Monday, July 24, 2017

Family Lunch at Joe T's

Some time ago, we had a family lunch at Joe T Garcia's which is one of our favorite food places. It was a very enjoyable meeting and quite a feast too!


First, chips and salsa arrived on the table.


Then, cheese and beef tacos + nachos were served.


I love nachos at Joe T's but if I had had more than two, I would not have been be able to eat the main course.





More tacos came then + an enchilada plate and corn tortillas to share...



Great fajitas to follow...

Of all the family, only I like pico de gallo so it was all for me.


After the meal, a walk in the restaurant's backyard - beautiful gardens full of various plants, flowers, statues and other decorations.



We had a great time!

What is your favorite restaurant/food place?

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Peach Cobbler Experiment

Cobblers are not popular in Poland. Actually, I did not hear about them when I lived there. I learned about them when I moved to Texas.

Last week, my husband brought home some fresh peaches (which were 'straight from a peach tree') and asked me to make a peach cobbler. The fruit was great so I thought it was a very good idea. The only problem was I did not know how to make one.


I read some peach cobblers recipes online but each one of them was different and called for different ingredients (besides peaches of course). Some suggested adding water and cornstarch to peaches, some mentioned lemon and orange juice as well. I decided a Southern recipe would be best. None of such included pie crust as part of the dessert, though.

I peeled, stoned the peaches and cut them into pieces. I do not know how much fruit we had that day - when sliced it was about 5 cups, I reckon.

What I did

First I melted 1/2 stick of butter in a pan. Then I added 1/4 cup of brown sugar to the sliced peaches. I intended to use about 1/2 cup of granulated sugar but I made a mistake and added almost 1 and 1/4 cup instead. I cooked the mixture for a few minutes and tasted the juicy part. There was a problem — my peach cobbler mixture was too sweet so I decided to save it adding about a glass of cold water and about a tablespoon of potato flour (I do not have cornstarch). I cooked it all for about ten minutes. I tasted and tasted and tasted the cobbler mix and the peach slices again. It seemed alright, not overly sweet. However, I was not sure how it would be after baking it in the oven. I had never had such a cobbler before. Anyway, I placed the mixture in a Pyrex dish.

Next, I took a layer of ready-made (bought in a store) pie crust (maybe home-made would have been better but I needed to make the procedure simple). I cut it into strips and placed them on the cobbler mix (see in the picture).


Then, the baking time came - about 50 minutes in the oven (350F).

I still did not know what the results of my work would be, hoped for the best, though. I was happy when it turned out to be really tasty. And my husband was happy too. He said he had not had such a peach cobbler since he had lived with his mom (ages ago, when he was a school boy) and she had made that. Could it be a better compliment? I do not think so.

P.S.
The cobbler was maybe a bit too juicy, due to the water which I had added to dissolve the sugar and make it all less sweet. Nevertheless, it tasted soooooooooooooooo good! I saved the juicy part and it was a perfect topping for the vanilla ice cream which we had later.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Cinnamon & Cocoa Cake

I made that cake not long ago - I felt like making a cake but did not have any raisins or anything special to make the cake with so I used this recipe. The cake was quite tasty and rather light - not too sweet. I am not a big fan of cocoa cakes but that one was good.

 

What you need to make it:
  • a loaf cake tin,
  • flour: 2 and 1/4 cup,
  • sugar: 3/4 cup,
  • eggs: 2,
  • milk: 1 cup,
  • butter: 170g,
  • cinnamon: 1/2 tsp,
  • cocoa: 4 Tsp,
  • baking soda: 1Tsp,
  • jam/marmalade: about 30 dag (1 small jar).
For the icing: about 1 cup of powdered sugar, 1-2 Tsp of milk, 1 Tsp melted butter.

What to do with it all:

1. Grease and flour the loaf tin (do not use too much flour - just a bit).
2. Warm up the oven (375F).
3. Mix the melted butter with marmalade, add eggs and (gradually) milk. Mix it of course.
4. Mix all the dry ingredients and add them to the liquid ones, Mix again.
5. Pour the cake mixture into the greased and floured tin.
6. Bake it for about 45 minutes - check the cake with a toothpick at the end of baking.

When the cake is cool, you can decorate it with some icing. I made it with powdered sugar, milk and a bit of butter.




Thursday, April 6, 2017

Baked Potatoes and Summer Meals

This recipe is a good option for a simple, meatless dinner. It also reminds me the summer meals we used to quite often have on summer days when I was little. What we had then was/were: Boiled potatoes sprinkled with fresh dill - scrambled eggs and cold buttermilk to drink. It was nothing sophisticated but very enjoyable and I really liked it.

The Southern version of the summer meatless dinner option is a bit different.

What you need to make it:
  • some potatoes,
  • chives/green onion - cut into pieces,
  • some salt, black pepper, vegetable oil, and butter,
  • shredded cheese,
  • + corn on the cob (and some lemon pepper to season it) to accompany the baked potatoes.
The recipe for the baked potatoes (by The Southern Lady who cooks) is here. It is easy and the dish tastes wonderful (according to us). You can serve the meal with a cold drink of your choice e.g. iced tea or chilled buttermilk.

Enjoy!


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Our Chicken Curry

A few months ago, I bought some curry seasoning with a thought of making chicken curry for dinner. However, I did not have any handy recipe to make it happen. Some time passed and I forgot about it all. Getting things out of a kitchen cupboard, I sometimes looked at the curry seasoning. Finally, I decided it was high time to make some use of it before it expires.

Here is an easy way to prepare a simple and light but tasty dish.

Ingredients (for two):
  • 1 chicken breast cut into smaller pieces,
  • some onion - diced,
  • 2 garlic cloves - minced or chopped,
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube,
  • frozen peas and carrots, 
  • some frozen corn,
  • a cup of water,
  • some oil to fry the chicken,
  • a bit of salt.

How to make it:

  1. Coat the chicken pieces with curry seasoning. 
  2. Cover the coated pieces with a plate and store it in the fridge for about 10 minutes (I sometimes skip this step, though).
  3. Heat some oil in the pan, fry the chopped onion and garlic for a few (3) minutes
  4. Add the chicken pieces, fry them till they are cooked/ golden brown.
  5. Pour water in the pan, add the bouillon cube, corn, peas and carrots, cover the pan. Cook it all at 4/ low heat till there is little water in the pan.
  6. Season with some salt - as you like.
  7. Serve with cooked rice.
I also serve the chicken curry with Chinese egg rolls.

It is our favorite home made chicken curry dinner.

Bon apetit!


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Soups on Our Menu: Chicken Noodle Soup

Since we like having chicken noodle soup at weekends, I am sharing my way of making the soup.



What you need:

(yield: for two persons)
  • 1 chicken breast cut into small pieces,
  • 1 bay leaf + dash cracked black pepper,
  • some onion - diced,
  • a bit of oil to fry the onion,
  • a few baby carrots cut into pieces,
  • 1 can cream of chicken,
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube,
  • salt and pepper,
  • some pasta,
  • some dried parsley.
How to make the soup:

1.  Put the chicken breast pieces into a pot (not a very big one), cover with cold water, add the cracked black pepper and bay leaf. Cook the meat at 4 till it is done (usually it takes about 20 minutes or so).
2. Fry the diced onion for a few minutes (4-5), until it is soft.
3. Add the onion and the carrots to the pot with the cooked chicken pieces.
4. Cook it all till the carrots are soft.
5. Add the cream of chicken to the soup, stir it well and keep on cooking (at 4).
6. Add the bouillon cube, boil the soup. Season with salt and black pepper as you like.
7. Cook the pasta in a separate pot, according to the instructions given on the pasta package.
8. Drain the pasta. Put it into soup bowls, pour the chicken soup over the pasta.
9. Add/pour some dried parsley to each bowl/serving.
10. Serve and enjoy. 😊



Friday, February 10, 2017

Our Early Valentine Cakes

Our Valentine weekend cakes are ready. 💑

Smaller heart cakes


And a bigger one :-)

What I used to make them:
  • 1 box yellow cake mix + what the instructions on the cake box say (water, eggs and canola oil),
  • 1/2 can cherry pie filling,
  • some powder sugar + a few Tbs hot water to make the icing,
  • decorating 'beads'.
 

The cherry part is hidden inside of course 😐.

Have a happy weekend!



Friday, February 3, 2017

12 Cakes12 Months: Mixed Fruit Cake


I need to tell you about the December cake to close the 12 Cakes 12 Months project. It was quite an all year long challenge and searching for a new recipe was time-consuming. Besides, experimenting with the unknown recipes was also risky as we were never sure what we would get and whether the cake was worth trying at all. In this meaning, the project got a bit old during the year. It was often easier to make a cake which we had already had and which we liked or use a cake/cobbler mix when there was not much time for baking.

However, in December I came across that really good recipe for a cranberry loaf cake. I did make it for Christmas. Although the recipe calls for fresh cranberries, I used dried fruit mix - cranberries, cherries, and blueberries.

The cake looked and tasted similarly to the Polish traditional Christmas 'keks' which is a fruit cake as well. Actually, when my husband saw the December cake, he thought it was the kind of Polish cake which he had eaten during our November stay in Poland.

Anyway, the December cake was very popular with our guests who visited us on Christmas Day. It was really tasty, especially when served warm (after 20min microwaving before serving).


I made the cake again in January and we enjoyed it too. Needless to say, it 'disappeared' quite quickly as well.
I am going to keep the recipe by the Southern Lady. Very likely, the fruit loaf cake will become part of our Christmas traditions.

All in all, during the entire project, we experimented with 12 cakes/recipes. The ones which we liked best (besides the December one) were
mandarin pie,
vanilla cake,
pineapple cake,
coconut pie, and
blueberry cake.

It was all worth trying - I am glad I found quite a few, new and enjoyable cakes. On the other hand, I admit I am glad the challenge is over and now I can make any cake whenever I want to or choose not to bake anything at all.


Monday, January 16, 2017

Our Microwaved Peanut Brittle


My husband likes peanut brittle so we bought it from time to time. Once, I wanted to taste the purchased treat (I had not eaten any peanut brittle before) but it was too hard to bite it, so I quit tasting.

Anyway, when I saw the recipe for homemade, microwaved peanut brittle, it caught my attention. I scanned the recipe to see what was needed to make the sweet thing. Since I found it all quite easy and the article mentioned that peanut brittle was supposed to be a traditional Christmas delight, I thought I would try to make it too.

Attempt 1

Was highly unsuccessful. It was my mistake not the recipe, though. By accident, I set the express microwave cooking and the sugar and cane syrup mix got burned totally. It was smelly, sticky and scary as it was spreading in the microwave very fast, covering everything and turning into stone immediately. Luckily, it was only sugar so the hot water dissolved the stone creation and removed it from my kitchen utensils, kitchen tops, and the microwave.

Fortunately, I had not read the recipe carefully enough and I missed the peanuts part - I did not add them to the sugar and sugar cane syrup mixture before putting the bowl in the microwave. Therefore, that was not much a waste. Mostly a lot of mess in the kitchen.

The experience was a bit upsetting and disappointing - well, I assumed it was simply not my cooking day at all.


Attempt 2

I read the recipe one more time - carefully! - paying attention to all the details. With some hesitation, I tried again a few days later.

I buttered a big piece of aluminum foil (instead of the baking sheet mentioned in the recipe). I also prepared all the needed ingredients - measured them and put aside.

All went fine!

How I cooked it:
  • 3 minutes in the microwave,
  • stirred the mixture,
  • 3 more minutes in the microwave,
  • stirred again,
  • then, 3 more minutes of microwaving.

After taking the bowl out of the microwave, I added the baking soda, vanilla extract, and butter to the mixture, stirred it all and, as fast as I managed, I spread the brittle with a spoon on the buttered aluminum foil.


When the brittle hardened, it seemed to be a bit too thick. It was thicker than the brittle we had bought in a store. But it was soo good! Very sweet but soft enough to enjoy it without teeth braking. I liked it very much. It was so tasty! And not too thick at all.

We will definitely not buy peanut brittle anymore. Whenever we feel like having some, I will make it again using the same RECIPE by The Southern Lady Cooks.