i woke up this morning to see less snow than last night. the reason? it was simply too warm (34-36°F), and everything came down as rain. not only was there no new snow, but the freezing rain managed to melt a significant amount of old snow as well. so that time lapse video i shot last night? not a lot of action. the one good thing is i don't have to worry about clearing the snow off the solar panels. had it been snowing as originally predicted, i was ready to ride the bus to belmont so i could clean the roof.

for lunch i finished the leftover italian sausages from last weekend. i was hoping for a lull in the rain, or at least for it to get cold enough that we'd get some snow, so i could go down to the UPS store and return the extension pole. i repacked the item back in its cardboard box, fortified with packaging tape. unfortunately it never let up, even though i was already dressed and ready to go. by midafternoon i figured it was a lost cause. i'll go tomorrow morning, when it's good and dry. i have until thursday to ship it out in order to get my money back.

i played around with filmora, editing three short videos. last week when i was playing around with the external mic attached to my dSLR, all the audio has an annoying background hiss. not sure the reason, and haven't yet figured out how to prevent that from happening, but it's something i can sort of fix by tweaking the audio. i also edited a POV video of cleaning the snow off the solar panels with the gopro mounted onto the extension pole. some of the footage is pretty dramatic, and turning on horizon-leveling was key, as it made a lot of shots usable when normally they'd all be tilted at some weird angle.

i'd be making tonkatsu tonight, so i went online looking for recipes. the first one that came up basically gave me the gist of what to do, along with a recipe for making the katsu sauce. just for kicks, i logged into chatGPT and asked it to create a tonkatsu recipe for me. the one created by artificial intelligence was actually easier to follow and that ended up being the recipe i used.

chatGPT tonkatsu recipe
4 servings

4 boneless pork loin chops, about 1/2 inch thick
salt and pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
vegetable oil for frying
for the tonkatsu sauce:

2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin
1 tsp sugar

begin by preparing the tonkatsu sauce. in a small bowl, whisk together the ketchup, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. set aside.

season the pork chops with salt and pepper on both sides.

set up three shallow bowls for dredging the pork. in the first bowl, place the flour. in the second bowl, beat the egg. in the third bowl, add the panko breadcrumbs.

dredge each pork chop in the flour, shaking off any excess. then dip in the egg, making sure it's fully coated. finally, coat the pork chop with the panko breadcrumbs, pressing down lightly to adhere.

in a large skillet, heat enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of the pan over medium-high heat.

once the oil is hot, carefully add the pork chops to the skillet. fry for about 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown and crispy. remove from the pan and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil.

serve the tonkatsu hot with the tonkatsu sauce on the side for dipping. it's traditionally served with shredded cabbage, steamed rice, and miso soup.

enjoy your delicious homemade tonkatsu!

i started cooking close to 8pm, after gathering all the ingredients and putting 2 cups of rice in the cooker. i used the japanese benriner mandolin my aunt gave me for the very first time to shred a quarter of a cabbage. i saw online to soak the shredded cabbage in an ice bath to keep them crispy and prevent them from wilting, which is what i did.

next i prepared the pork chops. i pounded them with a meat tenderizer then salted and peppered them on both sides. after that i made the tonkatsu sauce. normally i'd have some at home, but i donated them all to the cafe during the supply shortage. fortunately it's not too hard to make an approximate facsimile. the two main ingredients are ketchup and worcestershire sauce. the recipe asked for 1 tsp of sugar but the ketchup already has sugar in it while the mirin is sweet, so i didn't add additional sugar. i did add another tbsp of worcestershire sauce, because i didn't think the sauce was spicy enough. in the end what i created wasn't really like the kikkoman katsu sauce i normally have, but good enough for tonight, i'll have to toy with the ratios some other time.

i used 1-1/2 cups of canola oil in my medium-sized pot, enough to cover up the pork chops which were roughly half an inch thick. while the frying oil was heating up, i started breading the pork chops: flour, egg wash, then panko crumbs. it probably wasn't necessary, but i misted the panko beforehand, because the online recipe said it makes the crumbs fresher. i fried the first breaded pork chop while breading the rest of them. it sizzled in the oil with a satisfying but scary hissing and popping. i also turned off the heat, opened the kitchen window, and put a fan on a barstool and tried to angle it so it'd blow the oil smell outside.

the first tonkatsu took the longest and was a little light; the subsequent tonkatsu went faster and grew increasingly darker as the oil temperature increased. i wasn't quite sure if the tonkatsu were actually done or not, and my electronic meat thermometer broke (the battery leaked). i finally cut into the second tonkatsu with scissors, saw the meat inside was white and cooked, a good sign.

when all four breaded pork cutlets had been fried, i went back and fried them again a second time. just for a few seconds, to make them crispier and to darken them some more.

i assembled my tonkatsu meal. two cups of rice equalled to 3 servings (i scooped out 2 additional bowls and set them again for later in the week). i added the shredded cabbage, which seemed deliciously cold and crispy from having been in the ice bath. i also had some yellow pickled daikon radish and i chopped up some as well. i grabbed a breaded pork chop and cut it into pieces. the inside was white and juicy. to that i poured the homemade tonkatsu sauce.

i should've made some miso soup to go with the tonkatsu, i'll do that tomorrow or thursday night. it was pretty good, i finished the whole plate, nothing leftover. i was trying to remember the last time i had tonkatsu; it seemed like a long time ago, but apparently i made some back in early november, chicken katsu. i remember chopping the cabbage by hand which was a mistake, and i used the tough outer leaves, which was barely edible (like eating tree leaves). that's why i still had a little bit of frying oil in my fridge. unfortunately i wasn't able to use that oil, i looked inside, it had turned moldy.

the reason why i don't fry very often is because the cleanup can be tedious. first there was the problem of the smell. after i finished cooking, i ran the window fan as well, along with my air purifier. there's just no getting around the house smelling like cooking oil whenever i fry anything in the kitchen. as for the used frying oil, after it finished cooling, i poured out as much as i could. i didn't have a proper strainer, so the final amount of oil - about 1/2 cup - i had to throw out because it was mixed together with burnt panko crumbs. to the used oil i added some gelatin. the ratio is for every 1 quart of oil, mix 1/2 cup of water with 1 tsp of gelatin powder. as i only had 1 cup of oil - that's 8 oz. - which is 1/4 quart. i added 1/8 cup of water in a pot with 1/4 tsp of gelatin and heated up to a simmer before pouring the mixture into the oil. i then mixed the oil with the gelatin and put it in the fridge to solidify.

for dessert i finished the last 3 of my navel oranges. it's trash day tomorrow morning but i'm not going to bother taking out the trash, since i don't really have any trash to throw out. if my upstairs neighbors need their trash taken out, they should do it themselves. it's not my job to take out their trash for them.