I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.

William Claude Dunkenfield, popularly known as W. C. Fields, American comedian, actor, juggler, writer (1880-1946)

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+farfalle+

I love cheese.  I find joy not only in eating it, but by seeing cheese melt.  It’s one of the greatest examples of food porn because I know I’m not the only one who salivates when they see gooey cheese.

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Since I’m not Italian (surprise!), I have had to learn how to make alfredo through online recipes and trial and error.  However, each recipe always seems to be lacking whenever I eat it – some are just greasy, while others are just boring to eat.  The alfredo recipe below is something that I’ve come up with, based off what I want to taste and eat in an alfredo dish.

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Ingredients: 3 servings, though it may serve 2 hungry individuals

  • 2~3 servings of farfalle pasta, aka “bowties”
  • 6 tablespoons of salted butter (little over 1/3 cup)
  • ¾ cups of heavy cream
  • ½ cup of grated Italian cheese blend – you can use just Parmesan if you don’t have)
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • garlic powder
  • garlic & parsley
  • Italian seasoning
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • sliced tomatoes (e.g. cherry, Roma – a type of plum tomato)
  • OPTIONAL PROTEIN:
    • cooking oil (e.g. vegetable, sunflower, etc. but not olive)
    • 3 strips of chicken tenderloins (2 pieces of chicken breast)

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Steps

  1. In a pot, cook the farfalle according to the instructions on the back of the box. The pasta should be cooked on high heat for only 10 minutes, as it will cook to completion in the sauce.
  2. Melt the butter with the heavy cream in a large saucepan on low heat. Once the mixture moves around consistently, mix in the seasonings – minced garlic, garlic powder, garlic & parsley, Italian seasoning, and pepper.  Because we’re using salted butter, there really isn’t a need to add in extra salt.
  3. Gently stir in the grated cheese into the saucepan, raising the temperature to medium heat. Make sure to stir the alfredo sauce consistently because as it is thickening, you want to make sure that nothing is stuck to the bottom of the pan and that there aren’t any chunks of cheese either.
  4. Fold the pasta into the sauce on low heat, adding is some fresh parsley leaves as well, for about a minute.
  5. Plate the pasta, sprinkling a little more parsley to the top, and add tomatoes for color. Enjoy!
  6. OPTIONAL PROTEIN: While the pasta’s cooking, season the chicken with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. If you wish to save time, you can cut the chicken into smaller, bite-sized pieces.  Oil a pan and cook the garlic for a minute, before adding in the chicken.  Cook to completion, flipping as needed.  Add on top of the pasta, with the parsley and tomatoes.

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I’ve noticed that people generally don’t add tomatoes in their recipes.  However, I feel like it’s important to have tomatoes in this dish, so that you don’t feel overpowered by the cheese, butter, and heavy cream combination.

IMAGE CREDIT: Wikipedia

+craft+

They who drink beer will think beer.

Washington Irving, American short story writer, essayist, biographer, historian, diplomat (1783-1859)

To me, the taste of beer is akin to old seltzer water gone bad.  To my surprise, I recently found out that craft beer is best enjoyed with fried chicken.  I finally understood why people are such craft beer snobs – it’s different (?) from your regular cheap beer.  However, I wouldn’t say that it’s as pleasant as filet mignon and Merlot, but hey, to each his own.

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I tried craft beer for the first time at Mad for Chicken, a fried chicken place, that I’ve loved going to since I was in high school.  They take a while to bring out the chicken, but it’s worth it because everything’s freshly made and piping hot for your enjoyment.   Usually when my friends and I don’t have anywhere special in mind, we usually just eat out there because it’s so worth repeating.

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I can’t remember the name of the beer, but I think it was pale ale?  Regardless, the main attraction was that curry flaked popcorn.
Kimchi fried rice, apparently always a good choice with beer too.
The main attraction – fried chicken with red onion and green onions.
Look how great that looks.

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xoxo,

the girl who discovered curry sprinkled popcorn

+pasta+

Usually, one’s cooking is better than one thinks it is.

Julia Child, American chef, author, and television personality (1912-2004)

Up until my unexpected vegetarian phase, I was a voracious eater.  I remember summer of ’09 when my brother and I visited Korea and would eat a minimum of seven servings of kbbq together, to aunts’ surprise.  They thought that our parents were starving us from the way that we ate, but after reassurance from our mom, they realized that we just ate a lot.  Sadly, I can no longer eat that much kbbq, no matter how tempting it sounds.

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Picky Eater vs. Particular Eater

While I’m no longer a big eater, I’m still a foodie.  I love trying food from all sorts of countries, as well as fusion dishes.  However, even with these foods, I’m very specific on the manner the food is presented to me.  To be clear, I am not a picky eater – I’m a particular eater.  In millennial vernacular, my OCD causes my particular eating, though for the record, I was never diagnosed as such.

Picky eats will only eat certain foods, while besmirching others, like vegetables.  I love vegetables so much that I’ll eat it without dressing.  Particular eaters, however, will eat all sorts of food, but they’re adamant on it being served in a certain manner.  As the name refers, food must be in a particular way, almost like a ritual.

For example, I won’t eat spaghetti if the pasta noodles are mixed with marinara sauce, but I will eat it if the pasta noodles and the sauce are in separate bowls, weird I know 🤗.  I know this sounds absurd because plain pasta isn’t particularly appealing, but in my head, I have to eat it this way.  I know that I have this arrogance inside because I think, “How dare the marinara sauce mix with the pasta without my permission?”

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I know that this preference irks my family, though they’ve adjusted to this.  They understand that I’m not picky, but it’s that I don’t like the method of preparation.  My family, spaghetti lovers, would get frustrated when I wouldn’t eat it, but in hindsight, it’s almost my fault for not being able to express how off-putting mixing the two were.

Other dishes that I approach the same way are ramen, anything on white rice, etc.  Ramen noodles and the soup are in separate bowls, and are eaten separately.  Kimchi, or food with strong colors, are things that I hate touching my rice because it changes the color.

However, despite this weird preference, I love making new types of pasta dishes and experimenting with pasta noodles to see what kind of cool thing I can concoct from the things I have at home.  And while pasta isn’t the healthiest dish out there, I want to share the interesting creations that I have come up with, from the things I have at home.

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The Conception (?) Story

My brother and I were scrounging around the kitchen to see if there was anything we wanted to eat.  Per usual, we had a ton of pasta noodles, like farfalle (“bowties”), penne, spaghetti, etc.  My brother laid claim on the marinara sauce that we had, so I was left to make something out of the things in the kitchen.

Taking inventory of the cabinets and fridge, I was pleasantly surprised to see what I could work with.  I was able to pick the ingredients I wanted to use for the spontaneous dish I had in mind.

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Ingredients

  • 1~2 servings of farfalle pasta, depending on how hungry you are 😬
  • ½ cup of sundried tomatoes
  • 3 slices of chopped bacon
  • ¼ cup of diced onions
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • cooking oil (e.g. vegetable, sunflower, etc. but not olive)
  • 1 thin slice of unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon of marinara sauce
  • Italian seasoning
  • Dried basil leaves
  • Garlic powder
  • Garlic & parsley salt
  • Parmesan cheese, or 3 Italian cheese blend, depending on your preference

Steps

  1. In a pot, cook the farfalle according to the instructions on the back of the box. This should take around 11 minutes, though you may cook it for a little longer if you like soft pasta.
  2. Heat a pan and grease it with cooking oil and a thin slice of butter (you don’t need a lot), for flavor. Once the oil moves fluidly on the pan, add in the garlic, tomatoes, and onions, lowering the stove to medium heat.
  3. Next, add the bacon to the pan. Right before the pasta’s drained, add in the marinara sauce into the pan and mix.
  4. Add the pasta to the pan, adding various seasonings (i.e. Italian, basil leaves, garlic powder), as you see fit. If it tastes a bit lacking, throw in a little garlic & parsley sauce, though it isn’t necessary.
  5. Fold in the cheese, on low heat, for a few minutes. Plate it and enjoy!

I know that it went on a rant about marinara sauce in my pasta, but I thought it would add a nice pale red color to the dish.  I’m not a certified chef, but food is also about aesthetics, so I would say that I’m pretty proud of myself 🙌🏻.

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Oh and before I forget, here are two pictures of my creation.

IMG_3519by me!
IMG_3520close up – look at the cheese

xoxo,

the girl who likes to play with her food, literally

+stir fry+

I can’t stay away from Chinese food.  I really love that stuff.

Shaun White, American professional snowboarder and skateboarder (1986-present)

My college is in a suburban town, just thirty minutes west of Philadelphia.  Not to be stereotypical or anything, but I’ve come to realize that every single restaurant there is either ridiculously health-conscious or just subpar fast food.  For example, I have never been able to eat some decent pork fried rice because if one takeout place puts the right type of meat, then they’ll mess it up by getting the flavor wrong, vice versa.

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A lot of my friends are willing adventurers and try out the various eateries off campus, and they mentioned honeygrow.  honeygrow sells healthy stir fry dishes and salads, and is just a five-minute drive off campus.   I was intrigued by this premise because one, it was a strange combination of foods to sell, and two, could you even make stir fry healthy?

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I found my answer when I visited honeygrow for the first time, earlier in the school year.  My friend and I had decided to eat at honeygrow because it sounded the best amongst all the options off campus, and because we were eager to catch up after not seeing each other since high school ended three years ago.

honeygrow’s ordering method is a millennial dream come true – customers craft their stir fry dish or salad through a touch screen.  They have the option of paying by card directly at the ordering station, or by cash at the food pick-up station.  For convenience, I paid with my card.

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When you choose your honeygrow stir fry, you can choose from pre-made designs, or build your own; the latter is created from your pick of protein, vegetables, sauce, toppings.  The instructions are clear and very easy to follow, making the whole experience painless.

As a popular establishment, I would say that I had to wait about two minutes on line before I could create my dish, then wait another 10-15 minutes before they finished making my dish.  honeygrow also sells carbonated beverages, but since I don’t drink soda, healthier alternative or not, I simply asked for a cup to get some water, as I picked up my food.

IMG_2761Our food’s here!
IMG_2764My dish – they put quite a lot of dried shallots.
IMG_2763Just a close up, it looks so good!!

As a lover of spicy food, I doused my stir fry in sriracha sauce, even though I picked the spicy garlic sauce for my stir fry.  The hotter, the better!

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The ambience is definitely on the louder side, or I’ve only visited them during their loud period.  It’s filled with middle and high schoolers from the area meeting up for dinner after practice, as well as families with very young children, young children who apparently love to cry there.  It would have been nicer if it was quieter because at times, I had trouble hearing my friend, let alone hearing myself to collect my thoughts.  The volume isn’t a deal breaker, however, as the food makes sure to keep their patrons visiting again and again.

xoxo,

the girl who’s eating healthy stir fry because she’s super healthy now 😏

IMAGE CREDIT: honeygrow

+alternative+

Food, in the end, in our own tradition, is something holy.  It’s not about nutrients and calories.  It’s about sharing.  It’s about honesty.  It’s about identity.

Louise Fresco, Danish scientist, director, writer (1952-present)

Most of us spend a good portion of our lives consuming countless burgers, hotdogs, and pizza, whether you buy it from Nathan’s at Jones Beach or make it at home because you never celebrate the Fourth of July without a cookout.  According to Yahoo Answers, a super reliable source, Americans eat 22.2 billion hamburgers and 13.7 billion hotdogs yearly; just reading those numbers make me feel sick.

America has become a global empire built from machine made food that can probably outlast humans themselves.  How can an average consumer be sure if their hamburger “beef” patty is really made from a cow’s side?  Ignorance is bliss, considering how we eat tons of it anyways.

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I was once an avid hamburger consumer, telling my mom how I wanted McDonald’s Big Macs at my wedding when I was younger.  Today, the only time I eat hamburgers are the rare occasions when my dad decides to make hamburgers for Sunday lunch.

For me, a hamburger is one that contains a lot of raw onion, cooked onions, mushrooms, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, mayonnaise mixed with a little barbecue sauce, a patty, and of course a nice potato bun.  I feel like my subconscious knows how unhealthy burgers are, even if I don’t eat them often, so I try to add a lot of raw vegetables to it.

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My dad came up with two hamburger patty recipes that we follow, a lazy version and a stuffed version.  The lazy version is just grounded beef shaped into a patty, and while it’s being cooked, a little bit of ground red pepper will be added.  The stuffed version, however, is another story.

To make my dad’s stuffed hamburger patties, here are the ingredients:

  • 1 lb. of ground beef – 85% lean, 15% fat
  • ½ of a sweet/white onion
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. After washing your hands, dice the sweet onion into small pieces and mince the garlic cloves; they should be small so they can easily be incorporated with the ground beef, but it’s your preference really.
  2. Taking the ground beef out of its packaging, place it into a medium sized mixing bowl and mix along with the diced onions and minced garlic, using a clean wooden spoon, bare or gloved hands – whatever does the job for you.
  3. Once it’s all combined, portion it, depending on how many patties you want to make. My dad generally makes five large patties with this recipe, but you can make more smaller patties if you desire.  Shape each portion into a patty carefully because some onion and garlic pieces may fall out.
  4. Cook the patties in whatever manner you prefer, like frying, grilling, etc. Since I live in an apartment, we generally lightly grease a pan and cook our patties on it.  NOTE: you can save the uncooked patties by wrapping them in cling wrap and storing it in your freeze, but you should eat them as soon as possible, as meat that has come into contact with hands will start to deteriorate faster.
  5. Assemble after the patties are cooked to your liking.

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Even though there aren’t any preservatives or questionable materials in this recipe, I feel as though I rarely eat burgers, whether it’s homemade or from a Shake Shack.  I’ve become obsessed with eating lettuce again, so I probably won’t crave a burger for a while.  Nonetheless, everyone should try this stuffed patty recipe!

xoxo,

the girl who eats like a rabbit (sometimes)

IMAGE CREDIT: Serious Eats