A Lost Comfort

Page 1

A Lost Comfort a thesis on comfort food

Uncovering A Lost Comfort In Food A Thesis by Peter Nguyen



Contents 1.



Anatomy of This Book


My Recipes:


Top Comfort: Main Dish

My Recipes:

My Recipes: ◊ Crispy Salmon & Lemon Sauce ◊ Roasted Potatoes ◊ Snicker Doodles Cookie ◊ Red Velvet Sandwich Cookie

Top Comfort: Dessert


Top Comfort: Main Dish ◊ Fried Chicken ◊ Chicken & Waffle

◊ Focaccia ◊ Pasta Al Limone ◊ Eggs Benedict 24.



◊ Strawberry Shortcake ◊ Cinnamon Rolls 18.

Food & Bonds A Story

◊ Grilled Cheese Sandwich

◊ Belgian Liege Waffle ◊ Buttermilk Pancake 12.



Food & Bonds A Story


My Recipes:

Food & Bonds A Story My Recipes: ◊ Char Siu Bao (instant pot) ◊ Berries & Cream ◊ German Pancake ◊ Candied Peanuts

◊ Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookie ◊ Peanut Butter Cookie

a collection of comforts



intro Hey, there A little bit about me and my journey with

opening experience. Cooking for me has

cooking and why I made this thesis booklet.

always been something I’ve enjoy, especially

My family migrated to the United States, and

the process of learning, how to learn. The more

shortly after, I was born in Hastings, Nebraska.

techniques I knew, it was reflective in my food

I come from a single-parent household with

and it made it that much better; it was also

three older siblings. Theres a rather large age

sign of my independence.

gap between my siblings and I around ten to

One thing I’ve always struggled with food

fifteen years. Growing up, I was alone a lot

is when asked about my favorite/ comfort

at home. My mom is a chef at a restaurant,

food. I simply had none. It was then I realized

and she worked long 13 hour days while my

that my initial reason for cooking was out of

siblings were in high school.

survival and self-reliance, and in that process,

I realized I had no one to rely on for food

I had lost/ missed out on something. So I

at an early age and that I had to learn to cook.

set out on my thesis to uncover my comfort

I’ve been cooking ever since I was around the

food? And can one create comfort food for

age of four; I wasn’t making any five-course


meals yet, just simple rice and eggs. I first started by observing my mom cook

Through my research process I found that most comfort food bonds are formed

whenever she was at home. Her meals were

early on or through bonding with loved ones.

a little too complex for my age at the time.

So what is my comfort food? I still don’t have

So then I started watching cooking shows

the answer to that. I know one thing for

on tv, youtube, just any video where I can

sure is that I find myself cooking in times of

find someone cooking. It started with simple

situations of intense stress, anxiety, and shit

recipes I could easily make, and from there I

out of my control. Cooking grounds me in

started building my skills and knowledge on

the present, and that I can’t worry about the

cooking, growing in skill over the years. Ten

future or past, or something will burn now. In

years later, I cooked my first full Thanksgiving

a way I can say I found my comfort, and that

meal for my family all by myself, a milestone

comfort is cooking, especially for others.

for sure but not the last. I attended my first high school summer

I made this collection of comfort recipes to share my experience and journey of

cooking program. During my time in the

“uncovering a lost comfort in food” through

program, I was classically trained in the

a mixture of recipes most of my own. In hope

French techniques. Which was such an eye

that it inspires someone to rediscover their lost comfort foods and share good food. 1

Anatomy of This Book

Equipment General pieces of equipment needed for each recipe will be found here. The more specialized equipment or equipment essential to the process outside of a cutting board and knife need will be here.

Ingredient I provide the standard freedom units for all the recipes. I provide both measurements for recipes that require more exact measurements like baking.

Process Outside of gathering all the ingredients, you will need first so that you’re not scrambling around the kitchen and trying to find the missing ingredients. The step-by-step process instructions are here.

Side notes Outside of gathering all the ingredients, you will need first so that you’re not scrambling around the kitchen and trying to find the missing ingredients. The step-by-step process instructions are here.




Stand Mixer


Combine lukewarm milk, water, yeast, eggs,

Measurement Tools

honey, vanilla extract, brown sugar, and

Large Bowl

salt in a bowl, and slightly mix.

Waffle Iron


Pour wet ingredients from earlier into a stand mixer. Mix at low speed.

Ingredient 1/2 cup - Whole milk (luke warm ~ 100°F) 1/3 cup - Water (luke warm ~ 100°F) 3 teaspoon - Instant Yeast 2 - Eggs (room temperature)


Save 1 cup of flour and put it on the side.


Pour the rest of the flour into the stand mixer. (turn off stand mixer before adding flour, unless you want a flour mess)


starts cutting the butter into fifths. 1.

3 tablespoon - Brown Sugar 3/4 teaspoon - salt 2 sticks unsalted butter - (room temperature) 1 cup - Pearl Sugar 3 2/3 cup - All purpose flour

Add one slice of butter at a time, waiting until each butter gets incorporated into the

1 tablespoon - Vanilla extract 2 tablespoon - Honey

Low speed on stand mixer, while its mixing

batter. Continue until all butter is added. 1.

Now add the remaining cup of flour that you set aside earlier.


Continue mixing at low speed until smooth and elastic for about five minutes.


Place dough in a lightly greased bowl covered with plastic wrap.


Let it rise for 2 hours at room temperature, then lightly punch the dough, cover again.


Place in the fridge overnight or up to twenty four hours.


Remove the dough from the bowl and knead in pearl sugar amount as desired.


Divide the dough and roll into balls.


Place each dough ball in the center of the waffle iron and cook for ~5 minute each or until golden brown.


As you are cooking you can place the waffles into a 150°-200° oven to keep warm.


Along side the waffles I like to serve some fresh whipped cream, berries and top it off with some candied peanuts. For a more savory option I like to do some country style bacon which is just bacon lightly coated in flour and fried.


Belgian Liege Waffle serving 24 medium waffles

one of my favorites recipe




Stand Mixer


Combine lukewarm milk, water, yeast, eggs,

Measurement Tools

honey, vanilla extract, brown sugar, and

Large Bowl

salt in a bowl, and slightly mix.

Waffle Iron


Pour wet ingredients from earlier into a stand mixer. Mix at low speed.

Ingredient 1/2 cup - Whole milk (luke warm ~ 100°F) 1/3 cup - Water (luke warm ~ 100°F) 3 teaspoon - Instant Yeast 2 - Eggs (room temperature)


Save 1 cup of flour and put it on the side.


Pour the rest of the flour into the stand mixer. (turn off stand mixer before adding flour, unless you want a flour mess)


starts cutting the butter into fifths. 6.

3 tablespoon - Brown Sugar 3/4 teaspoon - salt 2 sticks unsalted butter - (room temperature) 1 cup - Pearl Sugar 3 2/3 cup - All purpose flour

Add one slice of butter at a time, waiting until each butter gets incorporated into the

1 tablespoon - Vanilla extract 2 tablespoon - Honey

Low speed on stand mixer, while its mixing

batter. Continue until all butter is added. 7.

Now add the remaining cup of flour that you set aside earlier.


Continue mixing at low speed until smooth and elastic for about five minutes.


Place dough in a lightly greased bowl covered with plastic wrap.

10. Let it rise for 2 hours at room temperature, then lightly punch the dough, cover again. 11.

Place in the fridge overnight or up to twenty four hours.

12. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead in pearl sugar amount as desired. 13. Divide the dough and roll into balls. 14. Place each dough ball in the center of the waffle iron and cook for ~5 minute each or until golden brown. 15. As you are cooking you can place the waffles into a 150°-200° oven to keep warm. 1.

Along side the waffles I like to serve some fresh whipped cream, berries and top it off with some candied peanuts. For a more savory option I like to do some country style bacon which is just bacon lightly coated in flour and fried. comfort in cooking


Buttermilk Pancakes serving 10-15 pancakes

one of my favorites recipe




Equipment needs:


Add the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder,

Large bowl

and baking soda and whisk to combine

Measurement tools

in a large bowl.

Rubber Spatula


Separate egg whites and yolk



Add the buttermilk, melted butter, and egg yolks in a medium bowl or liquid

Ingredient 2 ½ cup - All-purpose flour 3 tbsp - Sugar

measuring cup and mix to combine. 4.

a rubber spatula until just combined. 5.

1 teaspoon - Baking soda 2 ½ cup Buttermilk 1 stick unsalted butter - melted butter 2 Eggs

Add the egg whites and fold until just combined. Be sure not to overmix. Some

2 teaspoon - salt 1 teaspoon - Baking powder

Add dry ingredients and gently fold with

lumps are okay. 6.

Let the batter rest for 10 minutes at room temperature.


Add butter to a nonstick pan and heat over medium-low heat.


Once the butter has melted and is bubbling, reduce the heat to mediumlow and add ⅓ cup of batter to the pan.


Cook for 2-3 minutes until bubbles appear on the surface. *(If adding any toppings like chocolate chips or blueberries, sprinkle over the pancake.)*

10. Flip the pancake over and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until golden brown. Repeat with the remaining batter.

if you don’t have buttermilk add one lemon or tbsp of vinegar to milk and let it sit for ten minutes.

comfort in cooking


top comfort dessert in the U.S.

y r r e b w a Str Shortcake serving 6

how popular? Based on searched volumes from google,

California, Arizona, Illinois, Virginia, Ohio, New

determined which comfort foods were being

York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts,

searched for the most in every state and which

Maryland, New Jersey, New Hampshire,

foods the state popularities to determine

Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, West

nationwide favorites in 2020. And Strawberry

Virginia and New Mexico.

shortcake is a clear cut winner across 19 states;


Equipment Stand Mixer

Process 1.

Preheat the 400° Line a rimmed baking sheet with

Measurement Tools

parchment paper. Whisk 2 cups of flour, 1½ tsp.

Large Bowl

baking powder, ¼ tsp. baking soda, 4 tsp. sugar, and

Rimmed baking sheet

1½ tsp. salt in a large bowl to combine.Finely grate zest of about half of 1 lemon right into the bowl (save lemon for later).



dry ingredients until coated. Work butter into dry ingredients by pinching until there are lots of flat

2 cups - all-purpose flour 1½ teaspoon - baking powder ¼ teaspoon - baking soda

shards and pea-sized bits remaining. 3.

dry ingredients. Mix dough in circle motions until

1½ teaspoon - kosher salt, plus more

large, shaggy clumps form. Knead twice until most

½ cup - (1 stick) cold unsalted butter

flour has been incorporated into the dough. Transfer

1 cup - sour cream, divided

to a lightly floured surface. Pat to a 1”-thick square (be

2 cups - heavy cream, divided 1 teaspoon - vanilla extract

Combine ¾ cup sour cream and ⅓ cup heavy cream in a medium bowl. Create a well in the center of the

½ cup plus 1 teaspoon - sugar, divided

1½ Ib - strawberries

Cut 1 stick cold butter into ½” pieces and toss with

about 6x6”). 4.

Cut dough into 4 equal squares, then stack them all on top of each other, Press down on the stack with

1 lemon

your hands, flattening dough back to a square. Pat to a 7 x 5” rectangle about 1” thick. Cut the rectangle in 6 squares. Transfer squares to the prepared baking sheet. Freeze for 10 minutes. Bake shortcakes until golden brown all over, 20–25 minutes. 5.

While the shortcakes bake. Trim and discard stems of strawberries. Cut strawberries into quarters. Transfer to a medium bowl. Squeeze remaining lemon into the bowl with strawberries. Add 3 Tbsp. sugar and toss to combine. Let sit at room temperature and let it macerate.


Pour remaining heavy cream into a chilled bowl. Add 1 tsp. vanilla, 3 Tbsp. sugar, and a pinch of salt. Use an electric mixer and beat starting at low speed, until cream begins to thicken. You’re looking for floppy, soft peaks. Whisk in remaining ¼ cup sour cream until just incorporated.


Let shortcakes cool for at least 15 minutes. Split shortcakes in half by hand. Place bottom halves in serving bowls. Add whipped cream, then strawberries and drizzle any syrupy juices left in the bowl over. Close with top halves of shortcake.

popular comforts


top comfort dessert in the U.S.

n o m a n n i C Rolls serving 12 rolls

how popular? Based on searched volumes from google,

strawberry shortcake is cinnamon rolls with five

determined which comfort foods were being

states consisting of Kansas, Montana, Colorado,

searched for the most in every state and which

Missouri, and Nebraska

foods the state popularities to determine nationwide favorites in 2020. Following


Equipment Stand Mixer,

Process 1.

Measurement tools Baking dish

For the Cinnamon Sugar mix cinnamon and the two sugars in a bowl then set aside.


Large bowls

For the Rolls: In the bowl of your stand mixer add the flour, salt, spices, and sugars and yeast then whisk together to combine and set aside.


sour cream. Microwave until warm to the touch and


stir until butter is melted. Dump dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes,

For the Dough

transfer to a large oiled bowl. Cover and allow to rise

3 ½, 420g - cups all-purpose flour ¼, 50g - cup granulated sugar ¼, 50g - cup light brown sugar

in a warm place. 4.

temperature butter over the surface leaving less than

2 1/4 - teaspoon instant yeast (1 package) 1 pinch - nutmeg optional

an inch at one of the narrow sides. 5.

a spiral starting from the opposite ends of the

1/2 cup, 120mL - milk

unbuttered strip. Cut the dough into even pieces

1 tablespoon, 15ml - vanilla extract 6 tbsp, 85g - unsalted butter

about an inch and a half long. 6.

tbsp granulated sugar

final rise. Make the glaze while the rolls are rising or during the bake. 7.

getting a bit too brown at the 20 minute mark then

1 tablespoon - cinnamon

cover loosely with foil and continue to bake. 8.

and beat until smooth. You can also make this VERY

2 tablespoon, 28g - butter room temp

easily in a small food processor if you have one. Once

1 tablespoon, 15ml - vanilla extract

smooth add the powdered sugar and beat once more

1 pinch - salt 2 cups - powdered sugar 200g 1 tablespoon - milk plus (more if needed for consistency)

For the Glaze place the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, salt, lemon juice and a tablespoon of milk in a bowl

4 oz, 114g - cream cheese room temp

1 teaspoon - lemon juice 5mL

Heat oven to 350F and Bake for about 28-30 minutes or until lightly browned on top. If your rolls are

2 tablespoon - light brown sugar

For the Glaze

Place the rolls cut side up in a baking dish and allow to rest in a warm place for about 40 minutes for a

For the Filling 4 tablespoon, 57g - butter room temp,

Sprinkle generously with the cinnamon sugar then roll the side of the dough across from the to create

1 egg large, room temp

1/2 cup,120g - sour cream

On a well-floured surface roll the dough out to a rectangle 1/4 an inch thick. Spread the room

1 teaspoon - salt 1 tsp - cinnamon

In a separate bowl add the milk, butter, vanilla, and

until fully incorporated. 9.

You can mix in an additional tablespoon or two of milk if you prefer a thinner frosting.

10. Drizzle about half of the glaze over the cinnamon rolls RIGHT after you pull them from the oven then add the remaining glaze once cooled or on individual pieces when serving.

popular comforts



serving 18

one of my favorites recipe




Equipment needs:


Large bowl Measurement tools

Whisk together water, yeast, and honey in a large mixing bowl.


Add flour and salt. Stir together with a spatula

Rubber Spatula

until all the flour is moistened and a very

Rimmed Baking Sheets

sticky dough forms. 3.

olive oil. Add the dough to the bowl and gently

Ingredient 2 cups (480ml) - Warm water (110°F - 120°F,)

turn it a couple of times to coat in oil. 4.

5 cups (600g) - All purpose flour

Cover and chill for 12 to 18 hours. Or let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about

2¼ teaspoon (1 packet) - Active dry yeast 1 tablespoon - Honey

Coat another large bowl with 4 tablespoons of

2 hours. 5.

Once risen, lightly oil your hands. Tuck your fingers under the dough on one side and fold

1 tablespoon - salt

it up and over itself. Turn the bowl a quarter-

8 to 10 tbsp - extra virgin olive oil divided

turn, and repeat. Turn and fold 2 more times for a total of 4 folds. 6.

Brush a rimmed baking sheet with a couples splashes of olive oil. Gently stretch the dough to the edges of the pans by tucking your fingers under the dough and gently lifting and pulling it.


Let the dough rise again until puffed and bubbly, 1 to 2 hours, stretching the dough every 30 minutes until it fills the pan.)


Preheat the oven to 450°F


Drizzle the risen focaccia with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Gently spread the oil to coat the top of the dough. Press your fingertips into the dough, creating dimples all over. Sprinkle with salt and herbs, if desired.

10. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the top and sides are golden brown. Cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes, then carefully transfer the loaf to a wire rack. Serve warm or cool entirely on the rack. Toast leftovers before serving again.

I like to add peeled garlic cloves and rosemary eaves about halfway into the bake. You can also eat it with some slices of prosciutto like a sandwich.

comfort in cooking


Pasta Al Limone serving 4

one of my favorites recipe




Equipment needs:


Two pans

Start by peeling and thinly slicing a couple large clove of garlic.



Then, roughly or finely chop some fresh parsley.



Roll 1 large lemon along a work surface before

Cutting board

cutting it in half. 4.

desired consistency. Make sure to stir after adding

Ingredient 1 - clove garlic, peeled and sliced

the pasta to ensure no sticking. 5.

the sliced garlic from earlier, the zest of 1 lemon,

2 tablespoon - olive oil

and some freshly ground black pepper. Cook for

1 - large lemon zest, separately 2 - tablespoon - freshly chopped parsley

3-5 minutes. 6.

being done and if using fresh pasta only boil for 30

shape or size) Kosher salt

Once the garlic is a light toasted, dump in the pasta (if store-bought cook 1-2 minutes shy of

Pasta (store-bought or fresh and any Ground black pepper

Add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil to a high-walled saute pan for the Al Limone sauce. In addition, add

1- large lemon

2-3 - oz Parmesan cheese, grated

Boil water in one pan and add pasta. Cook pasta to

seconds before adding). 7.

Once pasta is added, give everything a toss to fully incorporate everything.


Medium-low heat adds the juice of either ½ a lemon or the juice of 1 whole lemon, a small pour of olive oil, ¼ cup of freshly chopped parsley, and 2-3 ounces of freshly grated parmesan cheese. Stir together until combined.


After everything has been combined, add in ¼ cup of boiling pasta water and toss together. Add a splash at a time as necessary, checking to see if it’s too thick or thin. If too thick, add more pasta water. If too thin, add more cheese. Season with kosher salt.

10. Once the sauce has reached the desired consistency, serve. Garnish with extra grated Parmigiano Reggiano, chopped parsley, and grated lemon zest.

One of my favorite pasta recipes to make, its simplicity and the lemon makes it a vary refreshing and light pasta for any occasion especially for date night in the summer.

comfort in cooking


Eggs Benedict serving 6

one of my favorites recipe




Equipment needs:


Cut muffin in half and lightly brush with olive oil

2 Pots

and toast until golden brown. Cook your choice of


protein, and set it aside along with the muffins to

2 Metal or glass bowl Whisk

keep warm. 2.

Next, we will be poaching eggs, which is the most


time-consuming part. You can also prep the eggs

Large slotted spoon

a day ahead and gently warm them up again in warm water.



with water to a gentle boil. Have a small bowl half-filled with water on the side; we will put our

2 Stick - Unsalted butter

finished eggs here when done.

1 Pack - (~6) English Muffins 1 - Lemon

Poach Eggs: Bring a pot filled about halfway filled


Add a couple of splashes of vinegar to the pot, ,

White Vinegar

the vinegar won’t affect taste. (*if you don’t have

Canadian Bacon (or protein of your choice)

vinegar, you can sub with lemon juice)

Ground black pepper


Using a small bowl, crack one egg in it, using the

Kosher salt

small bowl to lower the egg into the pot. Using the

Smoked paprika

slotted spoon, gently stir the water in a circular

10 Eggs


*(might need more depending on the


It should take 3-4 minutes for an egg to get

success of poaching eggs, 4 eggs will be

poached, you can do multiple eggs simultaneously.

used for the hollandaise sauce)*

Gently remove the eggs and place into the small bowl Repeat until you this process until you have a poached egg for every muffin as desired 7.

Hollandaise Sauce: First, melt the butter and have it set aside, separate the egg yolks from 4 eggs, set the eggs inside a bowl that’s slightly larger than a pot.


Fill the pot about a third of the way with water and bring it to a gentle simmer then bring it to a low heat, While the water is simmering place the bowl with the eggs on top and stir with a whisk, slowly pour in the butter at a time while vigorously whisking, continue to whisk until all butter is incorporated and the sauce starts to thicken into a custard-like consistency.


coats the back of a spoon.

You can also add on to the eggs benedict; I prefer to have mine with sauteed spinach and

Squeeze half a lemon to taste It’s ready when it

10. Season to taste, to keep it warm for later, leave the bowl on the pot and remove from heat.

caramelized onions. 11.

Once you have finished the sauce and warmed the eggs up, it’s time to assemble. comfort in cooking


Chris’s comfort “loved the challenge of working with what you got”


Chris’s comfort food is making sandwiches,

Chris and his family grew up bottom-middle

and it started off as an activity with his older

class, so the ingredients and quality for

brother to make food and not starve. It grew

sandwich-making were constantly in flux.

into a bonding activity, often experimenting

He loved the challenge of working with

with whatever is available, seeing what is

what you got, especially with sandwiches

good or not. After many bad combos and

you could go very simple or highly complex.

failures later, a go-to sandwich that reminds

It was also a way for him to continue what

him of his brother is the poor man’s grilled

he and his brother used to do and show that

cheese. (The recipe provided on the right)

he cared for other members of his family.



food & bonds


Char Siu Bao

(instant pot) serving 15- 20

one of my favorites recipe


Equipment Equipment needs:

Process 1.

Instant Pot Measurement tools

Cleaning The Pork: Using the back of the knife under running water in the sink scrape the skin pork belly,


Pour salt all over the pork belly, rub and scrub the

Butchers twine

outside of the pork, wash the salt off, and pour white


vinegar and scrub. Rinse with cold water and let it


Ingredient 2 pounds (1000 gram) - pork belly slab skin on

drain and pat it dry with paper towels. 3.

out, wrap with butcher twine twice at one end and tie off. Repeat for the middle and other end. 4.

for ten minutes, take the pork out and place it into the

½ cup - mirin 10 - slices ginger

instant pot. 5.

sauce, sake, water, and sugar into the instant pot with

10 garlic cloves ½ cup sugar Bao bun *(can be bought in the frozen section of an Asian supermarket)

the pork 6. 7.

Once done remove the pork into a container. Using a strainer, run the liquid from the instant pot through and we will be saving the liquid. Pour the liquid


into the container with the pork. Allow the pork


to cool before placing it in the refrigerator to chill


overnight. After you’ve allowed the char siu to chill,

Kewpie pie mayo *(or a sauce of your Bull-dog Tonkatsu sauce *(or a sauce of

Cooking: Cook on high pressure for 90 minutes, with a flip halfway *(45 minutes, flip, than another 45minutes)

Salt & White Vinegar


Sauce: Chopped the leek in two inch lengths, crush garlic. Add leek, crush garlic, sliced ginger, mirin, soy

1 cup water 1 leek

Place pork in cold water until submerged in a pot, bring it to a boil, and then boil for ten minutes. After boiling

½ cup - soy sauce ½ cup sake

Prepping the pork: Roll the pork belly with skin side

remove the thin layer of fat at the top and discard. 8.

Cut the twine and slice the pork, place the pork onto a baking sheet and torch both sides. If you don’t have a

your choice)

torch, place the pork onto a pan and sear both sides. 9.

Bao prep: Slice the cabbage thinly. then slice cucumber into planks that match the length of the bao

10. Slice and discard the ends of the scallion, cut the scallion into third, cut thinly lengthwise into thin

The best part of this recipe is you don’t have to eat

strips. Have the mayo and tonkatsu sauce ready (or a

the char siu with bao buns. You can use the char siu for ramen toppings simply sear it or in a char siu don (rice bowl), sear the char siu and, using the leftover liquid from cooking the pork earlier, pour a tablespoon or so on to the rice. If you set aside some of the liquid from the pork earlier,

sauce of your choice). 11.

Seared the pork. Warm up the bao with a wet towel covering it, in the microwave for 45 seconds.

12. Assembling: add the sauce first then to the bao then add the cabbage, scallion, cucumber and seared pork.

you just have to add 8 minute boiled eggs to get Ajitama (seasoned egg) to be enjoyed with either ramen or rice bowl. comfort in cooking


Berries & Cream serving 20

one of my favorites recipe




Equipment needs:


Fresh whipped cream: Pour the cold heavy

Large bowl

cream, vanilla extract and sift the powdered

Stand mixer

sugar to prevent clumps.



Start at low speed and gradually work to a


medium-high speed. Mix until stiff peaks start

Measurement tool

to form, keeping an eye on the mixer is key. It will be tough as it takes time, but you will end

Ingredient 1 pack - strawberry *(you can adjust the

up with butter if you let it mix too far. 3.

container and put it in fridge to keep it cool

amount of berries, this I just the ratio I use) 2 pack - raspberries 2 pack - blackberries 2 pack - blueberries 1 large - orange

Once you get stiff peaks transfer to a for later


Berries: Wash all the berries and strain excess water.


Sugar and orange juice is critical in macerating (marinating but for fruits) the

1 cup - sugar

berries and getting them to soften and release

2 cup - cold heavy cream

their natural sweetness and juices. Mix all the

¼ cup - powdered sugar

berries into a large bowl and juice one orange

1 teaspoon - vanilla extract

juice into the bowl. Add the cup of sugar as desired to taste, but stick with one cup minimum. 6.

Let the berries sit out or in the fridge for a minimum of an hour.


When serving, pour the berries along with some of the juices that came out and top it off with the fresh whipped cream.

I like to switch between adding candied peanuts or crushed toffee on top of the berries and cream.

comfort in cooking


German Pancake serving 1-2

one of my favorites recipe




Equipment needs:


Preheat oven to 425°F

Medium bowl


When the oven reaches temp, put the pan


in the oven for at least ten minutes while

Measurement tool Cast iron or a heavy ovenproof pan

you make the batter. 3.

Sift the flour to prevent clumps and make it easier to mix in a bit, add cinnamon, sugar, and pour the milk and add the eggs,

Ingredient 3 - eggs 1/2 cup - milk 1/2 cup - flour 1 tablespoon - sugar

mix until you reach a smooth batter with no clumps 4.

butter coating the bottom and sides well 5.

3 tablespoons - butter (OPTIONAL FOR SERVING: butter, lem-

Then pour the batter into the hot skillet all at once and immediately put the pan with

1 teaspoon - vanilla 1/2 teaspoon - cinnamon

Now remove the pan from oven, add the

the batter back into the oven 6.

Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until puffed and golden brown


Remove the pan from the oven and serve right away. (the pancake will start to

on juice, powdered sugar or syrup)

deflate when out of the oven that’s ok) 8.

*Optional (sprinkle lemon juice and add powdered sugar on top or prefer topping)

I don’t know why but this recipe I have the hardest time making it correctly but its just so good whether it was a fail or success.

comfort in cooking


Candied Peanuts serving 2 cups

one of my favorites recipe




Equipment needs:


In a large heavy-bottomed skillet, combine all 3

Medium saute pan

ingredients and bring to a boil over medium-high

Measurement tool

heat. stirring constantly.



Silicone mat or parchment paper

Once up to a boil, continue to stir and cook over medium-high until the water evaporates and the sugar syrup seizes and crystallizes, once sugars


seize lower heat to low. 3.

continue to stir for a few minutes while lowering

2 cups - peeled roasted peanuts (or any

the heat even more before putting it back on the

nut) 1 cup - granulated sugar 1/3 cup - water

stove.)* 4.

powder, sea salt, etc.)

Continue stirring until the crystallized sugar starts to melt and caramelize. Stir this to coat the peanuts until all the sugar has caramelized and no

(OPTIONAL 1-2 teaspoons - vanilla extract, cinnamon, cocoa powder, chili

*(If sugar starts to burn, remove from heat and

more granulated sugar remains. 5.

Remove from heat and immediately stir in 1 tsp vanilla extract if desired and then turn out onto a cookie sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.


*Optional* Sprinkle with cinnamon, cocoa powder, chili powder, sea salt, etc to flavor to your tastes.


Let cool completely and then break up nuts into individual pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Can be enjoyed as a stand alone snack, but I like to combine it with berries and cream recipe for an added extra element of fun and happiness, or it can also be sprinkled on top of ice cream.

comfort in cooking


Oscar’s comfort “what once was a dislike, now feels like home”

Oscar’s comfort food didn’t begin with love

his mom would make once a year as it

at first taste. The smell of his mom’s cooling

required lots of labor and time to prepare,

menudos would wrap its way around the

often taking days. His mom would make

house in an intense stomach-hungering,

menudos in rather large batches. Every day

salivating pleasant aroma. A scent he grew

that passed, the menudos would take on

fond of waking up to as a child. As the

a different character getting better over a

season transitioned to fall and winter, and

couple of days. The meat would get softer,

the holidays grew closer.

and the vegetables would get tender and

As Oscar grew up, so did his eventual love for the menudo and its various textures that he once disliked. Menudos was a thing 42

take on more flavor. Menudos, what once was a dislike, now feels like home.



food & bonds


top main dish comfort in the U.S.


Cheese Sandwich

serving 1-2

how popular? Based on searched volumes from google,

the top main dish favorite across; California,

determined which comfort foods were being

New Jersey, Illinois, Maryland, Virginia, New

searched for the most in every state and which

York, and Tennessee.

foods the state popularities to determine nationwide favorites in 2020. Grilled Cheese is


Equipment Pan

Process 1.

Preheat the skillet over medium - low heat. The time


to cook depends on the thickness of bread slices and


amount of cheese. Generously butter or mayo on one side of the slice of bread. 2.

Place bread or mayo side-down onto the skillet and add cheese. Add the other slice of bread and press

Ingredient Mayo or butter 2 ounces each cheddar, mozzarella

down occasionally. 3.

Cook, butter/mayo side down over medium/low heat until crispy & golden on the bottom


Add mayo to the top bread, flip over and repeat

and parmesan cheeses or cheese of your choice 2 slices of bread of your choice

popular comforts


Crispy Salmon & Lemon Sauce serving 4

one of my favorites recipe




Equipment needs:


Medium saute pan Measurement tool

Rinse and cut butt ends off the lemon and discard the butts.


Place the lemon upright, now looking top


down on the lemon imagine a square and

Small bowl

slice off outer lobes in 4 sections, leaving a square-shaped core and seeds behind.



flesh and all and transfer to a small bowl (you should have about ⅓ cup). (The skin

4 6-oz. skin-on salmon filets, pin bones

is edible, chopped finely, the rest of the

removed, patted dry

ingredients will take away its bitterness,

2 Tbsp. plus ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil,

don’t worry.) Squeeze out the juice from

Kosher salt 1 small lemon 1 small shallot

the core over the bowl. 4.

Finely chopped shallot and add to the bowl along with honey, sesame oil, and

1 tsp. honey

remaining ⅓ cup olive oil; season with salt

½ tsp. toasted sesame oil Freshly ground black pepper

Finely chop the lobes of the lemon, skin,

and lots of pepper. Toss to combine. 5.

Take the salmon over a medium-low heat and put it skin side down the entire time, until the skin is lightly charred and fish is opaque for about 6–8 minutes.


Transfer salmon to a plate and let cool slightly. And dress the salmon in the sauce from earlier and enjoy.

Remember to pick all the pin bones out of the salmon fillet. Not a fun experience, trust me.

comfort in cooking


Roasted Potatoes serving 6-8

one of my favorites recipe




Equipment needs:


Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat

Rimmed baking sheet

oven to 450°F/230°C (or 400°F/200°C if using

Measurement tool


Fine mesh strainer


Peel and cut potatoes to desired size but keep it a

Small saucepan

constant size. Heat 2 quarts (2L) water in a large


pot over high heat until boiling. Add 2 tablespoons

Large bowl

of kosher salt, baking soda, and potatoes and stir. The baking soda will help the potato blister and

Ingredient Kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon (4g) - baking soda

soft coating so that when roasted provides a nice crunch yet is still soft and creamy inside. 3.

a knife meets little resistance when inserted into a

4 pounds (about 2 kg) - russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters, sixths, or eighths

potato chunk. 4.

over medium heat. Saute, stir and shake the pan

Small handful - fresh rosemary, finely

constantly, until garlic just begins to turn golden,


about 3 minutes. Remove from heat when garlic is

3 medium cloves - garlic, minced Small handful - parsley leaves

Meanwhile, combine olive oil, with rosemary, garlic, pinch black pepper in a small saucepan and heat

(75ml) - extra virgin olive oil

Ground black pepper

Return to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until

golden brown. 5.

Immediately strain oil through a fine-mesh strainer set in a large bowl. Set garlic/rosemary mixture aside and reserve separately.


When potatoes are cooked, drain carefully and let them rest in the pot for about 30 seconds to allow excess moisture to evaporate. Transfer to a bowl with infused oil, season to taste, and toss to coat, shaking bowl roughly, until a thick layer of mashed potato-like paste has built upon the potato chunks.


Transfer potatoes to a large rimmed baking sheet and separate them, spreading them out evenly.


No potatoes should be touching each other.


Transfer to the oven and roast, without moving, for 20 minutes. Using a thin, flexible metal spatula to release any stuck potatoes, shake the pan and turn potatoes. Continue roasting until potatoes are deep brown and crisp all over, turning and shaking them a few times during cooking, 30 to 40 minutes longer. Cook time depends on potato size and quantity.

Roasted potatoes are one of my go to meal when I’m feeling a little lazy. I just make a big batch for the

10. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl and add garlic/ rosemary mixture and minced parsley.

next day too. If you want to be extra fancy you could also drizzle truffle oil.


Toss to coat and season to taste and serve.

comfort in cooking


Snicker doodle serving 48 cookies

one of my favorites recipe




Equipment needs:


Preheat the oven to 375°F, combine and sift

Stand mixer

dry ingredients flour, baking soda, cream of

Measurement tools

tartar, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.

Rimmed baking sheet


Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl

Parchment paper

to your stand mixer with the paddle


attachment, add the sugar and beat until

Large bowl

light and fluffy.



Add eggs one at a time while mixing on low, scraping down the bowl and mix in the


vanilla extract. 4.

beat on low speed just until combined.

1 cup, 226 g - unsalted butter (room

Scrape down the bowl and fold in any

temperature) ½ cup, 100g - granulated sugar ¾ cup, 150g - light brown sugar 1 - egg (room temperature) 1 - egg yolk (room temperature)

remaining flour. 5.

2 ¾ cup, 330g - All-purpose flour

dough, or hand roll the balls into 1.5-2 inches wide. 7.

2 teaspoon cinnamon

Roll the dough into a ball then roll into the cinnamon sugar


Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 375°F until puffed and golden.

Cinnamon sugar ¼ cup, 50g - sugar

With a medium ice cream scoop or tablespoon spoon to portion out the cookie

1 teaspoon, 5ml - baking soda ¾ teaspoon - ground cinnamon

In a separate small bowl mix together the sugar and cinnamon for cinnamon sugar.


2 teaspoon - vanilla extract 1 teaspoon - cream of tartar

Add the flour mixture to the batter and

(10 minutes) 9.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before transferring to the cooling rack.

Genuinely such an easy cookie to make, no melting butter and can be baked off right away.

comfort in cooking


Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies serving 40 cookies

one of my favorites recipe




Equipment needs:


Sift the flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda, and

Stand mixer

baking powder into a bowl then whisk together

Measurement tools

and set aside.

Rimmed baking sheet


Parchment paper

sugar in a bowl until creamy, about 2 minutes.

Spatula Large bowl

Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. 3.


1 cup, 226g - unsalted butter

Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating on low speed until just combined.



Using a stand or hand mixer, beat butter and

Add coffee and red food coloring until evenly combined. (do not overbeat).


Fold in 1 cup chopped chocolate.


Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes. After 30

1 cup, 200g - granulated sugar

minutes scoop dough using a 1 tablespoon

1 egg

scoop; roll between your hands to make

2 cup, 240g - all-purpose flour

smooth balls. Place dough balls on a

¼ cup, 25g - cocoa powder

parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet, spacing

¾ cup, 130g - chopped semi-sweet choc-

about 2 inches apart.



2 teaspoon, 10ml - vanilla extract ½ teaspoon - baking soda

minutes. 8.

½ teaspoon - baking powder ¼ teaspoon - kosher salt 1 tablespoon, 15ml - hot brewed coffee *optional 1 tablespoon, 15ml - liquid red food

Bake at 350° until edges are firm, 10 to 12 Let cool on a pan for 10 minutes; transfer cookies to a wire rack, and let cool completely.


Using a stand or hand mixer, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in milk or heavy cream, if desired.

10. Spread about 1 tablespoon filling onto the


bottom sides of half of the cookies. Top with


remaining cookies, bottom-sides down.

1 cup, 100g - powdered sugar 12 ounces, 340g - cream cheese (softened)

I usually make this recipe around the holidays especially around Christmas. Optional you can melt some white chocolate and pipe lines for decoration.

comfort in cooking


top main dish comfort in the U.S.

d e i Fr Chick en serving 12

how popular? Based on searched volumes from google,

nationwide favorites in 2020. Following grilled

determined which comfort foods were being

cheese sandwiches is fried chicken with four

searched for the most in every state and which

states; Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, and Delaware.

foods the state popularities to determine


Equipment Pots

Process 1.

In a large bucket or pot, submerge the chicken pieces

Measurement tools

in the pickle juice. Refrigerate for 24 hours or up to 3



Wire racks


Rimmed baking sheets

submerge it in the buttermilk. Refrigerate for another

Tongs or spider rack strainer


4 hours or up to 24 hours. 3.

5 cups - strained pickle juice 4 cups - buttermilk 6 cups - all-purpose flour ¼ cup - cayenne 1 tablespoon - ground cloves 1 tablespoon - ground coriander 1 tablespoon - ground mace 1 tablespoon - smoked paprika

In a large bowl, combine the flour with the spices. Generously season chicken all over with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken pieces in flour, shaking off

Ingredients: 3-4 pound chickens

Remove the chicken pieces from the pickle brine and

excess. 4.

Heat 4-inches of oil in a large saucepan over medium until a deep-fry thermometer reads 325°F|160°C.


Working in batches, fry the chicken, turning occasionally, until it is cooked through and dark brown, 15 minutes for white meat, 20 minutes for dark meat. Drain on a cooling rack fitted over a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

1 tablespoon - sweet paprika 1 tablespoon - whole fennel seed ¼ cup - kosher salt, plus more 1 tablespoon - ground black pepper 16 cups - vegetable oil

popular comforts


top main dish comfort in the U.S.

n e k c Chi & Waffle

serving 12

how popular? Based on searched volumes from google,

chicken and waffles with three states; Arizona,

determined which comfort foods were being

Nevada and North Carolina

searched for the most in every state and which foods the state popularities to determine nationwide favorites in 2020. In third place is


Equipment Waffle iron

Process 1.

Cast iron or high walled skillet Thermometer

For the waffles: Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt in a large bowl.


In a second bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth, then

Wired cooling rack

whisk in the buttermilk and butter until combined.

Baking sheet

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and


mix just until the batter comes together; there will be

Measurement tools

lumps. Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.



and brush with melted butter. Set aside a cooling rack fitted with a rimmed baking sheet. For each

For the waffle:

waffle, ladle about 1/3 cup of the batter onto the iron.

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

Cover and cook until golden brown and crispy, 3 to 4

2 teaspoons baking powder

minutes. As you go, transfer the cooked waffles to the

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

baking rack in the oven and hold there while you fry

3 tablespoons sugar 1/2 teaspoon fine salt 3 large eggs

the chicken 4.

cup of the buttermilk then seal the bag and marinate

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter,

at room temperature for 1 hour. 5.

teaspoon black pepper. Transfer half of the flour

4 Boneless skinless chicken thighs

mixture to a second bowl. In a third bowl, put the

2 cups buttermilk

remaining 1 cup buttermilk. Remove the chicken

2 cups all-purpose flour

from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels.

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1/4 teaspoon cayenne Kosher salt Ground black pepper Vegetable or high smoke point neutral oil, for frying Honey, for drizzling

In a medium bowl, combine the flour with the garlic powder, onion powder, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4

Buttermilk Fried Chicken:

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

For the fried chicken: While the waffle batter rests, place the chicken in a resealable plastic bag. Add 1

1 1/2 cups buttermilk melted and cooled, for the waffle iron

Preheat the oven to 250° F. Preheat the waffle maker

Sprinkle it with salt and pepper. 6.

Heat 2 inches of oil in a high-sided skillet, preferably cast-iron, over medium heat until it registers 360 degrees on a thermometer. Working in batches, avoid crowding the pan, dredge the chicken in the first dish of seasoned flour, then dip in the buttermilk, drain excess off, and finally dredge in the second bowl of seasoned flour, tapping off excess. Fry until golden brown on both sides and just cooked through, about 7 minutes or until therametor reads 160f. Remove to a cooling rack and season with salt.

popular comforts


Shaun’s comfort “It all started with a little bit of butter”

Shaun’s comfort food started at the age of 8, and it began with the desire to make it

on a pan followed by a flour tortilla, cheese,

his way. Quesadillas is one of those hard to

and another tortilla flipped and cooked until

mess up dishes and can be made with ease.

golden brown, to something as extravagant

To him, it was a show of independence, a

as quesadilla with steak. Shaun master

dish he didn’t have to rely on his parents

one of his favorite comforts and now finds

to provide for him. It was also something

himself, often cooking tortillas for his

he could make for his little sister when he

friends and girlfriend.

entered high school.


It all started with a little bit of butter



food & bonds


Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookie serving 16 large or 32 small cookies

one of my favorites recipe




Measurement tools


Toffee: Combine the butter, light brown sugar,

3 Rimmed baking sheet

and salt into a saucepan over medium heat.

Parchment paper

Constantly stir until it reaches 300°F

Heatproof spatula


Large bowl

and pour onto a parchment lined baking sheet

Whisk Medium saucepan

allow to cool, then crush the toffee and set aside. 3.

Temperature probe/pen


baking soda in a small bowl; set aside. 4.

bottom of pan with a heatproof rubber spatula, until butter foams, then browns, about 4 minutes. 5.

1 cup, 200 g - packed dark brown sugar (packed)

butter. 6.

Hand mix and cream the sugars together.


Once butter is melted, add both sugars and whisk, breaking up any clumps, until sugar is

¼ cup, 50 g - granulated sugar 1 large - egg 2 large - egg yolks

incorporated. 8.

cacao), coarsely chopped, or semisweet choco-

seconds. Whisk in vanilla. 9.

1 stick - unsalted butter

Using rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into butter mixture just until no dry spots remain,

late chips Toffee:

Add egg and egg yolks and whisk until sugar dissolves and the mixture is smooth, about 30

2 teaspoon - vanilla extract 6 oz., 170 g - bittersweet chocolate (60%–70%

Transfer butter to a large bowl add remaining ¼ cup butter into small pieces and add to brown

¾ cup, 169 g - unsalted butter, divided (1½ sticks)

Cook ½ cup (1 stick) butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, swirling often and scraping

into measuring cups, then leveling) ¾ teaspoon, 4 g - baking soda

Cookie dough: Place racks in the center of the oven; preheat to 375°F. Whisk flour, salt, and

1½ cups, 200 g - all-purpose flour (spooning ¾ teaspoon, 4 g - Morton kosher salt

Once it reaches temperature, remove from heat

then fold in chocolate and toffee pieces. 10. The dough will be soft but should hold its shape once scooped; if it slumps or oozes after being

1 cup - light brown sugar

scooped, stir dough and let rest for 5–10 minutes

1 teaspoon - kosher salt

until scoops hold their shape as the flour hydrates. 11.

Chill in the fridge covered for two days for best flavor results.

12. Using a scoop (3 Tbsp.) portion out 16 balls of dough and divide between 2 parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets. 13. Bake cookies in batches until deep golden brown If you want to be extra fancy with the cookie, you can sprinkle on some flaking sea salt right after it comes out of the oven.

and firm around the edges, 8–10 minutes. 14. Let cool on baking sheets. Before attempting to remove the cookies. Once cookies are cool enjoy.

comfort in cooking


Peanut Butter Cookies serving 18 cookies

one of my favorites recipe




Stand mixer


Preheat over to 350F

Measurement tools


Sift flour and baking powder together then

Rimmed baking sheet Parchment paper

whisk to combine. 3.

Cream butter and sugars in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. You can add an optional 1/4-1/2 tsp sea salt.

Ingredient 1 ½, 180g - cup all-purpose flour ½, 113g - cup butter unsalted, room temp 1 cup, 250g - peanut butter ½, 100g - cup brown sugar lightly packed ½, 100g - cup sugar 1 teaspoon, 5ml - vanilla extract 1 egg large, room temp 3/4 teaspoon, 3g - baking powder


Add peanut butter and mix until incorporated.


Mix in egg and vanilla extract then add flour mixture and beat until incorporated.


Roll dough into one inch balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.


Flatten cookies with a fork in a criss-cross pattern.


Bake cookies for about 10 minutes.


Allow cookies to cool completely on the baking sheet, they need to be set up before being transferred.

One of my first cookies that I made due to the lack of access to other ingredients. Super easy and delicious.

comfort in cooking


Design Peter Nguyen Editing Pete Nguyen Photography Peeta Nguyen Illustration Peeta Nguyen

Copyright © 2022 by Peter Nguyen Portland, Oregon All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or means without explicit written permission from the artists and authors.