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Well. Just six weeks ago my husband and I moved from one side of the country (east) to the southwest again. Now that the move is over fro...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Happy New Year!

Christmas found me making Sugar Cookies and other Christmas cookies for the holidays.

Now it is time to prepare for New Years Festivities. Here's the recipe for Bizcochos which I grew up with during the Christmas and New Years holidays. So, I've received a supply of tamales from my dear older sister in San Antonio, TX along with spices which I cannot find in Alabama (the land of strict immigration laws which has in turn resulted in a scarcity of ethnic items).

Now, then next it is time to make Polvorones, Bunuelos and Bizcochitos. Mom made the most fabulous Bunuelos, crunchy sweet and huge, here is her recipe and also my grandmother's Polvorones (sand tarts that melt in your mouth).

Here are the recipes!

 2 lbs self rising flour
3 eggs
3/4 can beer
1 pinch salt

Mix dough with a fork and cover with a wet cloth.  Put it in the fridge to chill for 3 -4 hours.
Take dough out of the fridge, roll into 38 balls, cover with damp cloth and roll each ball out .

Cook them one at a time in hot oil over medium heat. Place on paper towels to drain and then dredge in a bowl with 3 cups of sugar and lots of cinnamon. Store tightly covered.

2 1/2 c flour
1/2 lb butter or margarine
1/2 c confectioners sugar
1/2 t vanilla
Additional confectioners sugar

Sift flour, cream butter and 1/2 c sugar. Add flour and vanilla and mix well. Roll out on floured board and cut into circles or make 1" balls by hand and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake 15 minutes at 400 degrees!

Remove from sheet and roll in sugar.

Hope everyone enjoys a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

the Chrismas Holidays are upon us! Soup time!

Today marks the first day of December. I have a new toy, got an IPad, formally received my copyrights to my first two books, been writing and just received the proof for my third book and must start redlining it. Have yet to start my Christmas cards, just put up the Christmas tree, steamed my rugs in the house and have been trying quite a few recipes. Specifically cooking and testing soup recipes as I am co-chairing a benefit luncheon which consists of soups and stews. Being that we are very are very close to winter - best to serve hearty satisfying soups on a cold winter evening.

Here are the latest versions of soup recipes I have been dabbling with! Enjoy!


1 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 medium uncooked onion(s), chopped
2 clove(s) garlic clove(s), minced (medium)
4 cup(s) fat-free beef broth, low sodium
1 pound(s) cooked lean beef steak
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Bay Leaf
1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
2 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp black pepper
3 medium cooked potato(es), red or white
2 medium uncooked baby carrots
1 cup(s) fresh tomato(es)
1 tsp dried marjoram


Brown onions in oill, add garlicc the last two minutes. till soft (about 5 mins). Add broth, beef, paprika, herbs and pepper and bring to a boil, reduce heat. Simmer covered for 45 mins. Increase heat, stir in potatoes and carrots. Bring to slight boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until vgetables are done. Add tomato and cook till heated through.

Serve hot.

Green Chile Stew

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

8 Whole Green Chilies, peeled, coarsely chopped
1 pound(s) ground turkey
28 oz canned tomatoes, chopped
3 medium onions, chopped
1 link(s) Chorizo veggie protein sausages, browned (or lean pork or beef chorizo)
3 clove(s) garlic clove(s), minced (medium)
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup(s) fat-free chicken broth
1 large uncooked zucchini, chopped


Brown turkey and onion in oil in a large pot, add garlic and cook 30 seconds longer. In another pan brown chorizo in Pam, discard juices when chorizo is browned. Add all the rest of ingredients to large pot . Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Serve hot with corn tortillas. Refrigerate leftovers.

Hearty Chicken Vegetable Soup

14 1/2 oz canned diced tomatoes

3 item(s) Herb-Ox Low-Sodium Instant Chicken Broth & Seasoning
2 medium uncooked carrot(s)
2 medium uncooked onion(s)
2 rib(s) uncooked celery, sliced (large)
1 medium uncooked zucchini
3/4 serving(s) uncooked macaroni
2 clove(s) garlic clove(s) (medium)
8 oz cooked skinless, boneless chicken breast(s), Or ground chicken
1/4 cup(s) parsley
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/3 tsp black pepper


Bring tomatoes, bullion and 6 cups of water to a boil. Add onions, carrots, celery, zucchini, macaroni and garlic to pot. reduce and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in chciken parsley, pepper and salt. Reduce the heat and cook for 10 minute more. Serve hot.

Pasta e Fiagioli (with Turkey)

1 Tbsp canola oil

1 medium uncooked onion(s), chopped
1 medium uncooked carrot(s), chopped
2 clove(s) garlic clove(s), minced (medium)
1 tsp chili powder
14 1/2 oz canned diced tomatoes
4 cup(s) reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 oz uncooked pasta, small variety about 1/2 cup
15 1/2 oz canned great northern beans, rinsed and drained
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
2 rib(s) uncooked celery, chopped (medium)
8 oz uncooked 99% fat-free ground turkey breast
3 slice(s) crisp cooked bacon, diced


Heat the oil in a large nonstick saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder; cook 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are softened and the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the broth and pasta; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the pasta is tender and the soup thickens slightly, about 8 minutes. Add the beans and heat though. Remove from the heat, then sprinkle with the cheese and pepper. Yields generous 1 cup per serving.

Pintos with Chorizo

1 pound(s) dry pinto beans

2 slice(s) uncooked bacon
1 link(s) Chorizo sausages (your choice, veggie or beef or pork)
1 tsp black pepper


Soak beans in water and 1 tsp baking soda overnight.

In the morning rinse beans3 times, add water to cover, black pepper, bacon and heat in a crock pot on low all day. The last 2 hours add cooked chorizo and simmer until beans are done.

Salt to taste after beans are done.

Serve with Corn Bread.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Well, I think I have heard of every way to brine turkey.  This is a new way to brine your turkey which is popular in the deep south. Makes a deeply browned turkey which is very moist. 

Tea Brine
  • 3 large Luzianne tea bags (you may substitute 1/2 cup lose tea)
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • a lemon, sliced
Boil water, steep tea for 5 minutes.  Remove tea bags, add salt, sugar, pepper, garlic, lemon and thyme and stir till salt and sugar are dissolved.  Chill before applying to chicken.  Brine turkey for   24 -48 hours in a large zip lock back in the coldest part of your refrigerator.

Roast Turkey as you normally would. I have used corn bread dressing to which I added Chorizo for that extra kick, in the neck cavity stuff with a different typl of dressing.

If you want to try something different try the turkey stuffed with Tamales!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

November is upon us

The autumn leaves are turning colors, each fall rain shower is causing trees to drop leaves to the ground. Halloween is over and Thanksgiving is upon us. I love to go for walks in this mild weather, so glad summer is over!  Today is the date to turn back the clocks (Spring Forward, Fall back) due to the changes in Daylight savings time everyone's internal clocks will be a little bit skewed this week.

I meant to post this peanut butter cookie recipe earlier. Just looked through my posts. Never have posted the super simple recipe. I took some of these cookies to a meeting today. Had people ask me about the recipe, thought I had loaded up on this blog but - I did not! So here it is!

Simple Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup of smooth peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 dash salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 heaping or 3 scant Tbsp All Purpose Flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl add all ingredients. Mix together and roll into 1 inch balls. Flatten tops (use a fork). Bake on parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for ~ 8 mins (turn once). Cool 1 minute before removing to a plate to cool further.

Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Glorious SOYRIZO

Have been using Soyrizo in my recipes lately, also been playing around with NONFAT Flour Tortillas recipes.  Try soyrizo or chorizo in one of your recipes - you will be amazed!

To make CHORIZO add the following to one (1) pound of ground pork (or TVP - textured vegetable protein which has been hydrated): 2 mashed cloves of garlic, 2 t. smoked paprika, 2 t. chile powder, 1 t. salt and 1 t. pepper, minced onion (about 1/4 of an onion), 1/2 t. Cayenne powder,  6 - 8 T water or brandy or stock or a combination of liquids. Mix well, refirgerate to allow the flavors to meld, overnight is best.  Cook the CHORIZO in a pan (turn ofter so as not to burn), discard the grease remaining in the pan. You may refrigerate the CHORIZO or add to other foods and recipes to make them taste even more delicious.

As some you may know Soyrizo is a type of sausage which needs to be cooked first. It is commonly used in Mexican cooking (you must ALWAYS first cook chorizo or soyrizo),  the Spanish version it is more of a hard sausage (you can find this on http://www.latienda.com. Generally you will find Chorizo as a breakfast item (mixed with eggs and served with tortillas, salsa and re-fried beans--  it is delish! But give the other ways of eating Chorizo or Soyrizo a try. Mix with Potatoes for great hashbrowns or pan fried potatoes. Make a torta out of it - also called a "Bollio", hollow out the white bread (or Wheat bread) and fill it with Chorizo and Huevo. Mix it with vegetables and serve with meats. Add it to your favorite Taco meat and enjoy the spiciness of the Chorizo added to liven up your tacos. Fill your empanadas with Chorizo, great handheld pies which can eaten on the go. Really your own creativity is your only holdup - so experiment with Chorizo!

I added 1 link of soyrizo to my favorite pinto bean recipe, it came out delicious. Also tried soyrizo with the Green Chile Chicken Recipe - also knocked this recipe out into the realm of well spiced and full bodied Green Chile.

For now I will add the recipe for nonfat flour tortillas.

3 Cups Flour
1 Cup Warm water
2 t baking powder
3/4 t salt

Put all ingredients into a large bowl. Mix well. Add water, mix with your hands. Shape into 12 balls and roll each one out. Cover with a dish cloth to keep them from drying out. Roll out thinly. Use a comal (or griddle) and brown tortillas on both sides. Store in a plastic bag until ready to use. Can be frozen.

To make more pliable tortillas - these are not fat free add 4 T light margarine.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Beautiful Pepper Place Market Produce - Making Ristra's

I decided to buy some Cayenne peppers while at the Pepper Place market and am stringing some up for use later. Made a batch of salsa with the fresh Roasted Cayenne Peppers, made Chili and Picadillo with the Cayenne Peppers. They were a fresh treat. You can dry them for use later (grind them up about a month iafter they dry in a dry place or just use them as decor).

To make a Ristra first hold 3 peppers together by the stems and wrap a length of cotton twine or hemp around the stems to bind them together. Tie the loose end of the string (bring it under and make a loop under and over the top to secure and tie off ) around 1 pepper and back up to the stems. Make a half hitch to secure the cluster of Caynenne Peppers. Repeat again with 3 peppers, keep clusters about 3 to 4 inches apart. Keep stringing the peppers in 3's and cut off the end, make a loop and start another strand if you have enough peppers.
Now take a length of florist wire, loop one end to keep the hot peppers from falling off and braid the string of peppers around it. Hang the ristra from any horizontal support.

Here are few pics of produce I picked up while there.

Delicious twist on Banana Cream Pie

A twist on the regular old Banana Cream Pie!

1 Prepared Pie Crust (Shortbread or Graham Cracker)
1 can Nestle Lechera Dulce de Leche
2 to 3 bananas

Open the can of Dulce de Leche and spread in the bottom of the Pie Crust smoothing it down evenly. Peel the bananas and slice them spreading them evenly over the Dulce de leche.

3 to 4 oz Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 c. Butter, softened
2 T Powdered Sugar (opt)
1 heaping teaspoon Cinnamon
2 - 3 cups Cool Whip (depending on how billowing you like your topping)

Beat the Cream Cheese (mixer or by hand), add softened butter and add cool whip, mix well. Add Cinnamon and Powdered Sugar to taste, mix lightly and pile on top of the pie and store in the refrigerator (at last for a couple of hours) until ready to serve.

Serve with additional cool whip. Makes 12 servings.

Do not substitute Reddi Whip for the Cool Whip!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer is here and Peaches are in season -- time to go to your local Farmer's Market!

Here in Alabama, there are quite a few farmers markets. I am shocked to learn that with the rainy weather the south has that the fruits, vegetables and flowers are plentiful and gigantic. I thought Texas had big produce -- not as big the produce I have seen in Alabama! Pepper place market in Birmingham, AL is located next to an abandoned Dr Pepper plant, it boasts over an entire block of farmers, fresh organic meat, fresh organic breads, vegetable, fruits, and plants. Restaurants and shops surround the Farmer's Market.

The tomatoes are red, juicy and sweet. Peaches are bigger than a coffee cup and the vegetable varieties are aplenty too. So, some good comfort food recipes are in order for the next few posts!

Sliced Tomato Salad

Slice a large tomato thinly or thickly, add a bit of fresh minced garlic over all, fresh chopped green onions, squeeze fresh lime juice over the tomatoes, season to taste with salt and fresh cracked black pepper and top with a few cilantro leaves. Serves 2.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Joy of making Sausage!

I have been playing around making various types of Sausage. Here is a good basic recipe for making sausage with the flavors of Spain. You can use TURKEY, PORK OR A COMBINATION.

1/4 medium Spanish onion, minced
2 crushed garlic cloves
1/2 teas. rubbed sage
1/4 teas savory
1/2 teas marjoram
1 t red pepper flakes
1/2 teas  cracked black pepper
1 teas salt
2 T Olive oil
2 T dark sherry (Optional, use a good dark sherry, not an inexpensive cooking sherry)
1 lb Pork ground meat (or Turkey or a combination of both)

In a saute pan add oil, add garlic and cook 1 minute, remove garlic, add onion and saute until translucent. Discard the hot oil. Remove the cooked onion with a slotted spoon.  Add cooled onion to a large mixing bowl. Add all the rest of the ingredients and mix with your hands in a bowl. Shape into 2 - 3 inch patties, making an indentation in the middle of each pattie, makes 10 - 12 patties.

To cook, heat a saute pan and add four patties, cook until just brown and crust forms on one side and turn over to cook on other side. Serve with Huevos Rancheros or a Fresh Baked Frittata.

Options:  Add smoked paprika to taste (about 1/2 Tablespoon)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bread Pudding or Capirotada (Southern Style)

Here is the Southern version.

8 -16 sliced of lightly toasted bread
3 cups milk (may substitute cream)
4 eggs
3/4 - 1 cup raisins or other fruit
3/4 cup sugar
1 t vanilla paste
1 teas cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg (opt)
1/2 t allspice (opt)
1/3 cup wine, bourbon, sherry or other liquid
3 T butter
pinch of salt

In a pan, break up bread, you don't have to cut into perfect pieces, just tearing them is fine. Add fruit to the bread and scatter on top.

In a large bowl whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Pour over the bread. Let it stand for 20 minutes, push bread down and let it stand for 20 minutes more. Press bread down so it absorbs the liquid. Heat the oven to 350degrees, drop the butter in pieces of the top of the bread pudding,  pop the pan into the oven and bake for 50 minutes OR up to 1 hour (top will be golden brown).

Best served warm with a whiskey sauce or a lemon sauce but equally good with whipped cream or heavy cream poured on top.

To make a Whiskey Sauce or a Brandy Sauce - add 1 stick of butter to a medium pan, add 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup bourbon, a pinch of salt, and stir until the sugar dissolves and set aside. Meanwhile add 1 large egg to the a large bowl, beat the egg to a froth and temper the eggs by adding a tablespoon of the whiskey mixture to the eggs and beating until mixed, then pour egg mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat until it thickens (about a minute).  Cool and pour over warm bread pudding, can sit out for up to an hour. Refrigerate sauce up to 4 days, then discard.

To make a  Caramel with Sambucca Sauce - add 1 stick of butter to a medium pan, add 1 cup light brown sugar, 1/4 cup Sambucca, a pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste and stir until the sugar dissolves and set aside. Cool and pour over warm bread pudding, can sit out for up to an hour. Refrigerate sauce up to 4 days, then discard.

To make Chocolate Bread Pudding, add 14 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped to cream (prefer to milk with chocolate) and sugar and heat until the chocolate is melted, let it cool and proceed as above (omit cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg). Temper eggs and add to chocolate milk mixture, be sure not to let the eggs curdle. Pour mixture over bread and proceed as above soaking the bread and bake for 45 minutes @ 325 degrees. Serve with shaved chocolate, whipped cream and a warm whiskey sauce for an out of this world bread pudding.

To make Capirotada add 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1/2 a teaspoon of nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon of cloves, replace the bourbon (spirits) with wine and replace milk/cream with water and proceed as above.

To make a Lemon Bread Pudding substitute lemon cello for the liquor or wine, omit cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg and add 1 teaspoon of fresh grated lemon rind and proceed as above.

Options: Add nutmeats, add dried blueberries,  dried cranberries or other fruit of your choice.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Alabama Catastrophe / Butter Beans

As I returned from Easter vaction with my beautiful daughter Lauren, her boyfirend Griff and my husband.  We enjoyed the beautiful white sands of Gulf Shores, AL. One thing made me uneasy as we approached Birmingham.  I noticed a few torn (felled as if someone had taken a razor and cut the tops off trees) tall pines by the side of the road. We came up 180, hit 59 and then traveled up I-65 N all the way into south Birmingham. While traveling  I-65 we stopped in Montgomery to hit the State Farmers Market picked up some beautiful produce including some pole beans, fresh speckled butter beans and also some other beautiful produce, went past Pratville and on to Birmingham. We picked up our dogs early at the vet in Pelham, AL -- learned that the vet was closing early, learned why later. We got home, noticed the tornado sirens were sounding off and the skies getting very cloudy and moving fast including fast winds. I washed the dogs off quickly, made a quick pot of chili, was glad of that, scarfed steaming bowls of chili with my husband w/saltine crackers and fed the dogs, turned the TV on and saw the news of a monster series of tornadoes coming. 

Then the power started going in and out.

We made the best of it, trying to watch a acouple of shows we had recorded, while in the background the news coverage of the tornadoes hitting played. We hunkered down for the night, said our goodnights and my daughter called to find out if we were ok. We were I told her, told her I loved her, not to worry and that I would call her in the morning. I made a note to myself to call her in the morning - otherwise I would meet my husband on the "other side" along with hordes of dogs which we have owned in the past (my rendition of what the other side is like).

I awoke the next morning, heard the stories of the devastation once I turned on the TV, checked with my husband's cousin Gail and found the family had survived but some of the devastation hit her daughter in Tuscaloosa while she was in a dorm at Univ of Alabama - the family is all OK but it is hard to not be able to do anything while you wait for the family to return calls. Gails daughter is going to try and make it to Birmingham today after helping her boyfriend with his house which was ripped apart in Tuscaloosa.

So, this is the day after, now I have connectivity and am looking what to do with the butter beans I bought as I listen to the devastation on the television - hoping I can continue to finish this blog post while I have connectivity and describe what happened last night.

Here is my simple southern recipe.

1 slice of partially cooked bacon
6 cups of water
 2 T minced vidalia onion
3 cups speckled fresh butter beans
1 T butter

Bring water, onion, butter and bacon to a boil. Add beans and cook for 1 hour, reduce heat to simmer. Add hot water as needed. Remove bacon.

Serve with rice, chicken and cornbread.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Biscuits Towers

In the deep south I have found there seems to be no ending supply of biscuits with butter or biscuits with gravy. I have come to love them when they are light, tall and fluffy. I have been experimenting with biscuit dough, here is the recipe I make all the time now.

I am talking about making tall light, fluffy buttery biscuits. I make them and store them in the freezer - good biscuits anytime you want one!

For a quick breakfast split a biscuit - and add a cooked sausage patty.

Here is my recipe:
3 cups flour, all purpose unbleached
1 T + 1 Teas baking powder
1 stick of butter, sweet cream ( 6 - 8 T butter)
1/2 t salt
3 T sugar
1 cup milk

In a large bowl add flour, salt, sugar and mix well. Cut butter into 1 inch pieces, cut each 1" slice into four pieces, save 6 of those pieces. Using your fingertips work the butter into the flour until butter resembles pea size. In a separate cup mix milk with the baking powder, stir well to distribute and add to the flour mixture.

Using your hands, mix the dough turning your hand in a circular clockwise motion until it forms a ball in the bowl. Mixing this way creates a light texture.

Dump the dough onto a floured board and knead exactly 5 times, no more, no less. Kneading more than 5 times works the gluten strands, making the biscuit tough.  Cut with a biscuit cutter or a deep glass in quick downward strokes or use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into squares. Re-roll scraps only one time, you can just pinch them together once. Arrange on a cookie sheet, brush tops with melted butter or milk remaining. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes. Makes 12 - 15 biscuits.

To reheat in microwave, nuke them 40-50 seconds each.

Four Minute Corn on the Cob!

OK, this is one of those "doh" moments. How to FIX Corn on the Cob in a hurry.

You have been toiling over hot coals, you made all the sides, made the barbeque but somehow forgot to throw the corn in a pot of water to boil. This how you get it done - superquick!

Take 2 ears of corn, leave the silk and 2 inner husks on the corn on the cob. Wash the corn under water, place the shucks back on, don't worry if you did not get all the silk off -  and put on microwave plate. Trim the ends of the corn and pop the plate in the microwave.

Cook the corn for 4 minutes, remove corn (at this point you can add another two in the microwave and nuke another 4 minutes). Let corn cool for a couple of minutes, pull off the husks - silk sloughs off with the shucks. Add butter and pepper or salt and serve immediately.

This is so easy.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Kindle content

Not sure how many cookbooks are in the Kindle format or in Nook format for that matter. Apparently Kindle sales are surpassing Book sales now on Amazon.com. Brings to mind a few questions?

With the shrinkage and demise of the traditional brick and mortar publishing industry off in the future. Is E-Publishing the way to go now? Does it mean that over time, profit lies in e-books, blogs, speaking about our writing, is the publishing industry going the way of the music industry?

So, continuing to blog, generate revenue via an e-book, learn how to market your e-book and get into actively seeking out speaking engagements. Finally, releasing an e-book before publishing a printed book later may be the way of the future.

Wonder where this is taking the publishing industry and writers in general?  Perhaps changing the way things are being done?!

I love to blog and so I shall continue to share!

Leads me to the next thing I have to figure out. I have begun the search -- how to convert the second version of "Abuelita's Cocina" into a Kindle format first, and have about 1/2 of it completed. Makes me think there has to be an easier way to do this...then I can work on a hard copy format. Makes me think I need more anecdotes in vol 2! This presents special problems as there are some limitations concerning what can be pulled into a Kindle format. For example:
  • Kindle does not support tables in their books
  • Kindle uses a place holder, and numbers the pages in a different format
  • Kindle requires it own ISBN separate from your printed copy of a book

Monday, March 28, 2011

Beans and Cornbread and "Latchkey" children

" Sometimes you need to get back to basics."

While growing up as young girl in Texas, some of my friends families did not have much money. The families always were hospitable and shared what they had regardless of how meager the dinner. My parents would do the same when my friends came over for dinner. I think in the long run, this helped parents who worked from being rushed and from losing time when retrieving a child from a playmate's home. While some dinners at my friends consists of an elaborate sit down dinner (with some hideous things on our plates) dinner with stoneware, others parents picked up Pizza on the way home and we dined on paper plates. However, at the homes of my less fortunate friends we would have a dinner of beans, rice and tortillas, bean tacos or other times we would have Beans and Cornbread for dinner on colorful melamine plates. To this day, I still love beans!

My husband loves Pinto Beans too. Thankfully, I forgot how much I loved them, until my husband thought we should bring back the "simple dinners of our youth". I slow cook the Pinto Beans all day long, dish the beans up in a big bowl and serve them with hot freshly baked cornbread split and filled with butter. If you want a side dish then serve hot steaming greens.

Her's the basic recipe for "Pinto" beans:

1 lbs. clean, picked Pinto beans
1/4 Onion, minced
1 t Pepper
1/2 t Sea Salt
1 slice bacon thick cut, roughly chopped (or you can leave it in a whole piece)
1 T Baking Soda

Sort through the beans, and put them in the Crockpot. Remove all clumps of dirt, broken beans and anything which is not a Pinto Bean and add them to the crock pot. Add water to the beans and baking soda making sure you have at least 3 inches of water covering the beans. Allow beans to soak overnight.

The next morning, discard the water, rinse the beans three times or until the water runs clean. Add water to within 1 inch of the top of the medium size crock pot or about 5 inches above the beans. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot (except salt). Turn the crock pot to "high" for 6 hours, turning the beans occasionally from time to time with a large spoon.  

To check the beans and see if they are cooked through, remove a few beans with a large spoon, observe if the skin curls up when the beans are taken out of the water and hit "just air". If the bean skin curls, they are done. Add the salt and stir, and turn the heat down to "low" or warm and prepare the cornbread (this will take another ~ 30 minutes start to finish). Serve immediately with hot freshly baked cornbread. 

You may add freshly chopped onion, shredded cheese as a garnish for the beans.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Update of my Abuelita's Cocina cookbook volume 2, Cupcakery and Charcuterie!

I have been pouring over the manuscript for my next version of my cookbook "abuelita's cocina" decided to add some Spanish recipes I have been testing to it. I am checking out the growing alternative of releases for reading via a KINDLE version. Have noticed that my HTML skills will need to improve to finish this up.

Brings me to  to the next subject of my other cookbook which is all about Cupcakes and "how-to" start up a business. I am all about cupcakes, but admit my netbook being out of commision has set me back a bit. So, now that I have rebuilt my machine, copies my files off (Glad I backed it all up) and now have a KINDLE to play with, I've research to complete for "Charcuterie" -- so I will be busy, busy, busy for the next few weeks.

However, I will continue to check in as I try new recipes I've come up with and will share these with everyone. Meanwhile, have some new spices to get (harrisa for one) and cooking to try out, pictures to take and so forth!

Luck of the Irish to you today (it is after all - St. Patrick's Day)!

Have a green beer for me today!

The joys of pastry arts!

While in search of the best Campechana recipe (which I have yet to find) I found the joys of Puff Pastry. I tried my hand at creating delectable pastry creations. I have filled them with Figs and Walnuts and also created some chocolate croissants (these are divine).  Here are few pics of the latest experiments with puff pastry.

Assembling the pastry:

Finished Products:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy March & Gnocchi!

Where has the time gone?? It is almost spring!  EEEKKKK!

I have one more recipe left to share with everyone. Last on the series of "What to do with all that leftover Maseca mix" from those Christmas Tamales. It is time to get rid of the Maseca Mix! I made some Gnocchi, cooked about a third of it, dished it out to my husband (who loved it) thank god for his help and willingness to try everything I dream up! I froze the rest of the Gnocchi for those times when I do not feel like cooking and can pull it out quickly, cook it, sauce it and dish it up for dinner. 

I have been absent from my blog, my Windows 7 netbook became very unstable - so, I had to rebuild it. Ay Caramba!  ;) Am re-installing apps on the machine now, completed an english to spanish translation for lent "stations" which has kept me busy (on and off in my copious spare time) and was able to assess where I am with that cookbook based on cupcakes and the "How-to" run a cupcake business book!  Unfortunately, I did NOT (DRATS) get past the thrid round of the last writing contest I entered through Penguin, oh well - no worries I have lots of ideas and time to write and hone my skills in retirement.  Well, let's move on to the trip back to visit the "retirement home in NM".

Recently had to return back to NM to check on the house there. Seems the severe storm (It got to -25 below in the mountains) hit the power in my home there and my fridge was fried (all due to a powere surge). I labored for over three days cleaning a side-by side refrigerator and a stand alone upright freezer (which was fine by the way) and was able to get the fridge cleaned out.

Which reminds me - when you leave for vacation do clean out your fridge and throw away anything which you do not want to come back to 3 mos. later. It is utterly icky when "stuff" has been sitting in your fridge for over 2 or 3 weeks after the power has blown out. Had to air the house out, and I found a wonderful idea (many thanks to my neighbor and a friend in NM) which works when shutting down your fridge or freezer for long periods of time - COFFEE GROUNDS!  Put them in there in a container when you shut down/disconnect power from the fridge/freezer....also can't go wrong with those silica packets to absorb the humidity which accumulates in the fridge (prop it open if you can - by all means).

Here is the recipe for the Gnocchi:

2 cups Maseca
2 cups riced potatoes
3 whole eggs
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
1/2 t, sea salt

Combine Maseca, potaoes, salt, eggs and mix. Add water slowly and mix well, then add olive oil and continue to mix until is a soft pliable dough. Allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes.

Shape dough into logs, cut with a knife and roll along the tines of a fork and either freeze quickly on parchment lined pans or drop them quickly in water and boil for about 5 mins (or until they rise to the top of the boiling water). Drain and add your favorite pasta sauce, parmesan cheese and serve with a large salad and french bread.

Serves 8 generously.

Absolutely divine!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


These are sublime, I learned to make these as I could not find any in Alabama which were authentic tasting. Another good way to use leftover Corn Tamale flour.

Gordita Recipe

2 cups Maseca Corn Flour
1/4 cup Flour or GF Flour
1/4 t sea salt
2 cups water

Mix all dry ingredients well, make a well in the center of the corn flour. Add the water all at once. Mix well, Knead for 1 to 2  minutes.  Separate into two large masses of dough, then separate each large mass of dough into 4 additional balls. Place balls of dough into the same bowl and place cling wrap on top of the bowl and form each into a pancake with your hands. This "pancake" will be about the size of a DVD. Place on a hot griddle, add a little PAM to brown each side, heat each side for 4 minutes and turn around making sure to cook and brown the other side.

Run a sharp knife along the edge of the Gorditas, and make a deep slit into the Gordita.

Fill with sauteed vegetables, beans or meat and shredded lettuce as well as a little fresh Pico de Gallo or Fresh Salsa.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Super Simple Peanut Butter Cookies

I have a couple family members who have Gluten problems and have a simple recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies. So rich and good -- you'd never know they are gluten free!

You may of course omit the Gluten Free flour and use regular All Purpose Flour.

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup Peanut Butter
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 slightly beaten Egg
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 dash of sea salt
1 tsp Baking Soda
3 scant Tbsp Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour (or 2 heaping Tbsp All purpose baking  flour)


Preheat oven to 350°.

Mix ingredients together in a bowl until well blended and roll into 1 inch balls, cross hatch tops with the back of a fork and bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for approx. 8 - 10 minutes, let cool for 1 minute before removing.  Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

To make Peanut Butter Blossom cookies push a Hershey's Chocolate kiss on top of the cookie before baking.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Fresh Corn Tortillas

Have you bought that 5 lb sack of Maseca, made your tamales for the holidays and still have left over mix? Make fresh home made Corn Tortillas with the left over Maseca corn flour mix.

2 cups of Maseca Corn Flour Mix
1 1/2 cups of water
1/3 t salt

Mix the salt with the cornflour mix, make a well in the center, add water to the well and mix the dough with clean hands for 1 - 2 minutes to make a pliable dough.

Pinch off dough to equal the size of a walnut and put into a Tortilla Press or roll out between two sheets of plastic film. Gently peel off the top layer of plastic and flip the tortilla onto a hot griddle. Cook tortilla for 20 seconds and flip the tortilla and 30 seconds later flip it again. It is ready to be eaten with butter; filled with cheese and sauced to make enchiladas; filled with taco meat and a mix of shredded lettuce, tomatoes and cheese; or used simply as a scoop with your carne guisada or Huevos Rancheros.

Makes 18 corn tortillas. Freezes well.

Use to make Enchiladas or serve warm with butter.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

Another year, another decade, another clean slate.

I'm not going to start out this year with brand new "New Years Eve resolutions for 2011" (last year's resolutions were never really met), instead of looking back at the past with rose colored glasses. I admit, I do so often tend to do just that -- look at everything with rose colored glasses. Let's clean our slate, we have a fresh year to look forward to, therefore I want to only look FORWARD and move FORWARD this year.

I have mixed the Southwest tradition of Tamales on New Year's eve with the deep southern tradition of Black Eyed Peas and am attaching a photo of the end product. Here in the deep south of Alabama, amidst the old southern charm, lace curtains, conservative thoughts, attire and elegant homes there are many ways to do things the right way, the southern way. There are new "southern" traditions to become aware of, traditions long kept and steeped in the southern people. Some of these "beliefs" could be misconstrued as "superstitions". I write about my thoughts of eating collard greens ( representing money), greens and cornbread ("mad" money or money for your pockets) and eating 365 black eyed peas (one black eyed pea for every day of year to bring good luck, wealth and prosperity everyday of the year) on New Year's day. Hoppin John is the Black Eyed Pea recipe I speak of, many folks down here in the south have old family recipes, some eaten with white rice, some folks eat Black Eyed Peas without rice. But there is one staple - the recipe for Black Eyed Peas has onions, thyme, chopped ham or a pork meat (sausage) of some type to give the black eyed peas another layer of flavor.

Here is to mixing Hispanic traditions with Southern traditions, Green Chile Serrano Chicken Tamales with Black Eyed Peas. If I have to eat Black Eyed Peas -- I'm sure gonna make them taste extra special good and add some good hot serrano peppers and a couple of bay leafs and cook until they are very tender.

So, here's to wishing everyone a Happy New Year for 2011!