Category Archives: Cooking

Kale Chips!

I have bought more than one bunch of kale thinking I would get around to making kale chips. Not so much. This time, however, things were different. I actually did it! They are tasty little buggers, eaten hot off the baking tray. They are a little less exciting the next day, after softening in the olive oil. That said, they make a terrific snack for movie, game or TV show watching, or anything else, really.

The recipe I used is from The Kitchn, of course, and here are the pics:



I know–the before and after baking pictures don’t really look that different. But it was nice and tasty!

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Filed under Cooking, Excitement, This could get ugly, Uncategorized

So, yeah…

Wow, as usual, I have definitely fallen out of the habit of blogging! It’s been a very busy couple of weeks, which generally helps me slack off on updating. I skied the heck out of Mount Baker this weekend and whipped up a lovely batch chorizo-egg burritos for breakfast one morning (and then came home and found a recipe in Bon Appetit!), while my husband made French toast from my homemade bread the next morning.

Other than that, I made chicken Monterey tonight (well, Mozzarella, actually. I didn’t have any Monterey jack.) That said, it was pretty delicious, and of course, I forgot to take photos. However, here’s the recipe for your enjoyment–I got it from my mom, who made it many times in my youth:

Makes 4 servings

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (halves work too)
1 medium lemon
Salt and Pepper to taste
Paprika to taste
2 oz Monterey jack cheese (Mozzarella works in a pinch), cut into 4 slices
1 medium egg
2 tsps Romano or Parmiggiano cheese
1/2 tsp dried tarragon leaves
1/2 tsp chicken bouillon granules
2 TBSP flour
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Place chicken on a plate and squeeze lemon juice evenly over each piece. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika.

Cut a pocket in the thickest side of each chicken piece large enough to stuff the cheese into, and place a cheese slice into each pocket and pinch the sides closed.

In a small bowl, combine egg, Romano cheese, tarragon and bouillon. Beat well. Coat each piece of chicken, both sides, with flour and dredge in egg mixture.

Warm olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat and add the chicken after dredging. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until browned. Once browned, place chicken into a baking dish and bake uncovered for 10 minutes or until juices run clear.

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My first DIY

Here’s the short history of me making things: I was not good at it. That is a really. big. understatement.

Take learning to knit. As a child, I made lots and lots of bubblegum pink Barbie scarves. Think about that for a second. My second attempt at learning to knit was approximately fifteen years after that. I was sitting next to my mother at the St. Louis airport, coming home from a family wedding, and she was “teaching” me to “knit.”

By which I mean, she started the thingie for me on the needles (see?) and then she and I proceeded to bicker through the next three lines of my attempts at knitting and purling. We were such entertaining bickerers that the guy sitting across from us put his book down and watched us. That actually happened.

Needless to say, that ball of yarn and still attached, half-assed knitting is still wrapped up in a plastic bag somewhere in my house. Don’t ask me where.

I have always been vastly more successful in the kitchen, where my mistakes were generally edible, and my mother generally trusted me to follow a recipe and clean up my mess. In fact, she bought me a really cute little kiddie cookbook that came with a set of primary colored measuring spoons that I still own. The spoons, not the cookbook. And it was primarily she who inspired me when she purchased a copy of Fanny at Chez Panisse, the exact copy of which I still own. I was fascinated by Fanny’s adventures in the kitchen and this magical place called a farmer’s market.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t remember the first dish I ever made. I don’t remember the second or third, either. I remember burning myself on the oven making enchiladas one time, and spilling flour making cookies. I remember helping my mother make batch upon batch of Christmas cookies ranging from snickerdoodles to pfeffernuesse to good old sugar cookies for Santa. To this day, my mom relies on me as her sous chef when I come over for dinner–she tells me to stir this, put those ingredients together, make the salad, whatever she needs. It’s a good feeling, actually.

As far as working on the house goes, I had exactly two projects under my belt before high school graduation. My father enlisted me to shore up the two story wooden back deck one summer by drilling new wood screws into every board in the back deck, and the stairs that joined the two.

It sucked. And then he made me power wash the driveway. I suppose I was lucky that he is a gadget fiend, and I didn’t have to embark on either project with hand tools.

So it’s come as a bit of a surprise to people who knew me in high school that I’ve become so interested in DIYing anything, really. And I guess it came as a bit of a surprise to me, just how much I’ve been enjoying it. Life is kind of funny that way.

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Filed under Cooking, In the beginning..., Navel gazing

The mess was worth it.

I absolutely trashed my kitchen last night, but it was totally worth it. My parents came over for my mom’s birthday dinner, and my husband and I pulled out all of the culinary stops. Well, almost all. I did buy the brownies for dessert after realizing that I had completely forgotten about dessert and had time to swing by the store between work and dinner. Oh well.

That said, I made baguettes for the first time with my brand new couche. Here they are baking:
It’s a bit of a blurry picture, but you can see the pan of water underneath the baguettes, which apparently helps the oven maintain the correct humidity. I learned a couple of very important lessons about baguettes, though. One, they don’t take all that long to proof, and two of them jumped the couche, which made me really, really glad that I’d left the couche on a cutting board so that I wasn’t scraping excess dough off my dining table. Two, I should have dusted the couche with more flour or Crisco’d it or something, because even though it is supposedly non-stick, those suckers DID NOT want to come off after baking. Seriously. Three, even mildly mangled baguettes straight out of the oven are pretty darn good.
Homemade baguette, plus Ubriacco and Wensleydale cheeses

Our second adventure was homemade ravioli. I improvised a filling of 1/2 cup goat cheese ricotta, a whole bunch of spinach chopped up in the Mini-Prep, and sliced pancetta that I started cutting into smaller pieces with a chef’s knife and then resorted to cutting with kitchen scissors. Add dashes of fresh rosemary and thyme as well as a solid splash of olive oil, ground black pepper and kosher salt and voila! Ravioli filling.

The pasta itself was interesting, because I was having some trouble with the dough/moisture thing. At one point it was too dry, and shortly thereafter, it was too wet. Argh!






I should had taken a picture of the finished product, in retrospect. That said, they were delicious, and very filling. Awesome bonus–we even had dough leftover for fettucine:

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Filed under Baking, Cooking, This could get ugly

New toys!

In preparation for cooking my mother’s belated birthday dinner on Friday, I stocked up with some new toys tonight. Since the no-knead bread thing has been going so well, I decided to go ahead and try baguettes. Baguettes are a little bit more work, so I wanted to give myself every possible advantage. Hence, I went to Sur la Table and bought a baguette shaping pan. Hopefully, this little gadget will help! I also got a bench scraper, since I inexplicably don’t own one.

While I was there, I decided to go ahead and commit to a ravioli maker. Since my husband is far more sensible than I am, he insisted that I go with the $26 ravioli tray and rolling pin instead of the $130 Kitchenaid attachment that I wanted. You know, to see if I even liked making ravioli. See why I married him?

So watch this space to see if it is an unqualified success, or if I’ll be cleaning my kitchen with a toothbrush for the next month.

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Filed under Baking, Cooking, This could get ugly

Baking and other adventures

I’m taking a stab at my first homemade loaf of “real” bread, as my husband noted. In his defense, I can pretty much make banana bread in my sleep these days, so “real” bread is a little different and a little harder. I’m not used to working with yeast, so this will be a bit of an adventure for me. I’m taking pictures, so those will get posted as soon as I can get them off my camera.

Wish me luck! I guess busting out the Kitchenaid was inspirational after all!

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Filed under Baking, Cooking