Emerging of the Bombshell Within

An eclectic view of a girl's life

A girl who loves her cookware November 14, 2011

Filed under: cooking,NaBloPoMo,Random Review — bombshellwithin @ 1:05 PM

There were a lot of ways I could have spent less money buying all the things I needed for my apartment.  The problem was that I had, and still have, no desire to buy the cheap things being sold for college dorms.  I want my apartment to reflect a young lady with style.  In essence, I wanted it to reflect the bombshell within.

Now, according to The Bombshell Manual of Style, it is not expected for a bombshell to know how to cook.  Now, being a bombshell who cooks- and darn well, might I add-, I knew that there were certain essentials that I would not skimp on.  True, I did eventually get the cookware I wanted on sale, but I didn’t go for the cheap cookware that I would have had to replace later on.  I wanted something durable and of a brand I could trust.  Being a foodie, I knew just the set that I wanted.

 

Paula Deen's Cookware Set in red.

I’m not entirely sure what got me going on the red scheme for my kitchen but it seems to have really caught on.  I love this cookware set, by the way.  It’s wonderfully non-stick and takes heat really well and evenly.  With time I hope to add to the set by buying the other pieces that Paula has for her collection.  But for now, this set has all the essentials a girl could need to get most of her cooking done.

 

Chicken and salsa fettuccini April 2, 2008

Filed under: cooking,food,Recipes — bombshellwithin @ 4:09 PM
fettuccini bowl
I call it college student cooking ingenuity.
After seeing on Crafty Precious this post on chili mac, I knew I wasn’t alone in sometimes liking my pasta with some chili on top.
My mother finds it strange. 
Since I was all out of pasta sauce and was not in any mood for any sort of concocted cheese sauce, I decided to improvise:
salsa jar
I tend to improvise a lot, don’t I?
To make this fine cuisine, I made about half a pack of fettuccini, boiled it up just right.
Then I sliced up some chicken tenders, letting them cook up on a hot skillet with some olive oil.  Not touching them or turning them for at least 2 minutes.
When turned, I added about 1/3 of the salsa jar.  Then I added a few spoonfuls more until it looked right.
I let the pasta and chicken finish cooking.
Then I drained most of the water from the pasta, added a smidge of olive oil; tossed.
Dumped the chicken together and added a last spoonful of salsa for luck.
Final Review: It was pretty darn tasty.  The salsa had some spice to it that made it just delightful when kicking up the flavor.  I’m sure homemade salsa could be substituted instead of the kind from a jar, but I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand.  I haven’t been cooking much but it’s because I seem not to have much on my shelves.  Oh well, one works with what one has.  I was going to add shredded cheese on top of this, but opted just for some fresh grated parmesan instead. 
 

A girl boiling a can March 9, 2008

Filed under: cooking,food,Recipes — bombshellwithin @ 12:29 AM

You boiled a can?!

condensed milk

Why… yes, yes I did.

And I’d do it again, too.

The Tuesdays with Dorie bunch last Tuesday did these snickery squares that looked very amazingly yummy.  What impressed me though was when I read how CB had to make dulce de leche to use in her recipe experience.  After following the TwD blogs about, quite a few resorted to making it themselves.  I’d tried it once before, just boiling the can of condensed milk but it didn’t work out.  No, it did not explode… but it never thickened.  It was a weak and sad caramel, not the rich thickness that it was meant to be.  So, I resolved to the fact that there HAD to have been something I missed somewhere… some mythical step that I kept blinking out on with every recipe that told me that boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk would give me dulce de leche. 

Now, everyone seems to fear the exploding can.  I am fearless.  And, much like the legend of the toilet that got tossed from a building near campus during an orientation week many years ago, I felt the exploding can was just a cooking urban legend.  No one I knew had had a can explode on them.  And even though the can itself said to never heat a closed can, I really thought that it was just like the “CAUTION: HOT!” warning on McDonald’s coffee.  Surely if you were careful the can would have no need to explode.  The important thing was to just let it do it’s own thing and let it cool completely before contemplating opening it (this I learned the hard way but that was during my last foray into dulce de leche).  I had to explain this last principle to my housemate.. and it had to do with Boyle’s Law of pressure and temperature.  Anyways, that’s not important.. what IS important was that I had a can of yumminess that I ended up digging into with a spoon at the end. 

What I did was removed the paper wrapping off the can and found a sizeable pot where the can could fit upright and still have some extra space above it.  I filled it with water until it surpassed the top of the can, then laid the can over onto it’s side.  I NEVER opened the can.  I turned the water full blast until it started to simmer, then I turned it to low-medium heat.  My stove is super slow and low, so I could safely do this to maintain a nice light simmer.  I left the can there, adding more water to ensure the level never went too low that the can would ever be uncovered.  I think I left it for 4 hours, I kind of lost track.  I took the can, stuck it on a plate and put it in the fridge for 6 hours. 

 Then I cracked that bad boy open. 

Since I didn’t immediately think of anything to have with it, I ate a few spoonfuls of it by itself.  I love caramel, so that made me really happy to eat my success.  It was scary, but anyone I told about this method seemed to think it was frightening.  My housemate was once again amazed by my talent.  Though how much talent there is in boiling a can, I really don’t know.  But, I was a happy camper and now I wish I had some cake to pour this stuff onto. 

 

The recipe for my mac & cheese March 5, 2008

Filed under: cooking,food,Recipes — bombshellwithin @ 9:31 PM

sweet girly 

For most of my cooking, I’m of the style of cooking of “nyah, that looks about right!”  If I think it should go into something and make it yummy, in all likelihood, I will.  This, of course, complicates matters when you write a blog where recipe sharing seems to be very important.  Last week I’d made such awesome mac & cheese with my dinner that this week, I decided that it would be my fall-back in yumminess again when I didn’t feel like cooking tonight.  But, when I posted about it, I hadn’t given the recipe and someone asked for me to share it with them via email.  I found it so funny the way that I shared my recipe that I’m going to copy/paste it exactly as I emailed it. 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Alright, so the recipe is for about… one really hungry person eating this alone and wanting that last spoonful or two a bit later… or for 2 people having it with something else. 
 
Boil and drain (mostly) 1 1/3- 1 1/2 cup of elbow macaroni.  [The mostly drain is that you still wish to have some of the starchy water in it, I then return it to the pot and place it back on the original burner, but it’s not turned on.]
Splash in a generous 2 tablespoons of milk. [I use lowfat milk because that’s the one I usually have in the fridge and I like.]
Add a pat of butter  [I’m guessing this is approximately on the shy side of 1/2 tablespoon.] and a generous spoonful of cheesewiz [After close examinations of this dollop, I’d estimate it to be about 2-3 tablespoons]. 
Blend in a generous half cup of grated cheese [If I’m lazy I used the pre-grated Kraft mexican 4 cheese.  It’s actually quite tart and good.  If I don’t have that on hand, I use 3 part cheddar and 1 part mozzarella.  These latter are probably the easiest to have on hand.]
 
Mix it all until the cheese has melted.  It’s important to work fairly quickly to use the residual heat of the pasta and the burner to get it all together.  So it’s best to have everything on hand to dump into the pot.  If you feel the mixture is too thin, let stand for 5 minutes, covered and on the same burner.  If it’s too thick, splash in some more milk.  [I have never had the need to fix it, and usually eat it no matter how it turns out.]
 
Hope this is helpful!  Enjoy!
 
Love you much!
 
Always, Ivy
 

 

An undiscovered talent? February 27, 2008

Filed under: cooking,food,Random musings — bombshellwithin @ 2:34 AM
Tags: , , ,

I have once again completely impressed my housemate with my completely mundane cooking skills.  As he’s currently hounding me to make pot pie some time in the near future, I went and pulled this little trick out of my sleeve.  Now, softboiled eggs are my favorite things in the world.  They are my go-to comfort food.  Comes from many sore throat infections as a child and not being able to eat anything substantial.  But an egg boiled for 4 minutes was…. perfection and more than soothing on the misshapened and deformed tonsils.  Anyways… I’m digressing.  So, since I love soft boiled eggs and sunny side up eggs and just about egg in any form in which it’s yolk is gooey goodness, it comes to no surprise that I would like poached eggs.  The funny thing is, I’d never made them before.  I don’t know why not, they are so stupidly simple.  And lately they have been all over the slashfood board.  So, I went and gave it a try. 

poached eggs

Either you can’t mess up poached eggs or they are stupidly simple.  Now, what I did was put about 1 1/2- 2 inches of water in my housemate’s rice pot with about 3 tablespoons of white vinegar and set it to a nice steady simmer.  Then I used the 1/2 cup measure because it had a handly little handle as I let some of the hot water enter it to begin hardening the whites.  I carefully slid it out into the water and tucked the edges gently over until the eggs seemed to stay together.  I let it cook for 2 or 3 minutes… or however long it took me to calmly fix the bread with cheesewiz and ham.  I gently flipped the egg over and let it simmer for one last minute.  After carefully draining it, I placed it over the open faced sandwich, sprinkled lightly with salt and enjoyed.  My housemate totally loved it and was hounding me to make another. 

Sure, it isn’t the poached eggs over asparagus and corn bread biscuits or even the ones with the hollandaise sauce.  However, they were sure darn good enough for me.

 

Sunday Dinner February 11, 2008

Filed under: cooking,food,Recipes — bombshellwithin @ 12:48 AM
Tags: , , , ,

Well, the puptart and I had been having a bit of a scuffle revolving pie crust.  Actually… more about the idea of the fact that something may be super easy for one, isn’t quite so easy for another.   It is hard to set a standard of difficulty when we all work in different ways.  And, in my world, pie crust is something very easy to make.  I learned out of necessity you see.  There was one dreadful Thanksgiving where we had to buy a pumpkin pie because we couldn’t find the ready made pie crust to make one.  It was a very dark year in our history on this island when it came to finding simple things to make the delicious food we so love.  The following year, I was resigned.  I would make the silly pie crust come hell or high water.  And it came out beautifully on my first try.  We haven’t had to buy pre-made pie crust since. 

Since Friday I’d been having a hankering for pot pie.  I already knew I’d be making lasagna rolls for Saturday and Friday I used the leftover salad from the day before to make some chicken salad.  It was quick and easy and after my exhaustive afternoon making cupcakes, it really hit the spot.  So this gave me some time to think over the crust and everything I wanted to put in it.  I don’t know why the thought came into my head that it would be a good idea to deviate from my tried and true pie crust recipe.  But since lately I was working with shortening, I decided to give the pie crust a try with it. 

Let me tell you that that did not go so well.  It was tough, crumbled and just wouldn’t cooperate.  I knew it wasn’t going to be right even as it came together and I put it in the fridge yesterday.  I’ve been making pie crust for many, many years now and I’ve developed a touch for it.  And let me tell you, that was not it!  Against my better judgement I tried to roll it out…. and ended up tossing it in the trash.  Immediately I filled a bowl with the right amount of flour and got to cutting in the dough.  Had I suddenly jinxed myself by telling the tart that it was wasy?!

Pie Crust Makes for 3 9inch pie shells

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 sticks butter, chilled
  • 1/2 cup water, very chilled
  1. Slice sticks of butter into fourths lengthwise, then cut them out into cubes.  Manually crumble the butter into the flour by covering the butter with flour and carefully pressing with fingertips until all the flour and butter are incorporated to look like coarse cornmeal. 
  2. Slowly add water one tablespoon at a time, rolling the dough in the bowl until it comes together. 
  3. Sprinkle flour lightly onto surface and knead the crust gently while sprinkling water across the surface.  The dough crust should be slightly moist, together and not sticky.
  4. Divide into thirds, flatten into rounds and store in plastic wrap in the refrigerator until ready to use.  

  Rolled out dough As always, I seem to be MacGuyvering something in order to make things work in my apartment near campus.  In this case, I used a new mop handle stick as my rolling pin.  It worked wonders!  I wish I had more work surface to roll out on.  My crust came out thicker than it normally would have because of it.  But, no real complaints otherwise. 

Pie shell

Into my beautiful pie shell, I put my yummy ingredients.

I did this by sauteeing: one small yellow onion, chopped; 2 carrots, coarsely chopped; 2 stalks of celery, sliced lengthwise and coarsely chopped; 2 medium potatoes, chopped and parboiled.  Then I added a quarter cup of flour and cooked it in the pan while mixing continuously for a few minutes.  Next came the addition of some chicken tenderloin, also parboiled.  Finally I added about a cup and a half of chicken broth.  I let this simmer until it thickened.  When this was down to almost room temperature, I filled up the pie plate.  I rolled out the crust topping and carefully pressed the sides together, ensuring to cut a hole in the center and a few slices to let out steam.

  pot pie

Before baking I brushed the top crust with an egg wash.  I then baked it at 250C for about an hour.  It will probably take a lot less if your oven is better than mine.  You can tell if it’s done by the rich golden color of the crust and the slightly bubbling liquid seen in the middle indentation. 

served pie

Final Review: I wish I had had corn, green beans and mushrooms to put into the pot pie.  But, I worked with what I had.  It really tasted amazing.  Really delicious, filling and comforting.  The pie feeds about 3-4 people.  I served it with some tossed greens and a balsamic vinagrette dressing.  Again, my housemate had never had a pot pie.  He really loved it and was surprised at how tender the veggies were.  Like most puerto ricans (at least the ones I have met), he really doesn’t eat many vegetables.  In fact, while we were eating he remarked how he wasn’t fond of onions.  I noticed he was picking something out and I asked what was wrong.  He said he was picking out the onions.  I giggled and responded with “But you’re eating the onions!  What you’re picking out is the celery!”  After an exchange of REALLY?! and a “I know more about vegetables than you do.” he proceeded to eat the whole serving without complaint.  Carlitos even came over for some and a helping of Island Passion cupcakes for dessert.  I finally ate one myself and was surprised by how amazingly moist and delicious they were even after 2 days.  They were again pronounced perfection.  No tasting of fruit loops this time!  He even ate the cranberries without complaint.  So… all is well in the bombshell world.    

done pie                                               eaten pie

 

Saturday Dinner February 10, 2008

Filed under: cooking,food,Random musings,Recipes — bombshellwithin @ 12:15 AM
Tags: , , ,

Finished pasta So maybe I went a little overboard with the mozarella cheese, but I couldn’t help it.  I wasn’t sure if it had enough, so I kept piling on top.  But… I’m getting ahead of myself.  This gooey saucey delight was dinner this evening: Spinach lasagna rolls. 

It all started out very simple.  I boiled 11 whole wheat lasagna sheets very carefully, cooking them for only about 8 minutes of their prescribed 10.  I laid them out on moistened paper towels as I sauteed one small onions, 3 scallions, 2 cloves of garlic and one bag of frozen spinach, thawed and drained.  Each one was sauteed until transluscent before the next addition.  Once the spinach was warmed, I added about half a cup of pasta water to it and one container of ricotta cheese.  This got stirred thoroughly with a quarter cup parmesan cheese.  Covered on low for 5 minutes and then turned off. 

When the food was settled enough to handle, I cut the strips in half and filled each side with approximately 2 tablespoons of the spinach mixuture.  These rolls were then arranged in a dish that had some sauce and mozeralla cheese laid out on the bottom.  The pie plate I used turned out to be too small for what I wanted it for.  The rolls ended up getting piled on top of one another.  Some more pasta sauce was poured on top and a mixture of parmesan and mozarella cheese was piled on top.  I baked this for about 20 minutes at like 400F.  I was sleepy and just let it go, but the right finish time is when the sauce bubbles and the cheese melts.   

finished plate

Final Review: This was SO good.  I’d been hankering for this idea since I saw something like it in a commercial on tv.  I added some green leaf lettuce on the side and called it a meal.  It truly was amazing.  This very easily serves 3-4 people.  Both my housemate and I ate our fill and we only managed to scoop out half the dish.  He’d never had spinach before and I was afraid he wasn’t going to like it.  Turns out he really loved it and thought it was just amazing.  It was nice to actually be cooking real food for a change.  Maybe I should do this more often.  If I make it… they will it eat.