Friday, March 18, 2016

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

I'm either a genius, or I'm certifiable.  I decided to make cookies this afternoon with no recipe whatsoever and weird ingredients on top of it.  And they got right on the first try!
I made a second batch tonight, just to make sure the spices were right, but they were good on the first try.
1 disc Mexican Chocolate (chopped) - like Nestle's Abuelita
1/3 cup Powdered Sugar1 stick Butter
3/4 tsp Ground  Cinnamon1/4 tsp Ancho Chili Powder1/4 tsp Ground Cayenne (optional)
1/3 cup Dark Cocoa Powder - like Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa
2 eggs1/2 Tbsp vanilla

1 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream Chocolate, Powdered Sugar and Butter.  Add spices.  Add Cocoa Powder
Add Eggs, Vanilla.
Add Flour
Drop small spoonfuls on parchment paper, press flat with fork.
These cookies can be placed very close on baking sheet, they don't melt or spread.

Bake 7-9 minutes or until set up and dry looking on top.

Don't pay $8 for Abuelita without checking Dollar General first.  Seriously.  It's like $3 at Dollar General.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Gramma's Hamburger Barbeque, otherwise known as Sloppy Joes

One of my family's favorite meals is Gramma's hamburger barbeque.  It's basically sloppy joes without the can of Manwich.

I spice them up a little compared to what Gramma makes, but that's because we love all kinds of spices and seasonings at our house.  Even still they're super easy and the recipe scales up well for sitting in a crock pot all afternoon at a party and reheats well the next day or the day after.

1 lb. Ground Beef, Chicken, or whatever
6 oz Tomato Paste
1/3 cup Ketchup
2 Tbsp Yellow Mustard
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Chopped Onion (optional)
other seasonings to taste (we like garlic or garlic powder and crushed red pepper)

Brown ground beef.  Add salt and pepper to taste and chopped onion if you're using any.  Depending on the fat content of your ground beef, you may need to add some water along with the rest of the ingredients to help them mix better.

Add Tomato Paste and stir well.  Add a couple tablespoons of water if mixture is too thick.

Add Ketchup and Mustard and stir well.  Add a couple tablespoons of water if too thick.

Add Brown Sugar and other spices.  Allow to simmer for a few minutes before serving.

My family always just served this on hamburger buns, but Dave prefers it open face on Garlic Cheese Toast.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Roasted Garlic Butter

Dave asked for Garlic Butter a couple weeks ago.  So when I roasted the garlic for our garlic jelly, I went ahead and roasted twice as much as I needed.  The other day, Dave picked up a couple of steaks and we thought that the Garlic Butter would make a good finishing butter for them.

8 oz of heavy whipping cream
4 oz of garlic
salt and pepper to taste.

Set cream out on counter for about an hour to allow it to warm to room temperature, or at least close.  (The only really different between whipped cream and butter is temperature and no one wants Garlic Whipped Cream, not even Dave.)

Roast garlic at about 350 for 10 or 15 minutes, or until cooked through.  You don't need to peel the cloves, you can squeeze the garlic out once it roasts, but you need to at least separate them.  I peeled them because I like the crispy, dark flecks you get that way.

Once cream is warm and garlic is cool, pour cream into food processor.  You can either pulse it for 45 seconds or so at a time, or just turn the processor on and keep an eye on it.  It will start to look a lot like whipped cream, but slightly yellower.  As soon as it separates into butter and butter milk (Trust me, you'll know.) stop the food processor and drain off the buttermilk.  Press the butter against the side of the processor bowl to squeeze out as much of the rest of the buttermilk as you can.

If you let the processor go too long, the buttermilk will be whipped back into the butter and is very difficult to separate back out.  It can be done, but it's very time consuming.

Remove butter from processor bowl and give it a quick rinse and wipe to get the remaining buttermilk out, and put the butter back in.  Add garlic and salt and pepper to taste and pulse in the processor until you have an even consistency.  (You'll probably need more salt that you think,)


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Oh, Darling, yes we can can.

It's been an epic year for canning at our house.  And with the projects Dave's mom and I have been working on in addition to ours, the cabinet is getting full pretty quick.  As I'm writing we've got hot pink applesauce made with cinnamon imperials in the waterbath.

We split the tomatoes and plain applesauce between everyone, but ended up with a bunch of jars of each, and then there's everything Dave and I did.

Our Tally this year so far:

Raspberry Wine Jelly - 10 4oz jars
Garlic Jelly - 6 half pints
Currant Jam - 5 4oz jars
No Sugar Strawberry Jam - 6 half pints
Strawberry Balsamic Jam - 6 half pints
Pickled Garlic - 7 half pints
Pickled Grapes - 1 half pints and 3 4oz jars
Garlic Green Hot Sauce - 1 half pint and 6 4oz jars
Tomato Red Hot Sauce - 1 half pint and 6 4oz jars
Mom's Apple Pie in a Jar - 6 half pints
Cinnamon Red Hot Applesauce - 7 pints  

And then there's the two big bags of pears and, I suspect quite a few more apples to deal with.  WOOOOO!  We're going to be busy.

Plus we're still working on eating things we canned last year.

(FYI - I am not willing to invite total strangers into my house, but as time allows, I will happily teach friends to can or make jam, pickles or applesauce.  I will probably ask you to buy your own jars, though.)

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Corn and Tomato Salad

So I got, roughly, a quart of small, delicious, red and yellow tomatoes from someone at work.

Then, later, we realized it was 9pm and we hadn't had dinner yet.  I looked in the pantry and in the fridge and came up with this.

1 quart (give or take) assorted tomatoes, chopped
1 15oz can black olives, drained
1 15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 16oz bag frozen corn (I guess you could used drained, canned as well, but this is what we had)
2 Tbsp Lime Juice
3 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
2 Tbsp Arizona Dreaming or other taco seasoning
Salt to taste

Dave says it needs onions, so Optional:
Chopped red onion, or diced garlic

Gently toss Tomatoes, Olives, Beans and Corn (and Onion).  Mix Lime Juice, Oil, Seasoning thoroughly and coat veggies.  Add salt to taste.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Frying Pan Apple Crisp

So, this is one of our favorite "treat" breakfasts.  It's made all from things we usually have just lying around, and doesn't take all that long to prepare.  We love it equally with apples or pears, but will a little adjustment of the cooking times, I bet it would work with peaches or blueberries.

So, here we go.

1 cup oats
1/3 cup flour
1/3 - 1/2 cup brown sugar
cinnamon to taste
1 stick butter, cut in half

4 average Apples or Pears, peeled and cored, cut in bite-sized chunks

Melt 1/2 stick of butter in your frying pan, once the pan is coated, toss in the apple chunks.

While apples cook, mix up the Flour, Oats, Brown Sugar, Cinnamon and remaining butter to make crumbs.  Mixture should be very crumbly, it doesn't need to hold together.  (I did use some extra sugar in this batch, the apples I had were Lodi Tarts and they lived up to their name quite nicely!

Once the apples are beginning to cook down and become translucent, push them together in the center of your pan (if you're using a giant pan like I did, otherwise, they're probably already there).

Top with crumbs and cover.

Don't worry about peeking now and then, it won't hurt anything.  Once the steam has worked its way up through all the crumbs, and the brown sugar is starting to caramelize, give it a good stir and let it cook a few minutes more.

 When it looks like this, ENJOY!  We eat it just like this, but it's equally delicious with whipped cream or ice cream.  It makes about 4 servings, or as we like to say, just enough for us to have breakfast.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Homemade Sausage

And there was this.

No, the peanut butter didn't go in the sausage, since that seems to be what everyone wants to know.  I finally got to play with the sausage stuffer that I've had for years.  (We've used the grinder lots, just not the sausage tube.)

We used a pork shoulder roast and natural hog casing.  We decided to flavor it with Smoked Sundried Tomatoes, Asiago cheese and about a bulb and a half of garlic.  We also added a pretty good amount of dried basil, salt and black pepper.  The hardest part of making it, for us anyway, was the fact that we couldn't taste it as we went.  Dave and I both cook largely by smell and taste, rather than any kind of recipe or measurements.

All in all, in turned out delicious and we got almost 5 pounds.  The casings burst and shrank and we're not entirely certain why, and it was dry and crumbly because we didn't have enough fat, BUT it was delicious.  We got all the flavoring and seasoning proportions right, and by dumb luck since we decided to try this without any kind of recipe on the first go.

In hindsight, if we would have looked up some recipes, we would have know about adding extra fat, but if the outcome is tasty, who cares if you learned the hard way.

We'll definitely make sausage again, but we'll probably stick to tested recipes for the next couple just to get a better feel for it.  AND because we want to make bangers and that calls for breadcrumbs and things so it's a whole different thing again.