Tales of a Wookie Wife: Fueled by caffeine and good intentions. Feed hairy man. Clean house. Be fabulous. Repeat. You can learn more about me here.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Curry Chicken with Vegetables and Quinoa (+ review)

Yaaay!  So excited that we FINALLY caught up and got to try Quinoa around here.  Again, this isn't a paid review since no one knows I exist.  Just something I saw at the store and figured since we hadn't tried it before I'd post a review for anyone else who hasn't.  Ok, so recipe first?

Temper your chickens.  Grease up a skillet with olive oil and let it heat up on medium-ish heat.

Add the spices above to taste.  Careful on the cilantro, though.  That shit can be brutal.  Personally, I go heavier on the garlic, turmeric, and curry than everything else.

Put it all in there with enough water to keep the bottom covered.

While that's starting to cook, cut up half a medium onion and add it to the mix.  In about an hour or so, you should have something like this:

Got it?  Sweet!  Just don't forget to keep adding water over that  hour or you'll end up with a mess.  Keep the water at enough of a level to cover the bottom, but you don't want the chicken immersed.  That's boiling.


Okay, so take the chicken out, leave the onion, turn the heat down to medium-low and you should be left with a nice sauce.  Put it on a plate or in the oven or something and cover it up so it stays warm.  The chicken, not the sauce.  Most meats should really rest about ten minutes before you cut into and/or eat them, so since our sides are fast, this should give the chicken just enough time.

Grab some vegetables of your choice...I used broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots.

Let that cook up for a few minutes, stirring it all  up with the sauce.  While that's going, follow the directions on your quinoa package.

I used this one.  The stores here need some...erm...help with ordering.  In fact, the restaurants here do, too.  This area has an ODD palate.  They all turn their noses up at things like quinoa and whole-foods stores,  but brisket and baked beans in a burrito is just fine...Go fucking figure.

Anyway, between the 2 stores in our area only one had this stuff and there were 2 varieties of the same brand up there.  Directions are simple, fast, understandable.  I really liked this stuff.  I'd like to try it plain, though, and season it myself because the seasoning in this was way too salty for my tastes.  The texture was just lovely, though.

My review for this is thumbs-up.  I'll probably be picking up more, this time maybe trying the other flavor to see if its not as salty.

Where was I?

Oh, yeah.  Vegetables should look like this about the time the quinoa is done.

Plate that shit up!


Oh, and quinoa tastes MUCH better than it looks.


The Wookie Wife

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Portal Cupcake Stencils DIY

This isn't really an instructive post as it is a bragging one...

These are darn cute:

Very simple, really.  I took an icing lid, drew a picture on it, then cut it out with a razor knife.  Would be easier with an exact-o, but I don't have one.  Sugar sprinkles on cupcakes, and there ya go!  Portal cupcakes!  :)

The Wookie Wife

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Best. Pork Roast. Ever.

I've cooked tons of pork roasts before, but I had no idea what I was doing with this one.  I felt like doing something new and different than what I usually do, so I just started smelling things and tossing together whatever I thought would work.  And holy shit on a stick did this ever work.  Just looking at the pictures has me salivating and I want to make another one now!!

To start off, put the roast in your cooking instrument of choice.  I was going to bake it, but after about 10 minutes in the toaster oven, it became apparent that a roast of this size just wasn't going to cook in there, so I ended up cooking it in a cast iron skillet covered, over medium heat for about an hour and a half.  Or until whenever it is done since not all roasts are created equal.  This one was 2 pounds.

Anywho, sprinkle it with black pepper, sea salt, garlic, and then liberally drizzle it in honey.  Do this in the skillet if you're smart, otherwise you just end up with more dishes and looking stupid like me.  :)

Next, do some more liberal drizzling.  This time with what I've now decided is the best ingredient of all time.  This was my first time cooking with this stuff, and let me tell you, it is every bit worth all the hype.

After you've drizzled it with the elixir of life up there, squeeze 2 oranges in, too, along with about 1/4 cup or so of soy sauce and a few tablespoons of olive oil.

Then, let it all cook.  While its cooking, remove the lid every 15 or 20 minutes and baste the roast with the juices in the bottom.  Bathe that shit like its your firstborn, because those juices will seep in and you will cry with joy later.

Then, when its almost done, cook up a side dish.  At this point, you won't give a damn what goes with it, all you'll be thinking about is that juicy, roasty goodness up there.

Plate it up.  Try not to drool on your camera while taking the pictures.  I mean, really?  Juicy and caramelized on the outside, pure, gorgeous goodness on the inside...

Here's another angle of food porn because this deserves its own chapter somewhere, I'm sure.  This dish is sweet, tangy, spicy...This dish is all that and a side of green beans.  Which I didn't even taste, really, I was too busy wolfing the roast down.  It was not pretty.  It was not lady-like.

Cook it.

You'll thank me.

The (now hungry again) Wookie Wife

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Chicken Noodle Soup with BONUS Chef Basket Review!

I hope no one out there started off the new year like we did.  We started it out by promptly coming down with wickedly viscous colds.  Fuckin' splendid.  No better time for Chicken Noodle Soup, though, right?

First thing to do is fill a pot up with water and put it on the stove on high.

Next, get your chickens...Usually, I'd do something like this with a whole chicken, but that isn't necessary.  I was making a fairly small batch, so I just used a chicken thigh since it was what I had on hand.

While that thigh is boiling, chop up one medium onion and toss it in there.

Next, season things up a bit.  Just season to taste.  This is an important thing to learn because your chickens won't always be the same size.  Unless they are weird, mutant chickens of some sort, in which case, FUCK THAT, GO FIND A REAL BIRD!  :)  I used Tony Cacherie's, garlic, parsley (pictured in the baggie, I dried it myself...MUCH cheaper to buy fresh and dry), chicken seasoning salt, sea salt, black pepper, and turmeric.  In case you aren't aware, turmeric rocks.  Now you know.

Let it all boil so the chicken cooks through, then remove the chicken to cool so that you can de-bone it later.

While the chicken is cooling, chop up about 4 stalks of celery and 4 carrots and toss them into the broth/onion/seasoning mix.  Then, de-bone the chicken once its cool enough to handle and toss the meat back into the pot.

Mmmm...What's missing?  Noodles!  Good time to review my Chef Basket.  Note that I am not being paid for this review...If I were they probably certainly wouldn't be happy with me.  I got this as a gift and figured it would be fun to test it out, so I put the noodles in it, stuck it in the pot, and let them cook.  My pot was apparently more narrow than the as-seen-on-tv one, so I had to sort of angle it in there.  No biggie.  The handles still stayed cool, which was pretty neat.

The first thing you notice when you look at one of these is that spaghetti, fettuccine, or any other long, flat noodles will be out of the question as will any smaller noodle varieties.  The holes are just too big.  However, farfalle seemed like it would do just fine, so I was okay with that.  At first, I was super excited about being able to cook my noodles in the stock the chicken and vegetables created without leaving the noodles in to get all soggy...But that is, sadly, where my excitement ended.

I lifted it out once the noodles were cooked to the point where we like them and plunked it in the sink to drain.  Fortunately, the sink has one small side because 90% of the time, I can't make this damned thing stand up like its supposed to.  Anyway, drain your noodles and rinse them with cold water until they are all cold, all the way through.  Then, let them drain a bit until they are dry-ish and store them in a container in the fridge.  Then, when you want some soup, add some noodles to a bowl, then pour the hot soup over the top of them.  This will ensure you get a good, steaming bowl of soup without soggy noodles.  This comes in handy as this recipe lasted us 2 days.  2-day old noodles that have sat in soup...No thanks.

Now, the REAL problem.  I scrubbed this thing FOUR TIMES.  Yes, FOUR ever-fucking times.

Guess what?

It still didn't come clean.  Those little wires just BEG for things to get stuck in them, as you can clearly see, especially the ring of them around the middle of the bottom of the basket.  The more you scrub, the more you realize the design makes little to no sense.  Maybe you'd have better luck with a dishwasher, but this thing is sort of flimsy and I just don't see that happening.  That, and MY dishwasher is plainly pictured below, holding the contraption up for the camera.

Eeew...Just eeew.

Verdict?  This thing sucks.  A glorified piece of shit, really.  It will most likely end up being re-purposed into some sort of craft project because I certainly will NOT ever be cooking with it again.  The fuss this thing caused...Nope.  Way easier to just cook the noodles in a separate pot and use a regular ol' colander.  Waste of money, waste of space.

However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel:

Homemade chicken and noodle soup.  It was awesome.  Made me feel much better.  At least I pouted maybe 5% less than before I was full of soup.  Sick and full of hot soup is better than sick and hungry, for sure.

Hope you try it out!

The recipe, not the Chef Basket.

The Wookie Wifey