Bao Chick-a Bao Wao

Watch out, there is some serious food porn comin’ atcha.

(Mom, close your eyes.)

So here’s the thing: there are a few dishes that I just won’t bother cooking.  Buffalo wings (the bars have that one covered), doughnuts (bakeries have those covered), beef stock (boxes have that covered)…

Most of the time it’s because I don’t have the proper equipment, and I’m not about to go out and buy a deep fryer because just imagine how much trouble that would get me in, or it’s just too time consuming and/or complicated.

Or there’s just too much majesty in the dish for me to risk f’in it up by blindly attempting my own version.

My latest Trader Joe’s discovery-of-the-week were these frozen bao.

If you’ve never heard of bao, they’re steamed Asian buns filled with meat and/or vegetables.  The dough is almost a little bit sweet, and so fluffy it’ll make you want to close your eyes and reflect on things like kittens, marshmallow fluff and Snuggles the bear.

In all likelihood, bao is not something that I will ever attempt on my own.

For one thing, I’m not a dough maker.  A dougher, if you will.  I don’t get the same joy out of kneading as some people do.

And just look how perfect they are!

Why would I go and possibly screw this up when I now know that I can buy 4 of them for $2.99 at Trader Joe’s?

Thank you once again, TJ’s, for eliminating all the problems in my life.

I ate this for dinner the night after I got back from New Orleans.

Can you sense how much of a vegetable withdrawal I was going through?


Much better.


Frit Ta Da!

I’m pretty good at making scrambled eggs.

Sauteing some fillings, adding spices, whisking the perfect amount of milk into the eggs before they hit the skillet to make them perfectly fluffy.


They look pretty darn tasty, huh?

But please pick up your jaw off the floor.  Scrambled eggs- no matter how you scramble them- aren’t really that impressive.

I think I’m a strong enough person to say that.

The thing is, I’m not great at cooking eggs other ways.  I still haven’t mastered the art of hard boiling.  The whole “egg timer” concept is apparently lost on me.

I’m kind of ok with it.  Because at the end of the day, I still occasionally have breakfasts that look like this:

But you know me.  I’m anything but satisfied with making the same kind of food over and over.  I mean, barf.

So the other night, my poor-ass 20 something self opened the refrigerator door to find something good to eat for dinner.  I saw eggs (at $1.19 a dozen, that’s not a surprise) sitting there.

But scrambled eggs just wouldn’t cut it.

French toast?

Nah, too breakfast-y.

A quiche?

No, I had no crust making ambitions (I rarely do.  Crusts are kinda frou frou.)

A frittata!

That’s basically a quiche minus the crust and without having to transfer the egg mixture into a casserole, right?

I threw a bunch of ingredients in a skillet to get warm and groovy.

Including some leeks left over from my take on Jessica‘s white bean hash so I rinsed ’em up good in a bowl of water and softened them up with some spinach and garlic.

Then I added an andouille chicken sausage from Trader Joe’s and the eggs and sprinkled the whole mix with a little cheddar.

The trick to frittata is to partially cook the egg mixture on the stovetop and then pop it in a pretty hot oven to let it finish cooking and puff up a little.

Don’t quote me on that.  I’m not an expert on eggs, and certainly not on frittatas.  But it worked for me!

Post-oven.  See how it comes up easily at the sides when I slid a spatula under it?  That’s skillz.

I have to say, it was a nice little change of pace and felt much more dinner appropriate than a scramble would have.

Because I’m a big kid and eat big kid meals, you know.  Well, most of the time, anyway.

This is Snow Joke

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

I’m sure you’ve all either experienced or heard about the massive amount of snow that the Chicago area, along with much of the rest of the country, has gotten over the last 24 hours.

Isn’t it pretty?

Waking up to snow rimmed windows is nice.

Until you realize that you’re completely marooned at your parents’ house in the suburbs.

With a 3 foot snow drift against the garage door, all I can say is that I’m thankful for snow blowers- not that I’m planning on leaving the house today.

And I’m thankful for snow days.

I got a call this morning that our office officially closed for the day (you betcha).  Hmm…what will I do with my time?

I can think of one important decision to be made:

I don’t know if you know this, but soup is actually required fare on snow days.  I don’t make the rules, I just follow them.

I’m not even usually a soup kinda gal, but these are some of my favorites.  Lucky for me they were both in stock at my parents’ house.

If you haven’t tried Pacific Food‘s Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato soup, you should.  Even if you don’t really like tomato soup.  Way better than Campbell’s, both for the taste and the ingredients.

Plus open faced roast beef and turkey sandwiches.  We’re Scandinavian, it’s what we do.  Especially with the fried onions on top.   And a bowl of soup just can’t reach its full potential without a sandwich on the side.

And since it’s cold, I’ve also been eyeing the bottle of aquavit stashed in the freezer.

Like I said, we’re Scandinavian, it’s what we do.