It has been a very long time since I used Illustrator for anything other than work. With the said software being such a powerful vector tool, I’ve reached a point I’ve started to abhor using it for wireframes (I’m a web designer) and icon creation. And since I became a mom, I’ve got less and less time to create anything fancy on it.
So I’ve decided to once in a while create something with calligraphic typography. Haven’t had the time to practice actual calligraphic strokes so I said, “Why not with Illustrator?” And this quote happened.
This might have been one of the most “serious” doodles I’ve ever done.
I usually doodle with no conscious intention of what the output will be. I mean, that’s what doodles usually are about right? With this artwork, it had the intention of being an entry for Michaels. I didn’t win the contest but I realized how “zen” I was while creating it and how good it looked after.
Since then, I’ve made conscious efforts in doodling. Sometimes I like what I did, sometimes I don’t. But that is what art is all about. It’s all trial and error.
This artworks were all about shapes curated together into a chaotic hodge-podge of anything nature related. Thus, the majority of nature images you see. I’m a frustrated gardener. Possibly the reason you see lots of plants.
I love pasta. More than pizza in fact. Whenever hubby gets pizza cravings, I immediately check what pasta options there are. When my latest Try the World box arrived a few weeks ago, it had products hailing from Italy. As expected, pasta ingredients were in there, so it wasn’t a surprise to find a Pasta recipe inside the box. My hand immediately started itching to cook some delicious pasta.
The recipe was for Pesto Pappardelle. The recipe called for some ciliegine (mini mozzarella balls). I didn’t find any in our supermarket, so I opted to use some mozzarella sticks, which I grated on the pasta before serving.
This recipe serves 2.
1 tbsp butter
1 jar pesto sauce
1 cup of peas
1 package pappardelle
1 cup ciliegine (mini mozzarella balls)
Heat a large skillet over moderate heat and add butter. When butter is melted, add peas and cook for 2 minutes. Then mix in the jar of pesto sauce.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add package of pappardelle and cook until al dente, for about 4-5 minutes, then drain.
Add the cooked pappardelle to the pesto and toss to coat evenly.
Distribute into 2 serving bowls and add 1 cup of ciliegine (or grated mozzarella). Serve, and enjoy!
Save some cooking water to stir into the pesto. It loosens the sauce while helping it adhere to the pasta.
For added flavor, use some truffle zest or truffle sauce on the pasta. Don’t use too much as too much truffle can overwhelm any dish.
I remembered this large turkey leg my husband and I bought during Calgary Stampede a few years ago. It was one big meaty leg. It was so big, my husband and I had our fill for it during dinner.
I crave for that cooked leg. Unfortunately, we don’t have a deep fryer at home to fry it in. We also don’t have a grill to barbecue it on. And I’m not a fan of barbecuing. I like eating the barbecued stuff but I’m not good at barbecuing or grilling. I can’t stand cooking for too long with that smoke all around me.
Thank goodness for the good ol’ oven. I figured that I could cook the turkey legs the same way one can cook a while Turkey during Thanksgiving. The good thing about this decision is you use ingredients on a smaller scale.
So please check out my recipe for Oven Cooked Turkey Legs.
1 clove of garlic, sliced
2 turkey legs
6 tbsps butter
salt to taste
1 cup chicken stock, or as needed
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Rinse the turkey legs and pat dry.
Stand the turkey legs upright (as if the turkey were standing). Press a knife downward into the deep tissue, creating 2 or 3 long pockets. Press slices of garlic into each opening.
Pull back the skin on the legs. Rub turkey legs with half of the butter, and season with a little salt.
Put the skin back into place, rub with more butter, and season lightly with salt. Then lay the legs in a roasting pan.
Pour the chicken stock into the roasting pan. Put in remaining butter into the chicken stock.
Roast uncovered for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Add more chicken stock or water if needed while roasting, and baste every 30 minutes with the stock.
Once cooked, transfer legs onto a plate. Then serve.
Should you prefer, you can make gravy out of the stock left in the roasting pan.
You can use cut celery stalks in replacement of garlic, to press through cut thigh pockets.
The process is easy. It’s the waiting time that kills especially when your whole house smells like turkey. 😀
Any oven-baked recipes you want to share? Just put it in the comments below.
Besides chicken soup, beef stew is another recipe that is perfect for a cold day. Especially once you get home after combating the almost -30 F cold. Once you step into your home’s threshold, you are embraced by the warmth and smell of cooking stew. The atmosphere just screams of “home” doesn’t it?
1/2 pound boneless chuck steak, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 tbsps all-purpose flour
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups beef stock
2 carrots, cut into 1-inch lenghts
1 celery stalk, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 tbsp ketchup
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1 large potato, scrubbed and cut into large chunks
salt and pepper
Season the steak generously with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a dutch oven or lrage, flameproof casserole dish over high heat.
When the oil begins to smoke, add the steak and cook while stirring frequently for 5-8 minutes, or until well-browned. Then transfer cooked meat to a bowl using slotted spoon.
Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions to the pot, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until translucent.
Stir in the flour and cook while stirring continuously for 2 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Beat in 1 cup of the stock and cook, scraping up all the sediment from the bottom of the pot.
Stir in the remaining stock and the carrots, celery, ketchup, bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, and 1 tsp of salt. Return the steak to the pot.
Bring back the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook over low heat for 1 hour.
Add the potatoes, replace the lid, and simmer for additional 30 minutes.
Remove the lid, increase the heat to medium, stirring occasionally for another 30 minutes, or until the meat and vegetables are tender.
If the stew becomes too thick, add a little more stock or water.
After cooking, let stand for 15 minutes before serving.
The house smells divine cooking this thing! Try it!
I recently purchased a photo cookbook titled Cook Visualize the Perfect Plate. It has now become my favorite cookbook-slash-coffee table book in the house. What I like about the book is it gives you step-by-step photographs of each recipe, guiding your cooking experience to near perfection of what to expect in each step. It’s a dilemma I encounter sometimes with photo-absent recipes when you have no idea of you are doing the steps correctly.
This is the first recipe I tried from the book. It came out perfect and delicious. The only non-perfect aspect of my chicken pot pie were my dough crimps. Have to practice on that. But oh, I was just so happy to successfully cook anything with pie crust from scratch. 😀
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups sliced white button mushrooms
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 cups cold chicken stock
3 tbsps butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 pound skinless, boness chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 sheet of store-bought rolled dough pie crusts
1 egg, lightly beaten
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400° F.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the mushrooms and onion and cook over medium heat. Stir frequently for 8 minutes until golden.
Add the carrots, celery, and half the stock into the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 12-15 minutes until the vegetables are almost tender.
While the pot is simmering, melt the butter in another large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 4 minutes. Gradually whisk in the remaining stock. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring, until thick.
Stir the flour mixture into the vegetable mixture. Add the chicken peas, and thyme.
Simmer everything continuously for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding salt and pepper, if needed. Divide the mixture among large ramekins (individual ceramic dishes). For this recipe, we used 2 ramekins.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut out 2 circles, each 1 inch larger than the diameter of the ramekins.
Place the pie dough circles on top of the filling, then crimp the edges. Cut a small cross in the center of each circle.
Put the ramekins on a baking sheet and brush the tops with beaten egg.
Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling.
Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.
How about you, what is your Chicken Pot Pie recipe? Do share!