Week 7:From Broke College Student to Chef

There is always time and room for chocolate

A funny yet true story. When I was16, Cristalle and I made a cake for a friends birthday (I am not going to say who because we are both still friends with this person) It was one of those betty crocker cakes where you follow step by step, and unless you don’t pay atleast like 75 percent of your attention to you, you can’t screw up. Cristalle and I were focus probably on the latest high school drama, and before we knew it we had to leave for our friends party, with an under cook cake. We covered and smoothered that cake in frosting, and we were on our way. We waited while people tried the cake  before we had a piece. Everyone loved our under cooked cake, and no one found out until well now. I don’t even think we ate that cake.

I tell you this story to set up where I started to where I am now 8 years later. This week I made Chocolate Chip Yellow Cake. The reciepe started with just yellow cake I found online, but it seemed too simple. Plus I really wanted some chocolate chips. So I came up with Chocolate Chip Yellow Cake from scatch with a little help with some betty crocker frosting. I made sure to cook this one all the way. The yellow cake portion come from about.com

Chocolate Chip Yellow Cake

Chocolate Chip Yellow Cake

 

Side view

Side View

 

 Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour pan (cooking spray also does the job)
In bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt with a wire whisk. (a wood spoon works the same. My mother also suggested I buy a beater. She was shocked that I didn’t have one. I was shocked she think I would)

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and mix until completely combines. Slowly add flour alternately with milk. At end of addition batter should be smooth.

Bake Yellow Cake Recipe for 20 to 25 minutes. (I did about 30 minutes without buring it) Cool 5 minutes in pan, then invert onto a rack and cool completely before frosting.(this still melted the frosting still, but if you put it in the freezer then you might be alright)

You may not like cake, chocolate, or whatever, but with desert you can’t go wrong. Well actually can, but when done right, desert can always put a smile on your face and belly. I think my cake could have been more fluffy had I had the right equipment, maybe more milk, or make more chocolate. Thank you for those sending in recipes, and keep sending them. Below is my dad’s review of the cake.

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Week 6:From Broke College Student to Chef

Background

Family is all around, even across the country

If you have been around me for at least a day, you know I am a huge sports nut. You can probably blame that on my dad sitting my brother and I in front of the television during major holidays like Super Bowl Sunday, Start of March Madness, End of March Madness, when the Suns play the Lakers…you know the big ones, and being so passionate about the game. From his loud roars on a huge three pointer to yelling at the television (side note: my dad, to my knowledge, has never cursed. One time he yelled at my brother and I for saying suck in a non-sport related context. I am not sure where he went wrong with my sailor mouth), my dad’s love for sports laid the ground work for my love of sports.

Which brings us to this week’s recipe for the big game: Chicago Chili. No that the Bears were not in the Super Bowl this week, a hurtful fact my brother is still mad about, however can you really go wrong with anything Chicago food related? Hotdogs, pizza, and anything with that Chicago twist is amazing plus it is where some of my family is from. Ironically, actually not,  I got this recipe from my Chicago Native cousin Lindsey. While I was cooking this, other members of the family across the country were making their own Chili. It was kind of like a large family dinner we all ate together. You got to love it.

Chicago Chili

Chicago Chili

Writing Note: words that look like this are Lindsey’s commentary and words that look like this are mine

Chicago Chili (feeds 6-ish)

Need:
Large skillet
Large pot (6 quarts at least or 8 quarts if you can, otherwise things can get messy)
Cutting board
Knife
Large sturdy spoon

Ingredients:
1 pound ground turkey or beef (if use beef go for lean (less fat))
1 can black beans (16oz)
1 can chili beans (16oz) *if you can’t find chili beans sub in kidney
1 can diced tomatoes (16oz)
1 packet chili seasoning *it’s like the packets for taco seasoning, but for chili
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon italian seasoning (if you don’t have use equal parts dry basil and oregano…its basically the same thing)(I can’t find seem to remember to buy Italian seasoning to save my life, but luckily I had basil and oregano)
2 tablespoons chili powder (maybe, depending how spicy you’re going for)(put in like 3 to give it some more flavor)
1 medium onion
1 medium tomato(another fun, well not really, fact about me is I hate tomatoes. Lindsey quickly sent me back and an email telling me it is alright for me to avoid this, and as you should too)
1 large green pepper
1/2 pound mushrooms
1 jalapeño
3 cloves fresh garlic
oil
shredded cheese (optional topping)(cheese is always a must in my opinion)
diced onion (optional topping) (of you want, buy a large onion and use most for the chili but keep some for the topping)
sour cream (optional topping)
crackers/ sliced french bread (optional accompaniment)(I bought some, but didn’t end up using it)

Prep:

  • In large skillet place turkey (or beef), sprinkle with garlic powder and italian seasoning, brown.
  • While meat is browning (though remember to check on it so as not to burn):

o   Chop onion and green pepper into large chunks

o   Mince garlic.

o   Heat oil on medium in bottom of large pot; add garlic. Let cook 2 min.

o   Add onion and green pepper

o   Chop tomatoes, and mushrooms into chunks

o   Slice jalapeño into thick pieces (so people can see them if they don’t want to eat them)

  • When meat is browned add 2 tablespoons of water and packet of chili seasoning, stir well.
(TIP: put contents of seasoning in a small bowl and add boiling water, mix until dissolved then add to meat. its easy to make sure that the seasoning is dissolved and completely mixed into the meat) ( I read this after the fact, but still tasted good)
  • Add meat to large pot, stir.
  • Add all beans and diced tomatoes, stir. Add jalapeño, mushrooms, and tomatoes, stir.
  • Let cook on medium heat for at least 30 minutes, and up to an hour.
  • Taste. If you would like it spicier add chili powder, add slowly and taste often. You can add more, but you can’t remove it.(Beyond the three I did, I added another three every ten minutes, and I didn’t think it was too spicy)

I still had some leftover, but still good after a day. And hey had a little taste of Chicago. The video review is a quick one from Drew and Little Biggie, well a sleeping Biggie.  Thank you, and keep sending recipes!

Week 5: From Broke College Student to Chef

Background

Letting a Peacock Fly

Sounds strange that I have been doing this for over a month now. I don’t feel like an expert by any means, however I am having fun cooking. I never thought I would say that like ever. Ask anyone who knows/ dated me. I am not the cooking type, but more of the ordering kind or even observing one. But people can change; I guess I am changing *cue hallmark music* I like receiving recipes, mixing things, and how food brings everyone together. Plus being a picky eater like I am, I actually know what is going in my food. Crazy Thought huh? I would have never thought cooking would be fun.

Well onto this week’s recipe: Lentil Quiche. Another great recipe from my best friend. As I have mention before, Cristalle is a cook who kind of goes by her own rules. But as I go through these recipes and my cooking experiences is showing me that everyone in their own way is a bit like that. Some just show their peacock feathers better than others. And sometimes you got to let that peacock fly. So here is my peacock feathers showing and flying. PS-May not look like it, but mucho healthy for you.

Lentil Quiche

Lentil Quiche

Recipe can be found at allrecipes.com

Prep Time: 15 Min  Cook Time:1 Hr 15 Min Ready In: 1 Hr 30 Min

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dried lentils(make sure you know what these look like, and that your local grocery store has them. May or may not have thought they were different beans. Just saying)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (call me crazy,but I have no idea what this is, and figured out too late that we didn’t have any. Just add extra cheese)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (My mom also said that if you put cheese on it, everyone will still eat it. Why do you think they make lactose pills? My point exactly. Note adding cheese may decrease health value)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F  Place the onion and olive oil into a 9 inch deep-dish pie plate. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until onion is tender.(A cake pan will work too)
  2. Place the lentils and water into a saucepan, and bring to a boil.(you are going to need more water than recommended) Cook for about 20 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Drain most of the water off, then place the broccoli florets on top of the lentils. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes. This will dry the lentils, and cook the broccoli.
  3. Transfer the lentils, broccoli and tomatoes to the pie plate with the onions, and stir to evenly distribute each item. Stir in cheese at this time if using. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.(more milk is not good. Make sure to stick to amount given because it may make it watery) Pour over the ingredients in the pie plate.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the center is firm when the quiche is jiggled. Cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving

I have had lentil quiche before when Cristalle made it, and with different chefs come different results. I remember hers being less watery than mine, and maybe more lentil. Also I hate tomatoes so I don’t think she put them in. I personally think this wasn’t my best outing for cooking. Maybe because I remember I different tasting different. Or maybe used too much milk. Or not enough cheese. BTW I love cheese. I am Juila Child with Butter, but mine is cheese.

I am going to try to cook this again sometime soon to find out. Below is Kevin review on the dish, although it is more about how to shoot the video more than anything, but still funny. Thank you for all those sending recipes, and keep them coming!

Faith

………………………………………………….

I have literally sat in front of my computer screen trying my hardest to write this. To write something witty, charming, or some other rhyming words to get my thoughts , and feelings across. My ultimate goal and theme of this blog post was to talk about Cancer, how it has affected my life and family, and talk about what my cousins are doing to help raise money.That was the ultimate goal, but as I sit here, and try to find the right words, my computer screen remains blank. All I can think about is the following:

Cancer sucks.

Well that’s obvious says my mind. That Journalism and Communication background really has helped. And while I can write 20 page papers in my sleep, to write 500 words about Cancer has become the hardest thing to write about. I have so many thoughts, feelings, and emtions that I want to say, but with every time I backspace it to try to write beyond:

Cancer Sucks.

How does one tell a story without the right words? How can you deal and handle someone with Cancer when you can barely deal with them having it? Doesn’t this all sound selfish? Can I just scream in a paper bag?

There are no right answers to these questions or right ways to react. It is bloody cancer. It affects millions of people, and their families, yet nobody knows. If there were right answers and reactions, people would have solved it by now or at least know how to handle it the right way. But because there isn’t one true way, we handle it in diferent ways. Some become really involved, others avoid.Some go to Fiji to live out in paradise.

While different, each path has the ultimate faith that tomorrow my love one will be cancer free.It doesn’t matter the statics or the success rate; they are low. Faith, above all else, is the strongest static. It is what gets people out of bed that their love one will get better. It makes people walk 3 days to find a cure. It will make people believe the fight it not over. It may not cure the cancer, but it gives me the belief, and almost anyone, that it can cure it. Without it, what else is there?

My main goal of this blog post is to help raise money for a cancer walk my cousin and cousin-in-law are doing. The money raised will help go to cancer research so maybe people won’t have to live on faith alone. For more information or if you would like to donate, click here

I may not have right words to express how I feel about Cancer beyond that it sucks, but maybe a bunch of jumble words will help.

It still sucks.