31 March 2009

tuesday's take 5 -- week #9

  1. if you were a dish, what would you be?
  2. it’s Friday night, and you don’t know what to cook. you opt for…
  3. what's the native specialty of your home town or state?
  4. what spices can you not live without?
  5. what is a fictional restaurant you would like to visit
answer these 5 questions on your blog today and enter your name (or your blog's name) in the name field below and a permalink (the url for your blog post with the answer to these questions and not just to your main blog page) to your blog post in the url field. thanks for playing, see you next week!

30 March 2009

garlic and rosemary monkey bread

I love making monkey bread and this is a great herbed bread that goes wonderful with chicken and pork dishes.  I served it saturday night with the balsamic pork tenderloin .

garlic and rosemary monkey bread

1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon active dry yeast (1 1/2 packages)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 Sticks) unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons chopped garlic (preferably roasted)
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon minced fresh Parsley
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  1. heat the butter milk until lukewarm (but not hot).  in my microwave, this is about 1 minute on half (50%) power
  2. transfer the warm milk to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (alternatively, the dough can be mixed by hand in a large bowl)
  3. add the yeast and a pinch of the sugar and let stand far about 5 minutes, until the yeast is dissolved
  4. add the remaining sugar, the salt, and 1/2 cup of the melted butter.  add the roasted garlic, pepper, and fresh herbs and, with the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the flour, mixing for 2 or 3 minutes, until a soft dough forms
  5. transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn the dough to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. let rise in a warm place for about I hour. or until doubled in volume
  6. preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease a bar pan (rimmed cookie sheet)
  7. punch down the dough and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface.  using a rolling pin roll the dough out to a 1/4-inch thickness
  8. place the remaining 1/2 cup melted butter in a shallow bowl.  with a pizza cutter or a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1 by 2 inch pieces.  dip each piece of dough into the melted butter and arrange the on the bar pan, slightly overlapping each piece
  9. let rise in a warm place, covered with a damp towel, for 20 to 30 minutes
  10. transfer to the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.  brush the top again with any leftover butter

29 March 2009

balsamic pork tenderloin with roasted veggies

this is one of those great and quick recipes.  it is one of my favorite things to make when we are having  friends over for dinner.  all you need to add is some bread and you have dinner!

balsamic pork tenderloin with roasted veggies

1/2 pounds pork tenderloins, 1 packages with 2 tenderloins

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 cloves garlic, cracked
steak seasoning blend
coarse salt
black pepper
4 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves stripped and finely chopped
vegetables chopped and washed for roasting (zucchinibroccoli,asparagus, and mushrooms)
  1. preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
  2. place tender loins in a roasting pan. coat tenderloins in a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, rubbing vinegar into meat. drizzle tenderloins with extra-virgin olive oil, just enough to coat. cut small slits into meat and disperse chunks of cracked garlic cloves into meat. combine steak seasoning blend or coarse salt and pepper with rosemary and rub meat with blend. roast in hot oven 10 minutes. 
  3. remove the roast from the oven and add the vegatables to the roasting pan.  drizzle roasts and the vegtables with additional basalmic vinegar.  return the roasting pan to the oven and roast for another 10 minutes.
  4. let meat rest, transfer to a carving board, slice and serve with the roasted veggies.

27 March 2009

the square bar

so, last night, we tried a new restaurant in waco, the square bar.  it is next to olive branch, where we went for lunch the other day.  everything in the restaurant was square, from the menus to the tables to the plates.

since I had already had dinner, I went for dessert, but the choice was tough, they had so many desserts on their menu that sounded good.  I eventually decided on the bananas foster cheesecake and it was a good choice.  the cheesecake was rich and creamy and the bananas foster topping was perfect.

mike went for the beef wellington sliders, since he h
ad not had dinner yet.  they sounded really good on the menu, but left something to be desired when actually eating them.  they were freshly baked croissants with a really good sauce and sliced roast beef.  they were good, but they would have been even better with a better quality meat.

26 March 2009

peach french toast bake

this is not only healthy, but it is incredibly easy!  it's best with fresh peaches if you can get them.

cooking spray
1 large whole-wheat baguette (about 8 ounces)
4 whole eggs
4 egg whites
1 cup low fat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups sliced peaches, fresh or frozen
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  1. preheat the oven to 350.
  2. spray a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. slice the baguette into 1/2-inch slices and arrange the slices in a single layer in the baking pan.
  3. whisk together the eggs, egg whites, milk and vanilla. pour the egg mixture over the bread in the pan. in a medium bowl, toss peaches with the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar.
  4. scatter the peach slices evenly on top of the bread. combine the remaining brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the top. cover and refrigerate overnight.
  5. in the morning, uncover and bake for 40 minutes.

serving suggestion: top with a dollop of vanilla yogurt and a side of canadian bacon.

25 March 2009

lunch at olive branch

I am so excited that olive branch is back open here in waco.  mike and I have been fans of this resturant for over 10 years, through different owners, but always the same great food!  as usual, we shared a BLT and I had potato chips with mayonaise (and odd combination that I only seem to have at olive branch).  I can't wait to make it back again for their breakfasts, since it's one of my favorite places in waco to eat breakfast.  so if you are in waco, make sure you stop by the olive branch for breakfast or lunch, they are only open from 7 am to 2 pm, at their new location 330 austin avenue.

24 March 2009

my favorites -- tuesday take 5 -- week #8

  • what is your favorite food scene in a movie?

  • audrey hepburn eating crouisant outside tiffany's in "breakfast at tiffany's"

  • what is your favorite breakfast food?

  • michael's biscuits 

  • what is your favorite ethnic cuisine?

  • I would say italian, but I seem to cook a lot of jewish food

  • what is your favorite thing to snack on?

  • salt and vinegar potato chips or blue bell ice cream

  • what is your favorite kitchen gadget?

  • my kitchen-aid stand mixer

    your favorites -- tuesday's take 5 -- week 8

    thanks to everyone who has been playing along with tuesday's take 5.

  • what is your favorite food scene in a movie?

  • what is your favorite breakfast food?

  • what is your favorite ethnic cuisine?

  • what is your favorite thing to snack on?

  • what is your favorite kitchen gadget?

  • answer these 5 questions on your blog today and enter your name (or your blog's name) in the name field below and a permalink (the url for your blog post with the answer to these questions and not just to your main blog page) to your blog post in the url field. thanks for playing, see you next week!

    23 March 2009

    hawaiian slut

    last sunday when I was in austin, I went with my sister into the bar where she works. the guy that was bartending, mike burgess, asked me what I wanted to drink and I said "I don't know, something fruity" the drink he made me was really good, when I asked him how he came up with it he said there are always these annoying girls that come in and don't know what they want, they say they just want something fruity, so he came up with this drink to make for them.

    wait, does that mean that I am one of those annoying girls??

    1 shot regular rum
    1 shot malbu (or coconut) rum
    splash of cranberry juice
    splash of sweet and sour mix
    pineapple juice

    1. fill a glass with ice and add the shots of rum
    2. add the splashes of cranberry juice and sweet and sour mix
    3. top the glass off with pineapple juice
    4. stir and serve

    22 March 2009

    somedays it just happens that way . . .

    yesterday morning, mike had to work, so he was not able to make biscuits for me.  then, while he was at work, he found out that olive branch, one of our favorite restaurants had finally reopened after being closed for a couple of months and moving.  so michael promised me that he would make me biscuits this morning and then we would go to olive branch for lunch.

    we ended up sleeping in this morning, so it was after 11 before mike started making his biscuits, but they were definately worth the wait.  so, we weren't really hungry for lunch for a while, but at about 2:30 we decied to venture out for lunch and to go run some errands.  on our way into town, we stopped at the gas station by our house to get a sunday paper and for me to get a coke.  now, I need to tell you that I love fountian cherry coke. it is the greatest thing in the world, and one of the main reasons that I stop at this gas station is to get a fountain cherry coke (I even know exactly how much they cost so that when I am in a hurry in the mornings, I can just run in and get my drink and leave them the money on the counter and not have to wait for them to check me out).  well, today I went up to the fountian drink machine and noticed that they had replaced the cherry coke with coke zero, which will not work for me (on the bright side, I have been trying to kick my soft drink habit for a while now and this may just be the thing I need to do it).

    so we headed into town to go to olive branch for lunch, and I was already going over what I was going to get in my mind (did I want the french toast or the blt?).  when we pulled up, I noticed that all the chairs were on the tables and the lights were off.  I looked on the door and sure enough, they close at 2 pm on sundays and it was 2:45 by then.  since we couldn't really think of anything else that sounded good, we decided to go run the rest of our errands and see if we thought of something.

    we finished our errands and were not any closer to knowing where we wanted to go.  then mike suggested double daves (a pizza chain here in texas) buffet .  that sounded good to me, they have fountian cherrry coke and I have been craving their cinnamon sticks.  so I call double daves to make sure that they have a dinner
    buffet on sunday and they said that they do, but it didn't start until 5 pm (by now it's about 3:40 pm).  we decide that we could go home and unload and then come back into town for dinner at 5 pm.  which we did and it was great.

    so all in all, not a bad food day, but not as wonderful as it could have been. we will try olive branch again next weekend!

    20 March 2009

    my mom's BBQ sauce

    growing up, my mom made the best BBQ sauce.  as I have said before, my dad BBQ'd quite often, so I watched my mom make this sauce many times.  I never saw her use any sort of recipe, so I just assumed that it was a recipe that she had developed and tweaked over time.  I asked her a few weeks ago to send me the recipe because I wanted to make it for our cousins reunion.  I was shocked later when I got an e-mail from my day with a scanned in recipe card with the recipe in my late grandmother's handwriting.  it has been about a year since I lost my grandmother and seeing this brought such tears to my eyes.  just as I got my love of cooking from my mother, she got her love of cooking from her mother and I am eternally grateful for the wonderful gift that she has given to both of us.  I got to thinking after looking at the recipe for a while that I always type my recipes, I think it makes it easier to keep up with them and share them with others.  but now I see what a gift it was to see this in my grandmother's handwriting, I need to make it more of a point to write things in my own handwriting occasionally.

    1 large onion, minced
    1/4 cup bacon fat or margarine
    1 can tomato sauce
    2/3 cup ketchup
    1/4 cup brown sugar
    1/4 cup white sugar
    1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
    1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
    1/4 cup vinegar
    tabasco, salt, and pepper to taste

    1. saute the onions in the fat.
    2. add the other ingredients and heat to boiling
    juice from sweet pickles can be used instead of vinegar

    19 March 2009

    root beer bbq sauce

    this is my favorite sauce to serve with pulled pork.  I let the leftover pulled pork sit in the leftover sauce in the fridge and it makes great sandwiches!  you can also substitute dr.pepper for the root beer to make a great sauce for wings. 

    2 liter bottle root beer
    ½ cup sliced onion
    1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar
    ½ cup ketchup
    ¼ cup yellow mustard
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
    1 tablespoon tabasco
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    1 teaspoon black pepper
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1. pour root beer into a large pot with the sliced onion and reduce to 1 cup over medium heat (takes about 1 hour).
    2. add vinegar, ketchup, mustard, lemon juice, Worcestershire, Tabasco, salt, and pepper.  stir well to combine and simmer 20 minutes.
    3. finish with butter to give the sauce extra body and flavor.

    18 March 2009

    pulled pork

    this is one of my favorite things for mike to do on the grill.  it takes a little while, but it is worth it!!  the leftovers are great with the root beer bbq sauce on sandwiches.

    1 boneless pork shoulder (about 4 to 41/2 pounds) 

    4 tablespoons kosher salt 
    1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper 
    1 1/2 cups light brown sugar 
    1/4 cup paprika 
    2 to 3 sprigs thyme, leaves only 
    4 cloves garlic 
    1/4 cup red wine vinegar 
    Scant 1 tablespoon cayenne 
    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
    1. place the salt, pepper, brown sugar, paprika, thyme leaves, garlic, vinegar, and cayenne in a food processor and pulse until well combined. add extra-virgin olive oil until you have a nice paste. rub all over the pork, being sure to get into the nooks so the salt can penetrate the meat and pull out the moisture - this will help form a crust on the outside when cooked. cover the pork with plastic wrap or freezer paper and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or up to overnight. 
    2. allow the meat to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. set up a charcoal grill for indirect cooking, adding pecan wood chunks to the charcoal for smoke.
    3. position the pork fat side up on the grill. there’s no need to turn the meat during cooking. cook slowly with the lid closed on low heat (325° to 350°F).  After about 3 hours, wrap the meat with aluminum foil and continue to cook for a total cooking time of 5 to 6 hours. the meat should be very tender and easy to pull apart. (If using a bone-in cut, you’ll be able to wiggle the bone free.)
    4. let the meat rest on a cutting board or clean tray until just cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes. (It will pull apart most easily while still somewhat hot.) pull the meat from the skin, bone, and fat working quickly, shred the chunks of meat with two forks by crossing the forks and “pulling” the meat from the roast into small pieces. 

    17 March 2009

    my answer's for st. patrick's day tuesday take 5

    1. have you ever made some thing a certain color for a holiday (i.e. green cookies for st. patrick's day)?
      yes, I do this quite often, I even have neon colored food dye (I know you are jealous)
    2. what is your favorite green food?
    3. what is your favorite irish dish to make?
      irish soda bread
    4. what is one irish dish that you have always wanted to try?
      irish porter cake
    5. have you ever had green beer?
      no, but I don't drink beer at all

    st. patrick's day tuesday's take 5 -- week #7

    thanks to everyone who has been playing along with tuesday's take 5. these questions are all in honor of st. patrick's day

    1. have you ever made some thing a certain color for a holiday (i.e. green cookies for st. patrick's day)?
    2. what is your favorite green food?
    3. what is your favorite irish dish to make?
    4. what is one irish dish that you have always wanted to try?
    5. have you ever had green beer?
    answer these 5 questions on your blog today and enter your name (or your blog's name) in the name field below and a permalink (the url for your blog post with the answer to these questions and not just to your main blog page) to your blog post in the url field. thanks for playing, see you next week!

    15 March 2009

    irish soda bread

    in honor of st. patrick's day this week, here is my recipe for irish soda bread.  it is great and it makes 2 terrific loaves.

    4 cups whole-wheat flour
    1/3 cup sugar
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    6 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced, plus additional for the baking sheet
    2 large eggs
    1 ½ cups buttermilk

    1.    preheat oven to 400.  lightly butter an 11 X 17” baking sheet.
    2.    in a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.  work in the butter with a pastry cutter until the mix resembles coarse crumbs.
    3.    break the eggs into a measuring cup and whisk with a fork.  add the buttermilk to the eggs; to reach 2 cups of liquid.  pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and stir until completely incorporated.
    4.    turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, sprinkle with a little flour and knead with your hands for 3 minutes.
    5.    divide the dough into 3 equal parts and form each part into a ball.  using a small, sharp knife, cut an X across the top of each ball and transfer the balls to the prepared baking sheet.
    6.    bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

    13 March 2009

    what we are missing in waco and eating at #sxsw

    for some reason, this week, I have been thinking a lot about the restaurants/types of food that are missing from waco.  don't get me wrong, I LOVE living in waco, but it does not have all the restaurants and grocery stores that a larger city would have.  in a lot of ways I am grateful for this, it makes it all that more fun when we go places (which is why we seem to put so much thought into where we eat when we are out of town). also, it has inspired me to cook and experiment in the kitchen more, trying to replicate dishes that we can't get in waco.

    I think what started this all for me this week was my twitter friend @youngfreetexas (I am beginning to discover he is a little bit of a foodie as well) talking about eating fried chicken and waffles while he was in atlanta.  fried chicken and waffles are one of those southern treats that I have never tried, but I would like to if I get the chance.  so, I asked @youngfreetexas if there was any place in waco to get fried chicken and waffles.  of course, the answer was no (actually, he had a pretty funny answer).  then this morning, I woke up craving some sort of yeasty breakfast pastry (I don't really know what exactly I wanted, but it wasn't the donut that I ended up having).  I couldn't think of any place in waco where I could go to get a great, fresh breakfast pastry.  maybe I'll talk my mom into making beignets when she is here this weekend!!

    I am going to austin later this weekend for south by southwest and I was thrilled last night to see that @youngfreetexas had posted a wonderful blog post about eating in austin.  you can check out his blog at: http://youngfreetexas.com

    12 March 2009

    lunch today at crickets

    mike and I decided to go to crickets (a local bar and grill here in waco) for lunch today.  we hadn't been there in a while, but they always have great lunch specials and we were in the mood for something different.

    once we took a look at their menu we decided that we really needed to eat here more often, there were just so many good things to choose from, we had trouble deciding.

    mike opted for the pit burger and sweet potato fries.  the pit burger was, in mike's words "ridiculous".  it was a burger topped with pulled pork, bbq sauce, cheddar cheese, pickles and cole slaw.  that may sound like a lot, but remember we are in texas and we like to do things big.  I tried some of the pulled pork and it was out of this world good and I noticed on their menu, that they have the pulled pork available for take-out by the pound!!

    I opted for the monte cristo and sweet potato fries.  I really like monte cristo's, I mean, it's a fried sandwich, what is not to love.  I've had some ok monte cristo's and some great ones and this one was pretty good!

    11 March 2009

    hamantashen, a jewish cookie recipe from behind blue eyes

    my wonderful friend @tackyannie made some great cookies yesterday and shared the story and recipe on her blog, behind blue eyes .  she said that I could share the recipe with my blog readers as well, but be sure to checkout her blog for the story and more pictures.

    Texas Traffic Jam Hamantashen
    35 min | 20 min prep

    SERVES 9 , 18 cookies

    * 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    * 1 teaspoon baking powder
    * 1/4 teaspoon salt
    * 1/8 lb butter or margarine
    * 1/2 cup sugar
    * 1/2 large egg
    * 1/4 cup orange juice
    * 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    * 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
    * Your favorite jam or jelly. I used Texas Traffic Jam

    1. Place rack in upper third of oven. Preheat to 350°F Line baking sheets with parchment paper, or grease them.
    2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt.
    3. In a mixing bowl with electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
    4. Add egg and mix 1 minute.
    5. Mix in orange juice, vanilla and almond extracts.
    6. Add flour mixture and mix until incorporated. Shape into a flat disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm enough to roll out, at least 15 minutes. (Dough can be refrigerated up to 2 days.).

    7. Divide the dough in half; it will be very sticky.
    8. Cover 1 portion with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Place the other half on a well-floured surface. When you think it’s floured enough, flour it more. Roll it out with a well floured rolling pin.
    9. Use a 3-inch circle cookie cutter or biscuit cutter, cut circles.
    10. Using a floured spatula, pick up circles and place on prepared baking sheets.
    11. Spoon 1 1/2 teaspoons filling in the center of each circle. Press three edges together to make a triangle, leaving an opening in the center with the filling showing.

    12. Place 1 1/2 inches apart on baking sheets.
    13. Repeat with remaining dough, rerolling scraps and cutting out as many circles as possible.
    14. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden on the bottom. If baking more than one sheet in the oven at a time, rotate baking sheet positions after 7 minutes.
    15. Cool 5 minutes and remove to racks to finish cooling.
    16. May be stored, airtight, for several days.

    10 March 2009

    my answers to eating out -- tuesday's take 5 -- week #6

    here are my answers:
    1. What was the last meal you ate out?
      lunch yesterday at elite cafe, YUMM
    2. If your partner or friends could take you to any restaurant you wanted (their treat), which one would it be?
      taste of texas steakhouse in houston
    3. Buffet, take-out or sit-down restaurant?
      I prefer sit-down, but I probally get take-out the most
    4. What restaurant do you eat at the most?
      chick-fil-a with the kids
    5. What type of restaurant is missing from your current town?

    eating out -- tuesday's take five -- week #6

    thanks to everyone who has been playing along with tuesday's take 5. some people have said they wanted to play but didn't because they don't cook, well, this week is for you. all the questions this week are about eating out and we all do that (or somedays just dream about it in this economy!)

    1. What was the last meal you ate out?
    2. If your partner or friends could take you to any restaurant you wanted (their treat), which one would it be?
    3. Buffet, take-out or sit-down restaurant?
    4. What restaurant do you eat at the most?
    5. What type of restaurant is missing from your current town?
    answer these 5 questions on your blog today and enter your name (or your blog's name) in the name field below and a permalink (the url for your blog post with the answer to these questions and not just to your main blog page) to your blog post in the url field. thanks for playing, see you next week!

    06 March 2009

    sopapilla cheesecake, in honor of national cheesecake day

    since today is national cheesecake day, I wanted to share with you my sopapilla cheesecake recipe. this recipe is not only wonderful, but it is really easy!!

    2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
    2 (8 ounce) packages refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
    1 cup sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 tablespoon honey
    1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine, melted
    1/2 cup cinnamon sugar
    powered sugar for dusting

    1. unroll one package of refrigerated crescent rolls and line the bottom of a 9 X 13 pan.
    2. mix together the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, and honey.
    3. spread over the crescent rolls.
    4. unroll the other can of crescent rolls and place on top of cream cheese mixture.
    5. pour one stick of melted butter or margarine over the top and sprinkle with about 1/2 cup of the cinnamon sugar mixture.
    6. bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
    7. dust with powdered sugar before serving.

    05 March 2009

    national cheese doodle day

    so today is national cheese doodle day (thanks to @foodimentary for keeping me in the loop on these things).  while I do not have a recipe for cheese doodles, I was thinking about sharing my mom's cheese puffs recipe with you for this occasion, but I realized that I had already shared that recipe with you.  so, in honor of national cheese doodle day, check out my mom's cheese puffs recipe.

    by the way, I am the only one who thinks of the pirates who don't do anything whenever I hear cheese doodles?

    03 March 2009

    my answer's to tuesday's take 5 -- week #5

    here are my answers:

    1. what 3 ingredients couldn't you live without?
      garlic, butter, whole cut up chicken
    2. what food reminds you of your childhood?
      my mom's fried chicken with rice and gravy
    3. what was your last cooking disasters?
      my cake wreck for my co-workers birthday
    4. what makes you a foodie?
      I love to eat and cook food, and shop for food!!
    5. what is the last meal you cooked?
      corn casserole and homemade mac and cheese for the reunion this weekend

    tuesday take 5 -- week #5

    here's this week's tuesday's take 5, thanks to everyone who has been playing along!
    1. what 3 ingredients couldn't you live without?
    2. what food reminds you of your childhood?
    3. what was your last cooking disasters?
    4. what makes you a foodie?
    5. what is the last meal you cooked?

    02 March 2009

    my corn casserole

    since I have talked so much about my mom's corn casserole, I thought it was only fitting to share with you my corn casserole.

    my mother is famous for her corn casserole and she has a fool-proof recipe that anyone can make. anyone, but me, that is. I have tried many times to make it and it never comes out right. I am the only one that my mother knows who has not had success with her recipe, even my sister is able to make it. so, out of desperation, I tried more corn recipes than I could count, but I could never find one that came close to her casserole. once michael discovered grilling and started grilling every weekend, I knew that I had to find a recipe that worked (you can’t have bar-b-que in texas without corn casserole). this recipe is very different from my mother’s corn casserole, but I think that I like it even better (don’t tell my mother).

    4 servings

    ½ stick unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the pan
    2 ½ cups fresh or frozen corn
    ½ cup chopped yellow onion
    2 extra large eggs
    1 cup buttermilk
    ¼ cup yellow cornmeal
    ½ cup ricotta cheese
    1 ½ tablespoons cayenne pepper
    1 tablespoon sugar
    ½ tablespoon salt
    ½ teaspoon ground pepper
    ½ cup shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese
    ¼ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
    1. preheat oven to 375. grease the inside of a 6 cup baking dish.
    2. melt the butter in large sauté pan and sauté the corn and onion over medium-high heat for 4 minutes. set aside to cool.
    3. whisk together the eggs and buttermilk in a large bowl. slowly whisk in the cornmeal. add the ricotta and stir to combine. stir in the cayenne, sugar, salt, and pepper. add the cooked corn mixture and the ½ cup shredded cheese and stir to combine.
    4. pour into prepared baking dish and top with the ¼ cup shredded cheese.
    5. bake the dish in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top begins to brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. serve warm.

    01 March 2009

    lara's pretzels

    when I got up this morning and when I checked facebook, I saw the pictures of my friend lara's homemade pretzels that she made and I almost cried because I wasn't in waco to get to enjoy them.  she was kind enough to let me share the recipe with you, but go check out her blog for the rest of the story and lots of pictures.


    Here’s what I did: (with thanks to Smitten Kitchen)
    Soft Pretzels
    2 cups hot tap water
    1 tablespoon sugar
    2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
    5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
    1 tablespoon salt
    2 teaspoons canola or other neutral oil
    1/4 cup baking soda
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1 large egg
    Coarse sea salt
    1. Pour warm water into large bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon in sugar. Sprinkle with yeast and let sit until foamy (about 10-15 minutes).
    2. Add 1 cup flour to yeast, and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Add salt and 4 cups flour, stir until combined. Transfer to a lightly floured board, adding more flour if needed, and knead for about 10-15 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
    3. Pour oil into a large bowl & coat sides. Transfer dough to bowl and coat all sides of dough with oil. Cover with a towel, and leave in a warm spot for 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in size.
    4. Heat oven to 450°F. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Punch down dough to remove bubbles. Transfer to a lightly floured board. Knead once or twice, and then divide dough in half, then in half again, and again, and finally one last time. You now have 1/16th of the total dough. (Keep all the other pieces under plastic as much as possible). Continue working with 1/16th of the dough at a time.
    5. Roll one piece of dough at a time into an 18-inch-long strip. Twist into pretzel shape (haha.. this was a challenge!) and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Cover with a kitchen towel. Continue to form pretzels until you’ve used all the dough. Let pretzels rest until they rise slightly, about 15 minutes.
    6. While the dough is resting, fill a shallow pot with 3 inches of water (I used my dutch oven, but a straight sided pan would probably work, too. Bring to a boil. Add baking soda and 2 tablespoons sugar (use more if your pot is particularly large and you have a lot of water. Drop the pretzels in the simmering water 3 or 4 at a time. Poach 1 minute on each side (I just learned last night that pretzels are “poached). Use slotted spoon to remove from the water and move them back to the baking sheet.
    7. Beat egg with 1 tablespoon water and then “brush” pretzels with egg. (I don’t have a brush, we used our fingers). Sprinkle with salt. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on wire rack, or eat warm. EAT THEM WARM!