Friday, May 28, 2010

Who Says Shrimpin' Ain't Easy. on a diet. I have to be. Work is making me. No, really.
Ok, well not directly, but I have to participate in this wellness program or pay $300 more a year on health insurance. I need to drop a pound or 50 anyway.

So, right now I'm doing the weight loss thing, which requires me to be on a diet plan. Yesterday's menu called for some seafood and veggies.

Why not? Seafood is delicious and good for you.

I don't follow the meal plan directly, but I try to keep to the spirit. So, last night I made shrimp kabobs instead of citrus glazed fish or a tuna fish pita.

I went to Farmer's Market, bought way too much shrimp, red and orange bell peppers, zucchini, and corn cobs. Then I trotted down to Kroger and scored some skewers, canned pineapple rings, and marinade - yeah I used premade marinade, but no one complained.

This was my first experience peeling and deveining shrimp. Deveining is a pain in the ass but not too bad. I don't think I did it perfectly, a lot of the veins wanted to snap as I was pulling them out, but I did my best. I cut a small incision into the top of the shrimp and carefully pulled the vein out. Once I got the shrimp done, I cut up the bell peppers, onions, and the pineapple rings into skewerable chunks. I put all that in the marinade and stuck it in the fridge.

I had my roommates fire up the grill.

I quartered the zucchini into pickle-like spears and my roommate topped them with garlic salt and ground pepper and grilled them. I dehusked the corn, cut them in half, and boiled them to make corn on the cob. I picked out good corn too, they were sweet and delicious.

While the zucchini was grilling, I took the kabob stuff out of the fridge and made 8 skewers, one of which was vegetarian because I ran out of shrimp.

The meal was fantastic and full of well-cooked, fresh, in-season vegetables.

I should make low country boil with the extra shrimp I bought. Or I could make a shrimp variant of the chicken taco recipe I like to make.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tequila Sunrise

Another easy mode yet gloriously tasty thing to do.

I'm growing fond of tequila. A lot of people I know have a distinct dislike for tequila. This is probably because their experiences with tequila, assuming they remember, involve something cheap and crappy - like Jose Cuervo. Fuck that. I like to use 1800 Silver. It's pretty smooth and mixes fantastically.

Right now I've noticed navel oranges are abound. Oranges must be in season or something. They're all over the farmer's market and produce section. So hey, instead of buying overpriced orange juice made from concentrate or something - go grab some fresh, cheap navel oranges and a $2 juicer.

Don't worry, oranges juice very easily unlike say limes.

Slice a couple of oranges in half
Juice those babies (you may need to clean pulp off the juicer)
Grab a glass
Add ice
Add 2 shots of tequila or whatever you want
Add the freshly squeezed, delicious orange juice.
Add some grenadine to taste

If you don't like tequila you can use rum or vodka or peach schnapps or whatever.
Fresh fruit + booze = WIN!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Eggs Benedict - Easy Mode

I say easy mode because I didn't make my hollandaise sauce from scratch nor did I bake my own english muffins. This was a quickie breakfast made on a Tuesday morning before work

Eggs Benedict: poached egg and ham on an English muffin topped with hollandaise sauce.

I started off wrong, though. I made the packaged hollandaise sauce. Doh! The sauce ended up being a little thicker than it probably should have been.

The grease popping from the ham was a good wake up.

After frying up the ham, I stated on the hard part - egg poaching.

Actually, egg poaching is easy. Really. If I can do it...
Boiling some water - get a good rolling boil. I added salt and vinegar. The vinegar was a suggestion from a culinary-inclined friend.
Crack an egg in it.
Let the egg cook some so that the white congeals and yolk cooks a little bit.
Fish it out with a laddle or spoon.


Sunday, May 2, 2010


Manicotti is hands-down my favorite baked pasta dish and comfort food. So I gave it a go last night. I also did this while getting drunk of margaritas.

Ingredients were purchased from the local farmer's market and Kroger, both of which were madhouses yesterday. But after battling the hordes of yuppie Decaturites and I found success.

Here is the recipe I followed

It's the basic recipe you will find on any box of manicotti pasta - mostly.

1 package of manicotti pasta - while I could *attempt* to make that fresh, NO.
16 oz of ricotta cheese - I've seen this hand made before without too much difficulty, but I just bought some from the store
6 0z of mozzarella, shredded
6 oz of monterey jack, shredded
2 tbsp of sour cream - this I've never seen before but I assume it helps with the consistency of the cheese mix
1/3 cup dried breadcrumb - I got plain instead of seasoned and I don't think it made the slightest difference
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 cups Spaghetti sauce.

I decided to make my own spaghetti, cause I see my roommates do it all the time and I know it can't be that *hard*. Plus, they laughed at me last time I bought sauce in a jar.

So I poked my roommate on how to make spaghetti sauce:

Can of tomato paste, can of tomatos, can of mushrooms, onion, group beef, spices, chianti
brown the mushrooms and onions in oil with some pepper and garlic and salt
1:31 PM put them in a pot with the tomato paste and tomatos
mix/crush everything up
brown beef with some chianti, salt, papper
drain it
mix it with tomato sauce
let simmer for a bit

Alright, no problem.

I made this sauce to go with my manicotti - it was delicious.

Made the sauce, boiled the pasta - I should have added oil to the water because some of the tubes stuck to the bottom of the pot.

Made the cheese stuffing,, stuffed the tubes - any that split and many did, I just put the split side down.

Covered the manicotti with sauce and cheese and baked. And here's where I learned a basic cooking lesson. I should have added the sauce, covered it with tin foil, baked it for 30 minutes, added the cheese, and finished it off.

My manicotti had some burnt cheese on top, but otherwise was absolutely delicious.


Hello internets, I'm Jen.

I am almost 30 years old - and I only know how to cook a very limited amount of things without referring to some recipe and following the step by step instructions. That's no good. Besides, recipes screw things up sometimes.

Most people I know around me can cook, but I cannot.

So I figured for my own personal benefit, I'd blog my cooking efforts (Julie and Julia style), and see if I get any better.

I've got a couple of Alton Browns that I'll work out of eventually, but for now, I'm going to start with my favorite foods.