Thursday, September 30, 2010


Quick Thai Beef and Vegetable Curry
I've only tasted Thai food once and I really liked it, but could I re-enact the flavorful dish at home?
I followed the recipe word for word. No substitutions here. I did however add rice to the dish. I googled what it should look like and it seemed right. The entire time I didn't confide in the look of the dish but the taste was amazing. I used angus steak strips for stir fry and the beef came out being too tough. I cooked the meat first to be medium knowing I had to add it to the vegetables. Any cooks out there know how to help that or is that just how that meat always comes out?
Suggestion: add rice to the dish and the next time I'm going to use shrimp instead of steak. My father and I thought this would be a good idea.

Made September 30, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I'm Cookin!

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole
I’ve never attempted to make a casserole before. It seemed to me that they are just meals that you throw in a dish and put in the oven and forget about for a little bit. It wasn’t the case with this meal.
I thought it was really easy to prepare. It’s the first meal that I didn’t have to do major ingredient shopping for. I was so happy about that! The recipe calls for dry sherry wine and I had none. I Googled a replacement for sherry wine; Oh the wonders of the internet! I got a list of things you can replace it with: pineapple juice, apple juice, vanilla extract (1/2 the amount of sherry required), 1/4vinegar+ 1tbs sugar+ 1/4cup water, or vinegar+ water+ chicken broth. Since the recipe already called for chicken broth I used ¼ cup apple cider vinegar and ¼ cup of water. No need to season with salt, just use pepper because the cheese has enough salt and makes it taste good without much else.

made on September 29, 2010

I made brownies too.(Chocolate chunk and walnut) It was a productive day i can tell you that much.

The Safe Word is WHiskey

Whiskey Sauce Pork Chops with Sweet Potatoes

This recipe was a fail. Well for the most part except for the sweet potatoes they were delicious.  I used Jack Daniel’s but I didn’t make sure it became a syrupy texture so the sauce came out watery and unappealing. I thought this sauce would taste better on a steak. Maybe I’ll try that one day..
I had a little help with this one. My father grilled the pork, where in the recipe it wanted me to cook it in a skillet. I also used pork on the bone but it called for boneless center cut pork chops. The pork came out a little dry. As for the sauce, I suggest who ever is cooking this next should be a little more patient and allow the sauce to thicken. I think it would have come out better that way.

made September 21, 2010

Let's Pay a Visit to Sally!

Salmon with Asparagus and Chive Butter Sauce
This was my second fish dish but this time I was excited to eat it. I suggest this dinner for 2-3 people because salmon is expensive. It was a healthy dish and I would make it again!! I actually did I had extra but I hadn’t cooked it. Since it’s simple to make I had it for lunch. So Delicious!!
Like I said it’s quick and easy to make but I would only make it for a couple of people. It’s an easy elegant dinner for two.
I had no substitutions of any kind. It’s steamed asparagus and salmon all at the same time. I was amazed and never heard of such a thing. I went to my local fish market (Sally’s Fish Market) and told him my story and that it was my first time working with salmon, so he had suggestions for me like baking or grilling. I used the steaming technique and it came out perfect. For those who don’t like salmon I suggest try this. I don’t go for fish because of the fishy taste but here the butter and chives makes a simple, yet tasty sauce.

made on September 16, 2010

Vegetarian meal

Chickpea Cakes with Cucumber- Yogurt Sauce

I didn’t know how to approach this meal, if you want to call it a meal. It’s really small. I used it as a side for the salmon which didn’t work because they are two totally different styles. I had to use a spice called Garam Masala and I had never heard of this in my life. It smelled like curry, so the dish has an Indian style to it. It wasn’t very good for my taste but that’s because I’m not a fan of Indian food or I just haven’t tried good Indian food yet.
On top there is a cucumber- yogurt sauce that is basically cucumbers and greek yogurt that I never heard of and apparently its good for you. BOUNUS
I would suggest this more for a small lunch. It’s a good thing that can be prepared one day and then cooked the next. My first vegetarian entrée...

made September 16, 2010

Got Sole?

Easy Stuffed Filets of Sole
Fish isn’t on the top of my menu of things I enjoy eating, but because of my goal to finish all of the meals in this book, I had to make it some day. I work at a catering hall and we serve stuffed sole often. I’ve never eaten it before and I thought it would be interesting to make.
The substitution for this meal was wheat bread for the bread crumbs instead of white bread. I also used tilapia only because we didn’t have sole in the house. I wouldn’t recommend tilapia, it was thick and short which made it hard to roll but it works. I think sole is longer and thinner making the process easier. The sauce that goes along with it kind of evaporated so each person didn’t get a good helping of it but there was enough.  It didn’t have a side (none of the recipes do) so I accompanied it with cherry tomatoes and green beans. I’m not very good at sautéing the right flavors into these vegetables. I used oil garlic and chopped red onion… Help?
I had leftovers of the meal and brought it to the head chef at work. He said it was really good and flavorful. There was lemon zest in the bread crumbs which made it taste great and fresh. After this I wanted to try all kinds of fish!

made on September 2, 2010

I'm Hungry...

Skillet Tamale Pie?
Good answer!
I created this tamale pie on August 27, 2010. I thought it looked just like a Shepard’s pie and I wasn’t too excited for the results. But when I saw that the ingredients contained jalapenos I was excited to try it. I like flavorful food so to me this meal was great with the fresh cilantro too.
It’s pretty easy to put together. I think what took the most time was the chopping, like always. In the store I couldn’t find minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo so I used ½ of a long hot pepper. It came out amazing. There was a zing to the taste but not overwhelming to the point it was annoying to eat. The recipe calls for ground beef but I used ground turkey instead. It fed about 5 people with seconds. Its good for a big crowd
I really want to make this again. I give this recipe 2 thumbs way up
I had fun making this mess with my friend and since I cooked she did the dishes. Good team effort! I used her kitchen like I did my other friend and thought "I could go kitchen to kitchen cooking for people and they can just clean up!"

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Can you come over to cook dinner?!

This was an interesting day. I started cooking out of this cookbook for the goal of completing in one year all of these recipes and learning something by the end. crazy idea to some but to me, an experience. My friend actually called me to come over just to cook. it was odd request but an oportunity to begin this crazy idea and open up the cookbook I'd just bought. So I asked what he would want to eat and he said "how about chicken parm?" I looked through the book to find the closest thing to chicken parm there was.
Parmesan Chicken with cherry tomatoe salad was really good. Basically instead of just breading the chicken and cooking it in a skillet then laying the cheese over it to melt it, adding a bed of pasta and sauce...
This chicken is breaded just like that but with the bread crumbs I mixed in grated parmesan cheese and it came out juicy. There was no sauce and instead of using cherry tomatoes I used the little yellow tomatoes. I don't know if they are called yellow cherry tomatoes but thats what I refered to them as! I would maybe add sauce for all those non-tomatoe eaters out there (myself included)
I don't have the exact date that I started this but it was in the second week of August 2010. I used my friend's kitchen and had fun :)

Birthday Dinner!

Usually on your birthday you would want everything done for you. You would want to get out of bed late or have breakfast brought to you; basically be waited on hand and foot. But not me! I wanted to have a day for me but in a way that I can have my family together enjoying food and each other's company. So I decided to cook for everyone.
I cooked Spinach stuffed chicken. I've made this dish in the past and it came out great. I've been told it was amazing. On my birthday it didn't quite come out as planned. It was a little dry. It's a great recipe, not too difficult to do, a little time consuming. (This happends alot with me because of my novice chopping abilities) Things I'm sure will come out better and be less time consuming as I cook.
I came by the recipe on when I searched for spinach and chicken. I was in the mood to have something for the most part healthy. This recipe says that you should cook the chicken in a skillet. I cooked it in a skillet when I made it for 3-4 people and it came out beautifully. But on my birthday, I cooked for about 8 people so I changed it around a bit and baked the chicken at 375degrees. I also have never used mushrooms because some people in my family don't like them. All in all its a great tasting meal!

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Hello Bloggers!
My name is Christina. I've decided to start blogging about my "creations in the kitchen." I'm starting to cook because I enjoy it and the idea to blog about it came from the movie Julie and Julia. I didn't grow up watching cooking shows or I haven't really idolized a specific chef, but I want to learn and I thought cooking my way through a cookbook would be the best way to get started. I have been baking for fun. I do it any chance I get for birthdays, holidays or any special gathering my family has. I usually get complimented on my baking. This just encourages my hobby. I like to make healthy meals or find ways to make things healthier but I try to keep it flavorful and delicious at the same time so you don't know you are eating healthy.
I will post pictures and comments about the recipes I have been through. I'm using The Best Simple Recipes created by America's Test Kitchen. If you would like a recipe or have any input on other tecniques just comment and I'll get back to you. I would love to share!
I would greatly appreciate any advice anyone has towards cooking or if you would like to share experiences (good or bad) I would love read them! Trust me you will read ALL of mine.
Of course there is a deadline to completing these recipes and its August 20, 2011. That's my next birthday. I started tecnically on my birthday this year but I'm not cooking everyday. I'm going for once a week. I may cook one or two recipies in a day, depending on the amount of time I have.