Category Archives: Come for Supper

Teacher Appreciation Lox Bagel Breakfast

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Teacher Appreciation Lox Bagel Breakfast

For Teacher Appreciation Week this year, my gift was to coordinate parents to bring breakfast and lunch for the staff each day of the week. After everyone had grabbed their day/meal there was one slot left to fill. I ended up with breakfast on the last day. The parents really spoiled the teachers and staff with lots and lots of goodies, and since I had the luxury of knowing what everyone had brought, I decided they might all appreciate something that wasn’t sweet and unhealthy. My neighbor is a farmsteader and has a farmstand every other week. She bakes the most wonderful bagels. So I grabbed up a couple dozen of those and a dozen of her farm fresh eggs, along with a package of her farm grown sprouts, and herbs out of my own garden. Most of the rest of the ingredients were store bought organic. I was surprised by how many of the staff had never heard of Lox Bagels. Well, they are all big fans now as I was after the first time I had one! 🙂

Lox Bagels

  • Smoked Salmon
  • Hard Boiled Eggs, sliced
  • Cucumbers, sliced thin
  • Tomatoes, sliced thin
  • Red Onion, sliced thin
  • Avocado, sliced
  • Lemons, cut into wedges
  • Alfalfa Sprouts
  • Chives, minced
  • Capers, whole or minced
  • Dill Weed, minced
  • Everything Bagels (1 to 2 dozen), sliced in half

Arrange Lox ingredients decoratively on a platter or charcuterie board, cover with plastic, and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.  When ready to serve set out on a buffet table with little appetizer forks and spreading knives.  Place chives, capers, and dill weed in small bowls and keep chilled until ready to serve.  When ready to serve nestle them in with Lox ingredients on platter.  Place whipped Cream Cheese in a bowl and keep chilled until ready to serve.  When ready, set next to Lox platter.  Keep Bagels in a plastic bag until ready to serve.  Fresh bakery bagels can be purchased ahead of time, wrapped and frozen, to keep them fresh.  Remove from freezer the day before and let thaw in the refrigerator.  Slice room temperature bagels in half with a bread knife and stack pairs in a kitchen towel lined bread basket and cover with another tea towel.  Set the buffet table near an outlet so those who wish to toast their bagels may do so. Set a toaster near the basket of bagels.

Cream Cheese Spread:

  • 2  8-oz blocks Cream Cheese, softened
  • ½ cup Sour Cream (may substitute heavy cream – add more if a creamier spread is desired)
  • 2 Lemons, juiced
  • 2 Tablespoons Dill Weed, chopped
  • ¼ cup Red Onion, minced

Place all ingredients for the cream cheese spread in a large bowl and mix with a mixer on medium speed until blended, then increase speed to high and whip cream cheese until smooth, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  If made the night before the flavors will have time to meld.

Mimosas

  • Various fruit juices, chilled
  • Sparkling cider/grape juice (non-alcoholic Champagne), chilled
  • Strawberries, orange wedges, fresh mint sprigs, etc. for garnish
  • Champagne Flutes

Arrange garnishes on a platter.  Fill a tub with ice.  Nestle the juices into the ice. Set the fake champagne (or wine, if appropriate) either in the ice also, or next to champagne flutes. Place the garnishes in front for easy access. Set out a small set of tongs for self-serving of the garnishes.  Let guests assemble their own beverages.

Cold Brew Coffee

  • 3 bottles of your favorite brand Cold Brew, or make homemade (recipe here)
  • Flavored syrups (Hazelnut, caramel Macchiato, etc.)
  • 1 or 2 quarts Half-and-Half
  • Ice
  • Clear plastic Solo Cups (with lids, optional)
  • Stir sticks
  • Straws

Fill a tub with ice.  Set the cold brew bottles (you may want to have both regular and de-caf) into the ice.  Nestle the Half-and-Half into the ice also.  Set a bucket of ice near the cups, with a serving scoop, and arrange the syrups, stir sticks, and straws so they are accessible.  Let guests serve themselves.

Want to know which cold brew brands are the best? https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/best-cold-brew-taste-test/

“Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.”

1 Corinthians 12:27-28

MrsH’s Original Bit-O-Honey Pie

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MrsH’s Original Bit-O-Honey Pie

They say there is nothing new under the sun, well, I beg to differ. The idea for this pie popped in my head after stumbling across a Bake-off contest on social media. I looked and looked for a recipe, figuring someone out there had surely invented such a thing already, but nope, I couldn’t find a single one. Sooooo, having my creative kitchen muscles stretched a bit, I humbly present to you my prize-winning entry!  Okay, I didn’t really enter it in their contest, only because of a ban on refrigerated items, but my taste-testing family all gave me thumbs way up and a great BIG fancy blue ribbon, I mean hug. Perhaps next year the committee that decides such things will make an exception and allow refrigerated items, and then I’ll get to enter the Honey Festival bake-off challenge, officially, with this pie!  Until then, you get to enter it at your supper table festivals for a whole year ahead of its grand appearance at the BIG SHOW! And this way all your little resident foodies can help me decide if it’s worth entering in the contest next year!

INGREDIENTS

  • ¼ cup Uvalde Honey
  • ½ cup Almond Butter (I like it waaaay better with Walnut Butter, Crazy Go Nuts brand)
  • 1 cup chopped slivered almonds  (divided)
  • 1 Tsp. Almond extract
  • 1 Tbsp. Molasses
  • 1  8-oz pkg Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 small tub Cool Whip topping, thawed
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup dry malted milk powder
  • 1 Vanilla wafer crumb crust for 9” pie

DIRECTIONS

Make crumb crust: Preheat oven to 375 *F.  Whirl approximately 2/3 of a box of Nilla Wafers and ½ cup slivered almonds in a blender or food processor until fine crumbs. You should come close to about 1½ cup of crumbs.  If you end up with a little bit more, save the extra for a garnish on top of the pie.  To the 1½ cup of crumbs add 6 Tbsp of butter, melted, and mix together well in a large bowl.  Transfer the crumbs to a pie plate and press into place evenly along the bottom and up the sides with your fingers or a large metal spoon.  Bake 8 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack until completely cooled.

Pie Filling: Using a mixer on low speed, beat together first nine ingredients in a large mixing bowl until well combined and creamy.  Scoop into crumb crust and spread until smooth on top.  Chill in refrigerator for at least 1 day before cutting and serving. 

Garnish with remaining crumbs, slivered almonds, a small piece of real honeycomb, and artificial bees from the hobby store, attached to the pie with toothpicks.

“Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24

MrsH’s John Wayne (Anaheim Chiles) Casserole

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MrsH’s John Wayne (Anaheim Chiles) Casserole

This recipe was originally featured in a McDonell-Rickards 20th Family Reunion Cookbook.  I received a copy of the cookbook from my mother-in-law.  My father-in-law (whose mother was a McDonell/Rickards) was friends with one of John Wayne’s stunt doubles and I’m told that’s how we got the recipe.  I think John Wayne must have given it out to a lot of folks, as I’ve seen it featured in several other cookbooks and recipe collections throughout the years.

I’ve altered it slightly from the original recipe, and it is one of my husband’s favorite dishes.  He requested it this year for his birthday and since it is fresh in my mind I decided it was a blog-worthy recipe to share with y’all.  It is a little bit time consuming to make with fresh chilies, but they are a must if you want your casserole to pop with flavor!  We like the spicy chilies the best!!!!!!!!

John Wayne ingredients

INGREDIENTS

18-20 fresh Anaheim or Fresno (or New Mexico – Hatch) green chilies

1 stick of butter

1 very large white or yellow onion, chopped

3  8-oz packages of pepper-jack Cheese, shredded

10 large eggs

½ cup of flour (seasoned)

1 tsp salt (and ground black pepper to taste)

Fresh salsa (or warm Ranchero sauce)

Sour Cream

Chopped green onion

Chopped cilantro

Preparing Hatch Chiles

INSTRUCTIONS

I start by roasting my chilies with a propane flame torch in our fire pit.  I lay all my chilies out on the rack and then light the gas torch and run it up and down each chili until the skins start popping and blistering and turn black all over.  Then I use BBQ tongs to turn the chilies over and roast them on the other side.  When I’m done I gather them up into a plastic bag and let them steam in the bag for about an hour.  I sometimes grow my own chilies in my garden, and don’t always get very many at each picking.  So after roasting and steaming the few that I’ve picked, I put them in my freezer to keep until I have enough to make my casserole.  This is a great way to keep your chilies also if you buy in bulk and want to have them all winter for recipes.  Don’t peel them until you’re ready to use.

Next, I melt a stick of butter in my frying pan and chop up a very large white or yellow onion.  I turn the heat down to medium, add the onion, and let it sauté over medium (to low) heat until the onions are completely caramelized.

caramelized onions

Meanwhile, while the onions are cooking I peel the green chilies at the sink.  I pull off the stems, swipe out all the seeds, and stack the split and flattened chilies on a plate.  This is the worst part of the prep.  The chilies often cause choking – (If you are sensitive you could wear a mask).  Be careful also that you wash your hands really well afterward and don’t touch your eye or something.  The residue on your fingers can cause irritation.

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When my onions are ready then I am ready to begin assembly.  Preheat oven to 350*F. 

Drizzle melted butter (from the onions) onto the bottom of an oblong glass casserole dish.  Use approximately 6 chilies to cover the bottom of the dish from side to side and end to end.  Sprinkle 1/3 of the shredded cheese over the chilies, and then spoon about 1/3 of the caramelized onions around on the cheese.  Repeat with a layer of about 6 chilies, another 1/3 of the cheese, and some more onions.  Finish with a final layer of chilies, cheese, and the onions.

Break eggs into a large bowl.  Add half-and-half, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and the seasoned flour (I like the Louisiana brand Fried Chicken Batter mix, but if you don’t have any just add a generous teaspoon of Cajun seasoning – like Slap Yo Mama to your plain white flour).  Whip with a whisk until fully combined, and then pour this mixture over the chilies in the casserole dish.  Place spoonfuls of salsa here and there on the top of the casserole.  Place in preheated oven and cover with a piece of aluminum foil that’s been wadded up and flattened back out again and then tented over the casserole dish.  Bake for 1 hour.  Remove foil and jostle dish a little bit to make sure the egg has set and is cooked in the middle.  If unsure you can remove the casserole and insert a knife in the center pulling it apart slightly to see if it is set up or still runny.  If still runny, let it bake another 10 minutes and check again.

Let rest a few moments before slicing.  I like to serve it with some fresh salsa (or Ranchero) drizzled on top, and also a dollop of ®Daisy!  Sliced green onions and some minced cilantro are also wonderful for garnishes.

JWCasserole dressed

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TIP: When serving, be careful not to dump your son-in-law’s portion all over the front of him in a fit of clumsiness!  Wow!  Besides being burning hot like molten lava to his flesh, it makes a terrible, horrible mess, ruins his favorite golf shirt, and is impossible to get out of the cracks of the furniture.  Hey, I’ve invented the shirt plate!  OMG, yes, this happened!

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via GIPHY

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happy birthday scripture images Beautiful Scripture and Free Birthday with Bible Verses

MrsH’s Great American Sandwich Blog

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MrsH’s Great American Sandwich Blog

Hey, Ms. Treva, I finally got a round to it. 🙂

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I was channel surfing a while back and happened upon a show (on the Travel Network I believe it was) all about famous sandwiches in America. The host, the lucky dog, got to run around the country and sample all the most celebrated sandwiches. Of course I drooled and dreamed of how fun it would be to have such an awesome job – although I may not be able to afford the damage to my mid-section. At any rate, it got me thinking, sandwiches are the perfect summertime food. No slaving over a hot stove or hot oven, hallelujah! In fact, I could serve them once a week, even make a special day for it – like “Sandwich Sunday” (sort of like “Taco Tuesday” and “Meatless Monday”). I’m really kinda digging this idea. I think my Dagwood husband would be rather pleased with the idea as well! He’s such a sandwich guy. 😉

Sandwich collage

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Kid Favorites

Grilled Cheese (served with Tomato Soup of course)

Does anyone ever out-grow grilled cheese? Honestly, my sixty-something man is still tickled when I set a grilled cheese sammy and a cup of tomato soup in front of him. Great inexpensive meal that’s easy to whip up for the two of us!!!! He likes his grilled cheese ooey gooey with white American and spicy Pepper Jack cheeses on buttered sour dough. It has to be real butter though, and real sour dough. Sometimes I use Texas Toast, and that is satisfactory to him. If I tuck a slice of grilled ham in the center with the cheeses, and a few slices of pickled jalapeno he becomes especially giddy. And it’s even better with a little sprinkle of garlic powder on the buttered side of the bread. Mmm mmm good!

Our favorite prepared tomato soup is La Madeleine’s, which comes in a jar and is creamy and delicious. We also like Amy’s. They are both really good mixed together, creamy + chunky and with a garnish of fresh Basil ribbons from my garden! YUM!!!

NOTE: Cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack, Asiago, Fontina, Gouda, Gruyère, Havarti, Muenster, blue cheese, and soft cheeses such as Brie and Camembert also melt well, Remember to remove the rind if using a cheese with one.

GrillCheese&TomSoup2 Reduced in size

Grilled Cheese kicked up a notch: lightly toast 4 pieces of sour dough bread and butter them lavishly on one side. Lay the slices buttered side down on a cookie sheet. Lay a thick slice of Gruyère on each piece of toast and set under the broiler until the cheese is just melted. Lay two or three pieces of crispy fried bacon on top of the melted cheese. Toast four more slices of sour dough bread and butter them on one side. Spread a layer of chunky apple butter or fig jam on the unbuttered side and place them jam side down on top of the bacon. Blue cheese, bacon, and fig preserves is a great flavor combination, and so is Gruyère with crispy bacon and blackberry jam. Re-create the taste of French onion soup by layering sweet, soft caramelized onions with nutty Gruyère cheese on toasted sour dough. Craving a bite that’s both sweet and savory? Try combining indulgent Camembert with crisp apple slices and caramel sauce. Or try Monterey jack cheese layered with roasted poblanos and a splash of Adobo on a nice buttery egg bread. See other suggestions at Food Network.com.

PBJ lunch - reduced in size

PBJ (served with a big fat dill pickle and salty Potato chips)

I’ve been a “choosy mothers choose Jiff” kind of gal, on soft white bread, and with the traditional strawberry jam or grape jelly, or sometimes with creamy honeycomb honey spread over buttered bread for as long as I can remember. The sandwich in my photo above was made with crunchy Peter Pan and my own homemade Texas grape jelly. I wish you could taste how delicious it is. Best grape jelly I’ve ever had in my life!!!!! I’m telling you, that sandwich barely made it through the photography session. I couldn’t wait to lick the drizzle dripping down the front. This is a picture of my wonderful grape harvesting experience. You can’t tell in the photo, but it was about 107 degrees that day, which made picking a pretty sweaty experience. It was so worth the trouble though. Oooo man.

Grape Harvest

Okay, now the great debate: What sides go with a PBJ? Well, the old stand-bys when I was a kid were Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup, potato chips, dill pickle, fruit, or raw veggies. What were yours?

And then came the day that I thought to myself, like all the great thinkers before me, “What if…” and so I tried a PBJ HOT, and you know what? Not bad. Pretty darn delicious really, and kind of like stuffed French toast! I used my sandwich maker. Remember those? Do they still make them???

PBJ stuffed french toast

MrsH’s PBJ Stuffed French Toast

Preheat sandwich maker. Dot each cavity of the sandwich maker with butter just before placing sandwich on it. Make a peanut butter sandwich exactly the way you normally would with your favorite jam (I make a lot of homemade jams or fruit compotes and some of my favorites have been South Texas Grape jelly, Bourbon Habanero Apricot, Strawberry Rhubarb, Spicy Peach, Pecan Fig with lemon rind, Crab Apple Butter, Blueberry Lemon, and these wonderful bitter little kumquat type fruits that grow on a tree in my daughter’s yard made into marmalade – with a hint of vanilla bean – oh my it’s delicious).

Use a pastry brush to spread your egg/milk (French Toast) mixture on one side of your sandwiches and then lay them in the sandwich maker. Quickly brush on egg/milk mixture on the top slices of bread, dot with a little pat of butter, and close the lid over on the sandwiches and snap it closed. Cook as directed in the owner’s manual. *The reason I don’t dip my bread in the egg/milk mixture is that I think it makes the bread too soggy.

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Turkey

Hot Brown

This is an open-faced sandwich made famous for being served at the Kentucky Derby. Start with Texas toast, then layer on slices of turkey. Cover with a peppered white cheddar cheese sauce. Sprinkle with cheddar and parmesan cheese (broil to melt). Lay two slices of fresh heirloom tomato, two slices of crispy fried bacon, and finally garnish with sliced green onion and chopped parsley.

Hot Brown how-to-make

See my recipe at mrshlovesjesus.wordpress.com Kentucky Derby Party

Thanksgiving left-overs Turkey Sandwich

We’ve all made these, but how do you like yours? My dad liked his plain Jane: leftover yeast roll spread with butter, turkey, salt and pepper. The end!

I always liked to add some lettuce to mine. Then as I grew up I realized this sandwich could be a mini feast on bread, starting with soft wheat bread, lavished with mayo, a thin layer of stuffing, a chopped up jalapeno popper, sliced or pulled turkey (salt & pepper), maybe a thin slice of ham, a little spread of cranberry sauce, some sliced onion, and romaine lettuce. Tah-dah!

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TurkeyBacon Club

This is just as yummy on a hogie roll, or stuffed inside a pita as it is on nice soft wheat bread lightly toasted. Mayo, lettuce, onion, tomato, turkey, turkey bacon (fried crispy) and then repeat layers. Dagwood would approve!

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Ham

Hot Ham & Cheese

In Paris Croque Monsieur is sold from pushcarts on streets all over the city. Croque Monsieur is a classic French ham and cheese, straight from the streets of France. Savory sliced smoked ham and Swiss with a garlic cream Béchamel sauce and baked on fresh wheatberry bread. Bake this sandwich in the oven until it is hot, the cheese is melted, and the top is golden brown. Below a hot ham and cheese on rye is shown with a bowl of Polish Sichi.

Sichi and grilled ham and cheese on rye

Monte Cristo

A deep-fried ham and cheese sandwich, often served with a sweet jam dip. This looks like a pretty awesome recipe from Ashlee Marie!

AshleeMarie Monte Cristo

MrsH’s Ham Salad (Deviled Ham) Sandwiches

I usually always make this sandwich filling with leftover Easter ham (glazed spiral cut smoked ham). I have an old meat grinder that my mother-in-law gave to me, which works perfectly for grinding the ham into the perfect texture. To the ham I add mayo, mustard, horseradish, minced onion, pickle relish, and spices (cloves, pumpkin spice, allspice). These have been popular sandwiches for my Bowling League pot lucks, church pot lucks, Bunco, tea parties, baby showers, and so many other parties. My husband loves when I make a big batch of these, cut them into small triangles, stack them on a tray, wrap them up, and put them in his man-cave fridge so he can snack on them for several days. Don’t tell him but I often sneak out and steal one or two or three before they’re gone.

Ham Salad Sand

Click HERE for recipe from mrshlovesjesus.wordpress.com, Easter Dinner Cookbook

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Chicken

Chicken & Waffles

First you must have freshly made Belgian type waffles (the real authentic ones are made with yeast and pearl sugar – if you can find the pearl sugar please let me know where you got it in the US). You can add bacon and cheddar or chopped pecans to the waffle batter before making them. Season the flour for chicken breast pieces either with a Kentucky blend of traditional spices (oregano, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, and paprika), or a spicy Cajun blend (basically the same but add cayenne powder and a little brown sugar). Brine your chicken breasts in a salt-water brine for a day, then cut the breasts into tenders. Dip each piece in a buttermilk egg wash and then dredge in seasoned flour mixed with a TBSP of cornstarch, and drop into hot oil in a cast iron skillet until crispy golden. Lay a waffle square on a plate and butter it. Lay three tenders on top and drizzle the whole mess with a honey maple butter dressing of one part melted butter, one part maple syrup, and one part Dijon mustard. Or serve with a Redeye gravy made with coffee, Jim Beam, and bacon. Sprinkle some chopped chives for garnish.

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Image and recipe from Cooking with Janica

MrsH’s Chicken Salad Sandwiches (for a crowd)

Click here for my recipe for this mouth watering, highly sought after recipe that will have your bowling league, your Bunco party, your Bridge Club, or the election judges and clerks you work at the next elections begging for the recipe!!!!!  >>>>>>>>  MrsH’s Chicken Salad for a Crowd!!!!!!  Serve with a raw veggie medley (carrot, celery, cucumber slices), or seasoned cottage cheese, or your favorite chips (I am a Sun Chips gal from waaaaay back), or all three…plus a nice iced Chai latte to wash it all down!

The Yard Bird

This famous sandwich from Slows BBQ restaurant in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit. Smoked pulled chicken breast mixed with some mustard based BBQ sauce and sautéed mushrooms, then piled on a buttered and toasted hamburger bun that’s been spread with a little mayo, topped with 2 pieces of almost crispy Applewood bacon and some shredded cheddar cheese. Slap on the top half of the bun and there you have it! The only thing to make this sandwich better is a Faygo and a bag of Better Made. Who you lookin’ at?

The Yard Bird

Shawarma

Hot-off-the grill marinated chicken is tucked into thick, soft pitas, along with lots of bold but mellow garlic sauce, and freshly sliced tomato and romaine.

Shawarma

Click here for recipe from EatingWell.com

Chicken Parm

Chicken breasts, sliced and pounded flat

Italian Bread Crumbs mixed with an equal portion of Panko Bread Crumbs

Eggs, beaten

Dip chicken breasts in egg, then toss in bread crumbs until coated. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, or fry in oil in frying pan until golden on both sides. If baking, top each chicken patty with a slice of mozzarella cheese and keep in oven until cheese melts. If frying, place a slice of mozzarella cheese on top of each piece about 4 minutes before removing from pan. Remove to paper toweling.

Butter and toast Kaiser rolls in the oven or on griddle. Place a chicken patty on the bottom piece of each roll. Spoon a generous portion of warm marinara sauce on top of each, possibly some basil leaves and mozzerella and/or parmesan cheese and broil it to melt the cheese. Place the top portion of the roll on top and serve.

chicken Parm Sand

Image and recipe from EatingWell.com

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Beef

Philly Cheese Steak

Philly cheesesteak

Recipe at BakerBettie.com

Gyro

gyro-beef

Recipe at BigOven.com

Brisket Sandwich

This is how we do it in Texas y’all!!!!

Reuben

reuben-sandwich

Recipe at Serious Eats

Hot Pastrami

Great Recipe HERE!

Meatloaf Sandwich

A great meatloaf sandwich starts with a great meatloaf. Shuffle on over to my “Worst Meatloaf on the Planet” recipe >>>click>>>(((( HERE ))))<<<click<<<!!!!!!

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Italian Meatball

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Image and recipe from Serious Eats

Hot Roast Beef (served open faced)

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Click HERE for this delicious recipe

Sloppy Joe

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Image and recipe from Lifes Ambrosia

French Dip

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Click here for Pioneer Woman’s fabulous recipe

Jazz yours up with caramelized onions, sauteed bell pepper (chopped), melted provolone and house-made horseradish sauce baked on a sourdough roll. Served with au jus.

Fried Bologna

fried-bologna-sandwich

Image and Recipe from Bon appetit

Steak or Chicken Rancheros Gordita (or torta)

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Image and Recipe from Homesick Texan.

Beef Patty Melt Sandwich

Could anyone’s recipe top Ree Drummond’s? Image and recipe found HERE

 

Pork

Pulled Pork Sandwich

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Click HERE for the recipe!!!!!!!

BLT

I make a Rosemary mayo for my BLT’s (Mayo and chopped rosemary, salt, pepper), and sometimes lay a ring or two of red onion, and slice or two of avocado on mine. I like the hardwood smoked bacon the best, fresh romaine lettuce, and black heirloom tomatoes. I prefer it on lightly toasted wheat bread, but have also made it like a giant sub using a fresh french loaf from the bakery. Good way to feed a crowd for family supper night. This is possibly my very favorite sandwich of all time. I tend to make a pig of myself with these!!!! LOL

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P.S. I was in a pinch one day a couple years ago with two hungry men and nothing to feed them as I hadn’t gone to the store. I searched my pantry for edibles I could throw together quickly and ended up with a can of Bacon flavor Spam in my hand. I cut it into fairly thin slices, maybe 1/4″ and fried it crispy on both sides and made BLT’s Spam-L-T’s with it. The men loved it. They loved it so much that I make it for them fairly regular now.

Smoked Sausage (Kielbasa) Sandwich

Start with a wide loaf of pumpernickel bread sliced thin and lightly toasted. split kielbasa in half lengthwise and then into lengths that match the width of the bread longways. Lay a slice of provolone cheese on the bread, and then squirt with a spicy course mustard, honey mustard, or mustard based BBQ sauce, then layer on a pile of squeezed dry sauerkraut – preferably a German variety. Top that with two or three pieces of keilbasa that has been fried crispy. Place another slice of cheese and then bread, then butter and grill like you would a grilled cheese sandwich.

Image and recipe for this version is at Genius Kitchen

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Seafood

Poor Boy (or Po-Boy)

Image and recipe from African Bites

Lobster Roll

Warm buttery Connecticut version

https://www.foodnetwork.com/fn-dish/recipes/2016/07/maine-versus-connecticut-style-lobster-rolls

Cold lobster salad Maine version

https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/maine-lobster-roll

Lobster Rolls

Image and recipe from Food Network

Filet O’ Fish Sandwich

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Click here for RECIPE

Tuna Salad

Does anybody really have a recipe for this? Honestly, I just dump everything in a bowl and mix it up. I start with tuna packed in water. I drain off all the water and sprinkle on some dill weed and cracked pepper and then drench the tuna in lemon juice and let it sit while I chop up all the other ingredients. I chop up about half a small white onion, add to the onion about 2 tablespoons of sweet pickle relish and 2 tablespoons of dill pickle relish. I chop up a rib of celery, half of a bell pepper or jalapeno, and maybe 2 radishes. I then mix about a tsp of lemon pepper into a half cup of mayo and add the drained tuna, and then stir everything together. If it doesn’t seem creamy enough I add a little bit more mayo. Here is shown my tuna salad on a tomato, sprinkled with a little fresh dill weed, but it is lovely on bread with a leaf of romaine.

Tuna Salad on Tomato

I have also been known to lightly toast a bagel and then quickly lay a slice of swiss or provolone on the halves while they are still hot from the toaster, let the cheese melt, and then top each with a heap of tuna salad, for an open-faced tuna salad sandwich.

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Aaaaaand I’ve also grilled tuna salad between slices of sour dough or wheatberry with swiss or provolone. If you like pasta salads, I’ve also mixed my tuna salad with macaroni or skinny ziti and served it with tomato, lettuce, cucumbers and a slice of toast. It’s all good!

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Mixed Meats

The Dagwood

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Muffuletta

(This is NanaBread’s Muffuletta Sandwich recipe, since she is Cajun and I am not)

1 round sourdough bread boule

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound thin-sliced deli ham (not a sweet one; use old-fashioned baked ham) (The traditional has ham, mortadella, and salami)

4 slices of provolone cheese

1/3 cup of mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip, people; use the good stuff)

1 small can of chopped black olives (4.25 ozs.; you only need half of the can)

24 small pimento-stuffed green olives

2 Tbsp. of juice from the green olive jar (trust me)

3 Tbsp. Italian Olive Salad Mix (optional, but use it if you can find it)

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Start by slicing your sourdough boule horizontally; you’ll want the bottom to be about 1″ thick. Using your fingers or a spoon, remove some of the excess bread from the top, leaving a deep indentation in the dome of your boule. Drizzle one tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil over each half of the bread. If you need to, use your fingers to work the oil out to the edges and into the nooks and crannies. Place both halves oiled side down on a griddle until the bread is a beautiful golden brown. (If you don’t have a griddle, a non-stick skillet works just as well.) I also like to weigh down the top so the surface is pressed down onto the griddle.

While the bread is toasting, chop the green olives, open the can of black olives, and spoon out 3 tablespoons of Italian Olive Salad mix; set aside. One quick side note about the Italian Olive Salad: you may be wondering why I use olives AND an olive salad mix together. The answer is that the olive salad mix also contains a mouth-watering mix of other vegetables (cauliflower, peppers, carrots, celery) and spices preserved in olive oil. Do you have to use it? No. But if you can find it, the olive salad will add another extraordinary layer of flavor. Trust me.

There is a recipe on the jar and it is a little different than Nana’s

Once your bread is toasted to a beautiful, crispy golden brown, remove it from the griddle and place both sides face up on a cutting board. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and olive juice and blend until smooth (it will be a little on the thin side). Dress each half of the bread with the mayonnaise mixture. Make sure you spread it all the way out to the edges. It’s imperative. Okay, really it’s just so all the olives stick. Next, sprinkle your green olives and olive salad on the top half, and the black olives on the bottom half. Don’t fret about separating friends. They’re all coming to the party in the end. You’ll see.

Layer your thin-sliced ham over the top of your black olives, making sure the ham goes all the way out to the edges again. (Remember – no honey or maple glazed ham, please! It will ruin the flavor of the sandwich. You really just need a simple old-fashioned or baked deli ham here.) Arrange your provolone cheese slices over the top of your green olives. Place both halves face-up on a baking sheet and toast them under the broiler until the ham warms and the cheese turns into this gooey, gorgeous golden hue. Remove from the broiler.

Using a spatula, flip the top half onto the bottom half to bring your sandwich together. Everyone is at the party now, and they are all getting along famously. It’s world peace in a sourdough boule. Allow your muffuletta to rest for at least 5 minutes before you cut it. It will be hard. It may even seem impossible. If you need a distraction, grab an Abita Beer, a bag of Zapp’s Cajun Crawtator chips, and a handful of napkins. Once you’re ready, grab a serrated bread knife and cut the muffuletta into wedges, like you’re slicing a pie. Mmmmm….pie.

Don’t get fancy here and attempt to serve it on a real plate. This is bar hopping food. You want to slap that sucker on a paper plate or wrap it in a little butcher paper. Then settle in with your muffuletta, your cold Abita beer, that bag of zesty, crunchy Cajun crawtators and let your mind slip away to an enchanted land of live oaks, Spanish moss, warm breezes, hot beignets and hotter jazz. Oh, New Orleans…you are unforgettable. Happy Mardi Gras, y’all.

Muffuletta

The Cuban

Basically this is a juicy pork roast, ham, and Swiss cheese sandwich with butter pickles, and Dijon mustard, on a Cuban roll that is smash grilled to perfection. You can serve it with a cup of some of the braising liquid to dip the sandwich in while you eat it, and definitely it needs to be served with a side of fried plantains sprinkled with salt.

Cuban and Plantains - smaller file

Check out Tyler Florence’s recipe at Food Network

 

Veggie

The Benedictine

My twist on this Kentucky Favorite (recipe found here) is the addition of very thinly sliced radishes, minced sweet onion, and a little cluster of lovely alfalfa sprouts. Otherwise it is basically a shredded cucumber sandwich.  I also like to use the veggie cream cheese that comes in the small tub to spread the bread with. Oooooo fancy!

Benedictines

Falafel Sandwich

Recipe courtesy of Aaron McCargo Jr. featured at Food Network.com:

2 cups dried chick peas, soaked in water overnight

2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro leaves

2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves

1 small onion, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 lemon, juiced

Pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chick pea flour, if needed

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil, for searing

4 Mediterranean flatbreads (like Naan)

Arugula, for garnish

Cherry tomatoes, halved, for garnish

Red onion, sliced thin, for garnish

Smokey Tahini Sauce, for garnish, recipe follows

Smoky Tahini Sauce:

1/2 cup tahini paste

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup water

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lemon, juiced

1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley leaves

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon salt

Heat a grill pan until hot.

In a bowl, whisk all ingredients until a creamy consistency is reached.

For the Falafel:

Drain the chick peas. Place in food processor along with cilantro, parsley, onion, cumin, cayenne, garlic, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Pulse until well blended. Consistency should be in the form of a paste. Place mixture in a bowl and form into 2-inch patties.

*Cook’s Note: If dry add 1 tablespoon water. If too wet, add chick pea flour.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add grapeseed oil. Add patties and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel lined platter to drain. Set aside and keep warm.

To assemble sandwiches: Add flatbread to a hot grill pan, to mark and warm on each side for 1 minute. Remove. Add 2 to 3 patties to each warm flatbread. Top with some arugula, tomato, onion and Smoky Tahini Sauce

Falafel Sandwich

Watch Big Daddy make this great Falafel Sandwich HERE

Grilled Portobello Sandwich

The best Portobello sandwich I ever had was from Alice’s Restaurant in Woodside, California.

I tried hard to duplicate it for a mother’s day luncheon at my house several years later. Good gracious it was delicious. I am pretty sure I found the copy cat recipe in one of those women’s magazines from the 90’s.

Make the dressing first so it will have time to cool.

Dressing: Place 1 cup of balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to boil and then reduce heat to medium, stirring until vinegar has reduced, for about 5 minutes. Toss in 1 small minced garlic clove and then remove from heat. Allow to cool. Add ½ cup extra virgin olive oil and about a heaping ¼ tsp of freshly ground black pepper. Dressing may be placed in a dressing carafe to make it easier to shake and pour.

This sandwich is constructed in layers. Start by slicing sandwich size pieces of ciabatta bread (separating top crust from the bottom crust), cleaning the mushrooms, and slicing the onions. Lay the bread on a cookie sheet (crust sides down) and drizzle with olive oil. Preheat broiler (oven) and outdoor grill. Place the veggies on the grill and sear for about 3 or 4 minutes on each side until heated through. Meanwhile, place the bread under the broiler in the oven until lightly toasted. Remove bread from oven and veggies from the grill. Leave the bottom halves of bread on the cookie sheet, and the leave broiler on.

Lay a Portobello mushroom cap on top of each bottom slice of bread

Place a red onion slice on top of each mushroom

Place a slice of fontina cheese on top of each slice of onion.

Place in oven under the broiler until cheese is melted.

Arrange one or two basil leaves on top of the melted cheese

And top each sandwich with a tomato slice.

You could also certainly add roasted red pepper and avacado.

Drizzle each with a balsamic dressing (make sure to shake well for each sandwich).

Lean the top half of Ciabatta bread against the stack to serve, or place it on top and fasten with sandwich toothpicks, then slice each sandwich in half, corner to corner.

Colleen’s Pimento Cheese Salad

This is another one of those recipes I just make without measuring anything. So, here we go. To a small bag of shredded Mexican blend cheese I add about 1/2 cup of Mayo, 1 Tbsp of sweet pickle relish, 1 Tbsp of minced onion, and 1 Tbsp of pimentos from a jar. Mix it up until fully incorporated. Taste to make sure it is good. If a creamier consistency is desired add a little more mayo until it’s just right. Spread on white or wheat bread and serve with a nice tomato, onion, and cucumber salad.

Cheese Salad Sands with cucumber Salad

Veggie Flatbread Sandwich w/ olive cream cheese spread

Start by drizzling the flatbread or Naan with olive oil and grilling it on a hot preheated grill on both sides just until it is lightly toasted. Spread the bread with cream cheese (plain, chive, olive, or veggie flavors all work well), and then top with your favorite veggies: sliced cherry tomatoes, marinated artichoke hearts, arugula, green or black olives, thin sliced zucchini, thin sliced red bell peppers, chopped green onions, sliced marinated mushrooms, baby spinach, thin sliced cucumbers, sliced radishes, sliced broccoli, carrot ribbons, cauliflower, etc. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with a garlic infused olive oil. Enjoy!!!!!

Flatbread sandwich

Lindee’s Pinwheels

8-ingredient-15-minute-Sun-dried-Tomato-and-Basil-Pinwheels-An-easy-crowd-pleasing-summer-friendly-appetizer-or-snack-vegan-recipe-appetizer

See recipe for Sundried Tomato Basil Pinwheels at Minimalist Baker

See recipe for Italian Pinwheels at Mother Thyme

Egg Salad Sandwiches

My Egg Salad is a LOT like my deviled eggs as far as they both have virtually identical ingredients. I have a girlfriend who puts chopped up black olives in hers. She says that’s the way her husband’s mom used to make them, and the way he likes them.

Here it pretty much is, featured at Incredible Egg

Fried Egg Sandwiches

Simple enough. A fried egg, maybe some cheese, on buttered toast. Wooooooo! Makes your tummy stop growling anyways. 🙂

Fried Egg Sandwich - smaller file size

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I think that about covers it. Can you think of any sandwiches I’ve missed? Hope your summer is carefree and delicious!!! Happy sandwiching y’all!!!!

If you’re so hungry that you can’t wait to be served, go home and get a sandwich. But by no means risk turning this Meal (communion) into an eating and drinking binge or a family squabble. It is a spiritual meal – a love feast. The other things you asked about, I’ll respond to in person when I make my next visit.”

1 Corinthians 11:34 MSG

Bon Appetit!!!

Mrs H’s Cucumber, Tomato, & Onion Salad

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Mrs H’s Cucumber, Tomato, & Onion Salad

Ooooooo I love the salads of summer!!!!!  This is one of my favs.  My neighbor, Don Kinion used to make it every summer from the abundance of his garden, and lucky us, we got a gift of a nice big jar full every few weeks during the late harvest season, when he had tomatoes and cucumbers coming out his ears.  I have never been able to duplicate his perfect recipe, but this comes pretty close.  Hats off to you  neighbor.  Hope you are doing well!!!!

Ingredients

1 burpless cucumber (the long, skinny, plastic wrapped ones, if you are buying from the store, or any variety grown in the garden)

2 packages of the sweetest cherry tomatoes in the produce department, (or a small bowl full of freshly harvested Sweet One Hundreds Cherry Tomatoes, from the garden)

1 Red Onion (they grow these where I live and so I get the luxury of fresh from the fields, in fact, they often fall off the harvesting trucks right in front of my house.  Ditch food!!!! Love it!)

1/2 cup good quality Olive Oil

1 cup Red Wine Vinegar

1/2 cup sugar

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

Mix up the dressing ingredients first (olive oil, vinegar, sugar, salt & pepper), place in a large mason jar, and park in the fridge until ready to mix with veggies.  Give it a shake every once in a while.

Peel some of the skins from the cucumbers.  If you are using the long, skinny store bought ones, the skin if find to leave on.  It is very tender.  But some garden cucs have tough, bitter skins.  I like to leave some of the skin on anyway.  But taste the cucumbers to make sure they aren’t bitter.

Chop the cherry tomatoes in half.

Slice the onion into thin slices, and then give them a rough chop.  Mix all the veggies together in a large glass bowl and pour the dressing over.  Toss to coat and then chill for a few hours in the fridge.  Give them a stir every once in a while (couple hours) until ready to serve.

Tomato Cucumber Onion Salad2

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Serve this alongside any BBQ meat… (or eat it all by itself!!!!! 🙂)

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Smoked &amp; Grilled Meats for summer supper

“Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”  Romans 14:1-4

Mrs H’s Fruity Coleslaw

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Mrs H’s Fruity Coleslaw

This salad makes a terrific side for any BBQ meal, but honestly, I could eat the whole bowl of this all by itself for dinner.  Hey, and small tip (take it or leave it)… when I am taking this for a church pot luck or another big get-together I keep the dressing and the slaw separate from each other until the last-minute before serving.  I prefer my slaw crunchy not wilted, and creamy rather than runny.

Okay, let’s get this party started…

Bowls n Spoon

Ingredients

1½ cups Hellmann’s Mayonnaise

2 tsp. True Lemon powder (available in the seasonings section of the grocery store, https://www.truelemon.com/product/true-lemon-shaker/)

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 small can crushed pineapple, drained (juice discarded, or saved for something else)

7 cups shredded and chopped green cabbage

½ cup thinly sliced and diced Fuji apple (skin on, core and stem removed) – if not serving right away toss in a baggie with some lemon juice to prevent browning.

¼ cup white raisins (must be white, no icky dark raisins)

½ cup chopped green bell pepper

¼ cup slivered, toasted almonds

Directions

In small bowl, mix Mayo, True Lemon powder, sugar, and crushed pineapple together, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  (The reason I use True Lemon powder instead of juice is just to create the creamiest texture).

In large bowl toss cabbage, apple, raisins, and bell pepper.  Cover and keep in fridge until ready to serve.

Just before serving toss dressing with cabbage and then toss in almonds.  Serve immediately.

Cole Slaw Fruity

This slaw makes a great side dish for smoked or grilled meats, such as…. (pictured below top to bottom, L to R are BBQ Brisket, grilled Chicken Bombs, Bistecca or Chimichurri Steak, Chopped Pepper Steak with Blue Cheese Garlic Butter, grilled Texas Redfish, PiriPiri Chicken, Pork Loin, grilled Kielbasa, and Korean Style Ribs).

Smoked &amp; Grilled Meats for summer supper

Have a blessed meal, my friend! 

“Better is a dish of vegetables where love is than a fattened ox served with hatred.”  Proverbs 15:17

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mrs H’s Fish Tacos

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Mrs H’s Fish Tacos

Where were you when you first experienced fish tacos? Can you remember the day, the place, and the time?  Did the world stop spinning for just a moment as your tongue delighted in their savory goodness?  Were yours as life changing for you as mine were for me?  LOL!

Well, I first experienced FISH TACOS when we visited our daughter in Seattle.  She took us to the Experience Music Project, and during our tour there we decided to eat lunch in the little restaurant downstairs of that massive building.  It was a foodie little haven with a modest but eclectic menu.

I was a little sceptical about “fish tacos” when I first heard of them, having only an image of beef tacos in my head – with taco seasonings, lettuce, and cheese, but everyone I knew simply raved about them.  So, I decided to put my mommy money where my mommy mouth was and actually taste them before I judged them.  Best decision ever!!!!  They were out of this world, my new favorite food, and I’ve been just a little bit obsessed about them ever since.

They are easy to make from scratch, but now that I am cooking for two I often make them from doggie-bag catfish from our favorite local restaurant.

Ingredients

battered fish for fish tacos2

For the Fish

Fish, just about any mild white fish works (Cod, Barramundi, Red Fish, Tilapia, etc.) about 1 nice sized piece per taco, so about 12 to 15 pieces (and at 3 tacos apiece, this recipe will feed about 4 or 5 people)

Seasoned Flour  (to 1 1/2 cups flour add about 1/2 tsp of each: garlic powder, paprika, ground oregano, onion powder, ground cumin, salt, sugar, and cayenne powder)  (or you can cheat and use a preseasoned fish fry coating, or a cajun spice  in place of the individual seasonings)

Beer or Dry White Wine (or water will also work in a pinch)

Hot oil to fry the fish in

 

slaw for fish tacos2

For the Slaw

1/2 of a red cabbage

1/2 of a green cabbage

1/2 of a large white onion

3 red radishes

1/2 cup cilantro

Juice of 1 or 2 limes (2 if they are small)

 

sauce for fish tacos

For the Sauce

2/3 cup sour cream

1/4 cup Mayo

2 ripe avocados

1/2 cup cilantro, very finely minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 lime

1 jalapeno (or serrano), very finely minced

Dash of Sriracha, to taste

Pinch of Kosher salt, to taste

 

Also need about 12 to 15 white corn tortillas and a little oil to soften them in

 

Directions

As a time saver, you can make the slaw and the sauce ahead of time – early in the day, and keep them in the fridge until ready to assemble.

Fish Taco Slaw

Shred the cabbages into thin strips and then give them a rough chop, cut the onion into the same size thin strips, slice the radishes into slices and then cut them into thin strips, and chop the cilantro.  Toss all together in a bowl and squeeze lime juice over.  Toss again to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and keep in fridge.

Fish Taco Sauce

For the sauce, mash the avacados with a fork until smooth.  Add to sour cream and mayo.  Stir in cilantro, garlic, and as much of the jalapeno or serrano as you prefer.  Squeeze lime juice in and stir.  Add Sriracha and salt to taste.  To make it really smooth you can whirl it in a food processor for a few moments.  Cover with plastic wrap and keep in fridge until ready to assemble.

 

Tortillas

Add a little vegetable oil to a skillet and place on medium high heat.  Add one tortilla at a time and soften by frying it briefly on each side and then removing to a paper towel lined plate.  Add oil to the pan as needed after several tortillas have been fried.  Cover tortillas with foil and place in a warm place until ready to assemble.

battered fish for fish tacos2

Now, you can prepare the fish however you prefer.  If you like it grilled, you can season the pieces with a mixture of the same spices that are listed for the flour, and then just grill each piece a few moments on each side on an outdoor grill or indoor grill until it flakes easily.

If you like it fried, you can rinse the pieces off with cold water and then toss them in the seasoned flour to coat, and then fry them in hot oil (the same frying pan that you used for the tortillas) for a few minutes on each side until when tested they flake easily.

Or, if you like them batter fried (my fav), place peanut oil in a dutch oven or deep fryer enough so that the fish pieces will be completely covered, but make sure your pot is large enough that it won’t boil over when the fish are added a few pieces at a time.  Heat and keep the oil temp between 350 to 375 degrees F.  You can add beer or white wine to the seasoned flour (about an equal portion 1 to 1) and stir.  Add more liquid until it is about the consistency of a thin pancake batter, then dip your rinsed and patted dry pieces of fish in the batter and drop in hot oil and fry until when tested it flakes easily.

Or, if you have a mess of catfish that have been cornmeal battered and fried, the leftovers make excellent tacos.  I actually do this quite often.

To Assemble

BTW: I have some nifty taco plates that are awesome for taco assembly:

DSCN8470

Fish Tacos

Lay one (or two small) piece(s) of fish in the center of each tortilla, and then add a small mound of slaw, and finally top with a nice dallop of sauce.  Fold in half and enjoy.  Mmmmmm!  Just let your eyes roll back into your head while your tongue finds its happy place.  Wipe mouth and repeat, repeat, repeat.

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 “Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?”  They answered Him, “No.”

And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.”    John 21:5-6 (NKJV)

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Polynesian Dinner Party

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Polynesian Dinner Party

 

I love theme dinners!  And Polynesian is one of those themes that has tons to offer… tons of great foods… lots of great music… and a motherlode of great activities.  That’s probably why luau parties are so popular.  They are great for a crowd (family reunions, company picnics, neighborhood get-togethers, graduation parties, youth group events, and so on).

That’s all well and good, but I had in mind something a little more intimate.  In my younger life, I had the idea to have monthly theme dinners just for family – just to make memories for my kids.  January’s theme was Chinese New Year, where we dressed up, ate Chinese foods, listened to Asian music, played some sort of Chinese games after dinner, and totally immersed ourselves in Asian culture for a night.  February was Cajun foods, music, and culture.  March was Irish.  April was Polish or Italian.  May was Mexican or Caribbean.  June was Polynesian or African.  July was American (which encompasses everything from BBQ to Burgers, to Hot Dogs in every variety).  August was South American or Australian.  September was Russian or French. October was German.  November was American Indian.  And December was Indian or Mediterranean.  That was my plan.  It was so much my plan that I wrote a whole book about it, but then I kind of lost my focus.  <Sheepish shrug>   Well, thankfully God has given me grandchildren, and a whole renewed interest in introducing them to the cultures and foods, and sounds, and pastimes of the world.  And the great thing is … SUMMER IS COMING!!!!  Which makes it a great time to introduce the kids to something fun and interesting and chase away those summer doldrums, not to mention it’s all kind of educational as well.

JUNEPolynesian

Knickknacks, tanning mats, give a dog a fish bone.  The dollar store is a great place to look for decorations.  You can keep it simple (lay a bamboo tanning mat down on the table, set a tropical plant as a centerpiece, and lay out luau plates, cups, and silverware from the party store), or go hog-wild (outdoor party with mumus and sarongs, tiki lanterns, grass skirts, a limbo stick, kalua pig roasting on a spit, cold drinks in pineapples or coconuts, and a nice array of Makahiki games, Hawaiian crafts, and games).  Gotta have some Island music too (may I suggest Don Ho?), and maybe even get the kids ukuleles, and teach them to play an easy song.

After dinner, you can break out the limbo stick and challenge the kids to a contest, or try some hula hooping.  Then set the TV outside and gather the lawn chairs around for an outdoor movie night.  How about a marathon of old Gilligan’s Island reruns?  Or, for a real submersion into Hawaiian culture, make leis, learn to hula, set your back yard up with some of the Makahiki Games listed below, and watch a mesmerizing “Ha: Breath of Life” show on DVD.

Polynesian supper collage

Traditionally, a Hawaiian party would have deep pit roasted Kalua Pig, long rice (which is basically the same thing as Pad Thai rice noodles), some dish of sweet potatoes (purple), and Poi, or even Spam Musubi.  If it is your goal to introduce your family to Hawaiian culture, go with tradition.  I found some wonderful recipes HERE that I plan to try.

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Recipes

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COCONUT SHRIMP

Batter:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup dry white wine

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1 lb large tail-on shrimp, peeled and deveined, and patted dry on paper towels

1  7-oz pkg shredded coconut

Instructions:  Place peanut oil in deep fryer and set temperature to 375 degrees.  Mix flour with wine until smooth.  When oil has reached temperature, dip about 5 of the shrimp, one at a time in batter and then roll in coconut.  Drop into deep fryer and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes or until golden and curled.  Drain on paper towels.  Continue until all shrimp are cooked.

Melted jalapeno jelly makes a wonderful dipping sauce (remove lid from jar, warm in microwave about 1 min., stir and divide into little sauce cups).  Or see the sauce recipe later down on this page.  Serves 4

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SPICY POLYNESIAN WRAPS

Ingredients

2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into 1 inch strips

1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk

1 cup uncooked long grain white rice

2 cups water

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 Tablespoons curry powder (hot or mild as you wish)

1 tablespoon garlic salt

3/4 cup vegetable oil

2 limes

10 (10-inch, thin) colored flour tortillas wraps

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup chopped green onions

2 Serrano chilies, (seeds discarded) minced (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place the chicken and coconut milk in a bowl, and marinate in the refrigerator 1 hour.
  2. In a pot, bring the rice and water to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the flour, curry powder, and garlic salt. Drain the chicken, and discard marinade. Dredge chicken in the flour mixture to coat.
  4. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, and cook the coated chicken strips 5 minutes per side, or until golden brown and juices run clear. Squeeze lime juice over chicken, and discard limes.
  5. On each tortilla, place equal amounts of rice, chicken, coconut, and green onions, and sprinkle desired amount of Serrano chilies. Wrap burrito style.

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POLYNESIAN DIPPING SAUCE (for shrimp, or wraps)

Ingredients

13 ounces coconut milk

2 teaspoons green curry paste

1 tablespoon grated gingerroot

1 tablespoon grated lime rind

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons lime juice

Directions: 

Place coconut milk in a skillet and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes until reduced by a quarter – it should be the consistency of heavy cream. Stir in the green curry paste, ginger, lime rind, and sugar. Cook another 5 to 6 minutes or until sauce is thickened and fragrant. Stir in mint, cilantro, and lime juice. Cool and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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SPAM MUSUBI

3 cups cooked Sushi rice

4 sheets Spring Roll Wrappers (this is a MrsH modification: I’m not a fan of Nori)

1  12-oz can Spam

6 Tbsp Soy Sauce

6 Tbsp Hawaiian BBQ sauce

Furikake

I cut the end off of my Spam can with sissors to use to make my Musubi, and I used a wooden meat mallet to press the rice down.  After making my musubi I have decided Nori is just too healthy tasting for my taste, so after making it with Nori, I peeled the Nori off to eat it, and next time I’m going to try making it with rice paper (Spring Roll Wrappers) instead.  I also didn’t care for the Furikake (rice seasoning) because of the seaweed that was in it.  The one I used was Wasabi Fumi Furikake.  It had a good flavor that really does need to be there, but just warning you not to go hog wild with it if you aren’t a seaweed fan.  I do like wasabi and sesame.  And I added chopped green onion. Maybe there is a variety of Furikake without seaweed???

Spam Musubi

Prepare the Rice as per package instructions.  Allow to cool.  Meanwhile, cut the Spam into eight equal slices.  Fry the Spam in a frying pan until very crispy on both sides.  Mix soy sauce with BBQ sauce and pour over Spam.  Stir around and flip until sauce is carmelized onto the Spam.  Remove from heat.

This is the process for making the musubi:  (shown using Nori seaweed)

Musubi procedure

Cut each sheet of Nori in half.  Lay half a sheet down on a clean paper towel.  Place Musubi press (Spam can) in the center.  Add about a heaping tablespoon of rice and press down.  Add a sprinkle of Furikake.  Place a slice of Spam on top.  Sprinkle with more Furikake and add another heaping tablespoon of rice.  Press it all down firmly and hold down while lifting can off.  Wrap Nori around.  Cut each finished roll on the diagonal and serve.  *Below is what Musubi looks like without the seaweed wrapper.  I wrapped my musubi up in plastic and refrigerated them overnight.  The next day I removed from fridge, peeled off the Nori, and cut them into bite-size slices.  Much better!

Spam Musubi naked

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HAWAIIAN SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE

5 medium Sweet Potatoes, baked in 350*F oven for 1 hour, until soft

2 green bananas, diced

1 cup diced and crushed fresh pineapple

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 Tbsp butter, melted

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp salt

 Juice of 1 lime (also the zest)

2 Tbsp Cocunut syrup (may substitute honey)

1 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup crushed macadamia nuts

After potatoes have cooled, peel the skins off and discard skins.  Slice the potatoes into inch thick slices and lay in a single layer in a buttered oblong baking dish.  Sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and drizzle with melted butter.  Add a layer of pineapple and bananas.  Press down with a spatula to mash the potatoes slightly.  Mix lime juice with coconut syrup and pour over potatoes evenly.  Sprinkle with coconut and macadamia nuts in an even layer.  Cover and bake in a 300*F oven for about 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake another 15 mintues until toasted on top.  You can also broil the dish for a few minutes to toast the top if you wish.

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HAWAIIAN LONG RICE  (MrsH’s super easy version)

Cook a box of Pad Thai rice noodles as directed on package.  Drain off most of the water, but leave the noodles a little soupy.  Add a can of Campbells Creamy Chicken soup to the noodles and stir to mix.  Serve with chopped green onion for garnish.

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GRILLED PINEAPPLE

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Dessert

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ISLANDER’S COCONUT CREAM PIE

1 prepared pie crust, baked as directed for cream pies

1 package of vanilla pudding, the kind that cooks, not instant

1 package coconut flakes

1 container of Cool Whip with 1 tsp. rum mixed in

Broken, slivered almonds

Cook pudding as package directs using 1/2 cup less liquid.  Add 1 cup of the flaked coconut to the pudding and stir to mix.  Pour into prepared crust and spread to fill evenly.  Chill until set.  Spread Cool Whip over pudding in piecrust.  Sprinkle 1/4 cup of flaked coconut and then almonds over the top.  Chill to set.

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HAWAIIAN PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

Ingredients

1 8-oz can Dole pineapple slices, drained  (reserve juice for serving)

1 stick butter

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

6 maraschino cherries, halved

In an large oblong cake pan melt butter and stir in brown sugar.  Arrange pineapple slices next to each other in three rows of four. Place a half of a cherry in the center of each pineapple.

Cake Ingredients

2 ½ cups All-Purpose flour

3 tsp. Baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 stick butter, softened

2 cups sugar

2 tsp Vanilla

2 eggs

1 ½ cups milk (or substitute Coconut Milk)

Combine dry ingredients and set aside.  Beat softened butter with sugar and vanilla.  Add eggs one at a time beating after each.  Stir in dry ingredients and milk.  Beat with a mixer until thick and creamy.  Pour over pineapple slices in large baking pan.  Bake at 375 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes.  Cool 5 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate.  Serve warm.  If you desire your cake a little more moist, drizzle with reserved pineapple juice.

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Beverages

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Iced Thai Tea, my latest addiction!!!!!

THAI TEA

1 pkg Thai Black Tea bags (available at World Market)

Water

Sweetener (sugar, agave nectar, honey, Stevia, as you prefer)

Half & Half

Place 8 teabags and 8 cups of water in a saucepot and bring just to the steaming point on high heat on the stovetop, and then remove from heat. Cover and let steep for 15 minutes.  The tea will become dark orange colored.  Add whatever choice of sweetener to taste, I like this tea a little on the sweet side.  When the tea has cooled, pour it into a pitcher and chill in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

To serve:  Pour tea over ice in a tall glass.  Gently add Half & Half by the Tablespoonfuls until the top 1/4 of the glass is filled.  Add a straw and serve.  Let guests stir the cream into the tea before drinking.

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TROPICAL SMOOTHIES

Ingredients

1/2 ripe mango (peeled and seeded)

 1/2 ripe papaya (peeled and seeded)

 1 ripe banana

 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

 1/2 cup Cream of Coconut

 1/4 cup plain or vanilla yogurt

 1 tsp. honey

 2 cups ice

Directions

In a blender, mix mango, papaya, banana, orange juice, coconut cream, yogurt, honey, and ice. Blend until velvety.  Serve in martini glasses and garnish with mini skewers of pineapple chunks.

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Other Adult Beverage options: 

Fire Rock Pale Ale (beer) or Spearhead Pale Ale

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Cocktails

FROZEN MAI TAI

1 cup of ice

1 oz. light rum

1/2 oz. dark rum

1/2 oz. Apricot Brandy

1/2 cup fresh or canned pineapple

Splash of sour mix & Splash of orange juice

Blend all ingredients in a blender for 4 seconds on low speed.  Garnish with lime and orange slices, and a little paper umbrella. I f you want to make it non-alcoholic just use 1/2 tsp of brandy flavoring  and 1 1/2 tsp of rum flavoring in a half a cup of soda water with the other ingredients.

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CAPTAIN MORGAN’S Piña COLADA

1/2 cup ice

2 oz. light rum

2 Tablespoons Cream of Coconut

1/2 fresh or canned pineapple

1 Tablespoon vanilla ice cream

Pineapple chunks, cherries, umbrellas for garnish

In blender blend until smooth.  If too thick add fruit or juice.  If too thin add ice or ice cream.  Garnish with Pineapple and Cherry, and a little paper umbrella.  You can use a mix to make these if you would rather… and you can make them non-alcoholic by substituting rum flavoring and soda water.

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Traditional Island games

Walk on Hot Coals

Dig a shallow pit about three feet wide by six feet long and fill it with charcoals.  Add starter fluid to get the charcoals burning.  Cover them completely with medium-sized smooth rocks and let the rocks get hot.  Any guests who are brave or foolish enough may hop across the rocks with their bare feet.

 ‘O‘O Ihe  (Spear Throwing)

Spear throwing contests were held to display strength and skill for fighting and food gathering. A target, sometimes the stalk of a banana plant, is set up and contestants stand some 15 feet away and attempt to stick a lightweight wooden spear in it.  Watch the video below, which features spear throwing and other traditional games.

A great alternative for the littler ones would be the inflatable Fish Spearing Game at Party America.com or Party City.com, if they still carry it as of the time of this writing.  If not, this is what it looks like and you can make your own version out of a an old toilet seat (padded and decorated) and a bamboo stick.  Hang it in a tree in the corner of the yard.

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‘Ulu Maika’ (Rolling Stones)

Based on ancient Hawaiian Makahiki games, this game is played similar to horseshoes.  Stones somewhat resembling modern hockey pucks were rolled between stakes on specially prepared courses to test a player’s skills, or rolled down long courses to show strength. One of the best of the remaining ‘ulu maika courses, approximately 500 feet long, is located on the island of Moloka’i.

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Moa Pahe‘e (Dart Sliding)

Using a wooden dart, which resembles a very small bat without the little grip stop on the end (maybe 8” long) with the skinny end and the fat end, you grasp the skinny end and toss the dart like a bowling ball between two stakes.

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Conch Blowing

Blowing a conch shell takes skill: you have to know how to purse your lips, where to place them for the best sound, and how hard to blow. (The sounds made by a novice are hilarious!)

Foot Races

Ancient Hawaiians used to hold foot races to see which warrior was the fastest.  You can hold single person races, three legged races, and backwards running races.  Watch the first video above, under spear throwing, for an example.

“Haka Moa”

Type of Hawaiian Luau fighting.  The contestants do not use their hands, and can only stand on one foot, and try to knock their opponent out of the ring.

Tug O’ War

To play this game you will need a 20’ length of rope, a 6’ length of rope, and a bandana.

Divide your guests into two equal teams.  Choose a large grassy or sandy area to play.  Place the 6’ rope on the ground in the middle of the chosen area.  This marks the centerline.  Have teams line up in single file on either side of the centerline, arms length apart.  Tie the bandana in the center of the 20’ rope and place over the centerline.  Each player grabs the tugging rope and at the signal tries to pull the first member of the other team over the centerline.

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Card Games

HIGO BANA

This is a card game played with special Hana Fuda cards.  I was introduced to it by a friend whose mother was Japanese.  She gave me a set of these cards many, many years ago.  I’ve even forgotten how to play it has been so long.  So I went online to see if I could find the rules.  How thrilling to find that this game is played by native Hawaiians under a different name.  The cards do not have numbers on them, only beautiful pictures, but they have point values.  Along with the rules I found some vendors who sell the cards.

  • Rules to Higo Bana were found at these web sites:

http://www.gamecabinet.com/letters/Hanafuda6.html

http://dspace.dial.pipex.com/town/avenue/pd49/pockets/games/higobana.htm

Compare them for a better understanding of the game.

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Crafts

Make leis  (wikihow)

Make Tiki face masks  (look for ideas on Pinterest and this easy one from Crayola)

Make grass skirts  (wikihow)

Make palm leaf place mats

 

Other Activities

Translate Your Family’s Names into Hawaiian  

There are only 13 letters in the Hawaiian alphabet: A, E, H, I K, L, M, N, O, P, U and W. The consonants H, K, L, M, N, P, and W are pronounced exactly as in English. If a name ends in a consonant, add a vowel. Always place a vowel between consonants. The following conversion table can be helpful in translating names:

Pronunciation of Vowels

A – ah
E – ay
I – ee
O – oh
U – oo

English Consonant

= Hawaiian Consonant

B, F, P P
C, D, G, J, K, S, T, X, Z K
L, R L
V, W W
J, Y I

 

Name Translation Examples:

Colleen = Kaliline                    Gracee = Kalakee                     Patty = Pakaki

Matthew = Makahewe           Carrie = Kalalie

Danielle = Kanielele               Michael = Mikala

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Face Painting

Hawaiian Face Painting

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General Hawaiian Customs

Add some true Island spice to your dinner with genuine Island customs:

Placing a lei over someone’s head is the customary way to welcome or congratulate them.  If the person is close in relationship to you, you would give them a honihoni (kiss) also.  Leis are usually made of flowers, but can also be made of candies or other decorative items.  And when your lei starts to fade and die, don’t toss it in the trash.  It is bad luck to throw a lei away.  A lei is love and you would never throw love away.  Rather cut the string and cast the flowers into the sea or hang the lei outside until it is gone.

I love that it is the custom in Hawaii for young ones to refer to older people as “auntie” or “uncle” when they are old family friends or neighbors of the parents.  That is how we raised our kids to do.  In Hawaii it is appropriate even to address a stranger as “auntie” or “uncle.”  It is friendly yet respectful.

You would never walk into someone’s home in the islands with shoes on.  And it is good manners to bring a small gift with you, possibly a dessert, when visiting someone’s home.  There is a pidgin phrase, “Make Plate” or “Take Plate” that also shows good guest manners.  When you have been invited to share a meal at someone’s home it is customary that you make a plate of food of the leftovers to take home, even if you don’t intend to eat it.  By doing this you are being a good guest and not leaving the mess for the host to clean up and put away.  Many times all the leftovers are packaged up and taken to the homeless.

Unless you are at a sporting event, it is considered rude to talk loudly, or to act like you are entitled to special treatment.  Politeness and reserve are considered a show of good breeding.

Dress is casual, aloha shirts and slacks are worn in place of suits and ties in business, and it is considered rude to stare or look someone in the eye for too long in public places.  And when you go away on a trip it is considered thoughtful to bring back gifts “makana” from your journey.  Most prized are special foods that are unavailable at home.

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I’m so happy you stopped by, and I pray your family supper night is such a huge hit that it becomes a favorite monthly tradition.  God bless!

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“Let love be without hypocrisy…be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another…distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.”   Romans 12:9-13

 

Mrs H’s Tacos

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Mrs H’s Tacos

Get ready for TACO TUESDAY!!!!!!  This might be one of the more coveted recipes in my collection.  I am often asked how I make my tacos.  It is also a frequent request for Family Supper night by daughter, son-in-law, and the grandkids.  It’s one of my husband’s favorite dinners, and really one of my favorites too!!!!  Quick and easy!!!!

Let’s start with the meat

Taco meat

I use 2 lb. of quality ground beef (to feed 4 adults and 2 kids) – a good organic, grass fed, angus beef.  I break it apart in a frying pan and toss while cooking over medium high heat until browned.  Drain off and discard the fat .  I then sprinkle 2 packets of Lawry’s Taco Seasoning Mix over the meat, and then I fill the empty packets with water and pour the water over the seasoning and stir it well into the meat, with the heat turned down to medium low.  To this I add about a half cup of salsa (fresh or canned) and stir that altogether.  I then let the meat simmer on low heat until the tacos are ready to assemble.

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The meat will become drier the longer it simmers.  I personally like it dry so that it doesn’t make the bottom of my tacos soggy.  I don’t like when they fall apart and all the stuffing falls out.

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Pico de gallo

I use about 1 1/2 cup of chopped sweet cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup chopped fresh jalapenos, and 1 cup chopped green onions (or a small sweet white onion if I don’t have green onions on hand), then add about 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, 2 cloves of garlic minced, the juice of two limes, and a sprinkle of salt to taste.  If the jalapenos are really mild, I sometimes add a pinch of cayenne for some kick.

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Toppings

I chop one whole bunch of Romaine lettuce into small shreds.

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I like to shred my own cheese (pepper jack) when I’m feeling ambitious, but often use a Mexican cheese blend that is pre-shredded already.

Taco Shells

Taco Shells

I buy the small Old El Paso brand taco shells (2 pkgs to feed my family of 4 adults and 2 kids because the men will easily eat 6 tacos apiece or more).

Taco Shells in oven

I preheat my oven to 360*F, and set the shells in a baking pan.  When the oven is ready I pop the pan of shells in for about 6 minutes, or whatever time is recommended on the package.  This is an important step because it makes the shells nice and crispy!!!

 

 

Taco Sauce

I actually use a variety of sauces.  I like to try new ones.  The green tomatillo Herdez or La Costena hot sauces (medium) are both really good standbys.  I like the Taco Bell hot sauce (Diablo), and the DelPrimo sauces are all good.  But my favorite of recent is El Gallo flame roasted Jalapeno.  It comes in a bag with a little screw top spout (medium).

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To assemble the tacos I remove the shells from the oven and quickly fill them with meat, dispersing it evenly among the shells.  I sprinkle cheese over the meat in each shell, and then add the lettuce.  They each then get a spoonful of my fresh Pico and a generous pour of tomatillo taco sauce.  That’s it!  Mmmmmm…. let’s eat!!!!!!

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Now some people might like to add chopped black olives, maybe some sour cream, possibly some sliced avacado, and that’s all good, but personally, I can’t bear to mess with perfection.

If you’d like to add a couple of sides, I love charros or refries and Mexican Rice.  And you can never go wrong with Sopapilla Cheesecake for dessert!!!!!  Hubby washes his meal down with a good Modelo cerveza!  I just like iced tea.  Gracee will take a Margarita, if I make her one, and the kids like horchata.

Hey, while we are enjoying our Family Supper, may I share with you from the book One Year of Dinner Table Devotions & Discussion starters by Nancy Guthrie (published by Tyndale)?

 

Devotion

A Gringo Tamalada, Ole!

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A Gringo Tamalada, Ole!

While the rest of my fellow “gringos” are having “Ugly Sweater” parties, Cookie Exchanges, and Gift Wrapping/Mulled-Wine drinking parties for Christmas wouldn’t it be fun to host a TAMALADA just to be different?

I recently tried my hand at making Tamales, and to my delight they turned out, and were actually delicious (thank God), but boy howdy were they a ton of work. Took me ALL DAY! I’m absolutely addicted to tamales at Christmas, but I’m thinking if I ever decide to make them again I will want to make a party out of it, because many hands make light work. So here’s what I’m thinking…

Who to invite? Hmmm, well they’ll need to be reliable guests, who promise to make their dish and show up for the assembly process.

I could send them each a recipe card, after they RSVP and volunteer for a portion of the tamale-making they want to do. The host (which will be me, if I manage to muster the courage to actually do this) will provide snacks, and beverages – I’m thinking some fun drink choices would be Sangria; a Hot-Mexican-Chocolate Bar; Horchata Smoothies; and blended Margaritas. I’ll need to remember to find a good Latino Christmas Album or two or three to play for ambiance during the party, and also dig out an entertaining game to go with the party, that we can play while we’re waiting for the first batch of tamales to come out of the steamers. A couple of my favorites are Mexican Train (dominoes) and Canasta (cards)!

Or, if my family/friends want to bring their Christmas cards, stamps, address labels, and stationery we could get our Christmas cards ready to mail out while we wait for tamales, and we can snack and visit while we write and fold and lick and stamp! Make it kind of a working Tamale party! I can offer this on the invitations, and then discuss it with everybody when they RSVP.

Here’s how I’m thinking we can split up the cooking…

Guests #1, 2, & 3 could each make a 3-lb pork roast (half of the recipe listed below) and shred it, discarding any bone or cartilage, and reserving and bringing the strained pork broth to the party.

Pork for Tamales Tamalada Party recipe card

Printable Recipe Card

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Guest #4 could make the Chili sauce up to the point of adding the broth and blending it, and bring the cooked chilies with them to the party.

Red Sauce Tamalada Party recipe card

Printable Recipe Card

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HOST: could prepare corn husks

Boiled corn husks

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Guest #5 could make the Masa, up to the point of adding the broth and mixing, and bring it to the party

Masa Tamalada Party recipe card

Printable Recipe Card

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Click this link for a FREE PRINTABLE of the Recipe cards for Tamalada!

(((((-Full recipes are further down on this page-)))))

My Tamalada Invitation

Printable Invitation

Click this LINK for the printable Tamalada Invitation!

So, I know from experience that it’s going to take at least 4 hours to make the finishing touches on the meat and masa, then assemble, and steam the tamales. So I’ll plan my party accordingly when filling out the details on the invitation. Maybe I should have it on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon?

Once my guests have RSVP’d and volunteered for the dish they want to make, I’ll send them out the recipe card for their items (shown above, in case you missed them).

((((( Click here for the FREE PRINTABLE Recipe cards for Tamalada! )))))

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PREPARING FOR MY PARTY:

Buy whatever groceries and beverages I’ll need and give myself time to prepare them before the party.

Set up a station for the final masa preparation. I will need counter space, a large bowl, a mixer, and a cup of warm water to test the masa in.

Set up a work station for the final preparation of the red sauce. I will need a large sauce pot for the stove, and a blender or food processor. Someone will be making a roux in the sauce pot, and another person will be blending the red sauce (softened chilies and broth from pork). The pork and the red sauce will be added to the roux.

I’ll set up a large table for assembly. Place the ingredients down the center of my table, the husks next to the masa, the masa next to the meat, and finally a cookie sheet at the end to pile the tamales on. I’ll put a person at each ingredient and we’ll pass each tamal along. They’ll go together pretty quick. I will need some clean kitchen towels and possibly a roll of paper towels, also a masa spreader or spatula, a spoon to measure the masa, a spoon to measure the meat, and a large cookie sheet. And afterward some tin foil to wrap the tamales in for sending home or freezing.

Make room in my refrigerator for whatever uncooked tamales, and whatever else needs refrigerated.

Set up the steamer pots (illustrated below). I will need two large canner size pots with lids and a steamer basket for each inside. I will also need two clean kitchen towels and water for those.

Set up a beverage station with various beverages as mentioned earlier. I can set up a hot cocoa bar, I can also set out a large thermos of blended Margaritas, and a pitcher of Sangria. I might also want to set out some iced tea and water and a cooler of ice, and a variety of glasses and mugs.

Set up an appetizer/snack table where guests can nibble as we wait for the tamales to cook. Decide what appetizers I will serve at my party, and have them ready when guests arrive. I will need serving plates, bowls, spoons, etc. I might want to have a pretty tablecloth for this table, and some festive table decorations.

Set up the music that I will have playing in the background of my party.

Set out a couple of game choices (mentioned earlier), so that once the tamales are all assembled, and the table has been cleared, we can start having some fun. Or if we all prefer doing Christmas cards, I will need to *be sure to note this in my party reminder call, so my guests will know to bring their supplies!

Of course I’ll want a clean house, a spotless kitchen, and a tidy bathroom at least. Ugh! Sometimes this keeps me from throwing parties! My house is truly never clean enough.  Oh suck it up girl, get to scrubbin’ it’s gonna be fun!!!!!!!!!

A day or two before the party I can send a reminder via Text/eMail/Phonecall, so my guests will know if we’ll be doing Christmas cards during the party, or just playing games and eating. They might need the prodding for the dish they are making too!

Day of the party designate various ASSEMBLY LINE jobs:

Someone to wash all the dirty dishes and clean counters (my least fav job)

Someone to make the roux, and mix the meat with the sauce

Someone to finish making the red sauce

Someone to finish making the masa

Assembly line Husk Person, who will dry and pass the husks

Assembly line Masa Spreader person

Assembly line Meat person, who will also wrap tamales

Tamale tie person, who will tear off strips of husk to tie around tamales and stack them on a cookie sheet

And finally someone to set up and load steamers, and babysit them with water

Full RECIPES

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Pork for Tamales

2 3-lb pkgs Pork Carnitas or a shoulder roast

1 large onion, chopped

5 cloves garlic, broken in pieces

3 jalapenos, chopped

1 Tbsp salt

Enough water to cover

DO AT HOME: Place pork roast, onion, garlic, and salt in a large pot. Cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer over medium heat until pork is very tender, about 3 hours. Remove pork from water and shred. Store in a Ziploc bag and keep in refrigerator for up to a day, until ready to use. Strain liquid and reserve for use in making the red sauce and the masa. Place in sealed jars in refrigerator for up to a day. Skim the fat off the broth and place it in a separate ziploc bag to use for the roux. Bring the pork, broth, and skimmed fat to the party.

Carnitas Pork

DO AT THE PARTY: Once at the party someone will need to make a roux (see recipe below) and then the pulled pork can be combined with the roux and the red sauce.

chili cascavel

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Red Sauce

4 ounces California (or Cascavel) chile pods, seeds and stems removed

4 ounces New Mexico chile pods, seeds and stems removed

1 1/4 cup reserved pork broth

1 1/4 cup water

1 Tbsp salt

3 cloves garlic, broken in pieces

1 heaping teaspoon ground cumin seeds

DO AT HOME: Toast chilies in a hot skillet over medium high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until fragrant. Rinse chile pods. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add rinsed chile pods and cook until chile pods are softened, about 15 minutes. Drain water off chilies and discard the water. Add salt, garlic, and ground cumin. Seal in a plastic bag until ready to blend at the party. This can be done up to a day ahead.

DO AT THE PARTY: Pour chilies, broth, and water into a blender and blend until smooth. Place in large kettle until ready to mix with the pork.

Roux: Someone will need to make a roux using ½ cup lard, reserved from roast, and ½ cup flour. Cook on the stove, stirring continually until peanut butter colored. Toss in the pork and red sauce and mix well. I also like to chop another jalapeno or two to add to the meat. Cover and refrigerate, or if near to being ready to assemble, place on the assembly line.

Pork mixed with red sauce

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Masa

2 pounds Manteca lard, divided

2 teaspoons baking powder, divided

2 tablespoons salt, divided

5 pounds ground masa harina, divided

2 to 3 cups broth reserved from cooked pork roast (or chicken broth), divided

½ bunch Cilantro, finely minced

Small white onion, very finely minced

½ cup Tomatillo Salsa, or Salsa Verde

Reserved pork broth with skimmed fat

DO AT HOME: Place 1 pound of lard in a KitchenAid® Stand Mixer and mix until fluffy, scraping sides so the lard stays in the center of the mixing bowl. (The flat beater is the ideal accessory for mixing.) Add half the baking powder and half the salt to the lard and mix together. Add half the masa harina and mix together. Seal in a ziploc bag in the fridge.

Now do the other half of the same ingredients, and store in the fridge in a ziploc bag for up to a day. Please bring to room temp before bringing to the party.

DO AT THE PARTY: Place one room temperature batch of the masa in a large bowl. Slowly add half the broth, half the onion and cilantro, and half the salsa verde, to and mix until combined. The mixture should be about the consistency of smooth peanut butter. If not, add more broth as necessary. Test the masa by taking a small piece (1/2 teaspoon) and dropping it into a cup of warm water. If it floats it is ready; if it sinks, add a little more lard, beat for another minute and test it again. Repeat this process until the masa floats. Cover and set on the assembly table.

Repeat the process with the remaining batch of masa.

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Corn Husks

DO AT HOME: Take husks from package and rinse well in the sink, removing any silks or debris. Fill a large stock pot with water and press the clean husks down to submerge them. Bring water to a boil and soak husks in gently boiling water for about 1 hour. You may need to flip the stack occasionally so the top ones get pliable. Drain water from husks but keep husks in the kettle with the lid on.

DO AT THE PARTY: Set warm, soaked husks, in covered pot on the assembly table. Keep a clean kitchen towel nearby to dry the husks just before spreading them with masa, otherwise the masa won’t stick.

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ASSEMBLY LINE

Tamale Assembly Station

Place the husks, masa, meat, and cookie sheet down the center of a table, and seat my guests all around it, except the guest who volunteered to do the mountain of dirty dishes. Assembly will start with corn husks being dried off and passed to the masa person next to them, that person will spread it with masa and pass it to the meat person next to them; that person will top it with meat and wrap it and hand it across to the tie person; that person will tear off a little strip from a boiled husk and use it to tie around the tamal and lay on the cookie sheet. Once the cookie sheet is full and heaping, the last person (ME) will pack the tamales vertically in the steamer with the open end up and start them steaming.

Assembly Line

SPREADING THE MASA: Place the wide end of the husk on the palm of your hand (or on the flat work surface), narrow end is at the top. Starting at the middle of the husk spread 2 tablespoons of the masa with a spatula or masa spreader in a rectangle shape, using a downward motion towards the wide-bottom edge. Do not spread the masa to the ends; leave about a 2-inch border on the left and right sides of the husk. Pass to the person with the meat (or other) filling. There is too wide of a swath of masa on this husk shown below, and also it’s not quite thick enough. You only need enough masa to wrap around the meat and a little extra to hold the husk closed.

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ADDING THE MEAT: Spoon 1 1/2 tablespoons of your chosen filling down the center of the masa. (When I ran out of meat filling and still had masa, I started making Pepper Jack Cheese and Jalapeno filling. Fold both sides of hust to the center over the top of the meat; finish off by bringing the pointed end of the husk toward the filled end. Pass tamale to the person who will tie the tamales closed.

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TAMALE TIE PERSON: Make sure each tamal is snuggly closed and will not open during steaming. You can secure by tying a thin strip of corn husk around each tamal. This will keep the tamal from unwrapping during the steaming process, especially if the husk is too thick and will not stay folded. Stack wrapped tamales on a cookie sheet.

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HOST: Prepare the steamer pots… (You will also load the steamer pots)

Steamer Pot

This is my tamale steamer. I can only fill water up to the little rack, but not above it, and start it simmering on the stove. The steamer pot needs to be tall enough for our tamales to sit up vertically above the water and still fit the lid on. (If you don’t have a double boiler, you can improvise like I have. All mine is, is a round cooling rack setting on top of a brick, which I’ve washed several times in the dishwasher, or I could also use a small colander placed down into the bottom of my soup kettle and my rack on top. This set up works perfectly. Each steamer will need to have a clean kitchen towel and a lid.

When a cookie sheet of tamales is piled up high, they can be loaded in the steamer…

Fill the top part of the steamer with tamales. Stand the tamales up vertically, open ends up and folded ends at the bottom, and make sure the folded part is either tied up, or held in place with another tamal. Pack the tamales snug enough so that they won’t fall over during cooking, but not so tight that the steam can’t get in around them. In other words, don’t cram and squish them as tight as they will go, but let there be too much space or they will collapse and mush over. If there are not enough tamales to fill the steamer, use canning jars to take up the spaces so the tamales don’t fall over.

Turn heat up on the water until it boils. Cover the tamales with a clean kitchen towel and then the lid of the pot. Turn the heat down to medium so that it stays gently boiling, but not raging boiling. Set timer for 2 hours. Check every 20 to 30 minutes or so to make sure the water is not boiling dry, and add boiling water as necessary. Make sure the tamales are above the water line and that the bottoms are not siting in water at all.

Steaming tamales

Tamales will need to steam for 2 hours or more. After 2 hours we can test for doneness. Remove one tamale and check if the masa holds together and slips easily off the husk. If so, it is done, if not it needs to steam some more. Check again in 15 minutes when I check the water level.

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When a batch of tamales is done they can be eaten right away, or wrapped in foil (1 dozen at a time) and refrigerated or frozen for later.

cooked tamales

Divide the wrapped dozens of tamales among the guests. There should be about 1-2 dozen per guest.

You will want to eat some at the party!!!! There are lots of ways to eat tamales. Some like them topped with just a little of the red sauce, which you can make another batch of while the tamales are steaming. I like mine all different ways. Straight out of the steamer and burning my fingers and tongue as I shove them into my mouth, or if I have all the toppings on hand for Tortilla Soup or Carnitas tacos, I like all of those (minus the tortilla strips) on top of my tamales. I also like them with salsa verde, chopped onions, cilantro, and jalapenos, and a little dallop of sour cream (as pictured below). And I also like them loaded up with red sauce, pepper-jack cheese, black olives, corn and black bean salsa, shredded lettuce and pico de gallo. There is just about no wrong way to eat a tamale.

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So there you have it. Sound like fun to you? I’m pretty sure all my Mexican friends reading this are laughing at my gringo-ness; all having hosted and attended a hundred Tamaladas, so hopefully one of you will take pity on me and invite me to your next one, to show me how it’s done! My hat’s off to whoever invented tamales, for passing on this wonderful food, and to my friends south of the border for keeping going this fun tradition. Feliz Navidad!

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“The LORD of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain; a banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow, and refined, aged wine.” Isaiah 25:6

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Mrs H’s Indian Fry Bread Tacos

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Mrs H’s Indian Fry Bread Tacos

In case you missed this recipe, featured recently in A Native Thanksgiving, here’s a re-run of it all by itself, because it is just too delicious to miss.

There are several ways to make the fry bread. My grandmother used her homemade yeast bread recipe and then divided it into dinner roll size pieces. She pulled those into little robe shapes and gave them a little twist before frying. She called it “Squaw Bread” and I could have honestly eaten the whole stinking batch every time she made it. Nothing better than hot fried bread, unless of course it is hot fried bread rolled in cinnamon and sugar, which she also sometimes did.

You can save yourself a lot of work by just using Rhodes Yeast Rolls that come frozen in the grocery store. Thaw them and then fry them. It’s that easy!

The Native way is also very easy and delicious. This is the recipe:

Fry Bread (2)

FRYBREAD

This recipe makes 7-8 small ones

Ingredients

2 cups flour

3 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 cup milk

Deep hot fat in fry pan or fryer

Directions:

Sift dry ingredients. Stir in milk. Kneed and work the dough on a floured board with floured hands until smooth. Divide the dough into eight pieces and shape into flat disk shapes, with a depression in the center. Fry in deep fat (about 375°) until golden and done on both sides, about 5 minutes. Drain on absorbent paper.

Fry Bread Taco mrsh

INDIAN FRYBREAD TACOS

6 servings

Frybread tacos are very much like the Elephant Ear tacos that we used to get at the carnival when the rodeo was in town. Very easy and one of my favorite things to eat. If I have leftover homemade chili I use it in place of the meat recipe here. And when I can’t find Anasazi beans, and I’m in a hurry, I just substitute canned pintos.

Ingredients

6 pieces Indian Frybread — about 6” in diameter

For Chili:

1 lb hamburger

1 big can tomatoes (I used Rotel)

2 Tbsp homemade chile powder (or your favorite packet of Chili seasoning)

salt, pepper to taste

Fry hamburger broken up loose until cooked, then drain fat. Sprinkle some salt and chile powder over it (or use a Chili seasoning packet). Add tomatoes and their juice — break up tomatoes and stir it around. Simmer till meat tender and sauce is thick, 30 – 40 minutes.

Toppings:

1/2 lb cheese grated coarse (Colby/Jack)

1 1/2 c Dried anasazi beans, cooked

1 1/2 c Mache or arugula, washed & stemmed (I substitute Cilantro, chopped)

1 pkg sweet cherry tomatoes, sliced

2 ea Ripe avocados, halved & sliced

1 sm red onion, thinly sliced and diced

1 bunch red radishes, sliced

1 container Golden yellow cherry tomatoes diced

3 ea Green Anaheim (New Mexico) chiles, prepared (I’ve sometimes substituted Poblanos when Anaheims are out of season or unavailable)

1 lg Red bell pepper

Directions:

22448To prepare the anasazi beans, soak overnight in water to cover. The next day, drain the beans and place them in a saucepan with fresh water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and let the beans simmer until the skins break, about 3 hours. It may be necessary to add water as the beans cook to prevent them from burning and sticking. After the beans are cooked, remove from the heat and set aside. You should have about 3 cups cooked beans.

While the beans are cooking, roast, seed, and de-vein the chiles and the bell pepper, and chop each of the veggies. I usually do this early in the day, place each in a ziploc sandwich baggie, and store together in the fridge until I’m ready to serve.

Prepare the Native recipe fry bread while the meat (chili) is cooking.

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To Assemble the tacos, place 1/2 cup cooked beans on each piece of frybread, then a layer of meat mixture, then your choice of the vegetables (I like all of them). Finish with a little Mexican Crema (sour cream), some bottled hot sauce (salsa) on top, and finally a little sprinkle of cheese.

You’ll need a fork and knife to eat this marvelous creation!

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Creamy Poblano Gravy (spicy)

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Creamy Poblano Gravy (spicy)

 

 

It’s funny, the seasons of life, how things have a way of making it around full circle to the exact same place where they started.  For instance, we start off life as little pudgy babies, unable to talk, unable to walk, getting shots, getting sick, wearing diapers, being told what to do, and existing on a mostly liquid diet; and for all the progress we make in our lifetime, we end up right back where we started, in diapers, drinking Ensure, eating mushy stuff, taking meds, being told what to do, and wheeled around wherever we have to go.

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It’s similar in a marriage.  First I learned to cook for two, and then to prepare meals for a whole family, and now here we are back at just two again.  I’m finding it a bit of a challenge to learn to scale things back so I don’t waste food, or blow the budget, trying to keep it healthy, but still tasting good!  I don’t want to feed us Lean Cuisines, or fast food, or frozen pizza every meal, but at the same time, I don’t have the energy or ambition to stand on my feet for hours chopping, measuring, peeling, blanching, boiling, broiling, and then washing, wiping, scouring, scrubbing, and putting back together a totally destroyed kitchen…everyday….for just the two of us.  <sigh>

So I find myself making things like quesadillas out of leftover fill-in-the-blank meat, cheese, and hot peppers; or fish tacos from doggie bag catfish gotten at a local restaurant the night before and some sort of cabbage slaw; or crispy fried SPAM-L-T’s (because I usually have Spam in the pantry and I don’t always have bacon) with a side of raw veggies (because that is healthier than chips, but a lot of times, honestly, it is chips); or this wonderful biscuits and gravy meal I recently came up with.  It’s super easy if you roast your chilies one day, toss them in a bag and into the fridge, and then peel and seed them the next day.

I’m sharing it because Husband said this is the best gravy he’s ever had, and at 61 I guess that’s saying something.  However, it could be that he has just totally forgotten what the best gravy was he had before this.  Which is kind of a perk, the memory loss thing, it can really work to an old lady’s advantage sometimes!  Ha!  But I did also feed it to my daughter, the sweet young thing with a chipper young mind, and she concurred, so there you go, for what that’s worth.

Anyway, this gravy isn’t just good on biscuits.  It would be fantastic on Chicken Fried Steak, pepper steak, mashed potatoes, as a dip for Waffle Fries, Chicken strips, or even just toast, if that’s all you have.  I fried up some bacon (in the oven) and chopped up a couple dozen fresh okra from my garden, along with a cold, leftover baked potato, coated the pieces in cornmeal and then fried them in oil, as sides to our supper.  Perhaps this sounds like “jail food” to you?  Well, wait until you’re my age honey.  You’ll be a LOT less picky.  Hubby and I thought it was GOOD EATS!!!!

 Poblano Gravy ad

Creamy Poblano Gravy

¾ of a stick of butter

2 TBSP bacon drippings

¾ cup flour

¼ tsp Salt Lick dry rub seasoning (which is basically cayenne powder and black pepper)

Melt butter in frying pan, add bacon fat, flour, and seasoning.  Stir to combine, then cook, stirring continuously, over medium high heat for a few minutes.  To this rue add:

1 tsp. chopped jalapeno or serrano (or both if you like it spicy)

2 roasted, peeled, and seeded Poblano Peppers, chopped

4 cups of whole milk, or Half-and-Half

Water (as desired)

Stir until thick and bubbly.  Add water to thin the gravy to your desired thickness.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Poblano Gravy Collage

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“He was known to them in the breaking of bread.”

  Luke 24:35

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4th of July Sopapilla Cheesecake

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4th of July Sopapilla Cheesecake

Sopapilla Cheesecake is my go-to, super-fast-and-easy dessert after any Mexican dishes that I serve for supper (like “Taco Tuesday,” Taco Salad, Tamales, Chicken/Cheese/Beef Enchiladas, Chili Rellenos, Asada Street Tacos, Carnitas, Loaded Nachos, Quesadillas, etc.).  This year I decided it would be a perfect Red, White, and Blue sweet ending to our Independence Day meal, because of the colors, and because I had all the ingredients in my fridge!

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

 

2 (8-oz) pkgs Cream Cheese, softened (room temp)

1 cup sugar

½ tsp Mexican Vanilla (or, if you want to be fancy, you can scrape the seeds from a vanilla bean pod)

Mix together all three ingredients until smooth and thoroughly incorporated.  Set aside.

 

2  (8-oz) tubes Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (or, you can make your own croissant dough)

¾ cup sugar

1 tsp. Cinnamon

½ cup butter, softened (room temp)

¼ cup honey (warm in microwave for about 20 seconds, after baking cheesecake)

Lightly grease a large baking pan (or small high-sided cookie sheet) with a tablespoon of the softened butter.  Unroll one tube of crescent rolls and roll out to fit in the bottom of the greased baking pan/sheet, pinching the perforations together.  Spread the cream cheese mixture over the dough, leaving a small edge of the dough all the way around uncovered (like a pizza).  Unroll the second tube of dough and roll out to fit over the cream cheese layer.  Press down slightly around the edges.  Mix the sugar, cinnamon, and remaining softened butter together into a paste.  Spread over the top layer of dough. 

Bake in a preheated 350 degree (F) oven for about 30 minutes, until puffed and golden.  Remove from oven and drizzle the entire top of the cheesecake with warmed honey.

 

Strawberry Blueberry Compote

(This is what gives the dessert the RED and BLUE  on WHITE treatment)

¼ cup of cold water

Juice and zest of one lemon

½ cup sugar

2 Tbsp Cornstarch

1 pkg frozen strawberries

½ pkg frozen blueberries

Place water, lemon juice and zest, sugar, and cornstarch in a sauce pot on the stove.  Stir to mix the ingredients and then turn heat on medium high.  Add strawberries and bring to a boil, stirring until mixture is thick.  Remove from heat and add blueberries.  Set aside until ready to serve.

 

Cheesecake may be served warm or cold.  My son-in-law loves it warm and gooey.  I think it is delish the next morning after being refrigerated overnight, with a hot, creamy cup of coffee – like a cheese danish.  Mmmmmmm…don’t you?

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The generous soul will be made rich,
And he who waters will also be watered himself.

Proverbs 11:25 NKJV

 

“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” 

Galatians 5:1

 

South Texas Style Chili Rellenos

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South Texas Style Chili Rellenos

The title is kind of a guffaw, actually, and the reason I grin-and-bare that is that when hubby and I first moved to south Texas, and specifically the little town that we’re in, there wasn’t a chili relleno to be had on a single menu; not in a single restaurant in our town.  And when I asked for “green chili” on an omelet for the first time I was met with a puzzled look and a question, “Do you  mean Tomatillo sauce?”  Um, no.

Needless to say, we were terribly disappointed, and bewildered.  How could this be?  Is it that green chilies only migrated north and west from New Mexico and not east?  Maybe they aren’t a Mexican food at all?  Perhaps it was my ignorance that green chilies and Tex-Mex were synonymous? 😞

I’m happy to report that just a couple of years later Hatch green chilies started making an appearance in these parts, and when they did, they made a big appearance.  There are still no Chili Rellenos on the menus in our town, but at least this girl can get the ingredients in our local grocery to make them now, and that’s really all that matters.

And in all fairness, not all of South Texas is a dry Rellenos area; we’ve had them in a few San Antonio restaurants, even though they only barely resemble the authentic Rellenos that first stole my heart.

And, please pardon if I don’t make mine like you do.  This is the way I personally like them.  I’m sure I would love yours, unless you make them with ground beef filling, and then I’ll have to reserve my judgement until I’ve tasted them.  Husband likes the beef filled rellenos, but I dream about cheese filled rellenos and am content to eat those for the rest of my days.

I got my Ranchera Sauce recipe from a gal I stopped in the middle of HEB not long back.  She works in a local restaurant, so I knew she would steer me straight, at least as much of it as I could remember as she rattled her recipe off to me in the midst of my gathering ingredients.  Ha!  I hope I’m making it right. It’s sure tasty, so I’m sticking with it. 😆

First we start with the Ranchera Sauce

Place a stick of butter into a heavy pan and on medium high heat begin melting.  As soon as it is melted add one whole large chopped onion (white or yellow).  Saute the onion until it is translucent, turn heat down to medium and continue sautéing until the onions are caramelized.  This will take quite a while.

Chop 2 jalapenos (stems discarded), and about 6 large plum tomatoes into chunks.  Add them to the caramelized onions and let them cook until softened.  Add a 14-oz can of tomato sauce to the mixture, stir, place a lid, reduce heat to simmer, and let cook until you are ready to batter and fry the rellenos.  I have had the Ranchera sauce served to me chunky several times, so I presume that is the authentic way, but I use a Braun Wand blender tool to whirl the Ranchera into a smooth sauce with no large chunks.

Now, the preparation of the green chilies…

Pick the largest, firmest ones you can find at your grocery.  Bring them home and wash them, and then dry them.  I like the spicy ones.  You might prefer the milder ones.

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roasting chilies

I have a propane flame torch which works pretty darn slick for roasting chilies.  I lay my chilies out on the rack of my outdoor patio firepit, light my torch, and run the flame up and down each chile until they are blistered and black, then I flip the chilies over with tongs and roast the other sides.  Once they are all well blistered on all sides I gather them into a plastic zip bag, seal it, and let the chilies steam inside for about half an hour or so.

If you don’t have one of these nifty little propane gadgets, the oven will work just fine. Move an oven rack up to the highest level of your oven.  Preheat your oven broiler.  Place your washed chilies on a cookie sheet and slide them onto that top rack in the oven.

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Close the oven door (I prop my door open slightly with a wooden spoon – I like to hear my chilies popping and crackling).

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Let the chilies broil on one side long enough for them to become charred and blistered.

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Use tongs to roll them a quarter turn and return to broiler.  Check them often for doneness.  Continue turning and broiling until the chilies skins are blistered and charred all the way around.

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Quickly remove them from the cookie sheet and place them into a large Ziploc freezer bag, and seal it.

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Allow chilies to steam inside the bag for about half an hour, while you prepare the rest of the meal.

NOTE:  I like to serve my Rellenos with homemade refried beans and a cheesy green chili rice.  See those recipes below.  Hint: this would be a great time to start making them now.  This is also a good time to blend your Ranchera sauce and make is smooth.  Keep it simmering on a back burner until ready to serve.

Start about 2 inches of oil getting hot in a deep sided frying pan (…just hot enough that a droplet of water makes it pop and fizzle.  Not hot enough to be smoking.  If you are seeing streaks/waves in your oil, it may be too hot.  Either drop your heat, or add a little more oil to cool it down a bit before adding your chilies).  The pan you use should be large enough that two chilies will fit without touching the sides or each other.

Hot oil

As soon as the green chilies have cooled enough to handle take them to the sink and begin removing the skins.  They should slide right off easily.  If not, be careful not to tear the chili, as it will be hard to keep the filling inside while you are battering it.

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Once the chilies are skinned, make a slight slit along the side near the top stem of each.

cut the chili

Only make it big enough to slide the pieces of cheese inside.  If you wish to remove some of the seeds you  may do that also.  I push the seeds out through the slit.  I don’t mind a few seeds in my rellenos though.  I use Pepper-Jack Cheese.  For 8 to 10 chilies you will need about 1 1/2 8-oz blocks, which I cut into quarter-inch slices and then into quarter inch strips.

DSCN9904cut the cheese

Begin stuffing your chilies with strips of cheese, about 5 or so strips per chili.  Dust the outsides with flour and lay them on a paper towel as you prepare them.  Once all the chilies have been stuffed and floured, you are ready to make your batter.

I beat two eggs and add about a cup of water to them…

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…and then I whisk in some seasoned beer batter mix (part of one bag) until the consistency is about that of thin pancake batter.  The batter should stick to your chilies, but just leave a fairly thin film.  Hold the chili by the stem and dip it into the batter.  Use a fork to sweep batter over the top of the chili and then gently lift the chili out of the batter, with the fork.  Slide it into the hot oil and let it begin frying.  Add another chili and let the two fry together.

Allow the chilies to fry for a few minutes and then use tongs to turn.  The batter should turn a golden color.  Scoop the chilies out of the oil and place on paper towels for a moment to absorb the oil.  Quickly plate them and cover them with simmering Ranchera Sauce.

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Oh my how I love them!!!!!   Now if I could figure out how to feed a crowd all at the same time I’d be in business.  I only know how to make Rellenos for one person at a time.  Hot and fresh.

Chili Rellenos2wBlur

Colleen's Chile Rellenos

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Mama’s Refried Beans

If you’ve made a pot of pinto beans and have leftovers, by all means use them for this.  If not, look for these varieties at your local grocery store.  I used 2 cans of Charro and 1 can of Barracho (which means drunken – notice that they use Shiner beer for this).

First I drained my beans of all the liquid (don’t rinse them).  I melted about 2 Tablespoons of rendered pork fat (you can use lard, or if you have leftover bacon grease that’s actually preferred) in a sauce pan on the stove, and then I added my beans.  I let them just bubble and cook on medium low heat until I was almost ready to serve my meal.  Moments before I was ready to serve I took a potato masher and mashed the beans until they were the desired consistence.  They may be served with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese and some chopped green onion if you like.

NOTE: This also makes a wonderful bean dip, served with tortilla chips for a snack.

DSCN9810Cheesy Green Chili Rice

First I sautéed my rice (1 cup) in about 1/2 a stick of butter in a small sauce pot, on high heat.  After about a minute of continuous stirring, I added 2 cups of hot chicken broth (water and boullion cubes work fine), 1 can of diced green chilies, and a grind of sea salt (you might hold off on this if using boullion).  When the liquid boils, place a lid on the pot and turn the heat down to low.  Simmer for about 20 minutes.  Remove from  heat.  Lift the lid and lay several thin slices of pepper jack cheese (about 1/3 cup shredded) or cream cheese on top of the rice.  Replace the lid and leave covered about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Lift lid and fluff rice with a fork, incorporating the cheese throughout.  If you like it just a little creamier, you may add a splash of Crema, heavy cream, or sour cream, and a sprinkle of cayenne.

“And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts.”  Acts 2:46

Soup’s On!

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Soup’s On!

In this post are my recipes for…

  1. Green Chili
  2. Red Chili
  3. Chicken Tortilla Soup
  4. Creamy Poblano Soup
  5. Farmhouse Potato with bacon and jalapeno
  6. White Bean, Andouille, and Kale Soup
  7. Zuppa Tuscano
  8. Nacho Cheese Soup
  9. Clam Chowder in a bread Boule

It’s that time of year when a bowl of steaming hot soup with a side of hot, fresh baked, heavily buttered, crusty bread not only warms the body, but the heart and soul as well.  I have been asked soooo many times for these soup recipes that I decided to make a place for them here.

My husband says it is impossible for me to make a small batch of anything.  Tis true I suppose.  So, if you find yourself with more soup than you can eat, please wrap some up and take it to a neighbor, or share it with friends in the office, or bring a bowl to your child’s teacher, for lunch on a blustery winter day!

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Mom’s Green Chili

…First we have to make the roast!…

1  8-lb Boston Butt Pork Roast, patted dry and rubbed all over with this dry rub:

1 heaping Tablespoon Chili Powder

1 heaping Tablespoon dried Cumin

1 heaping Tablespoon smoked hot Paprika (Pimenton Picante)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 Tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper mélange

Place roast on grate in roasting pan, cover with foil, and put into a preheated 350°F oven for about an hour.  After an hour, turn the oven temp down to 225°F leave roast in oven to finish baking until meat is falling off the bone, approximately 3 to 6 hours.  I actually leave mine in all day (6 to 8 hours) tightly covered.

I usually always make my green chili from this leftover roast.  After the roast has cooled I pull it apart into large chunks (this is a very fatty roast, and I discard all the fat and bone), wrap the meat up in a freezer zip-bag and either put it in the fridge for the next day, or in the freezer, to make my next batch of Green Chili (recipe follows).

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dscn9111Mom’s Spicy Red Chili 

  • 3 lbs ground beef (I sometimes switch out one pound with ground bison, or you could use venison)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3  (14-oz) cans diced fire roasted tomatoes (reduced or NO sodium)
  • 3 (14-oz) cans of low-sodium chicken broth (I use the empty tomatoes can to measure my broth from a larger carton)
  • 3 (14-oz) cans of low-sodium beef stock (again, I use my empty tomatoes can to measure my stock from a larger carton)
  • 9 Tbsp of chili powder (added at different intervals)  (I make my own; it’s sooooo much better than anything you can buy at the market – see recipe below)
  • 3 Tbsp of yellow corn meal or fine masa flour (used to make tamales)
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, mashed and minced

In a large, high-sided frying pan, or dutch oven, fry burger meat on medium high heat until cooked through.  Remove from heat.  Drain off excess fat. Return dutch oven to medium high heat and add onion to the ground meat.  Stir and cook together a few minutes.  Dump in the tomatoes, chicken and beef stocks, garlic, 6 spoonsful of the chili powder, and then the corn meal.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer.  Cover and let cook for 1 hour.

Remove lid, stir, and add 2-3 more spoonsful of chili powder.  Taste for seasoning.  If a soupier chili is desired, add a tomato can full of water.  If you want a thicker chili, stir in a tablespoon or two more of masa.  Stir, replace lid and let cook another 30 minutes.  Taste to make sure it is yummy before serving.  Add a can or two of drained rinsed beans if desired.  I like to add 1 (14-oz) can of pintos and 1  (14-oz) can of red beans.

Serve with crackers (I have to spread real butter on mine) or cornbread (I usually always make a Mexican style cornbread – I use a honey cornbread mix and add shredded cheese, diced onion, and diced jalapeno to the mix).  Chili may be served with any of the following toppings: crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese, chopped red or green onions, diced jalapenos, a dallop of sour cream, etc.   This recipe makes a lot, but you can use the leftovers to make Frito Pies, Chili-cheese Dogs, and Hay Stacks.

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Colleen’s Homemade Chili Powder

  • 3 Ancho Chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and torn into small pieces
  • 3 Cascabel/Guajillo chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and torn
  • 4 Arbol/Cayenne chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and torn
  • 2 Pasilla chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and torn
  • 2 New Mexico Red chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and torn
  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon dried Mexican Oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon hot Paprika
  • Chili Pequin (I crush about 10 of these little guys seperately and only add it when I can really bring the heat – and otherwise it can be added to individual bowls)

Place the chiles and cumin seeds in a saute pan or cast iron skillet and toast over medium heat about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and place in a glass bowl to cool completely.  Once cool, place in a blender (my Bullet is perfect), along with the other ingredients and process until a fine powder. Allow the powder to settle for several minutes before lifting the lid.  Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.  Use for making chili, to season Mexican Street Corn, or as an ingredient in BBQ sauces and dry rubs.

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Mom’s Chicken Tortilla Soup (mildly spicy)

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Mom’s Creamy Poblano Soup (spicy)

Let me start with my prep work on this one.  First, I grow my own Poblano Chilies in my garden, and in the fall/early winter when the weather calls for frost I harvest everything and hurry and preserve it, either by drying or freezing.

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After (1) picking my Poblanos and (2) washing them, I (3) roast them in the oven until the skins are charred and bubbled all the way around, then I (4) seal them in plastic bags and let them sit until I am done with all my roasting.  Finally I (5) put on a pair of latex gloves and begin sliding the skins off, pulling the stems out, and wiping all the seeds from the insides.

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Then I fold each chili in half and tuck them inside a freezer zip-bag, about 15 chilies to a bag, squeeze all the air out, zip the bags closed, fold the bags over, and tuck about three bags of the chilies into another zip-bag.  Then I stash these bags in my freezer for soup all winter long (or until they run out).

Recipe:

8 cups Chicken Broth (I’m kind of an organic girl, so if I can’t find organic broth I usually make my own)

2 large Yukon gold potatoes, diced

2 large onions, diced

Kernels from 6 cobs of sweet corn

1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste

1 stick of butter

4 cloves of garlic

¼ cup fresh parsley

Bring broth to a boil and add all the ingredients after that.  Cook until tender.  Add:

15 processed Poblano Chilies (as described above)

Whirl contents of the soup pot in a blender until smooth, then return to the soup pot and add:

6 cups Heavy Cream (or 3 cups heavy cream and 3 cups Half-and-half)

Let this simmer on the stove until ready to serve.  When ready to serve, ladle soup into bowls and garnish with shredded Pepper Jack cheese. 

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Mom’s Creamy Farmhouse Potato Soup, with Bacon and Jalapenos

12 medium potatoes (I actually prefer russets for this soup, plus they keep better so I usually have them on hand), peeled and cut into bite-size chunks

1 large white onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 ribs of celery, chopped

2 to 3 Jalapenos, finely minced (if your jalapenos are mild, use more, if spicy use less, to taste)

1 large (48-oz) container of chicken broth

2 small or 1 large can of Cream of Chicken soup (I prefer Campbells)

1 stick of butter

2 cups of whole milk

1 8-oz package Cream Cheese, at room temp

Salt & Pepper to taste

Fry bacon either while soup cooks, or before starting the soup.  Lay on paper towels, and set aside.  Place potatoes, onion, garlic, celery, and jalapenos in a large soup pot.  Add the chicken broth and enough water to cover the potatoes about one inch over.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Turn heat down to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes depending on the size of the chunks.  Add all of the remaining ingredients and stir until blended and cream cheese is melted and fully incorporated.  Taste, and add salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a steaming simmer, stirring occasionally so the bottom of the soup doesn’t stick and burn.  Ladle into bowls and garnish just before serving!  Make the garnish pretty by first adding a dollop of sour cream to the center, then sprinkle with crumbled bacon, shredded cheese, and chopped green onion (and pass the diced jalapeno for those who want a little more heat).  Bon appetite!

Garnishes:

Sour cream

½ lb crispy fried bacon

Shredded Cheddar Cheese

1 bunch green onions, chopped

Fresh chopped Parsley

2 large jalapenos, minced

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20170219_152315-1Mom’s Spicy White Bean, Andouille, and Kale Soup

This is one of those soups that I make for my daughter.  She and I LOVE this soup, especially on a cold winter day (when we can lounge in our jammies and eat and watch a marathon of something on TV).  My crazy husband is not a fan of Kale, or really anything green-leafy and floating in his soup, so this is a special treat for when he is out-of-town and the girls and I can have a girl’s night! 

1 pkg Andouille sausage (if you can find the semi-hard Chorizo, that works too, or even a jalapeno smoked sausage), cut into bite-size pieces

2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into small chunks

½ white onion, chopped

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 finely minced Poblano chile

4 cups Chicken broth

1 14.5-oz can fire-roasted tomatoes

1 bunch of kale (fresh, raw, and washed well, stems chopped off and discarded), torn roughly into bite-size pieces  – I love Kale, so for me moooore is better!!!!

1 14-oz can Cannellini beans, drained and washed (Garbanzo’s will also work)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Fry the sausage in a heavy soup pot until crispy on the edges.  Toss in the potatoes, onions, garlic, and poblano.  Saute for a few moments and then add the chicken broth and tomatoes.  Simmer for about 20 minutes, and then add the kale.  Taste it and add salt to taste.  Grind some pepper also to taste.  Simmer another 20 minutes and add the beans.  Allow them to heat through.  When steaming hot, serve with warm, crusty bread slathered in fresh, creamery butter.  Oh Lord, I’ve died and gone to heaven!!!!

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Mom’s Zuppa Tuscano (spicy)

I found this recipe online, published by Big Oven, and tweaked it to make it my own.

1 lb Italian sausage (my grocery meat dept. has parmesan and something else Italian meatballs that I brown and chop up, plus the Italian sausage in casings – which I remove from the casings, brown and break up)

1 tsp red pepper flakes; (I grow all sorts of hot peppers in my garden– Hungarian paprika, cayenne, poblano, serrano, jalapeno, thai hots, habanero, etc. – and dry them and grind them into powder.  This is what I use in my soup.)

3 large russet potatoes, cut into chunks

1 large onion, diced

1 lb. bacon, chopped (I cook mine crispy the day before, wrap it in paper towel, and place in a plastic bag in the fridge. Unlike Big Oven, I don’t add it to the soup until after I’ve added the kale and cream)

4 garlic cloves; minced (I use the biggest outside ones)

3 cups kale, chopped (I’m sorry, I really never measure this, I just add until it looks good, probably more than 3 cups because I LOVE Kale).  Remove the tough ribs and tear the leaves roughly.  Rinse really well.

2 boxes (32 oz ea) chicken broth

2 cups water

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

Liberal sprinkling of white pepper

(I add about a ¼ tsp of my *special chili pequin and pepper mélange seasoning also)

Original recipe makes 10 Servings.  Cook Bacon ahead of time and have ready.  Sauté Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in a pot. Drain excess fat, remove sausage and set aside. In the same pan, sauté onions and garlic (I cooked mine in a little butter). Sauté for approximately 5 mins. or until the onions are soft. Add the chicken stock and water. Bring to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until soft, about 15-20 minutes. Add kale during the last 5 minutes. Add heavy cream and the cooked sausage and cook until heated through. Add white pepper to taste.

If you want the soup a little thicker, you can make a blonde roux in a separate pan and incorporate it into the soup. I make my own *spice mixture of ground pepper mélange, ground chili pequin, and kosher salt and I sprinkle my portion with it just before serving. I also add some to the soup, but careful not to overload, it in case some folks were sensitive to the spice. The soup is especially good when served with warm, buttered crusty bread!

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Mom’s Spicy Nacho Cheese Soup

1 gallon can of Nacho (or Cheddar) Cheese

2 cups Chicken broth

4 cups water

1 Poblano chili, diced

6 ribs of celery, diced

2 cups of ham, diced

1 small white onion, minced

Place all ingredients in a large crockpot, cover and cook on high for 2 to 3 hours, or until celery and onion are tender and soup is piping hot.  Great served with Panini sandwiches!

Serving Suggestion:

Thin sliced Italian Bread, brushed with olive oil on one side

Fillings:

Mozzarella

Provolone

Heirloom Tomatoes

Prosciutto

Pepperoni

Fresh basil

Roasted red peppers

Portabella mushrooms

Spinach

Arugula

And whatever else makes your tongue dance

Put your sandwiches together, olive oiled sides out, and then grill in a Panini press.  I don’t personally own a Panini press, but the George Foreman grill works pretty well if you clamp it down.

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Colleen’s Clam Chowder

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Colleen’s Clam Chowder, served in a fresh sour dough bread boule from the bakery!  Toast the lid and drizzle it with garlic butter for an added treat!

 

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May our soup bowls be deep and our friends plentious!!!!

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“And one day Jacob was cooking some soup when Esau came in from the fields in great need of food”  Genesis 25:29