Thursday, June 24, 2010

to-may-to, to-mah-to

Wanna know a fun story? DO?!!  Well, here you are:

I knocked over my water, which in and of itself is nothing to write home about.  In fact, I would say I spill water almost everyday- either knocking it over or, more commonly, a bit of a dribble here and there when I try to drink from the klean kanteen (AWESOME gift, thanks Kray-dawg!)  Embarrassing, I know.  BUT, this time I got some on my lap-top.  And apparently, my reactions aren't what they used to be, because now the "c" and apostrophe keys don't work.  This makes typing VERY difficult, and shocker: to blog you need to type.  Oy.  But fear not!  I will work something out!

Meanwhile, the fella & I made pasta w/ tomato sauce.  Ooooh, Aaaah: the complexity! the excitement! the inventiveness & novelty of it all!  But, before you go, let me clarify!  This isn't just ANY tomato sauce.  Oh no, no no.  It's a tomato sauce with just 3 ingredients.  THREE!  The "recipe," if you can call it that, was all over the food blogs, and caught our interest.  So we made it.  

And the verdict?  It was delicious.  Simple, quick and elegant and all you need.  It is the perfect recipe to have in your back pocket just in case you got a jonesin for tomato sauce.  I think it is fin as it is, though wouldn't hold off on using it as a base for other, more elaborate meals, either.

Tomato Sauce with Butter & Onion
adapted from SmittenKitchen

28oz can whole peeled tomatoes (San Marzano)
5Tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion
Peel & trim the onion and cut it in half.

Put tomatoes, onion & butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer, then turn to low- you want a slow but constant simmer for 45 minutes.  Stir now & again, and crush tomatoes against the side of the pan.  When done, remove from heat & throw away the onion.  Salt to taste.  Ta Da!!! Done!

And yes, that is a humongous piece of garlic bread.  And yes, I did have a second helping of bread.  I'm a girl who likes her garlic bread, so what?  Ya wanna fight about it?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

grass is always less green...

I read blogs.  Food blogs, Renovation blogs, Decor blogs, Humor blogs.... and it's not often that I feel better about my house than others.  Ok, it's NEVER that I feel better about my house!  There are reasons: I've only been here a year while most everyone else is more established, I'm working on a really tight budget, my help is limited to when others are able to visit, my house was a dump to begin with, etc etc.

Except now, after seeing this post from Remodelaholic, I am feeling SO grateful that my place wasn't that bad!!!

So, while there are some rooms that reminded me of my own place....

.... I would have run away screaming after seeing these other rooms!

Everyone has a line.  I think mine is graffiti.  I get exhausted just thinking about all that work!  Let's hear it for people* willing to take on dilapidated houses!!!!  

*I believe the guy is a house-flipper.  His wife runs a family blog, which showed his awesome transformation.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

feed me, semour!

I'm going to apologize to my readers for being MIA:

Sorry, Kristen, please forgive me for my lapse.  I am over here, sitting on recipes for grilled artichokes, phenomenal lime shrimp, green mango salad, strawberry-rhubarb galette, and blue cheese & beer tomato soup.  All while showing the hill who's boss and patching up annoying leaks.  But have I done anything about this?  Nope.

Until now!!

I got it into my head to stuff chicken breasts with a sun-dried tomato pesto.  And, thankfully, my beau is smart enough not to stand in the way when I get these kinda things in my head.  It's for the best.  For him.  And for his taste-buds.*

*Wow.  Boastful much?

I had been eying a recipe for Chili-Roasted Cauliflower with Cilantro Dressing, and really? the chicken was just an afterthought to my one true love: cauliflower.  We had leftover blended cilantro from a tube from Gourmet Garden, (bought for an earlier recipe first outta curiosity, and secondly because the store was out of fresh cilantro.)  I was quite impressed with this tube-o-herb, especially considering cilantro ALWAYS goes bad on me.  Always!*  However, bear in mind the uses are limited, (i.e. dressings, spreads, drizzling, etc.)  I've adapted the recipe below for this product, but follow the link if you have an abundance of the fresh stuff!

*In fact, I do believe I have a bunch in my fridge right now.... I should do something about that....  

For the chicken, I first butterflied the breasts, then stuffed with the pesto before a quick pan sear & finished in the oven.  Quick tutorial on butterflying: 1) place chicken breast on cutting board, 2) place hand on top of the chicken, holding it firmly against the board with your palm, 3) using a very sharp knife, cut a pocket into the chicken breast running parallel/between your palm and the cutting board, 4) either run all the way through if you desire thinner chicken breasts or, like with this recipe, leave with ~3/4inch edge in tact.

sun-dried tomato pesto stuffed chicken
serves 4

2oz sun-dried tomatoes
1/2oz pine nuts
2 garlic cloves
2oz pecorino romano
1Tbsp basil
3/4tsp salt
1/2tsp pepper
1/2tsp red pepper flakes (or, to taste)
4 chicken breasts

Preheat oven to 350.

Put all ingredients into a food processor & pulse until combined and pesto-y.

Butterfly chicken breasts (if memory serves, this should be enough pesto for 4 breasts), and stuff with pesto.   Use toothpicks to close edges.

Heat a skillet with a couple tablespoons of olive oil (or butter).  Sear on each side for 3-5minutes, then transfer to an oven-safe baking dish.  Bake until cooked through, about another 10-15minutes.  Meanwhile, deglaze the pan with ~1/2cup chicken stock and let simmer until reduced & thickened.  To serve, remove toothpicks and drizzle pan sauce over chicken.

chili-roasted cauliflower with cilantro dressing
serves 4, adapted from serious eats

1 head cauliflower
2Tbsp olive oil
2tsp chili powder
1/2tsp salt, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2tsp lime juice
1/2tsp white vinegar
1Tbsp + 1tsp Gourmet Garden cilantro
2 cloves minced garlic
2tsp water

Preheat oven to 425. 
Break up the cauliflower into large florets.
In a small bowl, combine olive oil, chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Place the cauliflower florets on a baking sheet and toss well with the chili-oil mixture. Roast for 25 minutes, turning once halfway through.
Meanwhile, combine lime juice, vinegar, cilantro, garlic, and remaining salt.  
To serve, drizzle the roasted cauliflower with the dressing.

Oh, and by the way?  This cauliflower was DIVINE!  Will be repeated.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

the best laid plans...


So, the beau is moving into my fabulous palace I call home at the end of the month, and talks of rearranging and new projects have been flying!  The possibilities!

1) Closet-turned-minibar?
2) Back-room/ex-kitchenette/library-morphs-into-theater-room
3) Not one, but TWO new guest rooms
4) Re-finishing dressers to give them a funky new life

But, as we have a lot of furniture-merging to do, with not a lot of space to do it in, tape measurers** and creative thinking have come into play.  Enter: Roomle.***  Roomle is a website that allows you to make floorplans to plan your furnishings and layouts and share with friends!  Good-bye post-it-note-drawn-rooms, hello 3-D models!! (Did I mention you can make it 3D?  Because you can make it 3D.)  See below:

For more on this fantastic room, check out the renovationcurtains, and many, many aquarium posts.

This has Katie, (my cousin, bff, and home-decor/room-rearranging partner-in-crime... yes, all those things, all in one!) written all over it.  Please, Katie, rejoice with me.  Rejoice!!!****  

I will admit that it took me a while (and many oddly-placed walls) to get the hang of it, though it's fairly user-friendly.  The website does have tutorial videos, which I refuse to use.  Because I live life without instruction.  I will also say that they are a touch lacking on the furniture options & variety front.  I will allow this, for a while.  But then there will be hell to pay.  Hell, consisting of me shaking my fist at the computer screen.  And let me tell you, that is a mighty, mighty hell.  But as for now, most of the furnishings are erring on the side of "modern" and "cat-lover."*****

Has anyone else discovered Roomle?  Anyone wanna share their plans?

*Oh My God This Is So Freakin' Awesome
**"Measurers" is not a Chrome-recognized word?  I call BS on this one.  If "measurer" is a word, then it's plural should also be a word!  Get your shit together, Chrome.
***Credit where credit is due: the beau found this website.  He comes in handy.
****She has a label on her blog just for me!!!!  See???!??!?!  Love.
*****Seriously?  Just cat forts???  Where's a dog bowl or bed?  No fish tanks?  Haters.

Friday, June 4, 2010

in the name of science

"Baking is like science for hungry people!"*

Which is why I will be baking cocoa brownies w/ bourbon-soaked cherries & walnuts tonight.  It's in the name of science.  I SWEAR I'll post the recipe.  Honest!

*T-shirts & Aprons are in the making!