Friday, July 30, 2010

since I've been lovin' you

The bf is in a really great band-- Harvey and the Buckets. I love being a musician's girlfriend-- it's pretty much my favorite. There's nothing I'd rather do on a Friday night than lug around his spare guitar, wear cowboy boots, and sing along to music about me. Conceited, I know, but hello-- have you met me? Anyway-- The Buckets are fantastic and are about to sign their first record deal with a great little indie label down south. They'll be back in the studio in a few weeks recording their second EP and I for one cannot wait for the beautiful meltdowns that come with putting together an album with soul.

Frontman (and my boyyyyfraaaand) Nick Petakas, (lead guitar) David Bader, (bass & vocals) Jason Selwood, and (drummer) Andy Orge have been involved in the local music scene for the past decade, playing with creative pop, punk, and hardcore acts including DKLIMB, My Complex Island, Stretching FM, Therapy, and The Gray Girls to name a few. Influenced by rhythm and blues and inspired by alt country- The Buckets varied strengths combine to form South Florida's answer to Chicago's Wilco-- They are not only familiar with, but committed to promoting their music in the scene they've called home for years. With a combined arsenal of gigs played with Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Tenacious D, The Promise Ring, Dashboard Confessional, Hot Rod Circuit and Piebald, The Buckets myriad influences can be heard in their first studio EP, 'Queens and Criminals' which you can stream here!

SO, should come hang on August 13th at Monterey! I promise it'll be a good time- lots of beer, boys and broads (whatever your preference) and rock and roll. I will wear something hot and the bf will show of his muscles and talent. Be there.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

what's cookin' good lookin'?

FIRST OFF- I am soooo sorry for the sporadic nature of my posting! ("I'll be seeing you-- yeah, I hope not sporadically!") Our internet was out. Not that this is an excuse, I could easily drag my ass to Starbucks-- but whatever, I'm sorry and it won't happen again. Thanks for bearing with me, dolls. Anyway-- I want this blog to reflect all of my favorite things! Music and parties and the Kardashians and pretty things and baseball and books and treats! And FOOD.

I love cooking. I also REALLY like to feed people. It’s an extension of my love and I LOVE love! I also like to be the best at things- duh- and cooking is, well, it’s kind of my thing. I’m admittedly obsessed with Food Network. Our DVR is full of the Neelys, Guy, Giada, Bobby, and Tyler. Oh-- and I’m pretty amped on this new Cooking Channel as well. ‘Indian Food Made Easy” is excellent and I can’t even begin to tell you how fucking stoked I am on the assorted Julia Child programming they’re airing.

Ina Garten is probz my favorite Food Network star—but I’d like to think I’m a little sexier in the kitchen than her. Speaking of sexy in the kitchen—bf bought me a bright pink, ruffly, apron last Christmas— I highly recommend investing in one, because what man doesn’t want to walk into a home that smells like warm chocolate chip cookies and a hot girl with a platter of baked goods?

Anyway—I have about 50 new dishes on record at any time that I’m interested in trying.

So, this week, in a typical fit of domesticity, I decided to try 3 new recipes. And by recipes, I mean my jumping off point-- I think the best food is simple, delicious, and to the point. I like bright, clean flavors and I do NOT like measuring. I’d never roasted a whole chicken before—and now I have! I experimented with stuffed turkey burgers and I learned to make enchiladas! Boyfriend LOVED new recipe week and since my philosophy on love is to make your person as happy as they could possibly be at any given moment—I really freaking loved new recipe week too!!

Below the photos are my spins on basic recipes-- love ya!

Roast Chicken with Pan Gravy and Twice-Baked Potatoes
• small frying chicken
• 1 yellow onion
• several sprigs each of rosemary and thyme
• ½ cup of butter
• ¼ cup dry white wine
• 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock

Line the bottom of a large cast iron skillet or roasting pan with ½ a sliced, yellow onion. This keeps your chicken lifted for even heat distribution and creates the base for your pan gravy! Combine a half-cup of softened butter with 1 tbsp. each of fresh, finely chopped rosemary and thyme. Like, put the room temp butter in a bowl and smush the chopped herbs into it. Wash and pat dry a whole chicken. REALLY dry it. This is important for getting the skin crisp. (Oh, and make sure you pull out the bag of gizzards from the cavity—WOOF.) Slide your hand between the chicken skin and meat and stuff with the herb butter. I know- this is perverted, but just do it. Use as little or as much butter as you feel you need-- get it ALL up in there. Rub the outside of the bird with butter as well. Liberally salt and pepper the chicken cavity and stuff with ½ an onion, several slices of lemon, and a spring each of rosemary and thyme. Tie the chicken legs together with kitchen twine—or don’t, whatever—and bake at 475* for an hour and twenty minutes. I know this heat seems high—trust me, the skin will be perfectly crisp and the inside moist! I know moist is a gross word, but it is what it is.

Once cooked through, take the bird out of the dish and set aside to rest for twenty minutes. Seriously bitches, let the juices redistribute and keep your hands off. While this is resting, heat up your onion/chicken drippings mixture on a medium-high heat. You want the pan to be hot, but do not burn the onions- Once the droppings are at a quick boil, add a quarter cup of white wine to deglaze the pan-- use a wooden spoon to scrape the bits from the bottom of your pan! Bring this to a boil and add one cup of low-sodium chicken stock. Salt and pepper to taste—I added a pinch of thyme as well. Let the pan boil for a minute or two and allow to thicken. AND THAT’S IT! I was scared of pan gravy before—but it’s sooo easy and really makes the chicken.
Onto the potatoes—
• Large Potatoes
• Cheese (your choice)
• Sour Cream (low fat is perf)
• Broccoli
• Salt & Pepper to taste

I typically bake potatoes for 45 minutes at 400*-- but I just threw the potatoes in the oven with the chicken for about 40 minutes and they were just fine at that high heat! Use russet (Idaho) potatoes for this dish—Once baked, let the taters cool for about 10 minutes. Cut a canoe shaped hole in the top of the potato and scoop out the insides using a spoon. Now comes the fun part—you can really stuff the potatoes with whatever you want. To the insides of 3 large spuds, I added half a cup of fat free sour cream, 2 cups chopped broccoli, and 2/3 cup each of cheddar and mozzerella cheese. Bacon would be awesome. Any cheese you like. Green onions. Salsa. Beans. Whatevz. Anyway, mix your ingredients with the scooped potatoes and mash it all together. Mash the shit out of it. Stuff this mashed goodness back into the potato skins and top with a sprinkle of cheese. Put back into the oven for another 20 minutes. Awesome. You’re welcome.

Stuffed Turkey Burgers with Oven-Roasted Broccoli
• 1 lb. ground lean turkey
• Dried breadcrumbs
• 1 Egg yolk
• Kethcup / Worstechire / salt & pepper
• 4 slices turkey bacon
• 1 small red onion
• sharp cheddar cheese
• buns (we used whole wheat, but Kaiser would be nice!)

I used ground turkey and turkey bacon to cut down on calories—but if you’re a beefeater, go fucking nuts. All of these recipes are easily modifiable to taste—if you like American or jack cheese, by all means—use that! And I’m not gonna lie to you-- turkey bacon has a shitty, flaccid consistency no matter what you do to it, but I want to NOT be a fatass this summer, and it’s approximately a million times leaner than pork bacon. USE WHATEVER YOU LIKE!

The first step is to prep your stuffing, which consists of bacon, cheese, and sweet red onions. The key to caramelizing onions is to cook them low and slow. They WILL brown and get nice and sweet for you—just be patient. I adore this blog Life as a Wife and she does a nice job of explaining the perfect technique.

Prepare 4 slices of turkey bacon according to package instructions. Once cooked through, chop the bacon and combine in a bowl with the cooled caramelized onion and ½ a cup of sharp cheddar cheese. Set aside—

Now, let’s prep the meat. Ground turkey is a little tricky—it can be a little bland and tends to dry out, but if you season it properly you won’t miss the beef. I combine the turkey meat with ½ a cup of dried breadcrumbs, one egg yolk to bind, a few dashes of worsteschire sauce, a lil squirt of ketchup, and salt and pepper to taste. Once seasoned, divide the meat into four even portions. Form the meat into round, flat patties. Set two patties down and use your thumb to create an indentation in the center to accommodate the stuffing. Scoop a generous portion of the onion/bacon/cheese mixture into this indentation. Top with the second patty and seal the edges together. Make sure you seal this really well or it will melt out and make a MESS!

I cooked ours in a grill pan over medium high heat for 7-minutes per side. These are REALLY thick burgers and you must make sure you cook them all the way through. If you want to be extra sure, pop the grilled burgers in the oven for a few minutes, covering the burgers with foil. We topped ours with a spicy ketchup made by combining a couple teaspoons of Ciracha sauce (OBSESSED!) with ½ a cup of ketchup. Serve on a nice, fresh bun with the best broccoli you’ll ever have!

I used this broccoli recipe from one of my FAVORITE food blogs, Honey and Jam. It’s simple and perfect. The broccoli gets really crunchy and delicious—I’m obsessed.

Ok, I modified this recipe a bit—but I mean… Tyler does make things THE ULTIMATE—so go with it!