That Duck Burrito Video…

Writer’s block still has me in it’s grip, which means there’s plenty of time to experiment in the kitchen.

Duck is one of my favorite meats. It’s tender and delicious. I’ll panfry it, rotisserie it, chop it up for stir fry, coat it in almond flour…I’ve yet to find bad way to cook it. Shredded duck meat in butternut squash soup? Check. Confit? Check. (Note: I haven’t made duck confit, but I’ve had it out…totally fabulous.) Peking Duck? I haven’t had it in a few years, but I thought it was delicious.

I also have a severe weakness for tortillas. I’m not a big fan of eggs, but put them in a tortilla and I’m ready for a breakfast burrito.

When I saw this video on Buzzfeed for a Peking Duck inspired burrito yesterday, I knew I had to make it. I made a few substitutions here and there, and I wasn’t sure the duck would be filling enough on it’s own, so I made my quinoa version of “fried rice” to go with it. We ended up with way too much food, but at least there’s left overs for lunch tomorrow.

Here’s my adjusted recipe for the Peking Duck inspired burritos. It was easy and delicious and way too much food for two, but perfect for dinner and a lunch!

Ingredients

  • 1.5 pounds of duck breast meat (breast off-cuts work great and are affordable if you can find them)
  • scallions
  • cucumber (a few slices)
  • soy sauce
  • Mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)
  • garlic (6 cloves)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • sesame oil
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Flour tortillas

I marinated the duck breasts with a splash of soy sauce, Mirin, and a heaping tablespoon of minced garlic, and I let the breasts sit while I cooked my quinoa and veggies.

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I poured a splash of sesame oil and olive oil into a frying pan on medium high heat and put the meat in the bottom of the pan for a few minutes before turning it over and cooking the other side.

While the duck cooked, I sliced scallions and cucumber into thin strips. I’m not a huge fan of cucumber and next time, I would probably just trade it for extra scallions, though as I mentioned before, that might be because I’d put scallions in absolutely anything.

I heated up the tortillas in the microwave for about 15 seconds, and my duck burritos were ready (some assembly required).

For my quinoa stir fry, I cooked more or less the same vegetables as I did earlier this week, except I substituted ginger for the bell peppers tonight. When the duck was done, I threw the quinoa and veggies into the pan where the duck had been cooking and scraped the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Delicious.

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Once we got to the table, we assembled our “burritos.”

  1. Slice pieces of duck into manageable bites.
  2. Spread a little Hoisin sauce over the warm tortilla.
  3. Put a little scallion and cucumber on either side of your meat.
  4. Roll up and enjoy!

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The original recipe called for rice in the burrito, but I’m not the world’s biggest fan of rice (and it comes out terribly when I cook it). I ended up with fairly small flour tortillas at the store, so it worked out perfect to put my quinoa and veggies on the side.

This dish is definitely going to be repeated. Happy Friday!

 

Spring is Coming

As mild as this winter has been around here, I have to admit, I’m ready for spring. Naked trees and dead grass just never quite feels right to me.

I haven’t updated here in a while, but that’s mostly because I’ve been busy making things.

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I will admit, that the original story I’m working on hasn’t quite been receiving the love that it should. I think I’m going to try writing some short stories set in the same world to help me flesh out the world my characters are playing in. I absolutely love the world I’m exploring there, I just haven’t discovered everything there is to know yet.

My kitchen has been missing me the last few weeks. After a disastrously bad butternut squash soup, I’ve been a little afraid to venture forth into experimental cooking again. I’m going to admit it: I improvised and it went badly. I was out of the chicken stock that the recipe called for, so I substituted beef broth. A normal butternut squash soup made with chicken broth has a lovely, appealing orange color. Butternut squash soup made with beef broth tends to look like something I’m not sure I’d even feed to my cat. And in my attempts to doctor it up and make it more appealing, I added cayenne. Not just a little cayenne, or a moderate amount of cayenne, but so much that in the few spoonfuls of soup I attempted to power through and eat required several glasses of water and still left my mouth burning. If anyone wants to recommend another butternut squash soup recipe, I’ll give it another try. I’ve had it out at restaurants and thought it was fantastic, but my own missteps have made me a little wary.

While I haven’t been cooking lately, I did go back and add an epilogue onto my first Dramione story and make a lot of progress on other stories in my queue. The other thing I’ve been doing is getting back into 3D printing. I can take apart and reassemble a 3D printer like it’s nobody’s business, but I haven’t spent a whole lot of time developing my CAD skills.

To easy myself back into the printing process, I scoured YouMagine.com and Thingiverse for some designs that looked fun. I have to tell you, I’m going to have the BEST Christmas ornaments next year. I found a lot of useful tools like an SD card organizer, and some slightly less than useful tools like the tape dispenser I printed. In all fairness, the dispenser printed beautifully, and fits great with a roll of tape. The edge just isn’t quite sharp enough for cutting tape. However, I like it so much, I’m half-tempted to put some sort of blade on the edge and keep it on my desk.

One of the things I find most fascinating to print are the articulated models that print as a single piece but actually have moving parts.  There’s a heart-shaped box that opens up that you can see in the picture up top, and an elephant whose legs and head all move. The elephant was really amazing–it needed absolutely no clean up and moved fine as soon as I’d pried it off the glass bed. If you want to see the little fellow in action, here’s a short video clip of me moving the legs and head. I’ve got a whole bunch more things I want to print this week, so stay tuned.

I also did finally brave the CAD world. My results aren’t exactly going to win me any design prizes, but it’s a start. I started playing around with TinkerCAD, which is so far the most intuitive of the free CAD software I found. I used it to make a flat bottomed butterfly.

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You could use the butterfly by itself–maybe put a magnet or hairpin on the back of it if you wanted to do something useful with it. In an effort to find something to do with my butterfly, I remixed a basic business card holder that was under the Creative Commons license and used MeshMixer to put my butterfly on the front of the business card holder and voila! A new thing was born and available for download.

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I’m going to try braving some of the other CAD programs and see what I come up with. Wish me luck!

New Year Update

Well, it’s been two months since my last post. Time to check in and see how things went.

I did manage to write 50,000 words in November. Unfortunately, almost none of them were on the original novel I had planned to write that month. It was on the Dramione story I’ve been working on. I’m glad that that story is going so well, but it’s frustrating that I didn’t succeed in making progress with my original novel. I’m trying to figure out where I went wrong–why I can write several hundred page fan fictions, but that I can’t seem to find the steam to move forward on my original stories.

I’m not sure if it’s a motivation issue, a world building issue, or plot.

When I post fan fictions, the characters I’m writing about already have a big following, so I get lots of feedback as I go along, and it spurs me on to keep writing. I’ve archived over a million words of fan fiction and constantly have new ideas for more.

Maybe it’s a world building or character creation problem. Writing fan fiction is easy for me because I take characters I like and know well, and put them in a situation I’ve dreamed up (no magic for Draco, a terrible law, etc.) and respond in the way that feels natural for the character. Maybe I just don’t know my own characters well enough before I try to write an original novel?

Or maybe it’s just the sort of plots I’m trying to write. Most of my fan fictions have an overarching plot, and a slow-burn friendship into romance over the course of the story. When I tried to write the original novel I came up with this fall, I tried to write something entirely without romance, and never assigned a gender to my main character. Maybe I’m just better at writing romances? Should I just admit that that’s what I’m good at? Or is there a way to improve my skills?

The stories I loved best growing up–the Prydain Chronicles, Artemis Fowl, The Lord of the Rings, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and even Harry Potter, didn’t put romances front and center in the story. The stories I liked best were about changing (or saving) the world and finding out who you were. That’s the sort of story I’d like to be able to share with the world.

Goal one: In 2016, I want to improve my writing skills and write an original novel. It doesn’t have to be finished, or perfect by the end of the year, but I want a story.

I also want to do more hands on crafts this year. 2015 was an amazing, crazy, wonderful year. Our business grew from 8 to 26 employees. This year, I stayed home all of Christmas weekend, and relaxed and had a wonderful time with my husband. Last year, we were working long days, 7 days a week. Now, I’ve got more time for hands on crafts again.

This Christmas, I made a Christmas stocking for my stepdaughter. Can you guess which one is hers?

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Goal two: In 2016, I want to keep working on hands on projects and learning new skills. I want to sew, and crochet, and learn modeling software to 3D print things.

One of the pitfalls of working long hours and having no time, is that I ate a lot of food that was terrible for me in 2015. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed most of it. But whereas in 2013 and 2014 I experimented with a lot of new recipes and had fun with them on my YouTube channel, in 2015, I ate out. Fast food, restaurants, take out, you name it, a lot of days, I was too tired to cook.

However, now that I have more time on my hands, I’m committed to cooking good food and eating healthy. In the last month, my husband and I have cooked everything that we’ve eaten. I’ve dropped 10.2 pounds as of this morning. I cut out refined sugars, alcohol, caffeine, wheat, dairy, and corn. Whole grains, veggies, fruits, meat, and healthy fats are now the rule of thumb in the house. My husband has come up with some fantastic recipes. For example, look at this beauty from Christmas night:

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Quinoa, with yellow squash, onions, mushrooms, and bell peppers, and a a piece of duck breast with almond flour, cooked in a little olive oil. It was amazing. Absolutely brilliant. (Seriously, how have I never discovered Quinoa until now? It beats rice hands down.)

A month into eating this way, we feel better, have more energy, and our clothes fit better. While I might relax a little–a slice of cake or glass of wine now and then won’t kill me–I feel so much better eating real food that I want to keep doing it.

Goal three: In 2016, I want to keep experimenting with new cooking recipes and fabulous new food that’s good for me. 

Well, there’s my start of the year update. What are you looking forward to in 2016? How was your 2015? What changes do you want to make in your life? What do you want to keep the same?

Cooking with Baby Bellas

Well, I’ve been pretty busy making things lately. I’m making 3D printers pretty much every day. I’ve tried a handful of new recipes including marinated mushroom and sweet potato tacos this week and baked mushroom baozi earlier in the month. I’ve managed to update my fan fiction and am finally writing the crucial scene I know many of my readers have been waiting for. I’ve also finally gotten myself to write another flash fiction for ThanInVain‘s Flash Fiction Challenge. The prompt was just too good to pass up and I found myself with a little time tonight, so let’s start with that.

Prompt: A woman’s cat goes missing. Two days later she receives a ransom note.

Catnapped

Ellen Helmsby shrugged out of her overcoat and settled into her chair, heedless of the layers of cat fur. She squirted a little hand sanitizer into her palm to her to rid her hands of the metallic smell of dealing with other people’s coins all day.


She clucked her tongue behind her teeth and waited for Tire to materialize for their pre-dinner cuddle. She’d tell him about her day and he’d purr and life would be just a little bit better. Then she’d open a packet of food for him, and put a TV dinner in the oven for herself.


But cluck and call as she might, Tire didn’t come. She got down on her creaking knees calling out to him under the bed. Finally she was reduced to swearing at the damn cat to show up. He didn’t. She sat in the chair all night.


The next day, cars honked as she gave people the wrong change or or her mind drifted. Her supervisor thought the exhaust fumes might be getting to her head and sent her home. A note, in purple crayon, was wedged under the door.

Deer Cat Lady,
My bruther loves your cat. He wants it, but can’t rite. He’s 4. If you give me a bazillion $ I’ll steal it back. But it has to be a bazillion or I can’t, cuz he’ll cry when I take it.

Ellen heard the hedges rustle and saw the grubby six year old from next door watching her.

Being a cat person myself, I couldn’t resist the prompt and I’m glad I gave it a go. It feels good to be writing.

I’m trying to lead a more healthy life-style, and building printers all day is certainly a lot more physically active than my last job. I’m also trying to be mindful of healthier new recipes and fewer sweets. So far, it’s working. However, there’s an amazing frozen custard shop not far from where I work, and I want some…right now. However, I’ve got some very good motivation for wanting to get healthier right now. I’m looking forward to a long life with the man I love, and I want to be healthy.


The marinated mushroom and sweet potato tacos were absolutely delicious. I’m not going to lie, I ate several and they were all gone before I could take a picture of them. One lingered on someone else’s plate (the tortilla got a bit burnt) and I did manage to snap a picture of that before it too disappeared. 

Marinated Mushroom and Sweet Potato Tacos

I cut and cooked the sweet potatoes the night before, so they weren’t as crisp as I could have hoped, but they were delicious and it saved me an hour of prep-time right before dinner, which was good since by the time I get home, I’m pretty hungry. I used baby bella mushrooms and topped it all off wit a little cheese, sour cream, and green onions. I always keep a container of sliced green onions in the freezer to add to meals. They keep for ages and defrost almost instantly when I add them to any dish.


A few weeks ago, I watched the new reboot of Sailor Moon that just launched. I then followed it up by indulging in a few of the classic episodes as well. I remember watching the original episodes on television as a kid in the morning when I got ready for school. I think there’d usually be an episode of Sailor Moon for me in the morning, and an episode of Mighty Max for my brother. Eventually Sailor Moon only aired on cable, and my family didn’t get cable until I was in middle school, so I missed out on most of the later seasons.

Watching it recently I was surprised as how much I remembered and still felt familiar, but I was also delighted by what I didn’t remember. I’d forgotten that Serena/Usagi tends to eat a lot. One of the things she was snacking on was stuffed pork buns, which I remember as a delicious treat from my time in Taiwan. 

Usually stuffed pork buns are steamed, but as I don’t have a steamer at the moment, I specifically wanted to find a recipe for baked buns. I toyed with the idea of barbecue baked pork buns, but the recipe I found was for mushroom baozi, and I am so glad I found it.

I don’t have much experience baking, particularly with making dough from scratch. This recipe called for me to make the dough and give it an hour or two to rise, but I was going to be working and didn’t want to delay dinner by two hours or more once I got home, so I made the dough and let it rise over about 8 hours in the fridge (it turned out great).

It still took longer than I was expecting when I got home to roll the dough out into pieces and put the filling inside, but it was totally worth it. Most of the baozi I made were the mushroom recipe I found on the website, but I also made a handful with shredded pork from the crockpot and barbecue sauce. 

The mushroom ones actually turned out best (I didn’t use enough barbecue sauce, so the pork ones were a bit dry). I wasn’t real sure about being able to seal them up well, so I put them together upside-down. 

Mushroom Baozi

I also should have rolled out the dough a bit thinner, and maybe added a little more salt, but I will definitely repeat this recipe. 


So, there you have it. I haven’t been blogging as much as I should, but I’ve certainly been making things, and more than keeping busy. There’s always more to get done and more to learn. Are there any other recipes you’d suggest using mushrooms? Baby Bellas are my favorite. Any advice for loosening hand muscles after building something all day? 

Casserole Creation: Chicken Cordon Bleu

I’ve finally tried a new recipe again for the first time in ages. I’ve been itching to try this one since a friend of a friend posted a link on Facebook a couple of weeks ago. I gathered up most of the ingredients, and then had the last one dropped in my lap this week, so it was time to try it. Are you ready? Chicken Cordon Bleu casserole. I guess it wasn’t a surprise; the title of this post probably gave it away.

Chicken cordon bleu was one of my favorite dishes growing up. My mom and aunt would both make it for me on special occasions, sometimes with fresh cut french fries. Excuse me while I wipe the drool from my keyboard. They’re both excellent cooks and I’ve adopted a number of their recipes. For my college graduation party they even made two hundred mini-chicken cordon bleus for me, because it was my favorite. No surprise, they were a big hit and disappeared pretty quickly. I don’t even want to know how many I ate. Mom, Auntie, if you’re reading this, I love you both. Chicken cordon bleu (made from scratch, NOT the nasty frozen kind) is delicious, but it’s a lot of work. Pound the breasts (or tenders if you’re making minis), coat them in egg, and bread crumbs. Roll them up with swiss cheese and ham inside, pin them shut with toothpicks, fry them, and then bake them in the oven. I’m exhausted just writing it, so as delicious as it is, it’s not something I make terribly often. When I saw this casserole recipe, I knew I had to try it.

Let me just say I have very little experience with casseroles. I had a vague notion that casseroles are a one pan meal, so it must be quick and easy to throw together. Quick and easy cordon bleu? Yes, please, and seconds. The only other time I’ve really attempted to make anything in a  casserole dish was the spinach and sweet potato gratin I made last year adapted from a recipe I found on Smitten Kitchen.

This wasn’t quick and easy, but it was well worth the effort. I filmed the cooking process tonight and will finally be updating my YouTube channel. I used Terri’s recipe I found on TastyKitchen and made a few modifications. I’ve learned to check out the comments on food blog posts before attempting the recipes I find and I’ve found some great advice, so I tried to incorporate it into my dish tonight.

I’m picky about meat and as anyone who has eaten with me will tell you, I don’t particularly relish the task of separating meat from bone and cartilage, so instead of stripping a rotisserie chicken, I baked several chicken breasts the night before with a little salt, pepper, and garlic, shredded them when they came out of the oven, and stuck the chicken in the fridge. For the ham, I used Easter dinner leftovers I’d been given, rather than a package of deli ham. It was delicious.

Shredded chicken

 

When I got home from work tonight I buttered my casserole dish, and piled in the chicken, then put a layer of ham on top. I used shredded swiss cheese instead of sliced because…well, I had it.


Ham and Chicken

I was actually really pleased with the sauce. Based on the comments on the original posting on the recipe I decided to use half the amount of salt, and significantly less milk. I used skim rather than whole milk, and only used 2 cups of milk instead of the 3.25 that the recipe called for. I also replaced the mustard with garlic. I loath mustard. My feelings towards mustard can only be rivaled by my feelings towards pickles–yuck. But garlic is a beautiful thing. As per the instructions, I melted 4 tablespoons of butter, slowly mixed in 4 tablespoons of flour to make a roux, added 2 cups of milk, and then my seasonings: lemon juice, paprika, salt, pepper, and garlic. I let it heat for a while until it thickened and poured it over my dish. I taste-tested it and it was beautiful. This picture came out a little orange, but it was actually slightly pink, from the paprika.

Let there be sauce!

After that, all that was left to do was make the crispy topping. The recipe called for a cup and a half of panko bread crumbs, 6 tablespoons of butter, parsley, and seasoning salt. I used half panko bread crumbs and half Italian bread crumbs, and swapped out the parsley for spring onions. I skipped the seasoning salt altogether. I tried to get away with 4 tablespoons of melted butter to mix with the bread crumbs, but it really needed 6 for that many crumbs. And a little grated parmesan, just because it was left over in the fridge from chicken francese the other night.

Casserole Topping

I popped it into the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes and sat down to wait. I’ll admit, by then I was pretty hungry. I was a little impatient and took it out 12 minutes early–it didn’t seem to suffer any harm from it except that maybe the topping wasn’t as crisp as it could be.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

What would you have paired with it? I went with baked potatoes because they were easy, but I’m thinking I might go with something a little lighter tomorrow–I’m open to suggestions. Yes, tomorrow. No I’m not cooking it from scratch again, I’m looking forward to the joy of leftovers. I can’t wait.

Upcoming projects/updates:

  • I have majorly slacked off on the Flash Fiction challenge. We’ll see if I go back to it. I do like it as a writing exercise quite a bit, but I may be a spectator for a while.
  • I’ve posted chapter 27 of my Dramione story, Law and Marriage . Chapter 28 is nearly ready and will be going up soon.
  • I Tweet. I resisted Twitter for a long time, but I’m planning to apply for the AmtrakResidency for writing, because it looks awesome, and they want whoever gets it to Tweet about the experience. Therefore I shall Tweet, because I intend to be on one of those trains. You can find me at @ErinWritesOn . I’m a bit torn between that and HiIMakeStuff for a handle. What do you think?
  • I recorded my casserole project tonight, so hopefully I will sit down and get a YouTube video up in the relatively near future.
  • And–I went back to the gym on Wednesday. I don’t even want to tell you how long it had been since I’d been there, but I lifted weights, and did a few minutes of stationary bicycle (I hate cardio). It felt great to get back under the barbell again and know I could still do it but man am I sore. But I’m going back tomorrow. My coworker and I have pinky promised on it, and you know that’s sacred.

Until next time, keep making stuff!

How to Make Scallops and Puréed Parsnips (with Bacon Vinaigrette)

This is a favorite dish of mine for special occasions, though really the puréed parsnips and bacon vinaigrette are a delicious treat any time–I recently used the left over parsnip puré on top of a vegetable stew. This dish is based off this recipe http://somelikeitpaleo.com/home/2013/… from the “Some Like It Paleo” blog.

To save time, you can roast your parsnips the night before, or make the entire parsnip dish the night before and put it in the fridge. It reheats well in the microwave.

Less Than Success: My Attempt at Delicious Green Onion Pancakes

I’m going to try a little honesty here. The truth is, I could probably season just about anything with green onion. Call it whatever you like–green onion, spring onion, scallions–I will gladly work it into any recipe. I’ve started replacing parsley with green onion in whatever recipes I can get away with it.

My hankering for green onion goes back a couple of years now. From 2010-2011 I lived in Yilan City 宜蘭市, Taiwan and green onion pancakes 蔥油餅 are considered one of the specialties of Yilan County, and they’re pretty generally available anywhere in Taiwan. In Yilan’s biggest night market, in the town of Luodong 羅東 I even found green onion ice cream. I have to say, the night market was just about my favorite place to eat, especially at the beginning of my time in Taiwan because I could get away with saying “I want this”/我要這個 and pointing. My skills were a little limited at the time, so it was a relief not to have to read a menu or come up with any real complicated words.

There were two styles of scallion pancake that I really enjoyed. At the night market, I usually had 蔥抓餅 , which translated more or less to pulled scallion pancake. It was very fluffy, and for about $1 I was able to get it with an egg cracked over it and a brushing of some sort of delicious and mysterious brown sauce. It was kind of savory and sweet, mostly because I avoided the spicy powder when asked if I wanted it spicy. Any time I went to the Luodong night market, I stopped off at the same stand. The food was always delicious, and the guy who owned the cart always recognized me, no matter how long it had been since I’d been there, and he had a lot of patience with my stumbling Chinese.

The other style of scallion pancake I really enjoy I usually bought at my favorite lunchtime haunt. I think Taiwanese beef and noodles is a great dish. Generally if you order “beef noodles” 牛肉麵, you get a delicious bowl of beef and noodle soup. Despite many efforts, I couldn’t seem to eat a bowl of this without making an absolute mess with the broth. However, when I went to lunch with my co-teacher one day, he introduced me to what was to become my favorite beef noodle shop. I mentioned that I didn’t like broth very much, and from that day forth, the family owned shop knew when I came in that I wanted beef and noodles with a little bit of sauce or thick broth, and not a soup. If that wasn’t enough to make me absolutely fall in love with the place (and believe me, it’s love to walk 15 minutes each way in that sort of heat), my co-teacher asked if I wanted a “Chinese pizza.”

Picture taken by Simon Oliver, October 2011. Congyoubing 蔥油餅 with sesame seeds.

Picture taken by Simon Oliver, October 2011. Congyoubing 蔥油餅 with sesame seeds.

It turns out, he was referring to a rather flatter and denser scallion pancake than what I’d usually eat at the night market, cut in little triangles like a small pizza. I could even get it topped with sesame seeds for a little extra flavor. It was delicious. I’d  find myself wandering into that shop at lunch time fairly often, and if not for lunch, dinner. The people were friendly, and I think half the time they were expecting me. Eventually I moved away from Yilan. I came back for a visit 4 months later, and the family remembered me. Seriously, if you get the chance to visit Taiwan, take some time to wander around Yilan County–the coast and mountains are both beautiful, and the people in pretty much any of the towns I’ve been to are friendly, helpful, and very down-to-earth.

I could probably bore you for an hour telling you all the things I loved about being in Yilan, but since this blog is geared toward focusing on my successes and failures at making things, it’s probably about time for me to relay my failures at duplicating these delicious dishes.

I browsed the internet for scallion pancake recipes 蔥油餅. The premise seemed pretty basic–flour, water, green onions, and oil. Mix flour and water together, add chopped green onions, roll it into a spiral and flatten it, and cook in oil. It sounded simple enough.

Flour, scallions, water, and oil, what could be simpler?

Flour, scallions, water, and oil, what could be simpler?

Somehow, I managed to fail, not once, but several times.

It was Saturday, and quite frankly, the creative juices weren’t flowing to get any writing done, and there was flour sitting in my fridge just begging to be used. Of course that meant it was the perfect day to start experimenting with scallion pancakes. For the record, scallion pancakes do not remotely share a texture with American pancakes.

Some of the recipes I found recommended using warm water, others cold, some recommended both at different times. They all roughly seemed to have the same flour to water ratio, give or take a quarter cup. I was pretty pleased with my dough mixture and set it out on the cutting board to roll it out flat.

Well, it looks about right.

Well, it looks about right.

Mistake #1: With my first batch, I did not give the dough any time to set before attempting to do something with it. This made it rather difficult to get the dough into any sort of shape.

One website recommended coating the cutting board and rolling pin with oil to keep things from sticking. All I ended up with was a greasy mess.

Another website recommended coating the cutting board and rolling pin in flour. I didn’t have much luck with this either, because once I’d flattened the dough out and a non-floured part came in contact with the pin, it started sticking to everything again.

My best bet ended up being to flour my hands and not squish the dough down too much.

I’d like to tell you that I have a picture of my first batch, but the truth is…I ate it. It didn’t come out the way I wanted, but it disappeared all the same.

Mistake #2 & 3: With these two batches, I gave the dough some time to set, which seemed to help. I attempted to make it fluffy like the pulled scallion pancakes I had at the night markets. All I managed to do was to pull it to pieces with the tongs I was trying to use to fluff it up. Yes, I tried this with two batches before deciding that it just did not work. Mostly I ended up with smaller, somewhat overcooked pieces. Some time during the process I decided to get creative and make a brown sauce to go with it–garlic, soy, a little sesame oil, sugar…mostly it tasted like soy sauce.

Not remotely the fluffy deliciousness I was aiming for.

Not remotely the fluffy deliciousness I was aiming for.

Mistake #4: This last attempt was the best of the lot. I finally had the sense to stop trying to make the dough behave in any way light and fluffy. I flattened it, added my scallions, rolled the dough up, created a spiral, and flattened it with my hands. It probably would have been better if I’d managed to make it thinner, but, at least this time it managed to be a little flaky and chewy and not overcooked. Topping it with sesame seeds helped of course too.

It didn't turn out like a tortilla chip! I'll call it a win.

It didn’t turn out like a tortilla chip! I’ll call it a win.

So there you have it, my first publicly blogged failure. It was a good learning experience though, and it gave me a good excuse to eat plenty of green onion. On the other hand, a better recipe where I use green onions is my Kung Pao Chicken and Egg Drop Soup recipes, located here. I’ll be blogging that recipe soon, along with some healthier alternative ways to cook the dish. Creating that video was also a learning experience–it was my first attempt at vlogging anything, let alone a recipe. My camera work improved in later videos, but after all these months, it’s still one of my favorite recipes.

再見!I’ll be back soon,

Erin

AKA the Girl Who Keeps Making Stuff