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by on April 21st, 2015

Okra and Corn Chowder

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I love okra, and I don’t care if it is fried or boiled and slimy.

What smells better than a pot of soup simmering away on your stovetop. Nothing. Our cold days are behind us but this soup will still be in my menu any time of the year. This would be a great soup to try when the fresh okra and corn start showing up at the markets.

Ya know what I love about soups, well, the instructions are usually about a paragraph long and they are pretty simple to throw together and the ingredients are usually something pretty easy to find at your local market.

This recipe happens to have two of my favorite vegetables — corn and okra and you can’t not like the potatoes and tomatoes and what about the bacon. Everything is better with bacon in it. My husband does not like boiled okra at all because he says it is slimy. How is that different than the slimy oysters he slurps down? He will eat okra in gumbo and soups though even though it is boiled but not just boiled okra as a side dish. (So, I usually get it all.) When I make gumbo, I cook the okra in a hot, dry, iron skillet because that is suppose to get rid of the sliminess before you put it in your soup. (Sliminess isn’t really a work that evokes thoughts of a delicious dish is it?) For this recipe though, I did not do that, I just added in the FROZEN okra since I can never find any decent fresh okra in my grocery. I also added some dried okra that a friend, Sheri, gave me to try.

What do you normally serve with a pot of soup?  Salad? Bread? If bread, is it cornbread or a crusty loaf of Italian bread? I chose no bread when I made this soup.

On the day I made this, my project for the day was to organize my pantry (I have two – food and pans). My food pantry gets organized at least every couple of months.  I like my spices in alphabetical order, all my foods stacked neat and tidy and containers holding pastas, rices, teas etc.  I have racks on my doors from The Container store that hold mixes for dips and other packaged things I usually have a hard time passing up when I see them. After all, you never know when you might need a quick dip.

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by on April 16th, 2015

Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake

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What would the world be without chocolate chips?

 

What would the world be without chocolate chips you say? Definitely not as sweet for sure.

I have to admit to occasionally buying chocolate chip cookies for my kids when they were young and they would probably have been Chips Ahoy by Nabisco. But, 99% of the time they would have had homemade, warm out of the oven, cookies waiting for them when they returned from school with a tall glass of milk.

When we lived in Chicago back in the 80’s and my daughter was in pre-school, I was guilty of talking her out of going to pre-school one day so we could go to Woodfield Mall. At the time, I think that was one of the largest malls in the U.S. and they had a Mrs. Fields Cookie shop which I absolutely in love with their Macadamia Nut White Chocolate and Chocolate Chip Cookies. These cookies were always warm out the oven. So on our little outing that day, which was a cold, snowy day, we checked our heavy coats into a locker and took out for a little shopping excursion. Ummm, I can still taste those warm cookies with large pieces of macadamia nuts along with all those chocolate chips. We didn’t make a habit of skipping school but that was one nice mother/daughter day.

 I was looking for a dessert to make for our bunco group and wanted something memorable. I seldom sign up for dessert because there are always so many appetizer recipes I want to try out on everyone. While out to dinner one night, my friend, Peggy told me about this dessert she had seen on one of Ina Garten’s shows. I remember seeing this show in the past but the only thing I remembered about it was her talking about going to Tate’s Bake Shop to buy their chocolate chip cookies for this recipe. Since my cc cookies are not nearly this flat and crunchy I decided to try Tate’s recipe that was printed on Food.com’s website.

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by on April 11th, 2015

Crispy Salt and Pepper Shrimp

 

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And you can even eat the shells!

When I first saw this recipe I thought of my sister. She loves to eat the tails of fried shrimp and I thought she would love to try this recipe. We also love (maybe most people do) to eat the fried fins of fish when they are fried whole; that would be Crappie fish, of course, but I don’t get that anymore.

I have a closet full (not really) of Szechuan peppercorns that I ordered years ago and never really know what to use them in. Well this recipe calls for them and what better way to use some of them up.

While recovery from foot surgery I decided to spend some time at the computer before the pain finally set in (wow, it never did) and I found a blog with this recipe. The recipe looked so good and I loved the fried jalapeƱo pepper rings for garnish.

We can get all kinds of fresh shrimp all times of the year here in Texas so I can go tiny or all the way up to Tiger shrimp and I think there is even one bigger that I used to make Shrimp Kiev one time. Now that was really good.

Seems like I have more shrimp recipes than just about anything I cook.  Here are some of my favorites (they all really are so good, look under “entrees”- “seafood” to see them all) Bang Bang Shrimp, New Orleans style BBQ Shrimp (a must try), Shrimp Corndogs with Blueberry Mustard Sauce (from Moonshine Grill in Austin), and Honey Walnut Shrimp that I also had at a restaurant in Austin and definitely worth a try. 

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by on April 6th, 2015

Candy Striped Beet Greens

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Treasure from the farmer’s market in January.

A day at the farmer’s market back in January rewarded me with these beautiful candy striped beets. They had been promising me all fall that once it got cold they would have beets. The first time this winter I bought the candy striped beets from them I roasted them but was disappointed they didn’t keep the red and white rings.

If you didn’t know this; the beet greens are just as good as the beets. Most grocery stores are going to just have the beets without the greens because, I guess, they take up too much room in shipping. My beets and greens were about 2′ long. 

I knew I was going to be cooking the beet greens; how could I throw away greens that beautiful and only keep the root end of this vegetable and had planned on just slicing up the candy striped beets and eating them raw in salads. But, at the last minute, I decided to throw in a few slices at the end of cooking the greens to see if they would retain their unique coloring and they did. They could probably take a quick saute in a little olive oil and not fade too much.

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by on April 1st, 2015

Bacon Wrapped Brussels Sprouts

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Sprouts with a surprise.

As I’ve said in past post, it’s just been in recent years that I even tried Brussels Sprouts. I always thought it was too much trouble chasing these little balls of cabbage like vegetable around a plate before spearing it and trying to eat the whole thing in one bite.

Then along came my Brussels Sprouts Salad and my Fried Brussels Sprout leaves with raisins that changed my mine about this little golf ball like vegetable.  

I happened upon Rick Souder’s website while looking for some food photography pictures and found the best of both worlds,  food pictures and recipes all in one location. What a gold mine. His recipe for the sprouts looked interesting and the fact that they were wrapped in bacon made them even more appealing. I decided to add a little sweetness to his recipe though and added dried figs hiding under the bacon and they also got a drizzle of a good balsamic vinegar to finish them off.

If you are looking for a new appetizer to try out this Spring or Summer for a party, please give this a try and if you do leave a comment below and let me know what you think or if you have any changes. (The comment section is at the bottom of the recipe below the Facebook and Pinterest logos.) You can also use those buttons to post my recipes to Facebook or Pinterest.

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