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Fall is here! Clean out that fridge and freezer!

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, 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!