Southern Cookin' Makes You Good Lookin'

Random Rantings about Food and Such

Holy Guac-n-Rolly


Actually, it’s a biscuit, not a roll, but i couldn’t think of anything clever that was biscuit-related.  My creativity is a little lacking today.  The hubby’s sick.  One kitten’s better but now the other is sick.   Had to shovel snow yesterday…and it’s only October, for crying out loud!  Oh, and that was a very frustrating end to the World Series (wasn’t my team playing so i usually root for the underdogs and Texas has never won a Series…still hasn’t.)  So my creativity stretched only as far as the kitchen today but it is a rather interesting concoction.  We had it with roast, rice and everything nice but they would be much better suited to a bowl of chili or stew…or a Bacado omelette. ;0)

Because of the omelette, i still had a whole avocado waiting to be made into something magical.  The other day i also happened to buy a new bag of Masa Harina with the plans of doing tamales in the hopefully near future.  Well, the ol’ spin doctor got ta thinkin’ and you know how dangerous that can be.  It’s biscuit meets cornbread (sorta) meets guacamole.  Very moist and flavorful.

Uh oh.  Hubby just read this and realized he ate avocado. (Insert evil snicker.)  And he liked it.  Look out–my creativity is feeling a new surge.

Holy Guac-n-Rolly

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour

1 cup Masa Harina (finely ground corn flour) or corn meal

1 avocado (approximately 1/2 cup), mashed

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup oil

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/4 tsp. onion powder

1 Tbs. Hidden Valley Ranch dry mix/seasoning

Mix flour, masa and mashed avocado until it resembles a coarse meal.  Add seasonings. Add buttermilk and oil, mixing well (hands are the best tools to use!)

Form into biscuits.  Bake at 400 degrees for 12–15 minutes.  Will be “browned” on outside but still  moist inside.

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Not What You Expected Ice Cream Cake


Okay, people, tonight you are doubly blessed…because i was doubly blessed.  My waistline is doubly blessed too. 😛  As if the Corn and Cheese Chowder weren’t enough, i had to try another recipe because it’s been driving me bonkers ever since i read about it.  Honest.  I know i shouldn’t be that way, but when a bee gets in my bonnet,….

A few nights ago i was reading a food blog (imagine that!  nah, you don’t say! really?  how unusual!) and found myself completely fascinated.  The recipe said it was for Ice Cream Cake.  I would’ve stopped if it hadn’t been for the photo.  The photo was of a “vintage” cookbook put out by a church.  According to the blogger (Aleta at Omnomicon), it was from a Calvary Baptist Church in Easthampton sometime in the 1950’s or 1960’s.  Okay, i’m intrigued.  For one thing, i know that Baptists can cook so there’s got to be some doggone good stuff in there!  For another, i’m in a phase where i want to find older recipes.  Having run across some of my Granny’s recipes recently has kindled a fire, i guess.  Anywho, i read the recipe and got hooked.

This is not ice cream cake as in Baskin-Robbins-make-a-cake-that-tends-to-get-hard-when-frozen-and-slather-ice-cream-on-top ice cream cake.  The ice cream never makes it to the top.  It goes inside the cake.  No, not inside as in in-between layers.  Inside the cake as in it’s part of the batter!  Yes!  Are you intrigued now too?

In her recipe, she used a chocolate cake mix and chocolate ice cream and said it was the moistest cake ever.  Well, as much as i love chocolate, i had to change it up a bit but i will tell you this: IT IS THE MOISTEST CAKE EVER!!!  I cannot overstate that.  It is the lightest, airiest, moistest, most incredible cake.  I don’t know why the ice cream does that, but it does and that’s enough for me!  I used a Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge cake mix and Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream and it is moluscious!

Now…i almost didn’t include this photo but i wanted you to see that i was on the up and up.  However, i knew it could cause some serious flack from my Southern friends.  Yes, that does say Breyer’s Ice Cream.  Yes, i agree.  Blue Bell is hands-down the best commercial ice cream in the world.  There’s just one problem.  We don’t get Blue Bell in our grocery stores in WV.  I know.  I know.

Anyway, i am way too excited about this recipe.  My little pea brain is just racing thinking of all the cake/ice cream combinations!  Butter Pecan/Butter Pecan.  Carrot or Spice Cake/Pumpkin Ice Cream.  Strawberry/Strawberry.  Chocolate/Cherry-Vanilla.  Chocolate/Coffee.  Caramel or Golden/Dulche de Leche.  Wheeeee!

Ice Cream Cake

1 box cake mix
1 pint ice cream, softened
3 eggs
1 cup water

Preheat oven to 350o. Grease a tube or bundt pan, then dust with cocoa powder (if cake is chocolate) or flour.

Beat all ingredients together for 4 minutes, pour into pan and bake 45 minutes.

Serve with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar, a thin icing, whipped cream or the frosting of your choice. (i made a glaze with confectioner’s sugar, milk and mint chocolate chip flavored oil and added some green food coloring for fun.)

*note: i no longer have my tube pan and used 3 baby bundt pans and a loaf pan.  Let’s just say my reputation as not a pretty cook still holds.  The baby cakes spilled over (this stuff rises!), so be careful.  Oh, and it took a little over an hour for the loaf pan to bake.

oopsy! guess who gets to clean the oven?

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Corn and Cheese Chowder


Boy, has this house been smelling gooood today!  It wasn’t all planned but you do what ya gotta, right?  They’re saying it’s going to dip into the frosty digits tonight (boo!), so today was drag-in-the-plants/harvest-the-last-of-the-peppers/pick-wash-dry-and/or-freeze-herbs day.  The next time i have to buy bottled spices and start to gripe about the price, i’ll remember today!  Very time consuming but really cool and the house did smell like an Italian restaurant.

Oregano...not catnip

With the weather starting to cool, everyone is talking soup.  One of my very best friends from high school, Paul, asked if i had a recipe for Corn Chowder.  Unfortunately that is one recipe that was not in my recipe box or my folder of  goodies, but he’s a wonderful person so you better believe i was gonna search for one.  Actually, if you would, say a prayer for my buddy.  He’s been going thru some very, very tough times with his health and he could sure use some prayer…and some corn chowder!

If you are food blog lover, you won’t have a difficult time guessing where i found an absolutely WONDERFUL recipe.  Ever heard of Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman?  If not, treat yourself and check out her site (http://thepioneerwoman.com).  This is just how fortuitous my trip there was–guess what her post for yesterday just happened to be?  Yep, Corn and Cheese Chowder!  How cool is that?!?  Now, i’ll have to tell you–she outshines me in every way.  Her website is way cooler.  Her photos are beautiful.  Her writing is funny and fantastic.  Shucks, you’ll probably never come back here after you’ve seen her stuff.  But that’s okay.  I’ll be reading her right along with ya’. ;0)

We had the Corn and Cheese Chowder for supper and, boy, did it deliver!  The only things i did differently were 1) i used frozen corn because i didn’t have fresh and 2) skipped the bread bowls.  The frozen corn was just fine (i let it thaw before i added it) and we didn’t need the bread bowls anyway.

Hope you and my com padre’ enjoy Ree’s Chowder!  It’s definitely a keeper in this household.

Corn and Cheese Chowder

4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) butter

1 onion, chopped

3 slices of bacon, cut in pieces

3 bell peppers, finely diced (if you can use various colors, it looks really pretty)

5 ears corn, kernels sliced off (or 1–16 oz bag of frozen corn, thawed)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups chicken stock or broth

2 cups half and half

1 cup (heaping) Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

1 cup (heaping) Pepper Jack cheese, shredded

1/3 cup sliced green onions

Bread Bowls

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Cook onions for a couple of minutes. Add bacon and cook for a couple minutes. Add diced bell peppers and cook for a couple of minutes. Finally, add corn and cook for a minute.

Sprinkle flour evenly over the top and stir to combine. Pour in broth and stir well. Allow this to thicken for 3 or 4 minutes, then reduce heat to low. Stir in half-and-half, then cover and allow to simmer/thicken for 15 minutes or so.

april’s note: at this point, i put the chowder in the crock pot on warm until just before we were ready to eat.

Stir in cheeses and green onions. When cheese is melted and the soup is hot, check seasonings. Add salt and pepper as needed.  (We didn’t need any.)

Ladle into hollowed out boules (or bowls) and serve immediately.

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Bacado Omelette


Don’t know if everyone does this but get Southern women on the phone and food will somehow enter the conversation.  Some of the most meaningful moments i’ve spent talking with my Mama have been about recipes. ;0)  Okay, i’m teasing ( a little bit) but she has been my food mentor…my Mr. Miyagi…the Master Po to my Grasshopper.  Not sure why they’re both martial arts references, but we’ll go with it.  Anyway,…Mama was telling me she and Muffin Man Steve had made a reproduction of an omelette she had fallen in love with.  She and Bear found a great restaurant in Destin called Another Broken Egg (http://www.anotherbrokenegg.com/) and they have this fabulous “Bacado Omelette” which is made with bacon, avocado, onion, and Monterey Jack cheese.  She said their copy cat turned out really well and that she topped hers with some Plum Crazy Salsa.  So for supper tonight, i copy catted her copy cat and did the same thing.  Yeah, baby!  It is that good!

Now if you’re fortunate enough to live near one of the Another Broken Egg restaurants (and lucky for Mama they’re getting one in Pensacola), you ought to give it a try.  For those of us with no broken eggs in sight, you can make it yourself! My biggest challenge is getting the crazy thing folded in half but we all know i can’t make pretty food.  That’s okay.  Grasshopper can be taught.

Master Percy, feeling well enough to get back into mentoring/musing

Bacado Omelette

3 eggs

salt and pepper, to taste

1 Tbs. cold water (i used crushed ice in mine)

1 1/2 Tbs. butter or margarine

2–3 slices of bacon, fried or baked crisp

1 small avocado, sliced

Onion, diced (i used green onion)

Monterey Jack (or other) cheese

Salsa

In a small bowl, beat eggs, salt, pepper, and water until light.

In an 8″ non-stick skillet over medium-low heat, melt butter, tilting to cover bottom and part of side.

Pour eggs into skillet and let it begin to brown around the outside.  With a spatula, gently lift edges and tilt skillet to allow uncooked egg to run under the omelette.  Shake skillet occasionally to keep it moving in the pan.

When the omelette is mostly cooked but still moist on top, add bacon, avocado, onion, and cheese to one half.

Tilt skillet and fold omelette in half, using spatula.  Slide onto a pre-heated plate.  Top with salsa.

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Sweet Patootie’s Sweet Potater Surprise


My Sweet Patootie really has been very sweet the last few days.  Now that’s not to say that he isn’t usually sweet…just that he’s been extra sweet.  For instance, he cooked breakfast two days in a row.  Believe me, it beat the cereal and milk i would’ve eaten by a mile!  He’s especially been good to poor little Persi during her illness.  Today he held her for an hour while he worked.  When he finally had to put her down, she hopped up on the back of his chair and completely showered   his head in one of her sneezes.  Poor guy turned his head to the side to look at her and whammo!  She sneezed again.  Instead of being angry, he said sweet things to her and began petting her before going to wash the sneeze gel out of his scalp.  That’s why we love him. ;0)

While i was at the store picking up some essentials, i wandered down the sugar, spice, and everything nice aisle and stared at the marshmallow section.  Have you  noticed all the flavors Jet Puff Marshmallows come in lately?  I’ve bought the strawberry a few times but today spotted one that was made for the Sweet Patootie–Caramel-Vanilla.  And, of course, the germ of a recipe idea was born and away we go.

So this is for you, my Sweet Patootie.  It may not be meat but it is potatoes!  Thanks for being such a wonderful guy.  Sneezy Wheezy and i sure do appreciate it!

Sweet Patootie and Cutie Patootie

Sweet Patootie’s Sweet Potater Surprise

4 cups grated sweet potato (i only needed one really large potato)

2 cups grated apple (used 3 small/medium)

1 bag Kraft Jet Puffed Caramel-Vanilla flavored marshmallows

Pumpkin Pie or Five Spice

Butter or margarine

1/2 cup apple cider or juice

Grate enough sweet potato(es) to make around 4 cups worth (not packed.)  Grate apples to make around 2 cups worth and mix with sweet potato.

Lightly grease a square casserole/baking pan.  Pour half of the sweet potato/apple mixture in bottom and press down.

Line up marshmallows so that they cover the top.  I was able to get all but two of them (36–6 down, 6 across) in.

Cover with remaining sweet potato mixture.  Sprinkle spice along the top and dot with butter.  Pour apple cider/juice on top.

Cover and bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Sneezy Wheezy dreaming of a better day

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Poppy Seed-Chicken Casserole


Monday.  The day songs are written about.  Good day for comfort food, eh?  Today’s recipe really does fall under that category.  If it won’t cheer you up/make you feel better/cure what ails ya, you’re in bad shape.  Better get some chocolate to follow it.

Wish i had a kitteh chow version of this recipe for our poor dear Persi.  Little thing will be seeing the vet in a bit because her respiratory infection is worse.  I know she’s not biologically Stephanie’s child but, boy, does she act like her people Mama did when she was little.  Neither one of them can STAND to have their noses cleaned out.  Not that i still do that to Stef, but once upon a time….   Always good to provide comfort food later to make up for your rude behavior in helping them.  Persi’s making quite a dent in the treats bag, let me tell ya.

I haven’t posted this before because silly me knows so many people who have the recipe or have eaten this dish.   Because of that,  i fail to think that not everyone has had that pleasure.  I made two copies of the recipe recently, so obviously it couldn’t hurt to blog it.

If you’re having a Monday that’s gotten you down, throw on your old Carpenters’ album and let Karen put you in a better mood…and have a big helping of Poppy Seed-Chicken Casserole.  Oh, and have a little chocolate handy.  Never hurts.

Poppy Seed-Chicken Casserole 

1 whole chicken or 3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced

1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted

1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted *

1–8 oz container sour cream

1 roll (sleeve) of Ritz crackers, crushed

1 Tbs. poppy seed

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine

Mix together soup and sour cream.  Pour over chicken which has been placed in large casserole dish.  Mix crackers and poppy seed and sprinkle on top.  Melt butter and pour over cracker mixture.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30–45 minutes

* Part of my family doesn’t like mushroom soup, so i use 2 cans of cream of chicken.  You could also use cream of celery.

I also put my crackers in a baggie to crush them and pour the melted butter (after it’s cooled slightly) in the bag and give it a good shake.

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Persi’s Pumpkin Pound Cake


Our precious little Persi cat has been having a bad time with her allergies the last few days.  You’ve never seen a kitten sneeze so many times in a row.  She’s also been sleepier and much more cuddly than normal which is nice but sad too.  Course, her Aunt Ashley and i didn’t help any last night.  Kinda overdosed her on her med accidentally.  Poor lil thing was loopy.  I get that way too…only i don’t need medication.  Just comes natural. ;0)

Everybody and their brother is featuring pumpkin this and pumpkin that on their websites/blogs, so i decided to jump on the bandwagon.  But you know we couldn’t do the same ol’, same ol’ as everybody else.  No sirree.  We is doin’ pound cake.  That’s not a dessert i make often but it’s not because it’s not wonderful.  Wanted to do a little twist on it though and, by Jove, it’s twisted all right!  I like it. Really moist and the taste is quite unique!  None of my three guessed what the mystery flavors were.   Not sure what you might think but if you’re in for a walk on a little bit wilder side, leave the pumpkin pie spice in the cabinet and give Persi’s cake a shot.  As Bear (my dad) would say, “It’s different.”

Persi’s Pumpkin Pound Cake

3 cups sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree

6 eggs, separated

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 Tbs. curry powder

1 tsp. ginger

1/4 tsp chili powder

Cream butter and sugar until thoroughly mixed.  Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well.  Blend in pumpkin, vanilla and sour cream.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, soda, salt, curry powder, ginger, and chili powder.  Add to batter and beat well.

In a bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Fold gently into cake batter.

Pour into a greased and floured tube pan.  Bake at 300 degrees for 1 1/2 hours, checking after the first hour.

*I used miniature tube pans, a leaves and pumpkins-shaped silicone muffin pan, and a loaf pan instead.  The muffin pan cakes were done around 30 minutes or so.  The loaf pan took just a little over an hour.

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Crack Potatoes


Wish you could have seen the Supervisor a few minutes ago.  Ninja likes to “inspect” my work when i’m cleaning.  Dusting is one of his priorities but nothing and i mean nothing is more important to him than powder room cleanliness, to put it nicely.  In particular, the toilet bowl.  This kitteh developed a fascination with the potty after observing Persi’s fascination with the ol’ flusheroo.  She’s moved on to bigger and better things (running water in the sink) but he’s still stuck on the porcelain throne.  When i was cleaning the half-bath, there was the Super, patiently watching me wipe and scrub and waiting for the magic to happen.  Ah, flush!  Up on the rim he goes with his kitty rear-end in the air and his head way down in the bowl.  He inspected for a full minute (not sure if i passed or not.)  Wish i’d gotten a picture of it, though.  If he’d been a human, we’d all be sayin’ “By cracky!”… if you know what i mean.

the Supervisor after a long day's work

Speaking of crack (how was that for one of my most loony segues yet?), here’s an easy, non-dietetic,  luscious recipe for you.  Saw it on Plain Chicken‘s website and knew it just had to be good.  It is!  One of those recipes that, after you’ve had a helping, you end up needing just a spoonful more.  Well, not THAT small a spoonful.  Yeah, that’s good.  Thank you.

Crack Potatoes

2–16 oz containers sour cream

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

2–3 oz. packages of real bacon bits (not the fake-o Baco’s)

2 packages of Ranch dip mix

1 large (28–30 oz) bag of frozen, shredded hash browns

Combine first four ingredients.  Mix in hash browns.  Spread in a 9 x 13″ pan that’s been lightly greased.

Bake at 400 degrees for 45–60 minutes.

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Herb Vegetable Cheese Bread


This is me sparing Michael and the kittehs from excessive piano practice.  You see, this weekend will be the first wedding i’ve played for in some time…and it shows.  Yikes!  Not that i’m concerned; it’s kinda like riding a bicycle–it all comes back to you.  Makes me realize i need to play that sort of music on a more consistent basis though.  Sometimes you need to revisit the once familiar so it won’t be classified as a stranger, ya know?

Same with recipes.  This one has been sitting in my recipe box for goodness knows how many years now and it is WONDERFUL!  For some reason, i have been ignoring it of late…until Sunday while Michael’s folks were here.  Made it to go with Lasagna Soup and it got the thumbs-up.   The credit for this one goes to Bear’s oldest sister, my Aunt Jeanne.  Honey, can she cook!  Especially her Mexican dishes.  ¡Está delicioso!  Ya know, i hope that’s right.  Hopefully i didn’t say something stupid or insulting.  When i worked with all my wonderful Spanish-speaking friends at Chick-fil-A in Chantilly, the only word that really stuck with me is gordo (fat.)  Now what does that say???

Oh well, time is a cruel task master so i suppose i’d better get back to practicing.  Hopefully no one will take a cannon at me for my Canon in D.

Herb Vegetable Cheese Bread

1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

½ cup grated carrot

2 green onions, sliced (I just used the green tops)

½ tsp Italian seasoning

¼ cup mayonnaise

8 slices French or Sourdough bread

Combine first five ingredients in a bowl, stirring well.  Set aside.

Place bread on an ungreased baking sheet and broil for a few minutes until lightly browned.  Turn over and spread mixture on untoasted side.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until cheese melts.  Serve immediately.

A big SCMYGL “Howdy!” to Kelly and all her friends in New Jersey!

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Incredible Corn Bread


I feel a Simon and Garfunkel song coming on…The Sound of Silence.  Michael’s parents left early this morning and the girls are gone, so there’s no talking and laughing or the sound of the Franz boys working on a project in the background.  Even the kittehs are silent, which is actually kinda scary.  To quote Pa (my dad’s dad), i need to get out a pot and beat on it…it’s too quiet.

We had a wonderful time while Michael’s parents, Lornie and Sue, were visiting.  There was always “something afoot at the Circle” F.  Many a late night, let me tell you.  As usual, i failed to get pix of food like i should have but you don’t care, do you?  You’d rather fix it yourself than look at a lousy photo of it, right?

One of the first things made during their stay was Incredible Corn Bread.  Mama bought a cookbook put together by Gospel music artists several years ago.  One of the best recipes in it is from Chris Freeman of The Freemans (go figure) for Incredible Corn Bread.  And it lives up to its name.  I made it as listed in the recipe but honestly think you could use less butter.  It had a nice pool of butter on top around the edges which, while wonderful, might be eliminated.  Unless you’re trying to fix your low cholesterol.  Yeah, all .001% of you.

So much for the sound of silence.  Shouldn’t have thought about that pot.  One of the neighbors, aka Little Drummer Boy, is practicing again.  Funny thing is, i can never tell when he switches from one song to the next.

Enjoy the Corn Bread.  It’ll make your taste buds shout “Hallelujah!”

Grampa eating Incredible Corn Bread

Incredible Corn Bread

2 cups chopped onion (this is quite a bit…can use less)

1 cup melted butter (or less)

1 carton sour cream

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1 1/2 cups self-rising corn meal

2 Tbs sugar*

1/4 tsp dill weed (i used dill seed and it was great)

2 eggs

1–8 1/2 oz. can creamed corn

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup oil

dash of hot sauce

Saute onion in butter.  Add in cheese and sour cream.  Melt cheese and remove from heat.  Set aside.  Combine all other ingredients until  moistened.  Pour into lightly greased 9′” square pan.  Spread sour cream mixture over batter.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

* For many Southerners, sugar in corn bread is unholy.  That’s why they make cake.  You can leave it or use it.  Your choice.

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