Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Cinnamon Cake Donuts


Last week, we made cinnamon cake donuts for brunch.  These make a great quick breakfast or snack to grab when you're on the go - but they don't last long since they're so tasty.


Ingredients:
  • 1/4  cup shortening (Crisco)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • peanut oil
  • Cinnamon Sugar
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1 tsp. cinnamon


Cream the shortening.  Then add the sugar and eggs and beat well.  


Add the baking powder, nutmeg, and salt.  Add the flour alternatively with the milk (I did one cup of flour and about 1/4 milk each time).


Add enough flour to make a dough that is stiff enough to handle.


Put the dough on a floured board or a pastry cloth.  If you have granite countertops, you can roll the dough out directly on them.  Roll the dough into 1/2 inch thickness, and cut with a donut cutter.


Fry in the peanut oil, turning over as soon as the first side is golden brown.


Remove from the oil when the other side is golden brown and drain on a paper towel.


While the donuts are still warm, put them into a brown paper lunch bag (doubled is best) and shake with cinnamon sugar.


These donuts make a tasty breakfast!


Have you ever tried making donuts before?  Let me know!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Screaming Pussycat Cocktail


I thought I'd share another one of my original cocktail recipes today - I call this one the Screaming Pussycat.  I named it after my cat Travis, who is by far the most vocal of our three felines.

Ingredients:
  • 2 oz grapefruit vodka
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1 oz Grand Marnier
  • 1/2 oz orgeat
  • 1 cup crushed ice
For the vodka, I like Deep Eddy's grapefruit vodka, but any good grapefruit vodka will work.  Orgeat is an almond-flavored syrup and it can be a little difficult to find, but it is a necessary ingredient in a lot of tropical cocktails, including Mai Tais.  You'll probably want to go to a big liquor store to look for it - you might want to call to make sure they have it.  If you can't find it locally (I could never find it when I lived in Boston), you can order it online at Finest Call or a lot of other places. 


Combine the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously.


Serve in a tiki mug or your glass of choice.


And here's our very own Screaming Pussycat.  MEOW!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Eggs Benedict


Since tomorrow is Valentine's Day, I thought I'd share a recipe for Eggs Benedict - it's a great way to make a tasty brunch for your someones special.  Or even just yourself!


Ingredients:
  • 8 eggs
  • 8 pieces of Canadian bacon
  • 4 English muffins
  • Hollandaise sauce
    • 4 egg yolks
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
    • Dash of Tabasco
    • 1 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Break the English muffins in half and lightly toast each half.  Heat up the Canadian bacon in the microwave for 1 minute.


Poach the eggs in simmering water on medium heat for about 3 minutes, or until cooked.  We use poach pods which makes poaching eggs easy and keeps the egg from feathering in the water.  I really recommend these - they make it so much easier to do!  If you use them, lightly coat the pods with cooking spray before putting the eggs in them.


When you're done, you have perfectly poached eggs!


To make the Hollandaise sauce, I used the blender method in James Beard's Theory and Practice of Good Cooking.


Combine the egg yolks, salt, Tabasco, and lemon juice in a blender and blend on the high setting, just enough to blend the mixture.  


Heat the butter until it is bubbling, but not to the point it is browned.  Remove the insert from the lid of the blender, turn the blender on high and pour the hot butter in a thin, continuous stream.  When the butter is absorbed and the sauce thick, turn off the blender.   If you need to thin the hollandaise, add 1 tablespoon hot water into the sauce while the blender is running.


Assemble the Eggs Benedict by putting one slice of Canadian bacon on an English muffin half, then put the poached egg on top of the bacon.  If you used poach pods to poach the eggs, turn the poach pod upside down over the Canadian bacon and gently push on the bottom - the egg should slide right out.


Pour the hollandaise over the eggs and salt and pepper the eggs to taste.


Eggs Benedict makes a tasty brunch or a delicious breakfast-for-dinner dish.

Are you planning on cooking anything special tomorrow for Valentine's Day?

Friday, February 10, 2017

Raspberry Kitten


One of my favorite things to do is create new cocktails.  This is one of my favorites: the Raspberry Kitten.  I named it after my mom's cat, Crockett.

Ingredients:
  • 2 oz lemon vodka
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1 oz Grand Marnier Signature Collection º2 Raspberry Peach
  • 1 cup crushed ice
My favorite vodka to use for this cocktail is Deep Eddy Lemon Vodka - it is really good and sour and made in Austin.  For lime juice, Nellie and Joe's key lime juice is a must - RealLime and other lime juices do not compare.  I like to use tangerine juice when it is available, but orange juice works fine.


Combine the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously.


Serve in a tiki mug or your glass of choice.


And if you're wondering why I call Crockett the Raspberry Kitten - there's your answer!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Cheese Enchiladas


Last week, we had another blast of winter here in Dallas.  Since it was cool and windy, we decided we wanted something warm and tasty and decided to make cheese enchiladas on Thursday.  Cheese enchiladas are a Tex-Mex favorite and we used the recipe in Robb Walsh's Tex-Mex Cookbook which you can buy on Amazon.  This book has a ton of tasty Tex-Mex recipes, sprinkled with interesting tidbits of Texas history and historical photographs.


Ingredients:
  • Chili Gravy
    • 1/4 cup peanut oil
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 1/2 tsp. powdered garlic
    • 2 tsp. ground cumin
    • 1/2 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
    • 2 tbsp. chili power
    • 2 cups chicken broth or water 
  • 1/2 cup peanut oil
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups grated Velveeta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Yield: 4 servings (8 enchiladas)


To make the chili gravy, heat the peanut oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Stir in the flour and continue stirring for 3-4 minutes, until it makes a light brown roux.  Add all the dry ingredients and continue to cook for 1 minute, constantly stirring and blending the ingredients.  Add the chicken broth, mixing and stirring until the sauce thickens.


Turn the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for 15 minutes.  Add water to adjust the thickness if necessary.


Next we grated the Velveeta and chopped the onions.


Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Ladle 1 cup of the chili gravy on to a large ovenproof baking dish.


Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat for 3 minutes.  Using tongs, place a tortilla in the hot oil for 30 seconds, or until soft and lightly browned.


Place the tortilla on a paper towel and allow to cool before handling.


Place 1/4 cup of the Veleveeta and 1 tablespoon of the chopped onion down the center of the tortilla and roll the tortilla around the filling.


Place the tortilla seam side down on the gravy covered plate.  Repeat with the other 7 tortillas.


Pour the remaining chili gravy over the top of the tortillas and sprinkle the dish with the shredded cheddar cheese and remaining chopped onions.  Bake the dish for 15 minutes or until the sauce bubbles and the cheese is well melted.

Our enchiladas were staggered so we could divide them into 4 servings easier.


Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

These enchiladas were really tasty and a great way to warm up on a cool winter day.  

Do you have any Tex-Mex favorites?  

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Spicy Cashew Chicken


Happy Chinese New Year!  To celebrate, last night my mom and I made some homemade Chinese food.  One of my favorite dishes to order at The Cheesecake Factory is their Spicy Cashew Chicken, so we decided to try to copy it at home.  We used the recipe from Dinner Then Dessert with a couple of modifications.


Ingredients:
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-size chunks
  • 1/3 cup peanut oil
  • 8 oz. chopped cashews
  • 6 green onions, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 2 tsp. sesame seeds
  • Cooked rice
  • Seasoned Rice Flour
    • 3/4 cup rice flour
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
    • 1/8 tsp. paprika
    • 1/8 tsp. baking powder
  • Rice Flour Batter
    • 1 1/2 cup rice flour
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
    • 1 1/2 cup ice water
  • Spicy Soy Sherry Sauce
    • 1 cup Hoisin sauce
    • 1/4 cup soy sauce
    • 1/4 cup sherry
    • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
    • 1 tbsp. Sriracha sauce
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 2 minced garlic cloves
    • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1 1/2 tbsp. fresh ginger
Yield: 4 servings


To make the seasoned rice flour, mix the ingredients together in a bowl.


To make the rice flour batter, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl over ice.  Keep cold.  We placed the bowl with the batter mix inside a bowl with ice cubes to keep it cool.


To make the spicy soy sherry sauce, mix all the ingredients together.  We added some ginger to the recipe we found online - it gave the sauce a little bit more of a kick.


Next, toss the chicken pieces with the seasoned rice flour.  Then place the chicken in a bowl with the batter and combine until the chicken is well-coated.


Next, heat the peanut oil in a large pan on medium high heat.  Then add the chicken pieces and cook until the chicken is browned and crispy (about 3 minutes on each side).  Remove the chicken and place it on a paper towel to drain.  We had to do this twice in order to cook all the chicken.  Be sure to break apart any of the chicken pieces that stuck together.

 

Next, add the cashews and sauce to the pan.  Then add in the green onions, sesame seeds, and the chicken.  Toss all the ingredients together until well-coated and let cook for about 30 seconds in order for the sauce to thicken.


Serve over rice.


 Everybody really enjoyed this recipe and it was a fun way to celebrate the Year of the Rooster.


Gung hey fat choy!


And yes, I even dressed up my dog to celebrate.

Have you ever tried any copycat restaurant recipes?  Let me know!