I just need to share…

January 24th, 2010

… my greatest purchase of 2010… My new Kitchen Cart!

If you have had the misfortune of reading my blog… you have heard me frequently lament about the tiny-tiny annoyingness that is my kitchen… it is just way too small for a cook! There is no place to put things… opening a cabinet can be dangerous because you never know what is going to fall on you… I have broken so many plates and glasses because of the space issue (yes, that is the excuse I’m sticking too…)

One problem is where to have a pantry… I started using my window sills until the winter hit and puddles of condensation formed… then I made nice little neat stacks on the ground… threw boxes of pasta in the middle of pots and pans… but it was cluttered and disorganized…

Until, I read this post… and I succumbed to it…  Did I mention it is the best purchase of 2010?

Everything fits so nicely and when I don’t need it… I just roll it between the fridge and the stove… it has made my week… just wanted to share…

Disclaimer:  I was not paid to review (if you can call this a review) this product.  I bought it myself.

Craving Cheese…

November 18th, 2009

I am addicted to cheese! At any one time you can probably find at least five different types of cheese in my fridge. It is just so good. However, lately, I have been thinking that I should cut back a bit on the cheese.

And it really is not working… as I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner tonight, I was eating some fresh mozzarella that I just bought (stay tuned for that recipe!)… I couldn’t decide what to make and I have a fully stocked fridge. My inspiration was completely gone…

I knew that I wanted warm comfort food (another cold and rainy day in Chicago and I’m trying to get rid of a cold)… but what… and then I stared at the 5 pounds of potatoes I bought for Thanksgiving dinner and thought “No one will miss two potatoes from this big bag!”

Scalloped Potatoes seemed like they would hit the spot except without onions or cheddar I had to improvise with garlic and goat cheese. Overall, it was quite good. I would increase the cheese (I was trying to be too good!) and sprinkle some on top before baking…

Ginny’s Goat Cheese and Ham Scallopedish Potatoes

2 potatoes, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup ham, diced
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup goat cheese
1/4 cup chives, chopped (I didn’t have this on hand but I think it would have been a great addition)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. In a medium sauce pan, put enough cold water over the potatoes to over them and boil until the potatoes are still firm but a fork can slide easily into them.
3. In a separate pan, over medium heat, spray with Pam (or butter/olive oil) and saute the garlic for a minute or two.
4. Add the flour and brown for a second while mix with a whisk.
5. Continue whisking and pour in the milk. Whisk until it thickens.
6. Turn down the temp and stir in the goat cheese until melted.
7. Stir in the ham, chives, salt and pepper.
8. In an individual ramekins, pour a fourth to the cheese mixture into the bottom. Layer the potatoes on top and pour another fourth of the mixture on top of the potatoes. Repeat with the second ramekin.
9. Bake at 350 for about 10-15 minutes until bubbling.

Costa Rica IV: Gallo Pinto

November 4th, 2009

Wow, this half written post has fallen through the cracks… “In Costa Rica, I found the leafcutter ants fascinating. On one of our hikes around, Juan and I witnessed an ant cut up a leaf and cart it away. I felt like I was on the Discovery Channel. Above is a leafcutter ant perched on our guide’s hand. Carlos also told me how he makes the traditional Costa Rican dish Gallo Pinto.  After we came back, I made it one day…”

I am not sure where I wanted to go after that… but I feel that a disclaimer is in order: I don’t like rice or beans that much.  I’ll eat them in certain things but overall they are not what I would want… However, I really did like gallo pinto especially the cilantro… topped with some Salsa and I had a great dinner…

Speaking of beans, a friend of mine is entering the Chili Cookoff this weekend…  If you are in Chicago and want to eat some chili… it is worth checking out…

Gallo Pinto
(adapted from Carlos’s recipe)
1 cup rice
1/2 chopped onion
2 garlic cloves
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoon oil
1. Heat the oil a sauce pan.  Add the rice and slightly brown the rice in frying pan.  Add water and bring to a boil.  Cook until the rice is tender.

2. In a separate frying pan, add the onions, garlic, and red peppers with a little oil.  Saute until tender.  Mix in with the rice and the cilantro.

3.  Serve with black beans.  I just used some already made in a can.  Carlos cooks them with more water than called for and adds some onion, garlic, red pepper and cilantro to them too.