Expectations

For those of you who know me, I hate academia.

The educational system, staring at a book, everything.

Recently I had been busy shutting out many distractions in order to prepare for a final exam in neuroanatomy.

I spent a majority of my academic years pursuing other things and only had average marks.

So what has actually motivated me to commit 2-5 hours of studying a day for the past two weeks? Purpose.

It’s easy to justify not trying by thinking I am not good enough. I can’t be a speech language pathologist with these grades anyway.

The grades are not competitive so why bother doing well in it if my application will get rejected?

Because you will know when you try.

It is true that my grades suck and I will most likely have a mediocre application, BUT by doing my best I have learned many things that I normally wouldn’t have:

I am not a book person, I need physical stimulation as well as mental. I need to read AND do.

I CAN study. I just need to develop my own strategy catered to my own learning abilities.

As long as I put in the time, I will get there.

So why is the last comment important?

Because I look at post-grad applications and think about how crappy I feel when my portfolio is not the right puzzle piece for this jigsaw puzzle. But who’s is? It is rare for someone to come out of university with the right experience that perfectly matches or exceeds a requirement.

So yes, I will most likely need to take X more courses to be able to apply. But if I want it, I will do it. I am not racing with anything but my own expectations.
I don’t think I will become a speech language pathologist.

I only learned that from doing something I disliked and was afraid of.

But I feel at peace and am not afraid because by knowing how I study and being able to do so, I don’t care about what grade I get.

I just know that I can commit myself to something and do my best and be proud of it.

I just know I can do it. Whatever that it will be.

So instead of being afraid of my reality not matching my expectations, I am excited about what comes next because I know I can do it.

 

 

DIY Japanese Sukiyaki Hot Pot (nabe)

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Not a flattering picture, I know.

Serves 4-5

Ingredients:

4:1 cups   Water to Sukiyaki ratio

5 stalks of Green onions

2 inch piece of ginger (sliced)

 1.5 cups of Dried Shiitake
(In my opinion, this is essential, it covers the sweetness of the sauce and helps the soup taste more brothy)

1 bunch of Enoki mushrooms

1 whole Lettuce (traditionally Napa Cabbage)
(Any kind of  green is good, preferably a crunchy one)

400 grams of Pork
(Normally beef is used, but I prefer pork because it tastes lighter)

1 whole broccoli Broccoli
(unconventional, I just like broccoli)

3 teaspoons of Brown Sugar

Note: You can add other veggies too!
If you are adding onion, caramelize it first.
If you are adding spinach, add it last so it does not turn to mush.

 

Sukiyaki Sauce:
(I used a pre-made so I have yet to test this recipe, but it’s Bobby Flay so I will trust him)

1/2 soy sauce

1 cup soup stock (Dashi or just water)

1/4 cup mirin

Note: Add sesame oil for the fragrant smell

Instructions:

Add a bit of oil in the ceramic pot.
Cook the meat and add the brown sugar.

** If you want to impress your friends, don’t dump the vegetables in.
Arrange it nicely and add the water slowly.
When the soup comes to a boil, it will be beautiful!

Then add the vegetables

add the water and sauce

Put the lid on. Let it cook for around 10 minutes.
Taste and adjust flavour accordingly.

Things to know:

1. Rice choice is very important.
I prefer brown rice because it has a dry and rough texture.
Whit rice is a little soggy and tends to get mushy with the hot pot soup.

2.  Taste test as you go, especially if you are planning to mix your own sukiyaki sauce.

Only you know what’s delicious to you and your friends.
A common error with sukiyaki is that it’s too sweet.
I use dried shiitake mushrooms to balance out the sweetness.

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I used a pre-made sukiyaki sauce. Generally, it’s just a combination of mirin, soy sauce, stock (if you are fancy), and sugar.

3. In Japan, after you finish most of the hot pot, we add rice into the soup and mix it with eggs.
Then we eat it with pickled vegetables or seaweed.

Kenny’s Cooking Adventures

We eat a lot. It’s better to choose good ingredients, cook good food, and eat fresh.
I will be talking about the recipes and ingredients I experiment with.
As of now this is a sneak peek of things I will be talking about it.
I want to make sure that each ingredient or recipe gets the attention it deserves so I don’t want to just rush through it.
Unfortunately taste is a hard thing to convey through writing, but I will try my best.
Hope you enjoy reading as much as I will be enjoying experimenting with our local food!

Recently I have noticed that A LOT of Japanese cooking involves 4 liquids: Soy sauce, Mirin, Sake, and Dashi.
This realization was kind of funny because every single day I would ask my coworker the same question: how was this ____ made?
And their list of ingredients ALWAYS included at least 3 of the 4 liquids. What interested me the most was that NONE of these dishes tasted the same.
This made me realize that the very ratio of these sauces completely changes the flavour of the dish.
Since I always cook from scratch and never measure, I will try to post the ratio of liquids.

My apologies for the poor quality, these pictures were taken with my cellphone camera.

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 Kennyakodon (My variation of <meat>don)
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Buri Daikon (Yellow-tail and Radish)
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Steak Lettuce WrapIMAG0605
Rice Cooker Dark Chocolate Flake Cake

INGREDIENTS

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Sukiyaki Sauce

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Japanese Pepper

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Plum Salt, Orange Salt, Perilla (a kind of mint) Salt

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Hand-made Wakayama Sea Salt

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Rice Vinegar

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Dried Hot Pepper

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Italian Balsamic Vinegar

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Wasabi Rice Seasoning

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This isn’t an ingredient, but it deserves some attention. BEST PUDDING EVER. Local farmers’ market product!

Success

I know that a lot of people have varying definitions of success.

To me, being successful is being able to overcome your own weaknesses.
I feel like you can only live your life the way you want to when you begin to address those weaknesses.

My problem is patience. It is easy to just “know” the problem and solution, but applying it is completely different.
What’s even worse is THINKING that you know the problems and solutions completely.

It only occurred to me recently that my lack of patience makes me think of more “efficient” ways to tackle things.
For the longest time I thought I was just being smart with time, but actually it’s just my impatience in disguise.
What I am actually doing is trying to find a short-cut to doing something that can only be accomplished with time and hard work.

Just like any individual who is good at their craft, they put in time and hard work and probably did not get that level of recognition until later.

What we should measure is actually the progress we make in comparison to  yesterday and not the end goal. That means that the progress you make will be heavily dependent on the time you had put in, not an unrealistic goal.

The most satisfying rewards are always the ones you work hard for. So don’t expect your 2-week results to be close to that of someone who put in 10 years more work than you. It’s an unrealistic comparison and I feel is what makes impatient people like me  give up.

I just wanted to make one thing, evaluate it, and if its good I would keep going. If not, I would give up.

What I should be doing is make one thing, then make another, then another, and another until MAYBE one day it gets good enough for others to appreciate.

I know it will be a long battle, but at least this time my head’s much more clear.

Kenny’s Oyakodon Recipe

This post is mainly for Les Peteurs because I have been neglecting this blog for too long because of my busy schedule.

My apologies because I always cook from scratch and never measure anything but I will do my best.

I took a recipe from the internet then modified it

    • 2 chicken thighs
    • 3 Tbsp. mirin
    • 1 Tbsp. sake
    • 1 cup dashi
    • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
    • 1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
    • 2 large eggs, gently beaten
    • 3 cups cooked rice
    • green onions

 

Instructions:

    1. Slice the chicken diagonally and cut into 1″  pieces
    1. In a large frying pan, add water (about a cup or enough on the frying pan to have a bit of height), mirin and sake and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
    1. Add dashi, soy sauce and sugar(if you want), and bring to a boil again.
    1. Add the onion and place the chicken on top. Cover and bring to a boil.
    1. Slowly and evenly drizzle the beaten egg over the chicken and onion. Cook covered until the egg is done. Shake the pan occasionally so the egg and chicken don’t stick to the pan.

      Basically the water will boil with all the soupy goodness seeping into the meet and onions until most of the water boils away. As you add eggs it makes the liquid more pasty, then you just put it on rice. Put a lot of chopped green onions for garnish.