Monthly Archives: October 2009

Chile Rellenos that went horribly wrong

It’s taken me almost a week to write this.

[Insert overly dramatic tone for the remainder of this post.]

There are nearly three hours of my life that I can’t get back. Wasted to the devastation that was Queen of Quirky’s attempt at Chile Rellenos.

Hindsight bias is 20/20.

I should have followed a good recipe for chile rellenos. I should not have read said recipe and others and thought, I can totally adapt from these and make my own spectacular chile rellenos.

Because despite Fry Fest, I am a horrible fryer.

Here’s what happened.

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I started off strong…thrilled to use my new gas stove to char my fresh poblano peppers.

I placed all four of them in a paper bag to steam and cool.

I carefully peeled the charred skin off each delicate little pepper.

For some reason, it was that part that made me the most nervous.

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Then, I threw shalots, corn and black beans in a frying pan with some olive oil, cumin and salt & pepper, warming all the ingredients.

I had already shredded Monterrey Jack cheese and crumbled some fresh Mexican queso into a big bowl.

I was ready for the stuffing part.

Things were going so well.

IMG_1056These were going to taste so good – filled with yummy cheese, beans and corn. How could anything go wrong?

QoQ meet batter. Batter is not your friend.

I’ll admit that I tried to use my own recipe using corn meal, flour, beer, salt and eggs. Batter fail.

Everything that could go wrong began to go wrong when I started frying.

They didn’t keep their shape when I tried to cover them with batter. The oil wasn’t the right temp in my cast iron skillet and they fell apart. The batter tasted bad. Do I have to go on? It’s really embarrassing.

IMG_1057_edited-1Here they are. Miserable little suckers.

Notice there are only three? Oh you did, did you?

Yeah, see one had a blow out in the oil and I had to scoop what was left of it out and toss it.

Want to further criticize them? Ok, I’ll play too…they didn’t brown up. They didn’t hold their shape. They look gross. Tasted pretty much how they look. Total and utter fail.

IMG_1059Luckily.  (And I think I’m a pretty special person for this)

I had this guy. This amazing guy. Who swept in after it was all over and I was sulking on the couch with a margarita wondering if I would ever cook again.

“Get outa here,” he said.

And he made it all. go. away.

(Well, most of it. I found batter spatters in my stove a few days later. )

Ok, and on the wall. I said it. Are you happy now?

 

After spending a few days pouting and retelling the story slightly more dramatically to any of my friends who cared to listen, I decided that I can’t  be the only one who has ever ruined a perfectly good dish. So I put a tweet out there asking “am I alone?”

Austin foodie @ATXfoodnews wrote: I once unknowingly used mildewed banana leaves 2 bake cochinita pibil. My apt smelled like wet dirty dog 4 weeks. Inedible mess.

She added: I’m surprised my landlord (lived below me) didn’t complain. Truly stinky.

@AmandaMichelleM wrote I once made soap minestrone soup! Didn’t wash all the soap off my pot before spending 2 hours cooking the soup! Tasted terrible!

Ahhhh….relief. I was feeling better already. Then, a running buddy of mine wrote a comment on this post saying:

Didn’t really ruin the recipe but I caught the tip of an oven mitt on fire while making BBQ tofu and carrot fries. I was so concerned when I was checking the tofu baking and all of a sudden noticed that the tip of my oven mitt was aflame! Oops! Probably one of the few times when the smoke alarm did not indicate a charred dinner.

Again, relief. Because lord knows, I have caught  items in my kitchen on fire too. 

The moral is: Everyone fails at cooking every once in a while.

And.

I should never be left to my own devices when it comes to frying.

Please share your stories in the comments…

 

 

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F & W: You’ll never want meat in your enchiladas again

You may be wondering why you are reading a Fire & Wine night post on a Wednesday. No, you aren’t going crazy. We moved it to Tuesday this week due to scheduling issues.

Also we were a man down with Roomie feeling under the weather. So it was just DD Girl and QoQ.

Ever since Blogher Food, I’d been eager to try Elise of Simply Recipescheese enchiladas.

I can hear you now….But I thought the rules of Fire & Wine were that you had to try something new. And I know for a fact, you’ve made enchiladas before.

Yes, yes. I know I can’t sneak one on you, smart readers. But see, I have never made my own sauce for enchiladas, so it does count as new.

Pushing it.

Shut it.

These. were. phenomenal.So good,  I swore off ever using meat of any sort in enchiladas ever again.

And now I’m going to offer a few tips for any of you who would like to make them.

1. Get good tortillas. There is a Price Chopper in Roeland Park that makes corn tortillas fresh daily, for those in Kansas City. Otherwise, seek out the best tortillas you can. (I’d aim for thicker v. thinner so they hold up to the sauce.)

2. Use good cheese. After all, it is the centerpiece of these bad boys. Even if you are cheap (like me) and prefer to use generic when possible, splurge on the cheese. In my botched chile rellenos (don’t you worry, pretty ones, that nightmare of a story is yet to come this week.) I used generic Monterrey Jack cheese. And while the cheese did not lead to the demise of the dish, it certainly didn’t help anything. Last night I bought Kraft Monterrey Jack and shred a pound of it myself. It had so much more flavor. Mmm mmm mmm.

3. Serve with black beans. Yeah sure, you can make them yourself, but, if you are lazy like me, use Goya black beans and season with a little cumin, ancho chili powder and salt and pepper. (I also had to add the cumin and chili powder to the enchilada sauce because I couldn’t find fire roasted crushed tomatoes.)

4. Garnish with iceberg lettuce as suggested by Elise. Only, to be thrifty, I dressed it with juice from half a lime and olive oil with salt and pepper. Why was half a lime thrifty? Because I used the other half in fresh guacamole.

There are a million ways to do guacamole. All of them are probably right. But this is how I roll:

(Serves 2-4, depending on how much you pig out while the enchiladas are cooking)

2 avocados

 1/2 lime

1 roma tomato, pulp removed and diced

1/4 cup of diced onion

course sea salt

fresh cilantro (about a table spoon diced)

Core out your avocados and add to a bowl with the onions, tomatoes and add some salt and lime juice. Using a fork, mash it all up really well. Then add cilantro. Taste and if you need more salt or a little more of the lime, add it.

I served the guac with homemade corn tortilla chips which I baked the night before. Just take thin tortillas and cut them into four triangles. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and lay the triangles all over the tray. Spray the tops of them, then crack sea salt evenly over them and bake at 350 for about 5 minutes, or until crispy.

We ate them out of the ziplock baggy I stored them in. Klassy. I never said Fire & Wine night was anything but.

Please make these enchiladas soon so we can be in the cool kids club together, k? And then let me know how it goes. Oh, and tell Elise too.

I am so demanding.

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Marathon watchin’

Saturday morning, I woke up to what I thought was a Gospel revival outside. Groggy and confused, I couldn’t figure out why the Catholic church nearby had taken such a drastic change in worship style.

Then I remembered it was Saturday, not Sunday.

What is going on?

I couldn’t see anything out the window, so I threw on a hoodie and stepped outside. Down the road I saw it.

The Kansas City Marathon!

Oh boy! I had completely forgotten that was going on today. I ran back upstairs, eagerly grabbing my shoes and telling the fiance I was heading outside to cheer on the runners. He seemed confused by my excitement that this event was taking place so early on a Saturday morning, but at least me being outside cheering was a lot more quiet than me standing in the bedroom bubbling with early morning energy.

I grabbed Gertie and threw on a hat and we were out the door. Of course, Gertie was terrified of the whole scene. She sat there shaking. Party pooper.

Good job! I started yelling to the trickle of runners/walkers that were still passing. By this time most of the runners were either running the half, or were speed walkers. I didn’t see very many full marathon bibs.

I wasn’t satisfied. I needed to do some hard core cheering. Back inside with shaking dog, I ran upstairs to tell the fiance I was going for a jog to find a new cheering spot. Again, he was not terribly amused with my exuberance. I shut Gertie in the room and changed into running clothes myself. (Gertie cannot see me wearing running clothes or she freaks out because she thinks she’s going for a run.)

I took a quick peak at the course map online so I could figure out where to stand. I decided the 20 mile mark would be a good spot. I remembered 20 miles well – just two miles before I yacked during my own attempt to run a marathon back in 2005.

I ran down to Volker & Main where the 3 hour pace group was getting ready to pass. Dang. These people were fast. So impressive. I stood there  shouting words of encouragement and in a state of awe until I got too cold  from my own run-induced sweat – the 4:20 people were just passing.

I really wish I could have  stayed longer and cheered on the back of the packers (like myself), but my coldness won out.

During my run home, I tried to figure out why watching a marathon on a cold, wet Saturday morning was so exciting to me.  Why was I so obsessed with the marathon? I have been my whole life.

I kind of thought running one myself would make me less obsessed. But it hasn’t. Every year I tell myself I’m going to train for another marathon and every year, I let life interrupt my focus. It’s not just the 26.2 miles that overwhelms me; it’s the months and months of training I know it takes to get the job done. I tell myself I enjoy my little 3 mile runs several times a week. That I can be a real runner without running another marathon. That another 26.2 just isn’t in the cards for me.

But something tells me it is. Watching the runners of all sizes, ages and levels yesterday reminded me that anyone who puts their mind to it and devotes time to train, can run a marathon. I’m inspired by my bloggy friend, Barb at Running Jayhawk who has not only run several marathons, she’s now training for her first Iron Man.

So thanks to the hundreds of runners who inspired me on Saturday.  And special congratulations to friends Kirk and Andrew (Molly’s brother) who finished the marathon and Shelly who ran her first half. Maybe I’ll be among you sometime in the future.

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Quirkyville Quips: The double standard edition

Act I, Scene I

Fiance: I think the fleas are gone, so I was thinking that when you leave for work in the mornings, I’d let Gertie get into the bed with me.

QoQ: Yah, but then her hair will be all over the sheets again and it’s so icky. So, I’d rather keep her out of the bed. Besides, she’d inevitably be on my side of the bed, meaning my side would be covered in Gertie hair.

Fiance: Ok. Sorry. (To Gertie.)

Gertie: Rolls over for a belly rub.

Act I Scene II

The fiance enters bedroom after a night out with G-Man. QoQ is sleeping soundly, having had several glasses of wine and a few drinks out following the afformentioned risotto triumph. He gets ready to crawl into bed and there is a Gertie in his spot.

Gertie: Rolls over for a midnight belly rub.

QoQ: Drools and snores.

Fiance: Gertie! What are you doing on the bed?

Gertie: Thumps her tail.

 Fiance: Babe. Babe?

QoQ: Huh? [The writer admits she is putting much of this scene together based on very foggy memory that she confirmed in the morning.]

Fiance: You let Gertie in the bed.

QoQ: Really? That’s nice. Snore.

Fiance: Double standard.

He gets Gertie off the bed and crawls in.

Gertie: Sigh and groan from the floor.

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F & W: My first crack at risotto, steak and scallops

I’m just going to put this out there first to get it done with.

I overcooked the steak and the scallops were meh.

Ok, now then. Onto the risotto. Because miracle upon miracles, I didn’t mess it up. 

Mushroom risotto to be exact. A special request from the fiance who said, “mushroom” when I mentioned tackling risotto. So, the nice people at the Mushroom Channel helped me hunt down a few mushroom risotto recipes.

I really liked how Foodie Reflections helped me get over my risott – ophobia by breaking it down into seven simple steps for risotto.  I mean, if you can’t trust a food blogger, who can you trust?

The recipe was spot on. And yes, it does take a lot of stirring, but it’s so worth it. I’m sorry to say I didn’t take any pictures of my creation because I was busy juggling my side dish of spinach and fresh tomatoes at the same time as I was overcooking two steaks and fixing some mediocre scallops. (They had too much water in them and they were the little bay ones, not sea scallops. It makes a big difference.)

The only variation I made to the risotto was I used shallots instead of onions.

We were joined by G-man in replace of DD Girl who was feeling under the weather.

G-man text DD Girl to tell her thank you for not feeling well because he got to eat risotto. (And over-cooked steak and meh scallops, but who’s counting.)

I’m chalking the meal up as a success.

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Quirkyville Quips

A few of our friends have recently asked how cohabitation has been working for us. I think it’s been pretty fantastic so far. Sure, there have been some issues…I tend to leave every cabinet door open and he piles his laundry on the floor.
But there have also been some amazing changes…Gertie is thrilled to have a full household and no longer does anyone have to get in their car and return home to get ready for work.
But the best part? We come home to one another ; it’s worth every pile of laundry.  Just don’t tell him…
I thought I’d begin a regular series about our lives together – Quips from Quirkyville. Here’s your first sneak peak….
  • Laying in bed at about 3 a.m.  I wake up to a semi-loud, unnatural noise. I shake the fiance. “What was that.” He groggily rolls over and says, “It was just an action figure that fell over.” Meaning that one of the many action figures in his office/man-cave fell over on their shelf. (There are actually specific shelves for bad guys, good guys and guys in between.)
  • I wake up at 1 a.m. one morning to hear the fiance talking to himself downstairs. He’s very agitated as if in an argument. I think that maybe a friend has come over so I should check on the situation. I stumble downstairs and find him alone with an X-Box controller talking at full-volume to himself. “Um, you know you are talking to yourself, right?” Yes, he knows, but he thinks he’s talking to the game he’s playing. “Ok, good night. I love you.”
  • We are discussing something that makes him frustrated, unrelated to our relationship. I interrupt said conversation to tell him that there is something else that might make him frustrated. I see a look of panic cross his face. He’s envisioning the worst. “I ran out of nice sheets and had to put granny sheets with pink flowers on the bed.” His face softens. “No, I’m not kidding. It’s pretty bad. But I was too lazy to finish the laundry before I changed the sheets.” He is laughing now. “Ok, laugh all you want, but I leave at 7:30. You’ll be sleeping in flowery sheets by yourself…”

Stay tuned for more.

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Oh baby!

IMG_1039Somebody decided to make a grand entrance yesterday.

 

We were pretty excited. So my mom (grandma) made the long trip from Philadelphia to Kansas City.

 

I think it was worth it…

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Look at that sweet little face…

 

Only 6 hours old in this picture.

 

He’s just as perfect as can be… seven pounds, three ounces…

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And we have no idea who on earth he got his head of red hair from?!

Or do we?

Welcome little nephew. I can’t wait to show you a quirky good time.  Now just get a little bigger fast so I can hold you with no fear!

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