Restricted cooking. Boy, don't we all hate it?
In a perfect world, there will be no restriction. But my world is a gigabazillion (ref: no such word) miles away from perfect. Out of the 1000000001 variations of different restrictions (or lame excuses), the typical restrictions can be summarized into the following categories:
Especially those which are rarely used, thus, rarely available in Hong Kong. I could probably only get them in luxury supermarkets nowhere near me (a bus, a train, and a boat ride away to get a piece of fresh duck meat???!!! No way, Jose!).
Sometimes I select recipes to try based on...whether or not I have the appliances/gadgets required. I normally select recipes measured in cups, rather than grams, cos I don't have no kitchen scale, my friend! (Thank God for online converters ^_^). Sometimes it is fun trying to figure out a creative way to get away with not using the required gadget...like using normal bowls instead of muffin tray...but it is NO FUN chopping my arms off before (just like before I had my food processor) or whisking the bejezuz outta me (just like before I tried a hand mixer).
Some ingredients/tools/gadgets are so freakin' expensive, I might have to sell my soul to buy them (oh well, so I exaggerated it a little, sue me!). Ehm, maybe they are not really THAT expensive...but it is just my Chinese-Javanese super stingy nature. It's in my blood! I can't help it!
Namely culinary skills or lack thereof. My biggest problem is...my inability to follow recipes. No, I am not an arrogant little bitch who only trust my own recipes. I just have a problem with following recipes. I guess this is just a nicer way to say that I am normally too lazy/impatient and always try to find shortcuts and skip some parts of the recipe (e.g. Oh, Come on!...do I really need to let the cookie dough chill for 1 hour? I think I can get away with cutting them NOW. Oppps, no, wait. It looks like I can't).
I never had to cook with dietary restrictions. This low iodine diet is something new to me. It is really challenging as well as interesting. If I had to name one ingredient that I miss the most...it has to be soy sauce. It's like breaking up with someone you still like. You've taken the person for granted, and you don't miss him/her until he/she is gone. Thennnn...you realized you can't live without this person and uh-oh! It's too late! Oh yeah, Mr. Soy Sauce. I miss you so so so much! I can't wait for us to get back together again in three weeks (I am counting the days).
Meanwhile, I will try the best I can to produce better-than-just-edible-despite-the-restrictions treats for sous chef, to facilitate his speedy recovery. This time, I am doing an adaptation of Jamie Oliver's Butternut Squash Muffins recipe...I call it an "adaptation" simply because...surprise, surprise! I can't follow the recipe exactly, as always.
Yolkless Milkless Butternut Squash, Peanut Butter and Raisin Muffins
I removed the egg-yolks from the recipe (low iodine diet), reduced the recipe to half (some of my regular guinea pigs are on business trip), added nutmeg (because I love nutmeg & cinnamon combo), added my home made peanut butter and raisins instead of walnuts (walnuts are expensive hehe), and removed the whole frosting part (no dairy products allowed - low iodine diet). Is there anyyyy part of the recipe that I still follow???
- 1 cup of butternut squash, leave skin on, remove seed, chop into chunks
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 2 egg whites (you can include the yolk)
- non iodized salt (you can use normal salt)
- 1 & 1/4 cup plain flour
- 1 heaping tsp of baking powder
- 3 tbsp home made peanut butter (you can use normal peanut butter or a handful of peanuts)
- lots of cinnamon, and a couple sprinkles of nutmeg
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- a couple handful of raisins
Preheat oven to 180C. I threw all ingredients into my food processor (I didn't even bother with the sequence, apparently, I blame it on my lack of attention to detail) and blend until everything's mixed. Pour batter into muffin tray lined with paper cups, bake for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
I was wondering what do egg yolks do for this recipe if I could just take them out and they still taste fan-bloody-tastic? Hmmm....interesssting. The skippy jar is just to show that I made these babies with peanut butter. I actually used my home made peanut butter....whose jar isn't as photogenic as skippy. My bad, it is probably now suffering from low self esteem. I am gonna submit this to Nick's Peanut Butter Lover’s Month
...and....let me just shut up and wish you all a...