The Minnesota State Fair

The Minnesota State Fair is a monumental event that I patiently wait for every summer. This 320-acre fair has been around since the year 1885, and has morphed from it’s original purpose (to educate about and promote the state’s farming and agriculture) to what we all can only imagine ANY fair is about these days—FOOD! Of course there are many intriguing events and even educational opportunities that the fair offers. The fair brings to light some of the amazing history, art, and talent Minnesota has to offer, but also makes us appreciate the very end of those short summer months by giving us happy memories and appreciation for the things that we love about life. 

The day that I went was a blistering 103 degrees, which made a typical 8-hour trip to the fair a 3-hour one. Although that was disappointing, I still had an absolute blast! It had been four years since I had gone to the fair because of my schooling at The Culinary Institute of America, so I thought that I would share some of the amazing foods that I enjoyed this year! 

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Hopefully next year we will be able to attend a few more days of the fair and truly enjoy it for all that it is, but for now I have had my fill! 

This Friday I will be BAKING! I will be bringing back one of my classic and perfected recipes along with a new one. Can you guess what the perfected recipe is?? 

Enjoy these last few weeks of summer! Who is already thinking about pumpkin spiced lattes? I know I am ;)

Rachel

100,000 Followers!!

Hey everybody! It’s me, your old pal Rachel. I know that I’ve been somewhat of a flake lately to my beloved Shesalty blog. Believe me when I say that I have missed it all. I’ve missed the photography, I’ve missed the cooking, I’ve missed my roomie Brian (www.brianthony.tumblr.com), but most of all, I’ve missed teaching you all the amazing things I have learned here at The Culinary Institute of America. This 3-year journey has just flown by…I even graduate with a Bachelor’s degree at the end of May. 

But I’d just like to say thanks to all of YOU, for sticking by me through the years. It means so much that you all love what I do, and it’s really special that I can spark an interest in some of your hearts and minds. 

I’ve been trying to get myself back in the kitchen but it’s been hard with an 18-credit course load. I find myself doing the whole grilled chicken and veggie, cereal, sandwich thing—and trust me I’m bored to TEARS. But I see some of you liked my bolognese post last weekend which was not only an amazing day of soul food, wine, and dancing alone in my apartment all day but was also amazing in the fact that I discovered, yes—I’ve still got it, baby! 

My hopes are that throughout this summer I can WOW you all once again with many food adventures. Don’t worry! I’m still around reading countless books and magazines of inspiration, attempting but failing at every herb garden I try to grow, and telling cute little grandpas at the grocery store how to buy a fresh fish. 

Boy am I ready for summer…

Thank you all again. Truly! I feel honored.

Love,

Rachel a.k.a. Shesalty

Cookin’ All Day!

Something pretty great happened in my kitchen last Saturday when I came to the realization that I had absolutely nothing to do. Take a look!

Steamed Mussels with Onion, Garlic, Hot Soppressata,Tomato, Parsley, White Wine, Parsley, and a bit of Anisette (an Anise Liqueur)  

7-Hour Braised Bolognese Sauce with Fresh Egg Pasta

Needless to say, I had an amazing Saturday cooking, jamming to music, and drinking wine.

I graduate from the Culinary Institute of America in May! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?

Rachel

Italy - Day 4, Chianti Wine and Far Too Much Food.

So I’m starting to think that this whole being tired thing will persist until November 9th when I head back to the U.S. Today we woke up early to visit the Castello di Brolio, one of the oldest vineyards in the world, dating back to 1141. Yeah, just wrap your mind around that for a second! The vineyard has used a clone of the same vine that has grown there since the very beginning! Unlike the previous vineyards we have visited, this vineyard is a high-production vineyard. You will see in the following photos just how much wine they produce. It’s an incredible amount! Probably the biggest or one of the biggest vineyards we will visit on this trip. 

The fermentation warehouse is HUGE. This is a poor picture of interpreting that but, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw how big the tanks were, plus how big the warehouse was….then the tour guide showed us the second room of tanks that were brand new. The wine ferments for about 20 days. 

Here is where they age their various wines for various times. This room was also about 3 times the size of this picture! The wines are aged in French oak barrels of medium toast, giving the wines a smooth but somewhat acidic and dry touch. The aging process can take anywhere from 9-18 months. Typically, the longer the age the more complex the flavor. But this can also depend on the grapes used and the char of the barrel. 

Characteristics of wine also come from different surrounding factors such as climate and soil. Here we see differences in the soils of the different areas in which the grapes are grown. For example some soils give wine a certain mineral quality. Wine can also be grown in different types of earth; like sand, gravel, and clay—and each environment makes each wine grow uniquely and different from each other. 

These are the three wines that we tasted from left to right. Brolio 2010 Chianti Classico DOCG. Rocca Guicciarda 2009 Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG. Casalferro 2008 Toscana IGT.

My personal favorite was the center wine—Rocca Guicciarda. I tend to enjoy wines that are drier and peppery. I think they have a lot of character! The wine to the left was the youngest wine, therefore it was very smooth and likable to all red wine drinkers while the wine on the right was deeper and for a bit more of a sophisticated palate. 

The first two wines were the same blend (80% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot) but were aged differently. The first wine for 9 months and the second for 16 months. The third wine is known as a Super Tuscan. It was 100% Merlot. Super Tuscans come from Tuscany but use anything but Sangiovese grapes (the common grape of Tuscany).

After the tasting we stopped for lunch at Osteria di Fonterutoli where we sat outside and enjoyed the landscape, relaxing breeze, and a crazy bee that wanted to kill us all. 

Course one—potato flan with pecorino and herb sauce. REALLY good. Everyone around me enjoyed it a lot!

Then we enjoyed garganelli pasta with duck ragu and wild fennel. I’m sure you all know that ragu is my FAVORITE so of course I enjoyed this a lot! 

For our entree we had this sort of roulade (a roll) of veal with the stomach lining. I have to admit not many of us were a fan of this. It was chewy and had a lot of tissue that was hard to cut through and chew. I’m glad to have tried it though. New experience!

Then for dessert we had a chocolate cake with pears. REALLY fresh and light. 

After that we stopped to walk around Siena, a beautiful and quaint little town. This is just a random alley-way. There are some amazing little shops with all kinds of things!

For dinner we ate in the cellar of Ristorante La Taverna.

Our first course was grilled polenta with sausage ragout! 

Lentil soup with bread, too. I love green lentils and it had been WAY too long since I had them so this was exciting for me. Healthy, too!

After that we enjoyed potato-filled tortilla with a sage and lemon sauce. This was really refreshing with the lemon, and the sage brought warmth.

This is guinea-fowl with truffle sauce with spinach and potatoes. When I saw this plate I thought, “Oh no, a heavy cream sauce with truffles, I’ll be full immediately” but, the sauce was surprisingly light and the truffle was really used with care. It was subtle and barely there which was a new (and smart) way I have seen truffle used. Also I loved that the meat was tender and not dry because who likes that?!

More chocolate for dessert. I only had a couple of bites but it was really good. Especially the strawberries. So delish!

Sorry for the poor amount of information but I am just so exhausted. Waking up early again plus I have to do a presentation on the bus. Not looking forward to that! 

Ciao! Rachel

Bolognese! Caprese! Molto Bene!

First things first, I need to say SORRY that I have been away from my blog for so long! With school and recent traveling, I haven’t been cooking much (just eating a TON). I am currently visiting my family in Minnesota, and last night my mother was craving pasta. Fortunately, pasta is my soul food, and honestly, my soul needs a little mending right now. So I decided to see if I could get some of my powers back. 

I started with a bolognese recipe from bonappetit.com, but honestly it was missing a lot, so I adapted the recipe in my own way. Bolognese is a hearty meat sauce with a full and rich flavor, enriched with red wine and plenty of aromatics such as onion, celery, and carrot. I also added mushrooms, and next time I think I will add some fennel root as well. Once the ground meats are browned (bolo typically has ground pork. beef, and veal, but I couldn’t find veal), tomato paste and beef stock (or broth) is added. I simmered that for an hour. It reduced really nicely. After that I added a cup of whole milk and let that simmer another 45 minutes. I also added some butter. Finally I seasoned it to my liking and added more tomato paste. 

As an appetizer I made a caprese salad. It was by far the best caprese salad I have ever made. I found the most gorgeous heirloom tomatoes. After you slice them, make sure to season them with salt! The mozzarella I found had the most perfect texture. I also made an aged balsamic reduction (just reduce 1/2c balsamic with 1T sugar and salt to taste). My mom had some big basil leaves growing in her garden that completed the dish. Just a sprinkle of freshly cracked pepper and not five minutes later the plate was demolished. 

Spiced Dark Chocolate Banana Bread—The Most Incredible Recipe Ever!

I’ve been feeling a little bit like I’m in a cooking rut. First, I Brian moved out—a huge source of my inspiration (Love you, Bri!). Then, I was without a refrigerator for about a month. Then for about a month I had no pots or pans. With my busy schedule I was practically living on granola bars and sandwiches. 

Now, I have all the things I need! But I needed a little inspiration back. When I saw a couple of black bananas in my fruit bowl, I decided to go back to my roots. Baking.

Before I came to culinary school I thought I wanted to be a baker. I spent several months teaching myself to bake before my dad suggested the idea of switching to a culinary degree. I was an awesome baker though! I would bake all day back home. 

I feel like part of my talent may have come from my grandmother—Mamaw. She was a champion baker. She died from cancer when I was young, but to this day we still have her white KitchenAid mixer.

Last week I decided to get a KitchenAid of my own. I was browsing them, deciding on features and colors before I realized that I wanted hers. A white, standard KitchenAid mixer. Today I felt my Mamaw baking with me in my kitchen. Everything went perfectly as planned. Her spirit gave me the inspiration I asked for. Miss you Mamaw! Love you. Think about you every day! Keep your spirit with me always. 

Spiced Dark Chocolate Banana Bread (yield: 3 baby loaf pans or 1 loaf pan)

Dries:

  • 1 3/4c all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4t ground clove
  • 1/4t ground nutmeg
  • 1t baking powder
  • 1/4c chopped walnuts
  • 1/4c chopped dark chocolate

Wets:

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3c buttermilk
  • 1/2c vegetable oil
  • 1/2c brown sugar
  • 1t vanilla extract
  • 1c mashed overripe bananas

Recipe:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325F. Fifteen minutes into baking I turned mine down to 300F (my oven is sensitive so pay attention to yours, too!)
  2. Sift together the dries (notice I put the brown sugar in the ‘wets’ because you can’t sift it so just add it with the wets!). Some ingredients (like the kosher salt) may not go through so just add it!
  3. In your KitchenAid (or by hand), beat the eggs. Do this first because you never know when egg shell bits will fall in. Then add the other wet ingredients, including the brown sugar but NOT the mashed banana (make sure to shake the buttermilk carton first before measuring).
  4. Chop the walnuts and chocolate if you didn’t buy chopped. I used Lindt 70% dark chocolate. What a heavenly chocolate it is. I recommend it highly! Also I didn’t use the full 1/4c. I added until I saw fit and then ate the rest. 
  5. Mash your bananas before you measure them. Measure 1c then add to the batter. Mix well. 
  6. Please! DOUBLE CHECK that you included every ingredient. Also—taste the batter! Sometimes you can tell when something is wrong, but it’s also good to see if you like it. I nommed on batter until the bowl was clean. It was just TOO good. 
  7. Spray your pans! Nothing is worse than a stuck baked good. So disappointing! 
  8. Mine baked for about 45mins, but like I said before it all depends on your oven! A helpful tip—rotate the pan/pans for even cooking. Towards the end check FREQUENTLY so you don’t burn it.The bread is ready when a toothpick comes out clean. Let the bread cool on a wire rack for 15mins, remove from the pan, then cool completely.
  9. This bread is great with a little spread of butter. Mmm.
  10. Eat entire loaf. No sharing. :D
Banana bread is this—dense, moist, sweet, and of course, banana-y.

***OH and? This bread is WAY better the next day. On the day it was made it didn’t seem very banana-y or sweet. Today? HOLY BANANA GODDESS.***

I hope you enjoy! 

Rachel

Grilled Chicken Salad with Asparagus, Grapefruit, Pecans, Cherries, Asiago, and Grapefruit-Honey Vinaigrette. Also!—How to Segment Citrus!

We hello good friends from Tumblr! It’s a gorgeous day and I’m feeling ridiculously good today. I apologize for my lack of posts (really, I do) but I have ZERO pots and pans at the moment and am very limited on equipment. This Monday, however, it’s pan shopping time. Also, I want to go to the cheese store, die, and go to heaven afterwards.

I do have a grill pan though! And after class yesterday I was ravenously craving grilled asparagus. I wanted to make something with the produce I already have at my house and this is what I came up with. As you probably can tell, I love a good salad. To me it’s a perfect lunch because it’s light and very refreshing (I do love myself a good sirloin burger though—don’t worry!). 

Within this post is also a tutorial on how to make 'grapefruit supreme'. What’s a supreme? Good question. It is when you use a knife to segment a citrus fruit, removing the skin, pith (the white spongey part), membrane, and seeds. This leaves you with these gorgeous, plump citrus segments just bursting with the pure flavor of the fruit. 

I hope you enjoy!

Please! Wash your greens! All your produce! Even wash your grapefruit because your knife will be touching every part of it. 

Trim the ends of the asparagus. They are somewhat woody and not fun to eat. You can do this with a knife, or you can do it the more classic way. Hold the spear with one hand on either tip and bend the spear down on both sides. The woody spear end should snap off, then you can trim the ragged edge (this will give you a higher yield). 

My chef at Ninety Acres taught me a wonderful tip as to how to supreme citrus. Use a filet knife (yes, like a fish filet knife). The blade of a filet knife is flexible. Grapefruit is a round fruit. See the connection yet? Imagine using a chef’s knife to do this task. You will not only waste the fruit but you will have ugly pieces that are uneven in size and have flat, uneven edges. The first step would be to cut the ends off, giving you a flat surface to work on.

Using the tip of the filet knife, carefully slice the skin and pith from the fruit. Try to start your knife as close to the pith as possible. This gives you that plump segment. Don’t worry if there is a little pith left (like mine does above). You can go back again and carefully remove those.

Then, remove the segments by slicing between the membranes. Again, try to slice as close to the membrane as possible, then ease the segment out of the fruit. While you do this, hold the fruit over the bowl because juice will drip out and we are going to use it to make our vinaigrette!

After you remove all of the segments you will be left with all of the unusable part of the fruit. Kidding! Squeeze all of the grapefruit juice into a bowl. Remove any seeds or membrane from the juice. Discard the grapefruit.

Now you have these perfectly plump, juicy grapefruit segments that will look perfect on your plate. You can use this technique with any citrus! 

The dressing is very simple to make as well. I used about 1.5T of the grapefruit juice and 2T of grapeseed oil. Slowly drizzle the oil into the juice while whisking to emulsify. Add honey to taste and a small pinch of salt. That’s it! If you think it needs more juice then go ahead and add it!

I grilled the chicken and asparagus in my handy-dandy grill pan (we can’t own a grill at this apartment complex) and then assembled my salad. 

One tip I find is handy is don’t just put all of your ingredients in a bowl and mix. I find that it makes a salad just ugly! Instead, toss the greens with your vinaigrette, plate, then add all of your ingredients on top (asparagus, chicken, segments, pecans, dried cherries, and asiago cheese). This makes a beautiful salad and won’t mess with the integrity of your ingredients.

My asparagus craving was completely satisfied with this salad. It had incredible flavor and I was able to utilize ingredients that were lying around the kitchen. See how beautiful and organized it looks? Just enough of every ingredient, not swamped in dressing, and those BEAUTIFUL citrus segments!

MMM.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. Tonight my guy is taking me to a Jazz Club and we are going to have an amazing night!! 

Shesalty OUT!

Perfect Buttermilk Pancakes

Here’s a recipe for quick and easy pancakes that will make you stomp your stupid box of Bisquick right into your kitchen floor. 

Although, if you like bland, cardboard tasting pancakes, be my guest. 

If you’re ready to upgrade to crispy, buttery, fluffy pancakes full of life and wonder, read on. You deserve it. 

Crispy Buttermilk Pancakes (yield: 5 portions)

  • 2c flour
  • 2T sugar
  • 4t baking powder
  • 1t baking soda
  • 1t salt
  • 4T melted butter (plus more on the griddle)
  • 2c buttermilk
  • 1.5t vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • Maple syrup (pure maple is the best!)
  1. Combine dries (first 5 ingredients).
  2. Combine liquids in a separate bowl (make sure the shake the buttermilk carton before measuring).
  3. Heat skillet on medium heat (you may have to turn up or down until you find what works best)
  4. Add wets to dries with a rubber spatula. ((Attention! DO NOT OVER-MIX PANCAKE BATTER—EVER! That is when you get those flat, boring pancakes. My picture is a little small but you want LUMPY batter and UNMIXED flour. People in my family were asking left and right if my batter was mixed enough. I told them yes, yes just wait. And they all loved the pancakes incredibly!))
  5. Melt 1T butter per batch of pancakes until the foam subsides. Add 1/2c batter for each pancake. Cook until golden brown on one side, flip, cook, top with more butter, pure maple syrup, then devour. Melt more butter with each batch (also, wipe off burnt butter as it collects). 
Pretty simple right? And you’ll be called The Breakfast Champion from here on out.

These might make a good Easter brunch next week!

Enjoy!

Rachel

p.s. I have a refrigerator again so I’ll be cooking!

Thanks to Brian!

As most of you know, I am heartsick that my culinary BFF is gone. So one night I made this dish off of his blog (a blog that you should check out if you haven’t—www.brianthony.tumblr.com). You can find the recipe for this there! 

What you are drooling over know is a Pan-Fried Parmesan Chicken Cutlet with Arugula Salad, 2-Hour Slow Roasted Tomatoes, White Beans, and Garlic Toasted Bread. It was out of this world!

I am going to one of the best new restaurants in Minneapolis tomorrow.

Piccolo!

I. Can’t. WAIT!!!

Have a great day! Eat well. :D

Rachel

Healthy Salad!—Grilled Chicken, Roasted Red Beets, Goat Cheese, Pomegranate Seeds, Blackberries, and Balsamic.

Last night I made one of the greatest salads I have ever had. 

All with random ingredients in the house. Lot’s complementing flavors, nice and light, and healthy, too! 

If I can make this in 20 minutes so can you. Just follow this guide! 

Make sure to wash your greens! Even if they are pre-washed. 

Now, the most intimidating component—the beets. Roasting beets is easy! Smaller ones are easier. Just wrap in foil and roast at 400F until a knife slips out with ease. 

I actually found some cooked beets that weren’t in a can! They were in the produce section and sealed in an air-tight package. 

I cut the beets and soaked them in 4T balsamic vinegar while I made everything else. By doing this you add a little acidity to the beets (VERY delicious), and eventually I added 1T of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Once you add the oil, just give it a brief whisk with the beets and now you have a delicious balsamic-beet dressing. 

I actually threw the blackberries into the dressing too with the beets. By the time I ate the salad the blackberries were a little mushy—but in a really pleasant way. I think I’ll do that again next time. BUT WASH THEM FIRST. : ) 

The pomegranate seeds were in the fridge from the last dish I made. You can buy pomegranate seeds OR you can teach yourself an easy way to seed a pomegranate.

How to get the seeds out of a pomegranate—fill a mixing bowl with water. Wash the outside of the pomegranate (so you don’t contaminate the water). Chop the pomegranate into chunks and put them in the bowl. With your hands in the water, peel the segments open and ease the seeds out. The seeds will sink to the bottom and the pulp will float to the top. Simple! No salad is complete without a crunch. I love croutons don’t get me wrong! But the seeds were the perfect addition to this salad.

Get your grill hot. Season your chicken breast with salt and pepper. Grill until heavenly charred and cooked through. Rest 5 minutes before slicing! 

While the chicken is resting, give your dressing another quick whisk. Add the greens to the dressing bowl and toss. Plate. Top with chicken, goat cheese crumbles, and if you’re like me you’ll add some fresh ground pepper.

Then very simply—DEVOUR!

-Rachel

ramake89@aol.com

Dear Shesalty fans,
I don’t really like to reblog BUT my old CIA roommate Brian (one of the most incredible chefs I know) posted this blog today and OHMYGOODNESS it is a really fun, smart, and witty read. If you like me, then you will LOVE Brian. He has an amazing heart and really knows what it means to put your soul into food. You NEED to follow him ASAP! And please—read this admirable post! It’s GENIUS!
Sincerely,
Rachel
brianthony:

Pasta Fagioli.
A family recipe, with a twist. This was my most requested soup at Kelly’s Kitchen. Understandably so. It’s perfect for this time of year. Hearty, flavorful, and guaranteed to have you coming back for seconds. I used half chorizo and half hot Italian sausage, for more of a kick. 
A few tips for making the ultimate soup:
1. Always make your own stock. — it’s so easy, cheaper than boxed, and it actually has flavor. It makes an incredible difference.
2. Always use fresh ingredients. Many people think because it’s a soup it’s okay to use canned or frozen ingredients. Not the case. The fresher, the better, guaranteed. Especially when it comes to vegetables. If the canned or frozen looks better than fresh, it’s probably out of season, and you shouldn’t be using it anyway. The same reason we don’t eat butternut squash soup in July, and why asparagus is 5 dollars a pound right now.
3. Slow down! Soups don’t have to take all day. And yes, if you absolutely must cook a soup in 30 minutes, do what you’ve gotta do. But take some time, sweat out your aromatics, low and slow, let the flavors seep out. Slowly bring the soup up to a simmer, it holds the integrity of the ingredients, as well as an aid in flavor development and matrimony.
4. Speaking of flavor development, sear any proteins, get a beautiful, golden brown color. This is FLAVOR. Please, I beg of you, don’t just toss raw meat into a pot of stock and boil it.. that’s just disgusting.
5. Season, everything.. lighter at first, adjust as you go on. Season with more than salt and pepper. Use spices, toast those spices, and grind them yourself. 
6. Taste throughout, so you know exactly what you want, and what you don’t want. If you taste a tomato soup when you first put it on the stove-top, you’ll get straight acid. Once you slowly cook the tomatoes, the acid turns to sugar, giving you a sweeter, more balanced product. You’ll know this by tasting, and often.
7. Love your food, and it’ll love you back. Be proud of it too! Cause a damn good soup is not as easy as it seems. 

Dear Shesalty fans,

I don’t really like to reblog BUT my old CIA roommate Brian (one of the most incredible chefs I know) posted this blog today and OHMYGOODNESS it is a really fun, smart, and witty read. If you like me, then you will LOVE Brian. He has an amazing heart and really knows what it means to put your soul into food. You NEED to follow him ASAP! And please—read this admirable post! It’s GENIUS!

Sincerely,

Rachel

brianthony:

Pasta Fagioli.

A family recipe, with a twist. This was my most requested soup at Kelly’s Kitchen. Understandably so. It’s perfect for this time of year. Hearty, flavorful, and guaranteed to have you coming back for seconds. I used half chorizo and half hot Italian sausage, for more of a kick. 

A few tips for making the ultimate soup:

1. Always make your own stock. — it’s so easy, cheaper than boxed, and it actually has flavor. It makes an incredible difference.

2. Always use fresh ingredients. Many people think because it’s a soup it’s okay to use canned or frozen ingredients. Not the case. The fresher, the better, guaranteed. Especially when it comes to vegetables. If the canned or frozen looks better than fresh, it’s probably out of season, and you shouldn’t be using it anyway. The same reason we don’t eat butternut squash soup in July, and why asparagus is 5 dollars a pound right now.

3. Slow down! Soups don’t have to take all day. And yes, if you absolutely must cook a soup in 30 minutes, do what you’ve gotta do. But take some time, sweat out your aromatics, low and slow, let the flavors seep out. Slowly bring the soup up to a simmer, it holds the integrity of the ingredients, as well as an aid in flavor development and matrimony.

4. Speaking of flavor development, sear any proteins, get a beautiful, golden brown color. This is FLAVOR. Please, I beg of you, don’t just toss raw meat into a pot of stock and boil it.. that’s just disgusting.

5. Season, everything.. lighter at first, adjust as you go on. Season with more than salt and pepper. Use spices, toast those spices, and grind them yourself. 

6. Taste throughout, so you know exactly what you want, and what you don’t want. If you taste a tomato soup when you first put it on the stove-top, you’ll get straight acid. Once you slowly cook the tomatoes, the acid turns to sugar, giving you a sweeter, more balanced product. You’ll know this by tasting, and often.

7. Love your food, and it’ll love you back. Be proud of it too! Cause a damn good soup is not as easy as it seems. 

You asked for it—Spanish Chicken Recipe!

A lot of you guys asked for my mother’s Spanish Chicken recipe, so I asked if she would be willing to share and she said ‘of course’! Here’s the recipe in her exact words. Enjoy! 

SPANISH CHICKEN

4 cups cooked chicken - cut bite size
2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup
1 large chopped onion
1 sm can Pickled Jalapeno Peppers + Juice (to your taste)
1 can evaporated milk 

1 dozen soft corn tortillas
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Flour tortillas (OPTIONAL)


Fold the first 5 ingredients together in a bowl.

Spray a deep oval casserole dish with cooking spray, then I start out with the thinnest layer of chicken mixture that I can and smear it on the bottom of the dish, then a layer of corn tortillas, then a layer of cheese. Top that with another layer of chicken mixture, corn tortillas, and cheese, and finish with the chicken mixture.

Bake at 375 for 55 minutes, then top with more cheese and bake it until it’s bubbly, another 10 minutes. 

Good as a main dish or rolled burrito style in flour tortillas!

<3 Rachel and Susie

Quick Post!—Orgasmic Red Peppers

Happy Holidays to all!!! I hope everyone is having a safe and wonderful break. It’s very busy over at my house. We have my mom, dad, three sisters, brother, brother-in-law, two nieces and two nephews at the house. Tomorrow night I am cooking an incredible Italian Christmas dinner!

Here’s a sneak peek at the menu: 

  • Caprese Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Antipasti Plate - Prosciutto, Salami, Parmigiano Reggiano, Sicilian Olives, Braised Artichokes, Roasted Red Peppers with Garlic and Herb-Roasted Mushrooms.
  • Garlic Soaked Baguette
  • My Incredible Meat Sauce with Fettucini. I simmer the meat sauce all day long. My Mom requests it every time I’m home! 

Tonight I am doing a little prep work. I started with roasting the red peppers. I used an open flame to char every side of the pepper, then transferred them to a bowl and covered them with plastic wrap for a half hour. The plastic traps the steam, which helps the peppers cook completely and will help loosen the skin from the pepper. Meanwhile I made a garlic olive oil to store the peppers in. I slowly simmered 15 smashed garlic cloves in olive oil until the garlic began to caramelize. I let it cool while the peppers were cooling. Then I removed the skins from the peppers, sliced them, and combined them with the oil. Pretty easy and fun little snack! They are pretty orgasmic—like candy. Try it out sometime! Great in salads, on sandwiches, pizza, pasta, or on their own! Here’s a couple pictures!

Soon I will be making big, soft, chewy gingerbread cookies with my nieces and nephews. But for now I am off to enjoy my mom’s pork roast with gravy! 

Merry Christmas to those celebrating!! 

Happy Holidays to everyone! Be safe but have fun!

Rachel