This Is Me

Jessie Bee
I am a seeker of God, a help-meet to my husband and a mother to my 3 children. I love hot lattes, good books, cold weather and anything that inspires me to be creative. I desire simplicity and authenticity, but often have to remind myself to seek those .
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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I made an apron!

I'm a complete novice when it comes to sewing.  I think my biggest fault is lack of patience, and that's a weakness I'm too impatient to work on.  I tried to take up oil painting several years ago, but oil paint takes sssooooooooo loooooooong to dry that I gave up.  I found this out when I attempted to make a panel piece (2 or more canvases that create one painting).  It's hanging in my dining room....unfinished.  I even went to a free class and some people had been working on the same painting all summer long.  Nuh-uh.  If it takes longer than an hour, I'm out.

Well, recently I needed to pull out my sewing machine to sew some tablecloths (feel free to laugh if you know that this simply means sew a straight line in fabric).  I've sewn a few more "involved" items, namely my monster crayon totes.

But its been awhile since I've done anything that creative, so I decided I wanted to make myself a "hostess apron" (aka half-size).  Using some super duper cute fabric and WITHOUT A PATTERN (though I did see a picture of a similar apron), I pulled this off:

And it only took me one episode of Dr. Phil to finish it.  =)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Me Make Salsa!

In my short life so far, I've made wedding cakes, beef bourguignon, beef wellington, steak diane and homemade breads, puddings, ice cream, salad dressings, younameit.  I've worked lead at a restaurant in Sea World, and made waffle cones at Cold Stone.   I was the cook for a conservation corps in the back country of Yosemite where pack mules had to deliver my groceries.   I'm actually not afraid of much when it comes to the kitchen.

Not much, except salsa.  

I have always been extremely nervous about salsa.  I think it stems from trying to make it a few years ago from tomatoes I grew in my garden.  I tried to boil the tomatoes to remove the skin, then I threw a bunch of ingredients into my mini cuisinart and pressed the button.  It was AWFUL.  So awful that I promised myself never again.

A few days ago I broke that promise.  I was menu planning and quite a few of my recipes this week have ingredients such as jalapenos, cilantro, garlic and lime juice.  Then my husband asked me to make his employees chorizo burritos.  That day, while shopping at Trader Joe's, I noticed they had a HUGE bag of tomatillos for $1.50.  

Fine, challenge accepted:  I'll make salsa.  

I made two salsas: salsa verde and chipotle salsa.  Unfortunately, I only took pictures of my salsa verde, even though (in my humble opinion) my chipotle salsa was WAY better.  I've never been the biggest fan of salsa verde, so that might partially explain my bias.  Either way, here are the photos I did manage to take:

 Here are my freshly husked and washed tomatillos.  True fact: tomatillos are NOT a tomato; they are merely distant relatives.

Here are other ingredients used:  jalapenos, garlic, onions (from my garden...the only thing I can manage to successfully grow each year), and veggie oil (not pictured).  

I cut everything up a bit, tossed it in the oil with salt and pepper, put it on a cookie sheet and roasted it for about 35 minutes at 425 degrees.  This picture is about 10 minutes in.  After 30 minutes, the tomatillos had deflated quite a bit and everything was colored pretty nicely.  

When it was all roasted, I tossed everything into a blender along with 1/2 a cup of cilantro, squeezed the juice of one small lime in, and pureed it.  Below is a crappy picture of the finished results.  The lighting is awful as I took the picture later in the day.  The salsa itself is pretty thick.  I remember reading one recipe that calls for boiling everything in a pot of water (instead of roasting it) and throwing everything in the blender, including the water.  Now it makes more sense.  Rubio's salsa verde is rather runny, and so was my chipotle salsa.  But tomatillos don't have the same water content as tomatoes so you have to add water if you want it to be a thinner consistency.  Stuart actually preferred this kind, though I'd probably add a little water next time.  

I'm bummed I don't have any proof of my chipotle salsa, since that was even easier to make.  I used canned diced tomatoes (who knew!), canned chipotle peppers, jalapenos, garlic, red onion, salt, pepper, paprika and cumin.  It was so good, Stuart didn't even bring any home after his work meeting with his guys.  Now, with two successful salsas under my belt, I can say my fear has been conquered.  One of these days, when I have more counter space and a kitchen-aid attachment, I will attempt my own pasta.  =)  

So, I'm curious - what is your biggest cooking fear?

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