The Cheesecake Addiction

My Life in Food

Archive for the tag “mexican”

Real Estate, New Apartment, Menu Planning, and Seafood Tacos

Well hi there! And again, OH MY GOD SO MUCH HAPPENED.

CDR and I have moved into our new apartment and we have an adorable kitchen with stupid high cabinets, great counter space, and a dance floor.

I got a job at Weichert, Realtors-Nickel Group–a firm in Oak Park and I am open for business. The site is still under construction and will soon include a DIY Blog, but take a look here and I don’t know…maybe call me? I need clients (buyers, renters, and sellers!).

Ok, so two huge new things. Both have meant that CDR and I have to live pretty tightly. My new income is commission based, so I’m living off of savings and a little bit of support from my parents. Pretty tight living, but good living. To keep costs down, we’ve been planning our menus a week in advance. I teased him about this, for his meticulous planning, but really–it saves a ton of money. Other money savers: Buying a whole chicken, butchering it yourself, and then making your own stock. Seriously, guys. Chicken is so expensive. You probably will save between$3-$6 just buying it whole, and then butchering it yourself. And you’ll save $3-$4 dollars by making your own stock and you’ll get twice as much. Just throw the back bone and gizzards into a pot or slow cooker with herbs, lemon, garlic, onions, veggies (really whatever you want) and cover with water. Simmer in a pot for an hour, or slow cook as long as you want, strain and jar it up. Keep in the fridge for a week or store it in the freezer for a couple months. Totally worth it. I’ve found that my favorite stock was made with a sliced lemon, a bunch of fresh cilantro, and a couple cloves of unpeeled garlic (salt and pepper to taste). Yep. That’s it. And you’ve saved about $10 total. Do this once a week and each month you’ll have enough wings to do a “wing night” for two. 🙂

Do the same with leftover veggies and make vegetable stock.

OK. Food time. Before we moved and on a night when the weather was particularly awesome and we were feeling close to our SoCal roots, we decided that seafood tacos with a chipotle sauce were the only way to go. SO, we went to Whole Foods and bought some calamari and shrimp. We let them marinate for about 15 minutes in some lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.marinatingseafood

And meanwhile, CDR made the chipotle sauce. Pretty sure it’s just mayo mixed with a bit of dijon and some adobo sauce from a can of chipotles. And maybe some lime juice and cider vinegar.



Then we skewered the seafood and grilled it (I, as always, was in charge of the grilling–because, you, know…I’m a grillin’ machine).grillintime



We created our taco assembly line.

Red onion, tomato, cilantro, avocado, limes, seafood, and corn tortillas

Red onion, tomato, cilantro, avocado, limes, seafood, and corn tortillas

And assembled some bad-ass SoCal tacos. Drizzle with fresh lime juice and chipotle sauce. Serve with beans and rice and you got yourself the best damn tacos ever!

These babies fell from Heaven and right into my tum tum!

These babies fell from Heaven and right into my tum tum!

Ok, actually, the shrimp was a little weird. But I’m very particular about my shrimp. I think it was slightly under-done or something, but the calamari was perfect. The trouble is that when you’re skewering shrimp, it curls up. And usually, a curled shrimp is the way to tell doneness, but if it starts out curly it’s all a timing thing. But typically 3 minutes on one side and 2-3 on the other is pretty good for shrimp.

So yeah. Seafood tacos. A win.

Thanks for stopping by, and don’t forget to tell your friends I’m a fancy realtor in Chicago now. 🙂

Love and Foodie Hugs.


It’s a photo blog!

Hey everyone!
It’s been a few days. Tonight, I will attempt to roast a chicken (and I will succeed).
But it has certainly been a food-filled couple of days. Yesterday, while baby sitting I made kale quesadillas…and got little Janine to eat them. We also made really yummy vegan brownies. Lots of fun.

And a couple days earlier, I made a Mexican feast! Marinated flank steak, lemon-cilantro rice, peppers and onions, and mango avocado salsa. I won’t lie to you. I rocked the shit out of that night’s dinner. See below.

So, a more heartfelt blog post is coming at you either tonight or tomorrow. Tomorrow morning I have an interview for a part time teaching position at a preschool. I’m wildly excited and horribly nervous, but hopefully I’ll have good things to report. Last night was a wonderfully therapeutic night out with friends. We caught up and laughed and seethed about the happenings of Summer 2012. I hope you enjoyed the photos, people. Back soon.








Hello foodies and friends! 

Wow, it’s been a long, long while since I last posted. And I have cooked a lot of delicious food during the blogging hiatus. Blog-worthy moments:

Turducken Cupcakes: The plan was a chocolate cupcake with an oreo at the bottom with chocolate peanut butter frosting (Chocolate, Oreo, Peanut Butter=Turducken). Ok, these were a fail. And I actually think it had a lot to do with the cocoa powder. I needed regular (not dark) cocoa powder and I used Jewel brand. Yuck. The  cake was REALLY flavorless. And I used the chocolate cake recipe I always use, but with this particular cocoa powder–it was just not in any way excellent. The oreo part was fine and the frosting was tasty–but the cake was just not good. So. Turducken Cupcakes…A fail.

Mediterranean Chicken: YUMMY. And so easy. Preheat the oven to 375. Get yourself some skinless chicken pieces. I did legs and thighs. Lightly grease a roasting pan with olive oil and put the chicken in the pan, salt and pepper the meat. Chop 2-3 fresh tomatoes and a handful of pitted kalamata olives. Pour on top of chicken, and then add the juice of half a lemon and half a cup of a dry white wine. If you’d like…add capers, too! Yum! Bake for 20-30 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil. Serve with rice pilaf or something equally Mediterranean.

Chiles Rellenos: My brother came home from school for the weekend and I figured I’d treat him like the vegetarian bad-ass he is (since this meal, he re-joined us meat-eaters). Real easy. Roast some poblano peppers on the burner…or in the broiler. Let them sit in a bowl, covered in plastic wrap or in a paper bag. Meanwhile, in another dish, beat 6 or 7 eggs and in another dish, mix together salt, pepper, flour, and chipotle powder. When the peppers have cooled a bit, pull off the char–but no need to go crazy. A little char adds flavor. Slice the pepper along one side, but leave the stem on. Remove the seeds. Stuff with some cheese (I did a mix of Oaxaca and Monteray Jack) and then using toothpicks, pin the pepper closed. You know what’s next. Dip in the flour mixture, and then in the egg mixture. Drop them into a pan with hot vegetable oil (or canola), and pan fry for a few minutes on each side. Really good! 

By far, though, the most exciting baking experience of the last two weeks has been baking chocolate chip cookies with CDR and two kids from church, while babysitting. Recipe was simple (just the nestle tollhouse recipe)–but it was so much fun to just bake cookies with the kids. M and J are 6 and 8, respectively. They were very excited to be baking cookies. I let them do most of the work–they operated the KitchenAid, cracked the eggs (sort of), and poured the ingredients into the bowl of the mixer. They were also obsessed with making a huge cookie, so we made several large cookies and I let them put the chips into the cookies and they created various shapes and patterns. They loved it. And we loved it. 🙂 Let’s get children into the kitchen more often, yeah? It’s so much fun. I could go on for hours and hours about the importance of teaching kids what goes into food and how kids will be more likely to eat new foods if they help prepare them–but I’m currently in rehearsal for Rent. And at this moment, Seasons of Love is blaring in my ears. I can write no longer.

But tomorrow I’ll be back with pictures of the birthday butterscotch cupcakes I made.

Happy Eatings.

Spring, is that you?

Wow. Hello everyone. It’s been a while, huh? I finished another show, so again, that’s my excuse.

I don’t have an excuse for a lack of pictures for what I made last night. Last night, I made a Mexican birthday feast for Jack, who turned 21. It was alcohol free, as I cooked for the rest of his family, and I have yet to turn the legal age. But anyway, I made my usual white rice that’s flavored with garlic, cilantro and lemon juice (usually I use lime juice which I think is better, but I was saving my limes). I made black beans (by “make” of course I mean I drained two cans of black beans and put them in a sauce pan) flavored with cilantro and lemon juice (again, usually use lime juice). I made a mild salsa that consisted of one red onion, minced, two cloves of minced garlic, 4 (or maybe 5) diced tomatoes, about 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, almost a whole jalapeno pepper (it was a big one), salt, pepper, and the juice of two limes. I pan-fried some salt-pepper-cumin spiced chicken and had Jack shred it. PB, Jack’s brother, made a bowl of guac–and some awesome cookie bars (which I’ll have to get the recipe for before sharing it). The night was a total success.

But here’s a few pictures of some things I made in the last few weeks. Excuse the paper plates. The first was a pulled pork sandwich with broccoli cole slaw on the side, served with homemade corn bread. The corn bread had a cup of white sharp cheddar and chopped jalapeno in it. Delish. The second, I baked chicken breasts with a spinach tomato sauce on top. It was really good! On the side, I served a caprese salad.

On another note, have you all felt the call of Spring. I think she’s on her way. We’ve had some lovely warm days in the middle of these “not as cold as it’s been” days. I think the days of citrus and fish and mint and basil and pasta salads are returning, and I couldn’t be more happy. Here comes the sun.

A Culinary Ass-Kicking

Ladies and Gentleman, I have completed my second year at Columbia College!! I am so excited as to what that means for the next three months. Food, theatre, food, reading for pleasure, and FOOD!! But on Monday–yes, Monday, I was too busy to blog about it then–I kicked culinary ass by making a delicious chicken mexitalian dish. “Mexitalian?” you ask. I’ll explain.

You read about how I like to sear some chicken or pork and then make a tomato based sauce–usually italian–and then return the chicken to the pot or skillet and simmer it until its done. Well, same idea. This sauce, however, was a lot thicker than usual. So, going through the pantry I found onions, mushrooms, canned tomatoes, lemons, avocados, and salsa. Were you with me until avocados showed up? Trust me.

So, I seasoned the chicken with salt, pepper, and cumin. Then in a screaming hot olive-oiled skillet, I seared them. About three minutes a side. I took them out and set them aside. In the same skillet I dropped one chopped onion and let that go for about five or six minutes, sprinkling in a bit of salt to draw out the moisture. Then I added chopped mushrooms and a large can of tomatoes. So, so far, it’s sounding pretty Italian except for the cumin part. So, I added a bit more cumin to the sauce. I let this simmer for about ten minutes , just so it could reduce. In went the chicken, and then I stirred in the salsa. Oh ,yes, I did. All of a sudden this Italian dinner was headed south of the border. When the chicken was nearly cooked (about five minutes later), I zested a whole lemon over the top of the chicken and sauce. BAM! Oh, sorry guys! For a second I thought I was Emeril.

But I still had to use the avocados. So what did I do? I sliced them up, and put a few of the slices on top of the chicken upon serving it, squeezed some lemon juice over the top, and voila! Kudos to mom, who thought to boil some little red potatoes. Those were a delicious addition!

Unfortunately, camera cord is still MIA. I will tear the house apart today in search for it, because this was a glorious piece of chicken.

Other culinary accomplishments that occurred this week: Tim and Dave both turned 21, so I made them each a cake. Dave got the standard chocolate cake, with dark chocolate frosting and some strawberries on top. Tim got strawberry cake (yes, homemade!) with vanilla frosting. From what I understood, they were both good. Thursday evening, I made butterscotch chocolate chip cookies for a friend. I hate butterscotch, but I’m going to say that the cookie itself was pretty good.

Alright guys, back soon! Tuesday night, homemade pizza is on the menu. But I’m sure I’ll cook something up before then.

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