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!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Product Review: Cacique Cotija

I have been eating Cacique's brand of cotija cheese for years.

It's no wonder I keep coming back.

Looking at it while it is still air locked in its container, the cotija looks rock hard. It feels that same ways; solid, rigid, tough.

But when you cut open the plastic, and begin to you tear away the cheese, it crumbles away. Only then does it become evident that this robust cheese is crumbly with a lovely texture and flavor.

Think Parmesan cheese.

It leans a bit more to the dry side, but not so dry that all the saliva draws from your mouth. It still has a lovely, flavorful yield that is both light and powerful. It melds well served atop tostadas. I think the flavor gets lost when you wrap it in, say, a burrito.

This is the kind of cheese that needs all the attention. So instead of burying it with other ingredients -- lest you use a lot of it -- try it on a bean dip, atop crackers, on corn on the cob, wrapped in a lightly buttered tortilla or all by itself.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Tostada -- Not a Greasy Napkin was Found

Why do I ever eat out?

No, really? Why?

It is often less expensive, more nutritious and much more interesting to cook at home. I have proven this time and time again.

Potluck with friends? Love it! There is bound to be a smorgashbord of dishes; a conglomeration of vegan, vegetarian and carnivorous delights, equipped with a mess of desserts and vegetable cuts for snacking.

Cooking for loved ones? What a treat! Oxtails cooked so long that the meat leaps from the bone. Homemade biscuits so delicious that you nearly burn your finger trying to get them fresh from the oven. Omletes large enough that you have one for breakfast and save the rest for lunch or an afternoon snack.

Eating alone? Look at all those leftovers for lunch that will cover the next two days.

And there are times like this that happen over and over. I opted to make a tostada with roasted chicken breasts and freshly cut tomatoes, diced jalapenos, lettuce, onions and cilantro along. This was served with avocado, salsa and la crema, then topped with cotija.

O. M. G.

I used My Nana's uncooked flour tortillas, baking one in the oven for about 10 minutes. I love how it plumped up and created these nice, stuff folds that, when punctured, resulted in nice pockets to hold the vegetables and other toppings.

I love how absolutely fresh everything tasted. Not a hint of grease, and not a single grease-stained napkin.

It left me feeling that I could never, ever justify ordering something like this in public ever again.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Product Review: My Nana's Uncooked Flour Tortillas

I cannot say that I was excited about using uncooked flour tortillas. I had never purchased uncooked flour tortilla before. I figured that if the company making them may have a better idea about producing perfect tortillas than I -- a person who has not yet invested the time to figure out how to make them myself.

Though, yes, I know that the process is quiet easy. I'll have to get on that.

But, for now, I wanted to experiment with these. I find that I enjoy My Nana's tortilla strips and chips, so why not her flour tortillas. 

Foremost, I love the versatility. You want lightly warmed tortillas? You want tortillas cooked to a nearly burnt crisp? You've got it! They taste light and fresh, but not as flavorful as I would have expected.

Of course, that may well be because I refused to cook these in lard or butter. I just warmed them. I suppose I shouldn't complain about the flavor then. The only problem I had was that you must be very careful not to brown them too much if you intend to roll them. This was strange to me. A nice even browning, and the tortillas still cracked and broke when rolled into a burrito.

But I can't say that I will be buying these again, preferring that my tortillas come cooked already.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gentle Egg Meets Sweet Toast

French toast. Blue agave syrup. An egg.

Those three simple ingredients were met with so many Oohs and Ahhs. And why not? The slightly charred toast with a beautiful, still rounded egg on top along with a small drizzle of blue agave syrup made for the perfect snack.

Sweet. Tender. Filling. Decadent.

I felt I had ordered room service. And when my fork met the egg, it burst forward with a just-warm silky stream of yolk. I was not surprised that the flavors melded so well together. Just a brief ting of salt with a tiny bit of pepper for mild spice along with the sugary sweetness of the syrup.

I wanted more.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sushi Perfection? Never!

I believe it is true: If you have not trained with a sushi master, it is pretty well impossible to make perfect or even near perfect sushi rolls.

It's a sad reality, honestly. I would love to be able to make beautifully rounded sushi rolls filled with fresh fish plucked right from the sea.

But, alas, I live in the desert.

And I have received no formal training -- ever -- on how to appropriately prepare sushi, whether it be authentic or Americanized.

It does not matter how delicious the sushi rice turns out, there is always a missing essence. There is something about the seaweed, the fish or shellfish that is, simply put, lacking.


For now, I will have to deal with substandard homemade sushi, enjoying the good stuff only while dining out.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Lazy Crockpot-Style BBQ Pulled Pork

Found a beautiful pork shoulder and decided to slow cook it in the crockpot.

Now, we know that I am highly selective about pork.


I even have a hard time with bacon. If you are looking at me like this ---> shock face < --- please don't.

All that to say that I wasn't sure what to do with the cut. I don't have a smoker and there is no way I would roast such a cut for hours upon hours. So the optimal cooking procedure called for a crockpot.

I began with the layer of flavoring -- onion, leeks, garlic, garlic salt, black pepper and seasoned salt. I may have tossed in some cumin and ground mustard. Seems like something I would do but, honestly, I cannot recall.

I then added orange juice and about two cups of water because, uh oh, I forgot to get broth.

It worked out in the end.

Adding the pork shoulder, I cooked the lot for about eight hours in the crock pot -- the easy, lazy way.

I wasn't exactly sure how this would turn out. One thing that drives me nuts is soaping wet meat when it is nowhere near being a stew.

I wasn't going for a stew here, but after the cooking time, that's almost what it looked like.

So, quick thinking: I removed the meat, placing it in a foil-lined pan. I put the oven to 400 degrees, slathered the shreds of pork in Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce, then put it in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes.

The result: Decadent.

The flavor was just amazing. The meat with so soft and gentle. Not the stringy kind you get with a failed attempt at pulled pork.

I was quite impressed, and believe that the orange juice and BBQ sauce made the dish.

Goodness. The darkened tips were just golden!

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