In other news, I think I have overcome my biggest kitchen fear. Frying food. I seriously had visions of shooting flames, sirens, and houses burning to the ground in matters of minutes.
In short, our house is still standing, flames were non-existent, and the food was delish!
If you haven't checked out foodgawker.com, you probably should. It's mainly food for your eyes but all the pictures link up to the actual recipe.
It was here that I found the delishiousness that is called Sesame Chicken. The original recipe is here.
Apparently they adapted it from someone else. And then I slightly changed some of the methods and ingredients to things I had at home/ what sounded easiest for my first frying experience. Sesame Chicken
(adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
):Look here for beautiful pictures and better directions!
Yields 3-4 servingsINGREDIENTS:
For the marinade
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 1/2 cups cornstarch
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 large egg whites, beaten
- Canola oil for frying
- Sesame seeds, for garnish (didn't use)
- Sliced green onions, for garnish (didn't use)
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 tbsp chili paste with garlic (this is what I found in the Asian aisle of my grocery store, using more than the original recipe gave it a nice kick)
To make the marinade, whisk together chicken stock, soy sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, cornstarch, 1 tablespoon sesame oil and 1/2 cup water in a large bowl.
In a gallon size Ziploc bag or large bowl, combine chicken and 6 tablespoons of the marinade; marinate for at least 30 minutes, turning the bag occasionally.
Drain the chicken from the marinade, discarding the marinade.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add ginger and chili and garlic paste and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in 2 cups marinade until slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes; keep warm. You will notice this turn from light brown (from the cornstarch) to a rich and thick carmel color. Yum!
In a large bowl, combine cornstarch, flour, baking soda and remaining marinade until it resembles coarse meal.
Dredge chicken in the egg whites, then dredge in the cornstarch mixture, pressing to coat. (I ended up whipping the egg whites with my mixer and then just dumping the chicken in the bowl of egg whites and mixing them in it and pulling them out and putting them in the cornstarch mixture as needed.)
Pour about 2 inches of canola oil in the bottom of a large pan or wok. Heat it on medium high heat until water droplets 'dance' on the oil. This takes a bit of time. Drop the chicken in to the oil and let it cook for about 2-3 minutes, flip it over and let cook until a nice deep golden color. I had to check the first batch or two by cutting into the chicken to see if it was done. I recommend doing this if you're a novice fryer until you see how long it takes for the chicken to be done.
The original author had you heat the oil in the oven and then fry it but I wasn't sure if I put it back in the oven to fry or what. And I was nervous. So I looked up a different fry method. If you're seasoned fryer, you're probably laughing at me. Laugh on.. laugh on.. I'll admit that it was probably hilarious to watch me try to do this.
Serve chicken immediately, tossed or drizzled with the marinade and served on rice. Yum!
Excuse the dark pictures.. by the time dinner is ready, the sun is down! Summer can't get here fast enough!
Today is a very special day. At least we think it's a very special day.
We are pretty sure (like 80%) that we started dating 5 years ago today. We think.
At first we couldn't even decide if it was 5 or 6. Once we got the year nailed down the exact date didn't seem quite as important. As you can tell, we take these things very seriously. Or not.
Therefore, in honor of this very special date, I got dressed up in my finest [jeans and a hooded sweatshirt], did my hair [as in showered and combed], and we're going to one of the nicest restaraunts in town [Chipotle].
This is also known as we randomly remembered we started dating sometime in March and really wanted an excuse to go to Chipotle. :)
Happy Tuesday everyone!
I wish I could say life has been crazy busy around these parts. I mean, it's been busy but we've been doing the crazy thing to ourselves.
My sister came over for an impromptu visit last week and we had a sweet sleepover. I wish I could say seeing us was the motivating factor but really it was 40% off plus an additional 20% off at J. Crew outlet. Really can't blame her. Plus, shopping is way more fun when you're together.
We got to see my brother last weekend and had a huge family cook out complete with stories around the camp fire. Also known as the fire pit. Also known as can hardly ever use legally because of fire bans. Also known as we love fire bans because we hate forest fires.
On the way up, we saw this awesome car.
We're not sure where to find one of those bikes, much less two of them. Okay, well we know where to find two of them. Driving down the interstate prime time.
Yes, we totally got busted taking this photo but we had a good laugh with them through a couple of car windows.
That's how we roll.
I probably could eat pizza every day of my life and rarely get sick of it. In college I actually tested this theory and had a piece of pizza for lunch and dinner every day for a month. Until one day they didn't have it out. Only I'm not even kidding.
When I did an internship in college, I rated all of the pizza places by the number of minutes (or hours) that it was still delicious post oven. I have never met a pizza, fresh out of the oven, that I didn't like.
Since he's been married to me, my husband has joined me on my pizza obsession willingly looking up pizza places in every town we visit and stopping by the restaurant with the best customer reviews.
And has put up with every Friday night being pizza night.
One of my very favorite pizza varieties is pear and gorgonzola pizza with walnuts. I think I first tried this delightful pizza in Omaha of all places.
Another one of our favorites?
Smoked salmon, goat cheese, pickled onion, and caper berry pizza. Thank you Santa Fe!
Anyways, I've never attempted much besides the basic pizza at home. And the furthest limb I've branched to would be BBQ chicken. Not exciting. Still delicious.
So last Friday I decided to go for it. To make life a little bit easier on my quest for great pizza I used pre-made store bought dough. Then I looked up a bunch of different recipes until I got a pretty good idea of what I wanted to make. And then, I only made half of the dough into this pizza in case it was horrible.
It went something like this (sorry about my lack of measurements. That's why I cook instead of bake.)...Pear and Gorgonzola PizzaIngredients
- 1 pear, thinly sliced (I used the cheapest variety available)
- 1 small onion, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp butter
- Drizzle of olive oil
- Generous drizzle of balsamic vinegar (about 1/4 cup)
- Sprinkle of sugar
- 1/2 cup of crumbled gorgonzola cheese
- 1 cup of shredded cheese (your choice)
- Crushed walnuts (probably 1/4 cup)
- 1/2 a bag of pre-made dough
In a saucepan, melt butter and drizzle some olive oil in it. Add the thinly sliced onions and sprinkle with sugar (enough to cover). Cook over medium heat until the onions are translucent and slightly brown in color. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over and simmer until reduced and slightly syrupy. Spread this on the crust as the 'sauce'. Lay the sliced pears down and sprinkle with walnuts and gorgonzola cheese. Finish with shredded cheese of your choice. Bake at 425 F until cheese is melted and the crust is beginning to turn brown. Enjoy!
Promise that it tasted better than this looks!
I've kind of falling into a cooking rut. It's that odd time between winter and spring when there are 60 degree days followed by snowy days.
i just read in a book that for winter and summer solstice days only get longer and shorter by a few seconds but for spring and fall solstice days get longer and shorter by minutes at a time. I'm not sure if this is true, but I sure hope it is. I've been measuring the length of days by the amount of sun left in the day before and after yoga class. During the winter, it was dark before yoga even started but now the sky is almost still a little bit light by the end. Plus daylight savings time is coming up (I think!). I love longer evenings!
Anyways, that really had nothing to do with my recipe rut but was looking for something that would be relatively cheap to make but still looked delicious.
Enter cottage pie or shepherd's pie. I found a recipe
that called for normal ingredients and known cooking methods here. Both of these things are crucial for me in any recipe. Really, I love cooking but if it looks to complicated I know that the chances of me screwing it up are high... which means frustration runs high... which equals no fun.
Anyways, please go the original recipe for the original recipe because it's probably the most delicious version. But I'll post what I actually did below. For example, I substituted butternut squash for carrots because I forgot to buy carrots. This recipe was delicious and easy. Can't wait to try more of her recipes!Shepherd's PieBy: The Spicie FoodieIngredientsMeat Filling Ingredients:
Mashed Potato Topping:
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/2 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed (small cubes cook better)
- 1 cup of frozen peas
- 1 medium chopped onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp. tomato puree
- 1 tsp. worcester/Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp. flour to thicken
- 1 lb potatoes (I used 5 russet potatoes that you get in a 5 lb bag)
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- Splash of milk
- salt to taste
- Boil the potatoes in salted water, once fork tender drain. Add the butter, half the milk and some salt and begin mashing. Continue mashing and adding more milk until you achieve the consistency desired. Set potatoes aside.
- Preheat 428 F (oops, I only put it at 375, 425 would work much better) and have a baking dish ready. Heat the oil, saute the onions for 3 minutes then add the carrots. Cook for 5 minutes or until they begin to soften. Add the ground beef and cook for about 8 minutes. Drain all excess fat, and add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Mix in the tomato puree, worchester sauce, beef broth, flour, and thyme. Cook until nearly all of the liquid has been absorbed.
- Pour the ground beef mixture into the pan, even out into an even surface and depth. Next spread the mashed potatoes over the meat making sure to achieve an even depth and surface. Bake in center of oven for 20 minutes, then place under the broiler setting for 5 minutes to brown the potatoes. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Hm... I promise this was appetizing!
Cale is loving his new job which is just a huge blessing and relief. Most importantly his coworkers are great and his commute is only 10 minutes. Awesome. It's been an adjustment to have him actually home but it's a very welcome change.
He opened an account at his new bank and as an account opening bonus they gave him a new iPad.
Haha! Told you his coworkers were awesome.
If you've browsed Pinterest as much as me (which I hope you haven't) you've seen people making use of the faux drawers in front of sinks. Um.. guess what Cale discovered.
We have been living here a year and a half. YEAR AND A HALF. And just discovered this. In our defense, I'm pretty sure the people who lived here forgot about these too because there were some nasty sponges left behind. But still. YEAR AND A HALF. Go check the front of your sinks. You might be surprised.
Our yearly tradition is to get pizza for tax season. Mostly to lessen the sting. And because we both get extremely irrationally irritable. Especially when you get almost to the end and you realize you're missing one document and then you rip apart the house and you still can't find it.
But hypothetically, having a pizza tax party is a great idea.
We've had a perfect weekend of doing absolutely nothing. Not even exactly planned. Like we tried to think of things to do but realized that we really, actually had nothing to do. It was great. To continue doing nothing, we decided just on the huge salad for dinner. It was great.
My mom is visiting my grandma this week (so jealous, Hi Grandma!) and then bringing my sister back home with her for Spring Break. So excited. So far there is a sleepover and shopping party in the works.
THEN, my brother is coming back the next weekend. Whole family in town.
Favorite times ever!
So I made some pita bread yesterday.
And it turned out amazing.
And it was the easiest thing ever.
And lots of fun to make. Lots.
I mixed up the dough on Monday and let it rise for an hour. Alright, so maybe I forgot about and and I let it rise for an hour and half. But that's the point. I messed it up and it still worked! Then, I covered the mixer bowl with a towel and put it in the fridge. Because I didn't feel like taking the time to make it on Sunday. Nor did I feel like making an effort to cover it with saran wrap instead of a towel.
I may have been in the middle of a good book.
Anyways, during this process the dough becomes buttery smooth.
Anyways, then you divide it into 8 separate little sections of dough. Roll them out flat (I found that thickness didn't really matter. I just made them as big as I wanted the final pita to be.) and heat up a skillet (original recipe recommends a cast iron skillet).
After the skillet is hot, place the pita on the hot pan and watch for bubbles to form. After the bubbles get to the size of your choice flip. I found that on medium high I let it cook for about a minute on the first side, flipped and cooked for another minute or two on the second, and then flipped one last time for another minute.
And you get these beauties!
We had them with shredded chicken, avocados, and whatever other random ingredients we could find the fridge and then I had them again with soup. Sooo easy. And cheap!
Here's the link to the original recipe
Split chicken breasts were on sale this week so to make life really easy on myself I decided to just do chicken dinners for the rest of the week.
If you missed the news, we had a good old blizzard here on Sunday. I love weekend blizzards most of all because you don't have worry about trying to go anywhere, much less work and you can just stay inside and enjoy.
And cook chicken for the rest of the week.
I posted this recipe
a long time ago but I basically salt and pepper the chicken, bake it at 375 F for 45 minutes, and then shred.
If you don't eat any of it first because you're too busy eating things like leftover chili and maybe Cheetos that you ran out to get before the roads got too bad than you get lots of chicken. Enough for an entire weeks worth of food.
Last night I made white chicken enchiladas
. They are one of my personal faves.
I have fresh bread dough to make pitas waiting and ready in the fridge that mixed together yesterday. I'm really quite a horrible bread maker.
Seeing as I tried once. But hopefully these will be delightful. Otherwise, we have bagels on the ready in the freezer. Just in case.
Off to work!
Perfect Friday night dinner.
Sonic sweet potato fries. Delish.
I think about 6 months ago I posted some pictures of food I wanted to make when it got cold out.
People, it is cold out. I feel like I've been transported back to the northern midwest. Commonly known as Minnesota.
That's fine though, because it's given me plenty of time to make lots of soup.
Also, I realize that I never actually think when I type. It's kind of like I'm carrying on this massive dialogue with myself but my fingers aren't actually thinking about what I'm trying to say. Which is why flour becomes flower and any use of the word 'there' needs the context around it to try to decide what it actually means. Correct tense or plural vs. singular is out of the question for anything.
So what I'm really trying to say is that I like talking to myself but since I'm 'blogging' it makes it okay. Also, when I blog I refer to the 2 people that actually read this as 'people' often. It's me trying to justify that I'm not actually
talking to myself.
Back to soup. I have 4 different kinds of soup in the freezer because really, when you make soup for 10 but there's only 2 you have a lot leftover.
A recent soup victory was lasagna soup. I think I pinned it and posted about it 6 months ago and finally got around to making it. (Back in August, I just checked!
Simply delicious. Well, really delicious but you get what i mean.
Plus, I think the original person
that posted this recipe is also from the upper Midwest. That means she knows how to cook good, warm food. It's a necessity there.
I made this exactly as the recipe below indicates but added another 14 oz can of diced tomatoes and used 1 lb of ground beef and 1/2 lb of sausage. Sausage and soup that's too soupy scare me. The changes that I made are reflected below.Lasagna SoupBy: A Farm Girl Dabbles
Preparation Add sausage and ground beef, breaking up into bite sized pieces, and brown for about 5 minutes. Drain excess fat. Add onions and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and stir well to incorporate. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the tomato paste turns a rusty brown color.
- 1/2 lb. Italian sausage
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 3 c. chopped onions
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 T. tomato paste
- 1 14-oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
- 4 c. chicken stock
- 8 oz. mafalda or fusilli pasta
- 1/2 c. finely chopped fresh basil leaves
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
for the cheesy yum:
- 8 oz. ricotta
- 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
Add diced tomatoes and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add uncooked pasta and cook until al dente. Do not over cook or let soup simmer for a long period of time at this point, as the pasta will get mushy and absorb all the soup broth. You may even want to consider cooking the noodles separately, and then adding some to individual bowls before ladling the soup over them. (This is what I did.. my noodles always get too mushy in soup otherwise) This would be an especially smart move if you are anticipating any leftovers. Right before serving, stir in the basil and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the cheesy yum. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.
To serve, place a dollop of the cheesy yum in each soup bowl, sprinkle some of the mozzarella on top and ladle the hot soup over the cheese.