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Archive for January, 2008|Monthly archive page

a proud moment in experimental cooking!

In Apartment Cooking on January 28, 2008 at 8:36 pm

 okay…this is one of those dishes i made and couldn’t stop raving about it while i ate it.

from the moment i thought of this app (that was ate as a meal)…i was ready to shop and cook, excited to see if i could replicate the flavors and look that i was envisioning!

the plan was to create a Crab & Pepper Jack Quesadilla with a Jalapeño Lime Creme Sauce. doesn’t that just sound  like something delicious? what really grabbed me was the juxtaposition of milder and more intense flavors and how to balance them so they interact perfectly. or at least, that was my intent.

so basically what i did was purchase some delicious crab meat from Whole Foods and layered it between Pepper Jack Cheese and two tortillas. Into the oven, I lined the top and bottom with foil, layered the quesadillas on top of each other, and a weighed it all down with a small skillet on top of the stack. that has proved to be my most successful quesa making technique thus far, as far as form is concerned.

as the cheese melted and the crab meat heated at 400-degrees, i prepared the sauce. the thought was, i wanted the crab meat and cheese to be warm and gooey and crabby…and the sauce to cut in very cool, creamy, and spicy. the appetizer i’d dreamed up ended up pretty much perfect. actually it was better than i had envisioned.

to make the cream, i basically purreed 1 jalapeno, 1 clove garlic, 3 limes, sale, pepper, and 1tbs canned jalapenos…along with cayanne pepper (to taste). after it was blended and chopped up, i added the sour cream…about 1cup. blended it all and it became the gorgeous green sauce you see below. it was creamy and limey and had an exciting kick to it! paired perfectly with the flavors within the crab quesadillas.

this is one i’m definitely making for the crowds (well…might need to use shrimp or something, that crab is costly!)

 Crab & Pepper Jack Quesadillasw/ Jalepeno Lime Creme Sauce

My real comfort food…(re-invented)

In Apartment Cooking on January 28, 2008 at 8:12 pm

Ah yes, the cheeseburger and fries…my all-time favorite, pig-out, comfort meal! (I had a lot of happy meals as a youngin).

Here is the classic make-over where we turn this into a more healthy dish, suited for my current style of cooking. Turkey burger (next time, need to season this WAY more since it lacks all the fat in ground beef)…with my fav cheese, Pepper Jack, some lettuce and ketchup. This big fat burger was paired with delicious oven-roasted Sweet Potato fries!

As I sit here watching E! News, I think about my dinner planned for tonight–Grilled Honey Dill Salmon Kabobs…and I can’t help but really wish (after this incredibly draining day) that I could sit back and stuff myself with a burger and fries while I watch a movie and drink a glass of wine 🙂

 Turkey Burger w/ Sweet Potato Fries

a sinfully delicious breakfast

In Apartment Cooking, Restaurants You Should Try on January 23, 2008 at 5:24 pm

omg you guys. this place on LaBrea/2nd in L.A. by the EZ Lube where i was waiting to get my oil changed has the most delicious breakfast spot. it’s an italian style breakfast spot and i decided (it was xmas eve) to get something tragically unhealthy for breakfast. something sweet, pillowy, and creamy.

here’s what the waiter came back with…

Strawberry & Mascarpone French Toast

whole wheat pasta – not so bad

In Apartment Cooking on January 23, 2008 at 5:20 pm

This is one of those dishes I dreamt up and envisioned all day until I was able to shop the ingredients and cook it up. I wanted an earthy, wholesome dish with whole wheat pasta, and seafood.

From Whole Foods, I bought the most delicious fresh bay scallops, and added mushrooms, tomatoes, lemon juice, fresh basil, salt, pepper, garlic, and feta cheese…with olive oil. It was just what I’d hoped it would be, much better actually. I previously have hated whole wheat pasta…but this dish really compliments it to the point where I’d venture to say I prefer this dish with whole wheat pasta.

Whole Wheat Linguine with Scallops!

midwestern fare with a cali twist.

In Apartment Cooking on January 23, 2008 at 5:15 pm

So I made this pork the other day. I grilled it up on my grill pan. Which worked well (looks nice, eh?) but I didn’t have the pan hot enough, so I had to broil it for a few final mins to cook it through. I marinated this meat and it turned out awesome. I think I ended up making a bbq sauce basically. The marinade consisted of: pomegranate juice (which I have used for so many things this winter), soy sauce, worchestshire (hard to spell) sauce, garlic, honey, salt, pepper, and some other seasonings. It was incredible, I wish I’d cooked the marinade up into a sauce instead of tossing it! The star of the show was the broccoli, which is the best red-pepper / garlic broccoli I’ve ever had or made.

This is straight up midwestern cuisine right here, folks…complete with the white rice. Pork Chops were a staple in my house growing up. I’ll have to serve my mom this meal so she can see how food can be seasoned 🙂

Grilled Pomegranate BBQ Pork Chop,

Garlic Red Pepper Broccoli, and White Rice

family dinner with my friend and her kiddies!

In Apartment Cooking, beauty and the biz on January 14, 2008 at 5:45 pm

this past weekend, i had one of the most unique and wonderful Saturday nights i’ve had in awhile. i was invited to my friend’s home (note: not an apartment like every other single one of my friends, a home) to throw down in the kitchen with another one of her friends…tho the meal was nearly done by the time she arrived (she was great on clean-up duty tho).

we drank wine, laughed, and prepared the meal while we both took a stab at roasting our first whole chicken. neither of us had done it before! but beyond all of this, the best part was her kids! they are about 3/4 and 5, a girl and a boy respectively and they are just adorable. they are smart, well-behaved, and fun! my friend had to run out a few times, so it was just me and them and we got some good bonding time in, in between chicken basting.

after this delightful night with her family (well her hubby is in Africa on business right now), but this completely changed my views about children, and specifically how i interact with them. i’ve now realized that i CAN interact with children (previously i’d been a little intimidated in a weird way). but kids that are outgoing, fun, and talkative are just fabulous! it’s the shy ones that present more of a challenge. my reaction to that is to just leave them alone to do their own thing, not try to pry them out of their shell like i see so many people attempt to do. i can’t wait to go back…my friend is an inspiration while she balances this beautiful family with her successful design career!

here’s what we made for dinner 🙂 the kids seemed to like it. well. they like broccoli, but not salad. the girly likes potatoes, the boy doesn’t. they both liked the chicken. haha.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Garden Salad, and Broccoli 

 

Citrus Glazed Roasted Chicken 

out with Nanny's…what rich folks need are Manny's!

In beauty and the biz, Urban Princess Dictionary on January 14, 2008 at 5:32 pm

i would go in to a long extensive essay on this thesis…and in fact, i most likely will elaborate on this for an article.

but this occurred to me the other day. it’s quite simple. we all know rich husbands and wives rely on their nanny’s to care for their kids day in and day out while they shop and go to the spa and whatnot. and of course, as i learned in the book Nanny Diaries, there are different degrees of being a Nanny. and what i’m referring to here are those that have 24/7 nannies.

without discounting the unique love that only a female can offer a child (better yet a mother lol), i will argue that the female nanny really isn’t what is needed. i think the family unit undergoes more trauma by lacking the father-figure who is off galavanting around the world on business trips and mistress trips. it results in boys who never learn how to be a man, and girls who never come to know the kind of unconditional love and support they should look for in a partner.

so out with the nannies…let’s get these rich, bratty kids equipped with their very own Manny! haha.

Easy Baja Fish Tacos…NF's favorite!

In Apartment Cooking on January 14, 2008 at 5:23 pm

my man is easy to please. well–he will eat pretty much anything i make and love it 🙂 but this just proves it! one of his fav dishes is this preparation for my Baja Fish Tacos.

How To:

1) buy and heat in the oven fish sticks! you can get the normal cheapo kind, or the yummy halibut kind…beer battered, breaded, whateva! (of course you can be healthier and more advanced with grilled fish). but the crunchy kind is best.

2)  when the fish are done, place 2-4 on a tortilla (depending on size and preference) and pile the rest of the ingredients on top: coleslaw lettuce, cilantro, lime, and the baja sauce (mix together sour cream and chipotle sauce to desired spiciness).

MMM…Baja Fish Tacos, yummy, spicy, quick, easy, filling.

EasyBaja Fish Tacos 

black people on Food Network, yay!

In Apartment Cooking on January 14, 2008 at 5:16 pm

i was so happy to be watching the Food Network today and come across a new Food Network show called “Down Home with the Neely’s“. it’s a black family from Memphis, and the husband and wife do the show.

can’t wait! it feels good to finally see some people who look like me on my favorite channel ever. i know they’ve had a few, but their shows haven’t lasted. the premise of this show (they like to bbq and have the best in town at their restaurants “Neely’s BBQ Restaruant”) just seems like it will have more staying-power. let black people talk about the foods and cooking processes we like best…be true to ourselves! they will be creating their favorite recipes they make for their family, which most likely will be a few of my favorite things!

The Neely’s!

the meal the ended my cooking-depression.

In Apartment Cooking, beauty and the biz on January 14, 2008 at 5:07 pm

following Christmas and the shenanigans surrounding the meal i put tremendous thought into planning, labored over for hours, and turned out amazing…i was not in the mood to cook. despite my diamond cutting new knife, new cookbooks, my new island, and tons of new kitchen toys…it seemed as tho i had no desire to cook. my man came back home to L.A…still nothing. approaching New Year’s Eve…still nothing.

maybe it was the irregularity of being on a 10day vacation with out my routine. or maybe it was how sucky my stepdad’s reaction was to not having his dinner on the table at the time he’d hoped…but i was in a culinary funk.

so work started back up. i was relying on eating out and delivery, yet i knew i needed to stop that bizness (not good for pockets or pants size). still, i sat surrounded by the new Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Rachel Ray, Real Simple, new cook books, and attempted to get into the Food Network…and i was slightly disinterested. after a few days of the disinterest, i WANTED to cook. yet–i couldn’t for the life of me decide what to make. not only could i not figure out what i was in the mood for…but for some reason, i had no creative inspiration to create something new (which is what i do 90% of the time when i cook),  and none of the recipes appealed to me. UGH.

finally, it came to me. i knew what i needed to cook. Baked Lemon Chicken from my Betty Crocker cookbook. this amazing dish started my adventures in cooking back in college. this was the very first recipe i made that i would call “challenging”…and the first one that actually really intrigued me and impressed me enough to keep it up. it is the chemistry and science of the ingredients that got me.

in this recipe, which is different than others…a few things happen that make me happy. it’s easy, yet impressive, and the preparation is just…thought-provoking when your a beginner, and even when you’re not. you start by breading the chicken breasts with flour, a smidge of baking soda, and cayanne pepper. then, you lay the breasts on a baking sheet…but before you put them in the 400-degree oven, you spray the tops of the breasts with Pam Spray! this amazed me! even more amazing is the way the Pam and the baking soda react in the oven…it gets cripsy, and tastes like it’s fried (MMmm). as the chicken is cooking, i prepare the lemon sauce which i think is impressive. it’s basically just sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, chicken broth, and chopped garlic…then you add cornstarch and presto! thick sauce!

the end result for me that night…was a process that was both familiar and comforting, since i’ve made that dish at least 10-15 times before. it reminded my why i fell in love. and the outcome impressed me enough to feel good about what i’ve made. THANK YOU BETTY CROCKER! i’ve been cookin’ up a storm ever since 😉

Baked Lemon Chicken by Betty Crocker