Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bitch OUT da kitchen

I'm sorry loyal blog readers (shout out to my loving Germans and Ukrainians who read my blog more than my fellow Americans this week).  I haven't exactly been myself lately.  Oh, I've been a bitch, BALEE-DAT.  I just haven't been in the kitchen.  And when I'm not in the kitchen, my bitchy side flies off the charts.  So sorry to anyone who was injured as a result of my absence in the kitchen.  And to those of you who HAVE been subjected to the wrath of bitch, I love you.  Especially those of you who still talk to me.  And to those that don't, I didn't need you anyway.

See, I am no longer in MY kitchen.  I HAVE a kitchen.  But it's not MINE.  And that's a hard pill to swallow when you are as obsessed with your own kitchen as I once was.  But maybe this is a good thing.  Maybe realizing how much I need my own kitchen to be sane again will light the fire I need under my ass to make that a possibility.  I'll surely keep you posted, as I KNOW you are sitting on the edge of your seats.

So I will be blogging more about my food experiences for a little bit.  Don't worry, I will still be cooking here and there.  Just not as often.  So hang in there and enjoy my food experiences throughout my travels in my own city, as well as in other places.   

I hope you all still read regularly, because looking at the hits my blog gets makes me smile and smiling is much needed.  So smile.  Right now.  Are you smiling?  Just do it.  See...didn't that feel awesome?  Stay tuned...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Chili Weather

It's that time of year again.  Time to break out the jeans, hoodies, scarves and toboggans (and no, I don't mean sled, I mean hat, so don't give me a dirty look when I ask why you're not wearing a toboggan).  Time for football, hockey, fire pits...but more importantly, time for warming foods.  Soups, stews, hot chocolate, and chili.  Yes, chili. 

We can debate forever about how to make chili.  Some use beans, some don't.  Some use ground beef, some use chunks of beef.  But no matter how you make it, the fact is, chili is delicious in any way, shape or form.  You got your Texas chili, your Cincinnati chili, you can serve your chili over spaghetti, with oyster crackers or with Fritos.  Do what you want with your chili.  This is my blog and so this is my chili.

Here's What You Do:
Notice I do not have a "Here's What You Need" section...because I just make it.  I throw a bunch of stuff in a pot and I taste it and add to it, and taste it and add to it, until it's JUST RIGHT.

Take a pound of ground beef and brown it in a big pot, then drain it.  Add in a diced onion, medium sized will do and cook until soft.  Add in about 3 cloves of minced garlic and cook until fragrant.  Never brown garlic.  It makes everything bitter.  Add your ground beef back into the pot.  Open a can of Hunt's tomatoes, diced and add them in.  Open a can of Hunt's tomato sauce (I could drink this shit) add it to the pot.  Open a can of kidney beans (rinse them off first, their juice makes you gassy, and unless you're in a farting contest, you don't want to have gas with your delicious bowl of chili).  Add in about a tablespoon of garlic powder, a teaspoon of oregano, a teaspoon of chili powder, and teaspoon of cayenne, a dash of Sriracha, because I'm a Sriracha slut, about a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of pepper, and a few sprinkles of cumin (I don't LOVE cumin, so I only add a touch).  Now stir this all together and simmer for about 20 minutes on low heat.  Taste it, add in what you like, I usually end up adding in more salt and garlic powder.

Once you get it tasting like heaven and cooked to your consistency (if you like thicker chili, simmer at a higher heat), put your chili in a bowl, top with cheese, sliced scallions and a dollop of sour cream.  I eat mine with tortilla chips, like it's a dip.  Eat up.  And don't let people tell you your chili isn't authentic.  Chili is one of those meals like jambalaya.  You put in it what you have on hand.  It's never wrong.  As long as it tastes good to you, you're good to go.  Screw the haters. 

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Presto! Pesto

I used to not be a pesto fan.  I don't know why.  I love everything that goes into pesto, individually.  But for some reason, when all of those ingredients got mixed together, it was just too overpowering for my palate.  But that has changed.  I love all different kinds of pesto now.  I would make a collard green pesto if I thought it would be good.  And hell, it might be.  And hell, I might just try it. 

Here's another quicky dinner that tastes like you just ordered in from a fancy restaurant.  And it's EASY to make.

Here's What You Need: 
Chicken Breasts (however many you need to feed your people)
Pasta (whatever kind you like...I'm a long noodley pasta gal)
1 package of Basil or about a cup and a half
3 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup of Parmesan
1/4 cup of Pine Nuts (I toast mine in a hot skillet until they are slightly browned for a little extra flavor)
1/2 cup of Olive Oil (or more until you reach a pesto consistency that you like...I like mine on the runny side)
Salt & Pepper
Seasoning for your chicken (I used garlic powder, salt, pepper, and a little cayenne)

Here's What You Do:
Season your chicken on both sides.  Cook in a saute pan on medium heat with a little olive oil until finished, usually takes about 5-7 minutes per side.  Set chicken aside and cover with aluminum foil to keep it warm.  Cook pasta according to the directions on the box and how many people you are feeding.  In a food processor (if you don't own one, get will make your life so much easier) add in basil and garlic and drizzle in a little olive oil to get things going and to make sure everything is getting chopped up.  Add in your pine nuts and the rest of your oil.  Blend until smooth.  Add in your Parmesan and blend some more.  If you need to add in more olive oil at this point, do so.  Now taste it, add salt and pepper if necessary.

Drain your pasta and add it back to the pot.  Add in a good helping of your pesto and mix this all around until your pasta is totally coated.  Plate your pasta, top with your sliced chicken and enjoy an easy, gourmet dinner that only took about 15 minutes to make.

This pesto recipe will make about a cup of pesto.  You can put pesto on anything. So now you have many options for future dinners/lunches, hell, it's good on eggs, so lets just say "meals".

You're welcome.