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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 large sweet onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme, 1 bay leaf in garni bag
  • Flour-enough to "dust" onions
  • 1/2 C red wine
  • 2 qt. Swanson beef stock
  • 2 soup bones
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 " thick slices of French Baguette, toasted.
  • 2 C Gruyere cheese, grated

Pour beef stock into 3 qt. saucepan, add soup bones.  Simmer at least 3 hours. (Drain before adding to onions)  .Melt the butter in a large sauce pan over medium-low heat, add the onions and cook slowly at low with the lid on until golden brown and caramelized, about 2-3 hours, stirring every 15 minutes.  Raise the heat to medium, uncover to reduce liquid, then add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute.  Mix in the flour and let it cook for 2-3 minutes. ( Use less than 1/4 C).  Add the wine and deglaze the pan.  Add the strained broth, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Add garni bag with thyme and bay leaf during last 15 minutes of cooking, then remove bag.
Ladle the soup into oven-proof bowls on a baking sheet and top with the toasted sliced bread and cheese. Broil until cheese melts, about 1-3 minutes.  Watch carefully to make sure cheese does not burn!
Be very careful serving this soup.  Let it cool a bit before you serve.  It comes out of the oven super hot!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Celebration Brunch

This Father's Day I invited our oldest son and his family for a celebration brunch. We had two fathers, two birthday's, one college graduation, one new job, and an upcoming wedding to celebrate.  I decided to make it a more elegant affair, so I pulled out my china, silver, and crystal to make the table look special. That is always a lot of work, but well worth the effort! I wanted to cook something out of the ordinary to make the occasion even more memorable. This is what I served:

Crostini with Blue Cheese, Mushrooms & Prosciutto
Black Peppercorn Pate' with Crackers
Fresh Figs with Honey, Blue Cheese, Basil and Prosciutto
Phyllo Cups with Brie and Preserves
Deviled Eggs with Goat Cheese, Cornichons and Prosciutto

Fresh Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Ginger Dressing

Country Ham Creamed Grits with Asparagus, Seared Scallops and Hollandaise Sauce
Baked Parmesan Tomatoes

Lindy's New York Cheesecake

Summer Fruit Sangria
Orange Juice
Bloody Marys

It was quite a meal, and got rave reviews.  I am going to post most of the recipes on my blog, and wanted to start with the main course.

Country Ham Creamed Grits with Asparagus, Seared Scallops and Hollandaise Sauce

Grits Ingredients:
1 C grits
2 1/2 C chicken stock
1 tsp. salt
2 TBS butter
1 1/2 C heavy cream
1/4# country ham, chopped and lightly sauteed
Grits Instructions:
Bring stock to a boil in heavy saucepan.  SLOWLY add grits, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to low and continue to stir to keep grits from sticking.  Cook grits about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until stock is absorbed, and grits are tender.  Stir in cream and ham, cook about 10 more minutes while stirring.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Keep warm until ready to serve.
Asparagus Instructions:
Wash asparagus and cut off tough ends.  Place on baking sheet, Salt and pepper to taste, drizzle lightly with olive oil.  Bake at 400* for about 15 minutes, or till fork tender.  Keep warm.
Blender Hollandiase Sauce Ingredients: (From The New Orleans Cookbook)

1 stick butter
3 large egg yolks
1 TBS fresh lemon juice
Scant 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Sauce Instructions:
Melt butter in small saucepan.  Combine rest of ingredients in blender.  Cover blender, and pulse to mix the ingredients lightly.  Remove center section of blender lid, turn on high speed, and gradually pour in hot, melted butter in a steady stream.  Cover again and switch the blender on for 60 seconds, off for 30.  Repeat cycle until sauce thickens.  You can put this sauce in a jar, and keep warm in a pot of hot water...do not put on burner...jus replace hot water to keep sauce warm.  I have never had this sauce break, and have made it since the 1970's.
Seared Scallops Ingredients: 
1- 1 1/2# dry sea scallops (12 scallops)
2 tsp. butter
2 tsp. olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
Seared Scallops Instructions:
Remove side muscle, rinse in cold water and thoroughly pat dry; salt and pepper to taste. Put oil and butter in heavy saute' pan over high heat.  When fat begins to smoke, carefully add scallops to keep fat from splattering. Keep scallops from touching, do not crowd pan.  Sear about 2-3 minutes on each side.  They should have a golden crust, and translucent in the center.

Place grits on serving plate, then asparagus, Hollandiase sauce, and scallops on top..Serve immediately

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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Pasta Pomodoro...pronto!

Summer and hot weather are almost here, and most of us are looking for delicious dishes that are quick and easy to prepare.  This is one of our favorites, it comes together quickly, and is really tasty.  We had it for dinner tonight.  It is a simple dish, and very easy to make.

3 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 large cloves garlic, minced
8 basil leaves, chopped
28 oz. can San Marzano tomatoes, chopped
Salt to taste
1 tsp. sugar

Heat oil in pan over medium low heat.  Add garlic, and saute until soft, be careful not to burn the garlic..this will make the dish bitter.  Add chopped basil and cook about one minute.  Add chopped tomatoes and salt, mix well, turn heat to medium and simmer for ten minutes. Serve over thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta.  Add a salad and crispy bread...mangia!

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Not My Grandmother's Collard Greens

My family loves collard greens, and so do I.  I have always cooked fresh bunch collards the old fashioned way, which can be a bit time consuming.  My hubby wanted them for dinner one night, and I was short on time, so I decided to saute bagged, pre-chopped greens in bacon grease.  Here are the simple directions.

2# Bag Glory Chopped Collards
3 TBS. Bacon Grease
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 tsp. sugar
Vidalia onion,chopped
Pepper Sauce
Peeled and quartered turnips

Soak greens in 2 tsp. baking soda for about an hour.  Wash well, and remove large stems.  Melt bacon grease in large pan, then add greens and seasonings.  The sugar helps tone down the bitterness.  Cover, and simmer slowly for about 1 1/2 hours.  Keep an eye on the greens, and if the broth from the greens cooks away, add a little water.  We serve ours with fresh turnips cooked on top of greens, chopped onion, and pepper sauce...the real peppers distilled in vinegar.  Add turnips on top of greens during the last 20 minutes of cooking.

My husband loves greens cooked this way..I hope you will too.

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Peyton's Easter Cake

Peyton is my 4 year-old great-grandson.  He is handsome, adorable, sweet, loving, funny, and very smart.  This is my totally unprejudiced great-grandmother's perspective and opinion. :) This little boy is a bright ray of sunshine in our lives, and his Boompa and Gram-Gram always look forward to visiting him in Arkansas, and his visits to our home in Texas.

This week, we had an early Easter celebration with Peyton and the rest of the Arkansas family.  We made an Easter basket for him, and took along some Cascarones, which he thoroughly enjoyed! (Cascarones are a Mexican tradition for Easter as well as other holidays. A cascaron is an egg that is decorated much like an Easter egg and then filled with confetti. Cascarones are broken over the head for good luck.  They are used by many Texans on Holidays).  For dessert, I made this quick and easy Cream of Coconut Cake.  Here is a picture of Peyton's slice of cake.  He redesigned it, and even added some frosting to the chick's beak. I wanted to share this happy memory, and this easy, tasty cake with my blogging friends.  Happy Easter to all!

1 box white cake mix, prepared per package instructions.
(ingredients needed:egg, oil & water)

1 can Condensed milk1 can Cream of Coconut (I used Coco Lopez)
1 16 oz container Cool Whip, thawed
1 package frozen grated coconut, thawed

Prepare and bake white cake mix according to package directions for a 9x13 pan.
Remove cake from oven, and while still hot, poke holes all over the top of cake using the handle of a wooden spoon, or a large fork.

Mix condensed milk and Cream of Coconut well, and pour over warm cake. Coat top of cake evenly.  Be sure you coat the whole cake and spread it so it will soak in.

Let cake cool completely then frost with whipped topping, and, top with flaked coconut. Decorate as desired..as Peyton did.

Keep cake refrigerated.

Notes: Be sure you use CONDENSED milk...not evaporated milk, and CREAM OF COCONUT, not coconut milk. Cream of Coconut is usually found in the section for alcoholic drink mixes..it does not contain alcohol, however.

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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Emma Ruth's Family Recipes Restaurant

 My youngest son, David, had been asking me about family recipes for a few months.   He is the one who made the Red Beans and Rice in an earlier post.  There had been some casual talk about opening a restaurant, using family recipes to make from scratch dishes.  Everyone thought naming it for his, and wife Kim's grandmothers, the inspiration and origin of many of the recipes, was a good idea.  That, in a nutshell, mixed with his entrepreneurial spirit, is how Emma Ruth's Family Recipes restaurant was born. The doors opened at the end of February, and I am proud to report that the cooked from scratch, home cooking restaurant has been quite successful so far.  The food is very good.  If you are even in Bentonville Arkansas, stop in for a good meal, or just to say hey, y'all!

Many of the recipes for their dishes are on this blog.  I am proud of you, David and Kim!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Chinese Spareribs

I made these Chinese Spareribs for a Sunday golf watching snack.  The photo didn't turn out too well, but the ribs did!  They were very tasty, and every single one of them was eaten... quickly!

2 racks pork spareribs (about 4 lbs)
1 C. ketchup
1 TBS. brown sugar
1/3 C chili or hoisin sauce
1/4 C lite soy sauce (I find regular too salty)
2 TBS dry sherry
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. 5 spice seasoning (optional)
1 Tsp. finely  grated ginger

If desired, have butcher cut rib slab in half, lengthwise.  I cook mine whole.  Trim ribs, and remove membrane from back of rack.  Make marinade by mixing all ingredients together.

Place ribs in baking dish, ( I line mine with aluminum foil for easier cleanup...trust me on this).  Pour marinade evenly over ribs to coat well.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  If possible, turn ribs at least once during this time.  When ready to cook, uncover baking dish and roast in 375* oven for about 11/2 hours.  Meat will separate from bone easily when done.  Remove to cutting board, and cut rack into individual ribs and serve.  Wrap any leftovers in foil, and reheat when needed.

These are easy to prepare, and are real man pleasers..ladies love them too!
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