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, June 30, 2011

Product Review: Milton's Healthy Multi-Grain Bread

I have been enjoying Milton's Healthy Multi-Grain Bread for many months now. I have decided that not only is it my favorite multi-grain bread, but is my favorite bread -- ever!

I have never been much of a fan for whole or multi grain bread in life, preferring wheat instead if I must have bread. Blame the bad experiences of yesteryear. I have long associated whole grain and multi-grain bread with bland, unfamiliar and uninteresting.

Until Milton’s.

Now, granted, at nearly $5 a loaf, this bread is pretty pricey. I mean, come on, you can buy a loaf of Wonderbread at more than half that. But trust me when I say that the cost is worth the benefit of improved – tremendously improved – quality.

Oh Milton’s!

This bread is wonderful for everything: Sandwiches, toast with a little butter or jam, as a stand alone, alongside a bowl of soup or wrapped around a hot link.
The bread has the right amount of softness and give – and grain! I feel healthy just looking at this bread. And looking at it is something I love. Not sure why, but I am intrigued by the sampling of seeds atop its crust. Infused with fiber and with no cholesterol or trans fat, this loaf is a keeper. And bonus: It is certified by the American Heart Association.

That’s awesome.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Basic, Yet Tasty Stir Fry

Yeah! I got to use the wok I've had for about four years for the first time this month.

Yes, it has been sitting lonely in the cabinet wondering, "Will she ever put me to good use? What the point in getting me?!"

Sorry little wok, but it was worth the wait.

I started with the base -- stir fry sauce.

Now, I know you can purchase this in the story for, like $3.99. But why would I do that when I have most all the ingredients at home to make a sauce from scratch?

I used soy sauce, sesame oil, fish sauce, chili garlic sauce and brown sugar. I mixed this together until it had a semi-sweet flavored with slightly subdued spice, adding lime to cut the chili's bite. One taste and I was sold!

Next up, the vegetables.

What fun picking these out! I could have gone with more broccoli and more mushrooms. The broccoli did an excellent job picking up the flavor of the sauce and the mushrooms held a wonderful texture. We could have used fewer sprouts. This meal predates the outbreak in Germany -- but sure these sprouts likely did not come from Germany -- so I wasn't the second bit worried about coming down with any symptoms.

So, yeah -- I heated the wok, added and swirled around the oil. I used olive oil instead of one with a higher boiling point.

*sigh* I know, I know. Terrible, terrible. I don't keep much else by way of oils in the house. It really is not good to use olive oil for cooking.

Despite this, the stir fry was lovely. Light and flavorful! I found it quite interesting that the green beans puffed up in such a funny way while cooking. They looked like Romano beans to start, so I was quite confused that some of them became cylinder orbs in the wok. Heh.

As for the cauliflower -- it had a substandard taste. It was great for texture, but it did not pick up the flavor of the sauce. Only its color.  I'll have to try this one again.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Famous Mystery Sauce

There is this amazingly rich dish that is quite popular here -- Mariscos Chihuahua's camarones culichi.

In the many, many years I have enjoy this restaurant's cuisine, I have only ever ordered the shrimp culichi. Only. Ever. The restaurant calls it "the dish that made us famous." Other than calling it a "creamy green sauce," the restaurant doesn't give off any clues as to what is in this sauce.

It is, quite simply, a roasted poblano sauce.

But it is doctored up in a way that you will not soon forget. 

I set out to try and replicate this dish, finding a video made by a man named Jevon. Thank you Jevon!

I did a few things slightly differently than he did.

I roasted the peppers then steamed them before peeling them.

And I used a sweet onion -- nearly a whole one. I also used about 1.5 whole cloves, though the dish might have been better served with only one whole clove -- and only for those of you who absolutely love the taste of garlic. Otherwise, it will be a bit too much.

I also used a little bit more Crema Mexicana (a type of Mexican sour cream -- thinner but more flavorful than the American version) and milk in my recipe. I also used ghee. Love that stuff.

From start to finish, this meal took two hours.

Part of it was trial and error and trying to find the most appropriate tools for the job. I had never roasted peppers in this way before. Goodness, I cannot wait to see my gas bill. I had all four burners going for about a half hour.

But this was so fantastic! A new culinary experience for me. I loved the popping sounds the poblanos made as they were roasting. All the while I kept thinking, "...maybe I should disengage the smoke detectors...." That was quite entertaining. To steam them, I put them in a bowl and covered it with a plastic bad. It's all I had on hand and worked splendidly.

Meanwhile, I put the garlic, onion, milk, crema, and bouillon -- use it only in its powdered form! -- in the food processor. I do not have a blender. Bummer. That's unfortunate, because my sauce was slightly lumpy. But the lumps weren't too distracting to the taste, just to the sight.

All the while, Alex was sitting nearby wondering, "Oh come on! What is taking so long with this dish? I am ready to have a taste now. Can I have a taste? Please?"

Oh, Alex. Such the perfect kitchen mate. She just sits there quietly and patiently, giving me confident cues without ever tipping her toe into the sauce.

So, back to cooking: I also did not cook the shrimp seperatley. I think this turned out to be a good idea, as I imagined they would turn rubbery if I cooked them twice.

I merely tossed them (without adding any salt) into the sauce as it heated it in a pot on the stove.

So, in all, I used very little seasoning. This is actually a wonderful thing for me, as I tend to use lots of spices and herbs. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but too much salt is. Also, I adore cooking that enables you to pull the natural flavors from your vegetables.

So, in all, I added about a table spoon of ground pepper to the sauce as I was warming it on the stove and about half that amount for the salt. In retrospect, because I added the cheese later, I probably didn't need to add salt at all.

Lastly, I put the shrimp and sauce in a pan, sprinkled it with cheese I had shreadded, then put it under the broiler for about three to four minutes.

In the end, it was quite good. It did not match that of  Mariscos Chihuahua but it got pretty close. Something is missing. Next time I might try adding less crema and milk and tossing in some cilantro and maybe some lime. We'll see!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Accidential Culinary Love Explosion

I did not realize it is relatively popular to make a pesto pasta until this accidental dish came together.

It was pasta night (...not that I have a designated pasta night. I was just in the rare mood for it) and so I rummaged through the fridge and cupboards: What do I have on hand?

Linguini? Check.

Shrimp? Excellent!

Onion? Always.

Sauce? Meh. Don't care for sauce.

I was intent on making a butter sauce, but in the last throws of putting this meal together, got guilty about the fat content. I then noticed some fresh pesto at the rear of the fridge.

Interesting, I thought. Well, why not?

I had never had pesto pasta.


But this came quite nicely together. And I am sure the fat content was much higher using this oil laden pesto, but ah well.

You can't always win.

Product Review: Cacique Manchego

Pass go. Do not collect $500 or any Cacique Manchego in the process.

You won't regret it. The manchego is terrible, terrible, terrible.

Granted, I love this company's other cheeses: The queso fresco, the cotija (one of my absolute favorites) and I only buy creama Mexicana from this company  -- have for years.

But the manchego? OK, OK...maybe it's me. But I thought manchego should be slightly firm with a tinge of sharpness before mellowing out into buttery goodness in your mouth. It also should be slightly yellow in color. But this manchego was none of those things. Instead, it tasted exactly like mozzarella cheese. A decent mozzarella, in fact, but certainly no manchego.

Ah well. I will continue purchasing the company's other wonderfully delicious cheeses, but never again this one.

Photo credit: Cacique Incorprorated

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