Wednesday, January 6, 2016

October Road - Chicken, Sweet Potato and Kale Hash

Oh, how I love Fall! I know, I have said it a million times. I find it funny when I hear people say they don't like Fall because I tend to take it very personally, as if they have just insulted my first born or cut me off while driving. I always feel like I need to pull up a chair and present them with my bullet points highlights of Fall and why it is the best season.
This season we have been trying a few new "healthier" things in my house like turkey bacon and quiona. Not that anything has been a huge sacrifice or major bust, but I usually hold my breath the first few minutes of dinner time in preparation for a plate to fly across the room in protest. But, so far so good. I bought a few different flavors of chicken sausage the other day at Trader Joe's. We have had chicken sausage several times but since I am new to cooking it I typically grill it and we eat it like a hot dog with grainy mustard and caramelized onions. A few nights ago I was craving breakfast food for dinner but not something sweet and syrupy. I decided to just go with my gut and it ended up being a good gut night. My oldest gobbled it up and asked for more while the youngest muffin picked out the sausage and ate his toast without complaining so that counts as total success. I love hash because you can use any extra veggies you have on hand. The key to this, I feel, is an over medium cooked egg. I love to burst the yolk and let it be the gravy for my potatoes and toast. This made enough for two adult and two kids portions so you can easily adjust with more veggies. We ate this with some buttered toast and all left satisfied.
This meal is one of the bullet points that I would present for sure.

Chicken Sausage, Sweet Potato and Kale Hash
1-4  Pack Chicken Apple Sausage cut in round 1/2" disks (I used an apple for this and loved the sweetness)
1- russet potato, peeled and small diced
1- large sweet potato, peeled and small diced
1/4 cup minced onion - use a sweet or purple
1-2 Tbsp olive oil oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1-2 cups chopped kale or Swiss chard

In a super large skillet, heat the olive oil on medium/high heat. Throw in the potatoes, onion, and next 5 seasoning ingredients and allow it to cook for 15 minutes while stirring once every 5 minutes. You don't want to over stir because you want the potatoes to cook thoroughly and to caramelize on the sides. Throw in the chicken sausage, stir around and again, cook for 15-20 minutes stirring once every 5 minutes. Make sure that you have as much as the chicken touching your pan as possible. After the 15 minutes or chicken cooking, or once the mixture starts to caramelize, stir in the kale with another small dash of salt, pepper and olive oil. Allow it to cook until wilted, about 4-5 minutes.

Once you have added the kale, spray a separate small non-stick pan and let it heat to medium high. Once the pan is hot, gently crack 1-2 eggs per person in the pan. Allow the egg to set solid along the outside, about 2 minutes. When ready to flip, tilt your pan at an angle and gently slide a soft rubber spatula under the egg and turn it over. You can spread it back out once flipped it the whole egg didn't flip at once. Allow it to cook for about 45 more seconds until the area around the yolk feels semi set. If you are making a lot of eggs you can gently slide them onto a serving pan and put it in a warm oven for a few minutes but not too long or the eggs will cook too much.

To serve, ladle a spoonful of hash on each plate, slide the eggs on top of the hash and sprinkle with a splash of pepper.

Enjoy Y'all!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Life as I know It- Scones

It is hard to believe so much time has passed since my last posting. Wow. Life passes by so fast. Today was the last day of school for my little muffin and tomorrow will be the last day of 3rd grade for my big guy. I remember the tears pouring down uncontrollably the first time I took both of them to school but I enjoy now that with each year I tend to gain a better sense of peace and hope with each new chapter as I watch them grow into the little men I dreamed about. This year I served as "room mom" for the Muffin and had no idea what I was getting myself into.  I know that this duty is on the bucket list for some moms, the same moms who wear yoga pants and actually attend yoga and who consider cupcakes a rare treat instead of part of a healthy balanced diet. Because of the business that I am in of making and baking I tend to go with a store bought route much of the time so that I don't come across as "that mom"...until one day the salesman pointed out to me that other mom's buy my food so that they can be "that mom"....and that's when my game changed. I know when I take my boys to school I pray that they will be well behaved and listen and not share too many crazy family stories so I started sending in batches of homemade double doozies and gooey brownies and chocolate cake in hopes that it would cover the multitude of mishaps that might be happening when I am not around. I decided it was time to finally send in a savory goody for the teachers to enjoy and one that would also remind myself to savor each of these moments because they are passing me by all too quickly. 

Sending out hugs and love to all of you moms out there who are wrapping up the end of one season and already getting butterflies about what the next chapter will bring. 
Pimento Cheese, Bacon and Rosemary Scones

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp dry ranch powder mix
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary
1 stick cold butter cut into small cubes
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese (can also you cheddar, pepper jack or monterey)
3/4 cup good pimento cheese (I use Palmetto Cheese original but jalapeno would be great)
3/4 cup real bacon pieces (feel free to fry up about 8 sticks and crumble but I didn't have time for that so I just went easy and used the precooked Hormel bacon pieces)
1 cup buttermilk (or I use 1 cup milk with 2 tsp white vinegar added)
1 egg + 1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese

Place the flour, baking soda, ranch, salt, pepper and rosemary into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse just to blend. Drop the butter chunks in a few at a time and pulse just until you can tell it has started to blend a get a crumble type texture, approx. 25 pulses.
Dump all of the flour mixture into a big bowl and stir in the cheese, bacon and buttermilk. You will want to mix this just until combined and all wet. It will be a bit sticky but the less you mix the fluffier and fatter the scones will be so less is more.
Sprinkle a tablespoon or two of flour onto a clean smooth surface and scoop out the mixture into one big ball-ish shape. Sprinkle a bit more flour over the ball and using your hands, gently shape it into a large circle that is about 1 inch high and about 12” across. Again, you want to touch this as little as possible so gently smoosh the mixture down flat.
Using a knife, cut the dough into 8 equal pizza slice sections.
Place section onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.
In a small bowl, stir together the egg and water. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg mixture evenly over the top of the scones. Finally, sprinkle the Parmesan and a splash of salt over the tops.
Bake at 400 degrees for approx. 17-20 minutes until very lightly browned and centers are set. If you cook them too long they will be dry and crunchy, gross.
Let them cool as much as possible before gobbling up. These would be great with a honey drizzle. You can also prepare the dough and freeze it to use at a later time. Just allow it to thaw in the fridge overnight before using then roll out. Scones are best when devoured the same day.

Enjoy Y’all! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hot Potato- Roasted Potatoes with Sin Sauce

I love sauces. Chick-fil-a almost sends me into a panic because there are so many different sauces I love that I have a hard time figuring out which food to order to dip with my sauces. I like a specific sauce with just my fries, then another for just nuggets and another for just the sandwich with extra pickles.
I was a child of the 80's when Tontino's Pizza Rolls were at their prime. I remember my dad would cook up a handful of Pizza Rolls then grab out a stack of his condiment cups and fill them with things like salsa, ranch and bar-b-que sauce to dip all of his Pizza Rolls in when they came out of the oven pipping hot. I love basic foods like potatoes and grilled chicken because they are the perfect companions to a good sauce or dip. These roasted potatoes are pretty standard around my house. I don't fry much of anything(honest) so these roasted potatoes are the go-to alternative for fries or stuffed for us. I prefer my potatoes to be soft and creamy but the Salesman prefers them to be crunchy so roasted potatoes are a good happy medium. I have created many a combination of dipping sauces for potatoes during my time and finally decided to write one down since we loved it so. This side was the perfect partner to our grilled chicken that had bathed in lemon juice, fresh basil and olive oil before going on the grill.
Now, let me tell some of you out there who think that Goat cheese tastes like dirty socks that 1. you are wrong, 2. you need to get over it and 3. just trust me, please. If you are so anti that you can't stand the thought then you can easily swap out the Goat for Feta or Gorgonzola...and maybe even add some bacon. One trick for the perfect roasted potatoes are to make sure they are all cut the same size. This is ensure that they all bake evenly. I typically will but my potato in half width wise, then each half in half lengthwise then each plank into three sections.I love that when roasting everything can be dumped on the cookie sheet, tossed then baked so you have minimal clean up. If you really want to be a lazy bum you can even line your cookie sheet with foil then pitch it after it comes out of the oven.
I hope this makes your heart happy and helps you find that happy saucy medium!

Roasted Potatoes with Sin Sauce
4-6 Large Red Potatoes (About 1 large per person) Cut into cubes *I prefer red because of their texture. I don't recommend baking unless you don't have another alternative. You an also use Yukon Gold or Fingerling.
2 Tbsp Whole Grain Mustard
1/3 C. olive oil
1/2 -1 tsp red pepper flakes, depends on how spicy you like
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 tsp. dried oregano or rosemary
1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp salt- might need to adjust to taste after cooking
 Combine all of the above directly onto a cookie sheet and toss to make sure everything is well coated. Bake at 425 for 30-40 minutes, tossing them around at the 20 minute mark, and cook until potatoes are golden around the edges.

Sin Sauce
1/2 c. Sour Cream - can use light or non-fat or even plain greek yogurt
2 Tbsp heaping of Goat Cheese (or Feta, or Gorgonzola, or Blue...)
1 Tbsp heaping of store bought basil pesto (or homemade if you have it, show off)
5-6 Fresh Mint Leaves
Heavy crank of fresh black pepper, about 8 and few splashes of Sea Salt
Place all of the above in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until all is combined.
Serve along side roasted potatoes. Sauce is also great with grilled chicken, fish or pork, fresh cut veggies...really anything.

Enjoy Y'all!

Friday, August 22, 2014

About to get real- Buffalo Chicken Burgers

So, I am going to let you know about one of my big secrets...I am totally afraid of ground chicken. Bone-in chicken doesn't phase me, and you have read about getting over my fear of whole chickens when I wrote Yellow Rose Cafe: Big Girl Britches-Smokey Bacon Roasted Chicken:, but there is something about the ground up chicken in it's neat plastic package that frightens me. Maybe it is because all form of it's previous life is gone. Maybe because I know the only way it might possibly taste like something I could potentially enjoy is if I shove it full of an obscene amount of goodies. I don't know, but whatever it is I finally decided to buy a pack the other day and quickly threw it in my cart before I had time to second guess myself. I have been craving blue cheese lately and since I am the only one in the house that has a love affair with it I am bit limited. I decided that I would make up some burgers so that I could jazz mine up to my liking, and it was good. The obscene turned out to not be so bad. And, the muffins gobbled up every single bite. Let me repeat this. EVERY. SINGLE. BITE. Can I get an amen? For any of you mom's out there you know that this is up there on the kids nearly impossible list, right next to them making their beds and not burping in public. I left the dinner table and felt as if I deserved a momma medal for a meal well done.
This burger was amazing as a buffalo burger, but you can take it in any direction. My boys had a melted slice of Colby-jack cheese and loved it. I was tempted to sliced up some fresh jalapenos from the garden on mine but didn't want to over power the burger. But, I think this chicken burger could have put up a good fight. This would be amazing with many, many toppings like bacon or avocado. The secret weapon for me was the crushed up gold fish. I have decided that anyone under the age of 100 possibly has goldfish in the pantry so I took that into consideration when deciding what my bread-like texture would be. We had the extra cheddar (go big or go home, right?) flavor on hand and it was perfect to add that little cheesy punch in the burger. By the way, don't over mix these. Ground chicken needs to be handled gently to keep what little bit of dignity it has left after having it's innards and outters removed so stir just until mixed. They will also have a sort of sticky texture when you are patting them out, unlike their partner ground beef. Oh, I can't wait to hear how you loved these!

Chicken Burgers- Yields 4 good size burgers

1/2 Cup diced onion
1 Lb ground chicken
1 Egg
1/2 cup cheddar gold fish crackers - measured first then crushed finely
2 tsp. Ms. Dash chicken seasoning
1/4 tsp. seasoned salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

In a small saute pan, heat up 2 Tbsp of olive oil with the onions and a splash of salt over medium-low heat. Cook onions for approximately 15 minutes, stirring occasionally,  until they have cooked through and turned a light brown around the edges and caramelized a bit.
Combine remaining ingredients into a bowl with the cooked onions and stir just until blended. Gently pat out into 4 round patties on a piece of foil or parchment paper so that you can flip them into the pan easily.
Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Lightly spray with non-stick spray and add a splash of olive oil. Once the pan is good and hot plop the burgers into the heat and gently remove the foil backings. Cook on one side approximately 5 minutes until you can see that half of the burger has turned from opaque to white. Once flipped, cook for 5-6 minutes until heated through and the burger has a great caramel color on the exterior. Flip back one last time and lay whatever cheese you are using on top of the burgers. For blue cheese, you will want about 1 heaping Tablespoon. Cover the pan with either a lid or a big cookie sheet and allow the cheese to melt.

For my Buffalo burger I used toasted French bread split for my bun. I put a good schmear of mayo on it, a good handful of spinach (so that it was healthy) and some heavy, heavy dashes of Texas Pete. If I had to do it all over again, I would do it all over again.

Enjoy Y'all!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

South in your mouth- Cucumber Salad

One of my very favorite things do to when I have a moment's peace is to flip through old cookbooks I have in my collection. I have a Betty Crocker dating back to the 50's with marriage advice as well as recipes, it's a keeper. I have a large collection of old school church cookbooks and love them because they connect me with my roots and remind me of how much of life is centered around a holy table. My favorite section of those old cookbooks is typically the salad sections since we in the South consider a LOT of things "salad". I am not sure who decided that things with gelatin should fall into this category. How many versions of Frog Eye or Copper Penny salad does one need?
One of those good Southern staples I have grown to love with all of my heart is cucumber salad. I remember it being very pungent with onions when I was little. Cucumber salad is similar to cole slaw in that you can have a creamy version or a vinegar version. You should know me well enough by now to know that anytime I can have the creamy version I will go with that. This recipe is one I have been using for years, not sure where it ever originated other than this is how I have been making this staple for a very long time. I love summertime when cucumbers are bright and plentiful and have a super crispy texture. If I am buying cucumbers from a store I will always but the English kind individually wrapped but if I am at the Farmer's Market I will always buy whichever one looks like it was picked last. I love this "salad" with things like grilled chicken or bar-b-que with a side of corn on the cob. You can easily double this to feed a hungry crowd. It is best to let it sit for a while so that all of the flavors can get to know each other a bit. Since this recipe only has a couple of ingredients, make them count. Don't skimp out on using good Mayo and fresh cracked pepper, it makes all of the difference! 

Cucumber Salad- Yields 3-4 side servings
1 English cucumber thinly sliced - about 3 cups
1/4 Super thinly sliced white or red onion in slivers
1/3 cup Mayo (I used Duke's)
1 Tbsp. White Vinegar
2 tsp. Dill- either dried or fresh but I typically only have dried
1 tsp. Sugar
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste if you need more or less
1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Combine all of the above in a bowl and let it chill out in your fridge for a few hours or overnight before serving. I like to stir it a few times just to make sure everyone is getting some attention in the bowl.

Enjoy Y'all! 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Pastry Queen- Peaches and Cream Cobbler with Fustard Sauce

I love peaches. I love cobbler. I love Texas. The. End.

A few years ago a dear friend of mind brought a cookbook to work one day and said that it reminded her of me and she wanted me see it. I nearly ate every page out of the book! I begged to keep it and joked about not returning it and in my mind I had secret plans to move to outer space so that I could keep it and she couldn't track me down. She knew me well. The cookbook is by Rebecca Rather, also known as the "Pastry Queen" in the Texas hill country. She had two different stores in Texas then shut her doors this past year. Just from reading her cookbooks and seeing how she cooks in the kitchen in her chefs coat and cowboy boots I know we would be best friends. Her Christmas cookbook almost sent me over the edge and I know that her olive beef tenderloin will be part of my holiday traditions forever. She cooks your normal every day food but takes it to a whole different level, like chicken salad with homemade mayo on homemade bread. Need I say more? When I approached her recipe of her peach cobbler and knew I had plans to alter it a wee bit I felt the need to tiptoe into my kitchen and ever so gently open up the book and apologize in advance for make a change. I hope it is one she would approve of. Peach cobbler is one of those staples in my life. I love the sweet creamy peaches combined with the slightly crispy topping and the ooziness of a big fat scoop of Blue Bell melting on top of it, as if it is surrounding the cobbler with a hug. I had some girlfriends over last night and knew it was what I had to make since 1. it is National Peach Month and 2. I heart it.
When you read the title I am sure you thought I had a big fat typo in the title. You are right, fustard was not a word until yesterday, but I promise you won't forget it. I decided that instead of topping the cobbler with a cold scoop of ice cream and trying to gobble up the bowl before every drop melted, I took the ice cream and gently melted it on the stove. I tried it with both a vanilla and a caramel ice cream and both were delish. Once melted, the ice cream is a thinner consistency of a custard sauce, the kind you make with a bunch of eggs and sugar and stir and pray it doesn't curdle. This was much easier to do and can be done in any flavor to top off any sweet. I like how the sauce kept the cobbler warm and melted down into all of the cobbler crevasses. I am in no way saying I am now an anti-a la mode girl, I am going to just be an occasional melt-a mode girl.

Hill Country Peaches and Cream Cobbler with Fustard Sauce
Makes 6-8 servings

1 Stick unsalted butter
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp, white sugar
1 cup, all purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3-4 cups, fresh sliced peaches with peels left on (1 peach yields approximately 1 cup)
1- 8oz cream cheese cut into small cubes
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 scoop of ice cream per person eating in either a vanilla or a caramel flavor

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat until it has turned a slight brown color. While it is warming, combine he sugar, flour, baking powder, milk and salt in a separate bowl and stir until just mixed. In a second bowl, stir together the peaches and cream cheese cubes and cinnamon.

Once be butter is melted, pour it into a baking dish at least 8" across. Next, gently pour over the flour and milk mixture and DO NOT STIR. Gently spoon the peaches and cream cheese mixture over the flour and butter mixture and DO NOT STIR. Next, sprinkle the brown sugar over the top. Place your baking dish on a foil lined cookie sheet (just in case spill over happens) and bake for 40-45 minutes until the top turns golden brown.

Just before serving, put the ice cream in a small sauce pan and gently melt it over low heat. Once melted, spoon your cobbler into serving bowls then ladle over a spoon of the sauce.

Enjoy Y'all!
P.S.Rebecca, please come to NashVegas so we can make pink pig cookies and big hair tarts together!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Yellow Rose Shortcakes

Scrumptious Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

I grew up migrating around Texas most of my life. I lived in several different cities throughout the great state including Pasadena, which is a suburb of Houston known for refineries and strawberries. "Stink-adena" held an annual strawberry festival that my dad and I both attended and manned a booth for. At the festival you could buy strawberry in any flavor from daiquiris and bread to homemade jams. They even had a booth for a giant Texas shaped strawberry shortcake that was about as big as my living room. I remember almost making myself sick each season as I gobbled up buckets of berries the size of my hands. I have always loved strawberries, especially when they are paired with a tender shortcake and big dollop of cream. You can easily convert store bought biscuit mix into a quick fix shortcake but they don't compare to the tender flaky dough of a homemade version. This entire recipe is created in a food processor, so it is appealing to even the laziest of cooks. But, you can't forget the brushing of the cream and sprinkling of sugar crystals right at the end. That sends them over the top. I top these babies with anything from peaches to ice cream but my favorite has, and will always be strawberries.

Shortcakes- Makes 6-8

1 1/2 c All Purpose Flour
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tsp baking soda
1 Tsp salt
1 Tsp baking powder
Zest of 1 orange or lemon

Place all of the above ingredients into the bowl of a large food processor and pulse until blended. 

1 stick of cold butter cut into cubes
1/3 cup cold heavy cream, plus 2 Tbsp.
1 egg

Gently dump a few cubes in at a time to the processor and pulse 3-4 times. Repeat until you have added all of the cubes. Pour in the cream and egg and pulse just until the dough comes together. Dump out the dough onto a lightly flour surface and pat down unto an even rectangle that is about 3/4" thick. Cut into 2x2 squares, or if you are feeling fancy you can use a mason jar to cut into circles. Place onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. 
Gently brush the tops of the shortcakes with the remaining cream and sprinkle with sugar crystals (available in the baking aisle at a craft store or Walmart in the cake aisle). Bake at 350 degrees for around 14 minutes until set. If they get too golden they will be overcooked and not as delicate.

Enjoy Y'all!