Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Hi Everyone,
My kitchen is packed for the move to New York and I am pretty well moved into my new blog as well.  If you haven't already found it, please go to TheKitchenCatwalk.com .  I have also launched a companion blog on our crazy nomadic life that you can visit from there.  It contains my farewell to Pullman.  You can reach it by clicking the Nomad-Libs tab at the top of the Kitchen Catwalk blog or by going to www.nomadlibs.com .
Joy to You,

Friday, May 27, 2011

Spinach Quiche - And Moving.

Our family loves quiche!  Eggs, cheese, flavorful ingredients and pie crust.  Yum.

If you'd like to see how this one was made, you are cordially invited to visit my new location thekitchencatwalk.com . 

I've discovered that I really like blogging.  If I'd know how much I would like it before I started I would have done some more research on how to set one up but as it was, I just went with the first thing that popped up on Google.  Now, I've hit on a much easier way to handle cooking posts with lots of photos, so before I get too settled in here, I'm going to go ahead and make the move.  I've steadily been copying posts over there, so it's almost exactly the same content -  until now.  I hope you don't mind following along.

(Not only is the blog moving, but so is my family - in case you were confused.  I'll keep you posted on that move too as it progresses.)

I plan to put notifications of new posts on here for a while until everyone has had a chance to re-map to the new site.  Things aren't perfect there yet, but everything is a journey it seems, and I'd love to hear what you think.

Thanks for checking in!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Chicken and Corn Enchi-Sagna

When we’re getting ready to move I start to operate under a self-imposed grocery buying moratorium and use up what’s in the cabinets.  The creativity that emerges usually doesn’t result in anyone saying, “Ooooh, make sure you write this one down!” but a few nights ago we hit on a keeper – a cross between enchiladas and lasagna. 

I had a handful of rotisserie chicken in the fridge and Mr. Nobody left the bag of tortillas unsealed, so they weren’t supple enough for most ordinary applications.  I also happened to have enough diced canned tomatoes to feed a small army, and corn enough for a platoon.  All of this coupled with the vague recollection of a recipe in one of my Cooking Light cookbooks sparked an idea.

I chopped the onion finely, and sautéed it with minced garlic (out of a jar) in about a TBSP of olive oil.

I cut the tortillas into strips that would act like lasagna noodles.  (Note that spelling and see my rant below!)  I also cut a few slices of pepper jack cheese into thin strips and dug out a handful of shredded cheddar. 

By that time the garlic and onion were heated through and softened.  I added the shredded chicken and stirred periodically until it was hot.

Then I dumped in well drained cans of corn and diced tomatoes.

One and a half cups of chicken broth combined with about half of that can of spicy El Pato salsa made the sauce that would be poured hot over the top of all the layers.   I put it on the back burner on medium heat while I finished working on the rest of the dish.

Half of the tortilla strips went down in a disorganized layer.

Then I dumped half of the corn, tomato and chicken mixture in and spread it around.

Then half of the pepper jack cheese on top of that.

The rest of the tortilla strips were followed by the rest of the chicken mixture.

The sauce was poured over the top.

Cheddar cheese got sprinkled on last.

It was baked in a 450 degree oven for about 15 minutes until the tortillas were golden brown at the edges and the cheese was thoroughly melted.

We served it with a dollop of sour cream and garnished it with surprised smiles – cabinet cleaning wasn’t so bad this time!  In fact, it was good!

Okay, done with the food….now, back to that spelling issue!  Did you notice how noodle is spelled with an “l-e” at the end, yet pretzel and tassel are spelled with “e-l”?  Admittedly, I stink at spelling but that sort of thing makes me want a refund on my native tongue!  If English was run by Adobe, Apple or Microsoft there would have been an update by now! 

BUT, Since it's up to me...here’s my new rule to remember this:

“L” before “e” in
Noodle, Poodle and Puddle
Cause me no fuddle,

While “e” before “l” in
Pretzel and tassel
Cause me great hass-l-e!

P.S.  You will be relieved to hear that I just bought a book on how to take pictures of food.  If there is any honesty in the dust-jacket description, then eventually the photos will improve.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Graduation Cupcake Post Got Buried

The Blogger website has been having problems the last few days, and for some reason my new post on cupcakes showed up under the one before it.  So, if you'd like to see the one about cupcakes, it is under the Lessons in Red Velvet post.  You can either scroll down or go to...

Lessons in Red Velvet

I know that we learn from our mistakes, but over the years I have decided that I am not a fan of this approach, which is why I read trustworthy cookbooks and put into practice what I pick up.  This is also a big reason why I study the Bible.  I’d rather not have to learn the hard way that God had a good reason for what He said to do. 

Of course, in spite of the best guidance, I occasionally think I have better ideas, like with red velvet.

The foundation for this lesson started on Good Friday when I procrastinated about buying a cake mix (my usual approach to cake baking) and couldn’t find a red velvet mix in Pullman.  A bunch of students were coming over after the Good Friday service to watch The Passion – and have dessert.  I had racked my brain for what kind of desert might go with such a gut-wrenching movie and come up with a plan to make a cake that illustrated Isaiah 1:18.  There was no time at the local IGA to think of a plan B.  Thankfully, I had been ogling the Pioneer Woman blog and happened to remember that she had recently posted a red velvet cake. (See it here.)  It was beautiful and I had looked pretty closely at the ingredients so I grabbed buttermilk and red food coloring and trotted home.

The cake turned out nicely – until I hurriedly tried covering over red crumbs with cream cheese frosting that was too thick for the job.  It turns out that hiding crimson with white is harder than it looks in cakes, not to mention the cosmos.  Anyway, there were crumbs of red embedded in the frosting, but the point was made, maybe even accentuated.  Here are a few shots of that cake.

The real trouble with red velvet began when I watched a re-run episode of Bobby Flay’s Throwdown a couple of days before I needed to make red velvet cupcakes AGAIN for our graduation open house.  (Note: If you missed my prior plug for that show, please check out the post on pulled pork (here), which got buried under the ones full of Victorian tea photos.  I’m still looking for someone who can explain the Zans!)  In the episode we watched, a woman who owns a bakery made red velvet cupcakes, and she talked about how you shouldn’t use butter in cupcakes because it makes them dry.  She believes in using oil.  That got me thinking about the Pioneer Woman cake I had recently made, which called for shortening.   I wondered if perhaps that perfectly delicious cake might have been too firm to be parlayed into scrumptious cupcakes.  Meanwhile, Bobby Flay, used butter in his cupcakes and won, but I was already well down the destructive path of second guessing sound wisdom.   Oil, butter, shortening – conflicting expertise – what a dilemma!

My solution – when the experts can’t agree appoint yourself as one.  In my visions of blogging grandeur, I even took a picture of myself writing my own hybrid recipe from the two mentioned above.  Stupid!  I have studied cookies to the point that I can alter recipes with predictable results, but I have no business trying it with cake recipes, when my usual method involves pictures of eggs and oven dials on the back of a box.

This photo is now quite embarrassing!

But, we will never know exactly how this recipe might have turned out, because I failed to even follow my own plan correctly.  Here’s how it happened.

Holly and Megan came over to bake with me, which was great fun.

I guess I was distracted with the novelty of a sifter being operated in my kitchen as Holly was measuring the flour and I told her the wrong amount.  (It matters how much flour you put in cake, by the way.)

The batter tasted great, but I kept looking through the oven glass at cupcakes that weren’t rising and wondering why it was taking so long.  Finally I pulled them out in a fit of aggravation and found that the bottoms were burned.  WHAT!? 

Worse yet, they tasted burned.

What you cannot see in this trash can is the chunk of my ego buried under the pile.

I called Ric who was already leaving the grocery store after shopping for other graduation party supplies and asked him (in a very miserable voice) to go back in and shake the place down for a red velvet cake mix.  He felt so sorry for me that he bought me these flowers to make me feel better. 

Maybe I should have baking mishaps more often!

He may have also been feeling bad about breaking the news that he did not find a mix.  Instead, he found more red food coloring.  Oh, yippee - a chance to redeem myself.    

For the next batch I humbly followed the Bobby Flay Throw Down recipe exactly – almost.  You can find it online here   The only exception was that I mixed the cocoa and the red food coloring like The Pioneer Woman recipe because it’s much prettier to dump red coloring into white batter.  You get a picture like this….

Instead of like this…

…which is how it looks if the cocoa is added in with the dry ingredients.  If I wasn’t blogging, I wouldn’t care, but now you’ve gotten to see some pretty red swirls.  If you really want to see pretty red batter photography, check out the Red Velvet Sheet Cake on Ree’s Blog. 

Both recipes made delicious cake – much better than I’ve ever gotten from a mix.  So, the wheels are turning in my brain on this whole cake thing.  I will conquer this process!

In the end, the lessons learned were profound.  Follow directions when you’re not an expert and be careful about measurements.    

Next Post: the graduation cap cupcakes that all of this trouble went into producing.  Here's a sneak peek.