December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I just wanted to stop by and wish you all a very Merry Christmas! I hope it’s filled with peace, love, and waaay too many munchies. Having already attacked the Harry & David boxes with a vengeance and buried myself beneath a mountain of gift wrap, I can attest that there’s nothing better.

Except an all-day Dr. Who marathon.

That’s pretty awesome, too.

December 21, 2010

Cowgirl Cookies

Can you see why it’s been a while since I’ve posted? Crafts are a lot of work! I can cook all the livelong day and still be planning the menu for tomorrow, but throw me a craft project and it requires all my mental faculties to make it turn out good. Granted, this probably stems from my unhealthily high level of self-imposed perfectionism, but there you have it. Crafts are fun, but they are definitely a project.

In this case, I made Bakerella’s Cowgirl Cookies for almost every close relative I have.

Spoiler alert to almost every close relative I have. You’re getting some of these cookies for Christmas.

December 16, 2010

Linzer Christmas Cookies

I’m beginning to think that it’s scientifically impossible for people not to smile when they see a Linzer cookie. Honestly, I has just Googled them because I couldn’t decide whether I should capitalize the word “Linzer” and ended up totally hypnotized by all the lovely photos. I’m here to tell ya, Googling Linzer cookies is almost as entertaining as Googling alpacas.

What? Alpacas are hilarious.

December 14, 2010

Daring Cooks’ Challenge: Eggs Benedict

I was very, very, very happy when I found out about this month’s Daring Cooks’ Challenge. This time around, Jenn and Jill have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg. They chose an Eggs Benedict recipe from Alton Brown, Oeufs en Meurette from Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, and Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages (poached) courtesy of Trudy of Veggie num num. I chose to make Eggs Benedict because I’m quite convinced that it is the epitome of deliciousness.

December 7, 2010

Wonton Soup

This soup changed my life.

Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but it did change my feelings regarding the soupy area of Chinese food. For many years I’d been operating under the belief that I liked these soups, only to order them at my local Chinese place to discover that I, in fact, do not like them. They’d always end up tasting too fishy or too bland. This was a very disappointing cycle. Much like how I always think I’m going to find a million cute things in Forever 21 and never fail to emerge cranky and empty-handed.

This pretty little dish was different. Thanks to a handful of simple ingredients—including a sprinkling of some very tasty sesame oil—that make up a yummy chicken broth base and a pork and shrimp wonton stuffing, this soup has all the flavor and none of the bad egg drop memories.

December 5, 2010

Cast Your Vote!

I’m dealing with an existential crisis and I desperately need your help.

Yes, you in the sweatpants. And you who’s pretending to be concentrating on a spreadsheet at work. You too, mother whose toddler is badgering you about applesauce. I need your input on something.

Have I got your attention? Have I made you feel vaguely uneasy? Wonderful!

I want to know how you feel about what you’ve been reading around here. As time goes on, I’m getting a little bored with the constant step-by-step format of the dishes presented on La Kocinera. I feel like it’s distracting to constantly jump back and forth between a thin line of text and a huge photo. Not to mention the added length that it creates in each post. Plus, I’ve noticed that worrying about taking a picture of every single step tends to distract me from how much I enjoy the process of cooking, a side effect that I’m really not liking.

Taking this into account, how do you feel about going with a sleeker approach? Something with a few beautiful final shots, with maybe a few preparation pics as well, rather than a visual documentation of each and every step. Be honest with me. If you like the way things are, if you revel in the humongous photos everywhere you cast your gaze, if you find them helpful—tell me! If you’d prefer something a little less busy, a bit more simplified, something that you can read in a couple minutes—tell me that, too.

Let me know. I’ve got a very yummy recipe in the works as a reward for your efforts!

December 1, 2010

Koci’s Terribly Late Thanksgiving Special

I know it is now December and Thanksgiving season is well over with. However, I’ve been meaning to share with you all what my family and I ate for Thanksgiving. Don’t worry, though. If you’re completely burnt out on all things turkey and cranberry, you won’t find any of it in this post today. Our Thanksgiving this year was very unorthodox—more a fun, celebratory meal than one that followed any sort of particular holiday guidelines. After so many years of making the same traditional dishes—turkey, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top, and canned cranberry sauce—we were ready to just make whatever dishes struck our fancy, with delicious results, if I do say so myself.

Let me break it down for you…

For our salad-y, starter course, I made a strawberry and candied pecan salad that I saw on Bitchin’ Kitchen, my new favorite cooking show. To the regular recipe, I also threw in some chopped avocado because, frankly, I’ll take any excuse possible to eat more avocado. It’s heavenly stuff, guys.

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