Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tell Me 'Bout The Good Old Days

I was sifting through some old photos today and came across this one.
It was taken when the boys were all knee high to Grampa and pictures were still sent to be developed.  A time when the world seemed to go slower, you had meals at the dinner table, family game night, everyone gathered round the TV to watch The Waltons on Thursday night and people were sweeter.  I know that we savored every minute of those days and created memories to fill our treasure box full to overflowing.  This picture is just one of the reminders of those sweet days.

Well the boys are all grown up now, Grampa has since graduated to his heavenly home, but it's still nice to go back to the good old days.  Even if it is just a trip down memory lane.

~Tell Me 'Bout The Good Old Days~

Thursday, June 25, 2015

I Confess...

OK, I have a serious ADDICTION and I think I need to fess up. I have never talked about this before, but the time has come. 

This addiction started years ago when I was younger. Really it just started out as a small habit. Maybe just once a week. Then it grew into a couple times a week and now I find the need to have a daily fix.

Now, WHOA, WHOA, WHOA <-----------back up those horses, and let me explain before you start letting your mind wander too far. 

If you have been following my blog, you may have noticed that the last couple posts have been cheese related. OH YEAH BABY!!!  It's all about the cheese. I am all about the cheese and I am addicted to the stuff. Morning, noon or night give me Blue Cheese, Colby, Swiss, Gruyere, Romano, or Queso Casero like mi Mama de Rancho made. I love them all. I suppose you could say that I am a cheese nerd, and I am not afraid to admit it.

Now you know. 
My secret is out. ~And~

Chances are...
if you live in my neck of the woods, you may run into me at the cheese counter one day soon. 

When life, or a friend gives you lemons...

Make lemon pound cake.  It will put a smile on your face.  Really.
Here are the ingredients you will need to make one totally luscious lemon pound cake. ~
1 cup of sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 cup butter at room temperature
5 large eggs at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
1-3/4 cups of all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
~For the syrup you will need~
1/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice
~For the glaze you will need~
1 cup of powdered sugar
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325* grease and flour a 9x5 loaf pan 
In medium bowl mix the all purpose flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside. Mix the lemon juice with the sour cream and set aside. 
Add lemon zest and sugar to your mixing bowl.  With a wooden spoon stir them together till the sugar becomes moist and lemon zest becomes very fragrant.  Add the butter and mix at medium speed for about four minutes until it is creamy and light.  Incorporate the five eggs mixing well, about a minute or two after each addition. On low setting add half of the flour mixture.  Mix well scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl as necessary.  Add the sour cream mixture and mix to incorporate. Add remaining flour and mix for three minutes on low speed scraping the sides of the mixing bowl as necessary. 
Place the batter into your prepared loaf pan, smoothing out the top and giving it a couple of quick taps on the counter to get out any air bubbles.  Bake for 55-65 minutes.  The cake will be done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs.  Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and after 10 minutes turn it out.

While the cake is still baking make your syrup by combining the sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan.  Over a medium heat, stir frequently until the sugar is dissolved.  Simmer for about two minutes and then remove from heat and set aside.  Now here's the important part, while the cake is still warm use a toothpick to poke holes throughout the pound cake. This will help the syrup soak down into the cake and give it all that luscious tartness. 

Using a basting brush use all of the syrup basting the top and sides. 

Allow to cool completely before glazing the top of the cake. 

Pie Dough For The Beginner

I'm a beginner when it comes to making pie dough.  It's one of those things I never really tried to master, until recently that is.

This time I tried a recipe that uses just butter and things actually turned out a little better.  It's a 3-2-1 pie dough.  3 parts flour, 2 parts butter, 1 part water.  I found it on the Chow and I am pretty sure it's gonna be a keeper.
Now I'm not bragging, cause I still have a ways to go.  There is still lots of work and practice to do so I can get those nice fluted edges, but...
Let me show you how it's coming along.
    Butter crust this time.  No Crisco.
     Cutting it in with a pastry cutter.  A
     food processor would work too.  Pea
     sized crumbles.  I'm getting there.
     Rockin' and Rollin' I can do this.
    I'm on a roll. 
    Now to get it into the pie pan.
    In.  One.  Piece. 

   Success!!!!  Now to bake it.  (Going to use it for a quiche) Fingers xx'd. y'all.

Finished pie crust.  Perfect and flaky. I'm sure my Grama B. would be pleased.  Now to work on the artistic part.  Getting those pretty fluted edges is gonna take some practice, but you know what they say~
     It also makes for some~ 

Enjoying the quiche in the homemade pie crust.  #Lifeissweet
Yes, it is sweet indeed.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Argentina First Stop~

        Delectably. Delicious. Cookies.
First stop on my culinary adventures in Argentina are Alfajores. They are a sandwhich cookie or biscuit, depending on who you might ask,that is filled with delectables such as chocolate, merrainge, icing, jam or dulce de leche. They can also be filled and then dipped in chocolate or dusted with powdered sugar. They are a culinary treat that is eaten any time of day and are most often enjoyed with coffee or tea. 
So as my first stop in exploring the culinary delights of Argentina I decided to make some for us to try with the Dulce de leche that came in our Try The World box.
Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg yolks and beat 3 minutes. Now carefully add the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Next~
Cool the cookies on a wire rack. Once they are cool you can fill them with a teaspoon or so of the dulce de leche. then roll the edges in the coconut flakes. Then can also be filled and then dipped and covered in choclate. I opted to just roll them in the coconut flakes. The were simply. Fabulously. Ridiculously. Over the top good. You are going to want to try these. Soon. Real. Soon.
This is fabulously good dulce de leche that we got in our  
Try The World box. It is simply

Monday, June 22, 2015

Argentina~ Here. We. Come.

When you can't jet around the globe to all the places you'd like to visit, what do you do? Well, you~ 
    Try The World. 

Now you're probably thinking, what in the world, pun intended :), is she talking about? Well let me tell you. Try The World is a subscription program that lets you savour the foods from different countries. When your box arrives every other month you will get a collection of food products and a country and culture guide booklet that highlights the country whose food you are trying. It's a fun, foodie way to trek the globe from the comfort of your kitchen. 
For example this month we are visiting Argentina. It's bound to yummy with chimichurri, green olive paste, dulce de Leche, dulce de membrio, galletas de mantequia and a red fruit and Malbec wine sauce. Then there's some soothing tea to cap it all off. Hmmm.....
Let's see what tasty Argentine cooking adventures we can create this month.
Stay tuned y'all.

*I don't receive any compensation for promoting Try The World. Plain and simple truth is I love their product. So far we have tried food from Merrakesh, France and this month we are heading to Argentina 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Things Remembered

When Father's Day comes around I always get a little nostalgic thinking of my daddy and the wonderful man that he was.  He was a loving and kind dad who taught me so many things.  The most important of which was a love and respect for my Heavenly Father.  For that I am most grateful.

One of things that dad loved to do was tinker around in the kitchen.  He made a very tasty biscuits and gravy, and the things he would do with left over mashed potatoes.  The potato pancakes where my favorite. Yes, even though mom was the main cook, my daddy was a pretty good cook too; even though he'd dirty up every dish in the house in the process.  No one ever complained though.  Those are such sweet memories for me.

One of daddy's favorite things to eat was chicken and biscuit sandwiches.  So in honor of my dad I made chicken and biscuits for lunch today.  Nice way to remember my sweet daddy who graduated to his heavenly home 16 years ago. 
How did y'all honor/celebrate your dad today?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

June Improv Challenge: Fish and Avocado

As a young girl I'd go fishing often with my daddy. He's pictured here with his three grandsons.

We'd catch rainbow trout, gar, and catfish mostly. Catfish however, was always my favorite. So when we were given this month's  ingredients of fish and avocado for the Improv Cooking Challenge I decided to make a blackened catfish and pair it with an avocado lime salsa.

This is the blackening spice mixture  I used. It is my absolute favorite, the smoked paprika is the star ingredient in my humble opinion. I ALWAYS make sure to have it on hand. You can find the recipe for it HERE.

Generously coat your catfish fillets with  the blackening spice. I tend to be a little heavy handed, but a couple teaspoons blackening spice per fillet should be enough.

Coated and ready to fry. Don't they look Purdy? Now cook them low and slow. About ten minutes each side is all they need. Just enough time to whip up the avocado lime salsa.
Just a few simple ingredients are all you'll need for the avocado salsa. Thanks to my son the "Chef" for giving me some tips on the salsa and for allowing me to "tweak" his recipe a bit. 
~Avocado Salsa~
1 avocado
1/4 cup red onion chopped
Juice from 2 key limes
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
Salt to taste
1 seeded and finely chopped Serrano Pepper (I omitted the pepper, because there was already enough heat and flavor from the blackening spice)
Scoop out the avocado and mash it up. I used my molcajete; but a potato masher or plain old fork will get the job done too.
Add the lime juice and salt to taste. Mix in the cilantro and red onion and your salsa is ready for that yummy blackened fish that is making the whole house smell like heaven. Plate it up...

...and watch it disappear.

Check out the other tasty dishes from this month's Improv Cooking Challenge.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Break Time

Every year I have a wonderful eight weeks off from work when school is out for the summer. I am into my third week now. Usually my time is filled with doing odds and ends I need to get done at home, but this summer I have scheduled in a little "Break Time" Just. For. Me.
And I can tell you I'm sure looking forward to it. 
So, what are y'all doing this summer?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Fab Finds~Bargain Basement

This cabinet was one of my bargain finds this week.  It is a lovely addition to my kitchen and nifty place to store my fabulous bargain dish towels found at WalMart!

If you're old enough you will remember shopping in the Bargain Basement of many stores.  I remember the thrill of coming downtown with my mom when I was a young girl.  We'd spend the day shopping the bargain basement at Newberry's.   There was always a bargain to be found in that basement.  Afterwards mom would take us upstairs to the lunch counter and we'd sit and have lunch with a fountain soda.  Such found memories from days gone by.

As far as I know there are no more stores, at least here locally, with bargain basements.  Those days are long gone.  Good bargains however can still be found, and who doesn't love a good bargain? Sometimes an awesome bargain can be found at your nearby WalMart or an online Flea Market or Garage Sale website such as Craigslist or OfferUp.

What's really fun is when you aren't really looking for a bargain and one just pops up.  This week I had a couple of fantastic bargain finds like that.  While shopping at WalMart I found some flour sack dish towels. 

Now your probably thinking who gets excited over dish towels????  Well, me that's who.  Yep in my world I am the queen of dish towels.  I'd tell you you how often I shop for them and how many I have, but let's just say I have enough dish towels to piece together several quilts.  Ok, back to the WalMart dish towels. 

They are pretty with bright vivid colors.  They will definitely add a pop of color to the kitchen.  They are generously sized at 28"x28".  And for only a buck fifty, yes for only $1.50 they were a steal.  
Don't you love a good bargain?

So what bargains have you found this week?