East By Southwest: A Chicken Burger Experience

Ahh the incomprehensible has occurred—employment rates have skyrocketed in Alyaville, and I am actually working now. If you must know, I work just a short walk down from the husband, and I do mean that literally. I was recently offered a short term position in his department (the details of which are inconsequential; we need only know that while it is not an ideal position for the fruity artsy writer/food-experimenter with her head in the clouds that I am, nevertheless I am grateful for the position and thankfully surrounded by good folks).

I just started, so my initial fear was What will this do to my blog?!??! Trust me, G has heard soooo much about my fears and whininess on this part it’s a wonder he hasn’t tried to get me fired just to appease the foodie inside me. But we are managing, just finding a pace which enables us to get work done, relax a bit, and find time to cook most days. I think in a way this will challenge me as well, to concoct a more diverse array of dishes that aren’t always so time consuming and simply by using just about whatever the heck is in the pantry considering I won’t be running to the store at the drop of a hat.

On the other hand, when I do run to the store, I tend to stock up. This blog entry: case in point. I don’t usually have avocados and wheat buns all the time, but I had a vision a while back so I decided to load on them. Plus the avocados were supposed to be for a literEature post which I haven’t had an opportunity to do yet, so more will have to be bought now. Alas. 🙂

Anyway, this burger turned out to be absolutely scrumptious (despite forgetting salt in my chicken marinade!!! Who does that??!?). A bit high maintenance but cooking is also my way of finding peace and sanity, even when the kitchen is a chaotic whirlwind of fright. Besides, homemade guacamole is a million times better (especially with green chillies chopped in!) and roasted peppers become so sweet and melty, the perfect complement to asian fusion chicken… but enough talk, let’s cook! Continue reading

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Inaugural Butter Cookies

**HAPPY NEW YEAR!**

Christmastime sparks happiness and beauty—it’s just a festive time for all—whether you celebrate it or not, but this year I actually was surprised with a completely out-of-the-blue gift that will continue to whet my appetite for the rest of time!  On Christmas Eve I received a package at the door, entirely unexpected, only to realize that my Sister-in-law decided to give me a black KitchenAid Stand Alone Mixer!  Oh the shock! The rapture! I could distantly hear angels sing in a melodious chorus as I opened the box with delicacy reserved only for newborns I imagine.

What a treat, and I have yet to put it to full-time use, but I couldn’t resist inaugurating it somehow… eventually I’m going to make a decadent and smooth and absolutely sinful chocolate cake, but as the husband is not a huge fan of chocolate (what is wrong with men anyway?!?) I decided on a simpler task, and I fine tuned my butter cookies.  I meant to make honey butter cookies, but half way through rolling the batter onto the baking trays did I realize I forgot about honey entirely, so I did half regular, and half with honey.

I used melted milk chocolate and coconut flakes as decoration as well.

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Redemption Cheddar Biscuits

ALYAVILLE:  Things did not go as planned last Thanksgiving, and as a result I had a lot of redeeming to do.  At least when it came to my bread.  My friend Z had an early potluck thanksgiving dinner with her friends, and I volunteered to bring something in the bread/biscuit category, something I rarely ventured into but always enjoyed doing (I think my deep unadulterated love for bread has kept me from baking too much – I’d be a ginormous doughy ball of glee if that were the case).  Having found a recipe for slightly sweet honey biscuits, I thought, “Hells Yeah! This sounds delectable!” and thus the morning of, set out to create these glorious buns.

First Mistake right there.  Should have tried it out earlier.  When my first batch turned into strangely unleavened rocks, I thought I best try again, step by step, ever so slowly and meticulously.  Buuutt…. To no avail.  Same result.  Saddened and more than a little embarrassed, I arrived at my friend’s home with the strange concoctions and a few cans of Pillsbury crescent rolls.  The crescent rolls were a hit.

So this year, same event, same friends, same potluck, and I nearly ran from the challenge but decided I had to try again, just had to.  So I dared to do bread once more.  I did some searching on the ‘net, came across a few recipes and decided to do a few trial runs early on to make sure all was well.  And guess what??  All turned out supremely well.

I settled on Cheddar biscuits, which I altered slightly into honey-cheddar biscuits (my insatiable sweet tooth revealed this yummy combination to me).  Then I made it Honey-Wheat Cheese biscuits when I changed the flour ran out of cheddar and mixed in some mozzarella.  And this time, no crescent rolls in sight – they turned out light, soft, and just scrumptious to dip into some gravy or cranberry sauce and sink your teeth into.  There would be no feeding the dog with my biscuits this year (which I believe was the ultimate fate of the monstrosities from last year).  Redemption is Sweet!

Redemption is cheesy!

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Go Bananas for this Sweet and Creamy Bagel

Oh Sweet Morning. A year ago—nay, just a few months ago—I was woefully unfamiliar with the goings-on of the day before 9 am, if even that. But life offers so many change-ups (as close to a World Series reference as I’m ever going to get) that I had to adjust, and was quite happy to as well (life and love and everything in between make you do funny things sometimes)… so now I welcome the dawning sun, the brisk air, and most importantly, the food.

I love waking up and thinking about what scrumdiddlyumptious delight will be gracing my tummy first thing each morning, just like Mr. G. There’s something about breakfast goodies that warms my heart more than anything else. And I’ve become a firm believer in cherishing the morning meal and giving it its due respect. Treat it lovingly and it will bestow on you an energized and fruitful day. Yes that’s right, I’m attributing Karmic powers to breakfast time – don’t laugh, else suffer the consequences of a scorned bowl of cereal tomorrow.

These days I typically conjure up simple and berry delicious fruit smoothies, but that isn’t enough of sustenance! Just an appetizer to tide me over an hour or so until I decide to wander into the realm of substantial goodliness.  But what? Naturally, I have familiarized myself with Mr. G’s simple and marvelous touch with eggs, but I can’t have that every day. Occasionally I venture into my own groomed tastes, including cottage cheese, honey, and (when I allow myself the indulgence) something truly and heartily bready! Let’s venture forth then, my friend, into the delectable world of the dressed up bagel!

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