Monday, September 29, 2014

Cookbook Review: The Homesick Texan's Family Table



I don’t know about you but I love Mexican food and many of the spinoffs of it. Things like enchiladas, Mexican rice, and guacamole are some of my favorite things to eat. So you can imagine how excited I was to receive The Homesick Texan’s Family Table by Lisa Fain. This book is full of so many yummy sounding tex-mex recipes!

What kinds of recipes did I find inside? Instructions for tamales as well as recipes are included. I once made tamales with a couple of friends and it was so fun! There are recipes for fajitas and enchiladas. Then there are kicked up classics like Chipotle Chicken and Dumplings and Jalapeno Fried Chicken. Chapter 7 includes hot sauce and salsa recipes as well as several others. There is a nice section on chile peppers that describes different types and how to use them. There are even directions on making your own chili powder and roasting fresh chiles.

If you enjoy these types of food, I highly recommend you checking out this cookbook. I am glad to have it added to my collection and look forward to making something from it soon. I will make sure and post back here to let you know all about the recipe I make.

Want some more information? Go here.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. However, these opinions are my own.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Beef Stew from My Irish Table Cookbook



I’m finally getting around to my first recipe from one of the cookbooks I reviewed. I really am sorry it took so long, but life has been pretty hectic lately. My husband and I are both back in school full-time and we have begun homeschooling our oldest. This recipe is from My Irish Table by Cathal Armstrong and David Hagedorn. You can find my review of the cookbook here.



Beef Stew
Serves 6

Ingredients:
1.5 pounds of beef stew meat cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 yellow onion, diced
4 carrots, peeled and diced
4 celery stalks, diced
8 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups of veal demi-glace or store bought beef broth
1 serrano chile, coarsely chopped, with seeds
3 large bay leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves


Brown the beef: Pat the beef cubes dry on all sides with paper towels and season well with salt and pepper. In a large slope-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil until it shimmers. Distribute the beef evenly in the bottom of the pan without crowding it and don’t disturb it for several minutes. If you stir the pieces too soon, they will release water and the meat will boil instead of browning. After 3 or 4 minutes, turn the cubes over and brown them on the other side for another 3 or 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a flameproof casserole and return the pan to heat.

Sweat the vegetables: Add the onion, carrots, and celery, stirring them with a flat-edged wooden spatula. As the vegetables cook, water will release and deglaze the pan. Use the spatula to scrape up brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Sweat the vegetables for 4 or 5 minutes, until translucent but still a bit firm. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Cook the stew: Stir in the flour and allow it to brown lightly for about 2 minutes. Add the demi-glace, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the serrano chile, bay leaves, thyme, and rosemary. Transfer the vegetables to the casserole and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium, cover the pot, and braise the meat slowly for 2 hours, until it is very tender. Adjust the salt and pepper seasoning to taste. Serve hot. The stew can be made 2 days ahead and reheated gently on the stove or in the oven at 300 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.

My thoughts:
This stew was wonderful. I served it over mashed potatoes. Yum! The flavors were so good and it really came together pretty quickly. Your biggest thing time wise is the braising time and the chopping of vegetables. I did make a few changes, nothing major because I wanted it to be as close to the original recipe as possible. However, I try to limit our sodium so I chose to use no salt beef stock and add my own salt. I also used jalapeno instead of serrano. I was worried the serrano might be too spicy for us. I used dried herbs instead of fresh because that’s what I had on hand and I cooked it all in the same pot. There’s really no need to dirty up two pots here. I have a 5 quart heavy bottomed pot with a lid that I used.

I also want to note than when I left it on medium for the braising, I came back to stir it after awhile and it had started to stick and lose liquid. I actually had to add water to it at that time. So I wouldn’t leave this on medium for the braising but YMMV depending on how your stove and pot cooks. This does not make a super big pot of stew. It really is about 6 servings, maybe less depending on appetites. So if you want leftovers, you may want to double this.

If this recipe is any indication of the other recipes in this cookbook, you’re in store for some tasty things if you chose to add this beautiful cookbook to your collection.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Cookbook Review: The Chopped Cookbook


How many of you watch Food Network? I'm guessing there are quite a few of you that do! One of my favorite shows to watch is Chopped, so I was excited to get to review The Chopped Cookbook. I do have a recipe planned to make from this book to share with you soon. I am hoping to get caught up on my cookbook review recipes by the end of next week. I have a recipe ready from each book to share with you, just need more time in the day!

One of the neat things about this book is that the recipes all seemed to have easy to find ingredients, so nothing crazy like the show. The book begins with a pantry list of items that are good to have on hand. There is a good variety in the cookbook with chapters on a variety of meals. The chapters that are included in the book are: Pasta Night, Chickens Gone Wild, Eggs after Breakfast, Flash in the Pan (meaty entrees), Completely Fun Ways to Cook Vegetables, All Things Ground: Beyond Beef, Big Salads: Hearty and Fresh, Fishing for Compliments, Great Grains and Short and Sweet: Easy Desserts.

One thing I really enjoyed were these go-to guides included along the book. One entitled Ten Fun Pan Sauces, helps you to create tasty sauces to go along with your dish. Then another is called Vinaigrettes & Salad Dressings, giving some quick recipes for making your own dressings. The third is called Cooking Grains and gives you different styles and ways of cooking grains, as well as recipes for several different types. Another section is called Getting Good Vegetables and lists a variety of vegetables. This guide helps you know what to look for, how to store the veggie and even what nutrients are prominent in the veggie. These sections were a great addition to the cookbook, especially for beginner cooks who might need more information.

If you love Chopped and the Food Network, I think you would enjoy having this cookbook in your collection. Lots of good ideas in here for meals that generally aren't very complicated. If you would like more information go here.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. However, these opinions are my own.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Cookbook Review: The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook


I recently received The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook by Alexe Van Beuren with recipes by Dixie Grimes to review from Blogging for Books. I'm planning on making a recipe from it to share with you a bit later. I still need to make one from the Irish cookbook I reviewed, but it's summer vacation and school starts back soon so I haven't had a chance to do it yet. I will try to asap though. :)

Anyway, back to the review. This is a very nicely bound book with a very neat cover that has a ridged feel to it. Very unique! The B.T.C. Old Fashioned Grocery is a store and cafe in Water Valley, Mississippi, owned by Alexe Van Beuren and her husband. Dixie Grimes is the chef for the cafe part of the store and cooks up many customer favorites. I have to say, that Mrs. Van Beuren made me fall in love with this little town. I literally read every bit that she wrote throughout this book, falling more and more in love with this town and it's people. I even had my husband do a trip calculator to see how far away it is. Only about six hours, so maybe one of these days I will be able to visit.

The recipes sounded very yummy. There are several that called for alcohol, and I am not big on cooking with it. I don't really ever have it on hand, but I am sure substitutions could be made. The recipes included everything from Chocolate Gravy, Roasted Pumpkin Soup, two versions of homemade pimento cheese to Shrimp and Grits. Many recipes had pictures and the book also featured pictures of various things/people from the town and store.

This really was an enjoyable book. The stories of this wonderful town were so enjoyable that the recipes were just an added bonus. I think it would be a great book for anyone's collection!

You can find the B.T.C. Old Fashioned Grocery on Facebook.

Read the first chapter here.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. However, these opinions are my own.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Cookbook Review: My Irish Table



I'm very excited to be back at my blog, and begin reviewing books! I recently signed up to be a book reviewer at Blogging for Books and received my first book to review. It is called My Irish Table by Cathal Armstrong and David Hagedorn. Ireland has always interested me so it was a no brainer that I picked this book to review. I hope one day I can visit and explore the beauty of Ireland.

I want to begin with saying that the book itself is very beautiful. It's hardcover with wonderful pictures of just about every recipe in the book. I'm hoping to make a recipe from the book to share with you later this week. So make sure to keep an eye out for that post. There is a very neat introduction that gives Cathal Armstrong's story, and it is very interesting.

You won't find a bunch of processed, canned ingredients in this book. Recipes are from scratch. Armstrong informs you how to even make your own sausage and pork loin bacon. I was also very impressed with his instruction for each recipe. He breaks it into steps that are very easy to follow. Also accompanying each recipe is a short bit about what the recipe means to him or stories about his memories about that particular food. It really helps to invite you in and become a part of his experiences. He also includes step-by-step photos of certain recipes such as how to shuck an oyster or tying up a chicken to roast it.

I have to say that if you are interested in Ireland at all, I do feel that you would enjoy this book. With tidbits about his family (he was born in Dublin) and his experiences with food to the beautiful pictures of the recipes, I just can't recommend this book enough. I'm very glad to now have this book in my cookbook collection.

Want more info about the book? Look here.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. However, these opinions are my own.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A delicious twist on Jalapeno Poppers



How is your January going? I hope great! I can't believe we're almost to February! Time just passes so fast!

We've not had much luck with our kitchen appliances this month. First our dishwasher went out the week before New Year's. It was replaced sometime the week after. Then our oven burner decided to catch on fire and break in two. So we we're down an oven for a few days. Our dryer also went out but my husband was able to fix it thanks to You Tube and a very helpful local appliance store. Those videos can be very helpful in learning to do something. I know I learn best by being shown instead of reading a manual. So, now that everything is working again, I hope to start cranking out some new recipes.

Speaking of new recipes....If you haven't discovered Pinterest yet, you're missing out! It's such a neat site and I have enjoyed looking for new recipes, organization tips and more on there. You do have to be invited to join. You can either be invited by someone or request one from the site. Let me know if you need an invite!

Today's recipe was found on Pinterest and it was wonderful!

Jalapeno Stuffed Crescent Bites
Ingredients:
2 8oz cans of crescent rolls
1 8 oz pkg of cream cheese
2-3 jalapenos, seeded and diced
6 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unroll the first can of crescent rolls and you should have 8 triangles. With a pizza cutter, cut each of these triangles in half. So instead of 8 triangles, you should have 16. On each piece, place a dollop of of cream cheese, then a few pieces of jalapeno (I generally did 3 pieces but I think next time I would do a couple more), and a bit of bacon. Fold the corners over and make sure everything is sealed so that the filling won't come out. Repeat with the second can of crescent rolls. Then place on a baking sheet (I used a baking stone) and bake for 10-15 minutes. Enjoy!

These were really good! They were also easy to make. You could adjust things as you want, add more bacon or jalapeno, etc. I meant to take more pictures while I was assembling them but was short on time so I wasn't able to. You can find the original recipe and more pictures here. Hope you enjoy!

Happy eating!

This post is linked up at Blessed With Grace for Tempt My Tummy Tuesday!

Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's eats!

Hi everyone! I can't believe how fast Thanksgiving and Christmas flew by. It seems like time just goes too quickly. In this new year, I am going to be more attentive to my blog. Other things have just kept my attention away and I have missed it greatly! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas celebrating the birth of Jesus!

I know many of us entertain on New Years Eve, so I thought I would feature some of my past recipes that would be great to have for guests. Hope you enjoy!

Savory


Baked Sandwiches with Pesto




Burrito Pizza



Jalapeno Chicken Dip



Heavenly Ham Dip



Buffalo Chicken Wing Dip



Mini Burgers/Sliders



Fried Pork Dumplings with Peanut Dipping Sauce



Chicken Quesadillas




Sweets

Strawberry Margarita Squares




Heath Bar Crunch Cake



Cream Cheese Bars



Peanut Butter Cup Trifle



Chocolate Crescent Rolls



No Bake Cookies



Ooey Gooey German Chocolate Brownies



Blondies



I hope you enjoy these recipes and have a safe and happy New Year! God bless!

Happy eating,
Amanda