Chicken tacos.

Skinless, boneless chicken breast, marinated in olive oil and Tony Chachere’s Original Creole for a couple hours, then grilled until char marks appear and the scent of spiced chicken wafts up from the plate and infuses the kitchen, then sliced into edible strips, easily placed on a tortilla blanket.

Purple cabbage, washed, patted dry and thickly chiffonaded for a leafy, satisfying crunch.

Shredded mozzarella (not pictured), sprinkled lightly under the chicken strips to melt and create a gooey, slightly salty bond between chicken and tortilla.

Storebought salsa, spooned atop chicken for a mildly spicy kick of tomatoes, peppers and jalapeño seeds. What’s a taco without salsa?

Sauteed, blackened Vidalia onions pieces (also not pictured), cooked in a seasoned cast iron skillet with a pinch of salt and brown sugar, browned to a floppy, flavorful, juicy mess and strewn under chicken and cabbage, over shredded cheese. Soft on the outside, still maintaining a gentle al dente bite.

Sour cream to melt around all these things and bring the flavors together, a creamy, tangy base of a self-created taco sauce, wherein all the juices of grilled chicken, fresh cabbage, tomatoes, peppers and melted cheese come together in celebration.

Homemade white flour tortillas, mixed, kneaded and flattened by hand, with love, and set to brown on a searing-hot iron skillet, still infused with onion and brown sugar, then removed and let cool for packaging by hand.


In a domestic frenzy.

I always knew there was something to be said for housewives and stay-at-home moms (or dads) in the world, but I never really thought about it being so much… work. I guess I should’ve known better – I’m always wishing I had more time to clean the house, or bake (something) or cook for leftovers, or get ready for work tomorrow. It’s really that I just suck at time management, but having a full sunup to sundown schedule usually doesn’t help. (Aided by a great overappreciation for my ‘free days,’ of course.)

Though my big room still isn’t clean by any means, at least I’ve gotten comfortable in my kitchen. I cleaned it up and reorganized some things Friday, and I’ve been cooking ever since. Both because I needed to so I’d have food for the rest of the week, and because I’m trying to readjust my eating habits again. I’ve even gone so far as to (sort of) plan a menu for suppers and leftovers for the work week. Actually, this domestic, homegrown frenzy of mine hit late last week, when I found a recipe for creme fraiche, which I made, and then decided I wanted homemade mayo, too. I also found some recipes for butter, both cultured and non, which I will be making when my current butter stores are used up.

Hardboiled eggs have been waiting on me to do something with them, ever since I (re)boiled them middle of last week. I planned on egg salad, a favorite of mine, but my hardboiling prowess from my highschool years seems to have failed me. I couldn’t get a hardboiled egg cooked right to save my life. Which brings me to the great Egg Experiment – can you reboil eggs? Turns out that yes you can, as long as the eggs are kept cold in the meantime (to reduce the possibility of botulism, of course). Just pop them in cold water, bring them to a boil, cover and turn off the heat. In short, treat them like raw eggs. The yolks may not be pretty, but they’re solid. I can eat them. Maybe soon I’ll rediscover my boiling niche and I won’t have to make twice-boiled eggs. I hope.

In any case, I took my hardboiled eggs, my creme fraiche and my homemade mayo and voila! made homemade egg salad! With a little paprika, a little cayenne and a little fresh-ground black pepper, I was set to go. Egg salad for lunch the rest of the week! I’m in the process of making pitas right now; my dough is resting comfortably in an oiled bowl. I found the recipe here on Baker’s Banter, the King Arthur Flour blog,
and I think what drew me to it most was PJ’s pita dilemma. PJ’s pitas don’t always rise, whether because of the heat of the oven or the yeast or maybe she just doesn’t always hold her mouth right. My little tiny oven has a tendency to run hot, so I’m hoping that maybe mine will pop prettily. I’m expecting to make up some egg salad stuffed sammies to take to work this week, and maybe I’ll mix up a batch of grilled chicken salad with green grapes, cubed apples and celery to wrap up in some pita bread, too. I think the best part is that I don’t have to despair about buying pitas – or any bread, for that matter – because of high food costs anymore. I can make my own ‘specialty’ foods, breads included.

I used to have a serious fear of bread-making, but no longer. I’m actually getting pretty good at mixing up full batches of soft wheat versions of Jayne’s Soft White Bread. A full batch lasts me about two and a half to three weeks, depending on how many sandwiches I eat (lately, it’s been a lot). I’m moving on to other things than loaf bread now, starting with these pitas. Sometime this week, I plan on making up a batch of Homesick Texan’s tortillas for some black bean and corn burritos (maybe chicken fajitas). And one of these days, when I use up the copious amounts of dry fettucine and spaghetti in my pantry closet, I’m going to attempt fresh pasta sans pasta machine.

For now, though, I just wanted to share my domestic exploits in bread-making with y’all. I’m off to finish laundry now, before it takes over my bed.

*Sorry to anyone who’s missing photos on here. My machine doesn’t like to download anything from either of my available cameras, and until I figure out why and how to fix it, I can only download pictures at work. Which isn’t always feasible. Thanks for your patience, though.