In case you haven’t heard, Hello Kitty is not a cat. Well, that’s what author Christine R. Yano was told by Sanrio (the company that owns Hello Kitty and her friends) when she was preparing her script for a Hello Kitty exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum.
“Hello Kitty is not a cat. She’s a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She’s never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature. She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it’s called Charmmy Kitty.”
I’ve been bombarded by texts, emails, phone calls and other messages of concern, asking if I’m going to be okay. Sure I’m okay. Why wouldn’t I be? I don’t get myself riled up when someone blatantly lies to the media. I sit in the comfort of my home and laugh with everyone else at someone who would claim, for instance, that a cat isn’t a cat.
Oh, the absurdity.
Anyway, while the purpose of this blog is to post about recipes and the cats that own me, I feel obliged to comment on one of the obsessions I’ve had since I was seven years old, approximately the time I received my first toothbrush that had her head on top—Hello Kitty. So, without further ado, my open letter to Sanrio.
Read the scathing letter after the jump
My bread machine broke! Long story short, I tried this recipe in the machine, I think the yeast I used was old, and the dough didn’t rise. Because it didn’t rise, it was too compact for the machine to cook, and the blasted thing overheated and melted the plastic compound under the bread pan, which stuck to the plastic.
Let’s paint a quick picture: I had to put the bread machine on the floor, put my foot on it to brace myself, and pull the loaf pan out with all the strength of both my Popeye arms.
I thought the machine was still okay though.
I really wanted to make this bread for an upcoming recipe, so I was pretty bummed that it failed. While I was at work, Chris went to get more yeast, and I coached him on how to use the machine. Well, then the dang display wouldn’t come on, and the buttons weren’t functional. Pretty sure the bread-making-beauty went kaput. So, I told Chris to toss all the ingredients in the stand mixer, then let it rise for an hour. We baked it when I got home from work, and it was DELICIOUS!
I think the lesson is that maybe I don’t need a bread machine, though it’s pretty convenient to toss everything in one pan where it mixes, rises and bakes. Decisions, decisions.
EATING TIP FROM A PRO EATER: Cut two slices, spread both with a tablespoon of pesto. Top with two tomato slices, a pat of Brie and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Voila. Best sandwich ever. I ate four this weekend, in case you were wondering.
Make your kitchen smell like delicious baked bread after the jump
I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. I prefer salty snacks that dehydrate me and make my fingers swollen. Healthy, I know. Where the line between sweet and salty preferences blurs for me is when I make these brownies. And top them with Ben & Jerry’s Cinnamon Buns ice cream. Please note, that if you haven’t tried that ice cream yet, GO TO THE STORE RIGHT NOW AND GET SOME. Boy oh boy, you are in for a treat. I don’t think you even understand.
Talking about ice cream just reminded me of my Grandpa Ivan. He loved ice cream more than anything. One time when my brother and I were little, we went to visit him and my grandma in Phoenix. We were sitting in front of the TV eating ice cream with him and noticed that he kept scraping his bowl with his spoon. Over and over. Scrape, scrape, scrape. For like 10 minutes! Finally, my brother and I looked at each other in annoyance, and my brother said, “Grandpa, do you want more ice cream?” Grandpa said, “I thought you’d never ask.” He was freakin’ waiting for us to ask if he wanted more so he wouldn’t have to get up. He was hilarious. Oh, Grandpa Ivan.
Make brownies, top them with ice cream and scrape your bowl really loudly after the jump
The other day, I got an email from The Bump.
If you don’t know what that is, let me clue you in—it’s a website for mothers and mothers-to-be. ACK! I’m neither of those yet.
After working in the marketing world for a few years now, I could sort of figure out why I got the email. The Bump is connected to two other websites, The Knot (for newly married or engaged couples) and The Nest (for newly married or engaged couples that are making a home). I used The Knot to make our wedding website while we were engaged, so the company has my email address and tries to figure out at what point of my life I should be receiving which emails.
I guess they figure that The Bump is the next step in our lives. Slow your roll, The Bump. Slow…your…roll.
That was a long-winded way for me to get to the point(s) of this blog post:
- I don’t have a baby, nor am I pregnant. (Someday hopefully though!)
- I have a blog called The Kitten Kitchen. Duh, right? You’re reading this post right now.
- I love my kitchen. Duh x2. This blog is about stuff I make in the kitchen.
- I love cats. Duh x3. This blog is called The Kitten Kitchen and is thusly named because I have four cats, all of which are awesome and love to hang out with me while I’m making delicious foods in my kitchen.
- My “kittens” are the closest thing I have to a baby, but way easier because I can leave them home whenever I want to go drink wine and Child Protective Services won’t knock on my door.
I still don’t get the point of this blog post, Daniele.
Hold your horses, and click here to jump and read
This rice. Oh man. This rice. It’s so good.
Do I start a lot of my blog posts that way? I feel like I do. Hey. I’m passionate about these recipes. That should make you feel good. I don’t post gross stuff.
I had some tomatoes that were too mushy to chop and use in salads, a moment to me that means: “Make some Mexican rice!” That’s a good moment because it strikes when I’m about to throw food in the garbage. I hate throwing out food, so I put the tomatoes in the food processor and made something with ‘em. More examples? Bananas. Don’t throw those brown babies out. Make banana bread! Mushy cucumbers? Make gazpacho!
This rice freezes really well, too. In this household of two, that’s important because there’s only so much rice we can eat in one sitting. Give us a break, people! We can’t eat all the food. Actually, I could probably eat this rice, all of it, in one sitting, so I always hurry and put it in a freezer-safe bowl before this happens.
Make enough Mexican rice to freeze after the jump
Lentils are little tiny pearls of heaven. My husband would disagree, but he is missing out. And anyway, the more he hates stuff like lentils, pickles, olives and beans, the more I get to eat. I’m the winner in this food war.
I’ve made this lentil salad a few times, and each time I’m impressed how customizable and versatile it is. Sometimes I add a chopped tomato. Sometimes I add some feta cheese. I always, however, slice and toss in some olives, but that’s the beauty of it—if you hate olives, no worries! This dish is just as good without them–unless you’re an olive lover. Then you’ll be sad that they’re missing.
And if you’ve ever been wondering how to effectively pit some olives (or cherries), use the Cherry and Olive Pitter from OXO. This thing’s a beaut, Clark. Pushes the pit right out. My brother bought it for me as a Christmas gift, and it has helped a lot in the kitchen.
Oh, and the other day? I had the brilliant idea to place a spoonful of the lentil salad in a pita pocket with some sliced tomatoes and mozzarella. Sometimes that little light bulb over my head just turns on, and the results are astounding! I’m a winner again!
Make a salad full of heavenly pearls after the jump
Trick question. They’re the same thing. “Cilantro” translates to “coriander” in Spanish.
Did your brain just blow up?
How parts of the coriander plant are distinguished just depends on where you live in the world. For example, in America, we call the leaves “cilantro,” and the seeds are “coriander.” In the UK, it’s coriander leaves or coriander seeds. In either place, though, the leaves are an herb, and the seeds are a spice.
Bam. Quick and painless lesson.
But wait. There’s more.
Watch the two duke it out for the crown after the jump
Pesto is one of the simplest sauces to make, and all you really need is five ingredients—garlic, nuts, Parmesan, olive oil and the star of the show, basil. I started growing my own basil in the backyard because it’s easy, and I love using it in a variety of recipes.
One might think that it’s only good on pasta. Simply not true. Here are other ways to use pesto:
- Spread it on crackers or bread
- Swirl it into Greek yogurt or cottage cheese
- Drizzle it on eggs, pizza or sliced tomatoes
- Brush it on salmon, steak, pork chops, chicken, potatoes and veggies before grilling or baking
- Stir it into soups, stews and salad dressings
I have some recipe posts that use it, too! Use pesto in Italian meatloaf, pasta caprese, pasta bake or easy calzones. I just drooled.
BUT FIRST, YOU NEED TO MAKE THE PESTO… AFTER THE JUMP
You guys. Pickling produce is so easy. You will be amazed that the entire bounty growing in your backyard (or on sale in the produce section at the grocery store) can be pickled and enjoyed on sandwiches, in salads, in fish tacos, on top of hamburgers, delicately placed in the fold of the bun holding a juicy hot dog, on pizza, on cheese and crackers, plain-right-out-of-the-jar. Ooooh, girl. My mouth just watered.
Anyway, you name it, and it can be pickled.
Asparagus. Duh. Use the deliciously brined stalks to stir a bloody mary.
Carrots? Uh huh.
Onions. For sure.
Beets? Omgosh, yes. Get in my mouth.
Watermelon rinds. Sound weird? Try it.
Brussels sprouts. So crunchy and too good to be true.
Green beans? One of my favorite pickled gems.
The list could really go on and on and on.
And that leads us to cucumbers and banana peppers. A lot of my co-workers have gardens in their backyards. This is a good thing for me because aforementioned co-workers bring in abundances of the produce they simply cannot eat in a reasonable amount of time. This includes tomatoes, green peppers, squashes and so much more. Last week, banana peppers and cucumbers were overflowing on the counter at work. So, like a considerate co-worker, I waited until the end of the day when everyone had his chance to grab what he wanted before I took all the leftovers home. And I gave ‘em a bath. Oh, boy. Did I ever. A nice, salty, vinegary, garlicky bath. Annnnnnd, my mouth just watered again.
PICKLE ALL THE THINGS after the jump
I get cravings for risotto at odd hours, which is annoying because risotto typically takes a while to make and a lot of effort to stir. So when that craving arrives around 10 p.m. on a weeknight, no bueno. That’s why I started looking into risotto shortcuts.
Enter the rice cooker.
Seems like this concept would be a no-brainer because risotto is rice, and a rice cooker is made to prepare rice. But, the intricacies involved in cooking risotto always just made me assume that this machine wasn’t ideal for making it. I was wrong. Sue me.
In my research, I also found some other unique uses for a rice cooker, which leads me to believe that I should try a few and post the results on this here blog–since many of you, like me, think that a rice cooker is only good for one thing…cooking rice. Not so!
Get more bang for your rice cooker’s buck after the jump