air bubble blog

because i live for the bubbles.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

french nachos

much to david's surprise, yesterday for dinner i made poutine. he said that it sounded like something i would never ever make ("french fries with gravy and cheese"). but hey, i had potatoes, and i searched on epicurious for potato recipes, and this got rave reviews. i used red potatoes from the farmer's market (the recipe calls for russet but hey, what's the fun in following a recipe to the T?). david mastered the fries, although i screwed it up a little by salting them, because along with my gravy and cheese, the dish was a bit too salty--still good though. the recipe did say to lightly salt the fries, but i would recommend to not salt them. i used fresh cheese curds for the market...oh so good they were! you could just hear them squeak in your mouth as you chewed. it doesn't get much fresher than that. for the demi-glace, i read that you can use half espagnole sauce and half broth, so i did that. i did a quick version of the espagnole--sauteed carrot and garlic in butter (my onions were rotten so i just used some onion powder), added flour to make a roux, then added crushed tomatoes (instead of puree, it's what i had) and chicken broth (again, what i had instead of beef). once it was to the desireed consistency (and not after 45 minutes of reducing), i took it off the heat. then to make the gravy, i sauteed the shallot and dried thyme in butter, added the red wine and reduced it. once reduced, i added the "demi-glace" (chicken broth mixed with espagnole sauce), then added a small bit of cornstarch slurry to thicken. i seasoned it with salt and pepper but didn't add the extra butter in at the end. then, i removed all of the solids so i had a nice, smooth gravy. we put the fries on a baking sheet, dropped cheese curds over, drizzled the gravy over, and heated it in the oven till the cheese was slightly melted. the recipe says to put the gravy on when you are serving it, but it was taking awhile for the curds to melt so we decided to put the gravy on so the fries wouldn't get hard and dry (good thinking david). sure, we didn't do exactly what the recipe told us to do, so it probably wasn't exactly how the french do it, but it was the weeknight college kid version of it (reduce time and use ingredients that you have!). overall, it was a pretty tasty and fun meal, and david deemed them "french nachos." it seems fitting doesn't it?

tonight for dinner i made some really delicious sandwiches. i made fresh white bread in the bread maker today
. i put pesto on both pieces of bread, then layered tomatoes, ham, provolone, and salami. mmmm so good. david loved it--"now that is a sandwich," he said. we think it would have been good with fresh mozz or feta too, instead of the provolone.

after dinner, david took me on a surprise date for ice cream. we went to izzy's ice cream in saint paul. it's cool there because you choose which ice cream you want, and then you get an "izzy" on top, which is a mini scoop of a different flavor of your choice. i thought it was something different you don't see at every ice cream shop! i got cake batter ice cream (soo good--it tasted like i w
as eating a cone full of frosting haha) with an izzy of oreo ice cream (it was awesome because talk about having a little bit of ice cream with your oreos). i got mine in a waffle cone, and when the girl handed it to me, the bottom broke, so she gave me another cone...which i gave to david so that he could try the waffle cone! yay free stuff. david got strawberry cheesecake ice cream with a four berry izzy in a cake cone--and then inside of a waffle cone!

and here are the chocolate chip banana muffins i made the other day. they turned out really good. they're not too banana-y but are the perfect c
ombination of banana and chocolate.

well, that's about it on the food front. i'm hoping the weather will be a little less bipolar tomorrow. today it was raining when i woke up, sunny a bit later, cloudy again, sunny, then it started to get cloudy again. but i went for a run, and a little ways out i saw a big streak of lightening, soo i turned right back around. i decided going for a shorter run was better than getting struck by lightning. but that's just me.

what's cookin' tomorrow: chicken with spicy tomato sauce

Sunday, July 19, 2009

you better check to see if the pigs are flying...

....because i am blogging. :O

And I guess i don't really have a good excuse for not blogging all summer...since I haven't been that busy. Although I haven't been cooking dinners that are too interesting. David and I have started to get bored of food--we had gotten into a pattern of eating the same things. So, I have started to plan different menus now, with new meals to try. Hopefully I will keep you updated on them.

But let's backtrack a bit...

This summer I have pretty much just been working, doing my internship--which I am loving--, and hanging out. I have been enjoying the farmer's market very much. the Minneapolis Farmer's Market is by far the best market I have ever been to (of course, I think I have only been to New Berlin and West Allis besides ours here). It is such a cultural experience and it's a fun place to go to, especially on the weekend (they are open everyday 6am-1pm)--you can get prepared food for breakfast or lunch, listen to local music, buy fresh organic produce, meat, and dairy, peruse the handmade pottery and clothing, and much much more. The typical deal for fruit and veggies is $2 a tray or 3/$5--you really can't pass up local organic produce like that.

Here is some sort of stir fry I made a few weeks ago...I think it was green peppers, broccoli, beef, green beans, mushrooms, and peanuts over brown rice.

July 3rd was our friend Charles' birthday, so he, his girlfriend, David, and I went out to dinner to Dixie's on Grand--a deliciously southern restaurant. The Saint Louis Ribs are the best item on the menu--that pork just falls right off the bone. The baking powder biscuits are scrumptious, especially when accompanied by honey. This time I decided to try something new, so I had the Tex-Mex Chicken Nachos s (crispy tortilla chips, topped with smoked chicken, Pecos Red River chili and nacho cheese). I was pretty disappointed. Both the chips and chicken lacked adequate flavor, and there was just some shredded cheese melted over the top (I need cheese covering every chip!!). The chili, which was served on the side thankfully, was way too spicy for my sensitive taste buds. I was lucky, though that my sweet boyfriend shared his ribs with me so I got to have some yummy food.

After dinner we went back to my apartment and had cake that I had made earlier that day. I made a three-layer chocolate cake with raspberry buttercream frosting between the layers and on top (butter, powdered sugar, milk, raspberry preserves), and vanilla buttercream frosting on the sides (butter, powdered sugar, milk, vanilla). It was delicious! I know it was a success because David is not a cake person, and he loved it. I had extra frosting left, so when we had finished the cake (days later), I made chocolate cupcakes (with the same recipe as the cake), and David got the ones with raspberry frosting and I the ones with the vanilla--it works out that we have different frosting preferences. :) (It also works out that he isn't a huge frosting fan, so when we had the cake, I got to eat his vanilla frosting.) (Oh and PS--for the recipe for the cake, I left the chocolate chips out, and obviously didn't make that frosting. )

For dinner one day the following week, we had cornish hens with roasted vegetables. I basically just rubbed the hens with olive oil, salt, pepper, and paprika and added them to a dish with broccoli, yukon gold potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes (that had been seasoned with, I think, savory, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram). I filled the dish about 1/2 to 3/4 full with chicken broth and roasted it. It was pretty good and a nice change. Whenver I see or think of cornish hens, I always remember the time when Jen and Adrianne made cornish hens for the family for dinner. I think that was quite a few years ago though.

David's birthday was the 12th, so his family came into town on Thursday and we went to see Cirque du Soleil's Kooza. Since it was in a lot in downtown Saint Paul, we tried to find a place to have dinner beforehand. After wandering around for blocks trying to decide what to eat--we wanted something quick before the show--we decided on Loto. It is a cute little restaurant with a fun, contemporary interior. We all had sandwiches and were on our way to Cirque!!

The show was just incredible. It's something everyone should try to do at some time in their life. The athleticism, strength, flexibility, and focus these people have is amazing. Our favorite act was the two guys on the wheel of death. I think they were everyone else's favorite, too, because they got the biggest applause at the end.

Since David had a big test on the Tuesday after his birthday (Sunday), we celebrated it on Saturday. I took him shopping--Macy's was having a crazy sale--and bought him a new outfit. A hot pair of Calvin Klein jeans ($24.99 front $69.00!!) and a light blue shirt ($3 from $14.50!!). Then later his parents came into town again and we went out to dinner at Maggiano's and then went next door for dessert at the Cheescake Factory. David wanted to try their carrot cake cheesecake because he has a copycat version that is amazing, and he wanted to compare. We agreed, however, that his is by far better.

On David's actual birthday we went to church as the Basilica--we have been going there lately rather than our regular church--and then to the farmer's market, which is just down the street. While David studied all day, I made him an apple pie, banana bread with walnuts, and those aforementioned cupcakes. Needless to say, we have had plenty of sweets to eat and share with friends this week.

The other day I made pesto pasta with chicken for dinner, with my fresh basil from the market. It turned out pretty good, although we think it needed tomatoes (I didn't even think to put them in, duh!) and cheese. I had planned on putting feta in it, but the day before I made a huge salad (David always asks if China or the army is coming over for dinner.....but leftovers make a perfect lunch!) and used up the whole block of feta.

I was supposed to go camping with some of my girlfriends yesterday, but we failed to make a reservation and couldn't get in. So instead, we just grilled hot dogs and smores, ate fruit salad and pasta salad, outside of their apartment. We watched Mamma Mia, which I thought was pretty good.

Today I am going to make chocolate chip banana muffins, because I can never seem to eat all of my bananas before they turn brown. David is at home until tonight so I will probably have pancakes for dinner :)

what's cookin' tomorrow: poutine (french fries with gravy and cheese)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

i know, i know i haven't done this in far too long. *but* school has been ruling my life. so i will just show you some pictures from the past two months. it may look like i've only been eating pizza and pasta but i can assure you that it not the case haha. i just haven't been taking pictures of most things.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

back to minnesnooowta

well, tomorrow is back to school. well, back to minneapolis, and tuesday is back to class. ready? not so much. summer wasn't quite long enough; i think after this past winter, we all deserve twice the amount of summer. and before long, it will be fall and get cool again, then cold, then frigid..and we all know where that ends. oh, in about may. such is life. if cold weather is the worse that it gets, we have it pretty good.

okay let's backtrack here...

i last left you with a next dinner of vietnamese chicken salad. while it turned out okay, i wasn't a huge fan of it. i think it was because of the fish sauce--i can't stand the smell of it (but who loves it, really?), and after cooking with it i could smell and taste it too much in the dish. mom and dad seemed to like it okay though. if i had to pick a favorite part, it would be the nuts. but then again, you are what you eat. (a nut, not vietnamese.)

next i did beef with spicy vinegar sauce--although i just baked the beef in the oven with some of the sauce, then finished up cooking it in some more of the sauce, in a saucepan, on the stove. i served it with caramelized onions with barbecue sauce, since we have an abundance of onions from the garden. finished it off with some oven fries and steamed green beans, both fresh from the garden.

then it was grilled peaches with prosciutto and balsamic, which was simple and pretty tasty. i maybe should have reduced the balsamic a little more to make it a little more thick and syrup, but it still turned out alright. in addition we had arugula salad with grilled pears and pistachios. delsih! a nice summer meal. :)

next we had roasted spiced chicken with cinnamon and honey-glazed sweet potatoes. the chicken was alright, i forgot to buy the habenero (and didn't realize we had them in the garden), so it was lacking that kick. the sweet potatoes were pretty good, but didn't quite compare to the ones mom made a few days back with olive oil and sea salt (they were cooked just right, a little crispy and delicious!!). i also made warm roasted mushroom and feta salad. it was good--i love feta--but wasn't quite feeling the mushrooms that day.

friday for dinner i made dad is pre-run pasta; for his sauce i used tomatoes from the garden. i made him tilapia, breaded with garbanzo fava flour, dried thyme, dried oregano, (salt and pepper). fried it in the skillet with olive oil. mom and i got mac and cheese pizza! as i was rolling out the dough and noticed all of the air bubbles all ready, i knew it was going to be a good one. :) the bottom crust, which is usually a little thinner, turned out a little thicker this time. in addition, of course, to be traditional huge crusts on the edges. mmmm so good!

then yesterday for lunch i made andouille and beef burgers with caramelized onions. well, not quite andouille, we couldn't find it at the store, so we used spicy sausage instead. worked close enough. the burgers had pecans in them, which was different but actually quite good. i think it was my first time being in charge of watching and flipping the burgers on the grill, and i think i did quite well. so juicy and succulent. we had them on pretzel rolls from city market, and i toasted them on the grill as well. success!

tonight is the last supper in wisconsin, till thanksgiving. going over to jen and bryan's, should be delicious as always. then tomorrow morning, it's hit the road jack! we plan on going to good earth for lunch, and i hope to try something other than breakfast food. but it's just so hard, cuz it's so good! won't get to cook much this week, due to moving in and team dinners, etc. but i'll try to keep you in the loop! meet ya back here next weekend! ;)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

well, i go back to school in a week and a half, so i've been getting things ready. i decided to put my spices in mini tupperware containers, because last year i kept them in the little bags they came in (i buy them in bulk from fresh market), but they tend to not seal after a while (and spill all over the place), and the writing on the labels rub off so i'm constantly playing "What's this Spice?" i just wrote the name of the spice right on the tupperware so i should avoid past problems. however, i have a new dilemma: how to store all of these 30 containers? before i just had all the bags in two baskets, but let's face it, tupperware takes up more room. so now i need to figure out just how to store them so they are 1) accessible, 2) easy to see which spices are which, and 3) not taking over my entire kitchen.

mom and dad are sad to see my cooking leaving them for a while, but minneapolis is anxiously awaiting its return. but for now, i've still got some time left in this kitchen. let's see what i've cooked up...

saturday for dinner it was just me, so i felt like having pizza when i got home from work. i made mom's pizza dough, since it does not require rising time. i made a light red sauce and used up some of the cheeses we had--provolone, mozzarella, parmesan, and feta. it was quite tasty.

then, sunday for dinner we had potato and chorizo empanadas, black beans, and a salad i tossed with a pico i quickly made and squeezed some extra lime juice onto. for dessert, i made churros. the empanada dough with dry and difficult to work with. it may have been because i substituted the all-purpose flour with corn flour, so that it would be GF. it's okay, they turned out alright anyways. all in all, it was a successful meal. :)

monday for dinner i just made a chef salad with roasted turkey breast, tomatoes, olives, artichokes, cucumbers, all mixed with red leaf lettuce. you can't go wrong with chef salad.

what's cookin
tonight: vietnamese chicken salad

Sunday, August 10, 2008

catching up

alright, i've been too busy lately to get around to this. so, seeing as i've got weeks of dinners to share with you, i'll just post pictures and title them.

grilled tuna steaks with citrus fruit salad

banana-macadamia nut muffins

pizza tart with fresh garden veggies and GF pizza crust

adobo-rubbed pork tenderloin with black bean pico de gallo (mom made)

tilapia with prosciutto and sage (mom made)

arugula salad with pears, oven-dried grapes, and roasted shallot vinaigrette

ice cream cake

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

well, the weather's finally getting hot and summer is flying by. i think i will be back at school before i know it.

on friday for dinner i made two pizzas. a mac and cheese pizza, as promised to hannah because she loves mac and cheese and she loves pizza--
so i thought she would love this one. the other was a traditional pizza with italian sausage, tomatoes, artichokes, provolone, and a sweet red sauce. both were loved by all! the mac and cheese wasn't my best mac and cheese pizza ever, but everyone thought it was delicious so that is what matters!

sunday for dinner mom made an awesomely delicious tomato phyllo tart. tomatoes, feta, provolone, fresh basil all on a flaky phyllo crust. it was *soo* good, i couldn't get over it!!

monday for dinner we wen
t chinese-style, with sushi and egg rolls. i made GF egg rolls, which were pretty good, even though they didn't look too much like egg rolls--being a GF dough, it was difficult to roll it out super thin. it just wasn't as elastic as regular egg roll dough either. i baked them and then finished them off with a little oil in a skillet to give them a little color and crisp. i also made foreigner rolls (falang rolls) and veggie sushi. mmmm!

the other day i also made some sweet and salty trail mix bars. puffed rice, mixed dried fruit, sunflower seeds, cashews, and peanuts. pretty tasty, although they don't hold together like store-bought bars. maybe some more honey to hold them together better and pressing them tighter together in the pan would help. i'm happy i halved the recipe, though, because i still filled a 9 x 13 pan; the complete recipe calls for the mix to be put into a 11 x 17 pan and i think even then, that would have been overflowing.

what's cooking
tonight: grilled tuna steak and tropical fruit salad, along with banana-macadamia nut muffins.