Archive for ◊ June, 2010 ◊

13 Jun 2010 South Texas Flour Tortillas
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I saw this post at Om-Nom-Nomnivore, laughed out loud, and took up the challenge. Thirty minutes later I am sitting here with soft and warm flour tortillas bathed in melted butter. YUM! There’s only 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in the whole batch of one dozen tortillas, so I’m not feeling too badly about the melted butter on top…

I need some practice, no doubt about it. I have no idea how to roll a 2 oz. ball of dough into an even 6 inch circle, but what the heck. These tasted good. They were easy. They’d be great for the kids or company to make while you pulled together the meat, fish, beans, veggies, guacamole, salsa…, whatever, to wrap in the tortilla for taco night or burrito night.

I read these keep for 5 days wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator. Not sure mine will last that long. Think I will try some cinnamon and sugar on top of this melted butter now-(always been a favorite of mine) and maybe when Abby comes home she’ll spread a bit of peanut butter on hers…, and we do have a lot of leftover BBQ chicken in the refrigerator.

I think I’ll show my 19 year olds how to make these, college students do run out of money from time to time. It would be good for them to know how to make these, just in case.

I’m just going to copy the post from the Om-Nom-Nomnivore site…, maybe it will inspire you to crank out your first batch, too!

South Texas Flour Tortillas

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour (NOT bread flour)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vegetable oil
3/4 cup hot milk

1. Light up the stove or griddle. Get a large non-stick surface hot and ready to go. I like these to cook fast, so fire that baby on up. Set out a heavy plate (that will hold heat) and a spatula to handle the hot bread.

2. Put a smidgen over 3/4 cup of milk into the micro and set on high for 60 seconds and leave it. We’ll cover why it’s just over 3/4 cup shortly…

3. Measure out all of the dry ingredients into the mixer of your Kitchen Aid or a large bowl that you can mix in by hand.

4. Add in 2 tsp of vegetable oil. Yes, vegetable oil. No, I don’t mean butter. It works, trust me. Now mix those items together just a bit.

5. Slowly mix the hot milk in until the dough ball comes away cleanly. You may need to add a little more or less and you may need to adjust with additional flour.

6. Mix the dough for 3-4 minutes then turn out on a floured surface and knead once or twice to shape it some. (Note: To this point you should have taken no more than 5 minutes tops! Yes, the clock is running, come’on! Didn’t you read the post title?)

7. Divide the dough into 12 equal balls, if you are measuring with scales each ball will be somewhere around 2 oz in size.

8. Here’s the fun part! You may want some help with the first couple of times. Roll each ball into a 6″ circle on a lightly floured surface and cook them on the skillet/griddle. Each one will take about 30 seconds per side to cook so you can put one on and roll out a second tortilla. Once the second one is ready you can flip the first one and place the second one on the surface. By the time the third one is ready the first will come off and the second will be ready to flip. Lather, rinse, repeat until done.

9. Be standing at the door, when your SO walks in, with one of these lathered up in butter and waiting for him/her. Don’t ever send him/her to the store again for something that’s so easy for you to whip out. Seriously, that’s just mean 🙂

13 Jun 2010 Fresh Blueberry Lemonade

Thought I might like this…and I was right! Loved it. The blueberry taste is not pronounced, but the color they give to the drink is fantastic. Bbbb…b…bbut…the lemonade is pinkish RED, not blue! Surprise! Our delightful 4 year old guest, who was dressed as a doggie AND a superhero (yes, at the same time!) drank 10 cups of this (at least), and she called it Pink Lemonade.  I was going to follow her lead, but that would be even MORE confusing…so Blueberry Lemonade it remains!

I found this concoction to be more refreshing than straight up lemonade. It’s not as harsh, not as much acidity, I think. Yep, this recipe is a winner, a keeper. Be sure to make a batch for the July 4th picnic. Make several batches as once, in “concentrate” form, so you can serve it up when it is most needed and wanted without any fuss or bother.

This recipe was pulled together from two sources. My original long-relied upon lemonade recipe from “Too Busy to Cook” (a cookbook from the 80’s or 90’s) and a recipe from Family Fun Magazine attributed to Anne Coleman.

Fresh Blueberry Lemonade

1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 1/3 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
grated zest of two lemons
1 sliced lemon
extra handful of blueberries (for garnish, if desired)
Additional water, about 6 cups.

Combine blueberries, sugar and water and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until blueberries soften and release their color, about 5 minutes. Strain liquid and discard solids. Let cool. Stir in lemon juice,lemon zest, and sliced lemon along with enough water to have liquids measure 2 quarts. Flavor from lemons develops over time. Let mixture sit for a few hours or overnight. Serve over ice with a slice of lemon and a float of 5 or 6 blueberries.

Make your own Blueberry Lemonade Concentrate!

Make the sugar-blueberry-water syrup. Strain. Stir in the lemon juice and lemon zest. Freeze. When needed just add 1 sliced lemon and enough water to made 2 quarts of drink, stir briskly to dissolve the concentrate. YUM. How impressive would that be to pull out on a Tuesday night?!

Thanks for visiting!

13 Jun 2010 Cookie Cups (for Ice Cream Sundaes, of course!)

Want a REALLY good ice cream sundae? Ice-cream, fresh fruit, whipped cream, chocolate shavings, maybe a few sliced almonds…in a Cookie Cup! The Cookie Cup transforms a familiar, really good dessert a to a special, really GREAT dessert. People swoon. People moan. People linger.

This recipe has been in my files since I was a newlywed in 1981. I have only a photocopy of a page from a cookbook, no notations. I am pretty sure the photocopy is from a Sunset cookbook from the 1980s, but I am not certain.

Use any nuts you want, but I have specified my favorite combination. Other than that, I have made no changes to the original recipe.

Cookie Cups

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar (Light or dark brown sugar was not specified. I’ve used both, and prefer the dark)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
7 Tablespoons flour
1 cup finely chopped nuts (I use half pecans and half sliced almonds–both chopped finely)
2 teaspoons vanilla

Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add in brown sugar and corn syrup and bring mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. When liquid boils, remove from heat and stir in flour and nuts until well blended. Stir in vanilla.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a cookie pan with Pam for baking (or any other method you prefer). Make 2 cookies on one cookie sheet. For each cookie, pace 2 Tablespoons of batter in a puddle on the cookie sheet.

Batter  before baking, above.  After baking, below.  See how it spreads?  Only bake two cookies on one sheet!

Cookies will spread A LOT (you can bake 2 sheets at one time, if you move the sheets around after 5-6 minutes). Bake in 325 degree oven for 10-12 minutes, or until cookies are lacy and have a rich golden brown color. Remove from oven and let cookie cool on the tray for a minute or two (but not much longer).

Turn a glass or very small bowl, with a flat, 2-inch diameter bottom, upside down onto counter. When the cookie edges are firm, but the cookie is still somewhat stretchy, with a wide metal spatula, transfer cookie from sheet to OVER the upside down glass on the counter. With your fingers, quickly press the cookie into the shape of the glass. The cookie will harden almost immediately. Leave the cookie there to cool a minute or two (while you get the next batch in the oven).

One cookie cooling over an upside down glass, one cookie completely cooled and removed from glass and standing straight and firm.

Remove cookie cup from glass. Cookie cups can be stored in “rigid” (I use tin) container for up to a week, or frozen for longer storage…, but they are delicate, so be careful.

Just before serving, place ice-cream, fresh fruit, whipped cream, whatever your heart desires, into the cookie cups and serve. You’ll see joy in your guests eyes.

Thanks for visiting my kitchen today.  Stop by again for some homemade ice creams, sherbets and sorbets to put in the ice cream cups!

10 Jun 2010 Mocha Ice Cream

The clear winner in the most recent ice cream taste test extravaganza? Mocha. It’s creamy. It’s chocolatey. It has a coffee underflavor (is that a word? hrmm, I don’t think so but it should be!), but the coffee flavor doesn’t trump the chocolate flavor. This ice cream was a favorite with the triathlon ladies, the teenagers, the over 50 crowd–and it was even a favorite of two non-coffee drinkers! The original recipe was found at The Pioneer Woman’s Tasty Kitchen site. I adapted that recipe for use in a Cuisinart Ice Cream maker (did you get yours from Costco yet? Go on, go get it…, you’ll use it all summer!).

Mocha Ice Cream

2 cups Half-and-half
4 ounces Espresso or very strong coffee (just make sure it’s not bitter), cooled
1 cup Whipping Cream
1 can (14 oz. Can) Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 cup Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup (1/2 a can)

Optional toppings:

Crushed Heath Bars
More chocolate syrup
Whipped cream

Mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Refrigerate this mixture for 2 -4 hours until mixture is very cold (or put in freezer for 20 minutes to chill). Pour into electric ice cream freezer/machine and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Remove slushy ice cream to a bowl and freeze until firm. Serve with chocolate syrup, heath bars pieces and whipped cream.

Variations:

Mint Mocha:  add a teaspoon of mint extract to the mix before refrigeration. To serve, sprinkle with chopped Andes Mint pieces.

Mocha Chip:  add mini chocolate chips, or chopped chocolate, to slushy ice cream just before putting into the freezer.

Java Chip:  add some crushed coffee beans to slushy ice cream just before putting into freezer.

09 Jun 2010 Four Ingredient Fettuccine Alfredo

My intention to teach my 19 year old son how to cook this summer was not met with great glee. The son didn’t want to. The son didn’t need to. The son is not getting an apartment this year ANYWAY (finger pointed at mom…) Yada, yada, yada, yada. He should know better than to argue with me when I have made up my mind to do something in his own best interests. (I am woman hear me ROAR!) In spite of all the negativity, it’s really going quite well. He’s catching on fast. He’s already had a dinner party! Really!! He made Spaghetti and Meatballs (but he couldn’t find the recipe, so he had to wing it…). This afternoon he made Fettuccine Alfredo for his friend, his sister, and his nephew. No body died. Tomorrow he’s testing out three baked salmon recipes…

This recipe is so easy a 19 year old boy can do it while entertaining friends, watching TV, wrestling with his nephew and arguing with his mother. It’s good. It’s fast. It’s way better than a re-hydrated box of powdered chemicals and preservatives.

Maybe your 19 year old son can learn to cook, too!

Four Ingredient Fettuccine Alfredo

½ cup butter, at room temperature
4 oz. grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese (about 1 ¼ cups)
1 lb fettuccine noodles
1 tablespoon salt

Bring 1 large pan of water to a boil. Stir in salt and fettuccine noodles. Cook according to package directions (probably for about 12 minutes). Drain—RESERVE about ½ cup pasta water, just in case you need it to thin the sauce.

While the noodles are boiling. In another bowl, with an electric mixer (or a strong arm), beat the softened butter and the grated cheese together until creamy.

When the noodles are cooked, drain, and then return the drained fettuccine to the hot pan. Stir in the butter-cheese mixture. Toss and stir until noodles are coated with a creamy sauce. IF NECESSARY, stir in the reserved pasta water, one tablespoon at a time, to thin the sauce. Serve immediately. Makes four hearty servings. Leftovers can be refrigerated and then reheated in the microwave.

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

Stir in 2 cups cooked cubed chicken to the hot drained noodles. Add cheese mixture and stir to combine.

Veggie Fettuccine Alfredo

[Don’t forget to eat your veggies!] Adding cooked asparagus, broccoli or peas to the Fettuccine Alfredo mixture or the Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo mixture would be a very good idea. Mom would be pleased.

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09 Jun 2010 Guest Recipe: Mini Peanut Butter Brownie Cupcakes

WHOOOHOOOOO!!!! My friend Louise is generously sharing this recipe with us. These little cupcakes are TO DIE FOR. Honestly. I want these for my birthday this year! Louise pulled these lovelies together with the help of Paula Deen, Ina Garten and a good dose of her own creativity.

Louise writes “The recipe for these cupcakes is both very easy and very yummy! For over-the-top goodness, frost with the Peanut Butter Frosting–you can even crown them with chopped, salted peanuts for that salty, sweet thing!” Please, crown with chopped salted peanuts.

My daughter Abby made these for the French exchange students in her dorm.  She not only got kissed,  on both cheeks, by both exchange students, but they also made her  famous.  Students stop her in the hall and ask for these cupcakes.  Dorm residents knock on her door and ask for these cupcakes.  Louise’s Mini Peanut Butter Brownie Cupcakes have defiantly been the highlight of her year at college so far <Sigh.  And to think I sent her there to STUDY. ..to graduate…with a degree…in Biology…in Forensic Genetics…>

Mini Peanut Butter Brownie Cupcakes

from Paula Deen

1 (18 1/2-ounce) package chewy fudge brownie mix (I’ve used Duncan Hines and Ghirardelli, either was fine)
24 miniature peanut butter cups
Peanut Butter Frosting, recipe below
Chopped, salted peanuts

Cupcake Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line mini-cupcake pan with paper liners. Prepare the brownie mix according to package directions for cake-like brownies. Fill the cups half full with brownie batter. Press 1/2 peanut butter cup into the batter in each muffin cup until the batter meets the top edge of the peanut butter cup. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, until the cupcakes are set. When they can be handled safely, remove them from the muffin tins and let cool completely on wire racks.

When cool, frost with Peanut Butter Frosting. Top frosted cupcakes with chopped, salted peanuts for extra yumminess.

Peanut Butter Frosting

from Ina Garten

1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter (I use Skippy)
5 TBSP unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp kosher salt (omit if using salted butter)
1/3 cup heavy cream

Frosting Directions

Place the confectioner’s sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.
Frost cupcakes when cool, and top with chopped, salted peanuts.