extended stays…

May 17, 2011

as all three of my readers already know, i am in the process of moving back to the dfw metroplex. this means that sophie, merlin, scott, and i currently reside in an extended stay roach motel.

living in a motel room does not encourage yummy cooking. one quickly makes peace with things like jars of spaghetti sauce and fiber one cereal for breakfast. every. single. day.

if anyone has quick dinner ideas, lay them on me. my kitchen is about five square feet and i have two small pots and one cast iron skillet i grabbed from my mom’s house. i’m totally giving it back, i promise.


chocolate cherry cookies

April 15, 2011

two days ago, i found a bag of unsweetened dark cherries in the freezer that must be used or go bad by may. now, i could have done something healthy with these buggers, like put them in plain, fat-free yogurt for breakfast or used them in an arugula salad. but i didn’t. i used a recipe for soft chocolate cookies from allrecipies.com (i know it’s tough to trust this site, but this time it ended up okay) and added some goodies.

  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons finely ground espresso powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened cherries
  • confectioners’ sugar


  1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, espresso powder, and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Fold in cherries. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle. Roll into 1-in. balls. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten with a fork if desired. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are firm. Remove to wire racks. Dust warm cookies with confectioners’ sugar.

i win! i win! i win!

April 13, 2011

bon apetit has this lucious lamb in this month’s issue, and i decided as soon as i got it a few weeks ago that i NEEDED lamb this easter (it made me feel better about having been ‘volunteered’ for easter dinner by my husband). then said husband said he wanted a ham. a damn HAM. ugh, i don’t even like ham.

okay, that’s not entirely true. i will eat and enjoy a nice ham, but it’s not my pick for a holiday meal. i agreed, however, to do the damn ham because i have not done one for any of our holidays in the last four years. and then i bitched about it for three solid weeks.

yesterday, i mentioned the damn ham on the phone with my mother, but it was with the ‘this is the glaze i’m going to do’ attitude instead of the previous ‘this is such bullshit’ attitude. and scott stopped me. and he said, ‘you know, if you want to do lamb, that’s cool. i mean, it’s not like ham is the greatest thing in the world.’

no time to gloat. no time for ‘i told you so.’ i have to figure out what i’m doing now. here is the tentative plan…

-braised lamb shanks

-goat cheese mashed potatoes (i wanted new potato salad, but scott really wanted these instead)

-orzo with artichokes and graskaas

-lemon pepper asparagus

-emily’s citrus tea cookies (i can’t decide if they will be lemon or orange or both)

-pan de polvo (i am not making this. janet’s is.)

do we think there is too much cheese? or is there ever such a thing? i’ll definitely have a pinot, but i’m thinking i might serve a savingon blanc as well; there is a lot of zinginess going on here that i think would be better matched with a crisper, bolder white, even though the lamb shanks are braised in red wine.

oh, and here’s what i made for breakfast. i wanted eggs in hell, but i also wanted breakfast ready in like ten minutes, so i cheated.

1 can HEB brand salsa casera (i used the verde)

4 eggs

4 pieces of wheat toast

heat your cast iron skillet (i am addicted to this thing) to medium. pour in the salsa and half a can of water and bring to a simmer. crack in the four eggs and allow to cook until set. serve with bread drizzled with olive oil and broiled.

menu planning

April 8, 2011

this whole stay-at-home-mama thing means i can start my weeks whenever i damn well please. so i do. scott and i have been on the p90x train o’ pain for almost six weeks now, and he’s all crazy about being good, so my menus haven’t been all that interesting. also, i hate him because he has lost ten pounds and i have only lost five…and ZERO in the last four weeks. ugh.

also, i’m only doing one (sometimes two) meals each day because hot shot mcgee is so gung-ho about the meal replacement protein bars and shakes. whatever.

friday – scrambled eggs with tomatoes and garlic in olive oil with wheat toast, neilgai steak chili

saturday – cheddar popovers and fresh berries, chipotle crusted salmon over lentils

sunday – spinach and cheddar scrambled eggs over wheat toast, spaghetti with neilgai meatballs

monday – wheat french toast, stuffed grilled chicken over pintos

tuesday – cheat day!!! bacon eggs benedict, something someone else cooks

wednesday – eggs in hell, turkey clubs

thursday – cereal, shrimp in peppers and tomatoes over brown rice

menu monday

February 14, 2011

monday – veal rib chops in red wine demi glace, butter-poached lobster tails, and truffled macaroni and cheese

tuesday – soy mandarin pork loin with bok choy and fried rice

wednesday – tomato and goat cheese stuffed chicken over lentils

thursday – pork loin casserole

friday – mushroom chicken with broccoli and brabant potatoes

mediterranean salmon over bulgar wheat

February 7, 2011

what makes it ‘mediterranean’? i say so, that’s what. and i’ll do all the measurements in decimals to make it even mediterraneanier.

cous cous (i know it’s not TECHNICALLY cous cous, but it’s close)

.75 cups water

1 teaspoon olive oil

juice and zest of .5 lemon

2 garlic cloves, finely diced

4 cherry tomatoes, quartered

3 canned artichoke hearts, quartered

.5 cup bulgar wheat

salt and pepper to taste

bring water, olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice and zest to a boil. stir in everything else, remove from heat, and cover. fluff when cooked, which will be in under ten minutes.

easiest fish ever

olive oil

.75 lbs salmon

salt and pepper

on a baking sheet, drizzle about 1 tablespoon olive oil and place in oven at 400 to preheat. rain down kosher salt over salmon for a light coating. do the same with freshly ground pepper. place the salmon on the baking sheet, skin side down, drizzle just a bit more olive oil over the fish, and bake for 10 minutes. you are welcome to cook it longer if you want a well-done filet, but this, in my fussy fish opinion, dries it out.


oh yeah, here is a cute baby picture. sophie totally helped merlin the sous chef tonight.

(milk)drunk in the kitchen

menu planning

February 6, 2011

i didn’t even try to put together a menu last week because i had the cutest baby EVER last sunday. no, i really did. i’ll post some pictures of the little milkaholic as soon as the flash uploader decided to cooperate, but until that you”l just have to take my word for it.

so this week, scott has decided he wants to be healthier. he has about 15 pounds he would like to lose (i have trouble sympathizing, as i have about 20 pounds left to lose after gaining 40 for this baby, but hey, if this first week postpartum is any indication of things to come, it really will come off quickly). my solution for scott’s healthier kick is not to count his calories or fat grams or whatever, but just to focus on more portions of fruits and veggies during the day, as well as eating salads or veggie sides at every dinner and cutting down on portions of starches at night. this, combined with eating several small meals each day instead of two huge ones like he often does, should help his energy levels, digestion, and overall health quite a bit.

but you don’t care about that because all i really cook are dinners anyway.

sunday – spare ribs, potato skins, creamed spinach

monday – broiled salmon over cous cous with artichokes

tuesday – rib eyes over lentils with asparagus

wednesday – arroz con pollo with garden salad

thursday – rib eye chili

friday – blt’s with baked broccoli

citrus almond muffins

January 27, 2011

it’s citrus season. i love citrus season. i’m pretty sure my digestive system does too, especially while dealing with the blockage issues of pregnancy, but that is another post alltogether.

i found a recipe online for lemon almond muffins that made like fifteen dozen muffins. i didn’t want that many muffins and i wanted to use some of the other citrus i had lying around the kitchen and i wanted to use some cream (because hello, who doesn’t love things made with heavy whipping cream instead of milk?!?!), so i totally made up my own recipe. and it worked and everything.

next time, i might try joy the baker’s fancy idea of rubbing the zest into the sugar before mixing everything, but for now i’m pretty happy with the flavor of these muffins.

citrus almond muffins

for muffins:

½ cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon citrus zest (i used a Clementine and some of a grapefruit)

2 eggs

¼ cup heavy cream

¼ cup orange juice

1 ¼ cups cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup sliced almonds


for syrup:

3 tablespoons citrus juice (I used lemon and Clementine)

¼ cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons heavy cream

2 tablespoons butter

preheat oven to 400. cream butter and liquid ingredients. add in dry ingredients, being careful not to over-mix. pour into lined muffin tin and bake until set, about 15 minutes.

whisk together ingredients for syrup and bring to a boil, cooking down and whisking to a syrupy consistency (this happens in less than ten minutes). poke holes in the tops of warm muffins and spoon the syrup over.

shrimp, soup, and scones

January 24, 2011

my menu got switched a bit after doing the egg thing yesterday, so tonight i’m making the balsamic shrimp with soup and scones. for the scones, i’m using this recipe from last week, halved, minus the cheddar and bacon and double the chives. i am not actually making any soup; i am heating ferrer’s wild mushrooms soup and serving it with some shrimp. i am totally in love with the five of these soups that i have had so far; central market sells them for $3.99, and they are ridiculously tasty.

shrimp with balsamic reduction

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 pound shrimp

2 cloves garlic, diced

salt and pepper to taste

in a small sauce pan, whisk vinegar and honey over low heat. whisking every two or three minutes, cook down until you get a syrupy consistency (all the recipes on the internet i found kept insisting this would take ten or twelve minutes. it took me closer to 30). set aside to cool.

in another pan over medium heat, melt butter. saute shrimp with garlic, salt, and pepper just until pink. serve hot with soup or salad with a simple vinaigrette, drizzling balsamic reduction over plate to serve.

sausage frittata

January 23, 2011

i don’t have a frittata pan. this makes me very sad. it did not, however, stop me from using a shallow, round casserole dish and my oven to make a frittata for brunch this morning. i served this with brabant potatoes, which are just cubed home fries that have been boiled for a couple of minutes before frying to get all the starch to the surface.

i have a sneaking suspicion that this would have worked much better with a really big, buttered parchment round stuck in, or maybe in a cast iron skillet. the sides of my casserole dish were quite eggy when all was said and done. also, i did not drain the sausage mixture when i made this dish; i added that step to the recipe because it would have been much nicer plating-wise if i hadn’t had to drain my completely cooked egg dish of sausage and tomato juice.

i also think this would have been nice garnished with some fresh torn basil.

sausage frittata (even though it’s not really a frittata because it’s so thick)

1/2 lb. italian sausage

1/2 small yellow onion, diced

4 large eggs

garlic powder



3 oz fontina or fontinella (which is a little harder and stronger), diced

3 oz fresh mozarella, torn small

preheat oven to 375. brown sausage, onion, and tomatoes on stovetop until sausage is crumbly and cooked through and onions are translucent. drain on a paper towel and spread evenly in round casserole dish. in a small bowl, whisk together eggs, seasonings to taste (you won’t need much salt), and cheese; poor over sausage mixture. bake in oven until set, about 10-14 minutes. turn up to broil until golden brown, about 2-3 more minutes.