Monday, September 20, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Finished product

will have to fix the picture later- and actually add text!

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Getting work done on the car, so I figured I'd update the blog.

this curry was fantastic. I mostly followed the recipe but I add turmeric too! plenty of curry powder too. this curry was sweet with the peppers. I went easy on the Serrano chilis as they were spicier raw than cooked. next time I wood add more. this is definitely something I'd make again.... although Jw didn't enjoy that the chicken was on the bone. too messy I suppose.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

15 minute dinner

Tonight, after several nights of JW's birthday dinners, I had to take it easy.

I made pasta.  I cooked whole wheat penne, while I defrosted frozen shrimp in an inch of warm water (best thing to always have in the freezer- defrosts in a minute!). I peeled and added to a saute pan with garlic and a little butter.

I sliced the bottom 1.5" inch off the asparagus and added to a different saute pan (yes 3 pans, JW is MAD!).  In the saute pan I added another clove of garlic and the juice of 1 lemon (although 1/2 would have been fine) and S&P.  Once the pasta was boiling I put the lid on the asparagus.

When the shrimp were cooked through, I put them in the pan next to the asparagus (I couldnt use ANOTHER pan!) and heated some sauce in the the old shrimp pan.  I cheated again, and used a Roasted Pepper alfredo sauce that is only like 70 calories, shocking.  I heated it in the pan and added a touch of heavy cream(!!).  Once the pasta was done, I drained it and returned it to the pot and then poured the sauce on top and mixed.

I served the meal with the shrimp on top of the pasta and asparagus on the side.

JW is still doing the dishes...

Bean Dip to Enchiladas

So, I already told you that my bean dip is used in many ways.  So enchiladas is another incarnation of my bean dip.

I start with the beans the same way as the bean dip, but before removing from the pan I add Old El Paso enchilada sauce (I'm a cheater!).  Follow their amounts, I think 3/4 a cup or something, you know I don't measure.  Also add in some cheese.

Then, generously scoop the beans onto burritos, roll and lay in 9" Pyrex.  Continue until beans are gone and pan is full.  Pour remaining enchilada sauce on top and cover with cheese.  Heat for 20 min or so.

Serve with salsa and sour cream on top.

I also like a side of "spiced" corn.  I heat frozen corn in a saute pan with some butter some milk and some red pepper flakes.  Maybe a side of rice, maybe I'll add some of the beans or if I have a can of kidney beans to brown rice,  or just buy a Spanish rice mix. Depends on if I went to the store.

For those recently engaged:

Which is not me, by the way.  Although, I did try to play a trick on some people recently (since my brother got engaged he sent me a fake ring, so I wore it when some friends came over.  It was so hideous)...

Anyway, since everyone I know is recently engaged, but me (which I can say because JW will NEVER read this blog), with engagements come wedding registries, and with registries come kitchen gadgets.  SO THIS IS FOR YOU Mashep/MB, ML/BC, JH/NW, and anyone else 2 years younger than me that wants to get married :) just kidding. I'm excited. I just like playing the bitter card. I actually don't want a wedding. (just some kitchen gadgets!!! oh wait. I already have them!)

Ok so the list of must haves, and don't gets!

1) SCISSORS:  First things first, and something I learned from my mother (and to be honest, is the giver of almost ALL of my awesome kitchen stuff) a pair of scissors is one of the handiest items in the kitchen.  I just bought a regular pack of 3 at the fabric store and threw one in the kitchen, one in the office, and one in the wrapping paper box.  Not only do scissors in the kitchen (not kitchen scissors) open packages neatly, THEY CUT PIZZA!!! dont try anything else.  I also will use them to cut herbs, like basil.

2) Le CREUSET:  One of the greatest things for a wedding registry, because you never want to buy one yourself. Unless you don't have to pay for things like rent, food, and pretty much anything else.  I have two, for some reason in different colors (I  think my mom forgot she had already gotten me one), but the nice thing about two different colors is that I can use which ever pot suits my mood.  Great for a stew, soup, sauce, shepherd's pie- anything you want to either have a little burning action for flavor to scrape up with wine/broth or want to take from stove to oven (be careful of high temps- read your manual!)

3) Grill pan: Because I can't have a grill.

4) Peppermill: do NOT get the kind like the salt grinder in this picture. They SUCK.  Get yourself a traditional hand crank or turn peppermill. (I like pepper.)  But, to be honest, I bought this one for my mom year's ago (well, my brother paid for it, I picked it out) MIU Electric Pepper Mill with Light, YES A LIGHT!  It is amazing! The batteries might die, and I might forget to take the cap off, but this thing ROCKS!

5) Garlic press: I heart garlic.

6) Citrus press (see Calypso Lime recipe for picture): Half the reason I post this is because I once saw Kate Plus 8 making lemonade with her kids, and they were using one.  And she kept complaining that they didn't have much juice.  And that's because she put the lemon in the juicer UPSIDE DOWN! Cut side goes in facing the little holes (see Calypso pics again). And I probably use my citrus and garlic presses everyday.  (Thank goodness I'm in charge of messes and JW in charge of cleaning.)

7) Citrus zester:  I have two. one is total crap. and one I love.  Get this microplane zester.  (Sorry LRH, I love you, but the lovely palm zester you gave me as an unexpected but appreciated gift just doesnt work as well as this beauty.)

8) Spatula spoon:  Another gift from my mom, and pitcured above. It does everything. Especially when you work with non-stick.

9) Non-stick pan set: I just got this one in January, and looooove it! Cuisinart Chef's Classic Nonstick Stainless Steel 14-Piece Set"; $159.99

10) Kitchen Aid Mixer: And if your boyfriend (oh wait, fiance/husband) knocks it on the floor and it breaks in half, take it here: Appliance Care & Service Co./Mr. Appliance, 6407 Rising Sun Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19111, Phone: 215-725-3112 Amazing! (And if you don't get one, go hear and buy a refurbished one for discount- these things are solid, solid as a rock!)

11) Food processor:  I used to have a blender/processor in one- it had interchangeable tops.  But, I'm ok with my 21oz mini prep cuisinart one.  But if you have the space to store, bigger isn't bad. I just dont have space.

12) Knives: a chef's knife is key. Serrated is handy for bread. Pairing knife handy too. I don't like knives.

13) Whisk: one coated for the non-stick pans, and one not for whipping cream by hand (or you can just use the Kitchen aid if you turn it up on the highest setting.

14) Spice Rack and Storage containers for flour, coffee, sugar: stocked, of course.

15) Cookbooks that I have already mentioned. Or, substituting, "How to Boil Water" for those just starting out :)

16) Baking pans: silicon bread pan, tube pan, spring form pan, 9"sq Pyrex, 13"x9" metal pan, cookie sheets, ramekins (how else you gonna make creme brulee?), oh man.... maybe a rolling pin?!

17) Dish towels, apron, pot holders, placemats, tablecloth, napkins and other linen products

18) Other random things, like spoon holder, tongs (probably one pair that is coated is best), double hinged wine key.

19) Glassware: stemless red wine, stemmed white wine, pint glasses, and high ball/rocks/water glasses are key.

I think this is enough. I know I'm missing a million things, but enough is enough.

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Another single lady dinner

JW: "Honey, what'd you have for dinner while I was gone?"

WW: "Greenbeans and macaroni and cheese."
JW: "That's what you always eat when I'm not here."

Greenbeans follow my half boil and half steam method highlighted at the end of the Calypso Chicken post.

But for homemade macaroni and cheese, I start by boiling water. Duh. Add in whole wheat shells (maybe half the box?).  When the shells are done, I drain them and return the empty pan to the stove.

I add 2T butter and 3T of milk or cream, whatever I got.  Then I add some cheese.  I like Colby Jack for this.  I usually keep adding cheese until it mixes with the butter and milk and isn't too runny.  Then I add in the noddles.  If it isn't enough cheese, I add more. If it isn't enough butter (always), I add more.  Then I add a generous helping of pepper and some salt!


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pizzas coming...

 I made an awesome pizza one time, and I am still trying to recreate it!!! One more reason for the blog.

So, this pizza sauce is the one to remember! I found it at Whole Foods (see photo).

I made pizza dough once. Wasn't worth it.  So now, I usually buy dough for $.99 from Trader Joe's and then keep one in the freezer.  I called home and told JW to take the dough out of the freezer, but when I got home and hour later. Yup, still there.

I tried defrosting it in a bowl of warm water (no microwave, it broke)- but the bag had whole and then it got all wet. So I added flour, and then is was still frozen so it wouldn't stretch.

SO... I found a roll of Pilsbury garlic breadsticks in the fridge. I just rolled it out in a sheet!  (Don't tell JW, we ate the whole thing! yikes!)

Some keys to pizza: Go back to your wedding registry and add a pizza stone. Or so I heard. I havent... obviously.

Preheat oven high- usually 425-450 (check dough).  And put the bottom rack as low as it will go.  On a cookie sheet, I spray oil and then sprinkle cornmeal.  I stretch the dough and lay it down.  LIGHTLY coat the dough with some olive oil, sprinkle oregano, garlic powder, and SOME red pepper flakes.

Add SOME sauce- about 1/2 cup of sauce.  I know it doesn't seem like a lot, but the dough is not cooked right if you put too much sauce on, and I've made this mistake like a million times. Take the sauce all the way to the edge.

Then add SOME cheese.  Mozzarella is best. I got stupid and put Mont. Jack on it this time. Ehh.  DONT get cheese on the pan. Yuck burn smells.  (see, pizza is too perfectionist for my cooking style...)

Sprinkle on SOME veggies- I like green pepper, onion, and mushroom or tomato and spinach.  You think you want more veggies, but you don't. Again, the dough in the middle wont cook. A little more cheese on top to hold the veggies in and some sprinkling of parmesan.  Bake (follow dough directions, and depending on oven, but until cheese is light brown which might be 25-35 minutes).

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Friday, September 3, 2010