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Bread

Bread/ Morning Foods/ Pastries

My High School Cinnamon Roll

Do you have fond memories of high school?

One of my high school memories that I can close my eyes and am transported back to the 60’s is from my home economics class. I loved home ec class, is that hard to believe? Not really. I liked the sewing somewhat but the cooking was more fun. I don’t remember what we cooked any of the four years that I took Home Ec except for our cinnamon rolls. The class would make these cinnamon rolls and sell them to students during lunch. Could you EVER smell the yeasty, cinnamony aroma up and down the halls of our two-story building. And, the kids couldn’t wait to get a break to go buy one. If I remember correctly, we charged 10 cents each, what a bargain!

Years ago in culinary school one of my instructors told us he had a friend who was a franchise owner of a TJ Cinnamons and that one of their secret ingredients for their cinnamon rolls were crushed “red hot” candies. So, over the years I have made these rolls with and without the cinnamon candies; you can decide whether to add them or not.

Our class also made pecan rolls, which I will also make one day for you to try. They were the gooiest, pecan rolls ever and sticky but in a very good way.

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Bread/ Morning Foods/ Muffins

Raspberry Muffins with Streusel Topping

Chocolate chips make this raspberry muffin chocolicious.

There is definitely one advantage of growing older. And that is that I don’t have to get up until I’m ready. And, well I can stay up as late as I want watching TV, go anywhere I want to go, when I want to go. I guess there are quite a few advantages. I love going to the movie at 10:30 in the morning and I average 1-2 movies a week (and I do ask for senior rates — didn’t think I would ever be glad to say I wanted “senior rates”).

Do you think “hoarding” is something that happens as we age? I get an upset stomach watching those hoarding shows. I do, on the other hand tend to hoard food; especially berries that I pick in the summer months or in the case of these raspberries that I got for .99 cents and bought 40 cartons to put in the freezer.

So, one Tuesday morning after a good 8 hours of sleep I decided to whip up these muffins to take to my craft circle. Do you see that happening a lot lately? I know they will be eaten. I have to be honest, a few weeks ago, I tried a gluten-free orange muffin and decided to add some extra orange extract. They were AWFUL, tasted like a mouthful of alcohol and when I noticed they were not being eaten, I threw them away. Gluten-free items are not my favorite things to make and I learned my lesson about adding too much extract; and, I would like to be known as that lady who brings “good” stuff.

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Bread/ Morning Foods/ Scones

Walnut Lavender Scones

The scent of the lavender will sweep you away.

You will not be raising your pinky while you are having tea with these scones.

A few years ago (many years ago in fact) at a tea conference I learned two things that stuck with me. One, you never split a scone and put your jam and Devonshire cream on it and put it sandwiched back together (you eat the halves separate); and two, when you drink tea you REALLY aren’t suppose to hold your pinky out. Of course, you can eat and drink however you want but I guess that is correct tea etiquette. Hey, when I drink my tea sometimes it is in a cup with no handle.

I wanted to bring back some lavender from our trip to France a couple of years ago but didn’t; so when I saw this dried culinary lavender in a spice shop in Austin, I just had to buy some. Then, it took me about a year to get around to trying my scone recipe using the lavender to make the most “scentful” walnut scones I have made. And, it didn’t hurt that I had some lavender growing right outside my back door to get in the picture. Picture perfect.

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Bread/ Breads/Biscuits/ Morning Foods

Loveless Cafe Style Biscuits

Voted one of the best biscuits in the U.S.

How many times while we are traveling do we eat at a great restaurant and then soon forget about it? Well, I never do. I have talked about Loveless Cafe several times here and this is one restaurant that we actually made it back to again and for the second time enjoyed their wonderful biscuits for breakfast. I always knew if we got back to Nashville we would eat at Loveless again, and we did on our way back from Asheville last summer. Loveless Cafe’s Biscuits have been voted one of the best restaurant biscuits in the U.S. and of course they aren’t going to share their recipe.

For over 60 years guests have been sharing meals with family and friends at Loveless Cafe. LC is located in southwest Nashville at 8400 Highway 100 and has been serving meals since 1951. It use to be a 50’s style Motel and still has that sign by the roadside. You can’t miss it and if you pass it by, you will be sorry.

To me, there’s nothing better than a hot biscuit out of the oven with room temperature softened butter. Now, my husband would disagree because he loves to put either honey or molasses on his biscuits.

I changed a few ingredients in Mother’s Kitchen copycat recipe. For one, why use buttermilk powder when I can use 2 cups of buttermilk; and since I had some Lard in my pantry I used that in place of the vegetable shortening. Also, I decreased the sugar to 1/8 cup because I don’t think any biscuits needs to be sweet. This recipe sounds similar to the Angel Biscuits we use to make back in the 70’s. Whether it is or not, I think it measures up to Loveless Cafe’s biscuits.

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Bread

Hushpuppies My Dad’s Way

My Dad — The Renaissance Man.

Maybe I should have saved this story for Father’s Day but after doing my Savory Pecan post, I started thinking about all the things I remember about my dad and his life. Growing up, my mother did most of the cooking unless it was bbq, fish or game and then that was my dad’s department. But, as they got older and retired, and my mother’s health declined, our dad started sharing the kitchen with our mother. He would experiment with all sorts of cooking and gardening techniques. At one point he came up with this hushpuppy recipe on his own and that’s the recipe I have decided to share.

Long before my parents got into cooking up their own recipes, they would buy frozen hushpuppies; the ones that looked like hard little football shaped things that seemed even harder once they were fried. Then my mother started making homemade hushpuppies which I always thought were the most delicious ones ever, especially with a little butter smeared on them. Then in my dad’s later years, he added some yeast to the recipe and the rest is history. Sometimes I might add a little corn or even jalapeño to the puppy mix but they stand alone without any of the extras as the best hushpuppies I’ve eaten.

I don’t know about you but I can shut my eyes (I really don’t have to do that) I can hear my dad laugh, picture my mother’s smile which she had for everyone, hear my grandfather clearing his throat when he came in the door for lunch (they lived next door to us) and hear my grandmother saying “you need to put t-shirts on those babies”; we never forget those who meant so much to us do we.

Hope you will enjoy reading some of my memories about my dad, The Renaissance Man. And, if you are not tired of reading, there are a few pictures of him at the bottom of this post.

THE RENAISSANCE MAN

Gardening and Cooking: He would try to grow just about anything; one year he grew Jerusalem artichokes just to see how he could use them. They pickled everything, made his own dry rub for years, grew, dried and ground his own peppers and he loved to talk about his garden. He dehydrated all kinds of fruits, veggies and made his own jerky. When it came to canning he even canned some fish once and used to make fish cakes (I never tried those).

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Appetizers/ Bread/ HotApp

Cornbread Jalapeño Poppers

Great little poppers.

Only four days before Christmas and if you’re planning on doing a big pot of soup for Christmas Eve this will be a great little “go with” to serve.

Can you believe Christmas is here already. I’m so excited this year (excited every year) because all the kids will be together in Austin for Christmas and their Mema will be here with us too. And, I can’t imagine how exciting it is going to see all 5 little boys running around playing with each other. Of course, Thomas (almost 8 months old) will only be watching this year, but I know he will be wondering when he’s going to be chasing them around.

I made these little poppers a couple of years ago and took these pictures (which are not that great) and then forgot about posting about them. I found this recipe at Oh Bite It blog and one day when I was making my Mexican Cornbread recipe I decided to try filling some of the jalapeño peppers with the batter.

I have never been a fan of the Jiffy type cornbread mix because my mother always made homemade and for me to do anything but homemade seems like I’m cheating. After stuffing the peppers with my Mexican Cornbread mixture that has meat in it I decided that they would be much easier to follow her recipe and maybe the sweetness from her Honey variety of cornbread mix would counter the hotness from the peppers. You can really add whatever you want to these. You can throw in some cooked ground beef if you have it on hand.

My dad was always trying to figure out how to get the coating to stick to a jalapeño like the ones you get in a restaurant or from the frozen section of the grocery. He tried all sorts of things and then decided that maybe the peppers needed to be steamed to soften them up a little before doing the flour, egg, bread crumb coating that went on the outside of a traditional jalapeño popper. After researching this I found most popper recipes call for double dipping; do egg, crumbs, then egg, crumbs again to get a thick coating. I think he wold have liked these peppers for sure.

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Bread/ Breads/Biscuits/ Morning Foods

Banana Nut Bread

There’s banana nut bread then there is this banana nut bread.

I’m sure you have been making banana nut bread about as long as I have. You may have your favorite recipe that was your mother’s, grandmother’s or your favorite aunt’s. But, I’m hoping you will try my recipe; or I should say my sister’s recipe from her husband’s Mamaw.

All recipes are made better with over ripe bananas. In our house it is hard to get an over ripe banana because my husband loves them any way and the darker the better. Over ripe bananas aren’t sold at my favorite market anymore because the produce guy told me the bakery gets them. I’m sure the bakery’s bread is not nearly as good as this recipe.

Recently, I planned on making banana nut bread for a friend (Janet) who had just had a knee replacement. So, I buy six perfect bananas and put them on the counter so they can ripen and then can be used to make the most delicious banana bread I have ever tasted. The next morning one banana mysteriously disappeared. I had forgotten to tell my husband not to touch them or put a DO NOT EAT sign on the bunch. The next day, again, one banana gone missing and they were just starting to get to the really dark stage I like for a banana intended for bread and then another banana gone. Finally I was left with three bananas to make a recipe that called for six bananas.

What’s a girl to do other than make 1/2 the recipe. Luckily for me and for my friend (one recipe normally makes 2 large loaves) I got 4 small pans from the half recipe. I kept one and gave my friend the other three. This bread is the best right out of the oven, warm with some room temperature salted butter smeared on it but is just as good cool or warmed in the microwave.

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Bread

Pão De Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread)

Thank you new neighbor, Valdez for giving me this recipe.

Several years ago my daughter, daughter-in-law and her mother had dinner at a Brazilian restaurant in Austin. I have to say, I do not remember the name of the restaurant or the main course I ordered but I will never forget the little cheesy bread puffs we were served.  These are puffs are like little clouds filled with cheese.

Well, a couple of weeks ago our street had our yearly Neighborhood Watch block party at our neighbor, Maria’s, house. Maria is always the one responsible for putting these events together and notifying us of any information going on in the neighborhood that we need to keep a watch out for. This particular night we got to meet our new neighbors and guess where they are from — thats right Brazil.  Remember the post a while back where I told you about my problem with saying “r’s” when I was a kid and in class calling Brazil – b-r-a-s-s-i-e-r and how embarrassing that was.  Oh, well, hopefully I won’t be saying they are from Brassier !

Valdez told me that he loved to cook and has over 300 knives that he has collected from all over the world. I couldn’t resist asking him about the cheese bread balls I had and he immediately knew what I was talking about and said he had a recipe and would share it with me.

It was surprising to learn that this recipe did not have any wheat flour and is made from tapioca flour (he uses cassava flour – yucca) which makes this totally gluten free for any of you who have to maintain that lifestyle. These are made like gougères (cream puffs) but are so much better as a bready treat.

These are made similar to the gougères but mix up nothing like them. Similar but not.  I have made profiteroles for years which is what a gougère is but with cheese. I have always mixed them by hand when mixing in the eggs; but this recipe has to be mixed in a mixer whether it is a hand or stand mixer you will need it to get those eggs and cheese mixed in. Believe me the recipe is as  gelatinous and sticky as I had read about in other recipes. I tried by hand but quickly decided I’d better drag out the mixer.

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Bread/ Morning Foods/ Muffins

Strawberry Goat Cheese Muffins

My daughter introduced me to these one weekend in Austin.

One weekend in Austin my daughter introduced me to this delicious muffin. She had picked up a couple at Central Market. They always have delicious baked goods; and of course they don’t give out their recipes so I had to do some digging to come up with my own version.

I’ve made all kinds of muffins over the years. I hope I haven’t told this story before but when we lived in Kansas, and this was before my catering days and probably what made me start thinking of going to culinary school, I use to sell muffins in our neighborhood. A neighbor and I decided we would make muffins every Saturday morning and sell them to friends in the neighborhood. We printed up a flyer and our kids put them on the doors so people could call in an order if they wanted fresh muffins to enjoy while they read their morning paper. We even bought little bakery boxes and tied the boxes with ribbon before delivery. We probably did this for about 6 months and then moved on to other money making projects 🙂 liked painting our pool fence (will tell that story another time).

I’m sure your thinking “what? goat cheese in a sweet muffin”. But I’m thinking the two make a pretty good match. So many muffin recipes out there are so sweet and I think the goat cheese adds a twang that counters all the sweetness.

Over the years I have made so many different muffin recipes that it’s hard to pick out a favorite. (Check out some of the ones I have posted — under bread section.) I started this recipe with an old Blueberry Muffin recipe that I’ve had in my files for years and made a few changes to it to come up with this version.

What’s your favorite muffin? Is it blueberry, apple, cinnamon or maybe, just maybe, you will add this to your list of favorites.

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Appetizers/ Bread/ ColdApp/ Entree/ HotApp/ Pork

Momofuku’s Steamed Buns and Quick Pickles

Soft and delicious buns and the pickles are bad either.

Here’s the second installment of the pork belly saga.

Thinking of Steamed Buns brings up thoughts of dim sum and being in Chinatown/San Francisco. Back in 2001 (just a week before 9/11 happened) we were in San Francisco/Napa with our friends Peggy and Gordon. While in San Francisco we were in Chinatown and went for dim sum at supposedly one of their best places. Well, Peggy and I both can now hear the word “dim sum” and it always gets a smile and chuckle from us.

We didn’t know what to order and it seemed like everything put on our plates was sweet and gooey. I remember the buns but not what was in ours, something sweet and gooey I’m sure. Anyway, it was a fun experience watching all the waitpeople come by with their carts of goodies. Too bad we weren’t up on what to order off the menu.

Since, that experience we have had dim sum with our son/daughter-in-law in Chicago and they’re experts on everything on the menu and we have enjoyed it very much and will be much better prepared the next time on what to order.

So for this recipe you will need the Braised Pork Belly recipe that I posted a few days ago and the cucumbers that are used in this little Pork Belly Steamed Bun Sandwich.

I do hope you will try these little buns, or you could make a pulled pork sandwich using these little white buns.

I think these Steamed Buns, the Quick Pickled Cucumbers, Pork Belly and the glaze make one terrific bite of a sandwich and you won’t regret the hours it takes making the pork belly or the buns. I’m giving you the pickle recipe along with the steamed buns just because the pickles are so quick and easy and the “pickle” post would be all of about two lines long. So, you can eat these pickles with whatever you chose; I made them to go with the Pork Belly and Steamed Bun sandwich.

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Bread

Jalapeno Popcorn Cornmeal Muffins

I’ve never heard of popcorn cornmeal! Have you?

You can leave off the popcorn; this was just an afterthought for the picture. The picture would have looked better with a plate full of popcorn with muffins on top. Oh well, maybe next time.

Have you ever thought about popcorn and it’s many uses? I’ve used it for a garnish on beer cheese soup, made caramel corn out of it, popcorn balls years ago, used it for packing material (I’ve heard of that, never done it myself), even strung it on thread for garland on a Christmas tree but I have to say I’ve never heard of making cornmeal from it.

Popcorn is the only type of corn that will pop, it is a whole grain corn and there is a difference in popping corn and the kind you eat off the cob, out of a can or package. You can google it and find out for yourself.

I love trying different products and when we were back home a couple of weeks ago, our friends Kay and Steve McKaskle (McKaskle Family Farm) gave me some of their newest product which is Braggadocio Popcorn Cornmeal. They are making polenta also from this corn. So I was asking them about how they came up with the idea and it came from one of their customers who wanted a non-GMO cornmeal and could not find non-GMO corn and then she remembered that their popcorn was in fact non-GMO. She began grinding it and tried it out with corn muffins.  They visited the lady and tasted her yummy cornmeal muffins made with the popcorn meal and sampled the popcorn cornmeal. So, from that meeting they decided they wanted to mill their own popcorn cornmeal. Also with a new electric eccentric sifter they discovered they could mill popcorn into polenta and grits.  Several chefs are now trying out their polenta. By this fall they will be offering white organic corn grits. And, now they are growing black beans which I can’t wait to try. They already produce basmati rice, long grain brown rice and white rice. Check out their site at McKaskle Family Farm.

I kind of expected these muffins to taste like popcorn. They didn’t but they had the most wonderful soft texture. I know there is more starch in popcorn so that may or may not be the reason but all I know is that they were melt in your mouth good and the butter dripping down your hand didn’t hurt either. I was going to use butter but used oil instead because I only had one stick of butter and knew we would want to butter these muffins right out of the oven. The popcorn was an after thought. I just stuck some popped kernels in the top half way through the baking time.

I’ve made cornbread so many ways and I have put corn and jalapeno in it before (never cilantro), but there was just something different about these muffins that made you want to go back for another one (and another). I did decrease the sugar a little because I never put more than a pinch of sugar in my muffins; the jalapeno offset the sugar making them absolutely mouth-watering good.

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Check out the McKaskle Farm site if you want to order the Braggadocio popcorn cornmeal or their other products.

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Finely chop 1 or more jalapeños.

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The chopped cilantro was so bright and green in the baked muffins and really added to the flavor of the muffin.

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Stir everything up until just blended, do not over mix.

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The reason I used oil in the batter was because I only had one stick of butter left and I wanted to make sure we had enough to use on the hot muffins.

Jalapeno Popcorn Cornmeal Muffin

Ingredients

  • 1 c. unbleached flour
  • 1 c. Braggadocio Popcorn Cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/4 c. buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 c. sugar I used scant 1/4 cup
  • 1/3 c. butter or oil I used oil
  • MY ADDITIONS:
  • 1 ear corn kernels cut off
  • 1 large jalapeño finely chopped
  • 3/4 c. grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 c. chopped cilantro

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Bread/ Morning Foods/ Muffins

The Best Blueberry Muffins

The vote is in and these are the best blueberry muffins!

Don’t these make you want to grab one and get a cup of tea/coffee or milk.

I always thought I had the BEST blueberry muffin recipe and in fact, in a cookbook that my sister and I put together, that is exactly what I named my recipe — The Best Blueberry Muffins.

If you love blueberry muffins and you think you have a recipe that is wonderful, I would like to hear from you and try your recipe. Like I said I always thought I had the best muffin recipe for those freshly picked blueberries I gather each year. But this recipe is from a friend, Kay, in Missouri (my sister’s husband’s cousin) and my sister had been telling me recently that this was the best recipe and that her husband, Gary, said they were the best he ever had.

Well, I have a freezer full of blueberries from last summer’s harvest and I’ve decided if I’m never picking blueberries again, I need to use up the ones I have in the freezer. For some reason they have a tough skin, I think, when they are thawed and they are not washed before freezing so I know that’s not the problem; but they are wonderful in muffins. Anyway, my berry picking this year will just be blackberries and maybe strawberries.

These muffins freezer beautifully and after thawing and few seconds in the microwave will give you a muffin that taste straight out of the oven.

I made a double recipe of these muffins and put them in a cute wire farm basket and took to craft circle of 50 or so ladies. They were gone before lunch.

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