Experimenting with ingredients

The other day we went to a Thai restaurant and ordered papaya salad after a long discussion about whether we should get papaya or mango salad. We usually eat mango salad, but one of my friends said that the papaya salad was known for its rich taste and wonderful colors. And she was right. Even though both papayas and mangoes are almost similar in their sourness, there is a slight variation that gives each salad its unique flavor.

I was inspired to make lasagna yesterday, but this time I made it with ground turkey. I’ve always made it with ground beef because everyone loves how well it goes with tomatoes. I was surprised to learn that the turkey went just as well as the beef. It brought out a lot of flavors in the cheese that was usually bland. There was also a lot more sauce for the noodles to absorb.

Have you ever tried substituting one of your favorite ingredients with something else and realized that it was way better than you thought?

Smartphones at the dinner table

Unless I’m at a crowded restaurant on a Friday night, it becomes really obvious to me that the tables around me are quiet when I’m out for dinner. Occasionally I hear some people ordering their food, but after that, it’s quiet. I looked up from my food one day and realized that the diners were too busy poking their smartphones. I happened to catch a glimpse of a few screens as I was leaving the restaurant and saw that people were surfing websites like Musicians friend. Online shopping is a big thing, but I think smartphones are an even bigger thing. Almost everyone with a phone is guilty of getting caught up with technology, but I think there should be a realization that attention at the dinner table is really important whether it’s among friends or family.

Restaurant hopping

With so many restaurants popping up around town, it’s so hard to decide which type of food to try every weekend. I came up with a plan and decided that we would go restaurant hopping. We would try a little of the food here and there and make a decision based on the few dishes we tried. There were more places that made us cringe than smile and polish off our plates. It’s really easy to make your food bland or really overpowering if you don’t watch your ingredients. A lot of curries, especially, have become watered down. I’m starting to think that maybe hopping from one restaurant to another isn’t such a great idea. It’s much easier for me to buy some fresh vegetables and meat and whip up something that has much more flavor.

Recipe hunting

Lately I’ve been inspired to bake and it helps that I have a large packet of caramel candies so I’ve been searching up a lot of recipes with caramel in it. So far I haven’t found a recipe that makes me go “Yes, I need to bake that right now!” but I’m thinking I should use the caramel to dip some apples into or top off on a brownie cake. As usual, I got distracted from my recipe searching and spend hours on websites like guitar center.com before getting back on track. I’m visiting a friend this weekend so I’m either going to randomly choose a recipe and go with it or concoct a recipe and see how it goes!

Winter blues

It’s finally starting to feel like fall! The weather is gray, the fog is out and about, and the clock has been set back by an hour. Of course I’m taking this wonderful opportunity to bake some cookies to get the house warm and toast. I’m thinking of cookies with a lot of chocolate. It’s probably because I don’t have hot chocolate and I really need some now.

I’ve been getting a lot of suggestions to cook noodles and soup. It’s the best thing for the coldest days. Imagine a steaming hot bowl of chicken broth and noodles served with spinach and garlic, ready to be slurped up by you. Yum… I think I might have to make some tomorrow.

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