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Archive for December, 2008

Thanksgiving

My Thanksgiving Dinner!

Okay, I didn’t really cook most of it… but I DID bake & decorate the cake!

The room/table:

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The turkey!

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The dessert spread:

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Me & my beautiful cake!

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Chicken and onions

I think it’s safe to say that my entries will be chicken-centric since I don’t eat red meat. Hey, Knerr, you’re on the no-mammal diet too, right? Actually, I lie.. I sometimes cave in and eat pork, but very rarely and usually only on special occasions. I really need to start cooking more seafood though.

In any case, here is tonight’s dinner: dry-rub marinated chicken breast with sauteed onions.

The dry rub consists of the following (all of which are staples in my cupboard):

  • Italian seasoning
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Garlic salt
  • Pepper
  • Cayenne pepper

Add minced garlic to that dry rub and also bread the chicken on both sides with bread crumbs.

Sautee the onions with a bit of olive oil and then sear the chicken, about 2 minutes each side and then pop it into the oven @ 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Serve with a side of anything! I opted for onions because I have to get rid of them before I go on vacation but I’d probably use some button mushrooms with a balsamic vinegar sauce and some fresh grape tomatoes. Or asparagus spears. 🙂

Chicken!

$ breakdown:

Chicken breasts tend to be a bit pricey these days and I think I got a pack of 3 for $7.

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Cake decorating is my current obsession/hobby/creative outlet. I just recently began taking a few courses to learn how to make all sorts of pretty flowers, borders and various other icing creations. The following pictures show the progression of my decorating skills from August (when I had no experience what-so-ever) through October (which is when I completed my second decorating course). Enjoy!

Cake #1: Outlined Flowers
Confetti Cake with Vanilla Buttercream

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Cake #2: Drop Flower Cake
(It was so warm that day the cream cheese frosting melted and caused the cake to slump!)

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Cake #3: Clown Cupcakes!

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Cake #4: Beer Pong Cake!

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Cake #5: Rose Bouquet (Yellow Cake with Vanilla Buttercream)

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Cake #6: Basketweave Cake

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Cake #7: 21st Birthday Basketweave Cake

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Cake #8: Sex & the City Martini Cake

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There are a few more cakes/cupcakes that I’ve made since then, but unfortunately I do not currently have the photos of those creations!

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Summer seafood dinner

This dinner was my BABY. I spent an entire week researching and thinking about what to cook.

First entree: Mexican grilled corn salad with scallops

(Recipe: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/grilled-scallops-with-mexican-corn-salad and a note: I didn’t have some of the spices and I didn’t use mayonnaise or cheese; it was still delicious)

We paired this with a really good rose.

Main entree: Baked lobster with garlic butter panko, paired with an excellent bottle of chardonnay.

(Recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/baked-lobster-with-garlic-butter-panko-recipe/index.html and a note: the panko crust wasn’t mixed well because I’m not as cool as Christina and I don’t own a food processor)

I served this with seasoned grilled zucchini and potatoes.

Dessert: Store/bakery bought fruit tart. I think the filling was marscapone, not custard. We paired this with vanilla ice cream and it was SO GOOD. The berries were so fresh!

$ breakdown (really expensive):

  • The lobster was MONEY. It was about $70 for 2 medium lobsters.
  • Scallops – ~$12
  • 3 corns on the cob – $3
  • Zucchini and potatoes – < $5. Vegetables are cheap!
  • Ice cream – ~$7 for the good stuff
  • I’m not sure how much the fruit tart cost because I didn’t buy it but I’m guessing between $15 and $25.
  • And all the wine? God, so much. We had 3 bottles (rose, chardonnay and a merlot) so you can take a stab at how much you think that cost.

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Meatloaf

This isn’t your momma’s traditional meatloaf! Don’t expect any ketchup! I’m assuming this works well with other kinds of ground meat but I used ground chicken.

I winged this, btw, so I’m not too sure on the exact measurements, but here goes!

  • A package of ground chicken (the entire thing)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of breadcrumbs
  • Garlic
  • Diced onions
  • Soy sauce
  • Garlic salt
  • Italian seasoning
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Chili powder
  • Olive oil

Regarding the seasonings: I just eyeballed everything. I made it a little spicier because I like spicy. After mixing all the ingredients together, the trick is to get the right texture. If the mixture is too wet, add more breadcrumbs, but not too much! It should still be malleable and keep shape (does meatloaf have a shape? whatever).

I didn’t use the traditional loaf pan because my roommate was using it, so I opted for a round pan instead. Make sure you spread the pan with pam or olive oil (I used olive oil). I do this even with nonstick pans. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and cover the round pan with foil. Bake for about 35 minutes and then remove the foil, top the meatloaf with breadcrumbs & stick it under the broiler for 10-15 minutes.

I served it with rice pilaf for two people but this recipe should feed 4-6 people pretty well.

The eggs kept the meat REALLY moist and tender. Too bad I didn’t take a photo of the meat from the side; you’d see all the seasonings (and how they’re not evenly distributed.. I suck at mixing).

$ breakdown (assuming you have all the seasonings and the things you should already have in your kitchen, like the eggs, onion, garlic & breadcrumbs):

  • Ground chicken ~$6
  • Rice pilaf – ranges between $2 and $5 if you buy the boxed stuff

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Soon dubu!

I decided to step outside of the box and attempt to make my favorite Korean dish — soon dubu!

Here are my ingredients:

I even braved Zion! Special thanks to one Miss Mary Thi Tran who expedited my first trip to that particular Korean market!

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeee, dried anchovies! I made my own anchovy broth!

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd, ta daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

The finished product!

Soon Dubu Recipe:

1 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. gochu karu (red pepper powder)
1 mild onion (like Vidalia) sliced into strips
1 ½ cups of anchovy broth (boil 10-12 dried anchovies in water for 10 minutes to make this; remove anchovies) or water
¼ tsp. anchovy dashida (anchovy broth granules)
2 containers of silken tofu
1 Tbsp. gochu jang (red pepper paste)
6 shitake mushrooms sliced (enoki mushrooms are also good)
2 zucchini
12 potstickers (your choice, I used vegetable)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1-2 scallions sliced diagonally

Put sesame oil, sliced onion, and gochu karu in a pot and lightly stir fry over medium heat.

Add the anchovy broth and dashida and bring to a boil.

Put in the silken tofu, gochu jang, mushrooms, zucchini & potstickers and bring to a boil again. Turn down the heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes.

Add the beaten egg and scallions and cook briefly until the egg is cooked.

Remove from heat and enjoy with rice!

(Original recipe that I modified can be found here: http://belovedbabbling.blogspot.com/2006/06/isnt-it-ironic.html)

Price Point:

I spent $20 at the Korean market to get all of the basic spices, ingredients and whatnot, but now that I have them it shouldn’t cost much more than $10 to make next time!

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