Monday 3 February 2014

Pinteresting in the Kitchen

I am a total social media person - I use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads and Blogger on a regular basis. However when Pinterest became popular I wasn't quite sure if it was for me. The idea of pinning things seemed a bit silly, and I couldn't grasp the point of it. It's like the whole cutting things out of magazines - in my experience you just end up with a bunch of photos, ideas and recipes you are unlikely to ever use. Nonetheless I did check it out and quickly became addicted! 

I found that unlike the cutting things of of magazines, Pinterest made it easy to organize and categorize everything. I was able to keep possible recipes in one folder, home decor in another and so on. Plus Pinterest stores it all so I don't have to deal with more random papers or computer files - things I already have a enough of. 

Anyone who knows me well is aware my history in the kitchen has consisted of a few ups and a lot of downs. Over the years I've burnt milk (putting it in a kettle was not a good idea), I've set fire to a microwave (who knew aluminium couldn't go inside), I've overcooked and undercooked chicken, given a family member food poisoning and probably the most famous - baked a spoon inside a cake. I have had a few successes - something I attribute to my Aunt Honey who introduced me to a few awesome recipes and cookbooks. I still get teased over the fact my bridal shower turned into something out of a comedy show with me having to ask the guests what the kitchen gadgets were for - Brian has far more kitchen abilities and took care of that portion of the registering. 

When I lived in my own for a year I did make some progress in the kitchen - but more often then not did enjoy the fact my mom would leave some homemade stuff in my freezer (I love my mom!!) when she visited. However within the last year or so I have made more of an effort to work on my cooking skills. I started with baking once I got involved with cake decorating. I started experimenting with various recipes and trying out new things such as my now-famous chocolate baileys cupcakes and vanilla Malibu cupcakes. I found Pinterest was great for giving me some new and unique ideas for cakes, cookies, breads etc. In looking through some of those photos I started to come across a number of random food recipes that looked delicious. So I decided to try some of them out. 

I've by no means turned into a master chef, and you definitely won't be seeing me on the food network anytime soon, but I am cooking more and learning new things. Thanks to Pinterest I have found a bunch of amazing recipes - below are two of them. 

Nutella-Stuffed Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt (recipe here:

I followed this recipe exactly - except for refrigerating the dough. I found they cooked perfectly despite that. I made these three different times and they turned out perfectly! They were much loved by family and friends around Christmas. 

I did make them recently and they turned out a bit different. When browning the butter I don't think I used enough initially and lost a bit to the bottom of the pot so the dough was a bit dry. It still mixed together but when they were cooked the cookies tasted a bit drier and were crumbly. They were still good, and the people I was making them for loved them but I would definitely be more careful next time. This recipe has become my absolute favourite cookie. I am not much of a Nutella fan but find they add something to the cookie and the flavour doesn't overpower it. I suggest trying them! 

I will note that this is not a cookie you will likely want to eat many of at one time. I find one is sweet and enjoyable enough I don't want another.  Plus, I don't even want to know the calorie count or weight watchers point value attributed to them - because they are delicious and rich enough you know for sure they aren't something you should be eating an entire batch of! When my cooking skills improve further I plan to experiment with ways to make these a bit healthier - swapping out ingredients etc. But that's a ways off. 

For those not too kitchen inclined you can also use store-bought refrigerated dough, use that with the Nutella and then sprinkle with sea salt when cooked. They won't taste the same, but I've heard they are still yummy. 

Avocado, Cilantro and Chicken Enchiladas 
(recipe here:

I was thrilled to try this recipe because it has two things I love - avocado and cilantro. I was a bit intimidated at first because I'd never made enchiladas - or even had them and the recipe seemed a bit complicated. I remember the first time I called my aunt in a panic asking how the heck you shred a chicken! But it all worked out and this has become a favourite thing I make for dinner. Even my brother told me he loved them, and that's high praise coming from someone who seems to have an opinion on everything! 

I do make a few changes/modifications - for the chicken I poach it. Initially I did so with just water and a bit of garlic and onion but found there was no taste. Recently I changed that and poached it in a chicken broth/wine mix along with onion and garlic (Thank you Melting Pot for the inspiration!) I also spiced the chicken first with paprika and seasoned salt. This made a HUGE difference! I also don't use the peppers the recipe calls for - instead I mix the chicken with sautéed onion and then season it all with some Cajan spice. Once the enchiladas are assembled I cover them with the sauce as well as cheese before baking them. I am not ashamed to admit I use the package of Tex-Mex shredded cheese by Kraft! (I hate grating things!) 

This recipe is amazing and also one I suggest trying but only if you like cilantro. My mom doesn't like avocado or cilantro but finds the avocado isn't too strong of a taste so she can handle it. The cilantro however is pretty powerful. She admits it is still good and she will eat it, but it's not by any means her favourite dinner. 

As I continue to get better in the kitchen I will keep including some of my newfound favourite recipes here. 

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