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Beef/Veal/ Garnish/ Sauces

Cowboy Butter

Yee-haw! for cowboy butter.

For my birthday last November we went over to Columbus, Tx to a new restaurant, Magnolia Society (isn’t that a cool name) and even though I never get steak out because we do really good steak at home I ordered the steak with cowboy butter and balsamic demi glaze.

The steak was delicious. I can’t say I could identify what the cowboy butter was but put together  the flavors were great and it made a very nice entree. I knew I’d be looking up a recipe for cowboy butter. I found two and ended up combining the two. One had horseradish and the other didn’t so I divided my mixture in half and added horseradish to one and not the other so I could decide which I really liked better; split decision because both were delicious on the steaks.

What is a compound butter you say. Well, it’s made by taking softened butter and adding herbs and seasonings. Then it gets formed into a log and refrigerator until firm and then it gets sliced and then tops your meat, fish, chicken,  or vegetables. It will keep in the freezer for several months. Once we get into our new home with a nice big freezer I plan on keeping several different butters frozen so that will be ready to fancy up any entree I may prepare.

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Appetizers/ Dessert/ Food Stories/ Morning Foods/ Sauces/ Scones

Devonshire Cream and the Proper Way to Eat a Scone

Too good to be a “Mock” anything.

I use to call my recipe for Devonshire Cream “Mock Devonshire Cream”, but this is too good to be a “mock” anything and I’m sure is better than anything you buy ready made in a jar.

Unless you have a cow out in your back yard where you can go milk her and take the unpasteurized milk and allow it to sit for 12-24 hours and then slowly heat it and then leave it to cool for another 12-24 hours you may want to make your own before going out and buying that cow just to get an authentic bowl of clotted cream to put on top of your scone to follow with jam. Devonshire cream is produced in Devon England.

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Chipotle Butter

Compound butters…

While in Santa Fe back in September we had these wonderful Blue Corn Muffins served with chipotle butter. The butter was so good and had a little heat and a little sweetness to it and got me thinking about the compound butter post I had started years ago and never finished.

Compound butter is simply butter with elegance added and we all are aware that anything with butter is all that much better and when we are starting to see our herbs come to the end of their summer lives what better way to resurect them than to make a compound butter to put in your freezer for those cold (or chilly) months and remember what your herbs gave up for you. Typically compound butters are rolled into a cylinder shape and chilled or frozen and then pats of the butter are served on the steak, fish or even vegetables or even better a sweet butter with a warm scone.

I love making compound butters because it makes whatever you put it on so delicious. A compound butter simply means that there is some sort of flavoring or seasoning added to the butter. It can be a savory butter or a sweet butter to go along with your morning scones.

I think the first time I ever made a compound butter was when I made Chicken Kiev as a newlywed and wow, how wonderful it made something that wasn’t much more than a fancy fried chicken breast, rolled around a piece of butter and deep fried. But, when you cut in the Chicken Kiev and that herbed butter streamed all over the rice you had set it on, I knew then that I was going to like this new adventure of cooking for my family.

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Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

Some like it hot!

In the past when I have purchased Thai Sweet Chili Sauce I would buy 2-3 bottles at a time because one time the store was out and I had to go to another brand and it wasn’t good. I’ve seen several sweet chili sauce recipes and after looking at the ingredients on my favorite brand, I decided to make my own.

I’ve used this on my egg rolls, dumplings, I’ve added ketchup to it for a cocktail sauce for shrimp, I’ve brushed it on my husband’s grilled chicken wings and the good thing is I can make it whenever I need it since I always have the ingredients in my pantry.

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Appetizers/ ColdApp/ Sauces

Jalapeño Shrimp Tostones

Last longer than a platter of boiled shrimp.

Several months ago on a stormy rainy day (my favorite of all days) I had lunch with friends in Houston at Churroscos.  We were brought plate after plate after plate of plantain chips sliced into long thin pieces and served with chimichirri and pureed mango salsa and as usual that got me to thinking about using these chips as a base for one of my old appetizer recipes. I decided to try tostones instead of a chip. You can decided whether you want a cracker or go to the trouble to fry the plantains or maybe, just buy some plantain chips.

I’m always looking for a way to reinvent a recipe.  The filling for this little appetizer is one that I first used about 20 years ago for a party I catered and was always so easy to make and the fact that I could make the filling in advance made it even better. I really started using this recipe because if I put out cocktail shrimp at a party, it was gone in a New York minute. With this little bite you have the tostones (or cracker), shrimp and cream cheese. So, it’s a bit more filling than inhaling a half dozen of boiled shrimp. (And a lot cheaper too.)

If you are looking for a quick, easy appetizer, you can’t get much easier than cream cheese, shrimp, pickled jalapeños and some cilantro.  Throw in a crisp plantain chip (or cracker) and a drizzle of chimichiri sauce (or not) and you have a delicious, spicy treat to serve at your next party. When I use to make these I used only the cracker, shrimp topped with the ruffle of jalapeño cream cheese mixture and a cilantro leaf for a garnish (see pic below). So you do not have to make the chimichurri or the tostones if you don’t want to.

For some reason I always loved this shrimp and spread on a cracker (and it had to be a Ritz) then I tried the plantain and knew it was a good alternative to the cracker. Using a decorating tip to pipe out the cheese onto the back of the shrimp makes a beautiful presentation.

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Appetizers/ HotApp/ Sauces

The Best Egg Rolls

Great beginnings — Our Egg Rolls.

Crisp and delicious.

I’m sorry if I always think (I don’t actually say it) my recipes are the best. That isn’t always true, BUT (my husband says I say BUT way too much) this recipe is better than any (of course) that you would buy frozen and better than any I have ever had in a Chinese restaurant.

My sister started making these years ago and of course shared the recipe with me. She and a friend once made 1000 of these for an Arts & Craft event. My kids actually use to help me make them and we would do a double batch, some small ones in won ton wrappers and mostly the larger ones in egg roll or spring roll wrappers. A quick fry, drain, cool and then to the freezer (after sampling quite a few) so they can be enjoyed at anytime you have an egg roll craving.

I use to cook Asian food quite often; and I don’t know why I quit but I use to love doing moo gai pan, sukiyaki, fried rice, and egg foo yung and of course these egg rolls. Maybe the reason is because we can find Thai, Chinese and just about any other kind of Asian food restaurant in our area. This winter, I’m committing to doing more of those quick stir fry dishes that makes getting dinner on the table faster and I just love being able to do everything in one pan.

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Bread/ Morning Foods/ Sauces

Chocolate Toffee Scones

You will fall in love with this scone recipe!

Who doesn’t love scones of any type, slathered with Devonshire or clotted cream or lemon curd or strawberry jam.

For some reason I just love baking. I think maybe it is the aroma that fills the kitchen and I’m off in my imaginary world sitting in some English garden with teacup in hand sipping my tea munching on one of these scones and taking in the view of my beautiful garden (one that is not fried from the Texas heat).

We had company coming this past weekend  for a bridal shower being held for my daughter and I just happened to have a half bag of toffee bits and some chocolate chips in my pantry and decided it would be a good time to try out this scone recipe. And, since I still had some Devonshire cream in my refrigerator, it was just begging for something to be eaten on.

I love having any kind of homemade baked goods in my freezer ready to bake when I have company or as a special treat for my husband.

Make yourself a pot of tea and either make some Devonshire cream or go out and buy some clotted cream to go with these scones and sit back and enjoy.

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Egg Dishes/ Morning Foods/ Sauces

Eggs Benedict with a Twist

Eggs Benedict revisted.

Don’t you just love finding an updated recipes; recipes that have been around for years and have been given a new twist to make it a little more exciting. I think it is time that a dish like Eggs Benedict get that make over. Is it possible to improve on an English muffin, topped with Canadian bacon, poached egg and hollandaise — of course it is and what an improvement.

Last year on a trip to New Orleans we had breakfast at Dantes Kitchen. The Shrimp and Grits were great, the steak and eggs made with tenderloin, Bearnaise sauce and poached eggs were fantastic and the twist on their Dante’s Eggs Benedict was tasty and interesting. I also had my first milk punch which I can’t wait to make for brunch sometime.

If I had to scrimp on anything on a trip, it would not be on the restaurant or the food. Give me a room with a bed and I’m happy. But, please, don’t make me eat at some fast food, chain restaurant. To me, the best part of traveling is trying new restaurants and food that I haven’t made or eaten before.

So, this Eggs Benedict started with a homemade buttermilk biscuit with a little honey, topped with a slice of rosemary rubbed pork loin, and a poached egg and hollandaise. Like always, I’m thinking, hey, I can make that and here’s my version.

I had some thick cut boneless pork loin roast in my freezer so I sliced it thin, rubbed it with rosemary and olive oil and grilled it quickly on both sides. A little honey, egg and hollandaise and you have the newly dressed Eggs Benedict.

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Bread/ Morning Foods/ Sauces/ Scones

Chocolate Cherry Scones

Chocolate and Cherries a perfect match!

Once upon a time I wanted to open a tea room but I gave up on that idea and realized I could still do the same types of foods that I loved to make for parties I catered. I love doing baby showers, and showers of all sorts because it gives me a chance to try new scone recipes and all sorts of finger sandwiches and little foods. Check out the Baby Button Cookies I made for a shower a few weeks ago. They were delicious and oh, so cute.

I love scones that are buttery, flaky and filled with either lemon curd or Devonshire cream. I usually make a mock Devonshire cream for parties and on occasion will buy the real thing from the grocery even though it is about $5-$6 a jar. I get very disappoint when I have a scone that is nothing more than a biscuit with a little sugar added in and not really a scone at all.

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Entree/ Poultry/ Sauces

Kotopits (Chicken in Phyllo)

Another phyllo recipe I love and have made many times.

As I have said before, I love working with phyllo dough and this recipe is so amazingly simple and elegant.

My journey to learning to cook, create, and recreate dishes has been a long one. As a teenager my sister (twin) and I never cooked. Our “cooking” for the week was to make dinner the nights our mother had her bowling league. The only meal I remember making is Bologna sandwiches. Once I made some home made divinity candy to send to my husband at college. Well, his fraternity brothers were always eating the cookies etc that I would send. That was until after the divinity incident. Evidently I did not do a very good job of shelling the pecans and one of his frat brothers borrowed a piece of candy and broke a tooth on the shell that was hidden away  inside the candy. So, even though I did experiment with cookies and candies, I didn’t do any serious cooking until I got married, then my sister and I started sharing and collecting recipes.

Recently I calculated I have probably prepared 43,800 meals (at least) in the last 40 years 7 months. We have been in a dinner/supper club 4 different times since we have been married and we have always learned something new and creative from each group.

My daughter has prepared this dish several times and one of those times she was still in college. So, if you are thinking this is too hard, think again. I have catered this several times for rehearsal dinners and dinner parties and it is always a hit.

 To me anything served in a little packet whether it be phyllo or parchment packets is a surprise waiting to be discovered. What’s hiding way all snug and wrapped up in that phyllo or parchment bundle?

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Appetizers/ Fish/Seafood/ HotApp/ Sauces

Shrimp Corn Dogs with Blueberry Mustard

“Peanuts! Popcorn! Cotton Candy! Corndogs!, getum while they’re hot.”

Now that is what I use to hear at our county fair. Our small town in Southern Missouri (Caruthersville) was the county seat and we had a county fair every year. President Truman even went one year for the festivities. (I was a baby then, of course.).

We loved going to the fair for the rides, watching the beauty pageant where all the contestants were driven around the race track in convertibles, going to watch the harness races (horses) and quarter horse races. My boyfriend (now my husband) would meet me and we’d ride everything there. To make some spending money, my teenage to be husband worked on the town’s ferry boat during the fair collecting quarters from people who would park their cars on the Tennessee side of the Mississippi River and walk onto the ferry to cross over  to come to our fair.  The ferry and the county fair are now long lost to history but I have not forgotten the sounds of the carnival and the smell of cotton candy, taffy and corn dogs.

I first had these shrimp corndogs at the Moonshine Grill in Ausin at my son and daughter-in-law’s rehearsal dinner several years ago. I totally forgot about these little gems until I was looking at one of the restaurant’s menus the other day. Anyway, skewered shrimp dipped in my corndog batter, and fried and served with a honey mustard sauce with a blueberry swirl for dipping will make a hit at your next party.

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Appetizers/ Entree/ Fish/Seafood/ HotApp/ Sauces

Coconut Fried Shrimp with Zippy Orange Dipping Sauce

Like Bubba Gump, I love shrimp prepared just about any way.

I have boiled shrimp for shrimp cocktail, bar-b-qued it, ceveched it, grilled it, kebabed it, baked it, butterflied it, creoled it, scampied it, sweet and soured it, foo yunged it and Shrimp and Gritted it. So if there is a way out there I haven’t tried I would like to hear about it. Several days ago I decided to try a healthy version of Coconut Fried Shrimp trying to make it gluten free.

You see, several weeks ago (Fat Tuesday I think) my daughter, Alexis, gave me a challenge to give up grains along with potatoes and sugar. I have pretty much done that for the last 5-6 weeks with the occasional slip with the sugar.

I have tried many great cracker and scone recipes from the Almond Flour Gluten Free Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam and they are fabulous. I’m lucky I don’t have to eat gluten free, but if there is anyone out there that does, please take a look at her cookbook and she also has a website where you can find some fabulous recipes.

(Carb friendly — substitute a sugar free orange marmalade for the regular.

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