Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops

Made these tonight and they were a pretty good way to dress up your ordinary pork chop.  Crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.  Plus, they were nice and easy.  Served it with some new potatoes and green beans sauteed in garlic and I was stuffed!


  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup dried Italian-style bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan
  • 4 (1/2 to 3/4-inch thick) center-cut pork loin chops (each about 10 to 12 ounces)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • Lemon wedges, for serving


Whisk the eggs in a pie plate to blend. Place the bread crumbs in another pie plate. Place the cheese in a third pie plate. Sprinkle the pork chops generously with salt and pepper. Coat the chops completely with the cheese, patting to adhere. Dip the chops into the eggs, then coat completely with the bread crumbs, patting to adhere.
Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Add pork chops, in batches if necessary, and cook until golden brown and the center reaches 150 degrees, about 6 minutes per side. Transfer the chops to plates and serve with lemon wedges.

Porch Garden

A few weeks ago we took a trip to Lowe's and picked up some plants for our apartment porch.  Flowers, herbs, and hanging pots.   Last Saturday I picked up a little bird feeder and we had our first birds tonight, two mourning doves.  I love it out there!

Petunias & impatiens

Can't remember what these were :(
A pink Mandevilla.  The vine is creeping all over our porch rails
See the dove?  She was in a puddle of rainwater from yesterday

The male is on the left...he was puffing up and strutting his stuff
The male - he posed for me :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Purple Practice Cake

When I make a cake I make sure to save any extra components that I made and didn't use.  They go right into the freezer.  This time I had all of the pieces stored up- pre-colored fondant, extra buttercream, cake, and some raspberries that I put in the freezer a few months ago.  I had some girlfriends over for dinner and decided to make a little practice cake for our dessert.   I wanted to practice my bows, so I slapped a big one right in the front of it.  I wasn't sure what to put on the rest of the cake, so I just piped some buttercream dots.  My piping skills are seriously lacking though, sigh.  I'd like to take a Wilton decorating class sometime soon to get better.  At any rate, here is the finished product.  I call it a Raspberry Neopolitan cake because it had vanilla cake, chocolate cake, and raspberry buttercream.  Mmmm!

I got to use my pretty little silver cake stand for this one

A closer view of my bow

The guts.  Deelicious!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Shredded Chicken and Tomatillo Tacos with Queso Fresco

Tonight I worked with tomatillos for the very first time.  They are ugly little buggers, and I was a little wary when I was preparing them.  After you remove the papery husk from the tomatillo, it reveals a little green tomato-like veggie.  Their skin felt sticky and tacky so I got a little worried, but decided to press on.  I'm glad I did...this recipe was pretty good.  I threw in an extra serrano pepper (just a small one) and it definitely could have done without.  Those things are HOT!  So next time just one serrano as the recipe states.  This was also my first time eating queso fresco.  It's a mexican cheese that resembles feta, except without the sharpness of feta.  It was good but I think next time I will bring it to room temperature before serving.   It stayed cool on the taco and didn't get melty like I would want.   I think next time I'd throw on some diced tomato and lettuce as well. I missed that fresh layer of the taco.  They were served on corn tortillas, which throws another flavor into the mix.  They are much more flavorful than plain ol' flour tortillas.  Overall I did like this dish a lot and plan to make again!

Recipe from Bobby Flay

  • 6 tomatillos, husked, washed, and grilled until blackened
  • 1 serrano, grilled until blackened
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 small red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 8 blue corn tortillas
  • 1 cup crumbled queso fresco


Preheat the grill to medium. Add the blackened tomatillos and serrano to a small saute pan and briefly saute in a little olive oil on the grates of the grill.
Place the tomatillos, serrano, onion, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, and honey in a blender and blend until smooth. Place the tomatillo mixture in a large saute pan and place on the grates of the grill. Bring the mixture to a simmer, add the chicken, and heat through.
Place the tortillas on the grill, and grill for 20 seconds on each side. Spoon the chicken mixture into the tortillas and top with a few tablespoons of queso fresco. Fold the tortillas in half serve immediately.
The tomatillos

Check out the queso fresco chillin with the grilled tortillas!

And the final result.  I served this with an avacado & blackbean salad

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cars Lightning McQueen Cake

Another cake completed! - a Disney Cars cake that I made for Noah's birthday.  Noah is the son of our friend Alisha from work.  The car, Lightning McQueen, is made with rice krispie treats that I molded and covered with red fondant.  After that I added all of the details.  The car alone took a Friday night, all day Saturday, and most of Sunday.  And that part wasn't even eaten!  I'm crazy, this I know.  I handled it so much that the dri,ed fondant starting cracking.  Kind of devastating considering all the time I spent on it.  But I heard that Noah liked it, so all is redeemed.  :)   This is the first time I've made a little matching base for the cake.  I covered a cake board with black fondant and then trimmed it with yellow ribbon.  I think it makes the cake look more finished and I plan to do that more on future cakes.

Here's the rice krispies all molded and being covered with buttercream

Finished with the buttercream covering

Before I covered it in red fondant, I added a few details underneath - the windshield, windows, and teeth

Here he is all covered in red fondant and with eyes added.  I cut out the red where the windshield, windows, and teeth were to reveal what was underneath

I needed to make graduated color from red to yellow for the lightning bolt on the side of the car.  This can be done pretty easily with an airbrush.  Unfortunately, I don't own an airbrush, so I took different colors of fondant and worked them together to get this result...

And finally, some completed cake shots

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Basil Marinated Chicken

I planted some herbs out on our porch and the basil is doing quite well.  I searched the web for some basil and chicken recipes and found this simple one that I took a stab at.  Best part is, it has ingredients that I always have in the fridge, freezer, and pantry so I can make it any time

1/2 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 boneless chicken breasts
Salt and freshly ground pepper
    Place basil, oil, garlic and vinegar in a blender and blend until smooth. Place chicken in a shallow baking dish, add the marinade and turn to coat. Marinate for 2 hours in the refrigerator. Preheat grill. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through.

    This turned out ok.  I think I would change a few things, like marinating it for an hour instead of two.  The acid in the vinegar broke down the outer layer of chicken more than I would've liked and made it have an interesting texture.  I cooked this on a grill pan on top of the stove since we can't have outdoor grills at our apartment. Booo!  I'd like to give this one a try one more time on an outdoor grill to see what kind of results I get.  

    Here's the chicken after I poured the marinade on.  Ready to be tossed in basily goodness.
    The end!

    Sunday, May 2, 2010

    Shabby Chic Cake

    Here's my latest cake.  It was a baby shower cake on a cupcake tower.  I made all of the little fondant flowers and the bow is out of fondant as well.  I'm trying to get better at my bows and I'm happy with the way this one turned out.

    Next cake on the agenda is a Cars cake...like from the pixar movie.  Yippee!

    Saturday, May 1, 2010

    How to make your own cupcake wrappers

    I was asked by my friend Sara to make a Shabby Chic baby shower cake for a shower that she was throwing.  We sat down and drew out the design for the cake and decided to do a cupcake stand with a 6" cake on top.   Later in the week, I remembered seeing some cute cupcake wrappers while looking online for wedding stuff.  They would've fit the Shabby Chic them perfectly.  So I searched for them again and found them, but they are a buck a piece!  I had to make at least 40 cupcakes so that wouldn't have worked!  
    Here's what I'm talking about...

    I searched online to see if I could find a cheaper DIY alternative and found the answer - paper doilies!
    I went to Michaels and got the doilies - two packages of 16 8" doilies for 2 bucks each.  I get two wrappers out of each doily, so that's about 6 cents per wrapper.  SCORE!
    Here's how you make em'...

    1.  Take 3-4 doilies at at time and fold them in half.  Just the middle part, not the lacey border.

    2.  Cut the circle out of the center

    3.  Cut through one side

    4.  Wrap the doily around your cupcake to see what length you will need and cut.  I made the mistake of doing this on the cupcake wrappers before I even made the cakes.  Once the cupcakes were done, I found that the doilies were cut too small, so wait until the end to do this!  Note: once you have the length measured out, you can use one as a template to cut the rest.  No use in measuring every single one.

    5.  Wrap the doily around and secure with a small piece of tape.

    6.  Done!