Posted by goodcookbecky on July 26, 2012
Fried Green Tomatoes
I found some wonderful looking Heirloom green tomatoes in my local store today and had always had on my cooking bucket list to make them. Yes, turn on the TV and watch “Fried Green Tomatoes” – in the interest of time (and preserving human life) I skipped the barbecue sauce! I do not recommend making it anyway – it tasted funny (sorry bad line from the Cannibal who ate a clown joke)… I digress. Fried Green Tomatoes, I discovered are NOT made with breadcrumbs! Nor are they dipped in egg first (so my good AL friend tells me – it is ALWAYS buttermilk and cornmeal), so I made them twice. Once with breadcrumbs and once with cornmeal. The cornmeal ones were much crisper and had a great flavor, but I have to say that the breadcrumb version was also quite edible – I don’t think the Fried Green Tomato police will knock on your door like they did mine (just don’t post it on FB!) hehe Also for an even more authentic Southern flavor, fry in bacon grease.
Here is a picture of the beautiful Heirloom Tomatoes I found at my local market:
Fried Green Tomatoes
- 3 green tomatoes (or very firm red ones if you cannot find green ones), sliced 1/8″ thick
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- a few dashes of Tabasco sauce
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1 tsp Cajun seasoning, optional
- Vegetable oil (or bacon grease), for frying
Pour the buttermilk in one small bowl and add Tabasco Sauce to season it. Pour the cornmeal into another shallow bowl and stir in Cajun seasoning if you like the extra kick of spice.
Dip the tomato slices first in the buttermilk and then roll in cornmeal. Place on a paper plate.
Heat vegetable oil in a non stick skillet (1/8 inch deep) over medium high heat. When the oil is heated carefully add the breaded tomato slices to the oil, being careful not to splatter yourself. When the tomato slice is golden brown on the one side, flip them over carefully to fry the other side to a golden brown (about 2 minutes each side). Remove the fried tomatoes to a paper towel lined plate and allow to cool a little. Serve with sauce (I used Ranch, but maybe you know a better sauce that is traditional with friend green tomatoes.) Enjoy.
Posted in Appetizers, Ethnic, Ethnic - American, Snack Food | 2 Comments »
Posted by goodcookbecky on June 13, 2012
Pretzels! Yum! Enough said!
Oh wait.. you want me to blog too? Wait, I am busy eating my third buttery pretzel! I have gained 2 lbs just sitting here. There! Licking my fingers and ready to type. I tried a recipe for pretzels last week from all recipes. It was their top rated recipe and I was hopeful, but it did not turn out right. The dough was dry, but to be completely honest, I cannot be sure that it was not my error, because the yeast was past its expiration date too. The pretzels tasted okay. but I was not completely happy with the texture.. armed with fresh yeast in hand, I went on my quest to find a good pretzel recipe. I have a nice thick cookbook from the King Arthur Flour Company and in it I discovered a recipe called Hot Buttered Pretzels. (p 229 The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion: The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook) LINK
I doubled the recipe.
Hot Buttered Pretzels
Yield: 16 palm sized pretzels
adapted from The King Arthur Flour Company Bakers Companion pg 229
- 5 cups all purpose unbleached flour (King Arthur Brand of course)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- 4 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- 1 3/4-2 cups warm water
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 tsp sugar
- coarse, kosher salt
- 6 Tbsp salted butter, melted
In your kitchen aid stand mixer, combine the ingredients listed under dough. Use a dough hook to knead the dough for about 5 minutes. You may need to dust the dough with a teaspoon of flour if it is sticking to the sides of the bowl. Scrape the dough off the dough hook and remove the hook. Dust the dough with a pinch of flour so it does not stick to the bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 500F (for my oven that was a little hot and the tips of the pretzels burned, so I reduced the temperature to 475F and the results were better). I prepared the pans with my favorite silicone mats. These are an excellent investment as the bottoms of items I bake do not burn. You can also line your cookie sheets with parchment paper if you do not have silicone mats.
Divide the dough into 16 equal sized balls of dough. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray or grease lightly with cooking oil and place the balls of dough in the dish. Turn to coat them with the oil. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.
Take one small ball of dough and begin to roll it out into a 18 inch long snake.
Dissolve 2 teaspoons of sugar in the cup of water and dip the string of dough into the water and form them into a pretzel. Place the pretzel on your cookie sheet (I could fit 8 on my large cookie sheet). Sprinkle the pretzel with a little coarse salt. Allow to rest 10 minutes before you put them in the oven. Bake at 500 (or 475 in my case) for 8-9 minutes, rotating the pans half way through cooking time. After removing them from the oven, brush the tops with the melted butter. I brushed each pretzel 2 times with the butter. You really want the buttery taste to get on the pretzel.
My family loved the result of this recipe. I will be making them again, even though I do not bake often. These are worth the time! And by the way, they are better and cheaper than the ones I can get at the mall.
Posted in Appetizers, Baking, Baking - Bread, Snack Food | Tagged: Buttered Pretzel, Homemade Pretzel, King Arthur Flour Pretzel Recipe | Leave a Comment »
Posted by goodcookbecky on May 12, 2012
My husband and I celebrated our 19th Anniversary in March and we went to eat at Peohe’s in San Diego. I bought their appetizer stack, which had three layers of goodness. The bottom layer had diced avocado, then a layer of Mango Salsa and the top layer had seasoned crab meat (Pictured below). They had a lovely sauce drizzled around it and served them with toasted cheese toasts. It was a meal I ate with my eyes first. Their presentation was amazing!
I didn’t want to go quite as elaborate on the quick snack I made before I had to head out to my son’s baseball game, but I did want to make mango salsa. I pulled out my Weber’s Big Book of Grilling and found a mango salsa recipe that I used as a guide for creating it. The ingredients were simple: diced fresh mango, minced red onion, minced jalapeno pepper, mint, lime juice and salt. Easy enough. After I made it, I remembered that I had fresh avocados, so I thought I would make a mini stacks and serve them with tortilla chips. I used a simple biscuit cutter to make the forms. Using a whole avocado per form, and slightly pressing the chopped avocado down a little, but not squishing it into a paste, just enough to have them hold together, and added a squeeze of lime juice. Then I slid the biscuit cutter up the stack of avocado and put in my layer of mango salsa, then sliding the biscuit cutter off carefully leaving a mini tower in tact. Two of my children loved it – the oldest preferred to eat just avocado. I showed the picture to a friend at the baseball game and she said (in a most loving way possible): “You suck!” Apparently the only thing she had eaten that day was a bean burrito! Sorry Erin!
3 mangoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeds and white ribs removed and minced
1 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped (or cilantro would be fine here)
juice of one lime
pinch of kosher salt
Combine the ingredients in a medium bowl and stir. You could easily change this recipe up by adding something like red bell peppers for color.
Pictured below: Peohe’s Avocado, Mango, Crab stack
Peohe’s Avocado, Mango, Crab Appetizer
Posted in Appetizers, Dips, Snack Food | Tagged: Appetizer, Avocado-Mango Stack, Dip, Mango Salsa | 1 Comment »
Posted by goodcookbecky on March 29, 2012
A few years back, when we were on our cruise in Hawaii, the cafeteria of the ship offered a roasted tomato and Parmesan dish for breakfast that I loved. I recently have been addicted to Pinterest and found a version of these nuggets there. Here is my twist. It would be great for finger food at a brunch, breakfast, or other gathering.
- 3 tomatoes, sliced (on thick side- about 3 slices per average tomato- 5 in the larger ones)
- garlic powder
- Parmesan cheese
- drizzle of olive oil
Preheat oven to 450F. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Line the sheet with the tomato slices.
Season the slices of tomatoes with salt, pepper, garlic powder and a dash of oregano. Top the tomato slices each with 1-2 teaspoons of shredded Parmesan cheese (or more if you like). Drizzle with olive oil.
Bake for about 15 minutes at 450 F. Cool slightly and enjoy.
Posted in Appetizers, Breakfast, Side - Vegetable, Side Dishes, Snack Food | Tagged: Tomato Parmesan Appetizer | Leave a Comment »
Posted by goodcookbecky on March 10, 2012
The past month has been crazy! In one week I had a close friend die of cancer; another friend die suddenly of a heart attack, have sung in concerts, my son started little league in addition to all the other stuff that my family is already involved in. Yes, I now have something going on every single day of the week until mid May. The cloud of dust is settling again though and life is beginning to look normal, despite the busy schedule.
After all that, I needed comfort food. Fried Comfort Food!
My husband and I went to a popular Chinese Restaurant and ordered Crab Wontons from their appetizer menu. Theirs came to a beautiful 4 point star shape. I wanted to make these myself so I could have them any time. Mine were not the star shaped wontons, I opted for the easy fold over and make a triangle – the taste was the same. I used a store bought Sweet and Sour Dipping sauce, but will try a homemade sauce next time. The dipping sauce was not as impressive. Although it is called Spicy Crab Wontons, I did not find it overly spicy. I didn’t make the whole batch, as it was just hubby and I, but for a party, do make the complete batch. I reserved the filling to make it again in the following days, but did not get around to it. I added more crab meat, less cream cheese (only because I did not have a pound of it), and added 2 green onions, chopped for color (only the green part)
I found this recipe in the book: The Chesapeake Bay Crabbiest Cookbook by Whitey Schmidt. It is a cookbook that I picked up on a trip to Baltimore, MD. You can find the original recipe on page 96. Here is my adaptation:
Spicy Crab Wontons
adapted from The Chesapeake Bay Crabbiest Cookbook (pg 96)
Serves 4-6 (or more if appetizer portion)
- 16 oz crab meat (I used a quality canned crab meat found in the refrigerated section)
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp hot pepper sauce
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced (green part only)
- 1 (8 oz) package wonton wrappers (in refrigerated section)
- peanut oil for frying
In a medium bowl, combine the first 11 ingredients and mix thoroughly to combine.
Place a wonton wrapper on a clean surface, place 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp crab filling into the center. Moisten the edges of the wonton with water and fold the wonton in half diagonally, lining up the opposite corners. Gently press along the edge to seal. Cover the ready wontons with a damp paper towel to prevent them from drying out until you have finished making your wontons.
Heat peanut oil in a stainless skillet over medium high heat. Fry the wontons in batches, being sure not to crowd them turning them over from time to time until they are golden (about 1 minute total). Remove to a wire rack and finish frying the wontons in batches. Serve with your favorite Asian dipping sauce.
Posted in Appetizers, Ethnic, Ethnic - Asian, Snack Food | Tagged: Crab Wontons, Fried Crab Wontons, Fried Wontons, Wonton Appetizer | Leave a Comment »
Posted by goodcookbecky on October 5, 2011
Well, what does a mom do when her (she shall remain unnamed) daughter comes home and says she has to make a 4 Course (French) Meal for a project in her French Class — AND that it is due on Friday… and yes, today is Wednesday and she informed me on Tuesday night…. Now, my daughter has the distinct advantage that mother owns a Julia Child Cookbook and can pull off pranks like this without too much fainting.. but really.. a four course meal? Yes, of course we did it.. well almost.. we didn’t have time to make the dessert but that will be tomorrow. I think we did enough for today. Because it was my daughter’s project, she did a lot of the work, but I assisted her.. we are dealing with HOT ovens and burners and sharp knives (new ones at that) -
For the appetizer we made a blue cheese ball with slices of French Baguette. My daughter arranged the bread and cheese ball very nicely I thought!
Well the name of it.. I won’t begin to try to pronounce.. that will be my daughter’s job. But let me say this: I will be making this appetizer for the next party. It is easy to make and is very good (if you like blue cheese you will LOVE it!) My son loved it too. He is 8, but my most adventurous eater. I halved the recipe, because it was just for our family.
Amuse-Gueule Au Roquefort
adapted from Julia Child “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” pg 196 Serves 12 appetizer servings
For the cheese ball:
- 4 oz blue cheese, crumbled (Roquefort if you can find it)
- 3 Tbsp butter, softened
- 2 tsp fresh chopped chives
- 2 tsp finely minced celery
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- dash of Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
- 2 Tbsp very finely minced parsley
Combine the blue cheese, softened butter. Add chives, celery, cayenne pepper, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Stir until well combined. In a separate bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and minced parsley. Roll the cheese ball in the bread crumb mixture until it is well coated. Refrigerate until serving. Serve with slices of French baguette or crackers.
Posted in Appetizers, Dips, Ethnic, Ethnic - French, Julia Child, Snack Food | Tagged: Amuse-Gueule au Roquefort, Blue Cheese ball, Julia Child | Leave a Comment »
Posted by goodcookbecky on July 14, 2010
I never seem to be able to keep deviled eggs around the house very long. They used to last a lot longer, but now my children have discovered them to be very good as well. They are the ultimate picnic/ party food and are easy to make.
Of course, making deviled eggs starts with hard boiled eggs which leaves many people scratching their heads with the questions: “How long do I boil them? How do I prevent that green ring around the yolk?” Let me answer that. I learned these two simple tips from watching the Food Network.
Fill a pot with tap water. Carefully place your eggs in the water. The water should cover the eggs. Bring the water to boil, when the eggs start gently knocking against each other, turn the burner off and cover the pot with a tight fitting lid. Set the timer for 10 minutes. When the time is up, fill a large bowl with some water and add ice to it. Place the boiled eggs in the icy water (this prevents the browning process around the yolk).
Yield: 24 deviled eggs
- 12 eggs, hard boiled
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- Mc Cormick’s Salad Supreme (Paprika is nice too)
Cut the hard boiled eggs in half length wise – tip to rounded end (to boil: place in a pot and cover with tap water, bring to boil, turn off heat, cover pot with a lid, let sit 10 minutes. Cool eggs by shocking them in ice water to stop cooking). Carefully remove the yolks into a small bowl. Mash the yolks with a fork to crumble them. Add the teaspoon of Dijon mustard and mayonnaise (1/4 cup at a time) and stir into the yolk to make them creamy. When the egg yolks are nice and creamy. Put them into a pastry bag and put a nice tip on the end for piping (if you don’t have a pastry bag, you can use any food storage bag, just cut a small corner off so you can pipe the yolk into the egg white shell. Sprinkle with seasoning (I like to use Mc Cormick’s Salad Supreme- you can usually find it in the spice section of your supermarket). Arrange on a platter and enjoy.
Posted in Appetizers, Snack Food | Tagged: Appetizer, Deviled Eggs | Leave a Comment »
Posted by goodcookbecky on April 9, 2010
This is one of my favorite dips. I found the recipe in a Schwan’s Catalog. Although, I don’t use Schwan’s products in this, it turns out great! This dip is particularly good with slices of a fresh crusty baguette.
Cheesy Sausage Dip-adapted from Schwan’s
Serves 10 appetizer portions
- 1 pckg. Sweet Italian Sausage
- 4 oz can green chilies, chopped, drained
- 1 cup chopped red peppers (or the roasted ones from a jar are also terrific in this)
- 8 oz softened cream cheese
- 8 oz. sour cream
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 tsp. Creole Seasoning (Konriko Brand is great- see under Products Category)
- 1/4 cup chopped green onions or chives
- To DIP: 1-2 loaves of french baguette or tortilla chips
Directions: Preheat oven to 400F. Saute and crumble the Italian Sausage until cooked and no longer pink. Add chilies and bell peppers, cooking 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients, except green onions (and bread of course). Bake 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle with green onions or chives and serve with sliced bread or tortilla chips.
Posted in Appetizers, Dips, Products, Snack Food | Tagged: Dip, Dip for Bread, Sausage Cheese Dip, Sausage Dip | Leave a Comment »
Posted by goodcookbecky on February 8, 2010
Southwest Egg Rolls and Avocado Ranch Sauce
I love these wonderful egg rolls. I don’t remember what website I first found it or I would give them credit. I have made a few changes to the recipe. I substituted roasted peppers from the jar for regular red peppers and increased the cheese from 8 oz. This would be great at a party for a snack or to munch on while watching a game. (I was born without the “sports gene” so I do not grasp that activity! But I love food so don’t hate me!)
Southwest Egg Rolls
For the Egg Rolls:
- 2 c. chicken, cooked and cubed
- 1 Tbsp.vegetable oil
- 1/2 c. chopped roasted red bell peppers (jar)
- 1/2 tsp. fresh garlic, chopped fine
- 2 green onions, minced
- 12 oz. can cooked kernel corn, drained
- 12 oz. can cooked black beans, drained
- 10 oz. bag frozen spinach, thawed and drained
- 2 Tbsp. jalapeño peppers, drained, chopped fine
- 1 taco seasoning envelope
- 12 oz. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 10-16 7”- flour tortillas
For the Sauce
- 1 each ripe avocado, mashed
- 1 each 8 oz. ranch dressing
For the Egg Rolls :
Heat the vegetable oil in a pan over medium high heat. Add the red pepper, onion and garlic and cook until tender. Add the cooked chicken, corn, black beans, spinach, Jalapeños and taco seasoning to the pan. Cook for another 4 minutes, stirring so that the spinach becomes mixed evenly into the rest of the ingredients. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the cheese until it is melted.
Wrap the tortillas in a moist cloth and microwave them on high for 1 minute or until they become hot and soft. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the mixture into the center of the tortilla. Dampen the edges of the tortilla slightly so that it will seal well, then fold in the ends and roll the tortilla up tightly. Secure the ends with a toothpick. Repeat the procedure with the remaining ingredients.
Heat 6 cups of vegetable oil in a deep soup pot to 375. This takes about 5 minutes over high heat if you do not have a thermometer. Lower the egg rolls a few at a time and deep-fry them until they are golden brown on the outside. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain them on paper towels.
To serve, slice each egg roll diagonally in half and serve on a plate around a pool of the avocado sauce.
For the Sauce:
Prepare the avocado ranch sauce by mixing the two ingredients together in a small bowl or with an immersion blender.
Posted in Ethnic, Ethnic - Mexican, Favorite, Main Dish - Chicken, Snack Food | Tagged: Appetizer, cheese, chicken egg rolls, fried, Mexican Food, Party food, Recipe, Southwest Egg Rolls, tortilla | Leave a Comment »