teen, about 1916. The angel food cake pan with the straight sides is important so you can cut around it to loosen. Do not ever let grease touch that pan. Don't even wash in dishwater which has washed greasy dishes. Grease/oil is the enemy of the cake rising. Other than that, I cannot give you any hints. Mine has only ever gotten to about 5 inches tall. It is denser than the ones from the store, but also more tasty. My husband loves it. I use a smidgen of almond flavoring when I make it. I suppose a smidgen translates to 1/4 teaspoon?

Set 24, 2019, 12:13 pm

Joy of Cooking called for 1/4 teaspoon.

There's a lot of things I think I could have done "wrong". I don't own a sifter so maybe the flour wasn't incorporated right. My egg whites had a few drops of egg yolk. My pan was freshly washed. I might have overwhipped or underwhipped the cake. Need practice.

My grandmother is good at baking too but you can't get accurate recipes out of her. Hers will always be better in obvious ways. She "forgot" to tell you the recipe needed to be doubled or that she usually adds an extra egg.

Editado: Set 24, 2019, 6:10 pm

>78 Settings: Yes. There is a recipe below the angel food one for a golden cake. It uses all yolks. Not as many yolks as the angel food has whites though. They are both an exercise in deciphering. I usually look at the Joy of Cooking recipe that corresponds the closest and work it out as best I can. Though a perfect cake may elude me, I don't think I've ever made one that was inedible. You might have to add cream or liquor though.

The egg yolks may have accounted for the low rise. They are fat.

Set 24, 2019, 9:26 pm

Well I made the gold cake in my fluted tube pan (not one of the suggestions). Will see if it comes out lol.

Set 24, 2019, 9:44 pm

Rather lemony. Think it would be better almond flavored.

Set 25, 2019, 11:10 am

Set 25, 2019, 11:20 am

Looks like it did better than just "come out"!

Set 27, 2019, 11:47 am

Chilled Sour Plum Infusion

Infusion of dried hawthorn, licorice root, and smoke plums. Did not add any of the optional ingredients.

This is another one that is really hard to make based on the recipe, which calls for "3 or 4 sour dried black plums". Nothing in the grocery store is going to be labelled "sour dried black plums", the ingredient is "wumei" "smoked plums" or any of the other equivalents.


Not happy with it. It calls for equal amounts of licorice and hawthorn, and the licorice is overpowering. Also on bc pills so not sure if I should be drinking that much licorice at all. :/

Want to try this recipe. Pressure cooker, much much less licorice, and brown sugar instead of rock sugar which just sounds better.

Editado: Set 29, 2019, 10:42 pm

>84 Settings: Could you substitute star anise for the licorice? It might have more subtlety.

ETA fixing something my auto correct goofed up.

Set 29, 2019, 10:28 pm

Very nice looking cake! Mmm, "lemony".

Out 2, 2019, 1:58 pm

"Made" the sauteed chicken livers from Joy of Cooking but cut too many corners to consider it tested lol.

Did not dry the livers, did not finely mince the onions or parsley, shaoxing wine instead of white wine.

Like 4 tablespoons of butter in it because the livers somehow absorbed the 3 tablespoons and I needed more for the onions. Likely more than an entire day's calories in this with rice.

Out 2, 2019, 3:02 pm

I always saute the onions first (I use oil not butter, just enough to spread all around the pan). They release some liquid as they caramelize so the pan is nice and moist for the liver--never need to add more fat.

Also, I only wash (rinse) the liver if there seems to be a lot of blood pooled in the package. Otherwise they go straight into the pan. I don't flour or bread them--if you did, that's probably where the butter went.

Out 11, 2019, 3:09 pm

Spinach and Peanuts

Cooked Spinach with 2 tablespoons old vinegar, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1.5 teaspoons soy sauce, 2 cloves minced garlic, and garlic-flavored peanuts.

Had to throw this one out when I followed the All Under Heaven recipes because of the 2-3 tablespoons of sesame oil. It was awful. Did not add any sesame oil this time. Much better.