Chilling and Grilling (Indoors)

Step 1: Take a bunch of your colleague’s old stuff because he’s moving out of Boston. Things include: a futon, a coffee table, a portable grill, a portable fan

Step 2: Buy a bunch of meat from the store. Things include: Kobe beef slices, and pre-marinated pork / beef.

Step 3: Create the following setup (make sure to include the fan – otherwise you’ll set off your fire alarm)

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Step 4: Grill and watch Jurassic World at the same time.

Figured I’d share my latest idea of what “chilling and grilling” meansย  when you don’t have a backyard.

When the Cookie Crumbles

So most (if not all) of my food-related posts involve my triumphs in the kitchen and a little bit of #instafilter. It can be really satisfying to see the fruits of your labor pay off in the form of wide smiles, a tasty meal, and a good gram’. Yet, sometimes, kitchen mishaps do occur. I was scrolling through some old photos the other day, and I noticed a couple of photos documenting how spectacularly far off the end result was from the desired outcome. Exhibit A and B:

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At the top, we have the supposed “Cheesy Baked Hash Brown Patties” that just did not hold it shape (I’m still convinced this was a recipe flaw), and the second was just a disastrous attempt at a pastitsio, a Greek lamb pasta bake dish that not only spectacularly fell apart when I took it out of the oven, it was borderline inedible because I was too heavy handed with the cinnamon.

Kitchen failures do happen from time to time – but amidst the trash of inedible food waste caused by a series of poor decision, comes some fairly valuable lessons about cooking, and life in general.

Cooking Lesson 1: Be very careful with cinnamon – especially if you’re not planning to put it with baked goods. Otherwise, your facial expression wouldn’t be too far off from people who attempted the cinnamon challenge.

Life Lesson 1: Sometimes less is more – focus on doing something right, rather than doing lots of things.

Cooking Lesson 2: Make sure you squeeze dry the shredded potatoes before you attempt to construct a hash brown, otherwise the water content from the potatoes will wash the cheese out, leading to a puddle of watery cheddar on the pan tray that took a lot of scrubbing to come out (the instructions / video did not include this step).

Life Lesson 2: Don’t always believe what you see – think if a statement makes sense before following it.

Guess the crumbs taste good even when the cookie crumbles (as long as they don’t fall to the floor).

 

 

Travel Logs: Greeking Out!

 

Greece – home to a remarkable ancient civilization, a majestic acropolis in the capital, beautiful islands, and incredible food. This past week has been quite the journey. We scaled the cliffs of Santorini, roamed through the monasteries of Meteora, and explored the ruins of the acropolis. I also finally understand the real color tone of a “Blue Sky” (see images below).

 

The highlight of the trip? Watching the stacked white buildings of Santorini. It’s quite remarkable when you consider that they are actually producing their own wines and produce, despite the fact that the climate of the island is mostly hot and arid. Something to be said about the ability of volcanic soil to create enough little pockets of grapes for them to have a thriving wine industry.

The second highlight of the trip? Taking a 5-hour train ride each way from Athens on the same day to visit theย monasteries of Meteora. Fun fact – Game of Thrones apparently created one of the set pieces out of Meteora. The life of ascetic monks can be quite the cliffhanger (no pun intended). Some of them used to get up to the monasteries via nets that would be pulled up by a pulley!

Besides the rich tapestry of history, landscape and architecture, Greece is also home to an incredibly array of flavors – from delicious appetizers such as fried cheese and honey, to a vast array of seafood, lamb and pork dishes, moussaka, and of course, the all ubiquitous gyros. Beautiful use of spices and herbs – shoutout to the cinnamon in the moussaka and the oregano in many of the dishes.

One of the more interesting facts about the gyros that I learnt was that it became especially popular during the Greek debt crisis, because of its affordability and nutrition value. It was something that I didn’t quite realize until I was actually there, and realize that for โ‚ฌ3, you can get a wrap that will fill you right up.

All in all, a fairly good trip I’d say. Of course, over the next few weeks I have made it my personal mission to try and replicate the Lamb Kleftiko (meatballs), and the Moussaka. Always wanted to dabble my hands in a little bit of Greek cuisine – we’ll see if that turns out well!