Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hot Potato- Roasted Potatoes with Sin Sauce

I love sauces. Chick-fil-a almost sends me into a panic because there are so many different sauces I love that I have a hard time figuring out which food to order to dip with my sauces. I like a specific sauce with just my fries, then another for just nuggets and another for just the sandwich with extra pickles.
I was a child of the 80's when Tontino's Pizza Rolls were at their prime. I remember my dad would cook up a handful of Pizza Rolls then grab out a stack of his condiment cups and fill them with things like salsa, ranch and bar-b-que sauce to dip all of his Pizza Rolls in when they came out of the oven pipping hot. I love basic foods like potatoes and grilled chicken because they are the perfect companions to a good sauce or dip. These roasted potatoes are pretty standard around my house. I don't fry much of anything(honest) so these roasted potatoes are the go-to alternative for fries or stuffed for us. I prefer my potatoes to be soft and creamy but the Salesman prefers them to be crunchy so roasted potatoes are a good happy medium. I have created many a combination of dipping sauces for potatoes during my time and finally decided to write one down since we loved it so. This side was the perfect partner to our grilled chicken that had bathed in lemon juice, fresh basil and olive oil before going on the grill.
Now, let me tell some of you out there who think that Goat cheese tastes like dirty socks that 1. you are wrong, 2. you need to get over it and 3. just trust me, please. If you are so anti that you can't stand the thought then you can easily swap out the Goat for Feta or Gorgonzola...and maybe even add some bacon. One trick for the perfect roasted potatoes are to make sure they are all cut the same size. This is ensure that they all bake evenly. I typically will but my potato in half width wise, then each half in half lengthwise then each plank into three sections.I love that when roasting everything can be dumped on the cookie sheet, tossed then baked so you have minimal clean up. If you really want to be a lazy bum you can even line your cookie sheet with foil then pitch it after it comes out of the oven.
I hope this makes your heart happy and helps you find that happy saucy medium!


Roasted Potatoes with Sin Sauce
Potatoes
4-6 Large Red Potatoes (About 1 large per person) Cut into cubes *I prefer red because of their texture. I don't recommend baking unless you don't have another alternative. You an also use Yukon Gold or Fingerling.
2 Tbsp Whole Grain Mustard
1/3 C. olive oil
1/2 -1 tsp red pepper flakes, depends on how spicy you like
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 tsp. dried oregano or rosemary
1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp salt- might need to adjust to taste after cooking
 Combine all of the above directly onto a cookie sheet and toss to make sure everything is well coated. Bake at 425 for 30-40 minutes, tossing them around at the 20 minute mark, and cook until potatoes are golden around the edges.

Sin Sauce
1/2 c. Sour Cream - can use light or non-fat or even plain greek yogurt
2 Tbsp heaping of Goat Cheese (or Feta, or Gorgonzola, or Blue...)
1 Tbsp heaping of store bought basil pesto (or homemade if you have it, show off)
5-6 Fresh Mint Leaves
Heavy crank of fresh black pepper, about 8 and few splashes of Sea Salt
Place all of the above in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until all is combined.
Serve along side roasted potatoes. Sauce is also great with grilled chicken, fish or pork, fresh cut veggies...really anything.

Enjoy Y'all!

Friday, August 22, 2014

About to get real- Buffalo Chicken Burgers


So, I am going to let you know about one of my big secrets...I am totally afraid of ground chicken. Bone-in chicken doesn't phase me, and you have read about getting over my fear of whole chickens when I wrote Yellow Rose Cafe: Big Girl Britches-Smokey Bacon Roasted Chicken:, but there is something about the ground up chicken in it's neat plastic package that frightens me. Maybe it is because all form of it's previous life is gone. Maybe because I know the only way it might possibly taste like something I could potentially enjoy is if I shove it full of an obscene amount of goodies. I don't know, but whatever it is I finally decided to buy a pack the other day and quickly threw it in my cart before I had time to second guess myself. I have been craving blue cheese lately and since I am the only one in the house that has a love affair with it I am bit limited. I decided that I would make up some burgers so that I could jazz mine up to my liking, and it was good. The obscene turned out to not be so bad. And, the muffins gobbled up every single bite. Let me repeat this. EVERY. SINGLE. BITE. Can I get an amen? For any of you mom's out there you know that this is up there on the kids nearly impossible list, right next to them making their beds and not burping in public. I left the dinner table and felt as if I deserved a momma medal for a meal well done.
This burger was amazing as a buffalo burger, but you can take it in any direction. My boys had a melted slice of Colby-jack cheese and loved it. I was tempted to sliced up some fresh jalapenos from the garden on mine but didn't want to over power the burger. But, I think this chicken burger could have put up a good fight. This would be amazing with many, many toppings like bacon or avocado. The secret weapon for me was the crushed up gold fish. I have decided that anyone under the age of 100 possibly has goldfish in the pantry so I took that into consideration when deciding what my bread-like texture would be. We had the extra cheddar (go big or go home, right?) flavor on hand and it was perfect to add that little cheesy punch in the burger. By the way, don't over mix these. Ground chicken needs to be handled gently to keep what little bit of dignity it has left after having it's innards and outters removed so stir just until mixed. They will also have a sort of sticky texture when you are patting them out, unlike their partner ground beef. Oh, I can't wait to hear how you loved these!

Chicken Burgers- Yields 4 good size burgers

1/2 Cup diced onion
1 Lb ground chicken
1 Egg
1/2 cup cheddar gold fish crackers - measured first then crushed finely
2 tsp. Ms. Dash chicken seasoning
1/4 tsp. seasoned salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

In a small saute pan, heat up 2 Tbsp of olive oil with the onions and a splash of salt over medium-low heat. Cook onions for approximately 15 minutes, stirring occasionally,  until they have cooked through and turned a light brown around the edges and caramelized a bit.
Combine remaining ingredients into a bowl with the cooked onions and stir just until blended. Gently pat out into 4 round patties on a piece of foil or parchment paper so that you can flip them into the pan easily.
Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Lightly spray with non-stick spray and add a splash of olive oil. Once the pan is good and hot plop the burgers into the heat and gently remove the foil backings. Cook on one side approximately 5 minutes until you can see that half of the burger has turned from opaque to white. Once flipped, cook for 5-6 minutes until heated through and the burger has a great caramel color on the exterior. Flip back one last time and lay whatever cheese you are using on top of the burgers. For blue cheese, you will want about 1 heaping Tablespoon. Cover the pan with either a lid or a big cookie sheet and allow the cheese to melt.

For my Buffalo burger I used toasted French bread split for my bun. I put a good schmear of mayo on it, a good handful of spinach (so that it was healthy) and some heavy, heavy dashes of Texas Pete. If I had to do it all over again, I would do it all over again.

Enjoy Y'all!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

South in your mouth- Cucumber Salad


One of my very favorite things do to when I have a moment's peace is to flip through old cookbooks I have in my collection. I have a Betty Crocker dating back to the 50's with marriage advice as well as recipes, it's a keeper. I have a large collection of old school church cookbooks and love them because they connect me with my roots and remind me of how much of life is centered around a holy table. My favorite section of those old cookbooks is typically the salad sections since we in the South consider a LOT of things "salad". I am not sure who decided that things with gelatin should fall into this category. How many versions of Frog Eye or Copper Penny salad does one need?
One of those good Southern staples I have grown to love with all of my heart is cucumber salad. I remember it being very pungent with onions when I was little. Cucumber salad is similar to cole slaw in that you can have a creamy version or a vinegar version. You should know me well enough by now to know that anytime I can have the creamy version I will go with that. This recipe is one I have been using for years, not sure where it ever originated other than this is how I have been making this staple for a very long time. I love summertime when cucumbers are bright and plentiful and have a super crispy texture. If I am buying cucumbers from a store I will always but the English kind individually wrapped but if I am at the Farmer's Market I will always buy whichever one looks like it was picked last. I love this "salad" with things like grilled chicken or bar-b-que with a side of corn on the cob. You can easily double this to feed a hungry crowd. It is best to let it sit for a while so that all of the flavors can get to know each other a bit. Since this recipe only has a couple of ingredients, make them count. Don't skimp out on using good Mayo and fresh cracked pepper, it makes all of the difference! 

Cucumber Salad- Yields 3-4 side servings
1 English cucumber thinly sliced - about 3 cups
1/4 Super thinly sliced white or red onion in slivers
1/3 cup Mayo (I used Duke's)
1 Tbsp. White Vinegar
2 tsp. Dill- either dried or fresh but I typically only have dried
1 tsp. Sugar
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste if you need more or less
1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Combine all of the above in a bowl and let it chill out in your fridge for a few hours or overnight before serving. I like to stir it a few times just to make sure everyone is getting some attention in the bowl.

Enjoy Y'all! 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Pastry Queen- Peaches and Cream Cobbler with Fustard Sauce


I love peaches. I love cobbler. I love Texas. The. End.

A few years ago a dear friend of mind brought a cookbook to work one day and said that it reminded her of me and she wanted me see it. I nearly ate every page out of the book! I begged to keep it and joked about not returning it and in my mind I had secret plans to move to outer space so that I could keep it and she couldn't track me down. She knew me well. The cookbook is by Rebecca Rather, also known as the "Pastry Queen" in the Texas hill country. She had two different stores in Texas then shut her doors this past year. Just from reading her cookbooks and seeing how she cooks in the kitchen in her chefs coat and cowboy boots I know we would be best friends. Her Christmas cookbook almost sent me over the edge and I know that her olive beef tenderloin will be part of my holiday traditions forever. She cooks your normal every day food but takes it to a whole different level, like chicken salad with homemade mayo on homemade bread. Need I say more? When I approached her recipe of her peach cobbler and knew I had plans to alter it a wee bit I felt the need to tiptoe into my kitchen and ever so gently open up the book and apologize in advance for make a change. I hope it is one she would approve of. Peach cobbler is one of those staples in my life. I love the sweet creamy peaches combined with the slightly crispy topping and the ooziness of a big fat scoop of Blue Bell melting on top of it, as if it is surrounding the cobbler with a hug. I had some girlfriends over last night and knew it was what I had to make since 1. it is National Peach Month and 2. I heart it.
When you read the title I am sure you thought I had a big fat typo in the title. You are right, fustard was not a word until yesterday, but I promise you won't forget it. I decided that instead of topping the cobbler with a cold scoop of ice cream and trying to gobble up the bowl before every drop melted, I took the ice cream and gently melted it on the stove. I tried it with both a vanilla and a caramel ice cream and both were delish. Once melted, the ice cream is a thinner consistency of a custard sauce, the kind you make with a bunch of eggs and sugar and stir and pray it doesn't curdle. This was much easier to do and can be done in any flavor to top off any sweet. I like how the sauce kept the cobbler warm and melted down into all of the cobbler crevasses. I am in no way saying I am now an anti-a la mode girl, I am going to just be an occasional melt-a mode girl.

Hill Country Peaches and Cream Cobbler with Fustard Sauce
Makes 6-8 servings

Breading:
1 Stick unsalted butter
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp, white sugar
1 cup, all purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt
Fruit:
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3-4 cups, fresh sliced peaches with peels left on (1 peach yields approximately 1 cup)
1- 8oz cream cheese cut into small cubes
Topping:
3/4 cup brown sugar
Fustard:
1 scoop of ice cream per person eating in either a vanilla or a caramel flavor

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat until it has turned a slight brown color. While it is warming, combine he sugar, flour, baking powder, milk and salt in a separate bowl and stir until just mixed. In a second bowl, stir together the peaches and cream cheese cubes and cinnamon.

Once be butter is melted, pour it into a baking dish at least 8" across. Next, gently pour over the flour and milk mixture and DO NOT STIR. Gently spoon the peaches and cream cheese mixture over the flour and butter mixture and DO NOT STIR. Next, sprinkle the brown sugar over the top. Place your baking dish on a foil lined cookie sheet (just in case spill over happens) and bake for 40-45 minutes until the top turns golden brown.

Just before serving, put the ice cream in a small sauce pan and gently melt it over low heat. Once melted, spoon your cobbler into serving bowls then ladle over a spoon of the sauce.

Enjoy Y'all!
P.S.Rebecca, please come to NashVegas so we can make pink pig cookies and big hair tarts together!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Yellow Rose Shortcakes

Scrumptious Strawberry Shortcake Recipe


I grew up migrating around Texas most of my life. I lived in several different cities throughout the great state including Pasadena, which is a suburb of Houston known for refineries and strawberries. "Stink-adena" held an annual strawberry festival that my dad and I both attended and manned a booth for. At the festival you could buy strawberry in any flavor from daiquiris and bread to homemade jams. They even had a booth for a giant Texas shaped strawberry shortcake that was about as big as my living room. I remember almost making myself sick each season as I gobbled up buckets of berries the size of my hands. I have always loved strawberries, especially when they are paired with a tender shortcake and big dollop of cream. You can easily convert store bought biscuit mix into a quick fix shortcake but they don't compare to the tender flaky dough of a homemade version. This entire recipe is created in a food processor, so it is appealing to even the laziest of cooks. But, you can't forget the brushing of the cream and sprinkling of sugar crystals right at the end. That sends them over the top. I top these babies with anything from peaches to ice cream but my favorite has, and will always be strawberries.

Shortcakes- Makes 6-8

1 1/2 c All Purpose Flour
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tsp baking soda
1 Tsp salt
1 Tsp baking powder
Zest of 1 orange or lemon

Place all of the above ingredients into the bowl of a large food processor and pulse until blended. 

1 stick of cold butter cut into cubes
1/3 cup cold heavy cream, plus 2 Tbsp.
1 egg

Gently dump a few cubes in at a time to the processor and pulse 3-4 times. Repeat until you have added all of the cubes. Pour in the cream and egg and pulse just until the dough comes together. Dump out the dough onto a lightly flour surface and pat down unto an even rectangle that is about 3/4" thick. Cut into 2x2 squares, or if you are feeling fancy you can use a mason jar to cut into circles. Place onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. 
Gently brush the tops of the shortcakes with the remaining cream and sprinkle with sugar crystals (available in the baking aisle at a craft store or Walmart in the cake aisle). Bake at 350 degrees for around 14 minutes until set. If they get too golden they will be overcooked and not as delicate.

Enjoy Y'all!



White Elephant- Black Banana Oatmeal Bread

I feel like half of my life was lived vicariously through my sister. She is six years older than me, always has been, so when I was just on the brink of awkward middle school she was well into her collage years. I love to reminisce her past with her, things she did, the Olan Mills photos she had taken with boyfriends, matching clothes she and her boyfriends wore (I won't mention the Hee Haw overalls that were a true treasure) things she made me do in secrecy promising to be my best friend if I didn't tell, typical big sibling, little sibling friendly banter. I know my shadow probably drove her crazy growing up because I loved to hear about her latest tee-pee runs, learn about what bands were cool and how high bangs should go. She and her group of friends were always up for pranks and parties and I loved living the wild moments through her days later. One of the white elephant parties she attended growing up has always been burned in my brain for the ultimate gift that was at that party. My sister drew her number and picked up an innocent looking gift bag and noticed it was a bit wet and soggy on the bottom before opening it. She reached her hand in to pull out the tissue paper and oh, so delicately wrapped up was a bunch of thawing black bananas that belonged to a mom of one of the rowdy boys. He mentioned how they always had black bananas hanging around in the deep freeze and didn't think his mom would notice if he gifted a few. Classic teenage boy. I am already preparing myself.
Black bananas are one of the few things you will consistently find in my freezer. We may not have any ice on hand or extra chicken but I will always have a bunch of bananas. I learned the trick from my mom that they freeze and make beautiful breads and cakes once thawed. I thought this was common knowledge but recently learned that it must have been a Texas thing. We love homemade quick breads around here and homemade banana bread is at the top of the list. For years I made another recipe that involved butter and creaming and it was okay but it seemed to be lacking in texture and depth of flavor. I created this little treasure a few weeks ago and have enjoyed making it a few times with my youngest Muffin. I like to make a batch of the mini loaves (it makes three) and freeze them to have on hand for a quick breakfast. You could easily sub coconut oil for the vegetable oil and could omit the chocolate chips and peanut butter drizzle...but why would you?

Black Banana Bread (makes 3 min loaves, 12 muffins or 1 large loaf)
3- Frozen Black Bananas, thawed, peeled and smooshed in a bowl (If you freeze them in the peels they will literally slide right on out when you remove the stem...they look a little gross so I will spare any photos

In a big bowl combine the following:
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 Eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt (I have used full fat and reduced fat but don't do fat free)
Combine all of the above, including the bananas and mix until combined.

Pour into greased and floured pans and bake at 350 degrees (45-50 minute for full loaf, 30-35 minutes for mini loaves or 12-14 minutes for muffins). Allow it to sit for a few minutes before turning out to your counter to cool.

3 Tbsp. Creamy Peanut Butter - Place the peanut butter into a small Ziploc bag and microwave for 15 seconds until warm and runny. Snip one corner of the bag and drizzle the peanut butter over the loaves. Allow this to cool to set up a bit. If you want to freeze for later, pop them into the freezer to firmly set up the peanut butter before wrapping with saran wrap. Thaw before serving.

Enjoy Ya'll!


Monday, March 10, 2014

If:Table


The table is set. Invitations are out. Flowers are in place. Heart is ready.
Tonight is the first of what I hope will be many dinners of women who I know and love and want to know better. The movement is called If and all started with a simple gesture to open up your home, no matter what your home may look like, and break bread with women and get to know them on a deeper level. My favorite author who I love and adore and am best friends with (though she secretly doesn't know) posted about this movement a few weeks back and after reading the article my brain went into overdrive. Who do I invite first? What on earth do I make? How soon can I do this? The movement is based off of Acts 4:26 where it states that "They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts."

I sent my first group of women an email promising that this was not a secret plea to get them to my house to sell them Tupperware or necklaces but an honest invitation to a simple meal around a simple table to share a bit of my heart and home. I know each of these women from different areas of life, all stemming from church and our creator. If we didn't have Him in common then we might not have ever known each other. I am overwhelmed with God's goodness and allowing me to be blessed by so many that it was difficult to narrow down this first attendee list. But, alas, they will be here soon.
So, if you know me you know my mind went straight to the food. The If gals say to keep it simple and non-fussy so that is exactly what I have done. I have prepared a couple of favorites, things like Spinach Enchiladas and homemade corn salsa but I was totally stumped when it came to dessert. I know that may sound silly but the possibilities are limitless and I didn't know where to begin. So, let me begin.

I went into college not knowing A soul! No not one. I quickly connected with a loud bombshell blond from "You-ston" (Houston), another brown haired blue eyed Dallas gal with an amazing sense of humor and my two suit-mates who also shared Texas roots. We were instantly connected. One of the girls became friends with one of the guys on campus and a few weeks into school he invited all of us to his home outside of Memphis. We were all so excited about our first trip to a real home we didn't know what to do. I remember driving to the boonies and arriving with a nervous anticipation about trying to stay on my best behavior. Their beautiful home was the epitome of what a Southern mom's house should feel like; comfy, cozy, kinda messy, surrounded by a beautiful farm land with the smell of chocolate, laundry soap and sweet tea lingering in the air. We all instantly felt at home. She fed us plate after plate of scratch made food while we each took rounds doing laundry and jumping in the pool. We sat around the table and made so many memories. Later that night she brought out a pan of homemade rice krispy treats and a big pot of chocolate gravy. I thought my eye balls might pop out of my head and that I had heard her wrong. Let me repeat, chocolate gravy. Oh. My. Goodness. We dipped and dunked everything we could get our hands on from the krispy treats and leftover fried chicken to the homemade biscuits at breakfast and crispy bacon strips. Although I never did go back to Rob's parents I will always remember that sensation of feeling right at home in a home so far away from my own. I will always remember how the sun set across that soy bean field and how we all felt a sense of peace on the rocking chairs sharing our feelings of loneliness and anxiousness about this new adventure. 
It is the way I want my home to feel as well. I am forever grateful to that sweet mom for allowing a bunch of rowdy kids to come in and mess up her home for the weekend and show the love of Jesus to all of us. May all who come through my doors feel that this is where they belong. May the Salesman and I allow others to see that this life is lived messy and wild and to the glory of our Maker. For more information go to www.ifgathering.com.
Drum roll please.....
Chocolate Gravy
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 c cocoa powder
1/4 Cup + 1 Tbsp. Flour
3/4 c milk
1/2 tsp. Salt 
1 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a heavy duty saucepan.  With the temperature on medium heat, stir the ingredients together until combined.  Allow mixture to slightly simmer, but not boil, until sugar has dissolved. Continue to stir so your gravy doesn't clump then turn the heat to low until ready to use. Gently reheat mixture when ready to serve. Perfect with ice cream, to use as cake frosting, dunk a strawberry in or drink with a straw. I paired the gravy with some homemade shortcakes with fresh berries and orange scented cream. 

Enjoy ya'll!