Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Chicken Pot Pie!

We just got our very first good batch of rain for the season this past weekend! More than 2 inches where I was and some hefty winds at one point. I'm hoping this will be a good sign for the coming winter. California has been in dire need of some nice rainy days to make up for past 3-4 years of drought. Fingers crossed!

Sometimes rainy season can be a pain, its wet and muddy everywhere, but when you have nowhere to go and nothing to do, it's the best! Needless to say, most of my weekend was curling up in the couch with a big bowl of popcorn and movies! 

Weekend movie marathon, mini movie review
X-Men Apocalypse|| I've always liked the X-Men movies, there's a nice balance of story-line and action with a touch of comic relief that's not too cheesy and this one was no different. The movies have been consistent with each other as well. Only inconsistent character is Quick Silver...this character appears in X-Men and Avengers/etc world but the character is played by different people, Scarlett Witch is nonexistent in X-Men and supposedly Quick Sliver is dead from the 2nd Avenger movie...so okay....it's all Marvel, it makes me wonder if its because they have so many movies, they forgot some details...
Captain America Civil War|| To be honest, didn't care if I saw this one or not but decided to watch it anyways. Not as bad as I had imagined but the story-line is a little choppy and dragged out... I got a little bored and started to wonder when the movie would end. It's nice that they included some of the other Marvel characters but the introduction for Spider-man (seriously another remake!?) was weak at best, it was so lame and ill fitting. Okay we get that he gets his own movie in 2017...but let's wait for Spider-man grow up a little bit, his character was annoying, it was like watching a little boy who had no concept of how incredibly serious the situation is... I think the movie makers were trying a little too hard with this one. Just because its star studded does not make it good.
Central Intelligence|| Kevin Hart and The Rock, you can't go wrong if you're looking for a light hearted action comedy. Have to give it to them, usually plots to these types of movies are easy to predict but I was thrown for a loop, couldn't quite figure out which way it was leaning because they did such a good job. Not too shabby. I had a good laugh 

So back to the kitchen, nothing like a good old chicken pot pie to warm your tummy when the weather is starting to cool.

Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuits  
  •  1 lb of cooked and shredded chicken breast
  • 3 cooked small Yukon gold potatoes, cubed
  • 1/4 cup diced onions
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery (optional)
  • 2 cups of thawed/fresh peas and carrots  (corn kernels optional)
  • 2 1/2 cup chicken stock (I usually end up making my own when I boil the chicken breasts)
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • Optional: white pepper, Italian herbs, cayenne, paprika

  1. Lightly saute onions, celery with a little butter, salt, and pepper. Set aside
  2. In a large pot, make a roux by melting the butter and adding in the flour. Cook the flour a little on medium heat until it looks like mushy dough.
  3. While stirring, slowly add the chicken broth. Cook until broth thickens.
  4. Stir in veggies and chicken and season with salt, pepper, and other seasonings as desired. Simmer on low for an additional 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat, scoop pie "filling" into a baking bowl/dish. Top with biscuit dough (other options can be pie or pastry dough)
  6. Bake in oven at 400F for 10-15mins or until dough is cooked and golden brown.           

Monday, October 17, 2016

Kitchen Gear: Sistema BAKE IT Containers

** not an endorsement, these are my own opinions

Discovered these storage containers while I was visiting a friend and fell in love with them! Her sugar, flour, and other dry goods were nicely stored away. Wide opening, snap closure, and it even comes with a measuring cup (cups + ml measurements) per container! The container is slim enough that it doesn't take up too much room and there's even a hand grip on one side. 

I'm extremely picky when it comes to plastics, I don't like using them in the kitchen, stainless steel and glass all the way, but this is a nice durable plastic. You can feel the difference. Got home, thought about them, and decided I wanted some for my kitchen. Most containers for flour, sugar, and whatnots are pretty but not practical so I actually don't even have containers for them. Most of my dry ingredients just sit in the bags they come in...for the most part that's fine but sometimes bugs and moisture can be a *B so I'm looking forward to these.

I know I sound like an endorser but this is purely a review and recommendation. If you're looking for kitchen storage containers, this is a pretty good option. Sistema apparently has a HUGE line of other plastic containers but again, for food, I prefer not to use plastic.

Read more about them HERE

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Peach Coffee Cake!

This might sound a bit odd but the other morning while I was outside watering my plants, I could I almost smell a crisp in the air....ah autumn's cool arrival...

Spring is wonderful, Summer full of life, Winter filled with holiday joy but Fall is by far my favorite of all the seasons. You're still full of energy from the huge high that is of summer and all its festivities. The weather is finally starting to cool down so you have an excuse to pull out those cute sweaters and cardigans. If you're a sports fan, you can't argue Fall isn't one of the best seasons -  you have the height of baseball season, the start of NFL Football (Woo!), and in a few months basketball season will start, oh let's not forget Hockey!  

Fall is the beginning of all things warm and fuzzy and the Holidays are right around the corner! It may be a tad too early you say but I can almost hear jingling of bells in the background...And finally Fall is the best time for spending time cooking and baking in the kitchen. Steam coming off the stove top, a cake baking in the oven, its warm aroma filling the house, it makes you want to grab a blanket and curl up with a good book or take a nap. 

So to welcome this Fall season I decided to put a new play on an old recipe. Peach coffee cake to close out the last of stone fruit season! We pretty much had ice cream all summer long so when caveman came home with a bunch of peaches and told me to put them to good use, done.

Peach Coffee Cake
Adapted from Nectarine Crumb Cake
For cake:
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 stick butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3-4 peaches, skin removed, pitted, and cut into ¼” slices
For crumb topping:
  • 2-3 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt

For crumb topping:
  1. Brown butter by melting it at medium heat. Stir until butter turns golden brown. Remove from heat and let it cool before proceeding.
  2. Once butter is cooled, add in all the other ingredients and mix until it begins to crumble. Set aside
Poaching the peaches: 
**works ONLY with RIPE peaches, otherwise the skin will not peel
  1. In a large enough pot for 3-4 peaches, fill with water and bring to a boil. Put peaches in boiling water and let it boil for about 1-2 minutes. 
  2. Pour out hot water and immediately fill with cold water. You may put the peaches in an ice water bath.
  3. Remove the peaches from the cold water bath and the skin should easily peel off.
For cake:
  1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt
  2. Beat butter and sugar together with electric mixer until fluffy. Add in 1 egg at a time, mix and then add in extracts. At low speed, mix in flour until well combined
  3. Layer on peaches. Top with streusel and sliced almonds.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.