Sunday, February 28, 2016

Cheating Is Allowed

Sopapillas are one of my favorite treats. And when I can't get out to my favorite restaurant to enjoy some I make my own. The cheater way. Yes, the cheater way. They are almost as good and so easy to make. Really.
Pop open a container of your favorite biscuits.

Flatten them a smidge. 

Heat up some oil and fry away till they're golden brown on both sides.

Remove from the oil to paper napkin lined plate. Sprinkle with some powdered sugar and drizzle with honey. 

Be quick to grab one though 'cause I guarantee they will disappear in no time.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Going Coconut

If you've ever lived out Arizona way you might remember Smitty's. They sold everything from groceries to household goods and lots of things in between. And inside the store they had a restaurant. The food was good homestyle cooking and they made really tasty pies. The coconut cream was always my favorite. Unfortunately for many years now they have no longer been in business. Bye, bye favorite coconut cream pie.
When we lived back east for a few years we would buy a brand of ice cream called Turkey Hill. They make a variety of flavors and I love each one of them. Once they started making a coconut cream pie flavor I was hooked. Just couldn't get enough of the stuff it was just so good. So when we moved back to Arizona I immediately searched for Turkey Hill ice cream. Well, even though they sell Turkey Hill ice cream here locally I have never been able to find their coconut cream pie flavor. The response I always get when I ask for it is that there is not enough interest in it. SAY WHAT?!?!? Well, what is wrong with people I say. Anyways, I had such a hankerin for it the other day I decided to make my own. Yes Indeedy I did. 
I must say that it turned out very good. It's no churn, packed with good coconut cream pie flavor, smooth and creamy. It was so good I wanted to hide it way, way back in the freezer behind the veggies. Seriously I thought about doing that because no one ever looks behind the veggies. However my conscience got the better of me and I did not. I left it out in plain sight and shared it with everyone. 

Well if you like Cocnut cream pie, then I think you will like this ice cream. Here's just how simple it is to mix up.

 Coconut Cream Pie Ice Cream. Only 3 ingredients.
2 cups heavy whipping cream                                              
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup of toasted coconut. 

Toast the coconut in a frying pan on medium high heat, stir often til it's brown and fragrant. Set aside to cool. Whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the sweetened condensed milk. And last gently fold in the coconut. Freeze in a tightly sealed container for 6 hours. I know it's gonna be hard but resist the urge to gobble it up right then and there. Let it chill out and you will have some of the best tasting ice cream ever. I promise, on my word as a former Girl Scout.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies

Every month in the Improv Cooking Challenge we are assigned two ingredients to work with. This month our ingredients were tea and honey. With the series of health events I had going on this past month I wasn't sure I was going to be able to participate.  But at the 11th hour I found a recipe that knew I would be able to do time wise. So for the past hour or so I have been enjoying my time baking up some Earl Grey Shortbread cookies. I wasn't too sure about tea in a cookie though, but they are quite delicious with a subtle hint of the tea coming through. And I love the flecks of tea in the cookie. It certainly does give a new meaning to tea and cookies. :) I found the recipe over at Sugar and Soul and changed it up a bit adding 2 tablespoons of honey.  As I am typing this I am on my fourth cookie. Shh...Don't tell anyone.
Here's the ingredients you'll need to gather.

Cream together the butter and honey.

Mix the dry ingredients together. Gently
mix them into the creamed butter and honey.

Here's my trick, I roll out the cookies on
the silat. It saves time and the shape stays 
pretty round.

Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 20 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy with a cup of tea or

Checkout the other tasty tea and honey creations from 
my Improv Cooking Challenge friends.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Did I ever mention....

I have the best coworkers ever. Well I do, and they mean quite a bit to me. So since it's Valentine's Day on Sunday I wanted to bring them a special treat today. What says Valentine's better than chocolate? Chocolate and fresh raspberries, that's what. So I baked up some chocolate fudge cupcakes and whipped up some fresh raspberry butter cream frosting to top them with. Couldn't have been any easier.
I started with a good cake mix, Ducan Hines is the brand I usually work with when I don't have time to bake from scratch.. :) Oh, and I always add one more egg than what the package calls for. I like my cakes to be really rich and moist.
Then I frosted them with raspberry butter cream frosting just like my mom used to make. She always used fresh raspberries and she'd let us lick the beaters when she was done whipping it up. Hmm... sweet memories. So here's the recipe for fresh raspberry butter cream icing if you want to try it.

Fresh Raspberry Butter Cream Icing

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup fresh raspberries, washed and dried
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
16 oz. powdered sugar

Mix the first 4 ingredients until they are creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. This will make enough icing to frost one 9x13 cake pan or 24 cupcakes.

If you try, it let me know what you think.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Sweet Butter Mochi

At the church I used to attend, every year at the first of the year the Nichigo ladies would have a mochi pounding on Sunday after church. I wish had snapped pictures to show y'all. It was always fun to watch the men pound the rice and then the ladies make the mochi. It always plain mochi and some with the red beans in the middle. Either way it was delish and a cultural cooking adventure.
So today I decided to make sweet mochi. I don't need any special equipment and it couldn't be simpler. And did I mention it's sweet and good and has coconut. So I made a trip the the Asian store where I bought the mochiko (rice flour) and a few other goodies.
The mochiko was only $1.89 a box so I bought a few; for future mochi making adventures of coarse.
So here's the recipe I used. So simple and easy to make. I didn't even have to get out the mixer.

Sweet Butter Mochi 

1 pound mochiko (glutinous rice flour)
2 1/2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 cups whole milk
5 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened, flaked coconut
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla and milk. In a separate larger bowl, stir together the rice flour, sugar, and baking powder. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir to blend. Mix in melted butter and coconut. Pour into the prepared pan.
Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven. Cool completely, then cut into squares and enjoy. Store in an airtight container. Eat within 3-4 days for maximum freshness.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Crockpot Pozole

Easiest. Pork. Pozole. Ever.  I promise.


Place all ingredients in the crockpot and stir. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours.  Add your favorite garnishes and tortillas and now you are ready to enjoy your pork pozole!!!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Brown Butter Pancakes

These pancakes are nutty, buttery, and so doggone delicious. I'm hoping that they'll be your new favorites y'all. The nutty goodness from the brown butter is the real star here. Brown butter is the star of any recipe. Goodness it should win a prize for it's nutty buttery goodness. Shoot these pancakes are so doggone good, around here we eat them for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Try a batch today and let me know what you think.

~Ingredients ~
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 tbls Dark Brown Sugar
1/4 cup unsalted Butter
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
2 cup Buttermilk 
2 large Eggs
1 tsp salt

Pancake Directions~
In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center. In a small sauce pan, add butter and melt over a medium heat. Keep cooking, stirring until it starts to develop an amber color and begins to smell nutty. Keep a good watch though, because it can get ugly and burnt pretty fast. Put the butter into a medium sized mixing bowl and set it aside to cool a bit.
Time to stir in the buttermilk. 
Now whisk in the eggs. 
Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients. 
 Gradually combine the wet and dry ingredients. 
Do this just until there are no flour streaks. 
It's ok for batter to be lumpy. Trust me.

Heat a large cast iron skillet or frying pan over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, spray or brush with a touch of oil and then ladle the batter onto the pan to make pancakes. When bottom of the pancake is golden and tops are bubbly then flip pancakes over and cook the second side until golden. Repeat this process until all the batter is done.
Serve with maple syrup, glazed apples or any of your favorite toppings.  

**If you don't have buttermilk on hand, don't fret. You can make your own. Yep, it's that simple y'all. Here's whatcha do~
add 1 tbls of lemon juice or white vinegar for every cup of milk, stir and let sit for 5 minutes and voila! Buttermilk!