Friday, February 21, 2014

Texas Queso Blanco

Just another Queso Dip , just another recipe that we can't get enough of in Texas. We all have a great recipe collection of Queso dips. I just like the fact that it doesn't have Velveeta in it! I've created many dip recipes and this "white" Queso is one of my favorites.

Texas Queso Blanco:

8 oz. Pepper Jack Cheese, grated
4 oz. Queso Quesadilla Cheese
2 Jalapenos , seeded and diced
1/2 C diced onion
1 TBS fresh chopped Cilantro
1 Roma tomato, seeded and diced
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 dashes of Tabasco Sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

In a bowl:
Mix all ingredients together and pour into a 2 quart casserole.
Bake 10 - 12 minutes.
Serve with Tortilla Chips.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Irish Whiskey Cake

I've been fortunate enough to travel to many countries and experience the food and culture. My wife and I have friends in France, Switzerland, Morocco, Hong Kong, Sweden .....! We were in Great Britain recently during Christmas and loved everything about it. Our son travels a lot and he and his wife have both been to the British Isles, England, Scotland and Ireland. He came home from a trip once with some really good Whiskey and we sat around and had a tasting. I'm not much of a Whiskey drinker but I eventually bought a bottle of good Irish Whiskey. I decided that I would use it to make a cake. Here's the recipe for an Irish Whiskey Cake and Whiskey Icing. What a great way to enjoy good Irish Whiskey.

1/2 C + 2 C of the best Irish Whiskey you can afford.
6 oz. (70%cocoa) of the best Bittersweet  chocolate you can find, Scharffen Berger, Valhrona, Lindt, etc., chopped.
2 tsp Medaglio D'Oro instant Espresso Coffee, in 6 TBS of water.
1/3 C skinless whole almonds, toasted , approximately 2 oz.
6 TBS flour, divided.
3/4 C (1/1/2 sticks) butter, toom temperature, divided.
8 TBS vanilla sugar, divided.
3 large eggs, separated. ( when baking, it's important to use large eggs if the recipe calls for them)
A pinch of fine sea salt
2 oz. semi sweet chocolate, chopped. Again, buy the best, it makes a difference.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 10" Springform Pan with my Pan Release Recipe. (equal parts of Vegetable Oil, Flour and Crisco), mixed well and applied with a pastry brush.

Boil 1/2 C Whiskey in a saucepan and reduce it to 1/4 C, about 2 minutes.

In a small stainless steel bowl:
bittersweet chocolate
espresso coffee mixture
boiled whiskey
Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until smooth.
Remove the bowl and set aside.

Finely grind the almonds in a food processor with 2 TBS of flour.

In a bowl:
1/2 C butter
6 TBS of vanilla sugar
Beat well with a hand mixer until fluffy.
Add egg yolks, one at a time until incorporated.
Add sea salt.
Fold in the chocolate mixture.
Fold in the almond / flour mixture.

With clean beaters, beat the egg whites to soft peak, gradually add 2 TBS of vanilla sugar and continue beating to stiff peak.
Fold egg whites into the batter alternately with remaining 4 TBS of flour.
Pour batter into the prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean in the center of the cake.
Remove from oven and cool in the  pan for 30 minutes.
Invert onto a cooling rack and cool completely.


In a small stainless steel bowl:
semisweet chocolate.
remaining 2 TBS of Irish Whiskey.

Place over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until smooth.

Remove the bowl and add remaining 1/4 C of butter, 1 small piece at a time until each piece is fully incorporated before adding the next piece.
Place the bowl over a larger bowl of ice water and beat with a an electric hand mixer until smooth, about 1 minute.

Ice the entire cake.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Brownie Kiss Cups

What a simple way to enjoy Chocolate Brownies and Chocolate Hershey's Kisses.
Chocolate on Chocolate...... Yummy!

1 - (19 3/4 oz.) Duncan Hines Fudge Brownie Mix, Family Style
1 egg
1/3 C water
1/3 C vegetable oil
24 Hershey's Kisses

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Place 24 2" Cupcake liners in muffin tins
Combine mix, egg, water and oil in a large bowl.
Stir with a spoon, about 50 strokes..... that's all!

Fill each cup with 2 TBS of batter
Bake for 17 - 30 minutes

Remove from the oven.
Place 1 Hershey's Kiss in the center of each cup.
Return to the oven and make 1 more minute.
Cool in the pan for 5 minutes.
Transfer the  paper cups to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Tamale Cobbler / Regular and Vegetarian / reposted

Just because I'm Vegetarian doesn't mean I have to sacrifice a good recipe.
I transform many recipes to  be Vegetarian. 
This is a favorite, as well as a Vegetarian King Ranch Casserole.
Another Tex - Mex Best of the Best Recipe.

Vegetarian Tamale Cobbler

1 12 ounce package of Vegetarian Ground Beef, browned in a little vegetable oil. ( I use the brand, Quorn) ( Yves makes a good one too). 1 pound of ground beef for all you others! Just brown it.

1 can , 14 1/4 ounce Fiesta Style Corn or Mexi Corn, drained
1 jar, 30 ounces of your favorite Salsa , I prefer a chunky version.
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Chili Powder ( homemade recipe follows)
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1- 8oz. container of sour cream
1 C Shredded Mexican Style Cheese
1 box of corn muffin mix, prepared according to instructions, but not baked.

Homemade Chili Powder:
2 TBS Paprika
2 tsp Oregano
1 1/4 tsp Cumin
1 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
3/4 tsp Onion Powder
Make a bunch and store it in a jar in your Pantry! ( Texans always have it on hand)!

Combine Beef, Corn, Salsa, Cumin, Chili Powder, Garlic Salt, Sour Cream and Cheese in a large bowl and mix well.
Pour into a greased 2 1/2 QT Casserole.
Evenly dropped the prepared Muffin Mix by heaping tablespoons onto the mixture.
Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. The top should be golden brown.

Peace in the Kitchen!

King Ranch Casserole, the original recipe! A Texas Legend

This casserole is as famous as the Alamo, Davy Crockett, Texas Longhorn Steers, and Cowboys! However, It was not created at the famous King Ranch as legend would have it. But who cares? It's a legend on it's own, no matter who created it or where it came from.
I haven't met a Texan yet that doesn't love it!  Even people that aren't Texans and live here, love it! This recipe can very easily be made in a vegetarian version..... all of us vegetarians can do the conversion! My family has this casserole for Christmas, Easter, and family supper! I really hope y'all come to Texas some day, but if you can't, then cook ya up some King Ranch Casserole and imagine you're here!

As we say in Texas, "I love me some King Ranch Casserole".

Here's what you'll need:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
1 - 9" X 13" Casserole dish heavily buttered.

8 TBS C unsalted Butter
1 yellow Onion, chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
8 ounces Button Mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Chili Powder
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 C Flour
3 1/2 C Chicken Broth (Vegetarian: Vegetarian Chicken Broth) Either Vegetarian Chicken Powder or Better than Bouillon No Chicken Base.
1/2 C Heavy Cream
3 mild Green Chiles, roasted, peeled (stems and seeds discarded), and diced
1 (10oz.) can Ro-Tel
18 Corn Tortillas
1 cooked Chicken (poached or roasted), meat shredded ( Vegetarian: Quorn Chik'n Cutlets or Chik'n Tenders) Pre browned in 2 TBS of Olive Oil)

1 C shredded Jack Cheese
1 C shredded Cheddar Cheese
(mix the two cheeses together in a bowl)

In a large skillet on medium heat:
Melt Butter
Reduce heat to low.
Bell Pepper Garlic
Saute for 7 - 10  minutes.

Chile Powder
Stir for 1 minute to combine well.

Flour, sprinkle in 1/2 C at a time until it's incorporated.

3 C of Broth, whisked in 1 C at a time.
Cream, whisk until incorporated.
Stir to mix well.

Place remaining 1/2 C of Broth in a shallow soup bowl.
Stack the Tortillas, 6 at a time, in the bowl of Broth to moisten them.
Line the pan with 6 Tortillas, overlapping them to fill the bottom of the pan.

Begin layering the Casserole:
1/2 of the Sauce
1/2 of the Chicken
Sprinkle with 1/3 of the Cheese
Add another layer of soaked Tortillas.
Remaining Sauce
Remaining Chicken
Another 1/3 Cheese
Top with remaining soaked Tortillas and finish with the remaining Cheese.

Bake for 60 minutes. It should be lightly browned and bubbling.
Remove and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Terry's Cream of Tomato Pesto Soup / 2004 / reposted

It seems that everyone knows a restaurant that serves the best Tomato Basil Soup. We have our favorite and every time we have it we comment on how amazing the soup is and then we talk about how no one else has Tomato Basil Soup that tastes that good. I decided that I needed to create a Best of the Best Recipe for my own Tomato Basil Soup.

Here it is!

4 TBS Olive Oil
2 TBS Butter
1 C fresh Pesto ( recipe to follow)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of Garlic , minced
1/4 C Flour
2 C Vegetarian Chicken Stock / regular for non vegetarians
1 - 6lb. 6.5 oz. can of Peeled & Diced Tomatoes with the juice
1 quart of Half & Half
Fresh chopped Basil Leaves and Croutons for Garnish

Heat oil in a saucepan and saute onion and garlic
Add pesto
Reduce heat
Puree mixture with a stick blender
Remove to a bowl and clean the saucepan

In the saucepan, melt butter, add flour to create a Roux
When flour is cooked and golden brown, gradually whisk in the  Chicken Stock

Transfer the Pesto Mixture to a large stock pot or Dutch Oven on low heat
Add Roux to Pesto mixture and stir to incorporate
Add tomatoes and puree this mixture in the stock pot with a stick blender
Gradually whisk in Half & Half until well incorporated
Continue to heat on low
Add Salt to taste

Garnish each bowl with chopped basil leaves and croutons

Homemade Pesto:

2 C loosely packed Basil leaves
2 cloves of Garlic
1/3 C Pine Nuts
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 C grated Romano or Parmesan Cheese ( hold the salt if using Romano, it's a salty cheese)

In a Food Processor:
Add Basil and Garlic
Puree until incorporated
Add Cheese and Pine Nuts and process to a thick paste
Gradually drizzle in Olive Oil until desired consistency
Season with Salt and Pepper

Peace in the Kitchen!

Squash A-La-Bama / reposted

Dallas, Texas 2002

I've always said that I could write a cookbook about Corn recipes. I could also write one about Squash.

This is one of my Best of the Best  Recipes.

It was shared with me by my very close friend Roger.

Roger was raised in Alabama and this recipe comes from one of his family friends.
We deemed it A-La Bama....  because I have such a connection to France and French Cuisine and Roger ,and the recipe, are from Alabama...... !

1 LB. Yellow Summer Squash ( about 3 medium)
1/2 stick of Butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
1/2 C Mayonnaise
2 TBS chopped Onion
2 TBS chopped Green Pepper
2TBS chopped Celery
1 small jar of Pimientos
2 C grated Cheddar Cheese ( hold 1 C for the topping)
1/2 sleeve of Saltine Crackers, crushed

Or: I have created it with a 10 oz. package of Birdseye Frozen Season Blend ( Onion,Peppers and Celery) and omit the pimientos.

Slice, boil and drain the Squash.
Mix all other ingredients with the Squash.
Bake in a 2 QT. buttered casserole dish. No Vegetable Spray for this one.

350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Cover the top with the 1 cup of cheese and return for 5 minutes.

Peace in the Kitchen!