Friday, November 1, 2013

The Pioneer Life

I went on a cooking spree tonight, which I am apt to do once in a while, particularly when the future-hubby is at work, and am moreso apt to do lately because I finally feel comfortable cooking with Chinese ingredients. We spent a lot of time in the first five months eating at restaurants - and we still do, because certain ones are dirt cheap - or eating chicken patty sandwiches, chicken nuggets, and broccoli with garlic. Now, broccoli has become rather inordinately expensive and I have grown particularly disgusted with the nuggety, breaded chicken. So, I've been investing - and by investing I mean spending the equivalent of about $10 - on huge bags of produce and seeing what I can make.

See, at home, I have more or less a luxury kitchen compared to what I have here, which is literally a hot plate and a toaster oven. At home I have 3.5 burners (one only works sporadically), an oven, a toaster oven, a juicer, a blender, counter space, and access to foods I'm comfortable with, like wheat-based noodles and veggie crumble (a soy protein mixture, which I often use in place of meat). Tonight, with two pans, my toaster oven, and my hot plate, I made five different dishes and a slew of dumplings.

Here, the nice thing is that I have no idea what things are, so I'm inclined to cook simply, which always makes me feel really superior about what I'm eating. The only thing I had difficulty with was the pumpkin. If anyone knows an easy (or at least moderately manageable) way to cut up a pumpkin and remove it from its rind, please make me privy to this information. Tonight I made:

Prapplesauce. I toyed with the idea of calling this aearplesauce or pearple sauce, but I like "prapplesauce." Ingredients: 4 apples, 1 pear, 1 cup of water (boiled, of course, T.I.C.), and 1/3 cup of brown sugar. Simmer and YUM.

Sautéed Zucchini and Carrots. Sliced thin and sautéed with a little bit of salt and some honey.

Zesty Pumpkin. For lack of a better name. It's pumpkin stir-fried with garlic and onions and a tablespoon or two of soy sauce. It tastes better than it sounds.

Cabbage Stew. Cabbage, lots of cabbage, simmered with one or two tablespoons of oil and about 1/4 of an onion.

Pumptato Hash Browns. I like the fusion foods. Shredded pumpkin and potato (more potato than pumpkin) fried up with some onion and garlic, and for good measure, I added some chopped up leftover chicken nuggets.

Dumplings. This was my first experience with dumplings, and thankfully I didn't have to make the shells. Our supermarket sells them pre-made in packages of, like, 30 for a little less 50¢. So I filled some up with the pumptatos and others with onions, garlic, and chopped up chicken nuggets, then put them in the toaster oven for about 10 minutes. Yields: 6,000. I have so many dumplings.

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