Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A day of homecooking

Since I moved to Helsinki I admittedly have not done much cooking.

Chalk it up to the expense of groceries, subsidized lunches (which are actually quite fulfilling and delicious), the long "summer" days, and extreme exercise, but I've just been too something to cook.

Those who knew me in San Diego would probably think this mostly an atrocity. As someone who was a member of a CSA (community-supported's where you get a box of organic produce from local farmers every 2 weeks) for several years in a row (and absolutely delighted in meal planning and pantry cooking to no end) and hostess to several homemade dinner parties, this is a rather dramatic lifestyle change.

I love cooking, it's true. But for whatever reason when I moved, I just didn't want to do it anymore.

There are real reasons behind this, I believe, other than the ones I mentioned before. It's not my actual kitchen, I only have a subset of the tools and gadgets that I had before, ingredients are harder to get and my pantry isn't as well-stocked...etc etc...but at the end of the day, I just don't eat as much. And I don't have someone to cook for anymore (sad truth).

Well, this past weekend, apparently my mind had had enough. It needed some homecooked goodness. So I cooked myself up a bit of home.

It started out with fried rice in the morning. Simple, delicious, filling. The night before on British D's birthday pub crawl all me and the other Asians on the crawl could talk about was sticky rice, sticky rice, sticky rice (otherwise known as "neu mai fun"...apologies to all for horrendous misspellings of pinyin). And when I woke up in the morning, that was all I could think of. So I made the next best thing (since sticky rice is the devil to make and I definitely had almost none of those ingredients).

Fried rice is pretty easy to make and boy is it good. A taste of home, right in my American wok. Thank you Mom and Dad for teaching me the good stuff. :)

Admittedly this was a poor man's version of what it should have been. I did it chop suey style and used whatever I had in the fridge - in this case makkara (hot dogs), canned corn, frozen peas, and an onion. But it was still tasty, and I still had 3 bowls full (yes, an enormous amount).

Despite this homecooked awesomeness though, I was still a little nostalgic later that day, so...I continued my cooking adventure:

Ramen. Glorious ramen. One of my absolute favorites. And a standby for whenever I'm feeling anything remotely close to down.

This one was actually made pretty classy - instead of using the packet of seasoning it comes with to make the soup base, I had real chicken broth made from the boiled bones of a roasted chicken. Incredibly flavorful. I added the necessary peas and raw egg as well (my favorites, other than Chinese sausage, aka "lapcheung").

I was absolutely stuffed when I went to sleep that night but I felt filled in a way I haven't in a long time. After months of eating nothing but raw vegetables, salads, and open-faced sandwiches, there was just something that never felt right. Guess I know what it was - homecookin'.

If all goes to plan I'll be cooking up a storm in another week for a dinner party (first one since I moved here! :D), so I'm looking forward to that. Perhaps I will return to my hostess ways, after all. ;)

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