Dec 28, 2010

New Years Resolutions

You know what I love? Snow. No, I love Winter in general. Right now I'm at Kirkwood in Lake Tahoe, looking out the window watching the snow fall. It's really beautiful and I think it's a great way to spend my last week of winter break. Overall, this winter break has been a wonderfully relaxing time for me. The last few weeks of fall quarter were really difficult, especially since I spend the majority of the time in bed willing myself to recover from pneumonia. (Thankfully I got over it just fine, but I think that has more to do with the wonderful magic of antibiotics than will power) I've spent a lot of time over break just sitting on the couch reading and I have loved every minute of it. Seriously, what could be better than curling up under a blanket with a good book? Cliche, I know, but it really is awesome. So now, with less than a week until classes start again, I am contemplating how to manage the next quarter so that it doesn't end quite as dramatically as the last one. The goal is to make it through the quarter without getting sick or stressed out to the point of madness. I've got some ideas on how to make that happen, and hopefully I can stick to it! So here's some of my new years resolutions:

1. More exercise! Exercise is great for de-stressing and staying healthy, so I'm really going to focus on this one most of all. Dan and I will be participating in a fitness program that challenges us to complete a certain number of hours of physical activity every week. The prize is a free t-shirt! I know, it's sad that I'm motivated by a free t-shirt, but hey, I love free.
2. More cooking! Cooking, as you may have guessed, is a really great way for me to chillllll out. Being in the kitchen is soothing and calming and I am going to make every effort to cook as often as possible. (And hopefully be coming up with some delicious healthy recipes)
3. Less worry! I am a worrier. I think it runs in my family. I create endless lists and worry how I will get everything done, I worry that the I will fail a paper I spent days writing, I worry that I will somehow trip and fall while running to catch a bus and embarrass myself completely, etc etc. So I am going to try and stop worrying. Well not entirely, that would be ridiculous. But at least when I catch myself worrying, I will try and get over it and move on without it dragging me down.
4. Balancing time management! I'm not gonna lie, I have awesome time management skills. My calender is perfectly organized and color coordinated, my homework gets charted out on a daily basis, and I'm never late. But sometimes, I think it's too much. This goes right back to the worrying thing. I think I just need to chill out and get over it all! Being organized is great, but hey, I don't need to be organized allllll the time!

So those are my new years resolutions. And I'm stickin' to them!
And as a final note, here are some awesome pictures from Kirkwood. Happy New Years everybody!

Dec 21, 2010

Chana Masala

Confession time. I have an addiction. A relatively healthy addiction, but an addiction nonetheless. I am completely obsessed with Indian food. I've probably mentioned this before, but I seriously cannot get enough! I didn't used to like Indian food. In fact, I was a little bit scared of it because I didn't really like spicy food. But ever since going to Sitar (the best Indian restaurant in Santa Cruz, nay, the world) I've fallen in love. And the fact that Sitar is right on the bus route is not helping the situation. I probably go there way too much, but it's so freaking delicious! Of course, this sudden discovery of a whole new world of food has prompted me to make Indian food at home as well. My all time favorite dish has to be Aloo Tikka Masala, but this recipe I'm giving you today is a close second. Chana Masala is a simple tomato based chickpea curry and it is SO AMAZING. I'm sorry, you all probably read that as shouting. I'm just very enthusiastic when it comes to Indian food.
Last week, I offered to make dinner for my little brother and gave him options like pasta, mac and cheese, sandwiches, and Indian food--surprisingly he chose Indian food! *sniff* I'm so proud! He has learned well. I made him Chana Masala, which we both thoroughly enjoyed and, in my opinion, tasted even better the next day for lunch.

Chana Masala
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
vegetable oil
2 med onions, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 Tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp garam masala
2 cups tomatoes, chopped (I used 1 tomato and a can of tomato sauce)
2/3 cup water
2 15 oz cans of chickpeas, drained
1 lemon, juiced

Heat the oil in a large pan, then cook the onion, garlic, and ginger until browned. Then add all of the spices. I know it's a really long list of spices, but trust me, it's delicious. Cook the onion mixture and spices for a few minutes then add the tomatoes. I only had one tomato so I supplemented with a can of tomato sauce. I also wanted to make sure that this ended up having extra liquid, because I prefer my curries to have lots of sauce. But that's just a personal preference thing. So if you are in a similar fix and don't have enough tomatoes, you could also add a can of whole tomatoes chopped finely. When you add the tomatoes, scrape the bottom of the pan to get any delicious brown bits that may be stuck. Then add the water and chickpeas and let cook for at least ten minutes. I let it cook a little bit longer so that the flavors would meld together more. After it has cooked, add the salt and lemon juice. Stir and serve! Delicious!


Dec 16, 2010

Daring Cooks: Poached Eggs

Jenn and Jill have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg. They chose Eggs Benedict recipe from Alton Brown, Oeufs en Meurette from Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, and Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages (poached) courtesy of Trudy of Veggie num num.

Guess who lost track of the days! This post was supposed to be put up two days ago, but silly me, it slipped my mind. Things have been crazy around here and I've been super-duper busy. But that's no excuse! Here's this month's Daring Cooks challenge! This month's challengewas to perfect a poached egg and include it in a dish. I've made poached eggs before, specifically for eggs benedict, so I wanted to do something new with a poached egg. I was curious what a poached egg would taste like on pasta, so I did a little research and decided to make a sort of non-traditional pasta carbonara featuring a poached egg as the topper. I LOVE poached eggs on pasta. I don't think that I can have pasta carbonara any other way now. I've been spoiled by the delicious runny yolk and there's no turning back.
This dish is very rich--this is like your weekly value of carbs, cheese, and butter in one meal. With that in mind, feel free to tone down the butter or cheese, but I believe that if you're going to eat carbonara, you might as well go all out.

Poached Egg Carbonara
adapted from epicurious
6-8 slices of bacon cut into small pieces
1 lb spaghetti
2 Tbsp butter
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
chopped parsley
poached egg

The first step in making carbonara is to fry up the bacon. I know that bacon is bad for you. I know that it's just chock full of unhealthy fats, but bacon needs love too. Fry and rejoice.
While the bacon is cooking, get the pasta water boiling. Add the pasta and keep an eye on it until it's done. When the bacon is done cooking, remove the bacon from the pan and pour out most, but not all, of the grease. Add the butter to the grease and let it blend together in a delicious marriage of flavor. When the pasta is ready, remove about 2 cups of the pasta water, then drain the rest. Put the pasta directly into the pan and add a healthy dose of pepper. Then add the cheese and a bit of the pasta water. Add more water as necessary to form a smooth sauce and prevent the pasta from sticking together. Heat for 2-3 minutes, then add the bacon and sprinkle parsley on top.
Now here's the most important part: poaching an egg. It's actually pretty easy to poach an egg, but it takes a bit of practice if you've never done it before. First get some water boiling and add a couple teaspoons of vinegar to the water. When the water is at a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer. Crack an egg into a small bowl or ramekin, you don't want to crack the eggs directly into the water or chaos will ensue. Stir the simmering water gently to create a little whirlpool. Carefully drop the egg into the spinning water and let it sit for a bit. After it's calmed down and stopped spinning, you can gently use a spoon to unstick it from the bottom. I prefer to make poached eggs in a nonstick pan because it makes this one step easier. It generally takes about 3-4 minutes to cook a poached egg depending on how runny you want it. If you want the yolk fairly solid, it will need to cook for a while longer. When the egg is cooked to your liking, carefully remove it with a slotted spoon. Don't worry if the egg isn't perfect or if the edges are a bit ragged. If it really bothers you, you can cut off the messy edges and make it a perfect circle.
After you've got your eggs all poached up, put one on top of each bowl. This made about 4 servings, so you will most likely need 4 eggs. I like my poached eggs very runny, but my parents like them a little more solid. Cook the eggs to your liking, but I strongly recommend making them runny. The yolk spreading through all the pasta was amazing! It adds so much flavor to the already delicious pasta. Look at that yolk! It's just melting all over the pasta!

Dec 9, 2010

Fried Chicken

So I've finished my finals and now I'm back home safe and sound. And for the record, I kicked my finals' butts! I realize that finals technically don't have butts, but I kicked their metaphorical butts. Of course, I won't get my grades for another couple weeks, but I'm fairly positive that I did well. Mission accomplished.
I'm home now, and loving it. Today I made cookies for my little brother and his friends, did some christmas shopping while the mall is still relatively empty, and just generally chilled out. It was wonderful. And I'm looking forward to another three weeks of the same! I've already started cooking and baking like a mad woman and I don't expect that to slow down anytime soon. Having been denied the ability to create and invent in a proper kitchen for a whole quarter has pushed me over the edge. I think I'm going to end up making my brother be a guinea pig for a lot of culinary experiments over break, but I'm sure he won't mind. He loves giving me brutally honest opinions and then eating himself sick.
Anyway! I promised to give you all my recipe for fried chicken that I invented last week! Now don't get in a fuss, I know I promised it sooner, but come on I had finals. (Aunt Kate...I'm looking at you. :)

Fried Chicken--Pinto style
3-4 Chicken breasts, cut into strips
Gluten free bread crumbs
Corn Chex cereal
2 eggs
Italian seasoning
Oil for frying

This is the same basic breading that we used on the mozzarella sticks. Same idea, same method, just with chicken. We cut the chicken into pretty thin strips and after frying, ended up cutting those strips in half so that there would be enough for a lot of people. Aileen decided that it was basically popcorn chicken and next time we make it, we're going to try cubing the chicken to see what happens.
First make the dredge; smash the Corn Chex cereal to pieces and combine it with the bread crumbs. I used about a 2:1 ratio, 2 cups bread crumbs to 1 cup cereal. Add a good amount of italian seasoning and salt and set aside. Beat the two eggs in another bowl. Dredge the chicken in the eggs, shake off the excess, and roll in the bread crumb mixture. You might need to pat the crumbs onto the chicken to get it to stay. Try experimenting with cereal size, sometimes smashing the cereal to crumbs helps it to stick to the chicken better.
Heat the oil in a large pan until it is screaming hot. I don't have a thermometer, but the way I test out how hot the oil is is to put a bit of water on my finger and flick it into the oil. When the water bounces around and snaps a lot, then the oil is ready. Put the chicken into the oil and cook for about a minute. Flip the chicken over and cook for another minute. Depending on how thick the chicken strips are you may need to cook it longer. We cut them in half, which was helpful because we could see if they were done all the way through and adjust cooking times appropriately. Again, play around, you also want to make sure that you aren't burning the crust.
Once all the chicken is cooked, it's time to dig in and eat some tasty, tasty chicken!

Dec 5, 2010

I'm back!

I'm so happy right now! And I want the world to know it! The kitchen problem isn't fully resolved yet, but it's close enough that I got to make two meals in it this weekend. Progress!
The first meal we made was spaghetti and meatballs. You've all seen that one on here before, but if you haven't tried it out yet....please. Go make some spaghetti and meatballs. You won't regret it. We changed it up a little bit this time by attempting to make mozzarella stuffed meatballs. They turned out alright, but I don't think that we used enough cheese. They were good, but there wasn't that element of cheese-splosion that I was going for.
But tonight...oh man....tonight was amazing. In the words of my little brother: dude. so epic.
Now I know that this might upset a few people, but I'm going to admit something shameful. before tonight, I had never had a mozzarella stick. I know! A horrific truth. Tonight, I got to experience mozzarella sticks for the first time and baby, there's no going back now. I may be forced to eat mozzarella sticks every day for the rest of my life. Ok thats an exaggeration. But at least once a week.
We also made fried chicken strips and I'm fairly positive that I've invented the most amazing fried chicken recipe of all time. Hint: it includes cereal.
Today I'm going to share with you the mozzarella stick recipe just because they are my newest obsession, but the fried chicken recipe will be coming up soon!

Mozzarella Sticks
String cheese
Gluten free bread crumbs (I used Hol Grain brown rice bread crumbs)
Corn Chex cereal
2 eggs
italian seasoning
Oil for frying

You may notice that there are no measurements in this recipe. That's because this is a free for all mozzarella stick making extravaganza. Don't measure! Go wild!
First cut the string cheese sticks in half so that you have two 2" sticks. Crush up a few handfuls of the Chez cereal into small pieces. They don't need to be superfine, just small enough that they'll stick to the cheese without falling right off. In a large pan or plate combine the bread crumbs and the cereal. I did about a 2:1 ratio, 1 cup of bread crumbs to 1/2 cup of crushed cereal. But this is a no measuring extravaganza, so feel free to alter that ratio as you see fit. To the bread crumbs add a good dose of italian seasoning and a pinch of salt. We used Pappy spice because Pappy spice is amazing, but italian seasoning is a great substitute. In a small bowl beat the two eggs into submission. Now for the dredging! Dip the cheese sticks in the egg, shake off the excess, and roll it in the bread crumb mixture. You might need to pat the crumbs onto the cheese to get it to stay, but it'll stick on there. Make sure you cover the ends too or else the cheese will just melt all over the place. After the cheese has been dredged put them on a foil lined cookie sheet. Once all the cheese is done, put the whole cookie sheet in the freezer for at least ten minutes.
While the cheese is freezing, heat up some oil in a pan. I would say about a half an inch of oil will work. When the oil is screaming hot, and I mean hot, you can start frying. Try frying just one first to make sure you know what you're doing. Using tongs, put the cheese sticks in the oil and fry for about thirty seconds, spinning it around constantly. You want to get the outside golden and crispy before the cheese starts melting all over the place. It shouldn't take more than thirty seconds to get them all crispy and delicious. I also wouldn't recomend frying more than three at once because they need to be constantly moving. When they're done cooking, put them on a paper towel lined plate to drain. Then dig in! But be careful, there's lava hot melty cheese in there.
This is the only picture I got of the mozzarella sticks, sorry it's really bad quality, but I was too busy focused on the plat of deliciousness in front of me to worry about pictures.

Ah it's good to be back :)

Nov 10, 2010

Sad day.

It's a sad day today for The College Housewife. I'm sorry to say that this may be my last post for a while. I will be putting up a Daring Cooks post this weekend, but that may be the last. That kitchen that I've been hoping for has been taken away from me. It's a very long story, but the bottom line is that the housing office here doesn't believe that I need it so that I can eat gluten free food and I have to prove my allergies. Once I have proved them, I will be given a key to use on the weekends to make small meals for myself and no one else.
Worst. Decision. Ever.
I know I haven't been posting very much lately, but this blog is still very important to me. It makes me sad that I might not be able to keep the blog going just because some bureaucrats decided that I can't have the kitchen they guaranteed me. I don't know if anyone even reads this blog anymore because I've been posting so rarely, but I'm still sad. I appreciate the support that you, my awesome readers, have shown me and I promise that I'll be back as soon as I can.
So goodbye for now readers, I'll be back when I can get a kitchen.

Oct 31, 2010

Kitchen update!

So I'm avoiding homework. Anybody ever read Lolita? What the heck is up with that book?! I am not enjoying it. I am now writing this fabulous post because I really really really don't want to read about a creepy pedophile. I've only got to read like 25 more pages, but I just can't bring myself to do it. To all my readers out there: Do you like Lolita? Or have you ever read Lolita?
Oh! The kitchen might be ready to use soon! We snuck into the kitchen to check it out last night. The clock on the oven is turned on and the light inside works! The stickers and stuff are still on it, so I didn't want to turn the actual burners but still: most likely functional! So hopefully I will get to put up a real post soon, instead of all these recipes I had stocked up. Aileen and I have already decided what we're gonna eat first: spaghetti and meatballs. Hopefully there won't be a bazillion people trying to use the kitchen or else we may never get to have it!I only have one more recipe saved up! So I'm not going to post a recipe today on the off chance that the kitchen suddenly breaks and I don't get to cook for another three weeks. Sorry! But here's a picture of a freaky mutant strawberry to look at:

How does this happen???


Oct 17, 2010

Chicken Tikka Masala

There is a simple reason for why I haven't posted this recipe. That reason is: bunk beds. You may be saying to yourself: But Natalie, a bunk bed is an inanimate object that is not sentient or conscious and cannot possibly want to harm you. Well if you were thinking that, you would be wrong. Bunk beds are evil. They are too high and the ladders are inconvenient. In the event of an earthquake, I would not be able to climb under the bed and save myself because I would be 5 feet off the ground holding onto the water pipes for dear life. My bunk bed didn't even come with a railing! Luckily, some of my floormates had an extra railing. Thank god my boyfriend is in the engineering school and knows how to fix anything with duct tape. So right now, my safety is assured only by a duct-tape railing. I fear for my life on a daily basis.
"What if the duct tape won't hold?"
"Oh my gosh, I'm so tired I can't see, I hope I don't fall off this ladder."
"Why can't I feel a ladder under my feet? Oh, that's right. It's on the other side of the bed."
If I had a nickel for the number of times I have rolled onto the rail in my sleep I would have...well, probably about a dollar fifty. But still- if that railing wasn't there, I would be dead or in a coma right now.
The point is, bunk beds are horrible things that prevented me from writing this post. I climb into bed about to write this awesome post about Indian food...and I am so far away from my recipe book. Of course I can't get down because I know that I will eventually fall off the ladder and I'm not going to push my luck by climbing up and down all willy-nilly and with complete disregard for statistical probability. So then I sigh and say: well, this will have to wait until next time I get off this bed. Then I get off the bed in the morning exhausted and not seeing straight and forget to grab my recipe book.
Luckily, I have a paper to write tonight, so there is no need to climb onto the bunk bed quite yet. So, I am sitting at my desk where my recipe book happens to be. And here you go! Chicken Tikka Masala!

Chicken Tikka Masala
Adapted from Pioneer Woman Cooks

3-4 chicken breasts
ground coriander and cumin, to taste
1/2 cup plain yogurt
6 Tbsp butter
1 whole onion, chopped
4 clives garlic, minced
1 2" piece fresh ginger, grated/minced
2 1/2 Tbsp garam masala
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 Tbsp sugar
3/4-1 cup heavy cream
2 cups basmati rice
frozen peas

Season the chicken breasts with salt, coriander, and cumin on both sides, then coat the chicken breasts in yogurt. Set the chicken on a metal cooling rack over a foil lined baking sheet. Put the sheet pan under the broiler and cook the chicken 5-10 min per side. I ended up cooking it a bit over 10 minutes because the chicken pieces were pretty thick. Make sure that the chicken is completely cooked through, it won't be cooking much longer after this.
In a large pan, melt 2 Tbsp butter, then cook the onions until they are tender. Add the garlic and ginger and let cook for a minute. Add the garam masala and the tomatoes, stir, then add the sugar. Let the sauce simmer for about 5 minutes, then stir in the heavy cream. The original recipe called for 2 cups of cream, which seemed like way too much. 1 cup was plenty and I think if I had added anymore, it would have really messed up the consistency of the sauce. Chop up the chicken breasts and add to the sauce. When the chicken is warmed through, stir in some chopped cilantro.

While you are doing all this, have some rice going in the rice cooker. I made the rice that PW recommend, and it went really well with the chicken. Basically, throw the rice and water into the rice cooker, add 4 Tbsp butter, and then a healthy does of turmeric. (You can make this on the stove too if you don't have a rice cooker) When the rice is done, stir in the frozen peas and let it sit for a minute so that the peas can cook through.


Oct 13, 2010

College Casserole

So here's an interesting meal. It's interesting because anybody not in college may want to close the page now. You will probably be disgusted/insulted by this meal appearing on a cooking blog. However, if you are in college, this is the best thing you will ever eat in your life.
You may be asking yourself: How can that be?
This is how:
frozen ground beef + tots + frozen corn + cheese = college casserole.
Simple ingredients that ended up being staples in my fridge last year combined to make the most ridiculously fattening cheesy delicious meal ever. Of course, when I started telling non-college students about it, all I got were nauseated looks! I expect that as soon as I graduate I will no longer like it. So I post it while I can!
This is basically a trashy shepherd's pie. I know, Paula Dean makes a pretty trashy one too involving potatoes, biscuits, beef, sausage, and an insane amount of butter, but I think I out-trashed her with the tots.

College Casserole
2 lb ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups chopped tomato
4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
4 tsp salt
3 cups frozen corn
1 32oz bag of frozen tots
1/2 cup flour
8 Tbsp melted butter
Shredded cheese

Combine the beef, onion, tomatoes, worcestershire, and salt. In a separate bowl combine the potatoes, flour, and butter. If this is an obscene amount of butter to you, that's ok. You don't have to use all of it, it just makes the crust crispy. Then spread the beef mixture in the bottom of a casserole dish, followed by the corn, then the potato mixture. Bake uncovered at 375F for 45 min. Sprinkle the cheese over the casserole and then bake for another 10-15 minutes.

It's super easy, and the guys in my apartment really really loved it. So come on, I dare you, make this college casserole.


Oct 4, 2010

Onion strings!

So I haven't gotten my kitchen yet. SAD NATALIE! They were remodeling the kitchen and it was supposed to be finished about a week ago. But I don't think that they've even started it yet. While I am frustrated, I'm not freaking out because the dining hall has been surprisingly awesome. Lots of gluten free food and lots of options. This morning I had a gluten free bagel for breakfast! How cool is that? Although my dining hall (crown dining hall) is so far the only one with gluten free options. So I'm still kind of without food on the weekend. But that's what microwave meals are for! I can't believe I just wrote that. On a cooking blog for god's sake!
My apologies. In further news: I made it onto the improv team! We have shows about once a month and (hopefully) I will be able to put up a video of one of them. Then all you readers not living on campus with me can see it!
As far as today's recipe, I think I'll share one with you that I've had sitting on my to-post-list for a long time. These are Pioneer Woman's Onion Strings! I've altered them just by making them gluten free. I also made cooking time longer because I like my onion strings super duper crispy.

Onion Strings
Adapted from Pioneer Woman Cooks
1 large onion
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or taco seasoning!)
canola oil

Slice the onion very thinly. Super thinly. REALLY THIN. Put them in a casserole dish and pour buttermilk over them. Let the onions soak for at least an hour. Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Heat plenty of oil in a large pan. The way I like to test it for temperature is to flick a couple drops of water into the oil. If they start dancing around all crazy like, then the oil is hot enough. Coat the buttermilk onions with the flour mix, shake off the excess and drop into the oil. Fry until golden brown, or until they are crispy enough for your liking.
OMNOM onions!

Sep 30, 2010

The Simple Things in Life

You know how there are some foods that are kind of...well...plain? It's so simple it's almost boring, but it's something that you just love? Whether it be because it's something you grew up with or because you are learning to appreciate simplicity in your life; simple foods can end up being just so darn tasty. One of my favorite simple foods is polenta. I love it because you can make it completely on it's own-I'm talking water and corn meal here-and have a tasty side dish. Because corn is just GOOD. Of course adding things like chicken broth, basil, and a healthy dose of tomato sauce doesn't hurt either. That's what I made and it was mmmmm goooood. I made my fantastically-delicious-party-in-your-mouth-mushroom-marinara to put on top of the polenta. I know it's strange to put so much effort into a sauce that will go on top of the simplest base ever, but hey, I gotta be me. I just followed the instructions on the back of the polenta bag but used chicken broth and stirred in a little basil and parmesan. Just pop it in the oven and wait. Here's what it looked like: Gosh it's so pretty!
Anyway, the point of this post is two fold. 1.To share my new favorite quick meal and 2. to remind myself, and you dear reader, to enjoy the simpler things because they can end up being amazing.

Sep 25, 2010

Fail crackers

Sometimes everyone needs a good fail. Schadenfreude, if you will. And because I have seen so many internet fails that have cracked me up, I think that it's time to give back. So here's a fail recipe for all of you. Don't make it--just be glad that you didn't make it first.

So basically I tried making this recipe for rosemary cheese crackers. Looked pretty good and simple enough, right? WRONG. Not good. apparently I was wrong in thinking that anything can be made gluten free. I may have made some other horrible mistake, but as far as I remember all I did wrong was replacing the flour with gluten free flour. Although based on what they tasted like when they came out of the oven....oh dear god. It was like wet cardboard flavored with beans. Firstly, they wouldn't really cut right and they were really fragile. Secondly, after the recommended cooking time, they were still raw on the inside. So I ended up cooking them for almost double the recommended time. They barely turned golden and they were STILL a bit raw. What the heck?! Thirdly, they tasted like garbage.
Here's what they looked like:
I was not happy. But you should be! Because I saved you from making them yourself. If you ever come across a recipe for Rosemary Cheese Crackers, proceed with caution. It may just be the same fail crackers I tried.

Sep 21, 2010

Back to School

Here I am! Back at school! I'm moved in and getting used to living in the dorms again. It's weird being put in the same position I was in as a freshman. When everyone is awkwardly introducing themselves, wandering into the lounge hoping to make friends, and leaving their doors open hoping someone will come say hi. Dorms are awkward! It's nice living next door to my friends, but most of the people in this dorm already know each other, so it's kind of weird talking to people that are hanging out with their own group of friends. For now, we're all chilling out in our rooms, getting over the stress of moving in, and enjoying the free time we have by going out to dinner, going bowling, and revisiting old friends.My room's pretty small, but I think Aileen and I have made it look pretty awesome. The beds are lofts, so that I sleep on the top bunk and the desk is the platform the bottom bunk should be on. We've also been given an armoire and a dresser. I set up my tv on the dresser so that I can lie in bed and watch it. ohhh yeahhhh lazy ftw. I think I'm gonna go hunt down some decorations so that the walls don't look as plain, but it still looks good. Here's what my side looks like:

As far as the food situation for this year goes, it seems that the promised kitchen is still just out of reach. My RA doesn't have the key to the kitchen and he says that he has to be around when anyone is using it and check that we've cleaned up and lock it up again. He agrees that it will be inconvenient for me to have to find him every time I need to eat, so he's going to try and work it out so that I can have my own key. I haven't cooked anything since being here, but we were hoping to have a homemade meal for dinner sometime tonight. If not, well that just gives us our first opportunity to eat at Tacos Moreno. ....oh I've missed you.
I'm really looking forward to this quarter and I'm very ready for classes to start. I know how strange it is to say that I miss having homework to do, but I really really do! Summer seems so futile to me because I'm working for the sake of working. Granted, I'm getting paid, but I'm not really doing anything for myself. And when I'm not working, I don't have anything else to focus my energy into. Whereas as school I always have something I can be working on, even if I don't want to do it. Especially now that I'm doing upper division classes, I always have an endless amount of reading to do. Having homework makes me feel like I'm doing something productive with my life, even if I am procrastinating on doing it. I realize that's strange, but I want homework! Hopefully I'll be in some really cool classes this quarter, so I'm feeling good about this year.
So that's my update on the beginning of the school year. I'll be posting my Chicken Tikka Masala recipe in the next day or two so check back for that! And to intrigue you a little bit, Becky told me that this is the best thing I've ever made. OH YEAH.

Sep 14, 2010

Daring Cooks: Apple Butter

The September 2010 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by John of Eat4Fun. John chose to challenge The Daring Cooks to learn about food preservation, mainly in the form of canning and freezing. He challenged everyone to make a recipe and preserve it. John’s source for food preservation information was from The National Center for Home Food Preservation.

This month's challenge was Apple Butter in order for all of us to better understand food preservation. To be honest, I'm a little dissapointed because my apple butter didn't come out quite right. It was too chunky to really be called apple butter, but no matter how much I mashed those apples, I still couldn't get it to be like butter. And without an immersion blender, what's a girl to do? So what I have is a cross between apple butter and sauce and is quite tasty. I ate it this morning on a bagel with cream cheese!
The whole process of making apple butter is simple, but time consuming. Basically I peeled and cored 5 lbs of apples, cooked them with a cup of water for about n hour until they were falling apart, added some spices, mashed, and let it go! It ended up being about a 3 hour process, but I think it was worth it. Apple butter freezes very well so this is a great idea if you have an apple tree and need to use up the piles of apples in your backyard.
Sadly, I don't have any pictures of the finished product because my camera/phone died. However, I will be using the apple butter this week to make a tasty pork dish. So look forward to pictures then!

Sep 13, 2010

Chicken Noodle Soup

As a busy person who likes to spend her spare time watching tv/playing video games/sleeping, I am always looking for meals that I can put on the stove and just trust that they will work. And I have found an amazing one! I was so incredibly happy about this soup...I can't...I can't even....IT'S SO GOOD! I'm going to be making this a lot winter quarter on those days when it's too cold to go to class and I'm wrapped in blankets next to the heater praying for warmer days. (You'd be surprised how many days become blanket-heater-praying days during winter quarter. Seems like I can't walk out the door without getting drenched. ) Because the last twowinter quarters have proven to be so ridiculously cold and miserable I am taking precautions this year. I have about 5 blankets, new rainboots, lots of sweatshirts, a new jacket, and winter soup recipes perfect for warming you up. But then of course I'm also preparing for spring quarter by bringing an enormous fan, shorts, and new tanktops.Anyway, that was a rant about the random weather in Santa Cruz, but the point of the story is: Soup is good. Soup is very. very. good.

Chicken Noodle Soup
Adapted from Take Thou Food
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 medium onions, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp flour
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
A couple sprigs of thyme (I used dried)
1 lb chicken, in bite sized pieces (I used thighs, but you can use whatever cut you like)
2 cups white wine
Chicken broth

In a large pot, preferably a dutch oven, heat a bit of olive oil over medium heat. Add the vegetables and cook until they're soft, about 10 minutes.

When the veggies are done, turn the heat up to high and add the flour and chicken. Stir it around so that the flour coats the chicken and cook until the chicken is no longer pink on the outside. Don't worry about it being cooked through, it's going to cook for a long time. Deglaze the bottom of the pan with the white wine and scrape all the brown tasty bits off the bottom. I like to turn the flame off when I pour the wine in. Hey, I'm attached to my eyebrows. Don't want to lose them in a tragic deglazing accident.
Pour in the chicken stock until it covers the veggies and chicken. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and leave it along for 90 minutes. Here's where I go back under the blanket, grab a book, and thank the heater for being such a loyal friend. After the 90 minutes are up, apologize to your heater friend and go back to the kitchen. Remove the lid and cook for another 30 minutes.

At this point, put some water to boil and cook up some pasta. Preferably a short pasta like macaroni. I prefer to cook the noodles outside of the soup because the pasta really absorbs a lot of water and can change the consistency of the broth. Also, gluten free pasta is very starchy and the starch will make it look all weird. When the pasta and the soup are both done, spoon a bit of pasta in the bottom of the bowl and pour soup on top. Stir it up and dig in! I served this with some toasted baguette from the bakery. YUMMY!

Sep 7, 2010


Some of you may have noticed that I'm not posting as often as I used to. I apologize if you are a regular reader, but fair warning, there won't be a lot of posts in the future either. I'm going back to school in a week and a half and sadly, I will be kitchen-less. Well, not entirely kitchen-less, but pretty darn close. I will be living in a dorm with one large communal kitchen, but in the past that kitchen has been shut down because nobody keeps it clean. In theory, I will have access to the kitchen all the time because I annoy the housing and dining people so much, but that's still all theory. While I'm in school, I will be shooting for one post per week. yes I realize that that's basically what I've been doing all summer, but that's because I've been working. While I'm at school it will be one post per week because I will have to fight everyone else in the dorm to make my food. So! I apologize in advance if there aren't very many posts, but I promise that I will keep on cooking and continue posting!
Since I'm not posting a recipe today (as I am currently sitting behind the counter and the bakery and don't have access to my recipe book), I want to ask you guys questions! I know most bloggers give prizes and have giveaways or whatever, but lets be honest, this isn't a high profile blog here. So answering these questions will give you....10 points! (Those points can be redeemed for a high five or a hug)

What have you spent you're summer doing?
What would you like to see on this blog?
What do you want for Christmas?


Aug 30, 2010


Ok quick recipe today because I am so exhausted! I think that's mostly because while I'm at work I eat one or two (or a dozen) sugary snacks and then I crash later. Today I crashed right before dinner, and even though I ate real food, I'm still sooooooo tired. So I'm just gonna give you a really fast recipe that I've had on my "to post on blog" list for a while. How to make your own poptarts!
I tried this a long time ago after I had made apple pie. I had a lot of pie crust leftover and I remembered seeing something about making poptarts out of leftover crust. And hey, I hadn't had a poptart in eight years and I had a huge pile of gluten free pie poptarts it was! I made mine with strawberry jam because it's my favorite, but you can use whatever kind you want. You could even make frosting to put on top! (But then
wouldn't it be more like a toaster strudel?)
The basic idea is: roll out the leftover dough and cut it into a large rectangle. Fill one half of the rectangle with jam, leaving a 1/2 inch border around it. Then fold the dough over and seal the edges with a bit of water or beat up egg. Cut a couple of decorative slices on the top and throw it in the oven. Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes. The other method is to cut two seperate squares and just make a pie dough sandwich. Then seal the edges with a fork--they look more like poptarts this way.
As you can see, I used the folding method which I think makes them look more homemade and cute. But that's just my preference.

Aug 27, 2010

Rainbow cupey-cakes!

I made these for my friend Paul because I felt bad about not seeing him for basically the whole summer. And to make up for my horrible friendship skills, I made him cupcakes! I ended up giving them to him in front of a whole bunch of people who demanded he share and they all liked them too. Even the strangers that were standing around us! But I don't blame them. These are some seriously tasty cupcakes. This is my new favorite cupcake recipe because the great thing about it is: it's so basic! It is a simple simple simple cupcake that can be altered any which way you want. So here's how to make them into rainbow cakes, but feel free to experiment with different flavors and styles following this basic recipe. I made two batches: one gluten free and one not. I actually thought that the gluten free ones came out better because they had a better texture-of course this is just from looking. Stephen said they tasted the same, so that's awesome too!

Rainbow Cakes
Adapted from Baking Bites
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
red, green, yellow, blue food coloring

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl combine the sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. Then pour the batter into five seperate bowls trying to make them as even as possible. It should be about 1/3 cup in each. Add 1/2 tsp of food coloring to each bowl to make yellow, orange, red, green, and blue. Of course, to make orange you do 1/4 tsp of yellow and red. Stir them really well so that there are no streaks. Feel free to add more food coloring if you want more color!

Starting with the blue, add a spoonful of each color into 10 lined muffin tins. Work from blue-green-yellow-orange-red. I ended up having enough batter to make 11 whole muffins and 1 small one. Don't spread the batter around, just let it fall where it wants, otherwise everything will just run together and you'll end up with mud-puddle cupcakes. Bake at 350F until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Once they're cool, frost them with a basic buttercream frosting. I did it all very pretty and artistic with my mad frosting skills. Here's how to do it: After you make your basic frosting, seperate it into three bowls and add one or two drops of food coloring. Do whatever colors you like; I went with red, blue, and green.

Then get a piping bag, or in my case a ziplock bag, and put the frosting in in sections. By this I mean, spread the red frosting into 1 third of the bag then the blue in another third, then the green in the other third. Here's a diagram because I'm tired and I can't think of another way of explaining it. Looking down on the top of the piping bag:
Then just pipe the frosting in a spiral to make it look beautiful!


Aug 23, 2010

Summer Corn Fettucini

I knowwwwwww. It's been about a week since my last post. But I've been super busy! Lately I've spent all my free time researching job opportunities and internships in Santa Cruz. The other thing I've been researching is super duper exciting. I'm looking into the possibility of teaching English in Chile after I graduate. Possibly teaching at the school my dad attended when he was a kid! I think that sounds like an awesome opportunity. Does anyone know of programs? Or has anyone done anything similar?
But now onto the main event! I have a recipe here that is....not for the faint of heart. And by that I mean, if you are prone to heart attacks, don't....don't eat this. It is all carbs, cream, and DELICIOUS!

Summer Corn Fettucini
Adapted from Taste and Tell
1 lb fettucini
6 slices of bacon
6 ears of corn, shucked
3 shallots, finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
salt and pepper
1 cup 1/2-1/2 or cream
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 Tbsp fresh chopped thyme
Hot sauce (optional)
1 cup Parmesan
1 cup basil leaves, torn

Cook the pasta and set aside. In a saucepan cook the bacon until crispy. While the bacon is cooking, cut the kernels off of the corn cob. Add 3/4 of it to the cooked bacon. Add the shallots and bell pepper and season with salt and pepper, cook about five minutes until the vegetables are soft.
While the veggies are cooking, put the remaining corn and the cream into the food processor and pulse until smooth. Make sure it is very smooth, mine was a little too grainy. Add the chicken stock to the pan and let it reduce for a minute or two. Add the thyme and corn mixture and stir, then add hot sauce. Pour the sauce over the pasta and then stir in the cheese and basil.


Aug 15, 2010

Daring Cooks: Pierogi

The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale.

Daring Cooks again! YAY! I love doing these daring cooks challenges, because they are usually just that: a challenge. Super fun! And my family likes it too, cause they get to eat something new and exciting. This month's challenge was pierogi which was perfect because Becky had asked me to make those a couple weeks ago and I never got around to it. I made two kinds: Potato/cheese and Meat/cabbage. I liked both of them, however I felt like the potato cheese one went over better. Although if you don't want to eat just carbs and cheese for dinner, I recommend the meat one. There are a bazillion types of Pierogis, so feel free to experiment with it as well!

From the Daring Cooks
2 to 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
About 1 cup lukewarm water
Potatoes and Cheese
3 big potatoes, cooked & mashed (1 1/2 cup instant or leftover mashed potatoes is fine too)
1 cup cottage cheese, drained
1 onion, diced & sauteed in butter until clear
3 slices of streaky bacon, diced and fried till crispy (you can add more bacon if you like or omit that part completely if you’re vegetarian)
1 egg yolk (from medium egg)
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of pepper to taste
Meat and cabbage
200 g cooked meat (minced or cut very finely)
500 g white cabbage (chopped and simmered in a little bit of water, until soft)
1 onion (diced and fried)
1 whole medium egg1 tablespoon butterdry breadcrumbs (add as much to hold the filling together, about 2 tablespoons)
salt and pepper

To make the dough, combine the flour and salt together in a pie dish. Make a well in the center of the flour and crack the egg into it. Using your hands, or a fork if you don't want to touch the egg, combine the flour and egg together. Then slowly add in the water. The water amount is a guesstimation, you might need more or less. Form the dough into a ball, cover with a towel and let rest for half an hour. To make the Potato/cheese filling, just combine all of the ingredients together! (That's a great idea Daring Cooks had, putting the cooking instructions in the ingredient list! Me likey!) Same goes for the meat/cabbage filling.
When you've got the fillings put together, prepare an assembly line situation. If you can, recruit you're family to help. Roll the dough out thinly and cut out circles using a glass or cookie cutter. The size doesn't really matter, it's mostly just personal preference. Put a small amount of the filling in the center of the circle and close the sides up. Seal them with your fingers, but make sure they are sealed all the way, or else the filling will just fall right out. I went around the edges of the potato cheese ones witha fork so that I would be able to tell them apart. You can also use a pierogi form, but hey, where's the fun in that?

After all the pierogis are constructed it's time to boil them. Bring a deep saucepan or a wide pot of water to a boil and then drop the pierogis into the water in batches. I did about 5 pierogis per batch. When they rise to to the top, set a timer for 5 minutes. When the timer goes off, take them out of the water and let them dry off a bit. When you've boiled all the pierogis you can go ahead and eat them. OR you can go one step further and fry them. (DO IT!) Wait until the pierogis have cooled then fry them on both sides with butter. They should be lightly brown and crispy. Nowwwww you can eat them. Frying them makes them like 10 times better. Not even kidding.


Aug 13, 2010

How to: bait boys

I have heard from some people that my blog is offensive to feminists. Granted I have heard this mostly from the women in my family who actively took part in the feminist movement, but nonetheless: offensive. Well guess what's about to get a whole lot more offensive! I present to you Blueberry Boy Bait. That's right. This is how girls in the fifties attempted to "bait" boys. Apparently the story behind this is that the winner of a pillsbury bake off won with her boy bait recipe. She said it worked quite well. OFFENSIVE!
And you know what? She was right! Boys love this stuff! Dan begged me to make this, so I did. But then he ended up not being able to come over when I made it so I saved him a slice in the freezer and decided that I still needed to test out if boys really do love it. The boys in my family loved it, but they don't really count cause if they tell me they don't like something, I yell at them. That's what brothers are for. Anyway, that night I was going to see a movie with some friends so I brought the bag of bait with me. By the end of the movie it was just gone. Last thing I remember is handing it to Mike and Paul and then it dissssssapearrrred. So boys like it! Mission Accomplished! Now in order to make this less gender specific, I suppose girls can like this too. But then you'd have to call it blueberry girl bait and that just doesn't sound as good.

Blueberry Boy (or girl) Bait
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
2 cups plus 1 tsp flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 sticks butter, softened
3/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (but don't defrost the frozen ones)
1/2 cup blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Combine the 2 cups of flour, salt, and baking powder and set aside. With a mixer, combine the butters and sugars until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating as you go. Reduce the speed to medium and add in the flour mixture one third of the flour mixture, then half the milk, then another third of the flour, then the other half of the milk, then the rest of the flour. (Phew! Run on sentence much?) Toss the blueberries with the tsp of flour and fold into the batter. Spread the batter into a greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle the rest of the blueberries on top of the batter. Stir together cinnamon and sugar then sprinkle on top of the batter. Bake in 350F oven for 45-50 min. Cool for 20 minutes, then flip onto a large platter. Then summon the boys and proceed to bait them with the deliciousness.

Aug 11, 2010


So last week a customer came into the bakery and told us about a restaurant in San Francisco called Pica Pica Maize. It's a sort cross between fast food and traditional venezuelan food. I went on the website and one of the first things that comes up is a captions saying that everything in their restaurant is completely gluten free. What the heck?!How have I never been here before?! Luckily, I was going to the city that very night so I convinced Dan that we HAD to go there. Immedietly. And so we did! We went there for lunch over the weekend and it was really cool! Everything is corn based and it's quite delicious. The way the system works is that you choose your filling: various combinations of meats and veggies and cheese. Then you choose your bread out of three options: A corn pancake (Cachapas), maizewich (looks like an english muffin), or an arepa. So there are lots of delicious combos. I ended up getting a Cachapa filled with pulled pork, avocados, and tomatoes.

We also ordered a side of beef empanadas, which were alright but not as good as traditional chilean empanadas. In my opinion. So anyway, the moral of the story is: Pica Pica is delicious! I want to go there everyday!

Aug 10, 2010

Quick Chicken Curry

yes yes yes I know, I'm horribly lazy and haven't been posting very much. To tell the truth the days have just been flying by and I didn't realize that my last post was a week ago! So now I've got a really tasty (and super fast) meal as requested by my Aunt Kate. Here is a recipe for quick chicken curry!

Quick Chicken Curry
Adapted from Cooking by the Seat of my Pants
3 pieces boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 medium onion, chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 serrano chili pepper, seeded and chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp tomato paste
1 tsp curry powder
8 oz heavy cream

In a large skillet heat bit of olive oil of medium heat. Add the onions and cook for a minute. Add the chicken and cook through. Add the garlic and chili to the pan and stir to combine. I didn't think that this recipe was very spicy, so if you like it with some heat feel free to add more chilis. Cook for another three minutes until everything is slightly browned. Add the salt, turmeric, corriander, and cumin and stir well. Make sure all the chicken and onion is covered in spices. Then add the tomato paste, curry powder, and cream.
Stir well and cook until the sauce reaches the desired consistency. I let it cook for about five minutes and it had reduced quite a bit, but still had plenty of sauce. Serve over rice and dig in!


Aug 2, 2010

Cookie Cake Pie

Are you ready for a sugar coma?! I know I am!
I actually made this months ago for Dan's birthday, but for some reason I haven't posted anything about it yet! This is the most ridiculously sugary thing ever. EVER! This is a cake on top of a giant cookie all within a flakey pie crust. I believe Garrett compared it to a star. As in, super super dense. And sugary...although stars don't have sugar in them. You get the idea.

Cookie Cake Pie
Adapted from CakeSpy
1 batch of cookie dough (your favorite chocolate chip cookie, or just the recipe on the back of the tollhouse bag)
1 batch of cake batter (I used boxed funfetti cause hey, it's fun)
1 pie crust (You can find my favorite pie crust here)
1 jar of frosting (I used vanilla, but you can get creative)

Ok so super easy put assembly: First line a deep pie pan with the pie crust. Then add the cookie dough; spread it out enough to cover the bottom of the pan entirely. Then pour in the cake batter. You aren't going to use all of the cake batter, just fill up the pan. Make some cupcakes with the rest! Then bake the whole thing at 350F for about 30 minutes. Check it every five minutes after the 25 minute mark. You have three very different things in one pan so you need to balance out times as best as possible. After the cake/pie/sugar bomb has cooled, frost generously and dig in!
Please limit yourself to one slice. I can not be held responsible if you go into a sugar coma and don't wake for days.


Aug 1, 2010

Veggie Lasagna

This recipe has been on my list to post for sooooooo long. I seriously made this two months ago, but totally forgot to post it! I made this by request of my cousin (in-law? is that even a word: cousin in-law?), so now she's finally getting her wish! Now this isn't something I would normally make just because it has veggies and no meat and the majority of my friends/family are carnivores. However, this went over very well with my family! Even the veggie haters! (that means me...)
Veggie Lasagna
Adapted from For the Love of Cooking
8 oz button mushrooms, quartered
1/2 red onion, sliced
2-3 bell peppers (I replaced these with more broccoli and mushrooms)
handful of broccoli
handful of shredded carrots
6 cloves of garlic, leave skins on for roasting
1 green zucchini, cut in half moons
1 yellow squash, cut in half moons (I used two smallish ones)
olive oil
salt and pepper
dried basil, to taste
dried oregano, to taste
Cheese mixture:
1 16 oz container of ricotta
3-4 Tbsp mozarella, grated
3-4 Tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 egg
salt and pepper
dried basil and oregano, to taste
Everything else:
lasagna noodles
1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce
Mozarella, shredded
Parmesan, shredded
Dried Basil

Phew! That was a long list of ingredients! So the first thing to do is roast the vegetables. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Put all the veggies EXCEPT the zucchini and squash on the baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, basil, and oregano to taste. Put them in the oven for 20 min. When time's up, add the zucchini and squash and cook for another 10 min. After you take them out of the oven and the veggies have cooled, take the garlic out of the skin, slice, and return to the rest of the veggies.
Next, combine the cheese mixture ingredients together in a bowl.
As for the lasagna noodles, there are multiple ways to do this. You could get the no-cook noodles, but that's boring. What I like to do is buy regular noodles and lay them in a casserole pan with really hot water and let them soak for about 30 min. This will soften them, but not cook them all the way through, which makes them easier to handle.
Now to put it all together! Coat a lasagna pan with olive oil or cooking spray then pour some marinara sauce onto the bottom of the pan and layer lasagna noodles so that the bottom is covered. Now the layers go like this:
1/2 of the ricotta
1/2 of the roasted veggies
Lasagna noodles
Sprinkle the mozzarella, parmesean, and dried basil on top. Cook covered in 350F oven for 30 minutes. Then remove the foil and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before slicing.
Yay! Veggie Lasagna!


Jul 29, 2010


So today's post isn't even about a recipe. This post is about my new job! I recently got a job at a bakery in San Carlos called Zest Bakery. Zest speciallizes in gluten free food, which is of course AWESOME! I'm actually writing this as I'm sitting in the bakery. It smells amazing in here and I'm drooling looking at the loaves of freshly made bread. My job here is the afternoon cashier/backup baker, although I haven't been trained as a baker yet. We sell bread, muffins, cookies, ice cream sandwiches, baguettes... SO many things! Anyway the point of this post is: Come visit me! Spread the word! Be converted to Gluten free!

Jul 28, 2010

Mushroom Marinara Sauce

So this is the follow up to the garlic bread recipe posted the other day. This recipe probably should have been first, but oh well! So here is what you should eat that tasty tasty garlic bread with: tasty tasty mushroom marinara sauce. Now I actually hate mushrooms. They have a weird texture that I just can't get over. But I love this sauce! I don't know why, but it's just so freaking tasty!

Mushroom Marinara Sauce
Adapted from Allrecipes
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 6 oz can tomato paste
merlot wine
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup white sugar

heat olive oil in a large pot over med high heat, add garlic and onions and cook until soft. Stir in the mushrooms and basil and cook until the mushrooms are done (about 10 minutes). Pour in the whole tomatoes, bring the mixture to a boil while crushing the tomatoes with a spoon. I suppose you could use a can of crushed tomatoes, but where's the fun in that? Pour in the tomato sauce and bring to a simmer. Let the sauce simmer until thick and bubbling, about 15 minutes. Add the tomato paste then fill the empty can with the merlot wine and add to sauce. Bring to a simmer, then add salt, pepper, oregano, and sugar. Let cook a few minutes longer until heated through. Serve over spaghetti noodles and garlic bread.


Jul 25, 2010

Garlic Bread

This garlic bread post is part 1 in a series; tomorrows recipe will be mushroom marinara sauce. This is one of my favorite pasta sauces (which is weird, since I hate mushrooms) and it goes perfectly with garlic bread. Since today I don't feel like typing an incredibly long pasta recipe, I'm just going to give you the galric bread one. Yes, I know, I'm super lazy.

Garlic Bread
1 loaf of nice bread, we used french bread
1/2 stick butter, melted
garlic powder
onion powder

Cut the bread into slices, but don't cut all the way through. Leave about 1/2 inch of the bread still together at the bottom. Liberally brush the melted butter between the slices. If you need more butter, go ahead and melt some more. This is not the time to be stingy people. Then sprinkle on plenty of garlic powder anywhere you put the butter. I like to sprinkle on a little bit of onion powder too, but hey that's totally optional. Put the bread in a 350F oven for about 10 min, checking on it after 5 minutes. If you like it crispier, leave it in for the full ten. Then turn the broiler on and let it crisp up for about a minute. Keep an eye on it! Don't want super burned garlic bread, just golden brown and crispy. Oh this would also be the time to sprinkle parmesan cheese on top, if you so desire. When it's done just put it in a basket and people will rip off the slices themselves.


Jul 22, 2010

New Pizza Crusts

So this post is not so much a recipe as a product review/recreation. I've recently fallen in love with Kinnikinnick gluten free foods. It used to be that Kinnikinnick had nuts in all their products, but recently they've done a complete overhaul of their production lines and now all of their products are nut free! They have the most amazing frozen pizza crusts I've ever experienced. They're small, individual sizes and they always come out perfectly. Soft on the inside, crispy on the outside, with a delicious sprinkling of corn meal on the bottom for extra crunch.
And now for the recreation part of this post: Some of you may have seen my ecstatic ranting about an amazing gluten free pizza place called Zpizza. We had pizza for dinner the other night and, with Zpizza in mind, I tried to recreate their mexican pizza; with a few twists of course. I used the frozen pizza crusts and topped it with: tomato basil sauce, shredded mexican cheese, red and green onion, and corn. Then I sprinkled on a bit of garlic powder, cumin, and ground oregano.
After baking, I added a couple slices of avocado. What I intended to do, but forgot in my rush to eat the entire pizza, was to put a bit of sour cream on as well.

Try this pizza out! This would also be really tasty with some leftover meat on top. I didn't have any, but chicken or gorund beef would have been really tasty.

Jul 21, 2010

Roast Chicken and Veggies

So I have a huge long list of things to post here, however I'm letting one particular meal cut in line. This is a great simple meal that is so amazingly satisfying. This is also a really great meal if you have a local farmers market. I've taken to wandering around the farmers market, grabbing veggies and fruits that look the freshest and making some kick ass food out of it. While I was at the farmers market this week, I already had roasted chicken and veggies in mind so all I had to do was find the nicest looking veggies. I ended up getting a BUNCH of stuff, but for this meal I used potatoes, carrots, squash, zucchini, and onions. Unfortunately, they don't sell whole chickens, dead or otherwise, at the farmers market so I went to Safeway for that. So here is how to make a whole roasted chicken and veggies to go along with it.

Roast Chicken and Vegetables
Chicken adapted from Pioneer Woman Cooks
1 whole chicken
Fresh herbs (I used sage, thyme, rosemary, and parsley)
Canola oil
1 lemon
1 onion
Vegetables for roasting, cut into uniform pieces
new potatoes

Remove the insides from the chicken if this hasn't already been done for you and pat the outside with a paper towel. If the chicken isn't dry before putting on the herbs, it won't get deliciously brown and crispy. Chop up the herbs and combine them with oil. Depending on how many chickens you are doing you will need to change the amounts but here is the basic rule for one chicken:
2 Tbsp chopped herbs
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp canola oil
If you are doing two chickens (like I did) then you would double that. Rub the oil/herb mixture all over the chicken. Then cut the lemon and onion in half and put them in the chicken. My two chickens were kind of small so I did half of each in each chicken. You can also throw in a couple cloves of garlic if you so desire. Also feel free to pin the back of the chicken so that the lemon/onions don't fall out. I used those long metal pointy things. I really don't even know what to call them.

Cook the chicken in 450F oven for an hour to an hour 15 min until the juices run clear. Let rest for 15 min before serving. I thought the chickens were done, but the legs weren't quite as cooked as the breasts were. But we were starving so we carved up the breasts then put the chickens back in the oven to cook the legs through.

Now for the roasted veggies! Make sure all the veggies are all chopped to approximatly the same size, otherwise they won't cook evenly. I cooked my veggies in batches because I wanted to make sure everything was cooked properly. First I did the potatoes and carrots. This is also where you would roast the onions if you chose to do so. Toss the carrots and potatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper and any fresh herbs you have on hand. You can put the potatoes and carrots in the oven with the chicken at 450F for 30 min.

After they're done, put them in a bowl, cover it with foil and just wait till everything else is ready. The squash and zichunni are next. The same goes for them: toss with oil, salt, pepper, and herbs and throw it in the oven. These only cook for 10-15 min. Check on them every now and then to see when they're done to your liking.
So there you go! A delicious (and super healthy) roasted dinner.

Jul 18, 2010

Curried Chicken

Here is the part two of the Daring cooks challenge. My previous post was the actual challenge item itself: Almond butter. This post is about how to use it. Of course, you could use almond butter any number of ways, but I used one of the Daring Cooks recipes. This is a semi-indian dish in that it has Indian spices and vaguely resembles chicken tikka masala. I really love this dish and I'm debating making this dish again this week. You should all try it!Tomato Chicken Curry
Adapted from Daring Cooks
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
salt to taste
Spice Blend
1 1/2 Tbsp garam masala seasoning
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 Tbsp butter
1 large onion, half chopped, half sliced in thick chunks
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
1/3 cup almond butter
1/3 cup milk
1/2-3/4 cup water
1 cup frozen peas

Pound the chicken to 1/4 inch thikness so that it will cook faster. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat oil in a large skillet and cook chicken, 3-5 minutes on both sides. When the chicken is done cooking, cut it into bite size pieces and set aside.
In a small bowl prepare the spice blend, combine all the seasoning together and mix well.
Melt the butter in a non stick skillet over medium low heat. Add the onion and cook for several minutes. To clarfiy about the onion: The onions are semi optional. The recipe says that the onion should be cut into 4 large chunks and cooked in the butter to infuse the butter with onioney flavor. However, I think that's garbage. I cut up half the onion into large chunks and finely chopped the other half. What can I say, I like onions.
Anyway, after the onion has cooked for a few minutes, add teh spice blend and garlic and cook for a minute or two, stirring constantly. Add the tomato sauce, stir well and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and add the water until desired consistencey. Stir in the frozen peas and cut up chicken and remove the large onion chunks. Simmer for a few minutes until the peas and chicken are cooked through. Serve over warm basmati rice.


Jul 15, 2010

Almond Butter- Daring Cooks July Challenge

The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a recipe. Their sources include Better with Nut Butter by Cooking Light Magazine, Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds, and Food Network online.

So I am officially a Daring Cook! I have participated in my very first Daring Cooks challenge and it was awesome! For those of you not in the know, Daring Cooks is a foodie challenge; every month a new challenge is posted and the participants all create some dish using the challenge item. This month's challenge was "nut butters." (Isn't that just so ironic? My first one is all about nuts.) Luckily for me, I'm not allergic to almonds and so I was still able to participate in this challenge. I made an almond butter then used the almond butter in a curried chicken dish. The recipes were given by Daring Cooks, so they aren't original for anything, but everyone should really try it. This is one of my new favorite chicken dishes and I'm sure it's going to become a weeknight go-to meal.
So for today's post I will explain the process of making a nut butter, then the next post will be about using it in the curried chicken dish. Honestly, it's 12 am and I am just not in the mood for typing.

Nut Butters (Almond Butter)
1 cup almonds
canola/vegetable oil

Grind the almonds in a food processor until they start to form together into a sort of paste. This will go faster if the almonds don't have the skins, but that's kind of a personal preference thing. Then drizzle in the oil until the almond butter reaches the desired consistency and salt to taste. Again with the personal preferences, but you can make it chunky or smooth here. This will give you about 1/2 cup of almond butter, in general the amount of original almonds is divided by two to make the butter.
A potential variation is to roast the almonds. I did this and I thought that the butter had a richer flavor because of it. Roasting the almonds is very easy, so I definitely recommend trying it. Preheat the oven to 350F and lay the almonds out on a baking sheet. Roast in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Let the almonds cool before grinding. Also at this point I took the skins off the almonds. I left a few on for the hell of it, but I tried to get the majority of the skin off.
So there you go! Almond butter!