I’m never gonna go back to Ohio!

November 30, 2011 at 23:49 | Posted in Desserts, FAIL | 1 Comment
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Jason Robert Brown wrote a musical several, several years ago called The Last 5 Years. I’m currently (again) very into the song A Summer in Ohio. The lyrics are set to a bouncy tempo and describe the female protagonist’s hellish 90 days in Ohio. Again. It paints a picture of disappointment (and paying dues) as she sings about all the things she could be doing instead of spending time in the O-H (I-O).

Ultimate noms about to occur.

Anyway the connection is the lyric, “I guess I’m doing something right. I finally got something right.”

Again, the food connection?

I think about all the failures I’ve done in the last several months and how they taught me to succeed and that they weren’t failures. Just steps along the learning curve.

Unlike the little turtle friend I believe the best is still yet to come. In life and cooking.

Here’s a recipe for thumbprint cookies. They’re a fine christmassy treat and this recipe relatively modifiable. You’ll see various photos of my successes with these cookies flip across the banner up to sometimes.

Another turkey endeavor

November 25, 2011 at 13:20 | Posted in Main dishes | Leave a comment
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Look at that saucy bird. She'll give it up for anyone.

This Thanksgiving I took on the herculean task of making the turkey. Herculean you question? Roasting a turkey breast is slightly different than roasting a full turkey. For one thing, there’s a bag of disgust to remove from said turkey. If you follow me on twitter you may have followed my follies of the day.

I got up super early and unwrapped the bird in the sink, for obvious reasons, and threw the damn thing in the oven.

This turkey has a leg malformation. Or a skin tag. You can see the lines from the roaster from where I did the flip.

And hour later I got up and checked on it. Baste, flip, baste.

Flip you say? Flip? This is a turkey. Not a pancake.

Well in my stupor of morning-time I loaded the turkey in, what I perceived to be, facing the wrong way. Roasting your bird upside down may seem like a first-timer blunder, but it’s actually catching on as a popular method to keep the moisture in.

It turned out really well except that the thighs weren’t completely cooked after 4 hours (which, for a 12 pound turkey should be ample time to cook). So we ate the breast while the rest finished up in the oven.

Get in the kitchen and make me a… Part 2

November 10, 2011 at 14:27 | Posted in Desserts, FAIL, Pies | 1 Comment
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So here it is finally. The pie slide show. Sorry I’m a little late.

I mentioned in a previous entry that I made this pie because I was thinking about my Grandma. She recently fell and broke her hip into 3 pieces. She’s had surgery and is now in physical therapy.

Here's a picture of Grandma with my mom when she was small.

I think she’s having a rough time with it. She doesn’t really want to do the physical therapy. They’re trying to make her build up her upper body strength.

Anyway! The pie. My mom has a good recipe for egg custard, but I always misplace it. If I searched my email long enough I might find it but I just used the one from here. My grandma is important to me and even though I can’t be with her while she’s doing this, I am thinking about her and praying for her recovery.

The pie didn’t turn out very well. It was OKAY but not amazing. I should have asked my mom for the recipe. For shame Nikki.

I hear you’re easy.

November 9, 2011 at 19:54 | Posted in Main dishes, Tried and True | 7 Comments
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How do you eat your eggs? Or do you eat eggs? Some people are really funny regarding that. My husband likes them over easy which, to me, is pretty gross but I learned to cook them that way just for him. Next up is learning to poach so I can make true carbonara.

I didn't make this but it illustrates the fluffy way eggs should look. Like fabulous hair on this complete breakfast.

I like to scramble my eggs for breakfast time. Or dinner time. There’s a lot of argument, between friends, about the best way to scramble eggs. I maintain that adding milk to the eggs and beating them before you put them in the pan is the best. A medium heated, slightly greased pan cooks the milk out as you stir, with a fork, the eggs while they’re in the pan. This leaves them fluffy, yellow and pretty. In my opinion this also makes them perfect for omelette-izing. I picked up this tip from my mom. Maybe I’m biased.

Don’t leave them cooking alone! They’ll burn and be yuck. I’ve found that foods, like most people, needs constant baby sitting while it’s working towards a final goal.

Quick, easy fluffy eggs are a great protein source.

This entry is brought to you by the letter E, the number 2 and The Incredible Edible Egg.

Solving the sausage gravy secret

November 5, 2011 at 15:38 | Posted in Experiments, Main dishes | 3 Comments
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A biscuit cutter is one of the most useless kitchen gadgets ever. I just use a glass.

I grew up in South Carolina. We didn’t get much, if any, snow there. Black ice sure, but not snow. Since I’ve been here in the interior of Alaska, land of snow, I’ve been learning that the comfort foods for a snowy day are always warm, usually edible with a spoon and often cream or milk based. Sausage gravy fits all these categories so I affectionately deem it: comfort food. I’ve been working on trying to make sausage gravy for awhile.

Biscuit dough is not sticky like yeast roll dough. See how there's none stuck to the bowl? Damn right.

I know what you’re thinking–Gravy is so simple! How is she screwing this up? (In my defense I want to point out that screwing up is much easier than getting it right. It’s also how you learn! Especially in cooking. Everything isn’t always spelled out in the recipe.) I feel like it’s always simplest things that can go the most wrong.

The biscuits turned out pretty. I like when they look sort of spotty like this.

I screwed this up all last winter, much to the chagrin of my husband. I sent him an email today about the damn gravy because, finally, I figured it out. WINNING! It seems that the key to it all was putting the flour directly onto the meat, stirring it up and then adding the milk. Finding a recipe (which is linked above) that explained it to me in a way I understood was great. Thank you corporate America. This is a revelation to me. Sort of like when I figured out the Quaker Oats man was a Quaker and not a pilgrim. What a day that was.

Yum sausage gravy. I don't know how some places make it off white. Maybe they use more milk. Another mystery.

I made the biscuits from scratch. Biscuits really are so easy that even I haven’t been able to really mess them up. I thought about just buying some canned ones, but I gave in. I used Paula Deen’s recipe from the Food Network. I did not use her 1/2 cup of butter she called for though. I used butter flavored Crisco. Crisco makes better biscuits. This is my belief.

Biscuits and gravy are one of my favorite foods. I’m pleased I can finally make them at home. With this entry I’ve earned a trip to the gym. Hello elliptical.

Get in the kitchen and make me a…

October 29, 2011 at 21:35 | Posted in Desserts, Experiments | 1 Comment
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PIE! SANDWICH!

i should be i the kitchen!

Should I?

I don’t need a watch… there’s a clock on the stove!

In other news I made an egg custard pie. I’ve never used that recipe before. I took a ton of photos so I’ll make a snappy little movie to illustrate the endeavor and whether or not it turned out well. My dear husband Joshua does NOT like this pie, but I do. It makes me think of my Grandma because she and I used to go share a slice at the local cafeteria when I was small.

I’ve been a little off my game lately (throwing out a LOT of food) and I aim to fix that with this pie. I hope. I even followed the recipe! I’ll have that movie up on Monday.

Snow!

October 15, 2011 at 17:25 | Posted in Main dishes | 1 Comment
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I love snow. Fall is in full swing and winter is grazing the surface here in Fairbanks. I’m ready for it. I feel like Starbucks used to bring back fall for me, but now I’m just waiting for snow.

Snowy

It ended up snowing more than this, but this is the better picture of the ones I took.

Doesn’t the snow look pretty? I’m sure I’ll be singing a different tune in a few months. When it’s 3 feet deep.

In honor of the chilly weather I roasted a turkey breast.

It turned out pretty awesome. I used a recipe I discovered last Thanksgiving. It’s super simple and I already had everything in the house. Someday when I grow up, I’ll be Betty Crocker.

So in between doing homework and cleaning my kitchen, as I messed it up again, I basted this bad boy right up.

This is such an easy, easy way to feel good about yourself in the kitchen.

Click to see more photos from this endeavor.

Pancakes: A short history

September 24, 2011 at 23:22 | Posted in Main dishes, Tried and True | 3 Comments
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Click here-> This is a map of a short history of pancakes.

This is the kind of pancake I don't have to aspire to because I have this down pat.

In a previous entry I implied there were pancakes I aspired to and I wanted to clarify that it is not all pancakes I aspire to. I have these pretty well in hand. They are 100x better than your typical Bisquick laziness. This is near and dear to me because it is what my grandma used to make me as a kid.

Recipe

Rated G

September 18, 2011 at 00:22 | Posted in Main dishes, Tried and True | 9 Comments
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The phrase of the day is:
Some people just need a high five… in the face… with a chair.

That should sum up where I’m coming from over here. I wanted to make something easy and satisfying, so I went with trusty old enchiladas. Because few things smell better than onions sauteeing in butter.

This is one of my favorite recipes. I started making it a few years ago and have been modifying it ever since. The recipe gets its roots here. I found it on my Dinner Spinner App one night while trying to impress my then boyfriend (now husband). Maybe these are magic enchiladas. Maybe, I should write to Glamour and let them know the Engagement Chicken prize has been usurped. Maybe if I get crazy hair and a new attitude, I can have my own cooking show!

Maybe not.

This recipe is super fast and simple because it requires minimal prep work. Just chop some onion and green pepper because everything else comes from a can! You may find that a bit distasteful, but it’s actually tasty. Ask anyone in my office. They all enjoyed them and not just because they were free.

Discrepancies from the movie and the ingredients shown in the movie are:
-I used 2 cans of Rotel even though only 1 is shown in the photo.
-I used 2 cans of enchilada sauce even though only 1 is shown in the photo.
-The tortillas are burrito sized. They are in the photo, but are behind everything else.
-The cream cheese is not shown in the photo at all. It is one of those individual packs of cream cheese.

This movie is one of my first forays into the land of iMovie. For some reason, I feel like I am going to change something about this movie, but I’m not sure what.

Happy cooking everyone!

Click to see a little something extra

It was kismet

September 9, 2011 at 12:12 | Posted in Desserts, Experiments, Pies | 4 Comments
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Lemon curd is amazing. It is, by and far, my favorite curd.

It’s tart. It’s yellow. It’s curd-tastic.

This particular batch of lemon curd came to be last weekend. Using this recipe, I preconceived what I would bless with this lemon curd, but as many concepts go, it didn’t work out. I was trying to make lemon financiers. That experiment didn’t turn out so well (failure) and I had a lot of lemon curd leftover.

Artsy filter shot of the final product: 24 bite sized lemon meringue pies. Born on 9/8/11.

For the duration of its life, lemon curd patiently lived in my refrigerator, awaiting a time when it could follow its fortune as a filling.

That day was today.

It may have been happenstance that my tryst with financiers had failed, but a rendezvous with lemon curd was meant to be, as the filling for a lemon meringue pie. I was setting up in the kitchen when it came to me! To do something different, I decided to use the mini-muffin pan and mini-cupcake papers to bake many bite sized pies. Oooooo. Fancy.

I pressed the crust, dolloped the lemon curd to its destiny and scaled the stiff peaks of meringue.

There may have been some kind of providence associated with this pint of lemon curd. That any destination this particular batch arrived, was to have a disastrous end. The meringues fell. I’m not sure if this was because I didn’t let the pies cool long enough before putting them in the refrigerator or if I didn’t let the meringues cook long enough. Either way, they are perfectly preserved in pictures.

Fortunately for me look doesn’t always equal taste. Despite the deflation of the meringue, in my opinion, the pies are still del.icio.us.

All for what? For tasty little snacks.

Click to View Recipes and Illustrations

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