I am making one change on the blog. Right now the title to each post is a song title, and while I still like this idea it's hard to tell from the title which food is involved in the post. I want to make it a bit easier to navigate through older posts.
A while ago I stumbled onto a blog, The Pioneer Woman. The Pioneer Woman, or Ree Drummond, was a city girl who fell in love with a cattle rancher and started a blog about transitioning from a city girl to a country girl. She recently released a cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks. When I heard about this book coming out, I immediately put it on my Chapters wish list. I had flipped through it a couple times, but as Christmas was nearing I couldn't justify spending money on myself. I did buy the book for my friend C. The book sat on my kitchen table, tempting me to open it. Since it was her Christmas present, I didn't feel right about flipping through it and reading it before giving it to her. Temptation proved to be too much, and I did read it. And I loved it. So I kept that copy and bought her a brand new one.
What I love about this cookbook is that the recipes are so simple. My friend C is married to a very picky eater, and when I buy her cookbooks I always try to find ones with things I think her husband would eat too. When she flipped through the cookbook after opening it, she did confirm my belief that her husband would love many of the recipes as well.
On New Year's Day, I took a day for myself. I spent the entire day lounging, reading, and watching more Moonlighting. I was also going to make use of my new cookbook and make some of her appetizer recipes for snacks.
The first thing I made was her Pico de Gallo. Pico de Gallo is a mix of tomatoes, onion, jalapenos, cilantro and lime juice. I'm posting the link to her recipe and I recommend that you click on it. She gives step-by-step instructions, as well as a picture for every instruction. (This is also something I love about the book, she gives step by step pictures) I used a little less cilantro than she does (mainly because I don't really like it), and a bit more lime juice (because I love it), though not enough lime juice to kill the flavor of the onion and tomato. I really liked the Pico de Gallo, it was really refreshing, and it makes a great healthy snack. Not only can you use it for tortilla chips, you can also use it to top tacos, fajitas, grilled chicken or fish. I think I might try it with seared scallops sometime.
Her guacamole was next on my snack list. It's very simple, you mash up some avocados and add some Pico de Gallo to it. I liked this guacamole, but it was not nearly as good as the other guacamole I have posted before.
Get the recipes HERE
I am really sorry this picture is so grainy, I tried everything I could to make this better, but this was the best I could do. However, if you listened to me and clicked the link, you will see her beautiful pictures there.
The next thing I made was her potato skins. I can't find a link on her site for the recipe, and I found another blogger who made them but she wrote SOY BACON WOULD BE A GOOD SUBSTITUTE FOR BACON. A clear sign that the blogger is deranged and I will not link to anything that would make that kind of a comment. My soul weeps for humanity.
Pioneer Woman's Potato Skins
8 russet potatoes
8 slices bacon (NO SOY!!)
1.5 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup sour cream
4 sliced green onions
The instructions in my words:
1) preheat oven to 400 F. Scrub and dry the potatoes, and then bake them for 45 min to an hour, until fork tender
1a) chop the bacon and fry it in a pan. Ree fried the bacon in whole strips and then chopped it later, but I don't think it makes a difference either way
2) when potatoes have cooled a little, cut them in half and scoop out the inner flesh, leaving a small margin of potato. You are making potato canoes, but you want to leave enough potato that the canoe is sturdy and it still technically a potato skin without being just the skin.
3) brush both sides of the potatoes with canola oil and salt them.
4) place the skins flesh side down on a baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes.
5) flip them over and bake 7 minutes more, or until skin is crispy.
6) divide the cheese and bacon into each skin and bake again just until the cheese melts.
7) place a dollop of sour cream into each and top with green onion.
Note: with the leftover potato flesh that was scooped out you can mix in some cheddar cheese, green onion, bacon and form it into a cake of sorts. Heat up some butter and oil in a skillet and place the cake in the skillet. When that side has browned, flip the cake onto a plate. Heat up a bit more oil and butter and slide the cake into the skillet, browned side up. This is my version of a rosti, so that you don't waste the potato flesh. Top with sour cream.
I had every intention of actually making the rosti, but I didn't get around to it, so I don't have a picture. It is a good way to use up any leftover ingredients from the skins.