Friday, August 31, 2007

If You Can't Wait...

There are a couple of reasons I've been so scarce lately. 1) Super busy. Like, crazy-running-around-like-a-madwoman crazy. 2) My house has no a/c, so I've been avoiding standing over our gas stove for fear of heat exhaustion. I do have some rather exciting news to pass on, but that'll have to wait a while, sorry!


Anyways, if you're like me, you can't wait till "No Reservations" comes out on DVD. When I saw it in theatres, I caught that it was based on a German movie called "Mostly Martha", so once I got home, it was off to blockbuster.com for me! I found it, and shortly after that, it showed up in my mailbox. I was curious. Would it be as good as the American version? I watched it last night, and as it turns out, it was darn near EXACTLY the same. The only thing different, besides the obvoius fact that they were speaking German, is the editing was a bit grainier and the actors were a little less attractive. Even the script sounded the same. But, I gotta admit, when it comes to food porn, "Mostly Martha" has "No Reservations" beat. I'll still get "No Reservations" when it comes out on DVD, though, because I feel that when Catherine Zeta-Jones is talking to her therapist about her cooked pigeons with truffles, she's much more believable of a chef. In the end, "Mostly Martha" is a good thing to have on-hand when you're waiting for "No Reservations" to come out on DVD.
Also, in case you're a crazy Silverchair fan like I am, their new Album "Young Modern" is fan-friggin'-tastic. They've come a LONG way since their first album, it's crazy how "grown up" they sound. I can't stop listening to it. I listen to in the car, at work, at the gym, and yes, even while I'm in the kitchen. They have a good solid beat to their music that just keeps me going. I. Love. Them. I think it's to the point where I hear their songs in my sleep, which is weird, because a good deal of their songs (past and present) are about sleep, or the lack thereof. Anyway, if you like Radiohead or Muse, then you'll LOVE Silverchair. Trust me on this one, ok? Oh, and I promise, my next post will be food-related. ;-)
~Mehgan~

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Good Stuff

I'm so sorry! I've been a BAD blogger!! It's been really crazy-busy at work, and I felt super-guilty about that, but here I am! I'm back!

Anyway, it's been a bit warm lately, and we don't have A/C. Our version of A/C is opening two windows on opposite sides of the house, turning the ceiling fan on and letting the sprinkler run. It actually kinda works! So, since it's been warm, I haven't really been cooking all that much, and I was craving something on the lighter side. I had seen an episode of Everyday Italian on the Food Network where Giada was making dishes in order to get bikini ready. One of her recipes she featured was a whole-wheat linguine with garlic, green beans and tomatoes. Living with the men that I live with, I knew I needed something a bit heartier than that.

I decided to nix the green beans idea, since E and I had some in our lunches today and I didn't want a green bean overload, so I went with zucchini, squash and shrimp, and kept the tomatoes. And instead of linguine, I used fettucine. I also added mozzarella cheese, because... well, I love it! So, here's my adapted recipe.

Whole Wheat Fettucine with Shrimp, Zucchini and Squash

Ingredients:
-3 to 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
-1 medium zucchini, sliced bite-sized
-1 medium squash, sliced bite-sized
-1/2 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined (I used a bag of prepared frozen shrimp)
-1/2 bag of whole wheat fettucine (I got mine from Trader Joe's for $1.99!)
-1/2 tomato, diced
-3/4 cup ricotta cheese
-1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
-salt and pepper to taste

Instructions: In a large pot, boil about 3 quarts of water. Add the pasta, stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking (I've found that whole wheat pasta tends to take longer to cook). Set aside about 3 ladelfuls of the pasta water, and drain the rest of the noodles. In a small bowl, combine the two cheeses. In a 10-inch skillet, heat the olive oil, then add the garlic. Once the garlic starts to give off an aroma, add the zucchini and squash, cook until slightly tender. Add the pasta water (this is especially important as it will help create the sauce). Once the water starts to simmer, add the cheese mixture and stir until well combined. Add the shrimp and tomatoes, then allow to heat over, about 5 minutes. You don't want to heat it too long, or the shrimp will get gummy, and that's terrible! After that, you're ready for dinner!

My thoughts: This was pretty hearty, it filled me up. What you see here is my plate, and I wasn't able to finish all of it. That's probably due in part to the fact that I also had some salad along with it, but I also don't think I could have finished all of it. It makes for really good leftovers, too, since storing it gives it time for all the flavors to really mix well.

Thanks for stopping by! And sorry I've been so scarce lately, but rest assured that I have read everyone's comments and greatly appreciate each and every one of them. Oh, and don't forget, Royal Foodie Joust is coming up!!
~Mehgan~


Sunday, August 12, 2007

It's All About Me(me)

Jennifer at Pie Is The New Toast tagged me recently for a Meme! I'm going to do mine a bit differently, since I recently did a Meme back in July. I'm going to post 8 random facts about myself, followed by a general random fact found here on the greatness that is the worldwide web. But first, here's the rules:

Rules
1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write on their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

#1 Random Fact About Mehgan: I love to make collages. When I was in high school, I made enough collages to wallpaper my entire walk-in closet. I've made collages for friends' birthdays, too. I have them give me a list of their favorite things (sports, designers, movies, tv shows, colors, etc) and I take the largest part of the newspaper I can find (I'll even use the comics section, just for fun) and clip out the objects from my MANY magazines I have at home. Once I feel I have everything I need, I glue it all together. I've even though about doing this as a little money-maker on the side.

#1 Random Fact on the 'Net: The 57 on Heinz ketchup bottles represents the number of varieties of pickles the company once had.

#2 Random Fact About Mehgan: I can dislocate my shoulders anytime I want to (painlessly, of course). When I was in the second grade, I was playing on the rings and I flipped myself completely over and dislocated both of my shoulders. The school nurse was able to pop them back in, but ever since then, I can just pop them out to freak people out at parties.

#2 Random Fact on the 'Net: It is believed that Shakespeare was 46 around the time that the King James Version of the Bible was written. In Psalms 46, the 46th word from the first word is shake and the 46th word from the last word is spear.

#3 Random Fact About Mehgan: I love to snowboard!! Last season was my first season, and according to my husband, I picked it up really fast. By the fourth time I went up to the mountain, I was able to go from the lift to the bottom of the mountain without wiping out. I started in January, and by the end of the season, I was doing S-turns on trails. I just went shopping last night for two new pairs of pants and some mitts because I wore mine out last season!!

#3 Random Fact on the 'Net: The sound of E.T. walking was made by someone squishing her hands in jelly.

#4 Random Fact About Mehgan: I am petrified of making candy at home. I've seen it done and I've read all about it in cookbooks and cooking magazines, and they make it look fairly simple, but it just looks so darn tricky! Especially if you're using molds for things like lollipops and such. I think I'll just stick to cookies for my holiday gift-giving.

#4 Random Fact on the 'Net: On average, there are 178 sesame seeds on each McDonalds BigMac bun.

#5 Random Fact About Mehgan: I am allergic to metal. Well, let me go into more detail. I can't wear metal earrings (stainless steel, sterling silver, even gold-plated silver doesn't work). My ears get all swollen and tender and it's just gross. I have to wear gold earrings, which isn't easy for my husband during my birthday and holidays. I also can't wear metal watches, and I even with watches that have a leather strap but a metal face, I have to take them off at night or I'll get all itchy. Same goes for necklaces, they have to be gold, too.

#5 Random Fact on the 'Net: A raisin dropped in a glass of fresh champagne will bounce up anddown continuously from the bottom of the glass to the top. (I so need to try this!)

#6 Random Fact About Mehgan: I have never not lived near the ocean. It's come to the point where I can't imagine not living by it. Every place I consider moving to is always near an ocean. This isn't really a prejudice against those that live in the middle of the continent, I just need the salty air and the sound of the waves.

#6 Random Fact on the 'Net: Chewing gum while peeling onions will keep you from crying. (Good to know for us foodies who suffer from crying over our onions!)

#7 Random Fact About Mehgan: I can't stand the song "Another Brick In The Wall" by Pink Floyd. When I was 7, I watched "The Wall" at my sister's friend's house, and it must have scarred me or something. Every time that song comes on, my brain shuts down and my fists clench. It's very strange, I don't react that way to anything else.

#7 Random Fact on the 'Net: Hershey's Kisses are called that because the machine that make them looks like it's kissing the conveyor belt. (Now that's cute!)

#8 Randome Fact About Mehgan: My father is adamant about the fact that we are somehow related to the original Uncle Fester from the Addams Family. This would explain why everyone in my dad's side of the family is so WEIRD!!

#8 Random Fact on the 'Net: An ostrich egg would take four hours to hard boil. (I'm pretty sure I would never cool with one, then!)

And there you, another Meme from Mehgan!! I'm not going to tag anyone, because the people I would tag have already done one of these before. But, if you read this and would like to post your own either in my comments or on your own blog and say that I tagged you, be my guest!

~Mehgan~

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Royal Foodie Joust-September 2007

Every month, Jenn from the Leftover Queen hosts The Royal Foodie Joust. Each contestant is given three ingredients they must use to create a recipe that is competition-worthy for the title of Royal Foodie Joust Winner. This month's Royal Foodie Joust ingredients are chipotle, zucchini and buttermilk, as chosen by August 1, 2007's winnder marye from Apron Strings and Simmering Things. I was a bit daunted by this challenge, there were so many possiblities, and I wanted my creation to be creative, different, and most of all, tasty!

I've never cooked with chipotle before, but after this challenge, I feel I'll be adding this to my cooking repertoire for Latin foods from now on. I loved the smoky flavor, with the nice lip-smacking bite it leaves in your mouth.

I decided to go with stuffed chicken breasts, seeing as how I've never tried stuffing chicken breasts before, but thought it would really bring out the zucchini flavors. So, without further ado, here's my recipe for Zucchini Stuffed Chicken Breasts with a Buttermilk Chipotle Sauce:

For the chicken:
-4 skinless chicken breasts, halved
-1 zucchini, sliced thin
-1/2 cup sliced cheddar
-salt and pepper
-toothpicks to hold the breast together, should you need it

For the sauce:
-1 eight oz can of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
-1/2 cup buttermilk
-4 oz. plain yogurt
-salt and pepper

Instructions: Preheat oven to 375F. In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the ingredients for the sauce. I added about a half tablespoon of lime juice, but you can opt out of that, I'm just a freak about lime. Line a 13" x 9" pan with tin foil. Cut a slit in the center of each chicken breast half and stuff it with your desired amount of cheese and zucchini (I layered mine so I had two pieces each of the zucchini and cheese). I had some extra zucchini leftover, and knew I'd be using toothpicks to hold them together while they cooked, so I topped each breast half with a slice of zucchini and stuck the toothpick through that. Continue until each breast half is complete and place them in the lined pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the breasts are cooked through. Once they're done, pour the chipotle sauce over them.
I thought these turned out really, really well. The chipotle was far too spicy for me, so I ended up scraping the actual pepper pieces off, but kept the red sauce. My husband LOVED them, he's the king of all things spicy-hot. He even said to me, "Look how much you made me sweat... that's a good thing!" My little brother loved how they looked when they were plated, but was not a fan of the chipotle (spicy foods upset his stomach), but he was more than happy with the chicken without the sauce. I was especially happy that these made enough for me to bring for dinner tomorrow night when I stand duty.

I'll be posting the link for you to vote for yours truly after September 1st, which is when voting is available. I hope I get your vote! Thanks!
~Mehgan~


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

I Can Feel It In The Air...

Fall is coming! I went for a walk after dinner with E and the doggie, and it was cloudy out with a slight breeze, and I could *feel* Autumn in the air. Why I'm posting about Autumn when it's still a month and a half away is beyond me, maybe it's just because I'm really looking forward to it.
Autumn is absolutely my favorite season. I've gathered some photos (from Google images, since I don't have any great examples of my own) to show you exactly what it is about Autumn that I love.
First, the COLORS! Seattle is so gorgeous in the Fall. I'm outside a lot in the Fall because I teach color guard at a local high school, and I love seeing all the different shade of red, orange, yellow and green.
Second, SCHOOL SUPPLIES! Call me a nerd, but I love them. I think it the eternal student in me that just loves all school supplies. The more the better, bring 'em on! I recently dropped $25 at Target on school supplies alone, and I didn't even really need the, I just love them so much.
Next are pears. I used to not be a big fan of pears when I was growing up, but for some reason, I've been so drawn to bake with them. I love the way Meg Ryan describes how pears taste in "City of Angels": sugary sand that melts on my tongue. Yum.
Next, I LOVE going the the pumpkin patch. I'll admit, this is a picture of my neice when we went to the patch last year. The one by our house has a corn maze and hay rides, too, so it's like a little mini-amusement park.

And, lastly, Halloween. This is probably our favorite holiday of all. That's due to the fact that it's not one of the major holidays where our in-laws want us to come visit, and we can dress up and pretend to be someone else. As a tradition, the entire month of October we watch nothing but scary movies, we reserve our regular movies for before or after October.

Well, that's all I can think of for now. I'm still enjoying Summer immensely (I have a day full of inner-tubing on a river on the 18th), but you can't deny that Fall is slowly creeping up on us. Oh, and sorry there's no food post this time, but rest assured, there will be. I have a potluck on Friday, and I'm going to be trying a new recipe, and there are a few blogging events coming up that I'll be participating in as well.

Also, if anyone wants to do Blogging By Mail (BBM) with me, just let me know! I know the actual event itself is closed (dangit, I missed it!), but I'd still like to do it. I can think of a few pretty awesome Seattle-ish things to throw in a box for someone who wants it.

~Mehgan~

Friday, August 3, 2007

Don't Forget To Vote...

...for Yours Truly in August's Royal Foodie Joust! Go here http://craveperfection.blogspot.com/2007/08/vote-for-me-august-royal-foodie-joust.html for more info on the event. Thanks a ton, everybody!

~Mehgan~

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Cupcake Happy Dance



Hey everyone! So, yesterday I got promoted at work, and there was a big ceremony for me and three of my colleagues who also were getting promoted. I wanted to make something sweet and different from the usual coffee & donuts that are usually present at these sorts of functions. I went with my first instinct, and perused the many blogs of the Daring Bakers (handy blogroll to the left) to find just what I was craving.




Seeing as how it's summer, and my favorite cocktail is a Mojito, I went with Ivonne's Mojito Cupcakes she made for SHF#33 from her blog "Cream Puffs In Venice". I wanted to add a personal touch, so I put some shredded white chocolate in both the batter AND the frosting of these bad boys, and it added such a sweet buttery-ness that was almost unnoticeable at first bite, but really came through in the aftertaste. They went over well, and as I mentioned on Ivonne's blog, I went home empty-handed, which is a GOOD sign. One of the office secretaries even asked me for the recipe, so I e-mailed her the URL to Ivonne's blog. So, kudos Ivonne for providing such an awesome recipe! Here's the link to the recipe, in case you want to make them, too: http://creampuffsinvenice.ca/2007/07/22/shf-33-mojito-cupcakes/

Side note: this was my first (albeit, semi-successful) attempt at piping frosting from a bag. Usually, when I use a frosting bag, I end up giving up and just using a spatula to slap the frosting on. I think they turned out pretty nice!! I was doing it pretty late at night, though, so I had a two trays of very different cupcakes: the pretty ones, like the ones above, were frosted pre-10:30pm. The second tray had the aforementioned spatula treatment and were post-10:30pm. Oh, well, at least I made the effort!

I decided to include the above picture from the ceremony. That's me, second from the right! These cupcakes were the PERFECT addition to my special day, I was so happy that they not only went over really well with everyone, but the flavors to me were cupcakegasm-worthy. Yum yum!!

~Mehgan~

Vote For Me: August Royal Foodie Joust!!

Hello Everyone! Just a quick reminder to vote for me and my Honey Peach Pancakes with a Sweet Peach Glaze for this month's Royal Foodie Joust! Here's the link to vote: http://www.leftoverqueen.com/forum/index.php?topic=68.msg538;boardseen#new



And to tempt you to vote for me, here's a photo of my entry:


Voting ends at 10pm EST on 06 August, so please hurry!! Thanks for your support everyone!

~Mehgan~