A Proper Home Cooked Meal

It’s been almost a month since I made a proper homemade meal and did some baking. We’ve had meals at home but they have mostly been quick and easy – things we can throw in the microwave or boil. We’ve been eating out for all our other meals because trying new food has been part of the experience of getting to know Taiwan.

And I haven’t been baking because I don’t have anything to bake with. All my baking dishes, mixing bowls, and spatulas will be arriving in about a month via seafreight.

I decided to change this today- even if it meant being a bit resourceful. I was determined for us to have a nice meal at home and some homemade baking for dessert.

Dinner

At Costco this afternoon we picked up this great looking Ciabattini.

Another good find at Costco

Despite the photo, we didn’t end up buying any pickles.

Too many pickles for us

I wanted to use the bread and neither of us felt like having soup so I decided to make black bean burgers.

I found a recipe on Allrecipes and used it as a guide.

Black Bean Burgers

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 onion, cut finely

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 egg, lightly beaten with fork

1 teaspoon of  dried italian herbs

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1/2 cup bread crumbs (or more if required to bind well)

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Mash black beans (I used a fork)

This was hard work - a fancy mashing tool would have been nice

Saute onions and garlic and then mix in with black beans.

In a small bowl, combine egg, italian herbs, hot sauce and soy sauce.

Add egg mixture to black bean mixture and combine well. Stir in bread crumbs.

Fiberlicious

Form patties with mixture.

Heat a bit of oil in a frying pan and cook patties until golden brown.

Serve with the usual burger toppings.

Looks like the real thing

No pickles in there

Baking

The other day I bought a cheap 9’x13′ baking dish as I figured we could use it for roasting veggies and baking. So with the pan in mind and my limited baking tools, I decided to make bars. After some research I found a recipe with ingredients I knew I could find at our local Taiwanese supermarket/Costco. I went shopping and bought the things I needed.

Bulk flour from Costco

Baking powder comes in a box with little packages. Not sure why this is?

Eggs that I hope are free range

Here’s what I made.

Lemon Bars based on this recipe.

Crust:

1 cup butter, softened (I know this is a lot of butter but the original called for 1 1/2 cups. I used New Zealand butter, found here in Taiwan, so figured it was okay as I was contributing to the economy).

2.5 cups flour

3/4 cup powdered sugar (I couldn’t find powdered sugar so used regular sugar and it worked and tasted fine)

Filling:

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon

2 tablespoon flour

4 eggs (I used 3 eggs and 1 egg white to cut out some fat. Next time I may try to cut out another yolk and do two eggs, two egg whites)

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (next time I think I will add more lemon to give it a bit more punch)

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees f/180 degrees c. Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper or spray it with cooking spray.
For the crust, combine butter, flour, and sugar until combined.

I don't have measuring cups so used mugs and a guesstimated amounts

Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan. I used a glass to spread mixture evenly in the pan.

No need for a rolling pin in my kitchen

Place crust in pre-heated oven and bake for 15 mins.

For the filling – mix the sugar, baking powder, flour, eggs, and lemon juice until combined.

This super cool electric juicer came with my blender. It's pretty amazing - I will never juice by hand again!

Beat mixture for 2-3 minutes. (***When I first read the recipe I did not see that a beater was required. We don’t have one so to thicken the mixture I put it in my blender on the pulse setting for about 2 mins and it worked fine***)

I won't be able to get by much longer without a beater

Pour mixture over pre-baked crust and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the filling is set. Remove from oven and let cool.

Looks fine to me

Sprinkle with powdered sugar for serving (which I didn’t do).

Tasted great despite all the changes I made

Store in the refrigerator. Before serving remove from fridge for about 10 minutes to let the crust soften. Makes about 20 bars.
These were delicious.

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