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Showing posts with label recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recipes. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Chips and Salsa and More

This post also appears in my blog Kitchen Keepers.
There I usually write about what is happening in my kitchen, and offer both old favorite and new family recipes. This story could so easily have gone into either blog, I decided to post in both!

In 1976, Joe and I and our sons Benjamin, Jeremy, and Sean  (age almost 3, 5 1/2, and 8) moved from North Dallas to the growing suburb of Plano, Texas. From the time we were getting ready to move to our house on Deep Valley until the time we moved from there, our favorite Mexican food restaurant was Tino’s, owned by Tino Trujillo. Even after we moved away from Plano, we tried to make it to Tino’s when we were back in the area. From the location we first visited in 1976, Tino moved to a spot in Plano’s Collin Creek Mall. Later, there was a third location called Tino’s Too. .
I can still remember Tino’s smile, his warm welcome, and his personal greetings to our sons as they grew. When we first began having meals there, Ben was still 2. Once as we left the restaurant after stopping by the front register to pay, Ben began coughing and choking. He had picked up one of the little round peppermints so often found in restaurants and tried to swallow it. We picked him up and turned him upside down and out popped the mint! Tino always called Ben by his full name, Benjamin, but pronounced ben ha min in Tino's lilting Spanish accent.
One of our favorite dishes was Chicken Flautas so I was delighted to get the recipe when it appeared in the Plano Star Courier, our local newspaper. There was a feature in the paper titled Cooking Corner.  The recipe was titled Pollos Flautas and was contributed by Georgie Farmer, a lady we knew whose picture appeared along with a plate of flautas.
Interesting to me when I pick up the now yellowed and tattered newsprint:  It does not say Tino’s Flautas, but I have always called it that. It has been many years since we had a meal with Tino, and he is no longer with us, so I can’t ask him. But these flautas are exactly like the ones I remember enjoying so long ago. We remember you fondly, Tino!
Tino’s Chicken Flautas
3 Tablespoons margarine (use butter now!)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chicken broth
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon parsley
1 teaspoon grated onion
dash each of paprika, ground nutmeg, and black pepper
2 cups finely diced cooked chicken
24 corn tortillas
guacamole and sour cream (optional)
In sauce pan melt butter. Blend in flour, salt, and chicken broth. Cook and stir until the mixture thickens and bubbles. Add lemon juice, parsley, onion, paprika, nutmeg, and pepper. Stir in chicken and cool slightly. Place about 1 1/2 Tablespoons chicken mixture on each tortilla. Roll up tightly.  Fry in deep hot oil at 350 degrees, holding together with tongs for about 10 seconds or until tortilla is crisp. Spoon on guacamole and/or sour cream. We also serve with salsa.
I could have sworn that newspaper recipe was called Tino's Chicken Flautas. Now it is!

Friday, September 18, 2015

11827 South Little John Circle



Last week Joe and I drove by the first house we bought after we were married.  We would have had a hard time recognizing it if we had not known for certain its location and street number. But nearly 50 years later, It appears that another family lives there now who also loves plants!  I smile as I think of the difference in the big truck parked there and our little green VW in the driveway!

In 1966 we bought our first house in a suburb of Houston. The address was 11827 South Little John Circle, in a neighborhood named Fondren Park.  We had the house built for around $14,000, and not only picked the elevation style, the carpet (in the living room only - forest green) and tile (vinyl mosaic) and colors in the kitchen (yellow counters and appliances!)but we drove by to visit the progress almost everyday during the time it was under construction. Our combined salary was barely $700 with Joe working at a company called Independent Exploration and my working at the Hillcroft Medical clinic. We shared rides to work in our Volkswagen.

We moved in, started gardening, mowing, and meeting neighbors like Joan and Edgar Rust (Rusty) and Amon and Lucille White. We  had an inexpensive bed, chest of drawers, and dresser purchased when we moved into our apartment in Houston the year before, gladly accepted the hand me downs of a wicker love seat and rocker from Mother and Daddy, and bought an unfinished round table we lovingly sanded and stained. Chairs from Mexico completed our dining area. We reupholstered a couch and chair that had been my grandmother Terrell's.  We found red fabric at a discount store and painted the wood parts black. I made a wall hanging from burlap and a square of  printed linen.

Soon we felt our nest was feathered as we received the good news that we were expecting our first baby!  We decided to wait to "tell" so that we could do that as a Christmas gift for our parents when we traveled home on Christmas eve. However on Christmas Eve, I had to have emergency surgery for a ruptured ectopic pregnancy and spent Christmas week in the hospital.

Our friend, Pat Tarver came to stay with us for a few months while her husband was in basic training. Pat was our church secretary, in the choir with me, and my close friend.  When her husband was stationed at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, we hugged her goodbye without realizing we would soon follow her. After only 10 months in our beautiful little house, Joe accepted a job in San Antonio so we quickly sold our first house, finding another home where we welcomed our beautiful baby son in 1968.  There have been many homes and many good neighbors since but I still use Lucille's recipe for ginger cookies and Rusty's recipe for homemade vanilla ice cream.

When we drove into the much changed neighborhood last Friday, memories began to swirl and surface. Neighborhood potlucks, gathering friends and family around our little table. The time when I proudly put a sprig of my own garden mint in my brother in law's tea glass and he found a worm on it!  Coming home without our much wanted first baby to finally open our Christmas gifts. Loving and supporting each other and learning how nice neighbors can be and how hard it is to say goodbye.

And today, looking at pictures of the house, thinking how very young we were and of all the years in between of faith and family, and our own action adventure!  A few tears and plenty of laughter later, we feel so blessed.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Nana's Recipe for Chewy Crisps

No, I didn't mix up the posts for my blogs.  Although this might seem to have been intended for  Kitchen Keepers, my cooking and recipe blog, it is posted here intentionally.  Today, just like most other people, I print out recipes from websites, or save them to my documents file for use at a later date.  I do still prop up a cookbook (I have many more than I have shelves to store them) or lay a printed recipe nearby when I am cooking.  I like being able to use my mini Ipad to bring up a recipe I know I have already posted.  That is very convenient, and portable!  But my most cherished recipe collection is handwritten, like the one above.  Chewy Crisps were peanut butter treats my mother, Opal Terrell Teal, made in our kitchen on Sunset Street in Jacksonville, Texas when I was growing up. I could enter it in my computer and print it out (and may very well do that for other reasons) but I thrill at being able to hold it in my hand, trace Mother's lovely, even, measured handwriting, and cook from her "book."  This recipe has a checkered ribbon threaded at the top since I use it, along with a few others, every year on a small kitchen Christmas tree where it hangs along with Mother's cookie cutters, the first ones I ever used.  I cherish other recipes written down by my Grandmother, or my mother's best friend Gertrude, our neighbor Mrs. Adams, even one from Mrs. Fay Martin who was mother's friend when they lived in New Orleans over 70 years ago. Recipes on the back of my 4th grade spelling test, an  envelop, a paper napkin.   I have some in my own handwriting, a collection of family recipes made as a third grade art project, complete with a fabric cover edged in blanket stitiches.

Next time you are asked for a recipe, why not write it down with your own pen?  Someday, there may be someone else who collects more than cookbooks and cooks with a heart beyond the cooking channels on TV!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Yea for Summer!

Officially, Summer does not arrive for almost another month!.  But a number of indicators say it is already here in every way except the calendar date. In order of arrival, but not importance, these are 1) the weather - already mid nineties and sticky with humidity, 2) the Texas size mosquitoes that seem to thrive in the heat, and 3) the end of another school year, which makes possible the joy of extra time spent with us by our grandchildren.  Next week, Maddie and Jordann arrive to spend a week.  But this week, Skye and I have three days of fun together. 

I did not set out to spend three days unplugged, but we have had little time for television or smaller electronics!  Often, necessity is the mother of invention, so yesterday one of our first projects was homemade mosquito repellent.  I had tried the mixture last week, so Skye made her own spray bottle to take home with her.  The recipe is a simple mix of alcohol, oil, and essential oils:

2 Tablespoons rubbing alcohol
2 Tablespoons almond oil (or olive oil)
50 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
15 drops each of peppermint, lavender, and lemongrass essential oils

Mix, pour into small spray bottle and shake before each use.

We tried it  - it works!  It isn't quite the same as baking cookies together, but still fun.

We also made fresh sugar water to refill the hummingird feeders after we cleaned them, and did some painting of toenails and fingernails.  Skye is very fond of mermaids right now, so she wanted blue and turquoise nails with fish scales.  I opted for plain pearl.

Today we mixed up some moss paint and painted some garden pots and statuary with what we hope grows into lovely mounds of real moss.  Results to be posted later!  Tomorrow we are making hanging basket fairy gardens.

The biggest project will take us awhile.  The Victorian dollhouse and most of its furniture is in dire need of repair.  We plan to work on this when we can, and solicit help from the handymen in the family! 

Don't you think we earned the hour we spent  on the couch reading?   

I love Summer!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Red, White, and Blue

We celebrated with a Fourth of July breakfast this morning.  A Dutch Baby (puffed pancake) with blueberries, rasperries, and strawberries.  We enjoy a variety of pancakes of various origins, but this may just be voted family favorite.  Nearly 25 years ago, our friends Bob and Dorothy Thomas made this.  Once I tasted it, I hastily scribbled the bones of the recipe on a torn piece of paper, which is still the one I pull out when I get ready to make it.  Even though I know the simple ingredients and preparation by heart, I like to connect with the memories by handling this tattered little note. It may be simple, but because it rises and puffs and is always beautiful with any assortment of fresh fruit, it is a great way to make guests feel special, whether served at breakfast, brunch, or a lovely dinner dessert.

                                                                  1/3 cup butter
                                                                   4 eggs
                                                                   1 cup milk
                                                                   1 cup flour

Begin heating oven to 425 degrees.  Put butter into an 8 inch round iron skillet and place in oven.  While butter is melting, put eggs, milk, and flour into blender jar and mix throughly.  Take hot skillet out of oven and pour batter directly into melted butter.  Do not stir.  Place back into oven for about 20 minutes, or until puffed and browned.  I cut it into fourths and top with fresh berries or peaches and sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar.  If you wish, add a dollop if whipped cream.  Garnish with a sprig of mint.
Optional:  Add vanilla or a dash of nutmeg for flavor.  We like it plain.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Eggplant Chronicles

  I have always enjoyed foraging - looking for what looks good whether it is in my pantry or available fresh vegetables and herbs, then planning meals around that.  I believe cooking for two or ten is an art project in which I create the healthiest and most appealing foods. Our weekly share of CSA produce delivered from an organic farm an hour north of Houston has changed my habits of planning meals.  Since I don't know what I am going to bring home until I get it (a little like looking in your Christmas stocking) I wait until then to plan the next week's food fare. I love the fresh vegetables, but it can be challenging to provide variety. 

We have received alot of onions, tomatoes, squash, and eggplant. I made Eggplant Parmesan.   I made a huge dish of classic French ratatouille with fresh basil and thyme for Father's Day weekend.  As I checked out recipes online, I realized there was a similar dish in many cultures, particularly Mediterranean.  There are slight variations. Spanish Pisto is served with a fried egg on top.  The Greek dish Briam contains white wine and is seasoned with mint and basil and dill.  Turkish Torlu  is sweet and savory with potatoes and chickpeas and has cinnamon and cilantro as well.  Alboronia (Andalusia) has paprika and vinegar. Samfaina, from Catalonia calls for the vegetables to be chopped fine and caramelized.   There was a recipe for Soufiko (from the Greek Island Ikaria).  But  they all contain eggplant.  I think I have alot of new dishes to try. 

I still enjoy foraging, this time for recipes, and their stories.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Focus on Foccacia

The previous posts clearly show I like making bread and my family likes eating it.  Without thinking twice, I can tell you the all time favorite any of us would name.  Years ago I found a recipe for Focaccia Bread in a Southern Living magazine which was attributed to Eva Royal from Evening Shade, Arkansas.  I have used her recipe with success, changing size of loaf and what I put on top of it according to how I will use the bread and which herbs are currently flourishing in the garden.  We love the taste of sundried tomatoes, so I add more, plus garlic and Kalamata olives.  I also occasionally use whole wheat flour for part of the flour requested.

 Foccacia is kin to pizza, with almost as many ways to dress up. The main differences are toppings and the thickness of the dough.  Traditionally, once the dough has risen and been punched down, it is shaped and dotted with  indentations that catch olive oil and salt as they are drizzled on before baking.  These little reservoirs are wonderful catchments for chopped fresh basil and rosemary or oregano and chives plus a generous addition of kalamata olives. The fresh herbs contribute texture and delicious flavor and fragrance.

My daughter in law Kristen helped me make dozens of dinner roll size loaves for a family celebration last year.  We have made them into sandwich buns which can also be stuffed with fillings.  But most often, we make two rustic rounds that disappear very quickly.  You will love it, too.

10 pieces of sundried tomato (1/2 cup or more, according to your taste)
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup milk
2 Tablespoons butter
31/2 to 4 cups bread flour, divided
2 packages active dry yeast
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
4 cloves chopped garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup shredded fresh basil
1-2 Tablespoons chopped rosemary, stems discarded
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
optional:  1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano. 
(if you don't have fresh herbs, remember that 1 teaspoon dried herbs can be used to 1 Tablespoon fresh)

Add tomatoes to boiling water in small pan and let stand for 30 minutes.  Drain, reserving liquid.  Finely chop tomatoes and set aside.  Stir milk and butter into reserved liquid and heat until temperature reaches 120 to 130 degrees.

Combine 11/2 cups of the flour with yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl.  Gradually add liquid mixture, beating at low speed with electric mixer.  add egg, beat 3 minutes, stir in tomatoes, garlic, chives, and enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.  Put dough into a well greased bowl, turn to grease top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place free from drafts for 2 hour or until doubled in size.

Combine herbs and olive oil in small dish.   Punch dough down.  For round loaves, divide in half and shape each into a 10 inch round.  For sandwich buns, divide into 12 balls, and shape into 3 inch rounds.  Place on ligtly greased baking sheets; flatten slightly, curving fingers to poke little wells into the dough.  Brush with half of the herbs and oil, sprinkle olives,  cover, and let rest for 10 minutes.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, brush with remaining herbs and oil and bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.  Cool on wire racks.

This has never lasted long enough for me to photograph!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Good Eats

I am not just borrowing from Alton Brown's Food Network TV show title...the kale, onions, broccoli, squash, turnips, and broccoli arrived on my kitchen counter this week after I picked up my CSA (community sustainable agriculture) share from Home Sweet Farms in Brenham, Texas.  Along with tomatoes and herbs from my current garden production, we indeed have good eats.  So far I have made a roasted beet and swiss chard salad,  roasted the turnips and cooked a medley of squash and onions. Tonight we will have Zuppa Toscano using the kale and more onions along with spicy Italian sausage and  potatoes. This recipe is modeled after Olive Garden's tasty soup by that name.

                                         ZUPPA TOSCANA

1 lb ground Italian sausage (we like hot and spicy, but you may use mild)

1½ tsp crushed red peppers

1 large diced white onion

4 tbsp bacon pieces

2 tsp minced garlic
10 cups water

5 cubes of chicken bouillon

1 cup heavy cream

1 lb sliced small red potatoes

several leaves of kale...more if you like

Brown Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in soup pot, drain and refrigerate. In the same pan, sautee bacon, onions and garlic for approxiamtly 15 mins. or until the onions are soft. Mix the chicken bouillon and water, then add it to the onions, bacon and garlic, bringing to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until fork tender. Add cream and heat through. Stir in the sausage and kale to heat.

Buon Appetito!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Harvesting Bok Choy

Maddie and Jordann hunted Easter Eggs this weekend, but they also helped their Dad harvest the late Bok Choy crop in our garden.  Now I am hunting recipes to add to our family favorite, Bok Choy salad tossed with sunflower seeds, almonds, and toasted Ramen noodles drizzled with a spicy soy vinaigrette.  This is not a vegetable that freezes well, so we will share some as well as having stir fry and trying bok choy kim chee.
This year, the girls have their own vegetable and herb garden at their house so stay tuned for more "girls in the garden" pictures.