lattice chicken pot pie
Mexican street corn pasta
chicken Ghiveci
creamy chicken tortilla soup, jalapeno jack popovers
butter basted ribeyes, twice baked potatoes, broccoli
brisket tacos, pinto beans
pork souvlaki, naan

Monday, July 30, 2012

Secret Recipe Club: Peach Vanilla Pie

vanilla peach pieIt's time for another post from the Secret Recipe Club. This month I received the fantastic blog, I Am a Honey Bee.  There were so many amazing recipes to choose from, but I settled on a recipe for vanilla peach pie.  It's peach season here in Texas, which means giant, juicy and sweet peaches for 99 cents a pound.  The original recipe didn't call for peeling the peaches, but I figured it would help the texture of the filling.  I learned the peach peeling technique from making Miss F's food when she was a baby.  It really helps cut a lot of time and makes it crazy easy to peel a peach.
Vanilla Peach Pie

Pie crust (recipe follows)
8 large fresh peaches
½ to ¾ cup of vanilla infused sugar
¼ cup flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roll out 2 discs of dough. Set bottom dough in pie plate, refrigerate. Slice the top crust into eight ¾”wide strips and refrigerate.

Boil a small saucepan full of water, enough to cover a peach. Drop a peach into the water for 30 seconds, remove with tongs and set aside. Repeat with remaining peaches. Remove skin from the peaches and slice.

In a large bowl, combine the peaches, vanilla sugar and flour. Place peaches in the bottom crust and then cover with the strips of pie crust in a lattice design. Place the small pieces of butter in the places where the crust is open to the fruit.

Bake the pie on a sheet tray at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees and continue to bake 35 minutes, or until crust is lightly browned.

Pie Crust

2 ½ cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water

Pulse flour, sugar and salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, add ice water in a slow steady stream until mixture just begins to hold together.

Shape dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate 1 hour or up to 3 days, before using.

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Recipe Swap: Rich Chocolate Brownies

rich chocolate browniesThe theme of this week's swap was Blogger's Choice, which meant I could select any of the amazing looking recipes from Dough See Dough.  I noticed she had a few recipes for brownies on her blog, so I figured that would be a great choice for the swap.  Her recipe for Rich Chocolate Brownies looked the best to me and I wasn't disappointed.  These brownies were rich, chocolatey and totally decadent.  Miss F ate a small plate of broccoli, her reward was one of these delicious brownies.  Thanks again go to A Taste of Home Cooking for coordinating the swap. 
Rich Chocolate Brownies

2 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, chopped
6 ounces of unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons of butter, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9×9 baking dish with aluminum foil.

Place both types of chocolate and the butter into a microwaveable bowl. Heat in 15 second intervals, stirring after each one until smooth. In a mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, salt, sugar and vanilla until the eggs are a light yellow, about 2 minutes. Mix in the chocolate mixture until well combined. Fold in the flour and cocoa powder.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with gooey crumbs. Let the brownies cool in the pan before cutting. Sprinkle the brownies with powdered sugar, if desired.
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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Red, White and Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

red white and blueberry cheesecake barsI love cheesecake bars. I first made them for the Secret Recipe Club, Reeses Cheesecake Brownie Bars and they were amazing. These weren't as easy for me. I got the recipe from a local food blog I read, Eating Our Words. I of course had to convert them from low-fat to full fat, isn't that the point of dessert?  The recipe instructions were very basic and I am a not an experienced cheesecake maker. I originally added all the ingredients at once per the instructions and boy it was a mess. So after some troubleshooting involving a strainer,  a food processor and a giant mess, I got it straightened out. The tartness of the blueberries and raspberries are the perfect foil to the rich and creamy cheesecake.
Red, White and Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
4 tablespoons butter, melted
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 large eggs
1 cup fresh raspberries (more or less, as desired)
¾ cup fresh blueberries (more or less, as desired)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8-inch pan with aluminum foil. Spray lightly with cooking spray. In a small bowl, mix crumbs and melted butter. Press mixture firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan.

Whip the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar, milk, cornstarch and lemon juice. Beat until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Pour the cream cheese mixture on top of the crumb crust. Scatter raspberries and blueberries on top. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until touch to center feels slightly firm and set.

Cool completely before cutting. Use foil to lift cheesecake out of pan and onto a cutting board. Use a thin, sharp knife to cut into clean-looking bars (wiping blade clean with a paper towel between cuts). Refrigerate until ready to serve.
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Monday, July 23, 2012

Chipotle Honey Lime Pork Tenderloin

chipotle honey lime pork tenderloinIt's no secret my most favorite recipe for pork tenderloin is my mom's recipe for Soy Lime Pork Tenderloin.  After trying this recipe from A Taste of Home Cooking, I may just have a new favorite.  The pork turns out incredibly moist and full of flavor, it doesn't need a sauce of any sort.  It is just the right combination of sweet and spice.  Miss F gobbled up her entire piece.  This could easily be made on the grill, I cannot imagine how good it would be.  I served it with Skillet Corn the night after we had Cream of Corn soup.  This led C to finally question my corn obsession.  We have been having a lot a lot of corn.
Chipotle Honey Lime Pork Tenderloin

1 pound pork tenderloin
¼ cup lime juice
Zest from 1 lime
2 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, chopped
2 teaspoons adobo sauce
Canola oil

Place tenderloin in a large plastic food storage bag or other container to marinate. In a bowl, combine lime juice, zest, honey, salt, garlic powder, chipotle and adobo. Stir to combine, and then pour over tenderloin. Seal and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

About 30 minutes before you are ready to cook, remove pork from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 425°F. In a heavy, oven-proof skillet, heat enough oil to coat over medium high. Remove tenderloin from marinade and sear in hot skillet on all sides, 3 minutes per side. Place the skillet in the oven and roast tenderloin for 15 minutes, turning once halfway through the cooking time.

Check temperature with an instant read thermometer. Remove pork from the oven at approximately 140 to 145 degrees, and then cover pork in skillet with foil. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes or until temperature rises to 150 degrees. Remove pork to a cutting board and slice into 1-inch medallions.
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Friday, July 20, 2012

Beef Tenderloin Quesadillas

beef tenderloin quesadillasI make quesadillas at least once a week for Miss F. They are easy, I just throw whatever leftover meat we have in the fridge with some beans and cheese and lunch is ready.  I am a huge fan of quesadillas myself.  When I first moved to Texas, they were my safe order at most TexMex restaurants.  I have branched out a lot since then, but I still enjoy a good quesadilla.  I use the end of a beef tenderloin to make these because it is usually too small to serve on its own and is tender enough for a quesadilla.  Miss F and C approved, our family cleaned off this entire platter of quesadillas.  I think Miss F had equal parts guacamole to quesadilla.  Smart girl.
Beef Tenderloin Quesadillas

½ teaspoon cumin
¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound beef tenderloin
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, sliced
12 tortillas
1 ½ cups shredded Monterrey jack cheese

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. In a small bowl, stir together cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper. Coat the beef tenderloin with the olive oil. Rub the spice mixture all over the beef tenderloin. Place in a shallow baking dish. Roast for 10 minutes at 475 degrees and then reduce the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Roast until the internal temperature reaches 135 degrees, about 25 minutes more.

While the tenderloin is in the oven, heat the butter over medium-low heat in a small sauté pan. Add the onion to the butter and sauté until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove the tenderloin from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice into ¼ inch pieces. Heat a griddle over medium heat. Place half of the tortillas on the griddle. Top each with 2 tablespoons of cheese. Layer the beef slices and onions on top of the cheese and top with an additional 2 tablespoons of cheese. Top with another tortilla. Cook until the bottom tortilla is crisp and the cheese has begun to melt, flip over and cook until all the cheese is melted. Slice each quesadilla into quarters with a pizza cutter. Serve with guacamole, salsa and sour cream.
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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Cream of Corn Soup

cream of corn soupI have been mildly obsessed with fresh corn this summer. Okay, mildly is putting it nicely. When corn went on sale for 6 ears for $1, I went a little crazy.  I had pinned this recipe from James Beard after seeing it on Pinterest weeks ago.  Turns out, I liked the idea of the recipe, but wasn't sold on the methodology.  I was nervous I would end up with a scrambled egg mess.  Maybe one day I will be brave enough to attempt it, but for now, I am happy enough with this recipe.
Cream of Corn Soup

1 tablespoon butter
½ onion, chopped
3 cups chicken stock
5 ears of corn
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup cream
1 cup milk

In a large sauce pan, melt the butter over medium low heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock to the pan and increase the heat to medium-high. While the stock is coming to a boil, shuck the corn and remove the kernels from the cob. The ebst method for this is to invert a small bowl inside a large mixing bowl. Use the base of the inverted bowl to hold up each ear of corn and run your knife down the side, the large mixing bowl will collect all the kernels.

After the stock has come to a boil, add the corn, salt and pepper. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the cream and milk (or two cups of half & half) into the soup. Using a blender, puree the soup in batches. Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Serve warm.
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Monday, July 16, 2012


crabcakesWhen I read this recipe for Baltimore crabcakes from Bon Appetit, I was instantly interested in making them. We had bought 25 pounds of crabs fresh off the boat at the Kemah seafood market and there was only me, my mom and dad to eat them. We had a great supply of meat leftover after picking for an hour or two after we were full. I felt it was a sign to make these crabcakes. I opted to use a more Maryland style saltine instead of the Panko originally called for.  Real folks from Baltimore don't use Panko (or jalapenos!) in their crabcakes.  The goal of a good crab cake is to let the crab shine through, you need just enough filler to bind the crab together.  This is my 500th post, it's fitting that it is one of my most favorite foods.
Baltimore Crab Cakes

¼ cup mayonnaise
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice plus wedges for garnish
1 ½ teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over
¾ cup crushed saltines (about half a sleeve)
4 teaspoons butter

Whisk together the mayonnaise, egg, mustard, lemon juice and Old Bay. Gently fold in the crab meat. Add in enough crushed saltines to absorb the liquid, you may not need all the saltines. Divide the mixture into four equal portions and shape into crab cakes. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Grease a broiler pan and place the crab cakes on it. Top each crab cake with a teaspoon of butter. Broil for 10 to 15 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and each cake is heated through. Serve with lemon wedges.
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Friday, July 13, 2012

Beer Battered Fish Tacos

beer batter fish tacosC went out offshore fishing with his friends from work, I was very excited to see what he would come home with since they had come home with a ton of red snapper the weekend prior. Turns out C is a bit of a curse, no one caught anything but a couple of baby sharks. They did some fishing in the bay the next day, so C did bring home some trout and redfish. I used a filet of the redfish for this recipe, but any mild white fish would work perfectly. C and Miss F both enjoyed their fish, which is especially shocking since C rarely (if ever) eats seafood.
Beer Batter Fish Tacos

1 12 ounce bottle of beer
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound white fish, such as tilapia, red fish or cod
vegetable oil

1/4 cup sour cream
1 avocado, peeled and pitted
1 lime
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tomato, chopped
8 tortillas

Stir together the beer, flour and salt. Slice the fish filets into 1 inch thick slices. Add the fish pieces to the batter and toss to coat. Heat 2 inches of oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the fish pieces one at a time, turning them over after cooking for 5 minutes. Cook for five minutes more, remove and drain on paper towels.

In a small food processor, combine the sour cream, avocado, juice of one lime and salt. Pulse to puree.

Serve the tortillas with the fish, avocado cream and tomatoes.
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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Chicken Piccata

chicken piccataI have made Chicken Piccata several times before, but this recipe I saw on Pinterest from OK I'll Eat That intrigued me because you added lemon slices to the sauce.  The lemon slices really added to the sauce, though C would disagree since he ate one whole thinking it was a slice of summer squash.  He was not a fan of the lemon slices cooked in the sauce.  His eating of the lemon reminded me of an episode of The Next Iron Chef (Bryan Caswell was robbed!) where one of the cheftestants had used an inedible garnish to their plate and were poo-pooed by the judges...or maybe it was an episode of The Next Food Network Star...who knows.  I do know C would agree with the judges, so next time I make this I will fish the lemons out of the sauce before serving, no matter how pretty they look on the plate. 
Chicken Piccata

2 lemons
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and ground black pepper
¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ pound button mushrooms, sliced
1 small garlic clove, minced
½ cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon capers , drained
2 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves

Halve one lemon end to end and slice into ¼” thick slices; set aside. Juice the remaining lemon.

Slice each chicken breast in half and pound to a ¼” thickness. Sprinkle both sides of cutlets generously with salt and pepper. Dredge each cutlet in the flour. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot, about 2 minutes; add 2 tablespoons oil and swirl pan to coat. Lay half of chicken pieces in skillet. Sauté cutlets, without moving them, until lightly browned on first side, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn cutlets and cook until second side is lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Remove chicken and set aside.

Add the mushrooms to the skillet and sauté for two minutes. Add the garlic to the skillet and return skillet to medium heat. Sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add wine, stock and lemon slices, increase heat to high, and scrape skillet bottom with wooden spoon or spatula to loosen browned bits. Simmer until liquid reduces, about 5 minutes. Add lemon juice and capers and simmer until sauce reduces, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and swirl in butter until butter melts and thickens sauce; swirl in parsley. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve immediately.
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Monday, July 9, 2012

Spicy and Sweet Cucumber Salad

spicy and sweet cucumber and tomato salad 2When I made the pulled pork sandwiches for the sandwich recipe swap, I wasn't interested in the jalapeno-cilantro slaw that accompanied the sandwiches, but I still wanted something that provided a tangy crunch to go alongside it.  I could live on cucumbers and tomatoes, especially in the summertime.  If you have a mandoline, now is the time to break it out.  It eases the prep so much that this salad can come together in less than five minutes.  I actually used more than a teaspoon of Sriracha, but I really enjoy spice.
Spicy and Sweet Cucumber and Tomato Salad

1 English hothouse cucumber
1 cup of grape or cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ to 1 teaspoon sugar, to taste
½ to 1 teaspoon Sriracha, to taste

Slice the cucumber lengthwise. Then slice into 1/8” thick half moon slices. Slice the tomatoes into halves or quarters, depending on the size. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, sugar and Sriracha. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour the vinegar mixture over the cucumbers and tomatoes. Chill until ready to serve.
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Friday, July 6, 2012

Corn Cakes with Pulled Pork and Avocado-Tomato Relish

corncakes with pulled pork and avocado tomatoThis is the ultimate summer meal. I took the idea of serving corncakes with pulled pork from Good Thymes and Good Food.   I got the idea of serving corncakes with tomato and avocadoes from Buns in My Oven.  I decided to combine the two with ultimate success.  The pulled pork was a spicy compliment to the sweet corn cake and the tangy relish topped off the mix beautifully.  I used my most recent recipe for pulled pork from the sandwich swap, but any recipe will do.  This recipe makes 6 corncakes.  Even C adored this meal.  He was skeptical at first, he thought we were having sandwiches, but he was not disappointed.  And neither was was delicious.
Corn Cakes with Pulled Pork and Avocado-Tomato Relish

2 ears of corn, shucked
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon of minced onion
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper, to taste
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Canola or vegetable oil, for frying

Juice of half a lime
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons white vinegar
Dash of hot sauce
1 tomato, cored and chopped
1 ripe avocado, pitted and diced
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1 recipe for Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork, or your favorite pulled pork recipe

Cut the corn from the cob into a bowl. Place one cup of the corn kernels in a food processor and pulse 3 to 5 times. Return the pureed corn to bowl with the remaining corn kernels. Add the flour, corn meal, onion, baking powder, baking soda, cayenne, salt and pepper; stir to combine. Add the eggs, milk, and butter and stir until just combined.

Whisk together the lime juice, oil, vinegar and hot sauce. Toss the tomato and avocado with the lime juice mixture; salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan over medium-high heat. Spoon one quarter cup of batter into the hot pan and fry one to two minutes per side, until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel lined dish to drain.

Serve the corn cakes topped with the pulled pork and avocado-tomato relish.
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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Chipotle Chicken Thighs

chipotle chicken thighsI heavily adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart. Next time, I will try it as her original recipe states and add rice to the pot. It would make for a lovely one pot dish.  I expected it to bring a little more heat with the addition of the chipotles in adobo, next time I may add an additional pepper.  The tomatoes turned out perfectly, even though C and Miss F refused to touch them.  Ah well, more for me.  Martha Stewart rarely disappoints, even with all my changes.
Chipotle Chicken Thighs

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 chicken thighs
Coarse salt and ground pepper
½ medium red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon ground cumin
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, minced
2 large tomatoes, diced large

In a large sauté pan with a lid, heat oil over medium-high. Season the chicken on both sides with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Brown the chicken on both sides, about 6 minutes total and then transfer to a plate. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pan. Add garlic, cumin, and chiles; cook until garlic is soft and fragrant, about a minute or so. Add tomatoes and 1 teaspoon salt and cook until tomatoes begin to break down and release their juices, about 3 minutes. Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 45 minutes.
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Monday, July 2, 2012

Linguine with Tex-Mex Pepper Cream Sauce

Linguine with Tex-Mex Pepper Cream SauceI saw this recipe in the pasta swap that A Taste of Home Cooking hosted. I was out of town during the swap, so I wasn't able to participate. There were so many amazing pasta recipes shared, but this one really piqued my interest. The sauce had a great Tex-Mex flavor, though I will increase the heat next time with the addition of a chipotle pepper or two.   I stayed pretty true to the original recipe posted by Kate's Recipe Box.  This is such an easy weeknight meal, it comes together very quickly.  Though it does dirty a lot of dishes, it's totally worth it.
Linguine with Tex-Mex Pepper Cream Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 teaspoon salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound linguine pasta
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup cilantro, plus more for garnish
4 ounces can mild diced green chiles
2/3 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon black pepper

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers and salt to the pan; cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds more. Prepare the pasta according to package directions.

Place the pepper mixture into the bowl of a food processor along with sour cream, cilantro, green chiles, cheese, cayenne and black pepper. Puree until smooth scraping the sides as needed.

Toss the pasta with the sauce. Plate and garnish with cilantro.
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