Monday, July 9, 2012

FIG PERSERVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Last week I got the chance to visit my Mama, Sister and Son in East Texas.  My Sister is remodeling the house so my youngest son is there for the summer working, helping her in exchange for a car. My baby will have his own car... .and I am ONLY 29, hard to believe huh!! My Mama said "You better bring sugar and jars, because I have figs."   These are the easiest jam, jelly, or preserves you will ever make. Just two ingredients.  They are my favorite preserve and also my boys love them. 

First you wash all those beautiful figs.  There are so pretty.. I love them!!

Then you take a seat and cut the stem off and them slice them in half.
When you finally have them all sliced you cover them in sugar.  We just eye ball it, but looking for a recipe on the internets Emril says a cup of sugar to a pound of figs. You know if I am making this it isn't Rocket Science, just make sure all the figs are coated in sugar.  Then you just wait, overnight it optimal, but we sat them out in the Texas heat to speed up the process.

A few hours later and the sugar and fig juice has all melted together into yummiliciousness and you are good to go

See that yumminess... be still my heart, now you place them over medium low heat and slowly simmer until the figs melt down and the juice thickens, about 3o minutes.

Place in jars making sure the top of the figs are covered in juice. Wipe the top of the jars with a clean towel. Boil the lids and place on jars.

Emril also says to water bath these.  I never have, and they are always good even in the middle of winter.  If you find a fig tree, try this, 2 ingredients, no pectin is needed :)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Pork Chops Southern Style

In world far away, years and years ago I worked for a special lady who had 

Multiple Sclerosis, she had been a home economics teacher and had a local cooking show. Nancy taught me to make this recipe for her and her family, because she was unable to cook at the time and I have loved, loved, loved it.  Everyone I make it for love it also.   She just simple called it Pork Chops Southern style.  The recipe is for 6 pork chops, notice  in the pictures I only did 4.  Have I mentioned I am still learning this empty nest thing???  I just adjusted the recipe, this isn't a rocket science recipe, things can be adjusted and added or taken away from.  I have made it with chicken stock, left out the soy sauce,  don't be afraid, just keep the rice and stock ratios in sync and all will be fabulous.. trust me!! 

With salt, pepper and garlic powder season pork chops evenly on both sides Melt butter with oil in large heavy skillet, brown chops on both sides.

Transfer chops to large roasting pan.

Slice onions, , tomato and pepper. 
(notice my broken Pampered Chef mini spatula in the background... I CRIED!!! I loved that spatula and had it for over 10 years...::sigh::)

Pour rice evenly over the pork chops .

Place one pepper slice, one onion slice and one tomato slice on each pork chop.

Disolve the bouillon cubes in boiling water, (I do this in the microwave), and stir in Worcestershire and Soy Sauce.
  ( I was out of Soy Sauce, thank goodness I save all those little packets from Chinese take out.)

Pour bouillon(stock) mixture evenly over the whole dish.

Cover with foil.. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  

Serve HOT.

Pork Chops Southern Style

Lemon – pepper  to taste
Salt to taste
Garlic powder to taste
6 (1 inch thick) center - cut pork chops
2 tbsp. butter + 1 tbsp. of oil
3 3/4 c. boiling water
4 beef bouillon cubes
1 1/2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. soy sauce (opt.)
1 1/2 c. uncooked rice
12 (1/2 inch thick) slices onion
6 (1/2 inch thick) slices tomato
6 (1/2 inch thick) slices green peppers

With salt, pepper and garlic powder season pork chops evenly on both sides Melt butter with oil in large heavy skillet, brown chops on both sides.

Transfer chops to large roasting pan.

Dissolve the bouillon cubes in boiling water, (I do this in the microwave), and stir in Worcestershire and Soy sauce.   

Place 1 slice onion, 1 slice tomato, 1 slice pepper on each pork chop.     

Pour bouillon(stock) mixture evenly over the whole dish.

Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serve hot.
Yields 6 servings.

And on another happy note... duct tape fixes everything... until I can get to Lynette's and pick up my new one :)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Make ahead and Freeze Breakfast Burritos

I loved these, they were incredibly easy and delish...... and made morning breakfast a much simpler task.   I made some with just bacon, some with just sausage but they were best with both... for vegetarians you could delete the meat, add more onions and peppers.


1 lb breakfast sausage
6 slices bacon
2 potatoes, cubed into bite size pieces
1/2 onion, chopped
8 oz cheese (any kind you like)
12 soft taco tortillas (I used flour)
6 eggs,  extra large
1/4 c milk
salt and pepper

Fry bacon, and then chop.   Fry pototoes and onions in the bacon grease (oh yes I did say in the bacon grease!!!), salt and pepper to taste. 

Whisk  6 eggs and 1/4 c milk in a bowl until well combined.
Heat a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray (or melt 1 Tbls butter) over medium heat  add egg mixture. Cook eggs over medium heat stirring occasionally until eggs are set. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

After everything is cooked, place 5-10 tortillas on a plate and  cover with a wet paper towel. Heat in microwave for 30 seconds at 50% power.  Heat the tortillas in batches. 

Set up an assembly line with all the ingredients. Place the tortillas on a large baking sheet or cutting board.

 Build your burritos:
 - cheese
 - eggs
 - potatoes
 - meat

 Fold in the sides of the tortilla. Roll burrito up very tightly. Pat firmly on top of the burrito making sure the seam is on the bottom. 
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place burritos on the sheet, seam side down. Press down on the burritos again lightly making sure that the edges are tucked in. Place baking sheet in the freezer for an hour to flash freeze the burritos. Remove from freezer and wrap burritos in plastic wrap individually. Place in a ziploc bag. I ended up with 24 burritos. 
 To Heat the burritos (I wrote this on the ziplock bag with a Sharpie ( have I ever declared my love for Sharpies?)
 Remove plastic wrap. Wrap burrito in wet paper towel.  Heat for 3 minutes on 50% power. 

I served with Salsa.. Yummiliciousness in a Tortilla.. OLE!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

How to Cook the Perfect Steak without grilling in 100 + degree weather.

I know for most people summer = grilling, but truthfully, there comes a point in Texas that it not only isn't comfortable, it can be dangerous.

1 rib eye steaks or 2 New York strip steaks, 1 1/2-inch thick
vegetable oil, to coat
kosher salt & fresh ground pepper

Remove steak(s) from fridge and start bringing them to room temperature.
After 30 to 45 minutes, place a 10 to 12-inch cast iron skillet in oven and heat oven to 500 degrees F.
When oven reaches temperature, remove the pan and place it on a burner over high heat.
Coat steak(s) lightly with oil and season both sides with a generous pinch of salt. Grind on black pepper to taste.
Immediately place steak(s) in the middle of the hot, dry pan. Cook 30 to 60 seconds without moving. Turn the steak(s) with tongs and cook another 30 to 60 seconds, then put the pan straight into the oven for 3 to 5 minutes. Flip steak(s) and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes.* 
Remove the steak(s) from the pan, cover loosely with foil, and rest for 2 minutes

*The time in the oven depends on how rare you like your steaks. The time given is for medium, but depends on number of steaks, etc. as well. I only cooked mine 3 minutes  as I like them medium rare.. I probably should have just done 2 minutes.  Qman's I cooked 5 minutes.  He is a medium well kinda man. 

I served with baked potato and black bean and corn salsa ..  yummm 

I cut the steak so you can see how well done it was cooked... 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Black Bean Corn Salsa

It is summer in Texas, which means it is eleventy hundred degrees.  When it gets this hot, I need cold food to eat.  I love, love, love this salsa, and sometimes use it as a side dish/salad. I love the coolness of it and the freshness of it, the cilantro and lime juice just makes it yummilicious. 

 As with anything add more or less garlic, onions, jalapeno, or cilantro to your liking.  I PILE on the cilantro.  

 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 ears sweet corn, cooked and kernels removed from cob
3 green onions, sliced  or 1/2  small sweet onion chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno, seeds removed and diced
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 large lime
Salt and pepper, to taste
Tortilla chips, for dipping

 In a large bowl, combine black beans, sweet corn, green onions, garlic, tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice. Stir and season with salt and pepper. Serve with tortilla chips.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Cold Oven Pound Cake

Any recipe that starts with 2 1/2 cups of butter and 2 1/2 cups of sugar has to be a winner.  

 Also, this starts in a cold oven, that's right you don't preheat the oven. To most bakers I know this seems sacrilegious.. but here's why

A cold oven accomplishes two things. First, ovens are preheated in order to give cakes a burst of hot air in order to allow them to rise. With pound cakes the batter is so dense that a lot of rising does not occur so that initial burst of hot air is not necessary and may even unnecessarily lighten the batter. Second, when you put your cake into a cold oven and allow the temperature to rise with the oven temperature you will also get a nice crust on your pound cake which is arguably the best part of the cake. Lastly, and perhaps most obviously, pound cake recipes call for a lot of batter to be put into a pan that may seem too small if the cake rises much. A cold oven allows the cake to cook completely without burning the outside of it in the name of getting the inside done.

Man am I smart or what!!! ok, ok I found that information on the internets   

Cold Oven Pound Cake 
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 large eggs

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position. Grease and flour 16-cup tube pan. 

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in bowl. Whisk milk and vanilla in measuring cup.

With electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of milk mixture. Mix on low until smooth, about 30 seconds. Use rubber spatula to give batter final stir.

Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Place cake in cold oven. Adjust oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake, without opening oven door, until cake is golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 65 to 80 minutes.

Cool cake in pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours. Serve. (Cooled cake can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.)Yield: 12 servings.

 I served it smothered in sliced strawberries, blueberries, and whipped cream... I love summer!!!

 If you look closely you will see I also served it on my Arkansas Razorbacks plate.. WOOOO PIG SOOIE!!! I love the Razorbacks....

 I also stored it in this cake taker I found at the thrift store .. it has a slide that locks and makes it airtight... I LOVE IT!!!

 I am very lovey today... even my strawberries are lovely!!! :)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Confession Update

The house is getting back on track...

Dining room table cleaned, tablecloth washed , starched and ironed. :)

 Cleaned and rearranged the cabinet behind the table.

The buffet scrubbed and re-arranged.

Kitchen clean.

Kitchen  windows cleaned. 

Sheets washed and beds made. 

Rocking chair in den back to being a rocking chair.  Still working on the mini office in the corner.

Still have some rooms to go, but feeling better, I have this week off, so more should get done, and possibly get to dive into the craft room. :)  between cooking...

PS... I need to apologize to my Friend Lynette for calling her OCD....Lynette I am TRULY sorry... I know I should have said CDO because you like all the letters in alphabetical order.  :-P