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Mistakes, I’ve made a few…

So, this blog is supposed to be about my cooking journey right? I’ve noticed that I haven’t really given you any insight into my cooking errors (yet another error on my part). Anyway, yesterday was stock day. I took a tip from Bon Appetit online, and roasted my bones first. I was so dang excited for this batch. I let is slow simmer overnight, and my kitchen smelled glorious the next morning. The broth looked rich and dark and as I lifted my spoon for a taste,  it hit me. BITTER. My flippin stock was bitter! Why you ask? I added a full lemon to the stock and it bittered the shit up. I thought about this as I added the lemon, but I tossed it in anyway. I do that a lot. I foresee the cooking error before I do it, and I do it anyway. Why? WHY DO I DO THIS? It’s actually been the culprit to many a kitchen mishap. Do any of you do this too?

Anyway, in the spirit of embracing my authentic self and trying to be better, here is a list of lessons I’ve learned from kitchen mishaps:

  1. Don’t add a whole lemon to your stock and let it cook overnight. Maybe add just the juice at the end, or the whole lemon the last half hour, but don’t keep it in there 18+ hours.
  2. To get a good sear on meat, really take the time to make sure your pan is the right temp (not too hot not too cool) and really just leave it there for a few. I often get impatient and prematurely flip the meat, or put it on before the pan is got enough.
  3. For the love of all that is delicious don’t add food to a pan that you know is too hot. YOU.WILL.RUIN.YOUR.FOOD. I did this the other night with risotto.
  4. Keep your knife cuts consistent. Otherwise you will end up with overcooked and undercooked pieces in the same batch of whatever you are cooking.
  5. Don’t have too much going on at once. YOU WILL BURN SOMETHING. Read your recipe and plan ahead. If you are making a particularly intensive dish, take care of all of your prepping before you turn on the oven or stove. This is what the French call Mise en Place.
  6. Know what your ingredients taste like before you cook with them.
  7. When you know something is ruined, start over. I once accidentally added sweetened canned pumpkin to a batch of my pumpkin soup AND THEN SERVED IT TO GUESTS! It was terrible. I just felt bad wasting the food. In hindsight, I should have just ordered pizza instead.
  8. Forgive yourself. We all have our off nights/days. My cooking mishaps have made for some great laughs between my husband and I throughout the years. Ask him about my ‘Beef Stroganoff’.

I am going to certainly add to this list as time goes on. Trust me.

Want a laugh? Here are the pictures of what we call the ‘doomed Valentine’s day breakfast of 2014’. This was a clear example of having too much going on at once.

I’ve got something brewing besides my broth. I’ve been testing meal kits from various sources, and I will report my results in the next week or so. Until then happy cooking.

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Dark chocolate wishes and dairy free dreams…

There is this ice cream place in our town that sells artisanal ice cream. The shop boasts flavors such as lavender mascarpone, blood orange sorbet, and DARK chocolate ice cream. Their ice cream is one of my guilty pleasures. I say guilty pleasure because, 1. it’s so dang expensive (but worth every penny) and 2. it’s so very rich. I usually order the dark chocolate ice cream, but my friend turned me on to their dark chocolate sorbet. I gotta tell you, I wasn’t sure at first, but one taste made me a believer! Would you believe that sorbet could be creamy? It IS!

I have been craving the stuff big time, but time, weather, money, and the fact that it’s freaking February have all prevented me from stopping in to get some
. The craving got so bad that I decided to dust off the ole ice cream maker, and take her for a spin!

The following recipe isn’t quite sorbet. It’s actually ice cream.. kinda.. I had some coconut creamer that I wanted to use up so I substituted water with coconut milk.

This recipe was adapted from David Lebovitz’s Chocolate Sorbet on Food52.com.

2 1/4 cups Coconut milk

¼ cup  dark agave

3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (I used Hershey Special Dark)

6 oz semisweet chocolate chips (make sure package says dairy free)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

1.In a saucepan on medium, heat half of the coconut milk, coco powder and agave whisking constantly.

  1. Once the mixture reaches a slow boil, remove from heat and add the vanilla bean paste, chocolate chips, and stir until chocolate has melted.
  2. Incorporate the remaining coconut milk and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  3. Once the mixture is completely chilled, use an immersion blender to make sure all lumps are smoothed out. Then make the ice cream according to your machine’s instructions.

I keep meaning to take a picture of the finished product, but I keep eating it. ***edit: I was finally able to control myself enough to nab a picture this morning! ***
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Here is the mixture in the sauce pan.
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And here is the mixture once it’s done chilling:
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Until next week!

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Don’t Cry Over Burnt Toast

So last week was one of my worst cooking weeks ever. I was all off. I have no idea what the heck was wrong with me. I burned the toast every morning, I managed to serve dry chicken that was boiled in a pressure cooker, and I gave my family bad breath for days when I added to much garlic to a béchamel sauce I served over tortellini. So because of this, I don’t have an awesome recipe to share this week. I do however, have a few tips to help you get through weeks like this.

  1. Rotisserie chicken is your friend. I either buy a ready-made rotisserie chicken, or when whole roasting chickens are $.99 a pound I buy one of them. You serve them the night you roast them alongside of mashed potatoes, and roasted broccoli, the next day as a chicken salad sandwich, and then reheated the next night in chicken fajitas or pot pie. When you’re done with the meat, you can boil the bones to make your own stock.
  2. Make double and freeze. Sauces, soups and stews oh my! Whenever you make one of these treasures be sure to make a double batch and freeze the other half. On a week when your cooking game is off, you can grab it out of the freezer and thank your past self for a delicious dinner.
  3. Speaking of freezing, I was reading today that you can make roux ahead and freeze it for up to 6 months! Make a big batch ahead of time, and freeze the rest in ice cube trays. Toss one or two cubes in the aforementioned stew or pot pie to thicken the sauce. Another great item to freeze is fresh herbs. I always chop and freeze (again in an ice cube tray) whatever I have leftover from a recipe. Fresh herbs are a great way to amp up any recipe. You can even use the stems to flavor stock!

Next week, I’ll hopefully have something amazing to share. I bet my family would love that too. In the meantime, I’m going to dine on frozen sweet potato soup and burnt toast while staring at these two beautiful faces.

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