August 31, 2010

Is it Summer Vacation Yet?

It’s official, I’ve been back at college for two days and I’m ready for another summer vacation. I’ve had my fill of education, learned my lessons, and I’ve decided that experience is the best teacher. Can I go home now?



August 29, 2010

Oh yes, I’m Versatile. If by “Versatile” you mean “Bonkers”.

I received this Versatile Blogger award a couple of weeks ago and have severely procrastinated posting about it, thanks to some other recipes I was working on as well as the most recent Daring Bakers’ challenge. If it’s any comfort to you (although I don’t know why it would be, as most of you didn’t even know that I got this award), the seven interesting things about me that I have to post with it were definitely rolling around in my brain all the while.

After all, what is interesting? Interesting for me can border on the odd and slightly strange. For instance, freshman year of high school, in theater class, when my friend Celine (name changed to protect the innocent) and I had to scrape paint and tape off the stage floor while everyone else got to build sets, we spent the week singing “It’s a Hard Knock Life” as we scraped and scrubbed away at the floor like we were in the chorus of “Annie”.

Fascinated yet?

August 27, 2010

Daring Bakers’ Challenge: Baked Alaska with Browned Butter Pound Cake


There are no words.

I refuse to speak of that monstrosity—that thing that took up hours and hours of my life that I’ll never get back.

Nope, not talking.

August 24, 2010

Running and Strawberry Snackies

When I’m not making complicated curries or painstakingly trying to complete the latest Daring Kitchen challenge, you can usually find me preparing slightly humbler fare, such as Strawberry Peanut Butter Snackies. Ever since seeing the idea in a snippet side bar in Real Simple magazine, this little treat has been my go-to munchie when I need a substantial snack or, more than once, a quick lunch. Comprised of strawberries, peanut butter, cream cheese, and honey, this sandwich is perhaps not the most healthy thing I could be eating. However, I must argue that there is protein in the peanut butter, honey cuts out any refined sugars, and strawberries are very good for you. When that argument begins to sound a little flimsy, I just remind myself that I’ve been getting back into running lately, so I must be extra hungry from all those calories I’m burning.

Did I mention that I’m running now? It’s not like I ever particularly stopped—I’ve been running at various intensities for years—but I had been slacking off a bit. Hopping on the treadmill is just so unappealing when the much easier, much nicer Wii Fit is calling my name (you can actually get a good workout with EA Active). The point is, I’d been slacking. And slacking, combined with writing a food blog—which requires cooking a lot of really yummy food—really isn’t a good combination. So, to balance out the extra cooking that’s been going on, I’ve gotten back into running—real running.

At this point, I’m going to pepper my saga of exercise and all its wonders with images of this snackie sandwich. It may cause things to get a bit confusing, what with talking about exercise yet drooling over photos of cream cheese and peanut butter, but I feel that that’s an accurate depiction of what goes through my mind on a daily basis. Seriously, I watch Food Network while I’m on the treadmill.


August 22, 2010

Fish with Indian Yogurt Sauce


I am so excited about this dish that it borders on the insane. For years, literally years, I’ve had this fabulous Indian cookbook full of tantalizing photos and gorgeous recipes that I’ve been unable to use, simply because of one elusive spice blend…garam masala. Garam masala is a mixture of coriander, cumin, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, ginger, mace, green cardamom, black cardamom, nutmeg, and bay leaves.

Phew, allow me catch my breath.

August 21, 2010

Randomosity, Simplified.

This post does not include a recipe. This post does not include anything step-by-step. This post does not include anything of intellectual merit.

This post is dedicated to a nice, big bowl of pure, unadulterated, gushing.

August 19, 2010

Maple Pecan Shortbread

Oh shortbread, how I luffles you.

What can really be said about these little beauties, these little circles of nutty delight? Too much, and yet, not enough. They’re light and soft, with just a hint of pecan and maple to make your taste buds go “Oooh!” All I can say is, as soon as they came out of the oven I gleefully tasted one…then another one, and another one.

And another one.

August 14, 2010

Daring Cooks’ Challenge: Pierogi

The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale.

My take on the challenge is a little something I like to call “Louisiana Meat Pie Pierogi”. It was the result of two terribly failed attempts at making traditional pierogi and turned out surprisingly good. Crunchy on the outside, with piping hot, meat pie filling on the inside, these pierogi (pierogis?) are a throwback to the meat pies that I grew up eating every time I visited my grandparents in Louisiana--just in adorable, miniature, pierogi-fied form.

August 11, 2010

Tutti Frutti and Twitter

Howdy there, bloggy buddies! I was going to simply write this little announcement as an update, but then I remembered that I had in my possession some photos from my recent trip to Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt, so I figured why not throw those in? Everybody likes frozen yogurt…except Red Mango. I’m pretty sure I just heard some audible gasps on that one, but I have to be honest-it’s just too tangy and yogurt-y for me. I like my frozen yogurt to fool me into thinking that it’s actually it’s fattier, more calorie-laden counterpart--ice cream.

But, before I start waxing poetic about yogurt, I have to tell you my announcement. I’m officially on Twitter! Well, actually I’ve been on Twitter for a while, but I’ve just now decided to link it up as part of my blog. So pop on over there and follow away!

Now on to yogurt!

August 9, 2010

My First Giveaway!

Alright kiddies, the time has come! The oh-so-awaited, much-anticipated, very first giveaway here at La Kocinera has arrived!

Now I’m no Agatha Christie, but I think after reading the two previous posts-both dealing with tarts-you have probably guessed that my prize has something to do with tarts, correct? Well congratulations, all you smarty-pants! You were right! The beautiful, lovely, and all-around awesome prize up for grabs is this…

August 8, 2010

A Giveaway Clue Gone Wrong

As it so happens, so many times, I start off with the best intentions. How things end up, well, that’s another story. I have noticed a pattern to these events, though. They all revolve around some sort of pie or tart crust.

Except when they revolve around salmon and eggs.

Or chimichurri.

August 5, 2010

Lemonlicious Sugar Cookies

These lemon-laced goodies have been my go-to cookie for years. After finding them in Rebecca Rather’s cookbook, “The Pastry Queen”, I set about making them nonstop throughout the better part of my junior year of high school. I demonstrated the recipe for a Speech class, because everyone knows that the best way to get a good grade on a project is to include food. After that was a hit, I switched the lemon ingredients for vanilla and dipped the cookies in dark chocolate instead of the icing for a cookie party later that year in Chemistry. Needless to say, I was pretty popular junior year.

August 3, 2010

Faux Pot Roast with Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Technically speaking, this is not pot roast. It’s a braised roast. In my pot roast ignorance I assumed that pot roasts were cooked in a pot, not seared in a pot and then roasted in the oven. Yes, I am aware that the dish has “roast” in the name, but I must argue that it also has “pot” in the name as well.

It’s a very confusing concept.

Thankfully, my mistake turned out to be incredibly delicious and just as tender, juicy, and delectable as a traditional pot roast. Pair that with some of the richest, creamiest, mashed potatoes known to mankind and you’ve got something good. Very good.

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