Monday, February 23, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies .

I am a lucky woman. I have one daughter, one daughter-in-law, and one neice and they are all beautiful, smart, and truly remarkable young women! I have one regret where these three are concerned: I just don't get to spend enough time with any of them. Distances are so great and visits are all too infrequent. This recipe if from my namesake neice. Love ya, girl!

2 cups flour
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 cup pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift together flour, cinnamon, soda, baking powder and salt.
Cream the butter and sugar.
Add egg, vanilla and pumpkin to the butter-sugar mix.
Fold in the flour mixture. Then fold in the chocolate chips.
Drop by teaspoonfuls on ungreased sheet.
Bake 13 – 15 minutes.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Peach Cobbler .

Sunday mornings in my part of Texas there is a TV show worth taping. I'm in church when Texas Country Reporter airs, so I don't get to see if "first-hand." I'm sure Bob Phillips, the reporter, would understand and approve. The premise of the show was that big cities get plenty of news coverage, so he takes to the Texas highways and reports from small towns. He also eats and shares the best that Texas cafes and cooks have to offer. With the great variety of cultures that have contributed to the menus in this big state, the offerings are amazingly varied. With my southern roots, fruit cobblers have a special appeal. This recipe is from one of Bob Phillips's trips to Fredericksburg, Texas.

2 - 2.5 cups sugar
1/2 cups cornstarch
8 cups sliced FRESH peaches
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup melted buter
Pie crust

Combine sugar, cornstarch and toss with the peaches. Add almond extract and butter. Set aside.
Butter a 9 x 13-inch pan. Put peaches in pan.
Roll out pie crust and cut into strips. Crisscross strips of dough over the filling.
Brush pastry with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake at 400°F for 30 minutes or until crust is brown.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Chicken Enchilladas .

It has been a cold day and I wish I had taken the opportunity to make chicken enchilladas. Alas, I did not. And I have a good recipe for them. Chicken Enchiladas. When I lived in Fairfax County, Virginia, in the 1970s, the Extension Service held adult cooking lessons in the high schools in the evening. I got some good recipes there. This is one. Now that I am a Texan, those chilies don't have to come from a can!

1 chopped onion
2 Tablespoons oil
1 clove garlic
2 cups tomato puree
2 cans chopped green chilies
1/2 teaspoon organo
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 cup sour cream
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
3 cups half and half
6 Tablespoons chicken bullion granules
1 dozen corn tortillas
1/2 pound grated Monterey Jack Cheese
avocado slices (optional)
olives (optional)
Sauté onions in oil until soft. Add mashed garlic, tomato puree, 1 can of green chilies, oregano and cumin. Simmer 10 minutes. (There will be more sauce than needed; freeze for another use.)
To 1 cup of the above sauce, add sour cream, 1 can green chilies and chicken.
Heat the half and half with the bullion granules until they dissolve.
Soften tortillas in hot lard. Do not let them crisp. Drain.
Dip each tortilla in hot cream sauce. Fill each tortilla with chicken filling and roll up. Arrange in single layer in large pan. Pour remaining cream sauce over them and top with cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes at 350°F. Garnish with avocado slices or olives.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Finger Jell-o .

Now that I have the major house cleaning done before the grandkids come, I am turning my efforts toward filling the freezer with meals so I don't have to cook while they are here. I don't want to miss a minute with them. I had to dig out this recipe. This makes gelatin squares that kids can eat with their fingers. My kids loved them in their school lunches and they were a staple for long automobile trips.

1 (6 ounce) package or 2 (3 ounce) packages Jell-O
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
2 1/2 cups water
Dissolve unflavored gelatin in 1 cup cold water. Set aside.
In a saucepan bring 1 cup water to a boil and add Jell-o. Bring to a boil and remove from heat.
Add gelatin mixture. Stir and add 1/2 cup cold water.
Pour into lightly greased pan and set in refrigerator for 2 hours.
Cut into chunks. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Angel biscuits .

My mother grew up on a farm and cooked good, basic food. There were no exotic recipes in her repertoire and the closest we came to classic French cooking was an occasional "pearly maude." Daddy would make milk shakes in the blender and sing while the ice cream and milk whirled around, "Parlez moi de l'amour..." so of course, parlez moi meant the blender and the blender meant milk shake, so a milk shake had to be a "pearly maude."

This was one of my mother's recipes. These biscuits are a lot more trouble than popping open a can of Hungry Jacks, but they're worth it.

1 package dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup buttermilk
Dissolve the yeast in warm water, setting aside.
Mix the dry ingredients in the order give, cutting in the shortening as you normally do for biscuits or pie dough.
Stir in the buttermilk and the yeast mixture. Blend thoroughly and the dough is ready to refrigerate or roll out into biscuits.
When you’re ready to make the biscuits, turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead lightly as for regular biscuits. Roll out and cut with a biscuit cutter, placing them in a greased pan.
Let the dough rise slightly before baking in a 400°F oven for about 12 to 15 minutes until lightly browned and done. (If the dough is cold, you’ll need to let it sit a little longer to rise.

Note: You can mix the biscuits up one day and cook them the next. The dough will keep up to three days in the refrigerator in a covered bowl.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Meat Loaf . .

This has been such a mild winter. I've missed the cold and snowy weather. Everything has been extremely dry. Thursday I thought we might get a taste of winter. When I left the office I heard such a racket in the sky, I looked up, and I saw hundreds of geese with their wings windmilling as they headed from a nearby pond toward the southwest. Maybe they were foretelling something.

The next morning I had forgotten the geese. I entered the main hall outside my office. It is a long hall crowned by a domed skylight. If there had been fowl play the night before and the flock had been asked to provide proof of their whereabouts, the inquisitors had only to look up. Their alibi was splattered all over the skylight. I wondered who was going to have to clean it.

This weekend God took care of the mess. We had fierce wind and rain but the skylights were cleaned. The winds flattened two of the outbuildings of a co-worker, sailed their trampoline to who knows where, and in exchange left her a pig barn from two properties to the west. The winds were gusting up to 68 miles an hour and I wondered if were moving without a winter into an awesome west Texas spring.

Meat loaf? Yeah. Before all that wind and rain hit we had leaden skies and a really gloomy afternoon. I talked to one of my friends and told her I had made a meat loaf. So had she. And just before we chatted, she talked with a mutual friend who also made meat loaf. It was just that kind of day.

There are a million ways to make meat loaf and I'm not going to say mine's any better than yours or your mama's. It is just one of those comfort foods that seems so right when there is a dismal day outside the windows. (Mustard, not ketchup in the meat; ketchup on top; soft bread in the milk and eggs instead of breadcrumbs. Other than that, nothing extraordinary. Meat loaf doesn't need to be gussied up!)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Almond Roca .

Judi, Judi, Judi. Back before microwaves, back before I did a lot of cooking, way back, the first person I knew who made candy in her kitchen was Judi T. There wasn't much Judi couldn't do, as I remember. She made this every year at Christmas time and it was eagerly awaited. It's almost as sweet as she is.

1 cup slivered or whole blanched almonds, diced (reserve 1/4 cup for topping and crust)
6 Hershey bars (package of 6)
2 sticks butter (1 cup) use only butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon light Karo
1 Tablespoon warm water
1/8 teaspoon salt
Grease a jelly roll pan with Pam or Crisco.
Place butter, sugar, syrup, water and salt in a heavy pan and bring to a boil on medium high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Boil about 7 – 9 minutes until the color of light brown sugar is reached.
Immediately add diced almonds and pour out into pan, spreading with a wooden spoon.
Place the Hershey bars on top of the hot candy. Wait a little until they start to melt then spread over the entire surface. Sprinkle with reserved 1/4 cup of crushed nuts.
Cool for 1 hour.
Refrigerate until hardened and break into pieces. (Hint: turn large pieces over and tap with a knife handle to break into uniform pieces.)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Chilies Rellenos (Stuffed Green Chilies) .

Texas tested. One thing I have learned since living in Texas...the success of any recipe with chilies in it depends on the chiles. Once you get good chilies, you're hooked! This recipe came from my friends Deb and Susie. I have to tell you about the best Rellenos I ever ate. I got them in a restaurant in Toronto, Canada! The restaurant was new and I was there during opening week. I visited with the owner and discovered he was a transplant from El Paso. I think Canada got the best of that culture exchange! These are equally good!

10 green chilies, roasted and peeled (canned chilies may be used)
10 ounces Longhorn cheese or Monterey Jack cheese
Hot oil or lard

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 cup milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten

Cut cheese into slices 1/2 inch thick and the length of the chili. Make a small slit in chili just big enough to insert cheese.
Make batter by combining flour, baking powder, salt and cornmeal. Blend milk with egg; then combine milk and egg mixture with dry ingredients. Add more milk if necessary for smooth batter.
Use a spoon to dip chilies in batter and fry in hot oil or lard until golden brown. Drain and serve.