Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Teriyaki Tofu Kebabs

Today has been a really stressful day for me. I had such a hard time sleeping last night because I kept hearing all sorts of weird noises. Then this morning I woke up and heard my neighbor talking really loudly, from what seemed like my front yard. For a moment I thought, "I wonder if he is talking to the police?".. I really don't know why I thought that. Maybe because we have been having a few parking issues. These people are so inconsiderate when it comes to unspoken parking rules! When I first moved into my house two years ago, there was this old beat up truck parked right in front of my house ALL the time. (It was literally never moved.) I decided I was gonna call TxDOT because there's this lemon law, where they go and tow old abandoned cars. First, I wanted to be generous and see if it belonged to any of my neighbors. So, I went over to the people next to me and asked. Sure enough, it was their vehicle. I asked them to please move it because it was inconvenient for me, because it nearly blocked my drive way and because my visitors always had to park elsewhere thanks to that garbage parked out front. They were nice enough to move it and for a few weeks (maybe even a month) they didn't park out front. I mean it just seemed ridiculous that they needed that space. They had three vehicles, of which two could be parked on their driveway and the other infront of their OWN house. But no... they decided that truck didn't need to make their house look bad so they went and parked it two houses down!!!! Can you believe that? More people moved into the house with them.. don't know why, but along with them they brought 3 more vehicles! Luckily, their neighbor on the other side moved out and the house is empty. So, they use that drive way for two of the vehicles and I've had to deal with at least one of their vehicles parked directly infront of my house again! It is so annoying because they park almost halfway blocking my driveway and no one is parked in front of their house.. and during the day no one is in their driveway, but there is always someone in front of my house.

... Okay, and because of these annoying issues I have been putting my trashcan there so they can't park there. Of course they still move my trash so they can park! Anyway back to this morning. I hear the neighbor in his loud voice, "We've been having problems (fades off) trash can (fades off)." OMG, I was like what is this guy doing? So I got up out of bed and looked out the window and sure enough there was a cop! The cop wasn't there because of our parking issues, but because someone had broken into the neighbors car infront of my house. I freaked out- thought maybe they'd blame me for wanting them to move their damn car or something. THEN, I got even more freaked out because it could have been my car! I've had to deal with enough of that violation and recently too because they broke into my house while we were in Europe in December. So, all morning I have been stressing out about this. It makes me really want to sell my house! It may not seem like a big deal, but my husband works out of state so he's not always here and that makes it scary for me. I always stress about things...



Sorry about that rant, I just really need to vent to anyone and everyone who will lend an ear when I am having a stressful day. Ah, so the recipe, right!? Remember I told you I was doing the South Beach Diet? Well, it's going pretty good. I have lost 6lbs in one week and it hasn't been hell. I have been eating pretty good. The recipe I am posting today is more of a method I guess. I was watching Cooking Channel and they were showing a vegetarian cookout and these actually appealed to me. Eventhough I am not a big fan of Tofu- they turned out good! At first, I wanted to make my own teriyaki, but I knew I wasn't going to find vermouth or tamrin at the supermarket so I bought a ready made bottle. Not the sticky gooey sugar filled sauce, it's a light soysauce looking type (kikkoman brand), and I am sure this would be wonderful with any meat.

Teriyaki Tofu Kebabs
Ingredients:
- Firm Tofu
- Bell Pepper
- 1/3 cup Teriyaki Sauce/Marinade
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- Skewers

Cut the Tofu into small cubes and marinade in a bowl with the teriyaki and lemon juice for 30 minutes to an hour. While it is marinating cut the bell pepper into small peices that are about the same width as the tofu cubes, so you can put them on the skewers. Then it's assembly time! Alternate tofu and bell pepper down 2/3 of the skewer. You can cook these outside on the grill, stove top grill, or in a panini grill like I did. They don't take very long, but I really liked the ones that cooked for longer because the tofu was a little crunchy. After about 5 minutes on each side you should have beautiful grill marks and they should be ready. If you are substituting the tofu for any meat, it will take longer.

After the kebabs were done, I sauteed a little kimchi to serve along side it. SO GOOD. All I needed was a little rice, but I can't eat that- darnit!

I think next time I will try it with chicken.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Tiramisu

Today marks day 4 of my South Beach Diet endeavor. It hasn't really been too difficult. I am actually quite proud that I haven't cheated or snuck in a piece of toast, because that is my favorite breakfast. I have had a little hanckering for chocolate, but I decided to blog about it instead of eating it! I made tiramisu for my hubby a few days back. **I didn't invite anyone over for it because he doesn't like to share his tiramisu.**



Last post, I mentioned that I have a hard time getting Arnaud to cook, but I forgot to mention that he never turns down a chance to eat make tiramisu. Usually, we will take turns making it- always the same recipe- turns out, it was my turn. I love this recipe because it is not too sweet and doesn't have an overwhelming amount of flavors. I really love the chocolate, rum, coffee combination of it and love even more that it doesn't have vanilla. Don't get me wrong, vanilla is delicious, but when it comes to tiramisu, I just don't find it necessary. This is as basic as you can get and as simple too.

The only issue I had with this tiramisu was waiting. You have to wait 4 hours minimum for it to set. Of course, I needed to photograph it so I took it outside for some beauty shots and the 108(F) degree weather melted it like ice cream within 5 minutes! So I had to rush it inside and pop it back in the fridge before it was inedible, or a soggy mess! AND I had to wait some more! So, the pictures were a little quick and maybe not as good as I would have liked them to be. The recipe, however, is still a sure bet and should be added to your dessert reprotoire.



Tiramisu
Ingredients:
- 16 oz. room temperature marscapone
- 4 eggs (seperated)
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar (converted from metric amounts)
- 1 1/2 cup espresso or strong coffee
- 1/8 cup dark rum or armagnac
- lady fingers
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder

Seperate the eggs while they are cold to make the process easier. Combine yolks with sugar in a bowl and beat until they are fluffy and have turned a pale yellow. Then beat in the marscapone until it is smooth. If you don't use room temperature marscapone, it is likely that you will have lumps that will be very difficult to get rid of. Once these ingredients are combined, set this bowl aside.

Whisk the egg whites, along with the salt, in a clean glass, copper, or stainless steel bowl. Using plastic containers decreases the success of having light fluffy whites because it is very difficult to fully remove fat residue from plastic. If you are a mad man and have decided to whisk these by hand, using a bigger whisk will make the process faster. Once the whites reach their full potential and have attained stiff peaks they are ready. You know you have stiff peaks when you can turn your bowl upside down and they don't fall, or using the safer method of scooping some with the top of your whisk and see if it holds it's shape. My husband does the bowl upside down test, but I have had so much bad luck with meringues that I am too scared of dropping it all on the floor then having to start all over and cleaning up.

Slowly, fold the egg whites into the marscapone mixture in two batches so they don't deflate. Start by placing your spatula (rubber/silicone) into the middle of your whites and scoop/'fold' turning out to the sides of the bowl, while turning the bowl. Repeat this movement until the egg whites have all been incorporated, then add in the remaining whites and combine in the same manner. Set aside.

The espress/coffee should be cooled and combined with the rum in a bowl where you can dip the lady fingers in. You will, of course, need something to assemble the tiramisu in. I used a small oval pan for this, but using an 8" or 9" square brownie pan will work too. Dip the lady fingers into the coffee mixture soaking both stides of the cookie. **WARNING** Whether you are using the crunchy cookies or the cake like ones, they both get really soggy if left to soak for too long and end up falling apart. So, be sure to only soak them for 3 or 4 seconds on each side. Then place them on your pan, creating the base for the dessert. Continue this process until you are able to cover the bottom of the pan with cookies. Then, pour half of the marscapone mixture over the cookies and smooth the top. Moisten and place the cookies over the marscapone to create a second layer. Cover the second layer of lady fingers with the remaining marscapone and then dust the whole top of the dessert with the cocoa powder. Place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours, best left over night.



Yum. Just writing this makes me feel like I just enjoyed a big serving of this creamy goodness. :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Couple's Therapy


Spring Rolls


So, still no update on those darn apricots. I really don't know what to do about them, and the fact that I just started the South Beach Diet today doesn't exactly motivate me to work with them (since, I won't be able to taste it!) Perhaps, I should have used the apricots before starting the diet? It seemed almost impossible to fit them into my cooking schedule though. I had so many piled up projects.. and I never got around to them. I've finally decided to let the household dig in. Morgane came up to me today and said "Daddy said I can have a polka-dot. Is it okay?" and there she was with an apricot in her hand. I have no idea where she got polka-dot from, but she thoroughly enjoyed it.. in front of me. I guess, I will have to wait for another apricot sale to finally make something with them.

Back, to those projects I was talking about. On a trip to Houston, prior to the barely trip, I went to a Chinese market. It was amazing and I loved the fact that noodles, which run about $4.99 here, were only $2.00! I also found a lot of cool ingredients that I have just about finished. I was really into Asian food for a while. There was one lone ingredient that remained in the pantry untouched...rice paper rounds. I purchased these with the intention of making spring rolls. Yuuuum! But, again, lazyness crept around and fear too- buying them premade just seemed so much more convenient. Then, the strangest of all things happened... my husband offered to cook! WOW. He even wanted to make something interesting- spring rolls!

At first, I was hesitant, unsure if he was really willing to help out in the kitchen. In the end, I decided it wasn't a bad idea taking this on as a couple! Especially, when I have such a hard time getting him to cook something for the family that isn't frozen or canned. I really don't know why he doesn't ever offer to cook, he isn't half bad. I guess he just prefers me not telling him how to do things my cooking. We spent the afternoon preping and talking. It was actually really fun- and we got along! Not that we don't get along, but I always assume that in stressful situations we will constantly bicker. That wasn't the case and I am glad it wasn't because we got a delicious meal out of it and were able to enjoy our accomplishment together. We even got a few laughs from the first few burrito like rolls we made. After a few mishaps, the rolls starting looking normal. I guess it's like crepes, they get better as you go along, but don't toss the first one- it's a perfect snack while finishing the rest of them.

I really enjoyed making these and eating them was just as much fun! Here's the recipe for them.

Spring Rolls
Ingredients:
- medium sized shrimp
- bean sprouts
- carrots
- curly leaf lettuce
- vermicelli rice noodles
- cilantro
- rice paper rounds
*I haven't indicated amounts because it all depends on how many rolls you are making and how big you want them. However, average about 2-3 shrimp per roll.*

Fill a saucepan with water and set to boil on stove. Once the water is simmering, place in the raw shrimp. Once the shrimp have started to curl and changed to a pink color they are ready. This should take about 3-4 minutes. Drain the shrimp and allow them to cool until you can handle them with your hands. Once they are cooled, break off the little legs (if any) and remove the shells and tail. Using a small paring knife, cut along the back side of the shrimp to remove the black trail and rinse to remove it completely. Continue until you have finished devaining all the shrimp. If you have purchased pre-cooked shrimp, you don't need to cook them further. Just defrost them and remove shell, tail, and devaine if needed. Set aside.

Carrots should be peeled and cut into matchsticks. The lettuce and cilantro only need to be washed and hand torn into smaller pieces.

The rice noodles should be prepared according to the package instructions, but it should not take more than 5 minutes. Once they are drained set them aside to cool.

Place your ingredients in an assembly line that is accesible from within arms length to make your life easier when putting the rolls together. Moisten a clean kitchen towel and set it on the counter. This will be your work surface. The rice paper rounds should be included in the assembly line, along with a 9 in. round cake pan filled with tap water.

Place a paper round into the water and allow it to soften. The round will still look a little clear when it is ready, but it will be pliable. Place the round on the towel and allow it to sit for a few minutes, this makes it so much easier to work with. At this point, you can place another paper round into the water, but make sure to keep on eye on it.



Once the round is ready to work with, place two or three shrimp on the top 1/4 of the round. Then work your way through the assembly line- a leaf or two of cilantro, 4 carrot matchsticks, bean sprouts, enough lettuce to cover the previous layers, and a small bunch of rice noodles. I just tore these up by hand, once they are in the roll, no one will see how they were cut. Here comes the tricky part- rolling them.

If you didn't allow the round to set for a while, it will be all floppy and won't stay where you want it to. So letting it rest is important. I would say 5 minutes is ideal resting time. First, using both hands fold the top over the filling and push the filling up to the edge of the fold to make it nice and tight. Hold that down with your thumb, while you reach for the side flaps and fold inward toward the middle. That was the hardest part! Once the sides are straight, all you have to do is roll the whole thing downward on itself, like a burrito- et voila! A spring roll.

Place the completed spring rolls on a plate and cover it with a wet napkin, while you finish making the rest.



These tasted delicious by themselves, but we dipped them in soysauce with a squirt of lemon juice and they were even better! Yum,Yum,Yum,Yum- Delicioso! (too much Dora the explorer).

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Apricots...



I just got home a few hours ago from an quick trip to San Antonio. We decided to take a family trip including my mom, two younger brothers, and my sister, along with her husband and son. We hadn't a trip together in such a long time, maybe never since we had the kids. I really enjoyed it. We spent all of Saturday at Six Flags and of course us girls were left to care for the little ones, while our husbands ran around like children. It wasn't as bad as we had thought. After finally finding the kiddie water park the kids, husbands included, got to cool off and that entertained them for a few hours. I discovered that my little princes is an adrenaline junkie, certainly not inherited from me. I was forced to repeatedly ride kiddie coasters... and eventhough I had a headache from all the spinning, I wouldn't have traded the chance to see her so happy for a thing!

Today, was also spent in the sun riding river boats and enjoying a cold one on the riverwalk listening to mariachi music, remembering my dad and grandpa. The sun wouldn't be a bad thing if I didn't live in what seems like a dessert. But- I do and even if it wasn't as hot as it is here at home, I still felt my skin sizziling in the sun. That made me tired and I ended up sleeping the whole drive home. A much needed rest... Bad news was that the heat really put me in a bad mood and I wasn't up for anything. So I missed out on going to any specialty markets! darnit!

It's okay, I am probably starting a diet soon and I am STILL trying to figure out what to do with the 4lbs. of apricots I bought on sale at the super market last week. It was a great sale, from $6.99/lb to $2.99, so I had to take advantage. Of course, now they are sitting in my fridge- untouched, because I refuse to let anyone eat them, just in case I need all 4lbs for a fabulous recipe. My mind is blank though. I was thinking of making a small tart reminiscent of this delicious apricot pastry I tasted on the subway in Paris on my last trip. (BTW, I can't believe that they have tasty bakeries in the subway tunnels. Although, my sister-in-law says they are the equivalent of McDs- I didn't mind them at all.) So, that's my project for the week... apricots. Any suggestions?

I am gonna go veg out on the sofa and enjoy what's left of tonight. À bientôt!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Nailpolish and Barley


Barley and Fresh Vegetable Salad


For the last few months, I have taken on the enduring task of doing my own nails. I had gotten into the habit of stopping into the salon 2 times a month to get an overlay refill. If you don't know what this is- it's pretty much amazing. They don't use the fake tips to make your nails longer, they just fill in your nails and make them sturdier and so much healthier looking. Not to mention, the nailpolish never chips off! I loved getting them done, but it was becoming an expensive habit. So, in order to economize, I decided the habit needed to stop. You might say, "Well, you're just being spoiled (or lazy, yet again). Just do them yourself." Truth is, I am virtually incapable of doing it! Last night, I was able to paint my toe nails, which isn't very hard since I can do it all right handed. This morning I decided my hands needed to match. So, I attempted... like 10 times (no lie). I was forced to take off the nailpolish on every other nail because I'd accidentally press to hard and make a dent in the previous layer, I'd graze my hand too close to my coffee mug, or while cleaning up another nail I'd get cotton remnants all over another nail! It was a disaster and I was irritated, so I decided to give up.


You have won, yet again, nailpolish! Now, my hands don't match my feet and I am so tempted to go back to the salon for a mani fix! I think I might just have to ask my mom to paint my nails when she paints Morgane's (my baby girl) nails. It seems I am so uncoordinated, I am not even trusted to do my 3-yr olds nails! Her nail hygeine is so much better than mine, because she has a personal *free* manicurist. I will probably attempt it again before I embarrassingly ask for help from someone else. In the meantime, I wanted to post about barley!

I came accross this little grain via the Food Network. I can't remember who it was, but someone was cooking with it. And as you will soon find out, rare products that are almost impossible to find in my hometown are always intriguing to me! How rare could barley be? Well, it took me nearly a year to get my hands on it. It wasn't even here in my own town, I had to travel 4 hours to Houston to get it. The trip wasn't solely to get the grain, I just happened to stop at a specialty food store and decided to buy it. Luckily, it was mostly middle eastern food, so I got it for a bargain price of $1.99! Anyway, it's been a few months since I bought it and everytime I see it in the pantry I push it aside and just avoid it. Much like brown rice, it is an intimidating ingredient. (I'll tell you my story about brown rice later..) I finally mustered the courage to take on this bad boy and I must say, the result was rather delicious.



The process of cooking the barely, although not challenging, was not pretty. I went outside to water my plants and left my husband unofficially in charge of the barley. I half expected him to call out to me if the liquid had ran out and the barely was burning or something. Of course, I should have known that this was too much to ask of him... especially when I didn't even tell him to keep an eye on it. So, I wasn't mad or anything, but when I came back in the pot was stained with residue of overflowing water and the bottom barley layer was stuck to the pan! It's okay, kitchen disaster averted! I saved most of it and was able to accompllish my mission.

Fully cooked, the grain has an awesome chewyness to it that goes so well with the fresh vegetables. The vinagrette that I added to it was absorbed into every little grain and tasted even better when left in fridge over night! I really hope you guys enjoy this recipe and are inspired to take those daunting ingredients face on!

Barley and Fresh Vegetable Salad
Ingredients:
- 1 cup of uncooked barley pearls
- 4 cups of water
- 1 tsp. of salt
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1/2 cup of peeled and diced carrot
- 1/4 cup of bean sprouts
- 2 chopped small sweet peppers or half of 1 large red/yellow/orange sweet pepper
- 1 medium tomato (chopped)
- 1/4 cup of grapseed oil or extra-virgin olive oil
- zest and juice of one lemon
- 1 tsp. of dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp. of paprika
- 1 tbsp. chopped parsley (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste

Rinse and inspect barley for any small stones or imperfections. Then place in pot with water, garlic, and 1 tsp. of salt. The ratio of barley to water should be 1:4 and the completed cooking process should take anywhere between 35-40 minutes. Keep a close eye on it, so it doesn't stick to the pan, like mine did. You could add a little olive oil to the water to prevent this from happening.

While the barley cooks, chop your vegetables into bite size pieces, all about the same size, except for the bean sprouts.

In a seperate bowl combine the remaining ingredients and whisk lightly until the dressing is thick and opaque. Make sure to taste it and see if it needs s&p, then set aside.

Once the barley is finished cooking, allow it to cool for about 20 minutes. You still want it warm, so it absorbs the dressing, but not too hot or it will steam the vegetables. Place the cooled barley and vegetables in a bowl, add the dressing a little at a time, so you can regulate how much you want in the salad. Then, carefully combine the ingredients so they all have a little dressing. It can be eaten like this, or placed in the refrigerator and eaten cold.

Now, I am craving some... too bad I already finished it all. Oh well! Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Grandma's Entomatadas


Our family usually serves this with mexican rice, a fresh salad sprinkled with lime and salt (not in the photo), and a potato dish. These recipes follow....


Yum, yum! Everytime I think about good food I think about my grandma. I guess you could say she inspired me at a young age to start cooking. I was always amazed at how many delicious things she could make over and over again, with out ever using a recipe! But, that's how grandma's work, isn't it? Being Mexican, I was lucky to grow up with home made flour tortillas, freshly cooked pinto beans, and queso fresco. This was probably the simplest of meals, but a staple in the mexican everyday diet and so good. I can still see my grandmother, in her night dress, waking up bright and early to get started on making testales (little balls of dough for flour tortillas) for the week. It was a pretty laborous ordeal, since she didn't use any mixing machines.. everything was done by hand. Of course, now, she is older and has started buying the almost home made style raw flour tortillas we have available at the local super market. Needless to say, her cooking has lost none of it's flavor or ability to take me back to childhood.

Aside from tortillas, one of my favorite dishes was entomatadas. I am not sure if many people outside the hispanic community know what these are... but they are delicious corn tacos filled with queso fresco and topped with tomato sauce. Sound simple? Well, it is! and it is so delicious. I often dreamed about learning to make these, because I craved their sweet and spiciness often. However, my mom would always make them when I'd ask her to so I never bothered learning how to make them. I know, lazy. Last year though, I was determined to learn how to make those classic plates I enjoyed during childhood in order to pass them on to my baby girl when she's older. These entomatadas were the first thing I made and believe it or not, I just took brief directions from my grandma and mom over the phone! They turned out pretty fabulous and I've continued to make them since.

In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, I made these but never got around to posting about them. Better late than never- So here it is!

Entomatadas
Ingredients:
- 8 or 9 medium sized roma tomatos
- 1 serrano pepper
- 1/2 to 1 tsp. of sugar (optional)
- salt and pepper (season to taste)
- vegetable oil
- corn tortillas (2 or 3 per person)
- 1- 8 oz. package of queso fresco
- 1/4 a small yellow onion (optional)

Place tomatos and serrano pepper in a deep pan, fill with water and set to boil. This process should take about 10 minutes, until the tomato skin has busted open and tomatos are soft.

Do not drain the tomatos when they are ready because you will be needing this liquid. Place the tomatos and pepper in a blender. You don't have to worry about removing the tomato skins, but don't forget to pop the top off the pepper. The ratio of tomato to pepper ensures that the sauce won't be too spicy. It's just a little added kick. If serrano peppers are too spicy for you, you can always substitute for a small fresh jalapeno.. or just leave it out all together. Add about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the boiling liquid to blender and close the lid. Always use a small kitchen towel over the blender top, just incase the hot liquid bursts out of the blender. I usually pulse and remove the top to let out steam until the sauce is completely smooth. Taste the sauce for sweetness. If the tomatos weren't ripe you will need to add the sugar. This can be skipped if you have ripe tomatos. Then add salt and pepper to taste and blend again.



Heat a skillet with a teaspoon of vegetable oil and pour the sauce in to reduce slightly, while you prepare the tortillas and crumble the cheese.



If you don't mind the bite of a raw onion, you can finely chop the onion and add it to the cheese. This is optional. My grandma always made half the cheese with onion and the other half without because some people didn't like the onion.

In another skillet, pour some vegetable oil in the pan. You only need about 1/2 tsp. because we aren't frying the tortillas, it is just to soften them. Once the oil is hot place the corn tortilla in the pan and let it heat through. It shouldn't take more than 30 seconds to do both sides of the torilla. Then place heated tortilla on a plate... without a paper towel. If you do have a paper towel, the torilla will stick to it and make a mess because they are only softened, not cooked to a crisp. Just make sure to hold the tortilla over the pan for a few seconds to let the excess oil drip off. Don't forget to turn off the tomato sauce at this point.



After finishing the tortillas, flip them over so you have the freshly cooked ones at the bottom. This makes handling them much easier, because you won't burn your fingers and they won't tear. Using tongs, dip the tortillas into the sauce and onto a plate for filling. Fill each tortilla with cheese and roll them, so the seam of the taco is facing down. Place them close to each other so they keep themselves from rolling. Then pour sauce over them and sprinkle a little cheese. That's it!

Mexican Rice
Ingredients:
- 1 cup of long grain rice
- 2 cups of water
- 1/2 stalk of celery
- 1 cube of tomato bouillon
- 2 tbs. of tomato sauce
- 1 tsp. of vegetable oil

Add vegetable oil to pan and allow it to be heated. Then add rice and toast rice until it resembles an oatmeal color. This should take about 5-7 minutes. Pour in the water, add the celery, bouillon, and tomato sauce. Stir slowly to make sure all the ingredients have been dispersed through out the rice. Then cover and let simmer over a medium heat until the liquid is absorbed. Once liquid is absorbed, remove from heat and remove the lid until ready to serve.




Potatoes, Carrots, and Chorizo
Ingredients:
- 2 medium sized baking potatoes
- 2 peeled carrots
- 2-4 oz. of Mexican Chorizo (not the hard Spanish Chorizo)
- Vegetable oil

Heat pan and oil, while the you peel and dice the potatoes and carrots. Add the potatoes to the pan until they are slightly cooked. Then the carrots. Once both vegetables have a nice brown color add in the chorizo. The chorizo should not take more than 5 mintues to be fully cooked. The dish is ready to be served along side the rice.

So, there you have it! A simple Mexican dish. Aprovecho!


My abuelita and I, nearly 21 years ago!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Kitchen Disasters



First off, I should probably inform you that the trip to the lake went well. Ofcourse we didn't catch anything, but I don't think that was really the point. It turned out to be quite relaxing and definitely a change from the norm. I did have to see gross earth worms that Arnaud hooked as bait on his reel and that was probably the worst of it. I opted for less gross and prettier option, a bright yellow thinga-majig. I have no idea what they are called and even less of an understanding as to how a fish could posibly see something so unaturally colored and find it appetizing. The sunset was amazing and that alone made me happy to have gone. It was a great end to a very long day.



my baby girl. she rocks my world.


Yesterday I decided that I'd get into the kitchen and purposely make something to blog about. Maybe that was just my excuse to finally make the cheesecake I'd been craving all week. I was imagining this wonderfully tall, fluffy, light cheesecake with a crunchy almond crust and I still was undecided about the topping. I'd written and re-written the recipe in my head at least 10 times. We went to get groceries and I bought the ingredients, or at least, I thought I did. When I came home I realized that I had forgotten to buy graham crackers for the crust! This should have been my first clue, that things weren't going to turn out great. I just thought to myself, 'This is what I get for not making a damn grocery list.' Luckily, I found an old box of graham crackers that I had completely forgotten I had. So, I started on the crust...

Crushed the cookies, melted the butter, added some sugar, pressed it into the spring form pan, and put it in the oven to bake. I thought all was going well and I had somehow averted the disaster. Then as I started work on the filling I noticed the bag of almonds on the counter. SHIT! I forgot to add them!!! I instantly ran to the stove and pulled out the crust, only to realize it was already browned and set. Ok, so no almond crust. It's not a big deal. I just left the crust out to cool and continued on the filling. A few splatters all over me, but still things were looking good. The cake was in the oven and it was looking amazing!

Earlier, while getting groceries, I saw my cousin (who is also my neighbor) and she invited me over to her house for a BBQ. It was getting late and the cake still wasn't ready. I almost wanted to turn the heat up in the oven so I could head over to my cousin's, but I didn't wanna ruin it and not be able to blog about it. So, I waited... patiently. Finally, when it was done- I was pleased. It was oh so beautiful. I set the waterbath and cheesecake(still in the bath) on the stove and jetted out the door. I had a good time at the BBQ and time really flew!

At one point I remember asking myself, 'Maybe I should have taken the cheesecake out of the water bath?' I knew I shouldn't have even thought this- it probably jinxed me! Sure enough, when I got home the water had somehow seeped through the foil, through the pan, and into my crunchy crust!!!! I was furious, but thought I could save it. So I threw it in the oven, hoping to dry it off. It didn't dry.

Then I was mad because now it was hot and I couldn't even eat it. So, I decided to put it in the freezer for a quick chill. As I opened my freezer drawer and put it in, it fell off the pan and splattered all over my freezer!! NOW I WAS FUMING! I forgot the cheesecake softened when it was warm. So, my husband realized the breakdown I was about to have and came and helped me clean up. I did manage to save about half the cheese cake, but it looked more like an upside down cheesecake then what I had originally imagined! Ugh, I was so sad and wanted to cry. Still, it was very very delicious.It reminded me of the scene in Julie&Julia, where Julie drops her chicken on the floor and just starts to cry. It seems this has been me in the kitchen for the last few MONTHS! I have been such a clutz and have had such a hard time making something look as amazing as I imagine it.

So, the cheesecake blog didn't happen.. but it sure made for a good story. I will eventually have something to share with you guys that isn't just my continuous ranting. :) Patience grasshopper!

Thanks for allowing me to vent.


the effed up cheesecake.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

It's Saturday?

Being a stay at home mom has really messed with my schedule. Seeing as how I rarely have anything planned, I find it so hard to keep up with what day of the week it is. Perhaps this is the first sign of my going insane. My husband, Arnaud, arrived from work on Thursday. And even though I knew it was Thursday, it felt like Friday. Maybe because it felt like the long wait for my weekend (his arrival) was finally over. Whatever it was I kept having to tell myself it was not Friday, even though I knew it was Thursday. It was weird. Then when Friday came along, I nearly woke up in a panic thinking I was late for Morgane's t-ball game. Again, I knew it was Friday- but thought it was Saturday. Crazyness. My mind just plays tricks on itself. So today is finally Saturday- after two days of waiting, the weekend is here!

The thought of a weekend is so alluring. Something about Saturday and Sunday makes me feel anxious to get out and do something. Of course, there is nothing much to do here. So, I become irritable and fidgety because I want to do something different.

It's 5 o'clock, not too hot outside and I have already coached a t-ball game, took a nap, and set up the pool and let Morgane play for a few hours. There's not much left to do that doesn't require spending money... So, in an effort to "make an effort" (haha)of enjoying hobbies alongside Arnaud I have agreed to go fishing with him. How this will end, nobody knows. I am not much of an outdoorsy kind of person. Sure I enjoy an occasional (like once a year) outdoor adventure, but frankly, it's too tranquil! I know that should be the allure of the whole nature bit... But I just love chaos. And I can't promise that I will make excellent company when I am doing something that doesn't keep me entertained. Hopefully, all goes well and we all return in good terms and unharmed.

I will keep you in the know. :)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Let's Take it From the Top

After careful consideration I have decided that the time has come to stash away my dreams of a food blog. I love food, cooking, and being able to share that with others. But, I just don't have the discipline to write down recipes and take magnificent photos... then sit down and type it all up! It must be laziness, well, I'm sure that that is it. Really though, I shouldn't keep dragging my feet about starting a blog because sometimes I really just need an outlet and I always hesitate to sit here and write about something that has nothing to do with food! So, from this moment on I pronounce my blog to remain themeless... (unless I count as a theme?)

Oh god, that feels so liberating. I know it must seem ridiculous, but it's true! I've often felt intimidated by the blogging community because there are so many talented people focused on what they are doing. Truth be told, that just isn't me. I am so random and afraid of commitment that I tend to bounce from one interest to another. Although food has remained a constant, it still doesn't completely consume me (I consume it! haha totally cheezy). Now I feel like I don't have to prove myself to anyone because I am just writing about NOTHING! Does that make sense?

Enough of that.

Today is amazing! After 100 days of no rain, we finally got some. At noon, dark clouds filled the sky and the delicious smell of rain was in the air. Now, it's fresh and drizzly. A welcomed break from the 3 digit temperatures we've been having lately. From what I've heard, rainy days are meant to be spent indoors, cuddled on the sofa with a warm cup of tea. Due to my inexperience with rain I am wondering if I should get around to doing this. It is rather tempting, however I already know that in a few hours it will be hot and sticky and the thought of drinking anything hot or warm is just not appealing. I am thinking an ice cold beer sweet tea on the back porch sounds better!

Until we meet again blog.

**PS. Big thanks to my wonderful sister for recovering my blog entry that was deleted by blogger.com mishaps!