Two Lessons from Recent Cooking Experiments

The past few days, I’ve been experimenting with new cooking recipes and methods, and boy, have I learnt a lot!

So here are two things I’ve discovered from the process of searching recipes online and trying things out on my own:

Number One: Roasted tomatoes!

Oh wow… You have absolutely no idea how awesome roasted tomatoes are. You can eat them as they are, or you can put them in sandwiches, or you could make pasta sauce or even tomato soup with it! It tastes heavenly!

How do you make them?

First, wash and cut your tomatoes into halves. How many tomatoes? Well, as many as you need that can fit into your oven tray.

Next, get a big bowl and pour lots of olive oil, Italian herbs, minced garlic, some salt and pepper and mix them all in. Dip all your tomatoes into the olive oil mixture. Make sure they’re thoroughly coated with all the goodies of the mix before you line them up on your oven tray.

While you’re doing that, preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius. When the oven is nice and hot, put the tray in and leave it in there to roast for about an hour, like so:

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After 40 minutes, you’ll notice that your tomatoes will look a little deflated. That’s a good sign!

Somewhere between 50 minutes to an hour, take the tray out! The tomatoes will taste awesome! Put one in your mouth or put them in your salad, sandwich, or whatever it is that you want epic roasted tomatoes. It’s awesome! Trust me! Oh gosh… It makes great for soups too! The tomatoes are soooooo sweet after roasting. You have no idea how mind-blowingly awesome an experience you’ll have when you take your first bite!

I got too excited about the roasted tomatoes that I forgot to take a photo. Bummer. I’ll probably make another batch (I’ll need to buy tomatoes first) and post a photo.

Number Two: Super Rich Broth

Most broth recipes will tell you to put bones in a big pot of water, let it boil, and then leave it to simmer for hours. The reason for leaving it to simmer is that it minimises the amount of scum produced in your pot. But if you really want the richest broth possible (best for soups), it’s actually better to increase the intensity of your fire, and let it boil at a rolling boil (vigorous boiling) for as long as possible. If you do that, you’ll not only convert all the collagen in the bones into gelatin, but you’ll also break everything down! (If you’re worried about the scum, you’ll unfortunately have to check your pot regularly throughout the day to remove the scum)

Boil long enough (of course, with the occasional topping up of the water level), and everything on the bones will disintegrate into the water, leaving you with the richest broth EVER!!!!! (I don’t know how true this is, but I heard that if you use a pressure cooker, you can even cause the bones to disintegrate as well! Very high in calcium! MMMMmmm…)

Anyway, you’ll probably be better off reading the article that I read (happy reading!):

Anyway, here’s a picture of my first attempt at making a super rich soup (once I got the broth done, I removed the pork bones, and added mushrooms, xiao bai cai, and some meatballs into the pot):

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Look at just how rich the soup is! MMMMMmmmmm….

I’m definitely going to buy more bones and try to boil them for the entire day (i.e. morning to night) using the method described above before using it to make a delicious soup dish. Oh wow… It’s gonna be good!