technically it was round two, but officially will be round one

 Days until 2012! VIA

A week in recipes??? So remember how I decided to start cooking weekly as part of my 101 in 1001 project? Remarkably, I have been doing just that ūüôā Since I have about 6 or 7 meals completed, I figured I’d spend the week posting about the food I’ve cooked.

The first meal was on 10/19/11; I made spaghetti and meatballs and foolishly didn’t photograph the meal. Since it is a pretty big deal for me to photograph ALL of my 101 challenge, I’ve decided to just start the “challenge”¬†with my first photographed meal, which was technically week #2.

Chow Mein on 10/24/11! I should let you know that I consider myself a Chow Mein rock star. I’ve improved my recipe over the past year, but it is a pretty easy meal to cook, and it is also something I can eat pretty regularly. Mr. O and I are pretty obsessed with our homemade dumplings, so we decided to cook those as well (Mr. O cooked them, while I watched).

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There isn’t much to tell you about cooking. I tend to eat my chow mein with meat. Usually pork or chicken, although I did make good use of my Thanksgiving leftovers by cooking turkey chow mein! So the first thing to do is cook your meat. While it is on the stove, I chop my vegetables and prepare my sauce. I usually put onions, bean sprouts and occasionally mushrooms in my chow mein. My mother puts celery in hers, but both Mr. O and myself aren’t fans of celery, so we don’t. We buy¬†our chow mein noodles and mix in bulk at Oriental Chow Mein Company¬†which is run by the sweetest woman who I consider part of my family. She is the person who taught my mom to cook so well when she was growing up, so I’m pretty grateful for her. The sauce is slightly tricky to mix, but once you get the hang of it, it’s no biggie. Basically you just mix the powder with water; if the water is too cold, the powder won’t liquefy¬†well. If the water is too hot, then the powder turns into a jelly, and it is a pain in the ass to turn it back into a liquid. So my trick is to start to boil water on the stove, but before it begins to bubble, I scoop out some water and mix my sauce. Once the sauce is ready, I pour it into the remaining water on the stove, and toss in my veggies and meat.

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From here on is a waiting game. I generally never cook my sauce higher than medium temperature, but I like to get the sauce to thicken, and also let the¬†add-ins absorb the flavor before I plate it. It worked out well this night, because we didn’t start making the dumplings until I threw all the ingredients in the sauce pan. This is a picture of the dumplings as soon as they went into the pan. Like I said, Mr. O cooked them, so I really don’t have much to remark yet about dumpling cooking. The final thing to do when everything is ready is fill a bowl with crunchy brown¬†chow mein noodles and then cover it with as much sauce as you like. I’m a HUGE fan of putting some balsamic vinegar in my chow mein, but Mr. O thinks that is gross.

Here is to the official week one, and to kicking off one of the goals on my 101 list. Check back tomorrow for another sneak peek at my cooking skills.

Oh, and don’t forget to enter my very first giveaway on Reinventing Erin for a $25 gift card to Overnight Prints!. You do not want to miss it. Click here to find out all the ways you can enter.

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