To be accurate, it was solved ages ago, I just got off my duff and found the recipes I needed online. Hooray for the internet.
One of my bigger weaknesses is Chinese food, as the four people who read this blog know. My go-to dish at our local place is mapo tofu and egg drop soup. Mapo tofu is tofu with ground pork with a chile sauce--it's delicious. And egg drop soup is one of those things that I can eat over and over again. But it's not like I can go out and get that all the time these days--it's costing me a pretty penny just to get to work (and yes, I could look for a job closer to home, but my employment situation over the past four years has been a little rocky thanks to the economy. Right now I plan to stay right where I am). I'm not in financial danger or anything like that, I'm just in need of serious belt tightening, and eating out is one of the first things to go in those cases.
And I'm not saying that like it's a big revelation to me. Four years ago, when I had a job that paid a lot more, I ate out a lot more. I did not spend up to what I earned--I was able to sock a lot of it away. But I did make enough that I could--and did--eat out at lunch or dinner. And I was working and on the road enough where that was actually necessary a lot of the time.
I found a recipe for mapo tofu and got the black bean paste necessary to make it. I'll be trying my hand at that. I already tried my hand at the egg drop soup--it wasn't bad, though I think I needed to do a better job with the cornstarch. I'll try my hand at making the mapo tofu--both without the pork and with it--and maybe when I have friends over the first couple of weekends in July, I'll make that.
That's the great thing about cooking--you can try your hand at new things and share them with your friends. It's a bummer that there are dirty dishes to be washed afterwards, I'll grant you. I really could use a robot cleaner.