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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Because I’m sure you are dying to know…

About me:
I’m a cook - a home grown cook- not a professional chef. I’m entering into my late 20’s (sigh), I live in the Tampa Bay area, and I’m originally from New England. I have an over-time job, a full-time boyfriend, and I take classes part-time towards my 2nd degree. I started cooking/baking when I was about 8 or 9 and I haven’t stopped since. I have an unrelenting love and passion for all things food. I love to cook, eat, and explore food (and drink!) of all kinds. I probably think about food as much as a teenage boy thinks about sex.

About the blog:
When I started this blog (May 2009) it was because I needed a hobby, and I thought it will be a good excuse to finally write down/keep track of the hundreds of recipes in my head. This has proven to be quite a challenge and no easy task! I was always a pinch or this or a handful of that kinda girl. Even though this blog will be mostly recipes, there will still be a hodgepodge of various things related to food that interest me in some way.

About the food:
I’ve been told I’m all about the comfort food, which I think is ok. Whether I’m making a salad or macaroni and cheese, I want my food to not only stifle my hungry belly, but to feed my soul as well. To me, that is comfort food… and was a totally corny thing to say. Here you will find food that I cook in my home at any given time. This will not be the place to find ribs with a jagermeister and dandelion infusion. While I’m sure there will be some more trendy, complex, or contemporary dishes every once in a while, my food is mostly simple and easy to prepare. Nonetheless it will certainly taste amazing, or at least I will think so.

About the recipes:
Unless I’m baking, I hardly ever follow a recipe exactly. I think they are great for learning how to cook something completely new, or for some inspiration, but in the end I always end up putting my own spin on it. When I am making something that I plan on posting, I will be writing the recipes as I go. I’ll try and get them as exact as possible, but feel free to adapt them to your own tastes as needed. Also, if I used a recipe from somewhere I will try to reference it the best I can.

About the name:
I’ve been ask how I came up with the name a lot. “Kitten with a Whisk” is a play on words from “Kitten with a Whip”, which was book and then movie in the 1960’s. ‘Kitten’ is also a throwback term form the 50’s for a young female, and is a term of endearment within my circle of friends. I’ve always liked the phrase “Kitten with a Whip”, so swapped whisk and whip. I tend to be sassy and feisty so it seemed to fit.

A personal note:
Thank you so much for coming to my little site! I hope you find some things here that interest you, learn something new, or find a great recipe. If you ever have any comments, questions, or constructive criticism please feel free to email me at kittenwhisk @ yahoo {dot} com.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Holy Guacamole

BD decided he wanted to make nachos this Sunday and I didn’t argue. Besides, nachos call for guacamole!
I hated guacamole until my freshman year of college. It was then that a group of us got together every Wednesday at a local Mexican restaurant for margaritas and good times. Nowadays it’s rare if I eat Mexican food without it.


- 3 hass avocados*
- juice of one lime
- 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
- 2-3 tablespoons of finely chopped cilantro
- ¼ minced red onion
- 1 medium tomato, chopped
- S&P
* When choosing avocados, be sure to pick ones that give slightly when you press them.


1. Take each avocado and cut down the middle lengthwise and remove the pit. Scoop the flesh out into a shallow bowl.

2. Add lime juice and smash together until smooth. I use a plastic muddler that has small spikes on the end. A fork would work well too.

3. Once your avocado is smooth, add your tomatoes, garlic, cilantro*, and red onion. Mash again to incorporate. *Add between 2-3tbls of cilantro, depending on how much you like it.

4. Next add a good amount of salt and pepper. Stir again and set in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes. I’ve found that allowing the guacamole some time to “rest” is best before you eat it.

My thoughts: This is super easy to make. The flavor is fresh, vibrant, and has just enough of a kick.
BD’s nachos were pretty good too.

TIP: Guacamole doesn’t last long because avocados are like apples and they oxidize and turn brown. The last time I made guacamole; I did a little experiment and froze the remainder. I figured I had nothing to lose, and it ended up working out really well.

How to freeze guacamole:

1. Take remaining guacamole and place in a small freezer bag.

2. Press guacamole to bottom of the bag and lay on a flat surface.

3. Starting from the guacamole, press all the air out of the bag. Then seal bag and place in freezer.

4. To thaw: place guacamole in cold water.

Kitten  ^..^

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes

I love twice baked potatoes. How could you not? You get mashed potatoes AND the crispy baked potato skin. It’s like hitting a home run…. only better because its potatoes. I’m only slightly ashamed to admit this but I was inspired to make these from the reality show Husbands of Hollywood. I’ve watched the show two …. or ten times. I am a reality show junkie. Anyway, the last episode I happened to catch one of the husbands made twice baked potatoes for his wife. This was about a week ago and I haven’t stopped thinking about them since.

Twice Baked Potatoes

Note: Use these measurements only as a rough guide. You may need to make adjustments based on the size of your potatoes. Therefore add butter, sour cream, and heavy cream little by little.


- 4 large russet or baking potatoes
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 3 tablespoons of sour cream
- 4oz heavy cream
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ¼ chopped scallions
- 8 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
- S&P


1. Wash your potatoes well and place in a 400 degree oven. Depending on the size, they will take between an hour to an hour and a half. Once they are cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool for about 20 minutes. While they are baking, slice your scallions, and cook the bacon.

2. Once cool enough to handle, slice the top third of the potato off. Then carefully remove the inside.

 Also, remember to scoop the potato from the tops into your bowl. Don’t scrape it all the way down to the skin. Leave a little potato to help keep the skin sturdy enough to hold the mixture.

3. Add the butter to the bowl with the potato. Using a potato masher, mash potatoes until incorporated.

You can use a mixer as well. Then add your sour cream, S&P and mash again. Lastly add the heavy cream little by little until you reach the right consistency. You want them to be soft, not stiff or runny.

4. Next add your bacon, cheese, and scallions – mix with a spoonula. Add more S&P if desired.

I could have eaten them just like this

5. Spoon the mixture into each of the potato halves. I mounded mine up fairly high. Top each with some extra pepper.

Place in 400 degree oven and bake for another 20 minutes.

My thoughts: The potato was soft and creamy. Initially, I was worried that there wouldn’t be enough cheese, but I was wrong. The cheese melted and the flavor went throughout the potato. The bacon and scallions didn’t overwhelm the mixture and were nice little “surprises” in every bite.

These were HUGE – they seriously could have been a whole meal alone. BD couldn’t even finish his, but I was a champ and ate all of mine. I had too, ya know for research.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Dish of Favorite Veggies...AND Bacon!

Green beans are one of my favorite vegetables. I came up with this recipe a few months back when BD and I were making a beer can chicken. They were a hit, and we’ve been making them every since. They do take a bit of time because of all the sautéing but are worth it in the end. Plus, I’m a sucker for anything with mushrooms, caramelized onions, and bacon on it.

Fully Loaded Green Beans

- 1 pound of fresh green beans
- 1.5 cups of sliced button mushrooms
- 1 large white or yellow onion, sliced
- 8-10 slices of bacon *can be omitted for a vegetarian dish
- 4 tablespoons of butter
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- S&P

1. To start, snap your green beans, wash and slice the mushrooms, and slice the onion.

2. Start your bacon anyway you prefer to cook it. Once cooked, chop into bacon bits.
3. In a large skillet, melt two tablespoons of butter. Add mushrooms and sauté until lightly brown. Remove mushrooms, leaving the liquid in the pan. Set mushrooms aside.
Mushrooms - couple minutes in

4. Add onions and one more tablespoon of butter to pan, and over low heat sauté until caramelized. This will take about 15-20 minutes.
Onions almost done!

5. Bring a large pot of water to a hard boil and blanche green beans for five minutes. Remove from water, drain, and rinse with cold water.
6. Once onions are caramelized, add remaining butter, mushrooms, green beans, and garlic powder to the pan. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss everything together for a few minutes, then add bacon and toss again. Serve immediately.
Fully Loaded Green Beans
My thoughts: The green beans stay nice and crisp and get a lot of flavor from the pepper and butter. plus with the added onions, mushrooms, and bacon they really get dressed up nicely. Green beans almondine USE to be my favorite way to eat them, but this recipe trumps that every time.

Kitten ^..^

Monday, October 12, 2009

Grilled Veggie Pitas

Everything is better grilled!

I’m always brainstorming for new lunch ideas for the work week. I can usually stick to one idea for about 3-4 weeks until I get burnt out and need something different. This week I am attempting Grilled Veggie Pitas. The recipe below will make about 6 pitas.

Grilled Veggie Pitas

- 1 medium eggplant
- 2 medium Portobello mushrooms
- 1 large zucchini
- 1 roasted red bell pepper
- ¼ cup kalamata olives
- 6 pitas, white or whole wheat
- ¾ cup of speadable garlic and herb cheese, such as Boursin or Rondele
- ½ cup of EVOO
- S&P

1. Take the eggplant, Portobello, and zucchini and rinse and pat dry. Slice the eggplant and zucchini into ¼ slices. Leave the Portobello whole for now.
2. Brush all veggies with EVOO and season with S&P.
3. Heat grill to medium heat and grill veggies until al dente. Mine took between 10 and 20 minutes. Eggplant was done first and zucchini last.
4. While the grilled veggies are cooling, rough chop roasted red bell pepper and kalamata olives. Then chop grilled veggies into bite-sized cubes.
5. Add all veggies to a large bowl and toss together.

6. Take each pita and slice in half. Open the pita to create a pocket and smear 1-2 tablespoons on the inside.
7. Fill each pita 2/3 the way full with veggies and serve.

Grilled Veggie Pitas

My thoughts: BD and I had a little bit of a disagreement on whether or not to add garlic to the veggies prior to grilling. I left it off because I knew the cheese would give the sandwich plenty of garlic flavor for me. Plus, with this sandwich as my lunch for the week, I didn’t want REALLY bad garlic breath all day. This was a new venture for me and I really, really liked the end result. It was exactly what I was hoping for. The veggies were cooked so that the flavors developed in each of them but they weren’t mushy, and the garlic-herb cheese melts a little once you place the warm veggies in the pita. I was concerned about the veggie mixture being too wet and tearing the pita, but that was not the case at all. The pita bread held up nicely. I used white this time but will go for wheat when I make them again.

Last night’s taste test made me very hungry for lunch today.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Warm Goat Cheese Salad

This salad is simple but sounds fancy and tastes unbelievably good. I’m not sure where I got the original idea, but I’m sure it was some celebrity chef. Below is my own recipe.

Warm Goat Cheese Salad

- Mesclun greens
- 1 4oz goat cheese log per 4 people
- Loaf of Italian or French bread
- 3 lemons
- 1 egg
- 1 garlic clove, peeled whole
- ¼ cup bread crumbs
- ¼ cup EVOO (some extra for sautéing)
- White wine vinegar – 2 tablespoons
- Tiny drizzle of honey
- S&P

I’ve broken the recipe down for each ingredient. I recommend prepping the goat cheese first and while it’s chilling make the crostini and vinaigrette.

Goat Cheese
1-Make sure your goat cheese is cold and remove from package. Cut goat cheese in ¼ inch thick slices. Should get 8 per log.
2-Whisk your egg in a shallow dish. Place ¼ cup of bread crumbs on a shallow dish or plate.
3-Take each slice and coat in egg and then bread crumbs. Place on a separate plate and refrigerate for 15 minutes to an hour.
4- (This last step should be done right before assembling the salad) In a sauté pan heat a couple of tablespoons of EVOO over medium-high heat. Once pan is hot enough, add chilled goat cheese and pan fry for about 1 minute on each side. This will toast the bread crumbs but keep the cheese from melting.

Lemon Vinaigrette
1- Juice three lemons into a deep bowl. Remove any seeds.
2- Add two tablespoons of white wine vinegar and a very small (half teaspoon) of honey.
3- Add salt and pepper.
4- While whisking the mixture, stream in ¼ cup of EVOO.

Garlic Crostini
1- Slice bread ¼ inch thick and layer on a baking sheet. 2 slices per person.
2- Drizzle lightly with EVOO.
3- Broil on low in oven until crisp and golden brown. Should take about 5 minutes.
4- Remove from oven and rub each slice with garlic clove.

Assembly1- Place two crostini on a plate per person.
2- In a large bowl toss mesclun with S&P and a small amount of Lemon Vinaigrette. Don’t drown the mesclun – just enough to coat it. You’ll have a good amount leftover for other uses. Or you could serve on the side if anyone wants to add more.
3- Place about one cup of mesclun greens on top of crostini.
4- Place two pieces of warmed goat cheese on top of each salad and serve.
Warm Goat Cheese Salad

My thoughts: Everything in this salad just plays really well off the other ingredients. Nothing overwhelms the other. The honey in the vinaigrette mellows out the tartness enough without losing the lemon flavor or making the vinaigrette sweet. The crostini adds the salad a nice crunch and adds just a hint of garlic. And honestly, what’s not to love about goat cheese? Tangy and creamy and just slightly melty from being pan fried. Simply fantastic!

Kitten ^..^

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