June 28, 2010

Chicken Success Tastes So Good!

I have successfully cooked my first whole chicken using the Technique Chicken Roaster! Yahoo!

As you can see, it actually looks edible. It was moist, tender and the seasonings I picked were perfect (garlic, onion, Serendipity, Mrs. Dash). I did have a minor miscommunication with my oven at one point (we’re still getting to know one another), but we worked things out and the chicken was yummy.

I invited my very brave mom and stepdad over for dinner to try it out with me, and I’m happy to report that they not only survived the experience, but enjoyed it. As a side dish, I made a lovely pasta salad using my Fasta Pasta cooker (see previous post). This was also a first for me. For those who don’t know, cooking with success is a feat. I am so untalented in the kitchen, a few months ago I managed to slice my thumb open with a butter knife, requiring five stitches and sending me into shock as I drove myself to the emergency room. The thumb is still mostly numb, providing a wonderful reminder of what not to do with knives and frozen items.

So there you have it. My first successful whole chicken. Now that I know how easy it is and that I can do it, you can bet there will be more roasted chickens in my future.

June 24, 2010

Best Inventions Ever

Anyone who knows me well knows I love food, but I’m not the best cook.  I could use a few lessons… or a few hundred lessons.  The problem is that I have no confidence in the kitchen and some of it seems downright tedious.  I’ve been surrounded by wonderful cooks my entire life – my mom, grandmas, aunt, even my ex-husband.  They all knew how to serve love on a plate.  Me, not so much.  Oh, some of them tried to teach me, to no avail.  I psyched myself out and was content to just enjoy the fruits of their labor and help clean up the mess.

Lately though, I’ve found myself wanting to learn to cook actual grown up meals.  Fortunately, my mom has been cluing me in to items that make even incompetent, unconfident, hate to spend enormous amounts of time in the kitchen me able to make something I wouldn’t be completely embarrassed to serve.  They are, as I tell my friends, “the best inventions ever.”  I know several foodies.  If any of them are still reading this blog, they will probably laugh at this post.  Go ahead, I can take it.  I know I’m a baby in the kitchen and I’m celebrating my first steps.  It’s OK.

My favorite “best invention ever” is my rice cooker with a steamer in the top.  I absolutely love this amazing appliance.  I’ve never been able to cook rice properly and now I can not only do it with ease, but I can add fish, chicken, pork, and veggies in the steamer and create an entire meal by pressing one button.  Even I can’t mess that one up!  Alright, I’ll admit there was one time when I did way over season my salmon, but other than that, I’ve cooked many perfect meals with my best invention ever rice cooker.

My second “best invention ever” is my Fasta Pasta cooker.  I still haven’t decided if the two words are supposed to sound alike, and if so, are they supposed to be said with a Jersey accent or a slight British accent.  Give it a try and let me know.  Either way, I love this little rectangle container made of plastic.  It allows me to cook perfect pasta in my microwave.  I’ve made ravioli, penne, rotini, rigatoni, angel hair, egg noodles, shells, spaghetti, and macaroni all perfectly, without exception.  I adore pasta, so this was a perfect gift.  No more guessing if the pasta is done.  Measure it out, fill the container with water to the proper line, set the microwave to the correct time and work on other items while it cooks to perfection.  Take it out, pop the lid on (which has a handy, dandy strainer built in), drain the water, and there you have it; perfect pasta. 

Today I came home to find a new gift in my condo, left by my mom.  It’s a Technique Chicken Roaster, or as my mom calls it, a beer can chicken cooker.  At first glance it looks like a big, heavy duty chip and dip holder.  In fact, that’s what my brother in Texas thought his was until mom cleared it up for him.  It’s all one piece, has a cylinder in the center that holds liquid, and the rest is a big ring to catch the chicken grease I’m assuming.  I’ve never attempted cooking a whole chicken as an adult (there was an incident as a teen, but we won’t go there), so this is exciting and a little scary.  And hooray for me, Safeway has whole chickens on sale this week, so I’m going to buy two and try to cook one on Saturday.  I don’t know what liquid I’ll put in the center, I’ve been told I have lots of options.  So wish me luck as I try out the chicken roaster to see if it rates being added to my list of “best inventions ever.”  My mom hasn’t been wrong with anything yet, so I’m guessing this one will be a winner as well.

June 3, 2010

I'm Back!

It’s been almost a full year since I’ve posted anything. By now I’m sure everyone has given up on me and moved on with their lives. Sadly, I’ve realized the world truly does not revolve around me. Let me have a moment… OK. I can continue.

It’s been a busy year. I finally found a wonderful little condo with a lovely view of hills and trees (the photo below is my view). It’s exactly what I needed, and not a day goes by that I don’t gaze out in wonder or walk through my door and thank God for the blessing. Of course the condo has its quirks, but don’t we all. The fact is that it’s just the right size for me and has some of the top features I was looking for in a home. I’m happy.

If you read my post about kissing frogs last year, you’ll know my search was interesting. In fact, I drove two real estate agents to the brink. Thank you Mike Gleason for hanging in there with me! I know I was challenging. I made offers on three places. The first I backed out of when they countered; it just didn’t feel right. The second felt right, but… umm… well… the sellers used a loophole to renege on the deal they accepted. Bad deal, shame on them, ‘nuff said. The third was my condo. Of course there was much angst over whether or not to make offers on several other places before the cute condo, but that special feeling just wasn’t there.

With the new condo came a new town. I moved to the other side of the world, or so it has seemed at times. I’ve had to learn where familiar stores are in my new hood, changed where I attend church, and have been busy making new friends. I haven’t ditched my old friends and haunts, but living where I do has definitely expanded some horizons.

In addition to all of this, my new niece is now almost a year old and I also have a new nephew who arrived a month early in April. Sadly he’s in Texas, but I have plans to meet him in person someday soon. Yeah, the blog about that trip will be one to remember. More details about that later.

So life moves on, even if a blog doesn’t. Perhaps I’ll be a little more faithful to posting now that I have a view to inspire me to write and new lands to explore for cool photographs. Who knows where life will lead, but I will do my best to keep you updated.