kat_nic: A cat wearing glasses (Default)
Welp, my laptop is almost totally dead. I've been getting blue screens a lot more frequently, so I finally broke down and ordered a refurbished laptop, which I'll use until I can get a good deal on a brand new one. As I was sorting through all my files deciding what's worth saving, I found a bunch of pictures I took when I was in culinary school. Like this one:

Photobucket

And also lots of kitty pictures.

Photobucket

Aw, smoosh face.
kat_nic: A cat wearing glasses (The Ceiling Cat Prayer)
Well, it's not April in the South until we have one last cold snap. Does it matter that the temp was in the 80s last week? Hell no.

I had enough energy to go to the store and buy juice and cheese and mushrooms so I could make an omelate, and use use up the spinach I bought last week before it spoils. I wanted to buy gruyere, but the store didn't have any :( so I decided to try smoked swiss, and it's actually pretty awesome :) The smoky flavor really reminds me of bacon (steak, I can give up no problem. But bacon, ham, sausage? want always) so now I know to try more smoked cheeses. I bet a broiled portabella sandwich with smoked cheddar would be be a good stand in for a bacon cheeseburger. Something to try, anyway.

And then I crashed, couldn't even do the dishes after. Funny thing is, I don't even have a fever. Immune system, what gives?
kat_nic: A cat wearing glasses (Default)
TSP (textured soy protein)...it's okay I guess. If you taste it by itself it's kinda funky, but if it's in something, it covers up the funkiness. I tried it in bolognese last night and honestly, I would just rather go with straight vegetables than use TSP. Although I suppose there might be occasions where it's useful.

I'm still side eyeing the cheese made from rice, though.
kat_nic: (Nerdy Cooking)
I found my camera, so I have a slightly better picture this time.



I flipped through one of my favorite cookbooks looking at all the chicken recipes, but I couldn't make up my mind which one to go with. So I used several at once. :D

First, I decided to spatchcock the chicken. It makes the bird cook faster and promotes even cooking, so it's less likely to dry out. Then, after rinsing and patting it dry, I rubbed it with a tablespoon of kosher salt, and let it sit in the fridge for two days. (this was from the "Salt Marinated Chicken" recipe)

Second, I made the marinade (I cherry picked ingredients from the "Brick Chicken" and the "Lebanese Grilled Chicken" recipes), which consisted of

-one cup of olive oil
-juice and zest of one lemon
-one tablespoon each of finely chopped rosemary and parsley
-four large garlic cloves, smashed
-three tablespoons of hot sauce--the "Brick Chicken" recipe called for crushed red pepper, which I was out of
-sprinkle of salt and black pepper

After the two day salt treatment, I marinated the chicken in the lemon/olive oil mixture for about four hours, then roasted it at 450°F for twenty minutes, so the skin got good and crisp, then dropped it down to 350° and let it cook for another twemty-five minutes or so.

Then I made the salad dressing--and this is my new favorite thing, I swear: caramelized onion and goat cheese dressing; it is so delicious, and a 100% Kat Original.

While the chicken was roasting, I caramelized a cup of diced onions in olive oil. While that was cooking, I made a vinaigrette with the tarragon vinegar I had left from making the Bèarnaise; I also added two teaspoons of honey for a little sweetness to balance the acidity, a tiny pinch of salt, and two ounces of goat cheese. When the onions were done, I whisked them in while they were still hot so it would melt the cheese a little, and then cooled it completely, because DNW wilted leaf lettuce.

The whole meal was so, so good--"I would serve it to company" good. "I would run this as a special if my job appreciated my skills enough to let me make specials" good. The chicken was so moist, even the breast meat, and it had good flavor throughout, not just on the skin. Salting a chicken for two days seems like a lot of effort, but it is so worth it. And the dressing was so good I didn't even put anything else on the salad, except a little extra cheese crumbled on top. It had a perfect balance of acidity and creaminess, and the honey evened everything out, but the caramelized onions are what took it from being just a good salad dressing to pure awesome.
kat_nic: A cat wearing glasses (Figure Skating: Meryl and Charlie)
So, when I'm not thinking of fandom meta, I'm thinking of recipes. My roommate is finally starting to pay me back for all the bills I paid over the last three months, so I splurged and bought some ~real food~. Yeah, I have weeks where all I can afford is ramen (lime shrimp and cheddar; I swear to god I've probably consumed so much MSG at this point I should be damn near immortal).

Anyways, I made this, and took a terrible phone picture, because I remembered to buy batteries, but then I couldn't find my camera, d'oh:



Crepes with portabella mushrooms and carmalized onions, topped with Béarnaise sauce.

Food geekery ahoy )
kat_nic: A cat wearing glasses (Bell Peppers)
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Veggie spaghetti with spirals instead of angel hair. Made with my tomato sauce and a good handful of frozen spinach, some chickpeas, diced zucchini or eggplant, whatever is on hand.
kat_nic: A cat wearing glasses (Default)
Dad gave me a bunch (about six or seven pounds) of peppers from his garden so I can make hot sauce. Damn, making this stuff is a pain in the ass, but it is so delicious. At least I've got the technique down by now, although it was very trial by error. And I tried a little something different last time, by using lime juice instead of vinegar with the green serrano chiles. Now that was good.

So, I have four batches going right now and two left to make after this. One is straight habaneros, too, for my sister, who's tolerance for heat far surpasses even mine. Once, just once, I want to make something that is too hot for her.

At least I should be able to breathe after this (fall allergies, bah).


Posted via m.livejournal.com.

kat_nic: A cat wearing glasses (Bell Peppers)
I just made the best thing.

I have a fuckton of bell peppers that my dad gave me out of his garden. But...I don't have a lot of other ingredients right now because hi, I'm always broke. I just buy staples like bread and peanut butter. Well, anyway, I bought some good bread from the bakery and had an idea.

I sliced it legthwise and put it under the broiler, just long enough for the top to get crispy, and leave the rest soft and chewey.

Then I diced up some bell peppers and an onion, and two serrano peppers. I sauteed the onions until they just started to carmalize, then added the peppers and cooked them until they were nice and soft. Also added some dried basil and garlic, and salt and pepper of course. At the end I deglazed the pan with a little bit of red wine vinegar, and spooned it on top of the bread. It was delicious. I think the only thing that could have made it better was some tomato paste, but, oh well. and some sausage, I am a terrible vegetarian

NOM

Jul. 2nd, 2011 01:15 pm
kat_nic: (Nerdy Cooking)


Eggplant Parmesan.

Actually Eggplant Romano, as the pecorino romano was four dollars cheaper than the parmigiano reggiano. Anyway. It was good.

I sliced the eggplant about a quarter of an inch thick, dredged the slices in heavy cream (it’s what I had on hand, but a milk and egg wash would do as well) and bread crumbs seasoned with salt and pepper, dried basil, and some of the romano, and pan fried them for about a minute and half, two minutes per side. Then I layered the slices in a casserole dish with more romano, and some tomato sauce, and baked it at 400 degrees for twelve minutes. I served it on top of some whole wheat linguine; guh. Delicious.

For the record, my tomato sauce recipe is as follows:

1 carrot, grated
1 small onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 large clove of garlic, or 2 small, minced
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 tablespoon of dried basil
About ten or twelve fresh basil leaves
One 28 oz can of crushed, pureed, or diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Grate the carrot, chop the onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté the carrot, onion, and bell pepper in some olive oil with a couple of pinches of salt and pepper until they’re soft, then add the garlic, dried basil, and tomato paste. Cook until the tomato paste is a rusty color (eh, maybe five minutes), then add the canned tomatoes. Let it simmer (with the lid on the pot) for about fifteen or twenty minutes, and when you’re ready to eat, slice the fresh basil and sprinkle it on top. Ta-fucking-da.

This amount of sauce is just enough to dress one pound of pasta. I like to add in some chopped spinach, and/or chick peas, and/or diced zucchini if I’m just having pasta without a delightful eggplant parmesanromano on top of it.

Who needs meat anyway. (I say this tongue-in-cheek because I am totally planning to fall off the wagon this afternoon at my uncle’s 4th of July party. He makes THE BEST barbeque chicken you will ever eat, anywhere. THE. BEST.)
kat_nic: (Nerdy Cooking)
Hey you guys. I've been quiet lately; I guess I just didn't have anything to say. Anyway, here, have some pixilated blueberry muffin bread pudding:



Echo, can I please have this blueberry muffin recipe of yours that you say is OMG THE BEST, because this one sucks donkey dick. I made two batches thinking I may have just fucked the first one up, but nope. They were dense and dry and totally blah, which is why I ended up making bread pudding out of them, lol. Oh well. At least the pudding was (surprisingly) good, considering I haven't made bread pudding in a long time, and it turns out that of the bajillion recipes I have, none of them are for bread pudding. So I just threw together an egg yolk and one whole egg, tempered with some scalded milk, melted butter, vanilla and almond extract, and poured it over the muffins, along with some extra blueberries. It was quite yummy.
kat_nic: A cat wearing glasses (Default)
I've been thinking a lot about my health lately. I know a lot of terrible diseases run in my family, both sides, heart disease, diabetes and cancer being the top three. I've already made very significant changes in my diet, such as cutting waaaay down on how much sugar I consume by drinking less soda (can't entirely kick the habit, unfortunately), and drinking unsweetened tea. I tried the artificial sweeteners, but they all taste awful, even stevia. So most of what I drink now is either tea or water. I also gave up white flour, even for baking. Most cookie and brownie recipes I have work fine with whole wheat, and there honestly isn't a discernible difference. Also nixed are white rice and basically all canned, prepackaged or "convenience" foods. After eating this way for the last three or so years, I really do prefer the taste and texture of whole grain foods.

I've been thinking about becoming a vegetarian off and on the last few years. The way animals for meat are raised is sickening, as well as damaging to the environment. But I really do enjoy eating meat, so I think an acceptable compromise is drastically limiting my intake, and making sure when I do buy it, the animal was raised cruelty-free. I'm also going to restrict my dairy and egg intake as well, but fish and shellfish are still on. ;)
kat_nic: A cat wearing glasses (Default)
So, it looks like I won't get the position they were advertising for, but they will probably hire me as a line cook. The pay isn't as good, but it's better than what I make now. And I've already got a possible roommate lined up. So things are getting better.

My hot sauce is becoming very popular! So far I've given away two batches and I've got a third one going now. Thankfully it's very cheap to make, so I just bought a bunch of plastic squeezy bottles (also cheap!) and that's what I'll give out as Christmas presents this year.
kat_nic: (Nerdy Cooking)
I am sososo glad to have my own kitchen again! And to be able to buy food I like! I had to stretch, but I can make any budget work. I made one of my favorite things last night, stir fry with spicy chile-peanut sauce. I am endlessly amused when I buy bok choy and the cashier gives it the fish eye and has to spend five minutes looking at her chart to find out what it is/how much it costs. Happens every time. Oh and I made a batch of hot sauce--can't wait to try it on some wings. It is seriously hot, too--much hotter than anything I ever bought from the grocery store. I might make that as presents for Christmas, only I'll make it milder by taking the seeds out and maybe adding some bell peppers to it. And the best part of making hot sauce is, one of the by products is chile paste, which is one of the ingredients in my peanut sauce. The stuff keeps forever in the fridge, too. Ta da. And it's dirt cheap to make, just white vinegar, chiles, and a bit of salt. Boiled, pureed, strained into bottles. Only thing is, it makes my eyes and nose run like crazy! If I ever get another cold I know what to do to make it easier for me to breathe.

Olive and the boys have finally settled in, too. Oz had a really hard time dealing with the move, and wandered around the apartment for days crying. Not just general meowing, but crying like he does when he travels, which is very annoying. He also kept scratching at my roommates door. I was really worried that he was pissing her off, but he was fine eventually. Now they're all back to normal.

STILL don't have any of my stuff, either. Ugh.
kat_nic: (Nerdy Cooking)
I don't know why, but I've been on a real muffin kick lately.  It started when I wanted some muffins for breakfast a week ago.  I found some Betty Crocker blueberry muffin mix in my mom's cabinet and whipped up a batch.  It's funny how I grew up on that stuff and liked it, but it's been a while since I've had it, and since then I've always made my own baked goods.  Really, most cookies and brownies are stupidly easy to make from scratch.  But I took a bite of these muffins and was grossed out.  It tasted...ugh, I dunno, I guess it was the shitload of chemical preservatives and artificial flavorings.  But it was so the opposite of good.  Then I thought, look chick, you can find a recipe for muffins online.  So I did, and wasted a ridiculous amount of time converting the metric weights to conventional weights, and then converting those to volumetrics, and botching the first batch (shit happens), before discovering that the box of graham flour had not one but two muffin recipes.  One was for pumpkin muffins, and there at the back of the cabinet was a can of unsweetened pumpkin puree.  Score!  I made them with whole wheat flour, and while I've had good results using whole wheat in cookies and brownies, in the muffins they were a little dense and heavy.  I liked them but I knew the family wouldn't be so kean on them.  Only one of my sisters liked it, but then she likes most stuff I come up with, and is way more open to trying new foods than the rest of them.

This was followed the next day by a batch of apple cinnamon muffins, orange vanilla muffins, and pear muffins.  We have a fuckton of carrots that my mom brought home from work, so I'm thinking of making some kind of carrot muffin.  I found using a half white, half whole wheat flour works well if you aren't too much a fan of the taste and texture of whole wheat but want the health benefits. 

And from there it was a logical move to cupcakes.  I had this radical idea to make cupcakes based on icecream flavors, and made a batch of orange creamsicle cupcakes.  I made an orange flavored cake and used vanilla frosting.  The cake recipe needs a bit of working; I wasn't too crazy about the texture; it was like an angel food cake in a way because there was no oil or butter, but not as bland because it used whole eggs.  I think next time I'll add maybe half a cup of oil and see how that affects it.  But the flavor was pretty much dead on, although I might add a little more orange juice concentrate and see what that does, or maybe a combo of concentrate and extract.  (I decided to go with concentrated juice instead of zest and fresh juice because of the muffins.  I zested six oranges and the flavor still wasn't very orangy.)  The vanilla frosting turned out pretty good, although I added probably one and half extra the amount of vanilla, because it was just a sweet mess, no real flavor.  I think maybe that's why I never cared for vanilla flavored things as a kid, because there's not enough vanilla and it's just sweet and bland.  I put so much extract in this stuff it wasn't pure white anymore, like vanilla frosting is "supposed" to look like.

Once I perfect the orange creamsicle cupcakes I want to try making rocky road cupcakes.  I'm not sure yet if I want to put marshmallows in the cake batter or just stick them on top of the frosting....
kat_nic: A cat wearing glasses (Animorphs--Rachel)

 
I was feeling kind of bummed about not getting to go to the farmer's market, because it's only open every Friday at 4 pm and I had to work, as usual.  But when I went to my regular market the other day they had cards at the produce section, listing what produce was local and what wasn't.  Even the stuff that was from Mexico or Peru had a card.  So, as you may have guessed, the above pictured was almost every item that was raised in my home state.  Different varieties of eggplants, green beans, zuchinni, summer squash, tomatoes, peaches, bell peppers, jalapenos, and corn. 
kat_nic: A cat wearing glasses (Default)

Well I'm back--I took off a couple days before Memorial Day Weekend to visit my grandmother, who lives up past Birmingham.  A fair drive.  I always cook for her when I visit, and Shannon, I made Mulligatawny soup and she loved it!  She said it was the best thing I ever made for her!  I wish I had remembered to bring my camera, because I also made my lasagna (my lasagna is legendary in my family).  Dangit!  When I made the soup I got a little creative since this was the second time--I decided to keep on subbing chili powder for the turmeric, and I used two different types of apples, a granny smith and a Washinton red delicious, and wow, that really changed it up!  I also threw in a red bell pepper but those were the only changes I made. 

Oh thank god Memorial Day is over.  I worked a combined 22 hours on Sat and Sun, with no break at all on Sunday, unless you count when I was sent to the grocery store to buy more watermelons and when I took a pee break.  Oh yes, and we stayed open an hour later than usual because of the holiday!  And I didn't find that out until fifteen minutes before I thought we were closing!  Grr.  We only had about five tickets, not worth staying open an extra hour for!  And of course there was the big buffet we had down at the pool--apparently we do a special buffet on every holiday.  Something to look forward too.  But we get to eat all the leftovers (and take them home!) so I'm not really complaining.

And of course I didn't complain when my boss called me yesterday morning and gave me the day off!  I was scheduled to come in at four but there was a scheduling conflict and he wanted me to take yesterday off and come in today instead.  Hell yeah!  I was expecting him to say they were getting slammed and needed me to come in early. 

All in all a busy week, but I'm rested and ready to take on the summer vacation season, which I am told is a whole new kind of crazy.  Bring it, bitch.
kat_nic: (Nerdy Cooking)
Some of you may be wondering, is this not supposed to be the blog of a culinary arts student?  Where is the food, woman?!

The food be here! )The food be here! )The food be here! )

kat_nic: A cat wearing glasses (Default)

So.  The internship.  It progresses.  I was nervous at first, because I didn't know the people who worked there, but they're all extremely helpful and genuinely interested in helping me learn.  And the chef is just fantastic--even the few times I fucked up he didn't yell or anything, just patiently explained what I was doing wrong.  Oh, and he's alumni!  He was in the second graduating class.  So there's a bond right there.  And he's also taking an interest in my personal life, not too prying, just things like my hobbies, have I made many friends around here etc...  Found out he likes reading too, although he's more into nonfiction.  Also he told me some neat sounding bookstores that I should go check out.

And he's paying me a dollar more per hour than I asked for.  And he promised me at least five days a week (I'm actually working six this week) so I might actually be able to save enough money to take a few summer classes.  The whole financial aide thing not having worked entirely in my favor.

So all in all, except for the Cold From Hell, things have been going pretty damn well.

Speaking of the Cold From Hell, when most people get sick they eat chicken soup--but I have never been much of a chicken soup fan.  I much prefer chili.  Gets the snot flowing.

Don't look Shannon! Beans! Beans everywhere! )
kat_nic: (Nerdy Cooking)



International Cuisine's culture of the day was The Carribean.  This is a whole pig la caja china style.



Just before we cut into that bad boy.  Or girl.



Before it was delicious.



My contribution to the spread, pan seared grouper with grilled pineapple and red onion salsa, and mango rice. 



The whole spread: jerked chicken, fried plantains, the grouper, black bean cakes and various dips and salsas.

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kat_nic: A cat wearing glasses (Default)
the nice misanthrope

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