Friday, December 31, 2010

Spanish Style Black Eyed Peas with Bacon

Tip:  Read directions completely before preparing.

12 oz package of fresh shelled black eyed peas
6 slices bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small onion, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
3 large cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon comino seeds (cumin)
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 package Sazon seasoning
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro
1 Roma tomato, chopped

Rinse fresh shelled black eyed peas, even the pre-packaged, ready to use.  Set Aside.

In a molcajete (mortar and pestle) add garlic, black peppercorns, and comino.

Grind into and paste.

Add water and stir to remove all spices from molcajete.  Set aside.

In a heavy bottomed pot, over medium heat, fry the bacon until crisp; remove bacon with a slotted spoon, reserving drippings in pot.  Set aside.

Add onion in reserved drippings and sauté until light brown.

Add black eyed peas, then add enough water to cover about 1 1/2 inches above peas. Add garlic, pepper, and comino mixture, from the mocajete, Sazon pack, and salt.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, and reduce heat to medium low, let simmer for 1 hour.


After one hour, add the fried bacon, cilantro, tomato and green onions; raise heat to medium and simmer, uncovered for another 10 minutes and serve hot. Enjoy!

Tip: Remember, black eyed peas on New Year's Day are thought to bring good luck for the entire year!  

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Savory Chicken Wrapped in Bacon

Tip: Read directions before preparing.

8 oz package cream cheese
2 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to season
4 chicken breasts
20 slices, smoked bacon
1/4 cup Golden Syrup (Click for Recipe)
Preheat the oven to 375 degree F.

In a bowl mix together the Philadelphia, chives, garlic, onion and seasoning to make the filling.

Slice three-quarters of the way horizontally through each of the chicken breasts.  Lay 4-6 slices of bacon on your board. Open out and divide the filling between each of the breasts. Lay a chicken breast on top of the slices, fold the chicken back over and then form a parcel, then wrap with the bacon, starting at the thin end and wrapping round and round to secure the chicken inside.

Place the chicken breast into a baking dish and drizzle each with a little golden syrup and cook in the oven for about 35-40 minutes or until crisp and cooked through. Enjoy!

Tip: If you have any leftover, the next day, make a grilled sandwich by slicing the chilled breast thinly, put it on some some sour dough bread, add some Gruyere cheese and grill it! Yummy! Accompanied with a small bowl of tomato soup! Your family will love it!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Mexican Refried Beans

Tip: Read directions completely before preparing.


(For Preparing Pinto Beans)
1 pound dried pinto beans
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup bacon drippings

(For Preparing Refried Beans)
3 cups cooked pinto beans
12 oz Hickory Smoked bacon, chopped
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground comino (cumin)
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water


(For Preparing Beans)
Pick over beans to remove any bad beans, sediment, or small stones, that may be present. Wash the beans and place then in a large bowl and cover with water.  Let the beans soak at least six hours. Pour beans into colander and rinse thoroughly.

In a heavy pot add the beans, and salt. Add enough cold water to cover the beans.

The water should be at least twice as deep as the beans and heat to boiling. Lower heat to medium and cover, then let simmer for 2 hours or until beans are soft, adding additional water when necessary to keep water slightly above the beans during cooking.

Add the bacon drippings, chopped garlic, and chopped onion and cook for 45 more minutes, stirring occasionally.  Set aside.

(For Preparing Refried Beans)

In a large saute pan, over medium high heat, add 12 oz. of bacon and fry.

Remove the bacon and set aside.

Add the onions and saute them for about 3 minutes, then add the comino, pepper, and salt and cook another minute.

Add the 3 cups of beans and let fry, without stirring for about 3 minutes. Stir the beans and let fry another 2 minutes.

Lower heat to medium low and add the one cup of water and stir, then mash the beans with a potato masher.  Simmer and stir another 2 minutes.  Add extra salt, if needed, to taste.  Enjoy!

Tip: Did you know that in English, "re-" before a word means to do something over again, like in reorder or redo, but in Spanish, it means "well" or "very," so "refritos" actually means well fried and not twice fried like the name in English would suggest.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cheesy Turkey Tetrazinni

Tip: Read directions completely before preparing.

10 ounces spaghetti
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup onions, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup cooked peas
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 - 10 3/4 oz. cans Mushroom Soup
1 1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 cups coarsely chopped cooked turkey
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
3/4 cup fine fresh bread crumbs

In a kettle of boiling salted water cook the spaghetti until it is al dente and drain it well.

In a large skillet, over medium heat, add and melt 3 tablespoons butter. Add onion, celery and peas. Cook for 4 minutes.

Add dry white wine, let reduce by half. Add milk, cream of mushroom and chicken broth stirring, bring the mixture to a boil, then lower heat to medium low and simmer sauce for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add chopped turkey, salt and pepper and simmer another 10 minutes over medium low heat. Turn off and add 1/3 cup of the Parmesan, and 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese.

In a large bowl combine the spaghetti, the turkey sauce, stir and transfer the mixture to a buttered shallow 3-quart casserole.


In a small bowl combine well the remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan, and bread crumbs. 

Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the Tetrazzini, and dot the top with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, cut into bits.

The Tetrazzini may be prepared up to this point 1 month in advance and kept frozen, covered.

Bake the Tetrazzini in the middle of a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until it is bubbling and the top is golden. Enjoy!

Tip: Tetrazzini is an American pasta dish that includes a cream sauce, mushrooms, and either chicken, turkey, or seafood. It is thought to have been invented in San Francisco and named after the famous opera singer of the early 1900s, Luisa Tetrazzini, who lived there for many years.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Golden Syrup (Inverted Sugar Syrup)

Tip: Read directions completely before preparing.

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon Cream of Tartar

Combine 1cup sugar in a pot with 1/4 cup of water.

Set to medium heat and stir continuously, but slowly to keep the sugar off the sides of the pot.

When the sugar is almost completely dissolved add 1/4 teaspoon Cream of Tartar.

Continue heating and stirring till it starts to boil. You now have mostly inverted sugar.

Keep heating it over medium heat until it starts to turn straw yellow, very pale. Nice light sugar.

If you want darker sugar, keep cooking it but watch out as it can darken very quickly if you aren't paying attention.

Before you are satisfied with the color, turn off the heat and carefully pour the syrup into a clean/sanitized mason jar and screw on the lid. The syrup will continue to darken as it cools.

When the syrup has cooled for 15 minutes, I turn the ball jar over and let the hot liquid cover the lid on the inside as an additional precaution.

Once it is almost cool, turn  back over.

Tip:  The syrup is easy to measure out and keeps nearly forever.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Spinach Salad with Bacon, Dates and Feta Dressing

Tip: Read directions completely before preparing.


For Spinach Salad:
3 slices bacon, chopped
1 bunch fresh spinach (about 3/4 pound), stems discarded and leaves washed well, spun dry, and torn into bite-size pieces
1/2 medium red onion, sliced thin
1/3 cup pitted dates, chopped

For Feta dressing:
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 2 ounces)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 tablespoons olive oil


For dressing:
In a blender blend together feta, lemon juice, water, and mayonnaise until smooth. With motor running add oil and blend until emulsified.

In a small skillet cook bacon over moderate heat, stirring, until crisp and transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.

For Spinach Salad:
In a large bowl toss together spinach, bacon, onion, and dates with feta dressing.

Tip: Feta cheese is best when eaten fresh, so always check the date. If you will not be consuming it immediately, store feta cheese in a brine or milk bath. The milk bath will reduce the saltiness and help keep the cheese moist and mild in flavor.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Homemade Biscuits

Tip: Read directions completely before preparing.

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup milk

Mix all dry the ingredients well with whisk.

Cut in butter until it resembles coarse bread crumbs.

Add milk and mix/knead until it forms a dough ball.

Place dough ball onto a heavily floured surface and let rest for a couple of minutes and then knead for about a minute.

Re-flour surface and using a rolling pin, roll out to about 1/2″ thick.

Cut biscuits with floured biscuit cutter and place on an ungreased baking pan. Form remaining dough into ball and repeat until all dough made into biscuits. Bake in 425 - 450 degree oven for 12 - 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Servings: 12 Biscuits

Tip: You can freeze these biscuits for later use by placing your cut biscuits onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper or parchment paper and place cookie sheet into freeze making sure to keep level. Once frozen remove frozen biscuits and place into a freezer bag, then place into freezer.