Follow me as I dive into the world that is cooking! There will be mishaps, burns and feasts as you watch my progression from college-student fare (pizza rolls and ramen noodles) to (hopefully) goddess of the hearth! I am always open to new recipes and ideas, so feel free to contact me.

November 23, 2012

What to do with Leftover Mashed Potatoes

Happy Thanksgiving/Turkey Day!
I had a wonderful time with my mom's side of the family this year, as we all gathered at my grandmother's little house in south Texas and ate in her back yard among her roses and sunflowers.  Normally I'm in the kitchen with the best of them, cooking and trying not to burn anything (or anyone for that matter), but we had ordered everything from Central Market, so Thanksgiving was easy peasy.

HOWEVER, two days prior to Thanksgiving was my husband's birthday!  I was in the kitchen from 7 AM to 10 PM, with a three hour break for school.  I made everything from shrimp migas for breakfast to chicken-fried venison backstrap (SO GOOD will post later) and mashed potatoes.  Needless to say I had a plethora of leftovers.

husby and dog-dog

Mashed potatoes are great when you're eating them with a good slab of meat or what have you, but the next day I always open the fridge and sigh when I see them sitting there, politely clumped in a storage container.  They bore me after a day, I'll be honest.  But I ran across a recipe that revives them into crispy-on-the-outside-gooey-on-the-inside treats for the following day.  We enjoyed them with ketchup or they can just be popped into your mouth for instant deliciousness!

October 15, 2012

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Some awesome friends of ours invited us out to their  house for brisket this afternoon. How could we say no?! The guy had woken up at 5:30 this morning to prep and begin smoking this hunk of beef.  So good.  Naturally I asked if there was anything I could bring, and when I realized my friend had no dessert in line, I opted for that.

I don't know if you've ever had the experience of wandering around your kitchen, picking up random foods and asking the morsel, "how can I use you?" so as to avoid a trip to the store, but in just such a search I came across a ripened pineapple I had been meaning to devour this weekend. With my Cook's Illustrated book in hand (I LOVE Cook's Illustrated!) I threw together a tasty, slightly sweet end to an afternoon meal of meat and potatoes.

The Cook's Illustrated staff has perfected many recipes, including the fudgiest brownies I have ever experienced (don't worry, they will be here soon!).  They operate out of an amazing test kitchen that usually results in some pretty specific instructions to replicate the recipe, so when you read the instructions on this, know that it is detailed because it's awesome EXACTLY how they make it.  

The only change I would have made (yeah you like that contradiction?!) is added more pineapple-caramel juice.  I don't think the pineapple I had was big enough, or maybe I didn't let it sit long enough before allowing it to be devoured.  

Anyway, it was a hit and I barely had time to take a photo before there was only a tiny sliver left!  I had an avid pineapple upside-down cake fan at the house, and it was stamped with a mouthful of approval.  I really enjoyed the fact that this cake was not overly sweet and had a nice balance of soft, moist cake to fresh-baked caramelized pineapple goodness.  Note that this recipe uses no canned pineapple or cherries!  Be forewarned in case that's what you found in your pantry...

September 5, 2012

Mrs. Field's Chocolate Chip Cookies; Just Like Grandma Would Make.

I was handed this insanely wonderful recipe by my sweet mother-in-law a few years back, and have never used another chocolate chip cookie recipe since.  These are the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever had.  Period.  I know you've heard this a lot: "so and so made these amazing cookies blah blah blah" DISREGARD.  These are awesome.  I think the key to this recipe, besides the shredded bits of Hershey's chocolate bars and chocolate chunks is the use of ground oats.  It gives the cookie just enough of a soft texture and keeps it from becoming too soggy with all the chocolate and butter!

My younger brother comes in every now and then to cook and play video games with us, and happened to join me for the cookie-making extravaganza.  This recipe makes a TON of cookies, so I ended up freezing a ball of the dough and baking it later (oh, and it also makes a great snack when you're having one of those bad days...), to find that it was just as good as when I first made the dough.

Anyhoo, most of the photos here are thanks to my brother and his awesome photography skills!  Guess the appeal of the camera runs in the fam.  There are a lot of "Mrs. Field's Cookies" recipes out there, and so far I haven't found this exact one.  I'm guessing it was tweaked somewhere down the line.  I assure you this is by far the best one.  I promise, if you're a copyright hunter and you're here to shoot me down, I have no idea where this recipe came from NOR do I claim it as my own!  I'm just sharing it with the world is all.

You can always half the recipe if this is just too much cookie dough to have in your house (trust me, I'm restricted on how many sweets I can make because otherwise I'd be at the dentist every week), but like I said it freezes well for up to a month.

August 10, 2012

Curried Chicken Salad

So yesterday was my last day of summer semester finals, and I am now sitting here with a cold!  Bah.  I figured I'd make the best of my day in the house by posting a blog for my neglected followers...

This is a recipe that I had found online randomly and Jhet and I made it and re-made it until we loved it.  Now he eats it straight out of the bowl and I have to fight him for at least two servings!  Curried chicken salad has become a lunchtime (and dinnertime on occasion) favorite in this house, so I thought I would share our awesome recipe with you.

One of my favorite things about this recipe is that Jhet loves to make it with me.  He is our official taste-tester, always adding more curry when necessary.  It does take a little bit of labor (shredding apples, dicing grapes, etc.), so we have split the work in two.  No worries if you are flyin' solo on this recipe though!  It's really not that difficult.  I'm just kind of lazy.

July 30, 2012

A lil' Ditty. Jus for you.

This is ridiculous.  And awesome.  Next post:  Curried Chicken Salad (after my Math test tomorrow!).. Then, Chocolate Chip Cookies!!!  But first, you have to hear this song:

The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band - Mama's Fried Potatoes


June 21, 2012

Run, Lemon Curd, Run!

LOOK!  My first official food blog post in forever!  Excite!

I am a lemon fiend.  I love the tart bite of citrus, the way it contrasts wonderfully with creamy deliciousness, and how it can be incorporated into sweet, savory, seafood, whatever.  SO when lemons go on sale, I buy lots, and try to come up with some way to justify the purchase by cooking them into everything.  

I've tried several times to make lemon curd, with the first recipe being the most successful.  The key to curd is to stir it constantly, for a really stinking long time, until you're questioning whether or not you can break for the bathroom or not.  Then those little bubbles will break in the pan and it'll be finished!  Then, magically during cooling, it turns into the perfect gelatinous texture that you can spoon right out of the jar when it's cooled.  Make sure you cool it in a large bowl and NOT in a jar.  It doesn't settle correctly when placed in a tall apparatus versus something wide where the heat can be distributed outward more easily (this was my downfall more than once!).

Although my third attempt was not a success, I know that this recipe is good!  I will post photos of this delicious failure, and you will like it!  Or not. The recipe yields two cups' worth, and can be used with all kinds of other recipes or just simply eaten straight.
Photo by Gilbert Blanchard III

As a side note, I love the farmer's market!  It's such a great thing to be able to utilize what's in season in my cooking, and to learn about the many different varieties of heirloom tomatoes.  These have been sitting on the kitchen counter and my husband periodically attacks them like a kid with candy when parents are out of the room.

I ended up using my runny, failed version of the lemon curd to top off some cranberry scones I scored at the farmer's market and it was awesome!

Photo by Gilbert Blanchard III

Like I said before though, don't give up if your stirring efforts don't seem to be going anywhere; just keep it moving with a whisk.  Top with fruit, or spoon into little phyllo shells, or mix with whipped cream, or hell, just get a spoon and go to work.

Next week: Lemon Icebox Cookies!  Eat em now or freeze em for later!  Just cut and cook!  Or, it may be Mini Bacon Cheesecakes... or both!

June 13, 2012

Summer Eats

Okay, so I've been away for a while... a long while!  School hit me like a ton of bricks this past semester, and now that I am in the last stretch of college, I'm hoping I can master homework and home cooking.  Don't worry, I'll only share home cooking with you :)  Oh, and we got a mini pie maker from my parents this Christmas, so I'll be posting some of those recipes soon as well.

Here's a little of what we've been up to:

My brother-in-law and husband grinding some amazing axis deer meat...mmm..

Some not-so-great stuffing that turned out like a brick of goo this past Christmas:

Mardi Gras 2012:

Anyhoo, I'll be posting a new recipe this weekend and try to give you at least one new post per week!  So keep your eyes open, and thanks for being loyal followers of my blog!

February 4, 2012

Sicky-face Chicken Soup

We got home after Thanksgiving break and Jhet and I both came down with a strange cold.  We were both miserable and didn't want to eat out, but had nothing in the kitchen.  I sucked it up, went to the store and VOILA!  Chicken soup.

We suffered for another day or so, but felt so much better after a good dose of chicken stock, vegetables and comfort.  Even the dog got sick this winter.  Not kidding.

This can be a flexible recipe, so feel free to add in some ginger or whatever your heart so desires.  I think I put a little too much wine in there, so I reduced the amount of alcohol.  You can also use egg white noodles in place of the rice.  Whatever you decide to use, the end result is a classic pick-me-up soup for those under the weather, or those enjoying the cold climate!