Throwback Thursday- Chicken

It’s throwback Thursday!

Do you know what this means?

No you asshole, don’t call that jerk off who made you split the check and all you ordered was grilled cheese when he had ordered prime rib. (True story. Someday soon I’ll make a grilled cheese and share that with you…) What this actually means in my world is that I make something from your past. Chicken Cordon Bleu was literally the first thing I learned to cook on my own. I mean besides simple stuff. It was this sweet little recipe that I learned in Home Ec class way back when Alanis Morissette was blowing Uncle Joey in the back of a movie theatre then getting pissed off that he broke up with her. Side note- Jagged Little Pill will always and forever remain the best breakup album. Don’t @ me in the comments, I stand by my opinion!

Anywhoo….something you should know about me since we’re getting all fucking cosy here is that I don’t cook for guys.

I know! Shocking right??

Food is important, cooking is personal. I put a piece of myself in every dish I create. Some men just don’t respect that. I’ve made a fancy dinner only to be canceled on mere hours before he was supposed to come over. I’ve made dinner for someone who made stupid faces because he didn’t recognize an ingredient. I’ve cooked for someone who thought that I was a short order cook. No! You can’t substitute an ingredient in my food if I can’t substitute a trait in your personality! It’s no wonder I don’t cook for guys. You just don’t deserve it! Anyhow. This classic recipe was the first time I cooked for someone (and his roommate no less).

True to what would become classic “me cooking for men”, the first time I cooked for a guy it didn’t go that well. He didn’t even really seem to like what I made.

Thank god I’m a pain in the ass and resolved to rarely cook for men. I can count on one hand the number of times I put knife to board and butter to skillet to make food for men.

Shit, at least this chicken is good! This combines all things that I love. Meat and cheese. And bread. All you need is butter, wine, and life is good. This one is a good one for when the dates have sucked, you need both some emotional release and comnfotrmt food.

I’ll tell you, pounding chicken out is a great stress reliever! Once you master this little gem, there’s a LOT of different ways you can make it! Enjoy!


Chicken Cordon Bleu
What you need
 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
 1/4 teaspoon salt
 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
 6 slices Swiss cheese
 4 slices cooked ham
 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

What you do
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Coat a 7×11 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Pound chicken breasts to 1/4 inch thickness.
Sprinkle each piece of chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.
Place 1 cheese slice and 1 ham slice on top of each breast.
Roll up each breast, and secure with a toothpick.
Place in baking dish, and sprinkle chicken evenly with bread crumbs.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink.
Remove from oven, and place 1/2 cheese slice on top of each breast.
Return to oven for 3 to 5 minutes, or until cheese has melted.
Remove toothpicks, and serve immediately.
**For reals though, listen to ‘You Oughta Know’, while eating this, and drinking wine. You’ll thank me.

Greek Balls…Meatballs, That Is

IMG_6509You know you came here for the balls. Meatballs. (See what I did there? I love a good pun) I love Mediterranean food! Like eat it everyday if I could love it. Like hide in its bushes and MAKE it love me if I could! Like follow it to work love it! Yea that got creepy. I’m far too lazy to love anything that much (insert eye roll).

Except for Hallmark movies, especially if I’ve been drinking. You know what I mean!

Back to my balls. These balls. Your balls. Shut up! I’m not drunk! You’re drunk!

Mediterranean food is so fucking good! There’s the hummus and the tzatzki and the mint and the garlic….all such a delicious melding of flavors designed to dance and delight the tongue! I ran across a recipe for Greek Meatballs and I had to try them. I made them with turkey but you can try beef or lamb. I usually make a massive batch so I can just heat and serve whenever I feel like.

I will tell you though….I do like turkey best. The meat is so moist and tender that the meatball almost melts in your mouth!

What you need:
1 lbs Ground Turkey
1 Red Onion (grated)
3 Tbl freshly chopped mint
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 Tbl minced basil
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used organic whole wheat)
Salt and Pepper
 
What you do:

Mix seasonings, eggs and onion together.

Add ground turkey and breadcrumbs. Mix. You might have to do this with your hands.

Roll meatballs, approximately 1 inch in diameter

Heat 1/4 of a cup of oil in a saute pan, over medium heat.

**The Trick To a Tantalizing Meatball**

The first time I made these, I was left with a meatball that was pretty loosely held together. (I seriously have so many jokes about balls right now that I’m like a teenage boy) I wanted something a bit more sturdy (no one likes loose balls). So, I upped the original amount of breadcrumbs and added an additional egg. Now… if you want a meatball that looks delicious and holds it’s playful ball shape (oh…my…god…I am not able to hold it together) here is what you need to do.

The oil MUST be really hot. If you’re wondering how to tell this, olive oil has a very distinctive look when its reached optimal frying temp. When its cool its more dense, when is hot, its more liquid. Also, this kind of nutty scent will lightly waft up.

If you’re still not sure… run your hands under water, shake the loose droplets off over the pan. If it pops and sizzles…you’ve got hot oil! (NOTE: Never under any circumstances should you put a finger in the hot oil. Duh. That makes you an idiot.) 

Drop the balls of joy (note that not all balls are joyful. Some are sad. Never get involved with those balls) into the pan and then using the handle of the saute pan move it back and forth so the meatballs are rolling around in the hot oil. You want to not just let the meatball sit in the oil, instead you want to get all sides of the meatball to brown and firm up.

The meat should get all nice and caramelized, the outside of the meatball cooking firmly to hold the inside together.

Now, your heat should be on medium so once the meat is that delicious light brown color, cover the pan with a lid. This will sort of steam the meatball to cook it all the way through.

Every few minutes, check on the balls and do the quick saute movement. You don’t want them to stick to the pan.

The meatball is done when its firm to the touch. Firm balls are always best. (I hope my mom doesn’t read this)

This picture is literally not my fav but I wanted to prove I can actually put a plate of food together and not stand at the counter and eat like a heathen. I’m fancy. Plus this plate is pink!!!

There’s a few ways to eat these balls but I always like mine with tzatziki sauce and some pita. Always make sure to have your meatball wrapped. (PSA)

I serve it with baked brussel sprouts, homemade pita chips with hummus and a salad. The salad was super easy  with cucumber, black olive, hearts of palm, avocado and goat cheese. I squeezed fresh lemon juice and salt and peper into it and then just mixed! Or you know, just pick a pre-med one up from Trader Joes.

Yes, when I re-read this I knew that it said pre-med and should say *pre-made* but if you can pick up wine, pre-made, AND pre-med (wink wink) I’m not going to stop you…..

F*ckin’ Hot Yoga Bitches

No, no this is not me. There is no way on God’s green earth that I could do this.  When I do yoga I get hot and sweaty and gross. But I also get some well needed clarity.

Have you ever had ‘one of those’ days?
You know the day that I mean.

It seems as if all the cosmos are against you. Everything in the world is conspiring to make you lose it? That was my day today. I swear that it felt everything in this world wanted to slap me upside the head.
I faced setback after setback today. Nothing seemed to be going my way. I was Rocky getting pummeled by Apollo Creed. I was Kristin Wiig in ‘Bridesmaids’ getting kicked out of my apartment. I was Emily in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ getting hit by a cab. I don’t know why the universe wanted to pick on me today, I was wearing yellow for pete’s sake! Yellow is a happy color! From the moment I set foot into work, I knew that it was going to be me pushing up hill. By 11:30, I had hit my limit. It took every ounce of my will power to finish out my day.
I was so frustrated. I was so over it all. I wasn’t zen. I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t wanting to do anything but curl up in bed and cry. And cry.
I don’t know about you but days like that make me fill utterly and completely defeated.

The last thing I wanted was to drive halfway across town, change into gym clothes and sit in a hot room. But I did it anyway. I drug myself there.

And I found my safe space.
Seriously.
I found my zen, my freedom.

It was the first time that I was able to do all 26 postures.
From Pranayama all the way to Khapalbhati.
It was the first class I had taken alone. The other few times I had gone with my cousin and once with my friend. But this time I went alone.

There was a freedom in picking where I wanted to practice, I chose by the window. I wish I could tell you it was because I felt the need to stare out the big windows at the barren desert landscape beyond. But it was actually so I could watch my car. Cause I am that paranoid.

But from the moment I clasped my hands under my chin and began the first pose, I felt the day melt away. During the Savasana I found myself watching the sun streak the sky a brilliant pink and then slowly fade to purple and then black. I wasn’t concerned about anything but breathing in the hot air and breathing out the negativity that had settled someplace in my heart. Ridding myself of that anger that had snaked around my ankles and held on tight.

I left feeling like I always do, a touch shell shocked and really sweaty. But clean. Somehow refreshed. I knew that tomorrow would bring more challenges, that I could not always be happy but that if I could do 90 minutes of poses in a class all by myself I could do anything.

Life is made up of moments, some good,some bad, some sad, some happy. But just like happiness is fleeting, so is sadness and joy is right around the corner.

Nameste bitches.

Last Great Kiss…

I am totally obsessed with Art Deco. Like, I’m fucking Pinterest board, clothing, champagne pouring, one step away from committed, OBSESSED. I was honestly about to post something about food, like the apple crumble that I am mulling over right at this moment (and eating all by myself…don’t judge me. You know you’d take a spoon if I offered it to you.)  But nope! I opened up Pinterest and I fell into my little world of pictures. I then popped on The Great Gatsby soundtrack and felt myself drift into my own little word of 1920’s heaven. And don’t @ me mo one does it better than Baz Lutherman. Hello! Romeo and Juliet?! Moulin Rouge?! You are killing me with auditory pleasure! So here I sit with the Andre 3000/Beyonce version of ‘Back to Black’ on repeat. I am seriously having an affair with the whole thing. Amy Winehouse did a fab version, lets give credit where credit is due, but the smoky, sexy, drugged version in Gatsby has me inspired.
In order to truly help myself immerse myself in my own little world, I popped champagne (the cheap shit because I sadly have not overnight become a Rockefeller).
The whole album has a deliciously melancholy feeling to it. I feel like slipping on this flapper dress and throwing this party below.
Like, can we please just talk about the love that Gatsby had for Daisy for a second? Who saw the movie? Raise your hand! Unless of course you’re in a coffee shop or at work reading this. Because then you would be sitting with me in a looney bin. But honestly, you and I would be great friends I think. Sippin’ on our champs (that’s bougie talk for champagne) eating our tea sandwiches, and talking about the riff raff.

 

That kiss between Daisy and Gatsby….*swoon*. No but for real, when was the last time someone kissed you like that?? Oh…take a moment….think about it. I’ll tell you. I can pluck the top five kisses of my life out of my memory at any given time.

Tell me…when was your last great kiss? The one that you felt from your lips, down your spine, and through your legs? The one that lingers…that pulses in your blood. The breath shared between two people that’s so intimate, so personal.

I did a search, do you know how many cocktails have the word ‘kiss’ in them? A lot. So I have a challenge for you. Make your favorite, throw on a song that reminds your heart of an innocent time when you had a kiss that shocked your whole system. Your whole being. And drink your cocktail and think about that kiss.

IMG_9415

Coconut Banana Bread

The weather is warming up! Do you know what this means?? Soon I’ll be able to use my pool! As an AZ native, if its not 90+ degrees I’m freakin’ freezing! Did you know that summer is actually sweater weather? Its true! While we can bake cookies or fry eggs on the sidewalks outside its always below freezing in ANY PLACE OF BUSINESS! Anyhoo….

This time of year always makes me happy. The trees are blooming, the air is clean, its not too hot to hike in the after noon and the fresh fruit overflows at the local grocery. My favorite thing to do around AZ is day trips and play tourist. This beautiful state 48 is ripe with small towns full of seriously interesting people. Last weekend, my gaggle of gals and I decided to take a roadtrip up to Pinetop. We like to refer to these as scouting trips for girls weekends. On the agenda? Nothing. Nothing but wine, food and perhaps some hiking. But for sure wine.

We woke early on Saturday because it is a 3 hour drive through some of the oddest towns in Arizona. People…do you know how strange the small towns in Arizona are? Like there will be nothing…NOTHING and then all of the sudden up pops a small, country grocery store, a dilapidated hotel, and an RV park. Pretty sure that Rob Zombie just drives around some of these towns collecting extras.

It was a long day of driving, scouting, and, drinking (don’t worry, we had a DD. Don’t drink and drive kids!) I’m sure that it was the DELISH Coconut Banana Bread that I had made us for breakfast that kept our spirits high and kept hangry from happening. Although, at the end of the day we all did crash out and spent our Saturday night zonked in front of the TV watching an indi film called ‘Bachlorette’….which was stinkin funny by the way. In hopes that you too will be inspired to go play tourist in your state, I’m posting the recipe for you. Next up? We’re day trippin to Wickenberg!

What you need:
1 ¾ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1¼ teaspoon baking soda
3 Large ripe bananas, mashed
½ cup + 2 tablespoons sweetened flaked coconut
½ tablespoon coconut oil (melted)
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup of honey
3 egg whites
2 tablespoons skim milk
¼ cup fat free plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup orange juice

What you do:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda together in mixing bowl. Shimmy a little with your hips. It makes the mixing fun.
In separate large mixing bowl combine mashed bananas, brown sugar, and vanilla.
Add egg whites and mix together until smooth. Next add oil.
Then, slowly add in flour and combine until moist.
Next add Greek yogurt and orange juice. (Depending on the consistency you can add two tablespoons of skim milk. If you like your bread more dense —omit the milk — but if you like it more airy or lighter you can add it.I added it.)
Add ½ cup of coconut and mix together.
Pour into greased, floured 9×5 inch loaf pan.
Joyfully cover the top with two tablespoons (or more) of coconut on top.
Bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and the bread is golden brown.

I ate my piece drizzled in Raw Honey with a side of mango, strawberries and papaya. With a cup of my new favorite Coconut Hibiscus tea, I felt like I was on a tropical vacation!

But obviously I wasn’t, because I’m broke AF.  Here’s to dreaming!

Brownies Or A Boyfriend?

Code cracked. I am single because having brownies and watching Kill Bill while drinking margaritas at my house with my friends is infinitely more fun than going out. That’s true folks, I am spending my Saturday night watching tv and eating brownies….and I have no shame in that. Sitting on the couch in yoga pants, hot brownie with vanilla ice cream in one hand and my 3rd margarita in the other is pure heaven! As opposed to going out in too tall shoes, in a too tight dress, and paying for more for one margarita than the 3 I just downed. And does it get any better than a Kill Bill marathon? Helz to the NO!

I love Kill Bill!

I mean, it’s the ultimate breakup movie! Look, I know its a Tarantino film and I know that its gory gory gory, but man is it good! I don’t know how you handle breakups but I usually watch a movie over and over again when I’m going through one. I assign a film to the breakup. There was the guy I dated that I watched ‘ZombieLand’ over and over. Then there was ‘Someone Like You’. Once I watched ‘Hope Floats’ over and over. Movies fix everything. They make everything better. The last breakup, I watched ‘Sex and the City’ over and over again. The tv series, not the movie. My favorite breakup movie of all time though is always Kill Bill. Well Kill Bill 2 too (say that in your head four times fast, its a fucker) It’s timeless, its classic, it works for everything.

Look, art is open to interpretation. This I know. It’s a Rorschach test into how we feel. What we see is a reflection of how we feel. In essence we project our thoughts, feelings and desires onto the piece of art we are looking at. So I know that my views might be a little tainted by current feelings.

The poor bride. She was beaten, she was brutalized, she was shot in the head, she was left for dead. She was raped in the hospital, she got her ass kicked, she got cut by a samurai sword (that shit would hurt! I get a papercut and I’m like ‘I’m out!’, Secret Agent material I am not!)  and she was buried alive.

Her best friends turned on her.

And she kept coming.

She never gave up.

She kept going after Bill for what he did to her.

Pure revenge driving her on.

Uma Thurman is incredibly beautiful and wonderfully insane with rage. Hence why women love it.  Men can make us nuts.  I’m sure as hell not going to go on a rampage, at most I’ll cry into my pillow and run harder on the treadmill. But I can admire her anger and absolute drive for what she wants. Which just happens to be (well deserved) revenge.

Look, I could wax poetic about this movie so much.

This movie is the about your great, psychotic love. Everyone has/had one. The one that makes you crazy. That person that somehow got inside your soul and just sat there, fucking everything up because they could. A person that is seriously fucked in the head and you should probably run from as fast as your Jimmy Choo’s can carry you. Kidding. I’m broke as fuck. I can’t afford JCs. I’m running from him in Payless 75% off sneakers. You know what I’m talking about. No? Anyone? I guess the cheese stands alone?

She finally got Bill. She chased him down through two movies and countless murders and she finally caught him. She walked in on him. And she found what she had been looking for.

I find this part so incredibly sad and so true to life. Often in life we pick an end point and we focus on that. We become so laser focused on the way that we think we should be, should do, should achieve that we forget this is journey. We lose the point of the path and become so fixated on a single outcome that we miss a greater picture. A greater outcome that what we could have had.

With such a narrow view when we finally get where we though we wanted to be, it’s so different from what we had thought it should have been.

In the end. The Bride  kills Bill. She uses Pai Mei, the “Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique”. A Kung Foo thing (look, I’m not an expert on Kung Foo. I only know how to spell it cause everyone was kung foo fighting) in which you quickly strike five pressure points around the heart with the fingertips, the victim takes five steps, the heart explodes and he/she falls dead.

She does this to Bill and then he sits and just looks at her.

It’s in that moment when it’s too late, when Bill and she both know he is going to die that they both realize how far its actually gone.

I’m sure Bill realized it when he shot her in the head.

At least I hope so but he is sociopathic bastard after all.

Saturday Night Brownies  

What you need:

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (about 1 cup) or coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into 8 pieces
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
Any sort of chocolate candy that you like. Because CANDY!

What you do:

Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
Line an 8-by-8-inch metal baking pan with aluminum foil.
Combine the chocolate and butter in a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until melted and smooth.
Remove from the heat and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
Combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and stir with a rubber spatula until just evenly incorporated.
Add the chocolate mixture and stir until evenly combined.
Add the flour and fold in until just incorporated, about 20 strokes (no white streaks should remain).
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, push it to the edges in an even layer, and smooth the top.
Sprinkle your choice of candy over top (and eat some of it too. Just to make sure its ok)
Bake until a tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. (Or just throw caution to the wind and eat those things when you feel like it! You are a grown ass woman! Or man. Or whatever your chosen pronoun is. DO IT!)
Remove to a wire rack and let the brownies cool for at least 20 minutes. (Or not but they might burn yo’ face)
To remove the brownies, grip the excess foil and pull it out of the baking pan.
Transfer to a cutting board and cut the brownies into 2-inch square (or just one giant brownie)

Serve with ice cream, chocolate syrup, and a bottle of red wine per person.

*Editor’s Note – (still just me, still too broke to afford one) The pics are from Kill Bill and Kill Bill 2, obviously. Insert some legal jargon here but they might make take them down. Damn the man! I do what I want. Unless their lawyer calls me. In which case (since you’re reading this) are you single?

 

Hot Chef Friday: British Invasion

Its official.
I have my first ginger obsession. Not like the condiment ginger which I will inhale at every sushi place that I go to. But my first ginger obsession via the human kind.
Here’s how it started…. it was a cold and blustery day.

Kidding. It was a normal Tuesday and I was reading everything that I could about The Royal Family. Don’t question, just accept that I have a recent British fetish. I will read anything about them! I pretty much kissed the clerk when I found my local Trader Joe’s carries crumpets  I mean, really! How exciting is it to have tea and crumpets?! I’m practically hanging out in Notting Hill for pete’s sake!

Anyhooo…. I was reading about the exploits of the Duchess when I suddenly took a google detour and found myself staring into the broodingly handsome, unshaven in the best possible GQ kind of way, face of Tom Aikens.
Now you know me, while a pretty face is enough to give me pause I also need substance of some sort. I have to have some kind of seasoning in the broth in order for me to want to dip my pasta into it.
Luckily for me (and you, now that I have made you aware of this wonderful man) Tom’s talents extend past simply looking good. He was the youngest British chef to win two Michelin stars at Pied a Terre, in London’s Charlotte Street, in the 90’s. Since he graced the earth with his presence in 1970 this would out him barely in his 20’s when he accomplished this feat!
Swoon!
And his talents go even deeper! My tittering on food is positively childlike compared to his prose on the culinary experience in his restaurant. I wish I could hear him read a phone book in that sexy British accent of his!
On top of it all this hunk is seriously passionate about food! Insert heart emoji here *sigh*

Go here if you are lucky enough to get to London http://www.tomaikens.co.uk/
If you’re not, you can always check him out on youtube. I have to admit that I did watch one or two of the videos just to hear him talk about nosh.

 

What I wouldn’t give to have breakfast in bed with this fellow! I am a sucker for whiskers but on Tom for some reason they seem that much more manly! Imagine this hunk making you a sandwich. Cause hell yea, I’m a feminist and an equal opportunity sandwich maker!