Husband’s Birthday – An Excuse To Splurge

It was my husbands birthday on monday, and he being the ridiculously picky eater that he is does in fact like one pretty simple and basic dish.

Steak.

Steak with potatoes, steak with greens… really as long as there is a slab of cow on his plate, he’s a happy guy.

Considering we hadn’t had steak in God only knows how long, I decided to splurge and buy 2 New York strip steaks at the market. Where you do spend a bit more money for the cut, you do get a good amount of meat for it. We both had half a steak left over in the end, and it only cost me $15.

So with the steak, naturally, my first thought would be potatoes. I hadn’t made mashed potatoes in a while, and there is nothing I love more about eating than being able to sop up the delicious juices of a perfectly seasoned steak with creamy whipped garlic potatoes! To that I also decided I was going to roast up some asparagus I had on hand.

My plan sounded awesome! I was ready to go! Slowed down a bit when I remembered I didn’t have a grill.

– That’s okay! I have a grill pan! 

I skidded to a halt when I remembered my new ceramic stove top would not be able to handle a pan that size.

Troubleshooting with steak wasn’t something I was used to. I could pan sear the steak which is always delicious, but pan searing means that pan needs to also go into the oven, and i do not have any oven safe pans (Note to self… buy oven safe pan).

I decided to preheat the oven to 425 with a baking pan on the middle rack. I Would sear the steak on my griddle, the quickly transfer it to the already hot baking pan.

So onto the good stuff!

I seasoned the steak with worcestershire sauce a good amount of salt and some pepper on both sides. A lot of people freak out when they see the ‘proper’ amount of salt used to season a steak. I eyeball about a full tablespoon of salt on each side (a flat tablespoon, that is). A lot of the seasoning does cook off, so you have to make sure to season it well! I let the meat sit until it got room temperature.

While I waited, i pealed, diced, and plopped my potatoes into some cold water over the stove to boil.

waiting for my potatoes to boiled and cook through, I turned my griddle on and waited until it was HOT. If you want a good sear on a steak, and want to trap those juices, you absolutely have to make sure you are putting it on a hot surface. If a loud sizzle greets you, your good to go!

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The steaks were pretty thick, I’d say about an inch to an inch and a quarter thick, and my husband and I like our steak medium, so I seared the steaks on both sides for about 4 minutes per side.

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After that, I transported the steaks to the very hot pan in the oven, and let it cook for about 15 minutes! In that time, I drained my potatoes, added some milk, a generous amount of butter to taste, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I whipped it all together with my hand mixer, and by that time, the steak was set to come out of the oven.

I let the meat sit for 10 minutes (normally 5, but roasting the asparagus takes 10!) to let the juices redistribute and settle. If you were to serve it right out of the oven, one cut into the meat, and all the juice flavoring and keep the meat from being too dry would pour out onto your plate.

So with that, I took my already prepped asparagus (Olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic oregano) and slid it into the oven (still at 425) and changed the setting to roast (the roast setting is my best friend). After 10 minutes, the asparagus was out of the oven, and everything was set!

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It was so good I only managed a picture after i cut into my steak… woops!

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I’m a huge fan of the way I cooked these steaks now. The grill is still amazing, but we definitely didn’t miss it this time around! I strongly suggest to give it a go if you haven’t already!

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Quick Post CTCON 2014 Blurb

Connecticon 2014 came and went in the blink of an eye. I was so busy running around I didn’t even get any good shots of my costume…. I did manage a selfie, but I will be doing a photoshoot for AAC in october!

Levi Ackerman

(The eyebrows took me 2 hours to do! Yikes!)

We ended up winning 3rd place in the adult advanced division for our skit in the masquerade!

I had a wonderful time and I simply cannot wait for next year!

(Please excuse my messy shirt in our skit! right before going on stage it would NOT stay tucked in!)

Being ‘Adventurous’ with Leek and Mascarpone Risotto

The husband is away so the wife shall play.
 

My husband decided to go visit a friend who lives on Long Island during the beginning of this week. My husband is a VERY picky eater. I…am not! When he’s home I try to spice up the basics he’s comfortable with but if im cooking for the both of us I tend to keep food familiar. Soufflé or risotto? forget it! He wont even touch it! And mashed potatoes are a grey area (Don’t worry. I’ve been slowly working on improving his taste for more varieties of food)! So when my husband goes away for one reason or another, I take the opportunity  to splurge a bit with a recipe.

My plan: Leek and onion risotto with mascarpone cheese

Luckily, the main ingredients of a risotto are ingredients I make sure I ALWAYS have in my house. so its super easy to just decide I want to make risotto. Not only do I have the main ingredients, but you can literally put anything you want or you have on hand into a risotto! So automatically one of my favorite go to recipes!

The only ingredients I needed to grab were the leeks and mascarpone cheese. More on that later.

I was so set to get home from work and go straight to it! When i pulled up to my house, there was a giant bulldozer blocking my driveway, with a giant torn up hole in the street…appearently our street was getting work done. So parking down the street, I finally reach my house, get inside, and go to pour some water into a vase for some flowers I bought for the diningroom. I turned on the faucet, and it sputtered yellow water at me. Great.

On the hottest day of summer so far I was left with no water. I did have bottled water, but i was going to use up $20 worth of water bottles to wash the creamy cheesy residue off my sauce pan… and when your cooking with creamy cheesy anything… you don’t want that sitting in your sink for how ever long it takes to get water back.

I called my mother who lives about 15 minutes away and asked if I could come over and quite possibly use her shower, and there would be promised risotto if she let me use her kitchen. Her husband (a really great man) is a human garbage disposal. When he heard risotto, I couldn’t arrive there fast enough.

I grabbed all my ingredients and realized I still had peaches in my fridge from 2 weeks ago… my mother has a grill… the plan has changed!

My new plan: Leek and onion risotto and grilled cinnamon peaches and cream for desert!

Cosplay has definitely brought out a side to me that I never knew really existed. I was always the type of person that wouldn’t go out of my way to ‘broaden my horizons’ if you will. I’d stick to what I knew, and I’d make sure I was efficient. I wasn’t ever afraid to try new things, I just never had the urge to. Cosplay changed this for me.

I am constantly trying to learn new things. I’ve lifted limits I never actually realized I had subconsciously set for myself until I began to cosplay. Every time I hear of new media to use, or different tools, or techniques, I HAVE to try it! (Currently on the search for someone who can teach me how to cast and mold!)

Not only has my urge to learn and master new things impacted my cosplay world, but my every day life as well. it seemed to bubble over, and I am 100% okay with that.

I have never cooked with leeks before. I have never eaten a leek. All I know is they are similar to onions. cooking with leeks isn’t some huge challenge, but it was something different and new, and I needed to try SOMETHING new on my very boring Tuesday. When I grabbed the peaches from my fridge and realized my mother had a grill, I became very excited. I’ve never grilled before. Another limit I set for myself that I never realized. I always told myself when Kyle and I bought a grill, he’d be in charge, simply because ‘murica, and men and their grills.  –please note my husband had nothing to do with that mindset.

I finally arrived at my mom’s house and began prep for the risotto…

Now how the heck do I go about chopping this?

Now how the heck do I go about chopping this?

I had to youtube how to properly chop a leek, and the video was very informative!

Even though I’ve never tasted a leek, or cooked with leaks, I have watched a lot of Food Network, and they talk about leaks all the time! I knew the flavor was gentle and almost creamy onion flavor, rather than a straight up making your eye water incredibly strong flavor. With that, I decided to add in some frozen vegetables I had in the freezer along with a half of a lemon’s juice, just to add another light and summer time flavor.

all the things successfully chopped!

all the things successfully chopped!

please excuse my lack of good quality photos. my mother didn’t have much natural light in her kitchen 😦 
 

After a good 30 minutes of constant stirring, risotto was done and delicious!

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Comforting yet still a summertime dish, the creamy oniony flavor complimented by the light flavor of the mascarpone cheese was PERFECT! the vegetables added a tiny bit of sweetness to the dish, and parmesan cheese sprinkled in at the end still added that little bite!

Such an easy dish to make as long as you don’t mind the stirring!

After dinner, I took the peaches and cut them into halves. I brushed melted butter all over them and sprinkled some cinnamon on top of them. I stuck them on the grill and let them sit until they had grill marks on them.

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While I was waiting for that to happen, I took the left over mascarpone cheese, and mixed a bit of vanilla extract to it. I knew the peaches would be super sweet, so there was no need for sugar.

Mascarpone cheese is another flexible ingredient. you can use it in sweet or savory things, and especially in baking. it has the consistency of cream cheese, but the flavor of cream.

Serving the dish with mascarpone cheese instead of cream was my kind of play on serving fruit with cheese, but still having it taste like it was peaches and cream.

 

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So now I can officially knock leaks off the list, and as far as grilling I have a pinky toe in! I’d love to try more stuff!

 

Veggie Lasagna.

I weep at how glorious this is.

Eat More Plants.

Because everybody needs lasagna once in a while…

I love, love, love using zucchini for noodle type dishes but this was my first time trying a lasagna with zucchini.

I have an abundance of patty pan and yellow straight neck squash so I’ve been looking for ways to use them! This turned out great and I also discovered (accidentally) that it’s easy to make zucchini “chips” at the same time.

Summer Squash

The patty pan squash is the flying saucer shaped one, second from the right. Any size or shape summer squash will work as long as you slice it thin and bake it sufficiently.

You should use a mandolin or a “Y” shaped peeler to make this; I think it would be fairly impossible to get a super thin length-wise slice on the zucchini without them.

Recipe adapted from This Rawsome Vegan Life.

yields 1 5×9 inch baking dish, approx 3…

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Food that gives you energy

Great bases to work off of while in the middle of cosplay season!

Veiled Pearls

It’s three in the afternoon, your energy is flagging and all you want to do is take a nap, but instead you have to sit through a boring meeting. While you could just have a second – or seventh – cup of coffee, you could also have some pumpkin seeds, an apple, a few red bell pepper slices with hummus or a piece of dark chocolate. These 20 foods can help relieve fatigue, sharpen your focus and give you the jolt of energy that you need to avoid falling asleep at your desk.

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Hot Green Bean Salad with Pan Seared Garlic and Herb Chicken

Hello everyone! It’s my first week back from the con that I will tell you all about in my next post! Lets get down to the good stuff!

After the con ! was incredibly exhausted! I’m pretty sure I was in a walking coma for a good 2.5 days. So yesterday, While my husband was gone for the night, I decided to experiment a little with some food I had in the fridge (what else is new!?)! I came up with a hot green bean salad and pan seared garlic and herb chicken! It was delicious!

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Here’s What you’ll need!

  • Olive Oil
  • Garlic Paste (cloves are fine too, i just like having the gritty paste melt into the oil)
  • All purpose flour
  • seasonings of your choice
  • rosemary 
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt
  • pepper
  • chicken breast tenderloins
  • butter
  • green beans
  • grape tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • balsamic vinegar
  • Parmesan cheese 

Now as far as spices go I know I always say spices of your choice. most of the stuff I cook can be altered to fit anyones taste, but incase you were curious, i always use Penzey Spices. They are an incredible company here in CT, with many variations of pure spices, and mixed spices. I swear by them, and they ship!

3 of the herb/ spice seasonings  I constantly use with my chicken are “Arizona Dreaming”, “Mural of Flavor”, and “Fox Point”. 

Arizona Dreaming has a light “south of the boarder” inspire flavor with ingredients such as Cumin, cilantro, chipotle pepper, garlic, and even cocoa! 

Mural of Flavor is definitely what gives your meat (chicken in this case) the fresh herb taste! Its got all of the herb essentials such as thyme, basil, rosemary, coriander, dill, and even has some  lemon and orange peel in there! 

Fox Point has all of your garlic and onion flavors in it (and is AMAZING to use in sour cream to make a delicious dip!) It’s one of my favorites and i even use it to make soups! The only thing you have to make sure of is that you store it in the fridge. The mixture does not contain any anti-caking agents so it does tend to clump up with any humidity. if you keep it in the fridge all will be good! 

So lets get to it!

Get your flour and seasonings of choice (again, mine are the Penzey Spices). Mix them together and set aside.

Pour about 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the pant  along with a teaspoon of garlic paste, red pepper flakes and rosemary. For this I didn’t even bother chopping up the rosemary, I just tore it into pieces and tossed it in. I used fresh rosemary from my little herb garden, but if you have dried rosemary, thats fine too! This is just to flavor the olive oil. 

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Make sure to heat the pan on a low setting (Medium is good) if you make the heat too high, the garlic paste will not melt, it will burn. 

Season your chicken with salt and pepper (I also lightly sprinkled some of my seasonings over them).

wait until the oil is heated and then place the chicken into the pan. 

At this point I’m using tongs. I get a bit crazy with chicken, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. I use a total of three cooking utensils for my chicken. Tongs in the beginning, when I’m dunking the chicken into the seasoned flour, and then into the pan, a spatula when its time to flip the chicken, and another spatula to take the chicken out of the pan. It’s never steered me wrong! 

Cook the chicken thoroughly (Mine took about 6 minutes on each side) and then take them out of the pan and set aside for now, giving it another pinch of salt. 

Add a bit more olive oil, with a teaspoon of butter, and a bit more garlic paste into the pan. Toss the green beans in along with the onions and tomatoes, and a little bit of salt.

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My tomatoes were on the verge of beginning to shrivel, so this was the perfect time to toss them in a pan! 

Coat everything with the oil, butter mixture, and cover (stirring occasionally) until desired softness of green beans is met. 

Take the hot salad out of the pan, serve it on a plate with the chicken, sprinkle a little bit of parmesan cheese on it and then drizzle some balsamic vinegar over the entire dish, and you are good to go! 

The hot tomatoes will pop in your mouth, the buttery green beans are delectably comforting, and the balsamic herby chicken gives the dish a light and healthy feel! By the end of the meal you will feel satisfied and comfortable!