Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Catching Up

In the past few months I've been living on fast food and Clif Bars. The good side: I now know which places have the best iced tea. The down side: I've been feeling like a bear shot with a tranquilizer dart. I got the chance to cook a few times, and I will dispense my culinary treasures in just a few moments, though first I would like to personally apologize to my sister for taking so long to update. She apparently enjoys my blathering on about food. :)

Tortellini with Keilbasa

Pretty straightforward meal - cook tortellini, slice up keilbasa and cook in a large pan, jarred sauce, and "poor man's garlic bread" (sandwich bread with butter and garlic powder thrown under the broiler). Delicious and super easy to throw together in a short amount of time.

First ever burger attempt!

I mixed the ground beef with minced garlic and onion and created a mustard/horseradish/malt vinegar spread for this burger. My failure: I made the patty wayyyy too small so there was a bad meat to bun ratio. My success: the spread was pretty amazing paired with the garlic and onion in the meat.

Cheesy Goodness

I felt like alfredo pasta one night, but didn't have any on hand. This was my off-the-cuff replacement. However, I didn't measure anything, so the amounts are approximate.

I started off by mixing a couple Tb. butter, 1/4 c. heavy cream, and an egg in a small saucepan on low heat. I raided my fridge for cheese choices, and threw in a couple torn up slices of deli swiss and provolone. I added a bit of grated parmesan and had a teensy bit of goat cheese left that I threw that in as well. I added black pepper and a bit of dried parsley at the very end. Quite delicious!

Breakfast Sandwiches

This is my sister's favorite thing I cook, or at least her most requested. The finished product varies depending on what ingredients I have on hand, but this is the ultimate recipe:

1-2 slices bacon (or pancetta)
1 egg
1 Tb. spicy brown mustard (or pub mustard)
2 Tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tb. butter
goat cheese, crumbled
English muffin

1. Begin frying the bacon in a shallow pan and turn on the broiler. When the bacon is cooked to your liking (I like mine crispier), allow to drain on paper towels, but retain the rendered fat.
2. As the bacon cooks, mix together the mustard and butter. For more kick, swap the measurements for the two mustards. Spread this mixture on a split english muffin and top with crumbled goat cheese. Place under broiler to toast until cheese begins to brown.
3. Use the bacon grease to fry the egg to your liking (I like a pretty firm yolk). Assemble the sandwich and devour!

I will add the rest of the updates soon. And hopefully I will get back to cooking more often. Oh, and I'll present my first ever Thanksgiving meal!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Who Ya Callin' Chicken?

I've been ridiculously busy this week with schoolwork and rehearsal that I've been living off of McDonalds and Jack In the Box, rather than cooking actual meals. Tonight I made it a goal to make a real meal, and it was well worth it!

Breaded Chicken
2-3 pieces of bread, toasted
2 eggs, scrambled
1/2 c. flour
1/4 c. parmesan cheese
2 chicken breasts
2 pinches poultry seasoning
2 pinches Mrs. Dash

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put bread in food processor and pulse to create small crumbs. You'll need three separate shallow dishes for the breading. Put the eggs in one dish, the flour and one pinch of each seasoning in a second dish, and the bread crumbs, cheese, and rest of seasonings in a third dish.
2. Heat EVOO in a medium sized skillet, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Coat each chicken breast in the following order: flour, egg, bread crumbs. Once coated, place in skillet and cook until each side is golden brown.
3. Place chicken on a foil-lined baking sheet and put in oven for 10-12 minutes.

Super delish!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Food Find #1

For those days when I really don't want to deal with the clean-up from cooking, its nice to have a list of places to get a good meal. I was thrilled to find such a place tucked away in a completely unassuming location - hidden in plain sight. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Kabob Hutt!

Kabob Hutt
I ended up at his place yesterday for lunch, and it was amazing! I wasn't sure what to get, it being my first time getting Persian food, so I played it safe with some hummus for an appetizer and the chicken kabob for my meal. I couldn't have been happier with my selection! The hummus was really good and the flatbread it was served with was perfect. The chicken on the kabob was supremely well seasoned and the veggies with it were gloriously grilled. Basmati rice with saffron? Um, YES PLEASE! It's hidden in plain sight on Main street, right next to the Econo Lube 'n' Tune. The building has been a hundred different things over the years, but this is its best incarnation by far! I will definitely be coming back to this place soon!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bacon and Pasta, AKA: A Sign There's A God And He Wants Us To Be Happy

I'm seriously overworked lately, and definitely behind on household projects. I decided to actually cook dinner tonight for the first time in about a week. I've been surviving on sandwiches and leftovers, which are not the most exciting of meals. Then, of course, I'm watching Food Network and they're talking about the best comfort foods in America. This inspires me to make a meal that is in no way a healthy meal - but damn, is it good! Tonight: spaghetti carbonara.

Spaghetti Carbonara
2-3 slices thick cut bacon
1/2 lb. spaghetti
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic
2 Tb. milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. parmesan cheese, plus extra for topping

1. Put a pot of water on to boil as bacon is placed in a cold cast iron skillet to cook. When bacon is cooked through, remove from skillet and let drain on paper towels. Keep rendered fat.
2. While bacon is cooking, chop onion and garlic. Add to bacon fat and stir until transluccent. Add pasta to boiling water.
3. Drain pasta and add to skillet, coating in rendered fat. Whisk together eggs, milk, and cheese and slowly add to skillet, stirring continuously to prevent egg from scrambling. Crumble bacon and add to pasta.
4. Top pasta with extra cheese and devour. :)

Seriously - this meal is a sign that there is a god and he wants us to be happy. It's pasta, cheese, and bacon! How could you go wrong?! This is definitely in the top ten favorite meals of all time.

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Culinary Boyfriend

Alton Brown - My culinary boyfriend. I have a special little nook in my heart for this nerdy chef. But tonight I was watching the latest Iron Chef America on my DVR and could not stop laughing at one of his comments. It is Battle: Truffle, and his favorite Canadian, Kevin Brauch, asks Alton to describe how good truffles are for those at home who have never tried them. Alton's immediate response:
"Those white truffles are better than 97% of the sex you'll have during your lifetime."

Alton, I know you're married, but I love you and want to have your nerdy food babies.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Tonight I was feeling both hungry and ambitious. It probably also didn't hurt that I was desperately avoiding work. I knew I wanted sweet potatoes in some form or another, but didn't know what else to make. Inspired by "What Would Brian Boitano Make?", I decided that steak with basalmic glaze would pair perfectly with my lovely, orange treat. Might I just say, it was a wonderful decision.

Pan Seared Steak with Basalmic Glaze and Sweet Potato Fries

For steak:

1 top sirloin steak 1 Tb. butter 1 clove garlic, smashed pinch of thyme

For glaze:

1/4 c. basalmic vinegar 2 Tb. brown sugar 1Tb. butter

For fries:

1 large sweet potato EVOO Season salt S&PNumbered List

  1. Preheat oven to 300F. Slice sweet potato into fry-sized sticks. Toss with EVOO, season salt, and salt and pepper in a medium size bowl. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet that has been greased with cooking spray. Bake for 20-25 minutes, tossing about halfway through.
  2. Preheat a cast iron skillet with a thin layer of canola oil. Thoroughly salt and pepper the steak and sear in skillet for about 2 minutes, each side. Meanwhile, add butter and garlic, basting the steak as it sears. Transfer the steak to the oven and cook for 5-7 minutes for a medium rare-medium steak. Let sit for at least 5 minutes before adding glaze.
  3. While steak is cooking, heat basalmic vinegar, brown sugar, and butter in a small saucepan on med-high. Whisk ingredients together and stir on occasion until it thickens. Drizzle on top of steak. Extra glaze can be used with olive oil as a dipping sauce for crusty bread.

I was honestly impressed with my own abilities tonight. The meal turned out more delicious than I expected. I actually ended up dipping the fires in some of the glaze, and the flavor combination was surprisingly good - sweet, salty, and savory all at the same time. Success!

Something Fishy

Last night's meal: salmon. Fish sounded good.

Salmon on the Ranch

1 salmon filet
1 Tb. ranch dressing
1 strip cooked, crumbled bacon
1 palmful diced tomato
1 palmful feta cheese

1. Preheat the grill to high. Place the salmon, skin side down, on an 8"x12" sheet of aluminum foil.
2. Top slamon with ranch dressing, bacon crumbles, tomato, and feta. Fold up the edges of the foil, leaving the top open just a bit.
3. Place pouch on the grill for 6-10 minutes, until the slmon turns a lighter pink.

I've made this before, but it sounded really good last night. I got a little distracted by a tv show and let my salmon overcook a bit, but it was still pretty good. The ranch and feta give it a nice tangy kick, while the salmon and bacon have an incredibly buttery, savory flavor. Yum-yum!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Breakfast of Kings?

Woke up this morning not feeling like the traditional eggs and bacon breakfast, and cereal wasn't quite gonna cut it. I had the oldies music channel playing on tv, and Elvis' "Good Luck Charm" came on. Inspiration! I remember hearing that Elvis loved fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches, so I decided to take a note from the King for my breakfast this morning.

Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich

1. Spread peanut butter on two slices of sandwich bread. Drizzle honey one each slice. Cut banana into small discs and place on one slice, covering from edge to edge.

2. Put sandwich hlaves together and spread a thin layer of butter on one side and place butter side down on a preheated griddle at medium. Spread butter on the naked side of the sandwich and flip when golden brown.

I'm eating mine with the second half of the banana, but one whole banana should cover two sandwiches. It's a very satisfying breakfast with just a touch of sweetness. I think The King would be proud.

This breakfast has left the building!

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Tonight I decided to try making enchiladas for the first time. I made black bean salad last week and needed to use it up, so I figured it would work well as enchiladas.

Black Bean Salad Enchiladas

Black Bean Salad:

corn (frozen)

black beans

bell peppers (tri color)


roasted anaheim chili


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour a thin layer of enchilada sauce on the bottom of baking dish. **I used store-bought sauce. Next time I'll attempt to make it myself**
  2. Take one 10"corn tortilla and fill with black bean salad. Top with shredded cheese (either cheddar or "Mexican Blend"). Roll and place upside down in baking dish.
  3. When dish is full, pour rest of sauce over enchiladas and cover with cheese. Bake for 20 min.

While the enchiladas were cooking, I made some guacamole, which was an excellent addition. I had planned on making a Mexican-inspired salad with cilantro, onion, tomato, tortilla strips and cilantro dressing, but I just wasn't hungry enough. Maybe next time. I have leftovers, anyone want some?

First Course

I have come to the realization that I am driven by food. Okay, this wasn't much of an epiphany, but my desire to share my culinary attempts is fairly new. I've been bothering friends and family with my culinary attempts via text and Facebook for a while now. I suppose its time I inundate the rest of the worldwide web with my culinary endeavors. To start off, I present my most recent culinary experiment. It started off as a recipe from Food Network Magazine, but I didn't have all the spices that they required, and I felt like adding more flavors/veggies. It was an absolute success!

Skillet Chicken with Potatoes, Onion, and Lemon

3/4 lb. small red-skinned potatoes, halved or quartered
1-2 cloves garlic, smashed
pinch Italian seasoning
pinch seasoning salt
1 large lemon, squeezed halves reserved
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 yellow onion, sliced into quarters

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a medium pot, cover the potatoes with salted cold water; bring to a boil, cook until tender (about 8-10 minutes). Drain and set aside.
  2. Pile garlic, Italian seasoning, seasoning salt, and salt and pepper ona cutting board. Smash into a paste, transfer to a bowl, adding EVOO and lemon juice. Whisk together and coat chicken. **Since I'm usually cooking for one, when I buy chicken, I separate it into individual samdwich sized zip-top bags and freeze until I plan to use them. Its really easy to defrost in a bowl of warm water as you're prepping the rest of the meal. I just add the marinade to the individual bags as needed**
  3. Heat a cast-iron skillet over med-high heat. Add chicken and cook until the skin browns. Add onion, potatoes, and lemon rinds, lightly drizzling with EVOO. Sprinkle with more Italian seasoning and seasoning salt. Transfer to oven; roast uncovered 20-25 min.

I loved the way this meal turned out. It was really easy to make and had a really great flavor . I cook a lot of chicken (it's cheap and easy), and I can get really bored with it. The mix of lemon and garlic gives it a nice flavor, and the searing in the skillet before cooking helps seal in moisture. Delicious!