T.A.T.K.C.S: Sauteed Chicken with a Lemon Caper Sauce

Ayyeee the first recipe! Okay, deciding which recipe to cook first made me anxious. I didn’t know where I wanted to start. Should it be chicken, red meat or vegetables? Should I bake something instead of using the stove top? These were the questions I asked myself. I decided to make something kind of simple and not very time consuming. I made sauteed chicken with a lemon caper sauce.

First of all, the dish was delicious, but it could have been better. I did a quick brine of the meat, but honestly I should have skipped the brining process. I was only able to brine the meat for fifteen minutes and it needed more time. I did not cut everything before hand so my mise en place was a mise en mess. The cookbook says that you should prep your ingredients ahead of time in order to cook the meal efficiently and to avoid mishaps. I am usually pretty good about this, but it’s a little difficult when you have limited space and a limited amount of prep bowls. So, I made a note to myself to get more bowls.

Some other things that I learned are reading while cooking is difficult and buying fresh is necessary. I had to throw away a whole pack of chicken, and it was only two days old. I was so upset.

Anyways, check out this cool little video I made while cooking. You might be able to see how frustrated I got. Bye!

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Learning How to Cook…Again

Ugh, cooking has been a little difficult for me over the past month. It was partially due to changes in my schedule and not knowing what to cook. Have you experienced this? Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook. I love trying new recipes and experimenting with old ones, but this past month has been full of recipes that were just okay. I had some good vegan recipes, such as my vegan taco bowls that I need to post the recipe for, but I’ve had some not so good recipes too. I’ve been a little afraid to fail and show my cooking failures.

Last week, I posted on my Instagram that I wold cook through The America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School cookbook. I’ve never really used a cookbook. I made a few French recipes from a cookbook that my boyfriend bought me when I was in high school, but that’s about it. To me, cookbooks are scary. I don’t know how to use them properly. It’s like reading an encyclopedia.

I chose this cookbook because I liked how technical it was. I am good at cutting vegetables and fruits. Seasoning meat doesn’t come naturally to me, but I’ve found a few good mixtures that work well. I always salt my food and add fresh herbs when needed. However, I’m not the best at layering flavors and knowing what works on the technical side of cooking. It’s something that I have to learn how to do. I’ve been avoiding it for a while now, and I wish I would’ve started earlier but it’s okay.

All of this to say, I will be posting weekly diaries of recipes I’ve tried from The America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School cookbook. Some will be successful and some won’t, but that’s okay. Let’s see how this goes!

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Coloring Buttercream: Three Steps to Making Beautiful Buttercream

Adding a pop of color to buttercream makes your baked goods more appealing. However, there is a fine line between seeing beautiful colors and tasting food dye. I’ve had to learn how to make buttercream taste execellent while still managing to add bright and dark colors. Here a few tips and tricks to making colorful buttercream:

1.Choose your colors before making the icing
When I want to color buttercream, I consider who I’m making the baked good for, what event will I bring it to and when it will be hosted. If it’s someone close to you, then you probably know their favorite color. However, think about what colors they wear the most or if they have a certain theme for their party.

2. Consult the internet
After I’ve narrowed it down to two to three colors, then I think about gradients. My go to website is the Frost By Numbers guide on the Food Network website. This helped me a lot when I first started baking cupcakes and cakes. The guide offers various colors, gradients and how many drops of food coloring to use.

3. Don’t be afraid to make new colors
The first time you try to make a new color, it may or may not work out, but don’t be afraid to try. I’ve had made some interesting colors, but I didn’t throw out the buttercream. I would pipe it out using different tips, save the shapes and use them on a different baked goods.

These are few tips to creating a nicely colored buttercream. If you have have anymore tips, feel free to share them in the comments section below.

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Matcha and Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Roses

A few weeks ago, I saw a post on Twitter by food blogger, Molly Yeh, about her Rose Rose Cake. The cake looked beautiful and I knew I wanted to try to make it. I had been wanting to make something that was challenging and that I could experiment with color.

It took a full day to make the cake. That was shorter than I expected because originally I thought it would take two days. First, I made the Matcha Chocolate Cake. I needed to make it ahead of time to allow enough time for it to cool. Then, I made the buttercream. In order to make the pink and orange frostings, I referred to this chart. The chart was helpful because I don’t have enough experience mixing colors, and I hate when frostings have too much food coloring. I think it tastes bad. After making the frostings, I turned the air conditioner on in my living room in order to keep the frosting from melting while I worked with it.

In Molly Yeh’s post, she mentions that she used a Wilton Flower Nail Decorating tool. I didn’t have that and I wasn’t going to go look for one, so, instead, I used a pizza saver with two of the legs cut off. I still went through the process of attaching a small square of parchment paper to the top of the pizza saver and creating the roses that way. Honestly, the roses weren’t that hard to make using the pizza saver. You just have to be patient and practice. My first couple of flowers looked a little rough, but by the fifth one, I had gotten the hang of it. Also, if you mess up, you can take the frosting off of the parchment paper and place it back in the bowl.

Overall, making the cake was fun and I was able to catch up on my shows. I’ll be making a similar cake soon, and I hope to post the recipe for the cake and the frosting.

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