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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dallas Morning News Taste Section 4/23/14

I live in Texas, Shiner Bock Beer, from Shiner, Texas is our Beer of Choice here.
When I read the recipes in the paper this morning, I had to post this recipe from Dean Fearing.
Dean is a well known celebrity Chef in Dallas. He's written a cookbook , The Texas Food Bible: From Legendary Dishes to New Classics.

I've added some personal points as I wrote the recipe.
This recipe is baked in 2- (9"X 9") Cake Pans.

The cake can also be baked in a 9"X13" pan for 35 minutes.

Dean Fearing's Chocolate Shiner Bock Cake

2 1/4 C light brown sugar
20 TBS (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing pan ( I use my Pan Release Mix).
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla paste  (available at Williams Sonoma and online)  ( I would use 2 tsp vanilla extract)
1 3/4 C all purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan ( I use my Pan Release Mix)
3/4 C Dutch Process Cocoa
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 C (12oz.) Shiner Bock Beer
Shiner Toffee Sauce (recipe to follow)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Generously coat the interior of  2- (9" square ) cake pans with butter. ( I use my Pan Release Mix)

In a Stand Mixer, with a paddle attachment:
Brown Sugar
Beat until light and fluffy.

Add Eggs (one at a time)
Add Vanilla.

In a medium bowl:
Baking Soda
Whisk well.

With the mixer on low, add dry ingredients, alternating with the Beer.
Beat just until well blended.

Scrape the batter into the pans, smooth with a spatula.
Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
Remove pans from oven a place on a cooling rack for 5 minutes.
Cut into squares and serve warm topped with Shiner Toffee Sauce.

Shiner Toffee Shop:
Here's what you'll need:

4 C Sugar
1 1/2 C Cold Water
1 1/3 C Heavy Cream
1/4 C additional Sugar
1 - (12oz.) Bottle of Shiner Bock Beer
2 TBS Salt

Combine together in a saucepan on medium heat:
4 C Sugar
1 1/2 C Cold Water
Cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.
Sauce will begin to turn golden brown.

Stir constantly while slowly adding 1 3/4 C Heavy Cream.
It will bubble up, continue stirring.

When all of the Cream has been added, stir in additional Sugar, Shiner Bock Beer and Salt.
Gently simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir constantly until cooled.
Makes about 6 cups.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Mac & Cheese for Grown Ups from Vegetarian Times

I just received this great recipe from Vegetarian Times.
Here's my adapted version of the recipe. I have not change the integrity of the original recipe.

2 C (8oz.) Whole Wheat Penne Pasta
1 lb. of Fresh Spinach Leaves
1/4 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 C Flour
2 C Milk
3/4 C fresh grated Parmesan Cheese,( not the Cheese in the shaker container)
2 Large Garlic Cloves, minced
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper to taste

Peace in the Kitchen!

Pickled Black Eyed Peas

We love Black Eyed Peas in Texas. We all have our favorite things to do with them. This is a very simple recipe, but I thought I'd share it.


2 Cans Black Eyed Peas, drained
1 C Olive Oil
1/2 C  Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 C Minced Onion
1 Large Whole Garlic Clove
1/2 tsp Salt

Mix all ingredients in a jar, refrigerate for at least 2 days. Shake often. Remove garlic after 1 day.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Australian Crunch Squares

1/2 C Sugar
3/4 C Coconut
1 1/2 C Cornflakes (slightly crushed )
1 C Flour
2 TBS Hot Chocolate Mix (product pictures to follow)
12 TBS Butter

2 C Confectioner's Sugar
2 TBS Hot Cocoa Mix

To Make the Bars:
Melt Butter in a saucepan.

In a small bowl:
Mix all dry ingredients.
Add melted Butter.
Mix well.

Spray an 8"X 8" baking pan with a vegetable cooking spray. ( I use my Pan Release Mix)
Press batter firmly into the pan and spread evenly.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes.
Remove pan to a cooling rack and cool completely.

To make the Icing:

In a small bowl:
Confectioner's Sugar
Hot Cocoa Mix
A few drops of  Hot Water to make a thick icing.
When it cools completely, spread evenly over the cooled bars.
Allow to set completely.
Cut into squares when icing has set.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tips and Hints !

I also have a post called Tips, Hints and More....... check it out too!
Don't use ice cubes with water to make iced coffee! It just dilutes your coffee.  Instead, put some crushed Oreos in an ice cube tray, cover with milk or cream, freeze and use in your coffee!

Homemade taco shells are easier than you think. Preheat oven to 375F and warm the tortillas until they’re pliable. Spray with  cooking spray then drape over the oven racks with a sheet pan underneath them.

Want your bananas to last as long as possible? Separate each banana individually then put plastic wrap on the tops!

To make your celery last longer, wrap it in foil and refrigerate it! You'll be surprised how much longer it will keep.

Use a Drywall knife to cut sheet cakes and fudge. Get them at the hardware store. They're dishwasher safe too!

Need to clean a large quantity of potatoes? Put them on the top rack of your dishwasher and run it on the quick rinse cycle!
I also wrap vegetables tightly in foil and steam them in the dishwasher. Add a bit of lemon juice, salt and pepper before wrapping in foil!

Add baking soda to your water when boiling eggs, it makes them easier to peel!

Put 2 large marshmallows in your bag of brown sugar to keep it from hardening!

Wrap fresh celery in foil, it wl keep for weeks in the refrigerator!

Use an egg shell to remove egg shells from the bowl when cracking eggs!

Use a paint can opener to break the seal on difficult to open jars. Just slip it under the lid in a few places and gently press down.  The lid will twist off with ease!

Use a nut cracker for those hard to open tops on 2 liter plastic bottles and water bottles that are difficult to twist off!

Butter large amounts of corn on the cob by melting butter in disposable aluminum pans. Fill with a single layer of ears of corn, use tongs to swirl them in the butter. Salt and Pepper them and serve! When grilling, keep the pan on the top rack of the grill !

Use a Muffin Tin Pan to create perfectly sized holes to plant seedlings in your garden. Simply press the bottom of the pan into the soil to make the indentations. Create multiple rows at one time!

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Best of the Best Chocolate Chip, Toasted Pecan Cookies!

I happen to love Toasted Pecans in my Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Here's another one of my favorite recipes.

The Best of the Best Chocolate Chip, Toasted Pecan Cookies:

2 1/4 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 C semi sweet chocolate chips
1 C bitter sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 C Toasted Pecans. (Toast in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes) Then increase the oven temperature to 375 to bake the cookies) Chop after toasting.

1 C (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla

In a small bowl:
Baking Soda
Whisk well.

In a small bowl:
All of the Chocolate Chips
Toasted Pecans
Toss and set aside.

In a Stand Mixer with a Paddle Attachment:
Granulated Sugar
Brown Sugar
Beat 5 minutes.

Add Eggs one at a time until combined.
Gradually add Dry Ingredients until well incorporated.
Fold in Chocolate Chips and Pecans by hand.

Line sheet pans with Parchment Paper.
Use a medium cookie scoop , 1 1/2"  and drop dough 2" apart.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.
Remove pan from oven to a cooking rack for 10 minutes.
Transfer cookies to the cooling rack and cool completely.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Thin, Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I can't pick a favorite, but if I did, this would be one of my top choices. I love thin, crispy chocolate chip cookies.

Thin, Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies:

1 1/3 C flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
4 oz. (1stick) butter, melted, cooled to room temperature
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/3 C brown sugar
2 TBS corn syrup
1 large egg
1 TBS heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla
1 C chocolate chips, your choice

Line sheet pans with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium mixing bowl:
Baking Soda
Whisk well.

In a Stand Mixer with a Paddle Attachment:
Granulated Sugar
Brown Sugar
Corn Syrup
Beat 5 minutes.
Beat just until well combined.
Gradually add dry ingredients on low speed until incorporated.
Fold in Chocolate Chips by hand.
Refrigerate the dough at least 1 hour.

Use a medium (1 1/2" cookie scoop), drop dough onto the sheet pan 2" apart.
Bake for 10 minutes.
Remove pan to a cooling rack for 10 minutes.
Transfer cookies to the cooling rack and cool completely.

Peace in the Kitchen!