Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy to Be Back in the Kitchen


I’m back home from university for the week.  That means I have a kitchen.  I started off the week with making Joy the Baker’s Browned Butter Blueberry Muffins.  However, being without whole milk, I used half and half.  This was a pretty bold move for me seeing as how the last time I deviated from a baking recipe I substituted salt for cornstarch.  (Cut me some slack; I was, like, 5).  Anyways, they were, in a word, amazing.  You know those muffins you get from the coffee shop in the morning?  You know how they’re all dry and crumble all over your car?  Yeah, well, these were nothing like that.



Did you notice that it even has an ethereal glow?  That’s how heavenly these muffins are.

In other news, I took a shot at making my mom’s Mexican Wedding Cookies.  I ate four today.  Of course, they will never be as good as Mom’s, but they are pretty doggone good.


I described them to the boyfriend (who is six hours away with his family for Thanksgiving. Boo.) as tasting like cripsy butter with powdered sugar.  What else do you really need in life?

Speaking of the boyfriend, we had an interesting conversation a couple of days ago.  As he was watching me cook, he asked, “Which do you think takes more skill: cooking or baking?”  Why, that’s a very interesting question, boyfriend.

On one hand, baking is so precise, that you need to have ridiculous amounts of patience to do it.  (I’m still working on this.)  One of the most amazing things to me, is those kinds of people who can invent a baking recipe out of nothing.  All baking is is chemistry.  You need to have exact ratios of salt and baking soda to flour.  In order to dream up your own baking recipe, you have to know just how many eggs will bind that dough without making it too runny.  The most invention I can do with baking is substituting blackberries for blueberries.  Go me.

On the other hand, you have cooking.  There are so many more flavors to play with in cooking.  Directly proportional to this is the opportunity to mess up.  Yes, you may love bbq chicken and orange chicken, but put all that together and you get a whole lot of yuck.

So, in a classic cop-out answer, I would say that cooking and baking both have their own difficulties, none of which that outweigh the other’s.  And really, why do we have to choose?  That’s right.  We don’t!

In the spirit of not choosing, let me share with you my latest savory adventure. 

On a whim, I decided to do something nice for my mom by making her dinner.  The menu?  I think it’s pretty super.  Even if I can only eat half of it.

-Lemon pepper chicken

-Firecracker salsa

-Avocado, tomato, and mozzarella salad.

All of it was super simple, so there was no way I could screw it up.


Boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Lemon juice


Black pepper


Italian dressing



Mozzarella Cheese

To start off, I threw a boneless, skinless, chicken breast piece into a freezer bag with some pepper, lemon juice, and zesty italian salad dressing (something I always keep in the fridge for its usefulness).

Seal the bag and make sure the chicken is coated.  You may want to beat up the chicken to tenderize it or vent some anger.  Your choice.

I then let it come to room temperature so it will cook evenly.

While that’s happening, I mixed some pineapple chunks with some diced cucumber, diced jalapeno pepper, lemon juice, and a heaping teaspoon of brown sugar.  Do this all to taste.  If you like things spicy, add more jalapeno.  Like the sweet stuff?  Add more brown sugar.

For the salad, I sliced up some tomato and avocado.  I also thickly sliced some whole milk mozzarella.  Stack it all up in this order: tomato, cheese, and avocado.  Then, drizzle with the teensiest bit of italian dressing (there it is again).

Back to the chicken, throw it in an oven bag and bake with some slices of onion and lemon at 350 degrees.  Times will vary depending on how much chicken you have.  I tend to overcook, just to be on the safe side. 

To assemble, plate the chicken with the salsa on top.  On the side, plate up a couple of those salad stacks.

Sorry the pictures kinda suck.  We had already started eating by the time I remembered to take pictures.



Super simple, super healthy.

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