Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Risky Roast!

Cooking is an art. 
Food is so easy to ruin & I've done it my share of times. 
Ask my poor husband who has to eat it all.....
I've ruined pizza, brownies, rolls, plain ole' chicken. You name it & I've messed it up some time or other. Barbacoa is one of those things I'm going to keep ruining.

This roast was not one of those times.
Garlic herb & Parmesan perfection.

I however don't own a roasting pan & now that I've done this I will probably never buy one.
I put a plain metal rack over my iron skillet.

Works perfectly.

I filled my skillet up with baby carrots, onion, garlic, and shallots.
Oh yeah, and butter.

The thing about roasting a chicken is you don't want it to be simmering in juices and for it to get soggy on the bottom. Ick.
All the liquid needs to drip out and help cook your veggies.
The tough part is that you still want your chicken to be juicy.

I found the balance.


1 whole chicken, cut up if your lazy like me.
1/4 cup parmesan
salt & pepper
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp minced garlic & juices. (I use the store bought minced garlic in a glass jar and poured a lot of the juices on my chicken.)
Cayenne pepper
I squeezed a tiny bit of orange juice over the whole thing
Garlic powder

***All my seasonings are always to taste, I never measure. I usually just guess when there are measurements on here.


I let my chicken sit in the fridge for about three hours uncovered to help the skin dry out.
Pat dry with a paper-towel.
Brush on olive oil.
Coat chicken in seasonings.

Let sit out an additional hour.

Dice up some butter and place them on your chicken pieces enough to cover your chicken when it melts.

This is what mine looked like~

Yes, I'll tell you about that awesome bread soon too!

Preheat oven to 400.

Stick in your chicken and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Mine was in pieces already so it baked faster.

Broil your chicken for an additional 5-8 minutes.

& You have a crispy delicious roasted chicken.


***I forgot to take pictures when it was done, but trust me. So good. <3

Friday, October 19, 2012

Can you really ever have enough peanut-butter?

Silly question. 
The answer is no. 

Let me tell you why I'm here today.

My original plan was to tell you about this perfect apple pie recipe I concocted.

Alas, I decided it was best to get this information out first!

Do you remember that delicious peanut-butter cake I talked about awhile back? 
I've fixed, tweaked and perfected this week.
A friend of mine was asking me about the recipe and it reminded me of how badly I needed to bake it. 
Today, it couldn't wait any longer. 
Buuuuut last time it didn't quite meet up to my dense, perfect memories I tried to create it from. 

We used to have this cake in high-school and I LOVED it. 
That's where the idea originated from the first time. 

Anyways, my cake was a tad to airy and light, and the icing wasn't spot on. It tasted the same, it just didn't mesh well. In my mouth. 
So I fixed it. 
The batter is a little thicker. 
The cake holds better.
The icing sticks and is a little denser. 
In other words, my minor tweaks worked out great. 

So here it is. 

I used a little smaller of a pan also this time, two 5x5 pans I believe. 

Oh yeah and I sprayed them THOROUGHLY.
Still baked at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

In the cake I changed:
Light sour cream. 
I replaced 2 1/2 tbsp of my sugar with dark brown sugar.
I added 1/2 tbsp of nesquick in my peanut-butter stove-top mixture.
I used all-purpose flour with only about 2 tbsp of cake flour. (which was unnecessary, I just had that much left so I used it.)
I also added about 1/2 tsp vanilla to my stove-top peanut-butter mixture.

In the icing I changed:
I only used 2 1/4 tbsp of milk.
I used 1 1/4 cup of powdered sugar.
3 tbsp butter.
About about two spoonfuls of peanut butter less than the recipe calls for.

I recommend you make these changes in the cake if you decide to make it, it's much much better. 


Monday, October 15, 2012



Forgive me. 
I was the only person totally unaware that an eight and a half month old little boy literally requires ALL of my time. 
We do a lot together. 
I paint, he smears, I cook, he eats, I clean, he makes messes. 
It's a thing.

You can go ahead and be jealous now.

But let's get down to the reason I just knew I had to come back ASAP.


I made mozzarella cheese this past weekend and believe me, I will be doing it again!

There were about three times that I totally thought I had ruined everything and I had overestimated my abilities in the kitchen...drastically.
I wouldn't be so upset, because well. I ruin things all the time. I'm good like that.
Buuuuuuuuut, I have been preparing for this cheese for months. Searching high and low for these special ingredients. 

Wanna guess where I found them?
In my hometown health food store. The LAST place I looked before giving up hope.
Rennet is pesky. Just order it online and save yourself.

Let me just say. 
Do this. 

1/4 tablet rennet or junket suspended in 2 tbsp. cool water
1/2 gallon of milk (I used 2% but whole makes a better flavor.)
1/2 & 1/8 tsp citric acid dissolved in 1/4 cup cool water
Yes, that's really it. 
Wanna see something delicious? 

That's my pizza I made with my fresh mozzarella and some other LAAAAAAME store-bought cheese. 
(Don't worry, I'll tell you about this thin-crust sliced heaven soon enough.)
Warm your milk (in a large stainless steel or enameled pot, don't use aluminum. I used my paula deen pot for this!) to 88 degrees. Stir a lot and don't scorch. Careful warming.
Add your citric acid in water to your warmed milk.
Add your rennet in water to your warm milk mixture as well.
Stir for about a minute. 
 Let sit undisturbed for two hours until a clean break is achieved.
A clean break is when your stick your finger into the mixture and you break the solid on top without liquid sticking to your finger.

Let me stop here and tell you. This is one of those times I thought I totally ruined it. 
Mine didnt quite make a solid on top. I went on with the show anyways. Mine looked like this.

But it worked great, so don't freak out. 

Then, cut your curds (the solid top) into squares. Mine were already cut in the picture above. 
Warm your curds to 108 degrees stirring frequently, but gently.
Hold at 108 degrees for thirty two minutes stirring gently still. 

Then set up a bowl with a strainer over it, place your cheesecloth in the strainer.  
Pour the contents of your pot into the cheesecloth.
Let drain. This is how I drained mine.

Don't laugh. 
That gross stuff down there is whey and you can make ricotta with it, but it smelled so bad I got rid of mine... 
So once you've let it drain about fifteen minutes or so you can transfer it to a microwave safe bowl and break it all up into large curds again. 

Add 1 tsp salt and stir it in. 

Microwave it for about 45 seconds in ten second increments.
After each ten seconds, use the back of a fork to work it into a ball again. Pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Take it out and knead it with your hands for a minute or two until it's shiny. 
Microwave for fifteen-twenty seconds.
Knead into a ball again and put a little cold water in your bowl. Just enough to roll your cheese in for a few seconds. Take it out and shape it again then put it into a zip-lock baggie and keep up to two weeks. Or just eat it because it's delicious.
I mean, whatever works for you.
 It looks more like cheese after being in the fridge for a little while. 
(see first picture.)