Sunday, April 11, 2010

Fish Tacos

In case you were wondering if the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, rest assured, Cowgirl's husband was literally GRUNTING as he ate this. I mean, seriously. Grunting. And Umm. And, Ugh. And, Ohh. And Ugh, And whatever grunting sounds a man makes. Good Lord.

But I watched and I learned.
Pinto Beans, White Northern Beans, Kidney Beans, and can of corn - all drained. A can of green chilies, some onion, some salsa, lime juice and you mix that all up and top it with cod and shrimp in a pan, top with some parmesan and cover it with foil. Bake it on the grill (or in the oven) until the fish is done, layer it on tortillas with shredded cheese and sour cream and it's heaven. Utterly heaven.

I wanted to grunt while I was eating it. But I didn't. We made asparagus also, by putting it in a package of tin foil with butter, salt and pepper and grilling it alongside the taco innards. It was amazing. It must be asparagus season!

All in all, it was an amazing meal. And frankly? I don't care for shrimp, but the cod was cheap and if that's what you stuck to? This would be a dang inexpensive meal.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Trying New Things

So, I have been reading on several (well - like a ton) of blogs about the goodness that is baked kale chips. And I was leery, people. Quite leery. Greens don't get crunchy, they get soggy and slimy. I'm not a fan of greens. I wish I was. I try to like them. I really do.

Then smittenkitchen tried them. And she said they didn't suck, so when I was at the grocery store, I picked up some kale because I WANT to like new things, yanno?I mixed up way too much olive oil and sea salt and added way too much garlic for good measure. My capacity for extremes might have been the problem here.
See this bag? It's pre-cut, which in essence makes the pieces a bit too small for "chips."
Here's some smothered kale on a cooking sheet.
Then I baked it. Don't ask me to remember at what temperature or how long. Follow smitten kitchen's recipe, my oven is totally messed up.

And it WAS crispy! It was savory! I could like it, I think. If I hadn't gone overboard with the olive oil and garlic. I will try again, because of course I have a whole other half bag of kale to deal with and I ate it raw in a salad the other day and that was... not so pleasant. Yuck. I was SO hoping to like it because some of the free heirloom seeds I got were for kale. But I think I'm going to pass on planting it. Because I love my garden so much and I don't want to grow things I won't eat. I'll pass them along to someone else.

But it's worth a try guys, just don't do what I did and mess with the recipe. OK?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Tortillas and Turkey

I revere this book. I had to have it. And my mom gave it to me. I don't know if it's hers or if she found it at an estate sale or what, but I love it. It has the history of American food and other and whatever. I love it. I read it like a novel. I read most cookbooks like a novel. I love them. But this is a favorite. I wanted to make homemade tortillas this weekend. I'm not super into making bread, but I thought making tortillas would be fun. Wraps and stuff, yanno?2 cups flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 T. butter
1/2 to 3/4 c. water
How's THAT for preservative free?
Couldn't find my rolling pin, so used a can of green beans. I made whole wheat tortillas yesterday and discovered that the Pam Spray can works better. Where is my rolling pin?!
Assembly line.
The recipe says to cook them sans fat. I'm all about that.
The stack of goods. The pictures I didn't take of the whole wheat ones are better. They are much, much thinner and have a whole lot more fiber, and I'm not ingesting the poison that manufacturers put into bread. Right?
My yummy sandwich. Homemade tortilla, turkey, spicy mustard, swiss cheese and lettuce. WiN!
And then I cooked a turkey. Stuffed it with apples and onions.
Then wrapped it up because The Pioneer Woman told me to.
Notice the change of scenery. My gas oven decided to die on me about an hour and a half into the turkey cooking. WHoooom! And then click click click and then Whooom! and then click click click click. My oven was going to kill me. So I took the whole shebang upstairs. NOT happy, but whatever. Done turkey is better than nothing.
Two hours in, I took off the foil and basted it with butter. YUM. Serious yum.
Look at that golden baby. I didn't take pictures of the desecration (carving) because it was awful. I'm not so good with the demise of the turkey. But I now have six freezer bags full of individual sized portions of turkey and I made turkey tacos tonight. Whee! Taco mix, shredded turkey, lettuce, slalsa and cheese make me very happy. On homemade tortillas! Sigh. I'm so tired, I can't even tell you how happy I am.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Birthday Cake

So my mom turned 63 today. They brought my grandma over last Saturday, since she's been staying with them for a few weeks. And Grammie was super excited to see where I live. She likes to picture where people are when she talks to them, and I was so pumped to see her. I talk to her all the time - knowing that each interchange might be our last, but for heaven's sake, she is vibrant and ALL THERE in the head, which I am supremely grateful for.

In the meantime, I wanted to make a birthday cake for my mom. I originally thought of Boston Cream Pie cupcakes, but couldn't find a recipe that didn't say in the comments that it turned out "dry," so I went for springy lemon! The recipe I had started with a lemon cake mix. You added a couple tablespoons of lemon zest and 1/4 cup substitution of lemon juice for the water the mix recommended. Done and done.
Then onto the frosting. This had a ton of ingredients in it. Powdered sugar and cream cheese. Then you fold in some cool whip.
Then you make instant lemon pudding to go along with it. But I followed the directions on the box and not the directions from the recipe. One called for 2 cups of milk. The other called for one. Sigh.
I knew it was a disaster when I stirred it all together. It just wouldn't get thick. I added another WHOLE bag of powdered sugar when I re-read the recipe and noticed that I'd added a whole cup of liquid that it didn't call for and I was out of powdered sugar. But I was on the phone with my dad at the time and he said, "Just freeze it! Maybe it will make ice cream." Which I did, because seriously? There were lots of ingredients in there and it seemed a shame to toss it out.
So I layered the cakes with Cool Whip.
And went to the store the next morning for a tub of lemon frosting.
But lo- and behold! The lemon "cream" ice cream was a hit! Mistakes happen, but this was one of the better mistakes I've made. It went perfectly with the cake. Whee!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Roasted Root Vegetables

I have been trying a new diet for the past few weeks. A friend of mine recently got diagnosed with a variety of food allergies and since she knows I love, love, love to cook, she asked me to help her find recipes that were palatable, allergen free, and easy to prepare. I assured her I would go on the same diet, experiment, and get back to her. And I'm slightly pissed. Because frankly? Even though I don't have as severe symptoms as she does, I feel so incredibly better after cutting certain things out of my diet, I could cry. Cheese, people. Cheese. Have I mentioned how much I adore cheese? Fucking cheese. I LOVE CHEESE. And I'm SO not interested in being allergic to cheese. However, I am willing to try just a little bit harder to cut some of the things that make me feel so disgusting - out of my diet. Which includes cheese (Holy cow. I LOVE CHEESE! How can cheese make me feel bad?! It is my destiny! Cheese!) gluten, nightshade vegetables (Hello? Tomatoes? That SUCKS!) But I am interested in expanding my diet so that the lack of cheese doesn't make me want to slit my wrists.

And on that note, I shop mostly at the food coop. If I can avoid the chain grocery store, I do. And in that manner, I found this. A bag of root vegetables. Destined for roasting or soup. So I roasted them. I've never, ever! Had sunchokes, celeriac, turnips or parsnips. I'm 37. I blame my mother. And so far, my favorite (which means it will be in my garden this summer) are the turnips. They are like a mild radish. And almost creamy in taste. I can't even describe them. But they were oh-so-yummy!
I cut about half the bag into bite sized pieces and squished them in a ziplock bag with olive oil, pepper, sea salt, rosemary, oregano and garlic salt. Oh! And I added a chopped onion as well. What are roasted vegetables without onion? Nothing, I tell you. Nothing.
I baked them for 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven, stirring them on occasion.
And then I served them with brown rice. Dax was pretty sure there was something there for him. But no luck. He doesn't like vegetables. Sorry, buddy.
And if you haven't cooked brown rice by this tutorial, (Click on it. I'm serious.) you haven't eaten decent brown rice. I was totally blow away by how light and fluffy it was. I am not joking. It was superb!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Baked Donuts

I not only made cheese this weekend, I made homemade donuts. I don't know if The Crazy has anything to do with the cooking, but it made me happy. I used a recipe from The Good Cook. And I made some substitutions, because I'm lazy and don't like to go to the store if I don't have to. You can make buttermilk by combining a cup of milk with a Tablespoon of vinegar and letting it sit for a few minutes. And if you only have lime juice, I'd say it's a good substitute for the lemon. Oh, and I had no lemon peel, so I just left that out. And as you can see, I used an egg instead of 1/4 c. of egg substitute. See? Lazy. Either that or "creative and make do."
Mise en place, because The Good Cook told me to. That silver thing looks like something I possibly stole from a restaurant. And the clear glass thing? It's a votive candle holder.

The dry ingredients! And if you don't read the recipe clear through before you start, you are liable to put the dry yeast into the bowl without prepping it. And then you read the directions and understand that you're supposed to prep it with 1/4 c. of warm water. So I dug it out and did it. Sigh.
Then, you're supposed to knead the dough for a good 8-10 minutes. It needed a BUNCH of flour to make that happen. I don't have a bread machine, and I'm not sure a bread machine would have made it better, but it was super sticky. Add as much as you need to make it kneadable.
Then you separate it into 10 balls and make 10 donuts and put them on a greased baking sheet.
Cover them and raise them for 45 minutes. And I will RAAAIIISSE YOU UP! AND I WILL RAAAA IIIISSEE YOU UP! AND I WILL RAAAIIISE YOU UP, ON THE LAAAASSST DAY! Bonus points if you know where that comes from.
They are squishy and plush.
Bake them for 8 minutes and then put on a lemon (lime) glaze. They are not like donuts at all. They are ALL like bagels and bread. And they were super yummy. You either like them or you don't. Tiny hated them. But Other Boy wanted to gobble them ALL up. Yum.
There you go. Donuts. Yeah for me!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lava. And Its Chocolate Incarnation

I ended up at an impromptu dinner party last night at a local restaurant. They ordered for me because I didn't know about it until they'd already sat down, and my four cheese mac and cheese was an utter delight. Pretty much everyone who had steak wished they were me since the beef was not so good and the pasta was oh-so-delicious. But during the course of conversation, someone said, "What's that cake that you get at Chili's that's part cake and part pudding and a whole lot of delicious?" And that man's wife and I said at the same time, "Volcano cake!" Well. Suffice it to say that I spent the day googling volcano cake, but found out that googling molten lava cake gave me better results. And here are the results.

This is a Martha Stewart recipe. Of which I mostly refuse to follow. It's a principle sort of thing. But it was the easiest and I had all the ingredients on hand and well - you didn't have to separate the eggs and whip egg whites and fold them in. Not a fan of whipping things. Well - just not food things. So here you go.
The recipe said you should cook them in six muffin tins and since I was giving them away, I decided to use my ramekins. I only had three small ones, so I made three baby cakes and two medium ones.
The "dough" got decidedly hard when I mixed the chocolate with the eggs, sugar and butter. I will make sure that those three ingredients are more than room temperature next time. It was almost too hard to plop in the ramekins.
The finished product with a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
And the carrying case! A drill box. Perfect!

Molten Lava Cake
4 T. butter
1/3 c. sugar
3 eggs
1/3 c. flour
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, spray ramekins to within an inch of their lives. Cream butter and sugar, add eggs one at a time, beating after each. Add flour. Then fold in the chocolate. Distribute between 6 small ramekins or muffin tins. Bake 8-10 minutes. The top may look sort of dry, but the middle should still be liquid. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes. You can either invert them, or serve them individually in ramekins. They are very rich.