Ball Dont Lie Food Don't Lie

Year to Date iPhone Chronicles

Because long-form posts are hard.

Year to Date iPhone Chronicles

The lack of updates to this blog isn’t because I haven’t been cooking; quite the opposite, actually. It’s more because I haven’t been documenting. Or, rather, documenting in the manner in which I expected, with the nicer camera and a timeline of photos.

Years ago I decided to forego purchasing a dSLR because I knew I was too lazy to carry around a backpack of lenses/battery packs in order to take photos. Consequently I purchased something lighter and more portable that was “good enough” and time has shown that it was overwhelmingly the right move. I love that freaking camera, it takes incredible photos, and I can wear it around all day without it being a burden. And it’s taught me the significance of a mantra that I apply to more than photography: the most important camera to have is the one in your hand.

Turns out I always have an iPhone in my hand, I don’t care about using it with dirty hands, and it takes pretty good photos very quickly. Perhaps there’s a larger commentary here about where technology is going but whatever, this isn’t the time or place for that.

The tl;dr is that I took a bunch of photos on my iPhone over the last ~5 months of stuff I’ve cooked and those photos are dumped in this post.

New Years: Korean Rice Cakes Soup, Dumplings, Spicy Rice Cakes

In Korean culture New Years is full of traditions around eating, family and games, and as a newlywed couple away from our families for the first time we wanted to try our hand at keeping at least some things consistent.

The quintessential New Years food is rice cake and dumpling soup, aka ddukguk. For as long as either of us can remember we’ve eaten this on New Years and E, armed with a recipe from her mom, gave it a go from scratch.

Beef, pork, kimchi, onions, scallions, ramen noodles, tofu, and egg filling

Handmade dumplings like a boss

Ddukboki. Spicy rice cakes with hot dogs, green onions and sesame seeds. Korean comfort food.

Ddukguk. Beef/broth, eggs, seaweed, rice cakes.

The spread for friends, including banchan (Korean side dishes). Singapore noodles from Chinatown.

Pork Belly

I don’t remember why I made this, but it’s a lot cleaner to make it in the oven than on the stove top.

A grill helps even cooking and grease management.

No-Knead Bread

Made using Leahy’s famous no-knead recipe.

This is the first loaf of bread I’ve ever made. Making bread is straight magic.

Pre-rise and unbelievably sticky to work with

Post-12 hour rise

Bread making is not for trypophobics

I made this on Valentines Day. Full disclosure: the heart shape was a massive coincidence.

Crumb seemed legit. Tasted legit. Bread! Magic!


Turns out scallops are stupid easy to make. Sear them for a couple minutes. Plate.

A random Saturday brunch

Spatchcocked Roast Chicken

Roast chicken is probably my single favorite dinner to make because it’s unbelievably delicious and nearly foolproof. Spatchcocking the bird (cutting out its backbone to lay it flat) is key, as it allows for better heat distribution than trussing it. You can do the same with turkeys.

I make a compound butter with rosemary/thyme and rub it under/on the skin before it goes in the oven. Salt the skin liberally with kosher salt to make it crispy.

A $10 meat thermometer is the best way to make sure you’re not giving your loved ones salmonella. You can do the whole “juices run clear” thing without any level of certainty or you can spend $10/20 seconds and erase all doubt.

Cook it on a bed of roughly chopped root vegetables. Or, if you’re me and only have an onion, a single onion. Then eat the vegetables with the chicken.

The smell from this thing is fantastic.


I had this random illusion of grandeur of making sushi at home. I wanted to make my learnings into a longer-form post (and maybe I will, one day) but the tl;dr here is that making sushi is hard for a variety of reasons. It’s easy to make mediocre sushi rice and damn near impossible to make sushi rice that even remotely resembles the real thing.

Also, it’s hard to have confidence in the safety of the raw fish you’re buying. Sushi fish is kept frozen at very low temperatures (lower than your freezer can get to) in order to kill parasites, and I did the best I could by buying from Japanese grocery stores in Manhattan and hoping for the best. It was fine, and everyone who ate it was fine, but still: raw fish caveat emptor.

Moving forward I think it’s more worthwhile to stick to chirashi – sushi rice bowls – than nigiri or rolls. Less legwork for generally the same result.

Sushi making party. Tuna, salmon, avocado, scallions, imitation crab, cucumber, green and orange tobiko.

Rolling with a bamboo roller, plastic wrap, and mediocrely vinegared/poorly tempered rice.

Tasted like the real thing but a lot of effort


I make a lot of fritattas. Frittatas are big omelettes that you cook in the oven.

It’s my “I have a lot of crap in the fridge that might go bad soon, what do I do with it?” meal.

Saute a bunch of stuff in a cast iron pan. Crack 3 eggs, mix, pour. Let the fritatta set, top with avocado, and cook in the oven.

Skirt Steak

I freaking love skirt steak. It’s not expensive and it has a nice substantial chew to it.

Salt/pepper it and cook it on high in a cast iron pan. Flip it a lot.

The best salad is medium rare steak salad. Green onions are an underrated salad addition.


Semi-instant ramen, like an adult. Poorly soft-boiled egg that became runny egg yolks.

Peeling soft boiled eggs are my Everest.

I have plans to revisit “instant” ramen in its own post soon.

Mushroom Risotto

Generally the same recipe as the last post. A ton of mushrooms, some shallot, dry white wine, chicken broth, arborio rice and a lot of simmer time.

This consistency was a big improvement. E says this is one of the best things I make, and I agree.

Creamier, in a porridge-y way.

Cake in a Cup

This blew our minds. The problem with wanting a dessert (say, cookies or cupcakes) is that you can’t really make a single serving. You follow the directions on a package of funfetti and end up with 20 cupcakes.

Because I’m me this means that E eats 2 cupcakes over the course of a few days and I eat 18. I’m like a goat. I’ll chew on a can if you put it in front of me.

Enter cake in a cup. Throw a bunch of stuff in a mug. Microwave it. Eat it.

It’s real. I’d like to invest.

A Properly Dressed Salad

This photo is pretty unremarkable, but I dressed the hell out of this salad. There’s more technique to a well-dressed salad than you’d think.

I did it with a proper emulsified vinagrette composed of shallots, mustard, honey, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. It’s kind of freeing to know that I’ll never need to buy another bottle of salad dressing again.

Like almost literally everything else I’ve done, it’s from the brains of Kenji.

Thai Coconut Chicken

E made this and I have no idea where she got the recipe or what was in it other than chicken thighs in some mixture of coconut milk, ginger, onion, cilantro and other things.

Cooking rice in coconut milk is fantastic. Mixing it with cilantro afterwards is even better.

One of the better meals to come out of our kitchen.

Crispy Salmon with Potatoes

Gordon Ramsay is kind of an ass, but his cooking videos on YouTube are on point. This was an adaptation of Ramsay’s recipe for Crispy Salmon, except I changed some of the finer details for convenience.

Personally I find this to be a far superior way to prepare salmon than baking it. The crispy skin is a gamechanger. An obvious downside is (1) the smell and (2) this is harder to do in bulk, but for smaller portions the pan fry is just as fast.

If you try to flip the salmon and it’s sticking that means you haven’t cooked it hot/long enough. A well crisped skin pulls cleanly from a pan even if the pan isn’t non-stick (and this is true for cooking meats in general).

Crab meat in the potatoes was foregone for lemon zest/juice, olive oil, minced garlic and salt/pepper.