Sunday, April 10, 2011

March: In like a Lion and out like one too

Hi Blog fans, I think we are just about ready for a spring awakening .

A special gift from a special someone.
  Sorry for the delay in posting, the last three weeks have been quite the whirlwind.  I have been embracing the last stretch of an Edmontoian winter with steak dinners, dance parties, red wine, and excessive trips to West Edmonton Mall.  I am happy to announce that spring is around the corner and it’s great to see the sunshine again.  Things have certainly gotten much “richer” in the land of Kerri’s Kitchen.  I am looking forward to spring and all the sunshine and frolic that it will bring. 

Keep posted for my “Comforts of Home” series and my “Best of Bridge Challenge”

Bon Appétit!

One of my last times in my winter jacket..I hope

Sunday, March 20, 2011

It's Not Easy Being Green

Hi Readers,
 It’s been a busy week here in Kerri’s Kitchen. My Green Monster Challenge has gone very well and I have a new found love and appreciation of my Magic Bullet Blender.   

A Green smoothie in the morning is just as energizing as a cup of coffee. In keeping with my St. Patrick’s Day inspired green theme I experimented with some interesting vegetables and some health conscious recipes. 

I made, baked herb chicken breasts and crispy kale chips.  The baked chicken was successful and tasted great. 
One minor issue as the stove decided to kiss me when I wanted to baste the chicken.  The lesson here, take the chicken out of the stove and then baste it. 

I was amazed that even a two second bump into a 400 degree oven leaves a nasty blister.  My Mom told me it will be the first of many injuries in my cooking journey. 
The proof that my oven tried to kiss me.

Degree of Difficulty: 4
Execution: 2 
(the burn on my arm clearly brought down my execution score)

 The Kale Chips were unique.  I had 4 cups of kale to use up so I made a large batch of chips.  They were very tasty out of the roaster but got soggy quickly.  A cool cooking experiment but I don’t think I will be making these again.  
Kale washed and prepared

Degree of Difficulty: 2
Execution: 2 
Crispy Kale Chips

 Bon Appétit!

Brown Paper Packages Tied up with String

Yah! for Presents

 There's nothing quite like getting a Brown shipping box in the mail! This was the highlight of my Thursday.

A special gift arrived from my number one blog fans.  It was a great treat to have a brown box waiting for me at my door step when I got home from work. I am very excited to try all of the new and old favorite recipes. 

The Best of the Best and then some

A nice new set of cook books for my collection

 Bon Appétit!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Chili Time!

Happy Spring Forward Day Blog Readers, 

On Thursday evening I made my Mom's chili.  A favorite recipe that I have wanted to try for some time.  I followed her written out instructions and it turned out fabulous.  

I had some vegetables left over in my fridge, I cut them up and through them in the chili.  A deviation from the recipe but it gave it a little extra kick.  

The Basic Recipe:
Fry Ground Beef  - season with Heinz seasoning
Add Onion to Skillet or Roaster
Turn stove off and add green pepper, can of kidney beans, can of pork and beans, Heinz Chili Sauce, and a can of petite cut tomatoes.
Stir Stir Stir  
Bake in oven for  hour at 350 

Enough Chili to last me well into Spring! 

Degree of Difficulty: 3
Execution: 3 (Perfect)
Bon Appétit!

The Art of Entertaining: You should come for dinner this Sunday

Dinner on Sunday?

After two months in my kitchen learning about butter, spices and cooking temperatures I decided to get brave.  I boldly went where I have never gone before and invited a nice young man to dinner.   Blog readers I politely ask that you shrink those wide eyes, and silence your gasps. This blog is about cooking after all, not my dating life. 

The first step in this process was deciding what to cook.  I wanted something easy yet really impressive.  I decided on Chicken Ravioli with a Sage Cream Sauce.  This recipe can be found in the Bravo Best of Bridge Cook Book on page 270. 

It called for fresh Ravioli, I used an Olivieri, Chicken Sundried Tomato  Ravioli.  The pasta was very nice but cooked really quickly as it was fresh.  I overcooked a few of them which caused them to burst.  The trick to cooking the ravioli was doing it in time to toss it with the sauce as they cooled down quickly.

The recipe was easy to follow but required a few pointers from my Mom and Brenda. To keep the cream sauce from curdling, I was advised to saute it on a low temperature.  I simmered the sauce for quite some time but it didn’t seem to reduce as much as I would have hoped.   

However in tossing it with the ravioli it tasted delicious.  I added a touch of olive oil to my Ravioli before I tossed it with the sauce.  This gave it a nice glimmer and helped the cream sauce stick.  
Presenting Dinner A'La Kerri

I served the pasta with a tossed green salad , fresh bread with oil and vinegar and a nice white wine.  In preparing all of this I realized I didn't have any nice serving dishes for pasta or bread. A recent sale at The Bay solved this problem.  Be sure to come over soon so I can entertain you with my new serving platters.

Lessons from My Chicken Ravioli with a Sage Cream Sauce:
This was a great opportunity for me to brush up on my cooking vocabulary.  For example words like shallot, clove, and reduction.  A Shallot is a green onion, a clove of garlic is typically one of the petals on the bud and a reduction is a fancy word for sauce. 

An additional question for the experts: How many tbsp of jarred Minced Garlic do you need when the recipe calls for 3 cloves?

A very successful dinner for my lovely guest, he was very impressed. 

Degree of Difficulty:  7
Execution: 6 ( It was a challenge to get the sauce to reduce and to serve it hot)

The Art of Entertaining

 Presenting: The “Art” of Entertaining Series

This series is dedicated to my marvellous Aunties and my Mom.  They have inspired me throughout my life. They are domestic divas who can entertain effortlessly. 

As true diva's when Mom, Carol, Brenda and Marnie are entertaining:  their houses are spotless and their smiles bright and welcoming. They invite you in to enjoy crisp appetizers as they keep the wine flowing.  The main courses are scrumptious, unique and served hot. Dinner is always followed with coffee and tea and delicious dessert . 

 In learning to cook and entertain I have gained a new respect for these lovely ladies.  ENTERTAINING is HARD!! There are so many elements to piece together and timing is everything.  (clean house, cute outfit, pretty hair, setting the table, cutting the appetizer,  getting the chilled wine, cooking, keeping it warm and serving it.. YIKES)

A Pre-Christmas Dinner at My Auntie Carols
 Cheers to my Auntie's and my Mom.  I will continue to look to you  for inspiration as I conquer the fine art of being a hostess with the most.  

Please enjoy this ongoing series as I master my entertaining skills. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Green Monster Challenge

 Green Monster Madness!

Flax Seed, Spinach, Banana and Milk
In honour of St. Patrick's Day I have challenged myself to partake in the Green Monster Movement.  Over the next seven days I will drink one Green Monster every morning ! These smoothies are full of iron, vitamins and other anti oxidants. I have horrible eating habits and have been feeling terrible and exhausted lately.  I hope that adding milk and spinach to my diet is a step in the right direction.  

Check out the website: 

My coworker Caitlin, author of The Angry Vegan highly recommends this practice.  So readers,  raise your green glasses to the Week of the Green Monster! 

It's like a Shamrock Shake with Spinach rather than Ice Cream!!