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I might as well fess up.   I have a new project.   Its basically:  Learn to Cook Better.

Or, maybe another way of putting it is:  How hard would it be for me to cook dinner almost every day of the week? 
We started off by listing the foods we like to eat.. (all various forms of entre's at restaurants) .. and I'm making it my mission to get better at cooking some or all of them.
The idea is that by me cooking more at home, maybe we can save some cash, and then we can start fixing this house up more. Got a big list.

Tonight's adventure was burgers.   I have not been a good burger cook.  Mostly, looking back, i've learned about what happens when a) I use too meat that is too lean (= dry cardboard burger that doesn't stay together), and b) .. i don't remember (b).   

So my experiment tonight - having failed at the grill, so far - I tried a griddle.  And I learned a lot:
  • I have to start my burger patties out at about 1/2" or so, not the 1" monsters that i purchased at the Kroger.
  • If i'm going to do the low-griddle-heat method, i need a better lid cover to cover the burger so it doesn't get squished. Low heat method: around 300 degrees, 5-8 minutes per side.
  • I really should go with 85% instead of 80%. 80% was just too runny.
  • High heat method: 1 minute per side to start, then 4-5 minutes per side to finish. (400 degrees)
  • I've learned how much is too little salt, and how much is too much.
  • My wife cannot stand ANY pink. She gagged attempting to eat it, brave girl.

Problem is, my family is not as resilient as me - if I were to focus in on a recipe, i'd make the same thing over and over for a week, looking for the right combination. I don't think I could feed my family burgers for a week. So, next week sometime, i'll move on to the hand-made-right-thickness-right-meaxture-on-the-grill-1-1-4-4 experiment.

There are several other things I want to learn how to make:

a) Breaded things. Like breaded pickles, chicken strips.. Breading has been a mystery to me (till now)
b) Stir-Fry things. Need a wokky wok. Want to make Singapore Street Noodles and Brocolli with Garlic Sauce.
c) Deep-fry things. Like French Fries. Not twinkies.
d) Steak. Well done. Not like cardboard.
e) Pizza. With Pizza Dough made from scratch.
f) Chili Colorado Beef
g) Bul Go Gi (Marinated Korean Beef dish)
h) Salmon (and other friendly fish) - for my luvvin'

Timing is still hard to figure out. For example, tomorrow, i'm picking up Q from soccer practise at about 8pm. I could go home, make dinner, then go out to get him, but I ALSO want to do some running around the soccer practise fields. I can't do both well - i have to skimp on one or the other. So.. probably will just have to make Chicken Cordon Bleus or some such frozen food.

Oh, and in other news - i'm NOT going to run the 5k this weekend. I don't want to go do it alone, and my wife can't go. I'll have to save up the 5k goodness for some other race. Wife is going to check in with some friends of hers who do them all the time.. we'll go with another group of people who have done it before.

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I like to oven roast (sorta) salmon. YUM! I have a list of foods I wanna learn how to make, too :)

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