Friday, January 17, 2014

Easy Peach Cobbler / Trisha Yearwood

My two favorite TV cooking shows are Ree Drummond (Pioneer Woman) and Trisha Yearwood. 
I've posted many of their recipes. I find that they both cook similar to the way that my family and my wife's family cooks. 
Here's Trisha's very simple Peach Cobbler:

Two 15-ounce cans sliced peaches in syrup
1/2 C (1 stick) butter
1 C self-rising flour
1 C sugar
1 C milk

Homemade Whipped Cream, recipe follows

Cook's Note: If you don't have self-rising flour, substitute 1 cup all-purpose flour mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Drain 1 can of peaches; reserve the syrup from the other. Place the butter in a 9- by 12-inch ovenproof baking dish. Heat the butter on the stove or in the oven until it's melted. In a medium bowl, mix the flour and sugar. Stir in the milk and the reserved syrup. Pour the batter over the melted butter in the baking dish. Arrange the peaches over the batter. Bake for 1 hour. The cobbler is done when the batter rises around the peaches and the crust is thick and golden brown. Serve warm with fresh whipped cream

Homemade Whipped Cream:

2 C whipping cream, chilled in the fridge
4 TBS sugar
Chill a large metal mixing bowl and the wire beater attachment in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Pour the chilled cream and sugar into the cold mixing bowl and beat until it forms soft peaks, about 5 minutes. The mixture should hold its shape when dropped from a spoon. Don't overbeat or you'll have sweetened butter! Yield: 4 cups.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Back to blogging more!

With the holidays behind us, Christmas decorations are down. I'll have more time to get back to blogging. I'll try to find a new subject to blog about, I'll research additional recipes from my Aunt Faye's recipe collection and I'll continue to research and post some great vegetarian recipes.
I look forward to it all and I hope you all do too.

I had to get my car inspected this morning and I was told it would take an hour. I decided to walk across the street to Starbucks and spend the hour there. I had my IPad with me so I could stay busy. The seating at Starbucks is tight and I was sitting next to two woman that were talking about putting on an event of some sort. I wasn't really being nosy but I could tell by the conversation that it involved food. When one of the women started talking about Kool Aid Pickles and asked her friend if she had ever heard of them, to which her friend replied, no, I had to say something, since I was very aware about the history of Kool Aid Pickles. After all, you can find the recipe on my blog. As the conversation continued among the three of us, it became very clear to me what my next topic for the blog would be. And, no it's not pickles!
I'm in the process doing the research and the stories and recipes will soon follow. I hesitate to give out the topic at this time , so all I will say is....... more to come!

Hippy in the Kitchen!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Pine Nuts

We happen to love Brussels Sprouts. I have previously posted 4 recipes using Brussels Sprouts.
I like something other that just roasting them all the time.

3/4 C  (6 TBS) butter, divided
1 box of Vegetarian Bacon or 1/2 pound of real bacon, roughly chopped and cooked until crispy. For the Vegetarian Bacon, add about a TBS of vegetable oil.
1 C pine nuts
2 pounds of Brussels Sprouts, core and shred in a food processor, on a Mandolin or thinly slice.
4 Green Onions, finely sliced
1/2 tsp seasoning salt (your choice)
black pepper to taste

In a 10 " cast iron skillet or any large skillet:
Heat the skillet on medium high heat
Cube 1/4 C (4TBS) of the butter and add it to the skillet
When it melts, add the pine nuts and saute until slightly browned.
Add sprouts, onion, seasoning, salt and pepper.
Reduce heat to medium and cook until sprouts are wilted and tender, about 10 - 15 minutes.
At the very end add the additional 2 TBS of butter and stir well.
Remove from heat and stir in the bacon just before serving.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Vegetable Dip

2 C mayonnaise
1/2 C  finely chopped onion
1 -( 8oz.) package of cream cheese
2 tsp of  vegetable bouillon cube

Combine all ingredients well with a mixer.
Refrigerate covered for 2 hours.
The longer it sits, the better the flavor.
Mix well before serving.

Serve with carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, crackers, chips.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Coconut Pineapple Cake

Another recipe from my mother in law.
A classic dessert to take to a neighborhood gathering or a church function.
Make it for your family!

Coconut Pineapple Cake

2 C flour
2 C sugar
2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1- (20 oz.) can of crushed pineapple (with juice)
1 C coconut
1 C chopped pecans

Sift dry ingredients together.
Add all of the rest of the ingredients, mix well and pour into a 9"X13" pan prepared with a baking spray. (I use my Pan Release Mix)

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
Cool completely.

Make the frosting and ice the cake:

8 oz. package of Cream Cheese
1C Confectioner's Sugar
1/2 stick of Butter
1 tsp Vanilla

Beat until smooth and ice the cake.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Coconut Pie without a Crust

I like a pie with a crust, but I don't always have time to make a crust. I'm not a fan of store bought, frozen pie crusts. So, I like pies without a crust when I want a quick dessert. I've previously posted my favorite recipe for Apple Pie without a crust, it's one of my favorites that I make often.

Coconut Pie without a Crust:

4 eggs
3/4 C sugar
1/2 C flour
1/4 C butter, melted
2 C whole milk
1 1/2 C coconut
1 tsp vanilla

Beat the eggs in a small bowl
Combine sugar with flour in a separate bowl.
Mix eggs, sugar/flour mixture and all remaining ingredients together in a bowl.
Pour into a 10" pie pan prepared with a baking spray. I use my Pan Release Mix.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Do not over bake.
Center may not appear to be set, but it will when it's left to cool.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Sliced Cucumbers

I'm reminiscing about the recipes from my mother in law's personal collection.
This one is still served at our house.

4 medium cucumbers, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
1/2 C mayonnaise
4 TBS white vinegar
4 TBS sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Mix the last 4 ingredients well, in a bowl.
Add the cucumbers and onion, stir.

Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight .

Peace in the Kitchen!

Beef and Taters Casserole

Here's a classic recipe from my mother in law in Kansas. This would have been a family casserole or a casserole taken to a church gathering. It's simple and hearty.
I use a vegetarian version of ground beef in equal amounts to replace the meat. I also noted a change in the Cream of Chicken soup to make it vegetarian.

1 pound of ground beef
1 (28oz) bag of Tater Tots
2 tsp instant minced onions
1 can cream of chicken soup (I use Mushroom)
1 can of cream of celery soup
2 soup cans of whole milk

Crumble and cook the ground beef.
Set aside
In a large bowl, mix soups and milk.
Add, beef, onions and Tater Tots.
Pour into a casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Hobo Bread from my mother in law's collection

This is another  Mennonite Family recipe from my mother in law's personal collection.
I've adapted it a bit. This recipe is old and some of the ingredient descriptions or directions needed to be updated. I did not change the integrity of the original recipe.

2 C raisins or dates
2 C boiling water
3 tsp baking soda
2 C sugar
4 TBS vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 C chopped pecans or walnuts
4 C flour

Chop raisins or dates.
In a medium bowl, combine raisins or dates with baking soda and boiling water.
Set aside overnight.

In the morning add all remaining ingredients and blend well.
Divide dough in half

Spray 2 Loaf Pans with a baking spray. ( the directions say to line the pans with waxed paper, I use my Pan Release Mix, equal parts of vegetable shortening, flour and vegetable oil, mixed well and coat the pans with a pastry brush.

Place the dough in the pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Search Engine is working again!

Great news for the blog today. Google has fixed the search engine. That's exciting.
It's been unavailable for months. On the right side, under Blogs I follow, it says Search This Blog, enter an ingredient or recipe in the search box. It make it much easier than scrolling through the entire blog .
This was great news to wake up to this morning.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Pizza Dough / Ree Drummond / The Pioneer Woman

Another favorite from Ree Drummond.
I happen to like a very thin crispy pizza crust. Pizza crust is personal. It's the reason that this recipe is appealing to me. I would consider making this on our grill too.
I spent some time in Italy in the 70's. My first experience having Italian Pizza was in Naples. I bought it from a street side window. A very large slice was served wrapped in a piece of butcher paper. The paper was used to soak up the excess grease. A lot of grease, amazing tasting grease. The pizza was the best I had ever had. I have now changed my taste in pizza. It could be a health issue.....! I certainly don't need that grease. Most of it came from the Pepperoni. At that time I was not Vegetarian so that pizza is out of the question for me today. But I embrace this recipe from The Pioneer Woman. It has a thin crispy crust and I can control the amount of oil!

1 tsp active dry yeast
4 C flour
1 tsp salt
1/3 C Olive Oil

In a bowl:
Sprinkle over 1 1/2 C warm water (not lukewarm, but warm)

Stand Mixer with paddle attachment:
With the mixer on slow speed, drizzle in the oil and combine well.
Add yeast and mix until combines

Coat a mixing bowl with additional oil and add the dough.
Form a ball and toss to coat well.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap refrigerate and allow to rise for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Divide dough into two equal parts.
If baking one at a time, refrigerate the other ball until ready to use.

Roll out thin on a cutting board
Transfer to a baking sheet pan and spread out.
Top with marinara sauce (recipe to follow) and favorite toppings
Bake for 12 - 15 minutes.

Marinara Sauce:
2 TBS olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 C vegetarian chicken broth
1 - 15oz. cans crushed tomatoes
salt and pepper
a pinch of sugar
1 tsp dried oregano
8 - 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped

In a saute pan over medium heat
Heat the oil.
Add :
Cook 4 - 5 minutes

broth and whisk well.
Continue to cook until the liquid reduces by 1/2.

Stir well

Stir well
Reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes.

For a Four Cheese Pizza:
2 TBS olive oil
salt and pepper
1 - (3.5oz) jar of Pesto
12 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
4 oz. fontina cheese, grates
4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 C pecorino romano

Drizzle dough with oil
sprinkle with salt and pepper
pour on pesto , spread evenly
Add all of the cheeses
Bake at 400 degrees for 12 - 15 minutes.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Shiner Bock Beer Ice Cream from The Homesick Texan Cookbook

Wow, what can I say about an ice cream made with our favorite beer? Shiner is the beer of Texas!

Shiner Bock Ice Cream:

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup Shiner Bock beer
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 egg yolks, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Cajeta, for serving (optional)
Crushed peanuts, for serving (optional)

In a large saucepan, stir together the cream, Shiner Bock, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and salt. Place over medium-low heat and cook just until the mixture is warm—do not let it boil—about 3-5 minutes.

When the cream is warm, scoop out 1/4 cup of the mixture and stir into the beaten egg yolks until well combined. Slowly pour the cream and egg yolks back into the pot and while stirring, continue to cook until the mixture is thickened and coats the back of a spoon, about 2 to 4 minutes. Again, do not let it boil. Remove the cream mixture from heat, stir in the vanilla, and then cool covered in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

After the cream has cooled, freeze in your ice-cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Chill in the freezer for 4 hours for a firmer ice cream or serve immediately for a softer ice cream.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Cinnamon Cornflake Squares from Real Simple

  • Our children, our friends children and our grandchildren all love Rice Krispie Treats. I consider it to be an Iconic All American Recipe.
  • Here's a twist on that recipe. These are basically Corn Flake Treats with a hint of Cinnamon.
  • I think they'd be a perfect dessert any time of the year.
  • I would certainly make them for Christmas.

  • 2 TBS  butter, plus more for the pan
  • 1 10oz. package marshmallows
  • 6 C cornflakes
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon


  1. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and line it with parchment, leave an overhang on two sides.
  2. In a large saucepan, cook the butter and marshmallows over medium heat, stirring, until melted. Mix in the cornflakes and cinnamon.
  3. Press the cornflake mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Let cool completely, then lift out and cut into squares.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Cheesy Baked Jalapeno Popper Dip from Wisconsin Cheese

As a Texan I love any recipe with Jalapenos.
I thought about making this recipe Tex-Mex but there was something about it that was intriguing to me. I  adapted some of it but I did not change the integrity of the original recipe.
It comes from Wisconsin Cheese.

6 jalapenos, divided
8 oz. (1C) mascarpone cheese
1 (8oz.) package of cream cheese
2 C shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 C grated parmesan cheese
1/2 C plain bread crumbs
1 TBS butter, melted

Slice 1 jalapeno into thin rounds, set aside
Dice remaining jalapenos, set aside

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

In a large bowl:
mascarpone cheese
cream cheese
cheddar cheese
garlic powder
diced jalapenos
Mix Well
Spread in the bottom of a 1 quart casserole dish

In a small bowl:
parmesan cheese
bread crumbs
melted butter
Mix Well
Sprinkle over dip

Top with sliced jalapenos
Bake 30 minutes
Serve warm with Tortilla Chips

Peace in the Kitchen!

Vegetarian Minestrone Soup with Quinoa and Kale

"In celebration of this time of harvest, when fresh local vegetables are available almost everywhere, go explore the farmer's markets, stop at farm stands, or just grab your favorite fresh veggies wherever you can, and make a minestrone. Express yourself!"

I recently posted a bean soup recipe that I created that's very similar to this. I like this one with the addition of Quinoa and Kale.
This adapted recipe comes from Food Matters. 
When it asks to dice vegetables, use a medium rough dice.

2 TBS olive oil
1 sweet onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
3 carrots, diced
2 C fresh zucchini, diced
2 C green beans cut into 1" pieces
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red pepper
1 - 28oz. can of crushed tomatoes with the juice
4 C water
1 15oz. can cannellini beans with juice
1 15oz. can chick peas or garbanzo beans with juice
1 C quinoa
2 C chopped kale, stems removed
1 tsp salt (to taste)
1 tsp black pepper (to taste)
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

In a large stock pot:
heat the pot, add oil and heat
Saute for 5 minutes

red pepper flakes
Cook 1 minute

green beans
salt and pepper
Cook for 3 minutes

Bring to a boil
Lower heat and simmer 2 minutes

Cover and cook for 15 minutes

Remove cover and Add:
cannellini beans
Return to boil & cook 5 minutes

Peace in the Kitchen!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Persian KooKoo Sabzi and Indian Eggplant

We have eaten some incredible Indian Cuisine in England. I tried to get a few recipes from one of our favorite restaurants , but they were not willing to give them out. I understand that and am perfectly OK with it. So I've been talking to friends and researching Indian Cuisine Recipes. I have a new book and will post some of those recipes. I had almost given up on my search until I spoke to a friend at our bank, she's from Persia. She and I were talking about the blog and my passion for foods from around the world and the fact that I'm vegetarian and she shared two recipes with me. I always give credit to my contributors, so I'd like to take this time to say thank you to Fay. I love these two recipes that you shared with me.

The first one is called KooKoo Sabzi. I just had one of my Eggplant recipes published in the Dallas Morning News and I was talking with Fay about the article on Eggplant.
Here are the two Eggplant Recipes that she gave me.

KooKoo Sabzi:

A vegetable souffle with herbs and egg.

Some fresh chopped parsley
Some fresh chopped cilantro
There are no quantities listed for parsley and cilantro, just what you prefer.
1 - 2 TBS fresh dill, chopped
2 boxes of frozen spinach, thawed
6 green onions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp turmeric
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
olive oil

In a bowl:
some parsley
some cilantro
salt and pepper
baking powder
Mix Well

In a skillet, heat a good amount of oil on high heat, about an inch.
Add the mixture and flatten it into the pan.
Lower the heat to medium and cover it.
Fry the souffle for about 15 minutes.
Cut it into wedges and flip them over in the pan.
Cover again and fry another 15 minutes until the second side is golden brown.
Serve warm with Pita bread.

Indian Eggplant / Bhurtha

This is a traditional North Indian dish made with eggplant, tomato and seasoning.

1 eggplant
olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 onion, chopped
1 large tomato, peel, seed, dice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

Broil the Eggplant:
Rub the entire eggplant with olive oil
Place whole on a baking sheet pan, turning often until the skin begins to blister., about 30 minutes.

Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, scoop out the flesh and chop.
In a large skillet, heat additional oil and roast the Cumin Seeds until they begin to crackle but not burn.
THis will only take a few seconds.

Add onion and garlic to the skillet and cook until tender.
ground cumin
ground coriander
cayenne pepper

Cook a few minutes
Add the Eggplant and continue cooking for 12 - 15 minutes.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Honey Spiced Nuts...... My latest obsession with Spiced Nuts!

I've posted many recipes for spiced nuts. I love them all. Here's my latest recipe.
I made these with a combination of Extra Large Peanuts and Whole Almonds. You can use all of one kind of nut or any combination. The next time I make them I'll try Mixed Nuts. Of course, in Texas, we also use only Pecans.

2 TBS olive oil
6 C nuts
1/3 C honey (I used a Lavender Honey from France)
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 TBS salt
4 TBS sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Heat a large Saute Pan on Medium High. When it gets hot, add the oil.
Add the Nuts and stir for 1 minute.
Reduce heat to low and continue to saute the nuts for 7 minutes, stirring often.
sesame seeds
Stir Well

Spread on a sheet pan.
Dry them in the oven for 12 - 15 minutes.
Cool before moving to a sealed container.
As soon as they're cooled you will need to scrape the nuts from the pan with a strong metal spatula and break up the nuts as you remove them.
I kept some small clusters.
They are absolutely delicious.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Dallas Morning News Taste Section 1/8/2014

Today I opened the paper to find an extensive article about Eggplant, written by food writer and cookbook author Ellise Pierce ( Cowgirl Chef, Texas Cooking with a French Accent).
Ellise included my recipe for Tex-Mex Eggplant.
The basis of the article and the inclusion of my recipe is that there are options when choosing Eggplant as a main dish. It doesn't have to be slathered in grease or Marinara Sauce. The options that Ellise included are:

Roasted Eggplant with Saffron Yogurt / "This dish comes from Ottolenghi, The Cookbook, it typifies the vibrant cooking of London chef Yotam Ottolenghi".

Tex-Mex Eggplant from Grapevine food blogger  Terry Mosher

Roasted Eggplant Salad with Tomatoes and Capers from cookbook author Deborah Madison.

Quinoa and Roasted Tomato Eggplant Stacks with Basil Pesto from Stephane Beauchamp, executive chef at Lake Austin Spa Resort.

The article will hopefully convince the non Eggplant lovers that we who love Eggplant can offer you many choices from which you can change your mind about the mysterious vegetable!

Thanks you Ellise for the story and for including me in the article!
The full recipe can be found on my blog under November 2013.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bean Soup with Italian Link Sausage (Vegetarian or regular Sausage)

I bought a packaged Bean Soup Mix and we really liked it. I wanted to recreate it so I could make it from scratch without relying on a pre made mixture. It was a mix with dried beans, pasta, and seasonings all in one bag. I added a vegetarian sausage to it and turned it into a very hearty winter soup. You could use a non vegetarian sausage such as Kielbasa or any link sausage.

1 1/2 TBS olive oil
1 C diced onion
1 C diced celery
1 C diced carrot
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 C water
4 C vegetarian beef broth
1/2 C dried red beans
1/2 C dried white beans
1 (14.5oz.) can of diced tomatoes with the juice

1 TBS fresh chopped thyme
1 TBS fresh chopped oregano
2 TBS fresh chopped rosemary
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

1 C dried Tripolini Pasta (mini Bow Tie Pasta with rounded edges)

1 (12.95oz.) package of Vegetarian Field Roast Italian Sausage  (saute the 4 links in additional olive oil to brown them on all sides, cut them into 1" pieces and set aside) Cook a non vegetarian sausage according to package directions and cut into 1" pieces.

Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven or soup pot
Saute vegetables and garlic until softened and tender

Stir well

Bring to a boil
Reduce heat, cover, simmer 3 hours on low heat, stirring frequently
Add Pasta, cover and continue to simmer for 15 minutes
Stirring occasionally

Add Cooked Sausage at the end, just before serving.

Peace in the Kitchen!

10 Layer Dessert Bars from Daphne Oz

I was watching the Chew this morning and Daphne Oz made these outrageous dessert bars. They're not healthy, high in calories, sugar and salt and everything bad for you...... but they have to be delicious.
We made a Chocolate Peanut Butter, Pretzel Bar at Christmas, I posted it on my blog and it instantly became the #1 viewed recipe on the blog. They are still my favorite bars. Over 5800 views to date.
I've also talked about my admiration for Christina Tosi, an amazing, contemporary, pastry chef in New York. She is famous for her Crack Pie and Compost Cookies.
This recipe reminds me of her Compost Cookies.
I could easily create a Compost Cookie Bar from her recipe.
I also have a recipe for Cowboy Pie from a Bakery in New York, so I don't have too much guilt posting this decadent recipe. After all, it's up to you whether or not you choose to make them...... but I think I will.
I'm trying to eat healthier and lose weight, but every now and then you can indulge yourself with just a small square of this bar.

10 Layer Dessert Bars:

1/3 C butter, melted
2 C crushed graham cracker crumbs
1 C creamy peanut butter, melted in a microwave
2 C crushed chocolate chip cookies ( use hard, not soft, chocolate chip cookies)
2 C crushed vanilla wafers
1 C Nutella, melted in a microwave.
2 C crushed pretzel sticks
2 C toasted chopped pecans
1 ( 14 oz.) can of sweetened condensed milk
2 C crushed potato chips
1 C semi sweet chocolate chips, melted

1 - 9"X13" baking dish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a small bowl:
mix together graham cracker crumbs and melted butter, combine well.

Press the mixture into the pan to form a crust.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes
Cool completely

Begin Layering on top of the crust, in the following order:

Peanut Butter
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Vanilla Wafers
Sweetened Condensed Milk
Potato Chips
Drizzle with melted Chocolate Chips

Refrigerate for one hour
Cut into squares to serve (the size of the square is up to you)

Peace in the Kitchen!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Banana Pie from Food 52

I was accepted to test, make and critique a recipe that is a contender for one of Food 52's contests. They choose finalists that have submitted recipes for whatever the theme of the contest is. I believe this one is your Best Family Recipe. They send out a list of recipes that are finalists, they ask for 3 testers for each recipe. You submit a request to be a tester and if you get in on time, you can be chosen. The tester makes the recipe and sends in a critique.
We're asked to create a catchy headliner that may get our critique published on their page along with the winner, and their recipe. I chose this pie recipe to test and was one of the 3 accepted. I've tried in the past and have not gotten in soon enough to be a tester. This recipe was submitted by Jason.  The winning recipes are posted on their blog.

Here's my critique:

Elvis Would Love this Recipe!

This recipe is an easy, delicious combination of chocolate, peanut butter
and bananas, topped with home made whipped cream and mini chocolate chips.
I followed the exact ingredients and directions without any issues.
The pudding is great. It's thick, very tasty and dense. The pie holds together well  
and it looks appealing when served. The banana flavor is just right. 
I can see how this recipe would be a family favorite. I've added the recipe to my
personal "Best of the Best" recipe file.
Indulge yourself today, make this pie! Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Banana Pie:

Graham Cracker Crust:

1/3 C butter, melted
1 1/2 C graham cracker crumbs
1/4 C granulated sugar
3 bananas (preferably slightly green)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a small saucepan or microwave, melt butter.
In a medium bowl, combine graham crackers, sugar and butter, mixing until combined.

Press into a 9" pie pan. Spread crumb mixture evenly on bottom and sides.
Bake at 8 - 10 minutes, until golden brown.
Cool completely then slice the bananas in penny rounds and spread evenly on bottom of crust.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Pudding:

1/4 C cornstarch
3/4 C granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 C milk
2 TBS butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 C creamy peanut butter
10 ounces fine milk chocolate, chopped evenly in small pieces (you can also use mini chocolate chips)

In a saucepan, whisk together cornstarch, sugar, eggs, milk, butter and vanilla.
Cook over medium heat until mixture boils, then whisk constantly for an additional two minutes, until pudding is thick.
Add chocolate and peanut butter, stir until everything is melted and thoroughly combined.
Pour into pie shell, making sure to cover all the banana slices.

Refrigerate until set, about 4 hours.

Before serving, cover the pie with home made whipping topping and decorate with chocolate curls or mini chocolate chips.

Update:, 1/16/14....... my critique was posted with the recipe on the Food52 blog. I was pleased. Jason's recipe did not win..... but it should have!
I sent it to work with my wife and her coworkers raved about it. It's a keeper!

Peace in the Kitchen!

Home Made Hot Chocolate Mix

This recipe is from a newspaper clipping in the 70's. My wife has had it since then and she adapted it. I've never known a time when we haven't had a container of it in our Pantry. It's a Winter Staple at our house.
Here's a photograph of the original recipe and my wife's note as she figured out the taste that she wanted.

Here's my wife's version:
1 pound of Powdered Sugar
1 - 30oz. box of Nestle's Quick
12 ounces of a non dairy creamer
1/2 of an 8 quart box of Instant Milk

Combine all ingredients well.
To serve, add 1/2 C of the mixture to a mug and add boiling water.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

An interesting dinner tonight! Cauliflower cooked in a Pressure Cooker!

We went to our local amazing  Central Market Store today and Anne said the cauliflower was the biggest and best looking she had ever seen. As a child growing up on a Mennonite Farm in the middle of Kansas, her mother cooked all day long. From morning, (before all of the kids awoke) until evening, (when all of them were in bed),  she was in the kitchen.
She cooked a lot of things in a pressure cooker. Anne said that her memories of the pressure cooker was her mother asking her to keep an eye on it. On the other hand, my mother told us to get out of the kitchen incase the pressure cooker exploded.
Since childhood, I have had a fear of them. Anne cooks a lot using a pressure cooker.
Tonight we had an unusual meal. It was simply a giant head of cauliflower cooked in a pressure for just a couple of minutes and then we decided to top it with Ree Drummond's Christmas Queso. It was delicious. It was our version of Texas Cauliflower. I imagine the French would make a great white sauce for it. We have fond memories of our friend in the South of France cooking in a pressure cooker.
Artichokes are incredible in them.
That was our entire dinner and it was amazing!

The next time we make this, I'll take a few pictures and post them on the blog.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Un-Fried Chicken from Trisha Yearwood plus the Vegetarian version!

Maybe it's because we're starting a New Year and it's healthier, maybe it's because we like Fried Chicken, maybe it's just because I find this recipe something I can make "Vegetarian" that drew me to it. So here's Trisha Yearwood's Un-Fried Chicken.
I use Quorn Naked Chik'n Cutlets to make it Vegetarian.

1 C buttermilk
1 TBS hot sauce, such as Louisiana Hot Sauce
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half (Vegetarian Quorn Chik'n Cutlets) I prick the cutlets with a fork to soak up some of the buttermilk.
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 1/2 C multi-grain panko breadcrumbs
3 TBS grated Parmesan
1 lemon, quartered, plus 1 TBS lemon zest
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Combine the buttermilk and hot sauce in a shallow bowl. Season the chicken with salt and black pepper and submerge in the buttermilk mixture.

Combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, lemon zest, red pepper flakes and a pinch each of salt and black pepper in a shallow dish. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk mixture, letting the excess drip off, and dredge in the breadcrumb mixture until evenly coated. Lay the pieces flat on a nonstick baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the chicken until just cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Divide the chicken among 4 plates and squeeze the lemon over the chicken.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Apple Coffee Cake

This is such a classic coffee cake recipe. I hesitated to post it. Sometimes I take it for granted that anyone who loves to bake has these classic recipes.
This is a great Sunday Brunch or Church Breakfast recipe.

Apple Coffee Cake:

Here's what you'll need:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Grease a 9"X 9" pan with my Pan Release Mix (equal amounts of Crisco, Vegetable Oil and Flour)
 I start with 1 C of each mixed well and refrigerated in a jar. I always have it available for all of my baking needs.

1/2 C butter, softened
1 C sugar
2 eggs
2 C flour, sifted
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 C sour cream
1 tsp almond extract
4 large baking apples, peel, core. slice

1/2 C brown sugar
1/4 C granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 C chopped pecans
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.

Cream until smooth

baking soda
baking powder
sour cream
almond extract

Pour half the batter in the pan
Top with half of the apples
Sprinkle with half the topping
Pour in remaining batter
Top with remaining apples
Sprinkle with remaining topping

Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean in the center.
Cool completely.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Poblano and Chorizo, (Soyrizo version too) Queso Fundido

This recipe has been adapted from a Country Living recipe.
I have another recipe for Queso Fundido on the blog.
We eat alot of Queso Fundido in Texas. It's served in most Tex - Mex Restaurants.
It's a hearty alternative to a simple Queso recipe.
I had Queso Fundido for the first time on a Scuba Diving Trip in Mexico.
I was hooked.
When I became a vegetarian, I discovered that I could replicate the same taste and texture with Soyrizo.

2 poblano peppers
1/2 pound Chorizo Sausage, remove casing ( Soyrizo for vegetarian version)
1 TBS olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 C flour
1 C good beer (I use Shiner Bock from Texas)
2 1/2 C grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
2 1/2 C grated Monterey Jack Cheese
1 C grated Queso Quesadilla Cheese
2 TBS chopped cilantro
Tortilla Chips

  1. Roast peppers directly under broiler or over an open flame, until blistered and blackened on all sides, about 6 to 8 minutes. Put the peppers in a large bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let sit for 15 minutes to steam. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, use a paring knife and remove the skin. Cut off the stems and remove the seeds. Chop them into 1/2-inch pieces and set aside.
  2. In a large pot over medium heat, cook chorizo,( use a little vegetable oil for the Soyrizo) breaking it up as it cooks, about 6 minutes. Transfer the chorizo to a paper-towel-lined plate and set aside. In same pot, add oil, onion, and garlic and cook over medium-low heat until onion is translucent about 5 to 7 minutes. Add tomatoes and reserved peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until some of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle flour over tomato mixture and cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes. Stir in the beer and increase the heat to medium-high, stir occasionally until the mixture reaches a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in all of the cheese, 1 cup at a time, until mixture is smooth. Transfer to a small fondue pot, or slow cooker set on low. Sprinkle with reserved chorizo and cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips.
Peace in the Kitchen!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Red Cabbage and Apples

I'm not sure what to say about this recipe. I love cabbage and apples. It reminds me of time I spent in Germany in the 70's. This is a basic recipe, nothing fancy, just good!

1 red cabbage, shredded
2 TBS vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
1 C vegetarian beef broth, beef broth or vegetable broth
1 C Hearty Burgundy Wine
2 TBS red wine vinegar
sa;t and pepper to taste
1/2 C currents
2 TBS brown sugar
2 apples, peeled, cored, chopped

In a large stock pot:
Heat oil
Add onions and saute until soft
Add cabbage and saute for 10 minutes
Add broth, wine vinegar, salt and pepper
Stir well

Cover and simmer for 30 minutes
Uncover, add currents, brown sugar, salt and apples
cook an additional 10 minutes

Peace in the Kitchen!

Green Chile and Potato Chowder

During Winter I make a lot of soup. Here's a great Texas Chowder.

Green Chile and Potato Chowder

2 jalapenos
4 poblano peppers
1 TBS butter
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 C chopped cilantro
2 pounds of potatoes, peeled, diced
4 C vegetarian chicken broth, chicken broth or vegetable broth
1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 C whole milk
1 C heavy cream
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste
Shredded Cheddar Cheese for garnish

Roast poblanos and jalapenos under a broiler for about 5 minutes on each side or until completely blackened.
Remove the jalapenos first, they will blacken sooner that the poblanos.
Place the  poblano peppers in a paper bag, or ziplock bag to steam for about 15 minutes.
Remove the stems from the jalapenos and dice them
After 15 minutes, remove the poblanos and rub the skin off.
Remove the stems and seeds dice them.

In a large pot on medium heat, melt the butter.
Add onions and saute for 10 minutes.
Add garlic for another minute.

Add to the pot:
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender.

Reserve 2 C of the soup and set aside
Puree the remaining soup until smooth
Add the reserved 2 cups to the puree

heavy cream
heat until warm

Squeeze in lime juice
Stir well

Top with shredded Cheddar Cheese and serve.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Corn Muffins from Rebecca Rather / The Pastry Queen

Another great Texas recipe from Rebecca Rather.

Corn Muffins

3/4 C (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
3 C heavy cream
3 large eggs
3 1/2 C all purpose flour
1 1/2 C coarse cornmeal plus extra for topping
1 C sugar
2 TBS baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 C corn kernels, fresh, frozen(thawed) or canned(drained).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Generously grease or spray 24 standard muffin cups or line them with muffin liners.

In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, pour in the butter, cream, eggs into the bowl of the mixer.
Add flour, cornmeal sugar baking powder and salt on top.

Mix at medium speed just until the ingredients are combined and not lumpy.
Stir the corn into the batter.

Use a cookie scoop and fill the muffin cups 2/3's full of batter.
Sprinkle the tops with cornmeal.

Bake for 12 - 15 minutes, until lightly brown. They should spring back when you touch the tops lightly with your fingertips.
Serve warm

Peace in the Kitchen!

Beer Bread from Rebecca Rather, Fredericksburg, Texas

Beer Bread from Rebecca Rather.

Hot!....... out of the oven!

Here's what Rebecca said about this recipe:
"Around here, beer bread recipes are as common as cowboy hats."

She is so right, "it's a Texas thing"!
"Beer Bread lends itself to numerous mix-ins, including chopped chives, chopped jalapenos, green onions or any grated cheese." Fold into the batter by hand.

3 C all purpose flour
1 TBS baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 TBS sugar
1 (12oz.) bottle of "good" beer. (we use Shiner Bock, from Texas)
1/2 C (1 stick) butter, melted

Option: Add 2 1/2 C grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Generously grease a 9"X5" loaf pan with butter or cooking spray.

Medium bowl:
baking powder
Whisk well
(At this point you would stir in the cheese)

Pour in beer and stir until incorporated, do not over beat.
Pour half the melted butter into the pan.
Spoon in the batter.
Pour the remaining butter on top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 - 60 minutes.
The top will be bumpy and golden brown.

Remove from pan and serve immediately.

Peace in the Kitchen!

The Best of the Best Chocolate Chip Cookie from Rebecca Rather / The Pastry Queen

I know that everyone has their favorite recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies. We believe that the Original Toll House Cookie tops the list.
However, there are also decadent recipes for them and I honestly believe this recipe could be it!

This is another recipe from Rebecca Rather, The Pastry Queen from Fredericksburg , Texas.

Rebecca says..... " They are not too chewy and not too crunchy - they are just right".
This recipe makes about 5 dozen 3 1/2" cookies.

1 1/2 C walnuts
1 1/2 C pecans
1 C (2sticks) butter, room temperature
1 C firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 C granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 TBS vanilla
2 1/3 C all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 scant tsp salt
3 C chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Chips)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Arrange nuts on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast for 7 - 9 minutes.
Cool completely and coarsely chop

Line sheet pans with parchment paper or Silpat
Use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment

Cream, for 1 minute, until creamy:
brown sugar
granulated sugar

Beat on medium speed for 1 minute

Add: (See Note Below)
baking soda
Mix on medium-low speed until well incorporated.

Stir in, by hand:
chocolate chips
The dough will be very stiff...... use your muscles!

Use a 1 3/4" cookie scoop, spacing the dough 2" apart on a baking sheet.
Bake for 10 - 12 minutes until medium brown around the edges.
As long as the edges are brown, the soft middle will disappear as they cool
The cookies will spread to about 3 1/2".

Cool on the sheet pan for 10 minutes and then transfer to a cooking rack until completely cool.

Here's Rebecca's Tip,
If you have a heavy duty stand mixer with at least 525 watts, Add the flour, baking soda, salt, walnuts, pecans and chocolate chips all at once with the paddle attachment and turn the mixer on and off every 5 seconds or so until completely incorporated.

We have the Kitchenaid 6 quart, 590 Watt Mixer. It does all the work!

Peace in the Kitchen!

Fudge Pecan Bundt Cake or Cupcakes

Wow, this one is amazing. I got this recipe from one of my favorite Pastry Chefs, Rebecca Rather.
Rebecca had a Restaurant in Fredericksburg, Texas.

She said , about the cake:
"I do know that I've never met anyone who didn't fall for this cake"

Fudge Pecan Cake:

1 C (2 sticks) butter
1/2 C unsweetened Dutch Process Cocoa Powder
3/4 C water
2 C sugar
2 large eggs
1 C buttermilk
2 TBS pure vanilla extract
2 C all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

1 C pecan halves
1/2 C (1stick) butter
1/4 C whole milk
1/2 C the best quality dark cocoa powder that you can get, such as Scharffen Berger
2 C sifted confectioner's sugar (sift first, then measure)
1 TBS vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

You'll need:
1 10-12 C Bundt Cake Pan.
Grease it well with my Pan Release Mix. ( equal parts of Flour, Shortening, Vegetable Oil) Mix well, brush into the intricate design of a Bundt Pan.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Cupcakes can be made . Line standard muffin pans with paper liners or my Pan Release Mix.


In a Saucepan:
Melt butter on low heat
Add cocoa and whisk until smooth
Add water and continue to whisk until smooth
Do not let the mixture boil

Remove from heat
Add these ingredients all at once and and whisk until smooth

Add all at once:
baking soda
Whisk until all ingredients are well incorporated
There may be a few lumps and that's OK

Pour the batter into the Bundt Pan
For Cupcakes, fill 2/3's full

Bake cake at 350 degrees for 40 - 45 minutes
Cupcakes, check after 20 minutes

Let the cake cool on the pan for 20 minutes
Cupcakes, 10 minutes

Make the Glaze:
Arrange Pecan halves in a single layer on a sheet pan.
Toast in  350 degree oven for 7 - 9 minutes, until golden brown.
Roughly chop them when they cool

Melt butter on low heat in a saucepan.
confectioner's sugar
Whisk until glossy
Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla, salt and pecans.

Allow cake to cool, overturn onto a serving platter.
Spoon the glaze over the cake covering it thoroughly allowing it to pool inside and around the base of the cake.

Remove from pan, peel off the liner.
Invert onto a platter and cover with glaze.

Peace in the Kitchen!