Tuesday, April 12, 2011

All Day Long I Dream About...Chopping, Peeling, Boiling, Woking

Green Onion Asian Fried Snails. Sort of.
Since when did this become all about food?

As I write this, I am simultaneously freezing fresh strawberries (in preparation for leaner days ahead, as the mangos come in and deliciously snuff out the competition), simmering turkey soup, and planning a nectarine cobbler as a post-work relief for tomorrow.

And though it might sound crazy, at the end of the day, usually even my worst day (which tends to be Wednesday, because I teach a horrible class of awkward, unmotivated pre-teens in the last hours of my day), I would rather cook than anything. Saturday morning, outing? Heck no, brunch! Does it even matter where the passion began? I don't think so. What matters is, it's happening, and if you're lucky enough, it might benefit you, too.

The tortilla station.

Taiwan used to seem like a desert (not dessert) of familiar food items, and now, on my ridiculously lax budget, I can conceive and create practically anything. And it's all here, in Taoyuan (not even in Taipei).

Carrefour: white flour, couscous, black olives, canned sardines (no laughing until you've tried them), red wine, French cheese

Green/Yellow Sign Wholesale Baking Store: anchovies, flour tortillas, spaghetti, canned tomatoes, prolific spices, whole wheat flour, cornmeal, nuts and dried fruit

A-Mart: pinto beans, hot sauce, Guinness, ice cream - WOW, a fabulous new combination!

And of course, everything else comes straight off the street. I still carry everything home in my reused bags - eggs, fruit, veggies, meat, fish - which I now can order straight off the stainless steel market slab, instead of packaged.

And then I bolt for home, giant bags in tow. Saturday, I lugged home one bag of produce and a 10 pound watermelon. Then, I hit the countertop. In a 1ft. by 1ft. space is where I chop. On my one burner is where I multitask cook. It's blissful. It's orchestrated. And less and less, I make things I want to throw at the OhYa Hotel across the street. It's damn good. And I'm inspired, on a daily basis, to get better and better. (And praying, please, let me have TWO stove burners and a real oven in the Czech Republic...)
Floppy enchiladas, oh so good!

So whatcha makin', Caitlin?

Oh, you know, just green onion pancakes. And Mexican food. Ever since the arrival of the masa harina, the world has been a bit brighter. Have you ever made corn tortillas? GO. DO. IT. It takes no time at all and by the time you're finished rolling out the balls into creative circles, all your worries from your day are gone. Poof, into the tortilla. Enchiladas, fajitas, salmon tacos. Next up, we go sopes and tamales.

So, in quick conclusion, this was a little "Hello!" to tell you about something I'm loving, something I want to share with you, and something that I'm pretty sure will keep steering my interests the rest of my life. I am 23 years old and I love to be in the kitchen.

Now what do you think of that?
And to finish, the giant salmon tacos. Made in Taiwan. 


  1. I say, "Amen!" sister! And James is one lucky bloke!

  2. Hey! They had to incorporate Durian in a dessert on Chopped this week!

  3. Those tacos look fantastic! I just want to grab it from my screen.

  4. Looks yummy! :P

    I relocated here in Dec and I'm still trying to find my way around. Food is an issue for me and I've been heading up to Taipei on weekends for brunch! =x

  5. I think it's tacos again tomorrow ;D lynh, are you living in Taoyuan? I have lots of recommendations if you are!

  6. hey! I enjoyed the blog entry on Taiwan. although I only ever visited there briefly while I was doing a teaching stint in mainland china, it made me miss it and want to visit again! :)