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! ...wow 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!