Who's That Girl

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WHO'S THAT GIRL: A higher education obsessed foodie who is documenting her life in the kitchen. I love to cook delicious, gourmet-style foods for those I love and always welcome a challenge in the kitchen. With that challenge comes an impromptu nature. I tend to avoid following recipes to the exact, so you are not likely to find very many posted here. Being that I am a Libra and am learning to be free in the kitchen, the story always goes, "A pinch of this and a smattering of that!" Thank you for visiting -- and happy reading!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

An Elaborate Sandwich

Not sure why the mood called for it, but sandwiches for dinner it was.

But not any old sandwich.

This called for sourdough bread, mozzarella, baked chicken, guacamole (a simple one), garlic, tomatoes, roasted carrots and roasted red bell pepper.

This was a relatively easy recipe. I roasted the red bell peppers and carrots after massaging them with olive oil. No salt or other seasonings. Just a little bit of oil. I really wanted to be able to draw out the natural flavor of the roasted veggies.

I marinated the chicken breasted -- thinly sliced -- in a few sprays of olive oil with garlic salt, onion salt and Old Bay seasoning. I baked this for about a half hour.

The guacamole was simple -- avocados with fresh garlic, and lots of it.

The tomatoes? Simply sliced. And I added some lettuce to the mix.

I toasted the bread in the oven with the cheese on one side, folded it all together, and there you have it! I flavorful sandwich for hungry diners.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Playing with Pesto

Pesto -- that lovely mixture of basil, olive oil, nuts and garlic -- is something I have wanted to play with in the kitchen for some time.

I very much enjoy pesto, but rarely eat it. It wasn't until I tasted it on a pizza a couple nights ago that I decided I would cook it into a dish of some sort.

Pesto has such a wonderful, aromatic and powerful flavor. And considering I have never used pesto for anything other than, say, dipping, I wasn't sure where to begin.

So I decided on the other foods first, then tried to figure out how to incorporate the sauce. I knew I wanted to prepare lamb with a fine toast of bread, but what else?

Pasta? Why not?

I had never had pesto on pasta before, though I understand this is fairly common. This is what I opted to do:

We already had some pesto in the fridge. I melted some butter and chives into the pesto and, after having cooked the pasta, stirred the sauce into the noodles and added some of the starchy water from the noodles. I also -- and don't chuckle -- sauteed some bacon bits and included this in the mix along with some walnuts that I put through the food processor and some Parmesan cheese.

I made a rub for the lamb -- cinnamon, brown sugar, salt, paprika, cumin and garlic salt with a smattering of olive oil. I grilled this for less than 10 minutes. I should have removed some of the rub and oil because it charred the meat to the point that I had to scrap off the darkened bits (*embarrassing*) before pan searing the chops a little bit.

And a salad was a must. Quite simply it included lettuce, tomatoes, baby dill, corn, red vinegar and olive oil with a little bit of salt.

Well, not bad.

Salmon, Redressed

Having not had salmon in quite some time, I found that I was craving it.

As I am writing this, I recall that it was salmon that turned me onto nigiri. This would have been about 10 years ago. At that point I thought sushi was all rolls. California rolls, specifically.

Poor, poor soul.

An invitation out to a sushi restaurant in Salt Lake City (I was living there at the time) led me to realize the expansive nature of sushi -- and truly raw sushi.

I fell instantly in love with the fatty fish. I do not recall ever having had salmon in life prior to that experience. And since then, I have been more and more deeply drawn to fish and shellfish of all types. Quite honestly, my affinity for seafood was born out of my early "experimentation" with sushi. The type of seafood I was raised with was pretty well reserved to catfish and shrimp.

So craving salmon on this particular evening, I baked it in my usual way -- seasoned with salt, a squeeze of half of one lemon or lime (I had lemon that night), two or three dabs of butter and parsley.  Out of curiosity, I put a little bit of Parmesan cheese on one end of the salmon.

 Along with this salmon this time, I added those potent little Italian onions. For the side, I sauteed bok choy with porotbello mushrooms in a little bit of olive oil and some fish sauce.

Interesting combination of flavors, yes, but the picture says all. The dish was pretty tasty.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Now, That's a Salad

I use that blog title with the greatest of enthusiasm.

I have mentioned before that I have, traditionally, produced bland salads: iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, maybe a cucumber, maybe some avocados, definately ranch dressing.

*shivers*

Never again!

This gorgeous creation was much more tasty than my salads of yesteryears.

This salad was, quite literally, bursting with flavor. The source of motivation came from a cookbook title, "Light Cooking." I swear, this think was printed sometime in the early 1980s. Oldies but goodies, eh?

I had a lovely blend of spinach, arugula, baby romaine and I can't recall what else (typical me).

I then added shave carrots, bacon and boiled eggs and mushrooms. The dressing was a mixture of vinegar, mustard and olive oil with a bit of salt and pepper. Honestly, could have done away with the salt and pepper. The other flavors served well enough on their own.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Delightful Cream-Cheesy Bread

Goodness gracious. How could anything look this ridiculous but taste so very good.


This is the first recipe I prepared using the mixer my mother gave me for Christmas.

I made the bread from scratch. The first time I tried I forgot about my yeast. Returning surprised nearly two hours later, the yeast looked ready. But after adding the flour it didn't form into a nice dough.


Retry.


The second time was a success! I let the yeast sit in the milk for about 15 minutes.


For the filling, I included cream and marscapone cheeses, eggs, sugar and vanilla extract.

Before adding the filling to the dough I added some butter and brown sugar, then folded this together as best I could. I was so surprised that I woke Nancy out of her slumber and begged her to try it.

She loved it so much that she got out of bed for another bite. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Chocolate Wontons

I wanted to make Nancy a nice little treat with cinnamon and chocolate.

I am not sure why wontons came immediately to mind.

Come to find out, oodles of cooks have tried this before.

Alas, another attempt at developing a brand new kitchen creation is squashed.

Defeat!

...ah well, onward march.

For these, I did not use any butter or oil, which may have been a mistake. I merely added some peanut butter, cinnamon, a sprinkling of brown sugar and cinnamon then a couple drops of vanilla extra.

I then folded the wontons and baked them for a few minutes.

Nancy liked the flavor, but they did not look the way I would have expected.

Next time, I may add butter, or may add a little bit of egg after folding.

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