Wildcilla's Culinary Daydreams

Kitchen Experiments
September 9, 2009, 7:37 pm
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I made carnitas for the first time this weekend and I made poached eggs for the first time today!  I know, I know, the wild and crazy life I lead.  But now I know how to make both things!  That’s really all for today.  Pride and joy in experimentation.

Carnitas was just 3 pounds of pork shoulder covered in 1 cup orange juice, 3 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt.  It simmered 2 hours on low and then sizzled until all of the liquid was gone.  Next time, I think I would add a little less water, and add onions and garlic and maybe tomato paste once it got to the sizzling stage.  Delicious.  It made a TON, so prepare yourself with guests.

Poached eggs were a little weird, but worked eventually.  I only wasted one experiment egg (and one fried egg I made just in case poached would never work – but I kept that in the fridge to do a further experiment to see if fried eggs keep in the fridge).  Out of all the random kitchen appliances and gadgets I have, I do not have a poached egg maker.  Actually, I’d never had a poached egg before tonight (so I guess that’s what I made).  Simmering water, toss in an egg, turn off the heat and cover the pot for 3 minutes.

Got any kitchen experiment ideas I should try?


Spaghetti Carbonara
August 21, 2009, 7:46 pm
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Breakfast is the ultimate comfort food.  Bacon and eggs and pancakes – it says leisurely, weekend at 10 am when you have time to read the paper instead of visiting www.msn.com and make coffee instead of rush through 7-11.  So since I haven’t had a leisurely morning this week, and this weekend doesn’t look like it either, I’m having breakfast for dinner.

Now, in my younger, immature days, when I used to fight my Dad for the bowl with the bunny in the bottom (they still have that bowl, I think I still fought for it last time I was home) The Internet is awesome. I actually found the bowls.– back in those days, I was all about the sugary coffee cake, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, sugar for an early morning rush kind of breakfasts.

Now that I’ve matured, bacon and eggs are my favorite part of breakfast.  My personal best ‘got to sleep in breakfast’/’had to work late dinner’ is a toad in the hole, with a fried egg cooked into your bread so it all mixes together when you break the yolk.  (Toad in a hole is a ridiculously mature breakfast choice, if in name only.)  But we had that a few nights ago.

So this time I’m making breakfast for dinner, Italian style.  This dish is rich and decadent and amazingly easy.  Comfort food at it’s best.

Spaghetti Carbonara is easy.  Throw  some bacon in a pan while you’re boiling water and cooking some angel hair pasta.  Along side the bacon, toss in a smushed garlic clove.  Take the garlic out once it’s brown on all sides – you can dice it up and add it to the pasta if you want – I don’t because I normally burn it when I forget about the bacon. It’s just there to give a little garlic flavor.

When the bacon is ready (you want it chewy, not crispy) take it out of the pan,  pour out all but a tablespoon of the bacon grease, and keep the pan off the heat.  (By pour it out, I clearly mean into your bacon grease container that you keep in the fridge.  I’m not just talking about not pouring hot grease down the disposal.  Don’t waste liquid gold.  Whatever recipe you have, it would be better with bacon.)

Meanwhile, while the pasta and bacon are cooking, crack one egg per serving of pasta into a dish.  Scramble it up and add some salt and pepper and some red pepper flakes if you want.  When the pasta is done, drain it and toss it into your bacon pan – which should not be searing hot any more, just warm.  Now, pour the eggs on top of the pasta and mix it around a bit.  You DON’T want the eggs to scramble, so if your pan was hotter than you thought, pour it right back into the dish.  The hot pasta will cook the eggs.*  Slice or rip up the bacon over the top, mix it all around, and you’ve got it.  You should have a bowl of pasta in a creamy sauce with bacon flecks throughout.  Dive in.  Saturday morning in a grownup Italian bowl.  (You can eat it out of a bunny bowl if you want, but you have to fight my Dad for it.)

Spaghetti Carbonara

*I live life like I’m sky-diving.  I’m crazy, I’m impervious to pain, I’m adventurous, I am a young and irresponsible whippersnapper.  I eat eggs that maybe aren’t cooked completely thoroughly – though they do heat in the pan and with the pasta!!  But “elderly, small children, pregnant women and persons with weakened immune systems are at increased risk for serious illness from egg-related Salmonellosis.”  So be careful.  But the rest of us, throw caution to the wind!  It’s pasteurized, you’ll be fine.

Apologies in advance for the excessive exclamation points!
August 21, 2009, 7:45 pm
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I’m getting a niece, I’m getting a niece!!  My sister-in-law is pregnant and it’s a girl!  And I’m really excited!  And we can wear pink and have tea parties and I can spoil her and we can be buddies!!  And someone will like the boxes of handmade Barbie clothes Oma made me!!  And I can teach her to make Oma bread and cookies!  And she will be cute!


Thank you for your time.  If you also received one of the really excited phone calls, thank you for that time as well.

Cobbler Update
August 16, 2009, 1:28 pm
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The blackberry cobbler turned out extremely well. I made it in my cast iron pan (which is one of my top five favorite things in my kitchen), which made for a beautiful presentation, until it was all scooped into bowls. Topped it off with ice cream and a few fresh strawberries. Very nice finish to a nice meal. (The rest of the meal was a pork tenderloin, grilled by Chris in the backyard, roasted potatoes with the fresh rosemary Mom brought me, and an attempted green bean and tomato salad, until I determined that those were not green beans, they were black eyed peas, and so it was a weird salad instead). Mom and Dad came in for the weekend, which was just wonderful. It’s really nice to have people come to my apartment and visit the Bear on our own turf. Overall, I’m extremely pleased with this weekend. 🙂

Southern Blackberry Cobbler Ice Cream
August 13, 2009, 7:43 pm
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Blue Bell Southern Blackberry Cobbler Ice Cream

Blue Bell Southern Blackberry Cobbler Ice Cream

Blue Bell ice cream, blackberries and cobbler.  How could life be better?  Chris has fallen for this ice cream.  However, they only sell it at one grocery store in Lubbock, and so on my recent trip to Wal-mart (I know, I am responsible for the downfall of the universe for shopping at Wal-mart, but they have better meat, what can you do) I couldn’t find his ice cream.  So I came home with big plans to recreate Oma’s blackberry cobbler with Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla on it, and all will be right with the world again.

There was one summer when I was a kid that Aunt Barbara and Oma went a little nuts for blackberries, or dewberries, which is what you have in Central Texas.  Hunting for berries was hot work that involved every nursery in Travis and Caldwell counties, but it was completely made up for afterwards.  Hunting for and bringing home and washing and freezing all the berries meant that there was always a bag of dewberries at Oma’s.  One of my favorite memories is Lockhart on hot, lazy afternoons in the backyard at Oma’s house with a bowl of berries and a scoop of ice cream.  Always and only Blue Bell homemade vanilla.

So, I’m going to follow most of Homesick Texan’s Dewberry Cobbler Recipe.  I’ll let you know what I do differently.  And I will eat it in my backyard, with my parents (! who are visiting this weekend, I’m thrilled!!), thinking of Oma and lazy summer days.

“Oh, blackberry tart, with berries as big as your thumb, purple and black, and thick with juice, and a crust to endear them that will go to cream in your mouth, and both passing down with such a taste that will make you close your eyes and wish you might live forever in the wilderness of that rich moment.” – Richard Llewellyn

College Humor: The More You Read
August 7, 2009, 5:43 pm
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Understanding of semi-colons
Wondrous, far-off lands discovered
How much fun it is to talk to you
Hatred for the Harry Potter books
Likelihood that you have Closed Captioning on
Swirlies recieved back in high school
How impressive your English papers are
How impressive your English degree is

College Humor

Psycho Killer, qu’est-ce que c’est?
August 6, 2009, 6:42 pm
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Bear is a serial killer.

His first hit was a baby bunny at the soccer fields.  The Ultimate Frisbee team cheered for him when he brought in his kill.

His second hit was a mouse.  He dared to enter the backyard.

Hit three was a baby bird.  Bear didn’t get to finish with the killing, so he involved me as an accomplice.

Today was a grackle.  Bear was on a leash, on a LEASH, and he attacked the grackle as it was trying to fly up the tree near the middle school.  He got in three shakes, and then grackle’s friends swooped in.  Bear and I ran home.  But they saw where we lived.

Now we can’t leave the house.  The grackles know where we are.  The bunnies have forbidden us from ever returning to the soccer fields.  The middle schoolers will set up a blockade around the school.  There’s no where for us to turn.


And to think, when I chose between the two dogs that were offered, I picked the fuzzy one, thinking he’d be safe.  You can’t trust anyone these days.