It's always nice to have a hobby where you can eat the end product.
I really enjoy cooking, but I'm definitely the kind of guy that needs a recipe to follow. I'm jealous of those amazing people who can improvise a dish just by strolling through a supermarket, looking for inspiration. I had a summer roommate with this ability; he made it look easy. However, given a recipe, I'll give it a go.
This page is where I put notes related to recent recipe attempts I've made. You can find my annotated copies—as well as links to the original recipes—in the sidebar. Happy cooking!
Gluten-Free Fudge Brownies: I baked these for a gluten-sensitive colleague's birthday and was surprised how good they tasted despite being sans-gluten. They were a big hit and Bon Appetit was right to include them in their article "47 Gluten-Free Desserts That Won't Give You Flour FOMO". They are an excellent go-to when you want a yummy treat for the gluten-free crowd. My one note is that they come out pretty dense. But still a phenomenal result.
California Creamsicle: Quite involved but it gave great results. I think we preferred the components more than the combination of all three. The mandarin ice was too cold, in my opinion, but it lived up to it's promise of a fancy Creamsicle. The ice cream was excellent, although I almost forgot the vanilla, so it might have been a little weak. The big star was the sugarcomb, known in New Zealand as Hokey Pokey. Super easy and a lovely little treat. Overall, worth attempting, but next time I'd cherry pick the items rather than making all three. Basically, I'd make Hokey Pokey.
Cocoa Brownies: These are super easy. Have to make sure to coat the pan with cooking spray more liberally. Also wait till they are cool before digging in (there were some impatient customers).
Bibimbap Bowls: Excellent lunch. A couple of moving pieces, but it makes a delicious result. From Build-a-Bowl book.
Classic Ragù Bolognese: This was a good result, but not what I was expecting. I wanted it to be more saucy, but it came out more about flavoring the noodles rather than making a sauce that formed a pool of yumminess. Oh well; still on the hunt for the best pasta dish. It was still a delicious meal.
Spice-Drawer Chicken Wings: These are perfect. Super easy (just bake) and they come out super bold and delicious. They are also not dry despite being baked. Perfect for those summer picnics.
Tex-Mex-Style Beef Enchiladas: This is a good one, but it takes a lot of effort. The Tex-mex adjective means it is more on the meaty and deep flavors rather than a spicy red flavor. But Bon Appetit has two other recipes to try. Someday…
Rhubarb Custard Cake: A surprise result! The lemon custard cake base is a great foundation. I think it's all about getting the best rhubarb possible.
Pickle-Brined Fried Chicken: Chicken is super yummy when it tastes like pickles! Found smaller pieces is better (chop into quarters for bite sized deliciousness). Really good recipe.
Rigatoni with Easy Vodka Sauce: Excellent flavor. A little heavy on the tomato over the cream, so it doesn't lean the way I'd usually like. But a very good result.
Brown Butter and Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies: I have gotten close to these cookies in the past, so it was nice to finally get all the way there with a little help. Brown butter was not a personal revelation, but instead a confirmation that this recipe knows its stuff. I personally prefer smaller chocolate chips so the standard Toll House Semisweet work fine. An excellent cookie. I'm guessing you normally don't make cookies like this. They are worth the small amount of additional effort. Basically…watch this scene from Stanger Than Fiction; you are Mr. Crick and these are those cookies.
Shrimp and Basil Stir-Fry: Love the Fresno chili heat. Delicious marinade. I have been dumping it in at the end to cook off a bit and develop a bit more sauce. Make sure the pan is hot to get a good sear on the shrimp since they go quick.
Hot Honey Chicken Thighs with Fried Bread: The chicken was excellent. Super easy to make: from cold pan to pan fry to oven. Hassle-free. The hot honey was less amazing. It sure was hot, but I could take it or leave it.
Tortellini with Brown Butter and Sage: Dude. These tortellinis are amazing. Like scary good. Bon Appetit knocked it out of the park. The apple cider vinegar made me a little nervous (it feels weird to pour vinegar over a finished dish), but it brings out the flavors nicely. You won't regret this one.