boop boop

Alright lets get to the good stuff. [cute old school tivo “boop boop” fast forward noise].

Christmas was delightful. Saw the g-parents, they’re looking spritely as always.  Skype’d Auntie K and Unkie J and the pups. Also spritely all around. Got into trouble with the sista in chi-town. Jet-setted back to the east coast to ring in 2012 with Manfriend and had a fantastic little jaunt in the city of Brotherly Love with the Inventor of the Flameless Candle and his blushing new bride.

Back in the Queen City, we rounded out our Beverage lab with individual presentations on various spirits. I drew, in a fantastic twist of service industry fate, Grand Marnier.  I opened my presentation with this (it really hits its stride around 0:40).

Next up: Skills of Meat Cutting. Where you actually spend 5 hours in a meat locker. A 40-degree meat locker. The only class where people are dyyyying to do the dishes (hot water). This was definitely the hardest class I’ve had. For some reason, I just couldn’t grasp all the different cuts of meat and how they related to the anatomy. We had to know poultry, beef, pork, veal, and game. The actual skill of deboning a cut of meat I mastered no problem. But this?

name every muscle and bone. ready, GO.

This was HARD. Luckily, the chef was awesome.  We’re two peas in a pod when it comes to food philosophy–he has “eat” and “local” tattooed on his wrists, and ended every lecture with 10-15 minutes of yoga-inspired stretching before we headed into the arctic. He expected a lot, and gave a lot. And by gave, I mean gave us chicken cracklin’s and pork ribs rubbed with the most amazing dry rub ever.

In the middle of this, Liscious, Sparkles, and sista Leenie came to visit! We drank WAY too much wine, had WAY too much fun, and I impressed/horrified them with my fantastic butchering skills while prepping the Sunday night chickie.

After Meat Cutting, we went to Purchasing and Product Identification, known among the collegians as “Store Room.” You learn to identify product by filling every single purchase order for every single lab in the massive store room in the basement. Well, my group filled the req’s (short for requisition) while the 18-year-olds lounged around and thought about picking up a carrot.

This chef was a great cook–but also a math mind.  We learned how to cost out individual recipes and also how to analyze a menu and pick out which items are making you good money, and which ones need to be fixed.  There was a 10-minute lecture that involved words like “dog” “star” and “plow” that was hands-down one of the most educational experiences I’ve had in a LONG time.    He also had no patience for idiots or sloths, so we got along quite well.

Ahh so many words! so few pictures! what shall we do??

BOOM. carnitas from scratch. actually prepared in my very own kitchen. with quick-pickled red onions, radishes, and jalapeno.


Mmm these were pretty so-so. They look tasty, right? The melty, gooey cheese and gently roasted pepper were both tasty.  Unfortunately, the filling was pretty bland.  The concept is great, but I HIGHLY recommend spicing it up–maybe a little chili powder, a little cumin, cayenne if you’re feeling crazy.
You could totally nix the chicken and add more veggies to make it veg-friendly. So, consider this a starting place.  A coloring book page for you to fill in as your creative juices compel you to.
on the up-side, below, check out the handy little links for you! is rockin my world.

Chicken-stuffed Poblano Peppers


  • 4 medium poblano chiles
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 -3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced in 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 2 roma tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup mushroom, sliced
  • 2 ounces monterey jack cheese, cut into 1/4 inch cubes (approximately 1/2 cup)
  • cooked saffron rice, 4 servings


  1. While using gloves, wash the poblano chilies and using a sharp paring knife, cut a slit lengthwise from stem to tip of chile leaving stem in tact.
  2. Carefully cut away the seeds and membrane rinse the inside of the chilies and set aside.
  3. In a large skillet over medium high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, add chopped onions and garlic.
  4. Cook until onions begin to turn golden, stirring frequently.
  5. Add the diced chicken, sprinkle with seasoning salt and cook until chicken is almost cooked through; add tomato and mushrooms, continue to cook until chicken is done.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 2 quart casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  7. With remaining tablespoon olive oil, lightly oil the outside of the chilies and place them cut side up in casserole dish.
  8. Pack the chicken mixture into chilies and push cheese into mixture along the slit.
  9. Cover dish, place in preheated oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes; remove cover the last 5 to 10 minutes of cooking.
  10. Serve on top of a bed of saffron rice.


cinco de mayo. steak quesadillas. ready, go.

Skirt Steak Quesadillas

(printable version)


  • 1 1- to 1 1/4-pound skirt steak
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 4 tablespoons (about) olive oil
  • 12 5- to 6-inch-diameter corn tortillas
  • 2 cups (packed) grated hot pepper Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups Spicy Pico de Gallo or purchased salsa


Place steak in glass dish. Sprinkle steak on both sides with lime juice, salt and pepper. Let stand at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour, turning steak occasionally. (DO THIS. 15 minutes and you will be amazed how much flavor it adds. trust. go. learn.)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Add steak and sauté to desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for rare. Transfer steak to cutting board. Let rest 5 minutes; slice thinly.

Brush 4 tortillas with oil; place tortillas, oil side down, on 2 baking sheets. Spread 1/4 cup cheese and 1 tablespoon pico de gallo on each tortilla. Top each with second tortilla. Spread each with 1/4 cup cheese, 1/4 of steak and 1 tablespoon pico de gallo. Press third tortilla onto each stack. Brush top tortillas with oil.

Bake quesadillas 10 minutes. Using metal spatula, turn each over. Continue to bake until heated through and golden, about 10 minutes longer. Transfer quesadillas to plates. Cut into wedges. Serve with remaining pico de gallo. (and Manfriend’s secret tequila cocktail.)

baby steps.

Awhile ago, I made these:

Chipotle Roast Chicken Tacos

they were really, really good.

Then, later in the week, like the dutiful leftover-saver I am, I made Chipotle Chicken Tostadas. They were good too. Not as good as the tacos.

There are no pictures. But, I cooked! Baby steps.  I’ve slowly started, you know, preparing food for myself again.

Recently (like Friday) I’ve also started  taking pictures as well.

Life has slowed down to a manageable 80 mph so step 3 is beginning to record and share (if you’re still out there).

To thank you for your patience, I’ve spruced up this little slice of the interwebs for your visual enjoyment, until the food porn returns.

I’d also like to belatedly thank my momma, because with out her I wouldn’t even know how to boil water.

the whole enchilada

Sparkles and I regularly drool over the delicious things that Annie turns out over at Annie’s Eats.

Much like my meatball obsession, as soon as I saw these guys, I knew I had to make them. They were a little labor intensive, but by no means difficult–a perfect Sunday project. And you’ll have leftovers for ages (crucial for those days when the day just…gets away from you)

Chicken Enchiladas

from Annie’s Eats
(full disclosure: her site was how i figured out how to make the printable google docs, so in honor, here is hers)

AND, now that I don’t have to worry about these posts being miles long, there’s more room for my sparkling commentary! Away we go.

First, we’re going to make the red sauce.  It starts off…not red at all.

As soon as all these guys hit the heat…Manfriend innocently wandered over. “….whats that?”

Happily boiling away.

Poor unsuspecting chickys get dropped in the drink.

But they sure do come out pretty!

So you strain the sauce…I should have used a bigger bowl.  Or maybe tone down the vim and vigor with which i push sauce through a strainer.

I’m filled with feelings of fabulous fillings.

How to warm a tortilla without a microwave: carefully (Truth be told I think this is better than a microwave bc they get a little toasty too). This DOES NOT WORK on an electric range. Your fire marshall will thank me.

Insert blurry action shot!

Well hell-o! (in the voice of the Shoeless Brit, if you can conjure it ).

If the first 15 photos weren’t enough to get you drooling, maybe a big huge bowl of zesty, creamy cheese will do that.  In unrelated news, did you know THIS PLACE existed? (hat tip: Babysitters Club)

It wouldn’t be DTMS without one crappy, poorly lit shot.  Here we are.

So the cilantro is actually supposed to go in the filling. These guys kept messing with my concentration.

And in closing, for no good reason, about one-third of the way through writing this post, this song popped in my head. Enjoy.

i’ll take a rum punch, a glass of wine, and 2 red stripes.

Cooking in the Hood decided to escape the cold, hard, Washington winters with a little tropical getaway.

on a separate note, the title of this post goes out to one of my dearest friends, Liscious, who had quite the sparkling weekend. all my love to you and J-Bear 🙂

and i dub thee….salsamole!

Last week I made salsa. Very simple, bordering-on-boring salsa.  Manfriend took one bite and declared it “the most amazing salsa in the entire world.”  Wait, what?

I was making these bad boys except I didn’t discover until halfway through that I was out of chili powder…soooo i improvised with a little extra cumin, some cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. And (apparently) it was magical.

This was the attempted re-creation. The verdict: “I mean, it’s still delicious.” Read: not quite as magical.  If I was a betting woman, I’d bet the missing magic was the lack of fresh cilantro. Also, I slightly mashed the avocado this time because, well, that’s how i like it.  It’s not quite guac but no longer a salsa. It’s salsamole!

Not-As-Magical-But-Still-Delicious Salsa-Mole

  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 plum tomato, seeded and diced (no liquid. nothing wore than runny salsamole)
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 shakes cumin (yea whatever that’s how i measure)
  • 2 shakes garlic powder
  • 1 shake cayenne pepper
  • salt (i use kosher) to taste

Dice avocado and place in small bowl. Roughly mash with a fork. Add tomato and shallot and combine. Stir in spices. Salt to taste. If the aforementioned magical ingredient  is available, add a small handful, roughly chopped.


no magic 😦