There was an error in this gadget

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Great Cake for Summer

SIMPLE EASY CAKE

This recipe will make a 9 x 9 cake.  It can be doubled.  I looked at many recipes and after several trials and outcomes this was the best.

Preheat the oven to 350 f - spray a 9 x 9 pan with food release spray.

Have all ingredients at room temperature

½ cup of unsalted butter
1 cup of sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon of good vanilla

Cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.  Then add the eggs one at a time.  I crack the eggs into a small bowl to make sure that no shell gets in the cake.  It also makes it easier to add the eggs.  Make sure that the first egg is fully incorporated before adding the second one.  Scrape down the bowl and add the vanilla

Sift the following together

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼  teaspoon Lemon Zest

Add to the wet mixture with the mixer on low and mix just until it is mixed in.  Then add
½ cup milk.  Mix until the batter comes together – about 1 minute.  Scrape down the bowl and place in the prepared pan.  The batter is thicker than a normal cake batter.  Tap on the counter to release any bubbles.

Bake for 30 minutes

Cool completely before you cut into it.  You can split the pieces of cake and add fresh fruit and whipped cream, or you can ice the cake.  Simple easy and tasty!


© Wes Davis 2012 – all right reserved

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Lemon Meringue Pie

From my cook book - a Great Pie for a Summer Dinner

BERNADINE’S LUSCIOUS LEMON PIE
My mother’s best friend Bernadine created this recipe before the days of mixes.  She died of cancer when I was only four, but I do remember her and this pie.  Mom made this several times for special occasions and it was the first recipe that she taught me.  Simple yet rich and good.
Makes one 9” pie
INGREDIENTS
Juice from 1 ½ lemons
2 ¼      Cups water
1          Cup Sugar
2          Heaping tablespoons of corn starch
3          Egg yolks – beaten
1          Tablespoon Butter
Combine the first four ingredients in a non reactive double boiler and stir until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved.   Add the egg yolks whisking over medium heat. Cook until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter.  Pour into a cooled 9” pie crust.  
At this point I prefer to chill the pie and add the meringue later.  However you can add it now and then chill the pie. 
MERINGUE
3          egg whites – at room temperature
6          tablespoons sugar
Lemon zest or curls for decorating
Whisk the egg whites and slowly add the sugar making sure that the sugar is incorporated.  Beat until the mixture forms stiff peaks.  Place meringue on pie using a spatula to cover all the edges and make peaks by touching the spatula to mixture lightly and then lifting up.  Place pie under a hot broiler for 5 – 7 minutes or until the peaks are golden brown.  Remove the pie and sprinkle with the zest.  If the pie was not chilled before then set in the refrigerator for at lest 1 hour.
From Aunt B’s Bordello and Boardinghouse – An Eclectic Collection of Great Recipes
© 2011 Wes Davis – all rights reserved – used with permission.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP

This is a great recipe for any occasion.

INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium white onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
3 ripe medium tomatoes, chopped and seeded - or use salsa and omit jalapenos
1 quart chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
5-6 corn tortillas or 3 cups of tortilla chips
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken – you can use rotisserie chicken or left over roasted chicken
2 avocados, halved, pitted, peeled, and diced
1 cup Queso Fresco or shredded Monterrey Jack
Directions
Place a stockpot over medium heat and coat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onions, garlic, jalapenos, and tomatoes; (or salsa) cook, stirring for 15 minutes until the vegetables are cooked down and pulpy. Pour in the stock, season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 20 minutes. Adjust seasonings and add the corn chips or tortillas. Let them cook for about 20 minutes – they will dissolve into the soup and thicken it.  At this point I use an immersion blender. Taste and adjust to your liking.  I find that I usually add more salsa at this point and adjust the salt to taste
Ladle the hot soup into 4 soup bowls and put a pile of shredded chicken on top of each. Top with the diced avocado and fried tortilla strips and cheese.
from  Aunt B's Bordello and Boardinghouse(c) wes davis 2010  all rights reserved

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Turkey Burgers

I have to admit that I do like Turkey Burgers when they are cooked on a grill. I know they are better for us with less fat etc.  But nothing and I mean nothing is as good as real beef burger.  But I still like to have a Turkey burger.  Here is how I fix them

1. cook them frozen - do not thaw or they dry out. 
2. cook them to at least 160 F - no medium rare!!
3. I always use Davis Dust but if you do not have that then use salt, garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper mixed together as your seasoning.
4. use fresh lettuce and fresh tomatoes
5. Toast your bun!  and then butter it!!

put all that together and you have one tasty burger!!  - You can add Mayo, or BBQ Sauce or whatever. But start with the basics and you can't go wrong.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Coffee

For those who like me LOVE coffee here are some things you may not know.

1. To make any chocolate recipe better add a small amount of coffee.  Some recipes may call for espresso powder.  You can use that but I prefer strong left over coffee.  It seems to have a smother more complex flavor.

2. Fresh water makes better coffee than water added the night before.  As strange as this may sound, the reason is that water as it sits overnight loses some of its oxygen.  That changes how the water affects the grind as it trickles over.  So even though I would love to wake to smell of fresh brewed, I have everything ready to go except the water. 

3. Storing coffee – always store as air tight as possible.  Plus I have found that beans store better at room temperature.  I used to freeze the one pound bags and take them out every time I ground the beans.  But I found out that doing that thaws and the refreezes some of the beans causing them to loss flavor.  So now I leave the bag on the counter once it is open.  If I buy two or more bags the unopened ones go in the freezer. You can get an air tight container for beans and/or ground coffee too.

These are just a few facts that may help you enjoy your coffee a little more.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

New Gadgets

I am always looking at new gadgets and gizmos for the kitchen.  What can I say I am addicted!!  I am sure there is a support group out there filled with lots of people just like me.  So when I find one I like to share. Here are two that I find very useful

The Jar Key  A great way to open jars with out making them on the bottom or turning red in the face as you try to open a stubborn lid,. Here is picture of this simple yet wonderful item.

The othe item is the

Klip-It® Lunch Cubes

These very clever BPA free lunch mates make taking a lunch very easy and helps to add versatility to your menu.  Both of these are found at The Container Store. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Smoked Turkey Breast

I have had a craving for smoked Turkey Breast for a few weeks.  I decided that it was time to take care of that.  Three days ago I found a nice 8 – 9 pound frozen turkey breast with the bone (very important), I let it thaw out in the fridge for a day and then brine it to finish the thaw and give it some flavor. It is important to keep the water below 40 degrees so I keep adding ice to make sure. It did help that the breast was only partially thawed – it was like a big turkey ice cube.  I only let sit in the brine for about 6 hours before I started cooking.  Here is the brine and method for cooking.


Brine

½ cup of Kosher Salt
3 tablespoons of garlic powder
4 fresh rosemary stems
4 quarts of water – enough to cover the breast.

Mix all of the above to ensure that the salt is dissolved.  Add the turkey and enough ice to cover.  I use a round Igloo cooler, it works great!

After 6 hours or overnight, remove the Turkey.  Get your smoker ready and set the temperature at 225.  Smoke for at least 3 hours.  Then move the turkey to a 325 oven and cook until the internal temperature is 165 – 180.  The last step will ensure that the breast is completely cooked and will crisp the skin.

Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes before carving.

If you do not have a smoker just cook the turkey in your oven at 325 for about 3 hours or until the correct temperature is reached.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Cucumber Dip

I love this recipe for dipping raw vegetables and to use on sandwiches and wraps. It is easy and simple but tasty.

Cucumber and Yogurt Dip

This recipe calls for Greek Yogurt which is much thicker than your normal yogurt.  If you want you can use a regular yogurt but you need to get the excess water out first.  To do that you need to line a fine sieve with cheese cloth and place it over a bowl to catch the water.  Put the yogurt in the cheesecloth, cover and refrigerate overnight.  By morning the water will have drained out and you can proceed with the recipe.

For seedless cucumbers you can use a regular cucumber just  cut them lengthwise and use a melon baller to remove the seeds.

12 oz. Greek Yogurt
3 Tablespoons finely diced Dill
2 Tablespoons finely diced chives
1 garlic clove pressed or finely diced
½ teaspoon of sea salt

2 cups of seedless cucumbers – peeled and shredded.  Do not dice as the shredding adds the best flavor and texture.

Combine all in a non-reactive bowl and chill for at least one hour. 

Variations

 You can also add 2 tablespoons of finely diced mint
OR
You can add chopped scallions

Sunday, July 15, 2012

BBQ Baked Beans

Who does not like  good baked beans with anything BBQ?  Or as a side dish? This is a recipe from my cookbook that I think you will love. The recipe use a technique that I find very helpful for long baking times with any food that you do not want to dry out.  You first cover the top of the pan with plastic wrap and then cover the plastic with foil.  It may sound crazy but it works great.

(BTW - sorry for the break in posting - busy week and several power outages payed havoc with my time and the computers!)

BBQ BEANS
The best beans I ever made!  It takes time but the wait is worth it!

INGREDIENTS
1          #10 can pork and beans
1          cup dark brown sugar
1          large onion – diced small
½         cup of maple syrup
2          cups of ketchup
1          cup of yellow mustard
1          teaspoon chili paste
½         pound of bacon.

Preheat your oven to 275
Mix all the ingredients except the bacon and put in a large pan for baking.  Separate the bacon and lay the pieces on top of the bean mixture.  Cover the pan with plastic wrap and then with foil.  Place in the oven and cook for five hours or until the mixture is thick and the bacon is cooked.  Remove bacon, chop and return to beans. 

Using dry beans – if you wish you can start from scratch.  Use a pound of navy beans.  Rinse and sort to make sure you get all the stones, dirt and bad beans out.  Cover with water and soak over night.  If you have hard water, the beans will not absorb the moisture needed as quickly.  So plan on a long soak or longer cooking time.  When you are ready to cook, drain the beans and add fresh water.  Do NOT cook the beans in the soaking water.  Allow at least 2 – 3 hours for the beans to cook before you start this recipe.  You will want to add celery and onions to the beans while they cook.  Once they are tender proceed with the above recipe.  Taste for seasoning after about one hour in the oven and adjust to your liking.


Monday, July 9, 2012

HARD TO FIND ITEMS

Have you ever wanted something for your house or to use in the kitchen and can't find it?  I have!!  Whether it is a tool or a spice or even a grill I always want to have the best quality and the best price.  I finally found a way to do both!   Here is a link to my shopping portal at Market America/ Shop.com.  Check it out for anything that you are having a hard time finding. Just type the name of the item in the search bar and you will searching over 3000 different merchants. The portal will list all of the results and you find the item for the best price.

BONUS - if you join as a preferred customer you can also earn cash back!  If you have any questions just email me I am your shopping consultant!  Best part is that it is free and you do not have to use a credit card to join.  There is no obligation.  This how I found several items that I just could not find here anywhere and I got to compare price and terms like free shipping. Here is the link.

http://www.marketamerica.com/vegaswes/?refEmail=1B13042A160E0805232C0818041A4D280A14&switchPrdCountry=USA

So go there and shop!!  I do and I am always satisfied.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Grilled Potatoes for a Summer Meal

A great side dish for steaks, burgers, chicken or anything cooked on the grill.  The basic recipe is for oven baked potato wedges.  By starting on the grill and then finishing either in a grill pan with a cover or in an oven you can have the best of both worlds.

Potatoes – you can use Yukon Gold, Red Potatoes or Russets.  Sometimes I use a combination.  Plan on about one potato for 2 people unless they are small.

Preparation

Wash the potatoes making sure all the dirt is off and the skins are clean.  Examine for any black spots or blemishes that need to be cut out.  For Russets or large potatoes cut them into 8 wedges.  For Yukon Gold you may only get 6 pieces unless they are large.  Red Potatoes I cut into two or three pieces again depending on the size.  Wash and pat dry. 

In a large bowl mix the following:

½ cup of Olive oil
1 tablespoon of finely diced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon of finely diced parsley
½ teaspoon of cumin
1 tablespoon of kosher salt

After this is mixed thoroughly add the potatoes tossing to coat all the surfaces.  Use tongs to remove and place on a baking sheet.  (At this point you could just bake in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes)  Take the sheet to the grill.  Place the potatoes on the grill over low flame.  Turn as soon as you have grill marks.  After about 5 – 7 minutes or as soon as the potatoes have marks take them off the grill.  Put back on the sheet pan and place in a 300 degree oven for 25 minutes or until they are done.  That should give you time to cook the rest of the meal.  You can hold these in a low oven (225 degrees) for up to an hour if needed.  The short time on the grill will add a great taste and look that will complement any grill entre.

Friday, July 6, 2012

SO WHAT IS THE “DUST”?

Many of my recipes call for DAVIS DUST - my original spice blend that I created.  I have added a link on the blog for the new website where you can order it.  But many readers have asked me what is DAVIS DUST?

I love a good dry rub, but most were too salty or had overpowering ingredients.  So, four years ago I started to experiment with some different ideas.  DAVIS DUST is my original recipe, created from those four years of trying to get it right.  As a result, I  ended up with, not only a great dry for ribs, chicken and beef, but also a seasoning for stove top or oven cooking too. 

 DAVIS DUST is produced for me by Pacific Spice, under high quality control, using fresh blended organic and natural ingredients.  For those readers here in the continental United States I can ship to you.  Unfortunately for readers in other countries I cannot ship at this time. Please visit the website and check it out.  My cookbook will also be available there soon. (You can find it on Smashwords.com  Just look for Aunt B's Bordello)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

BBQ Chicken Sliders

A different take on the normal Sliders - and you can use leftover chicken or grill some just for this.

I took these to work and they were a great hit.


Two Chickens – grilled and cooled enough to pull the meat\
You favorite BBQ sauce

Small rolls – like dinner roll or Parker House Rolls


I grilled my chickens flat.  To do this use very sharp kitchen or poultry shears and take the back bone out.  Then just push down on the breast bone the chicken will flatten right out.  Then I oiled the chickens with Olive Oil and rubbed on DAVIS DUST on both side.  Cook over a low to medium heat.  Watch for any flare ups and take those quickly or the meat will burn.  Cook to at least 175 for the Breast meat.  Remove from the heat tent and let cool until you can work to remove the meat.  Then either chop with a clever or use a food processor and pulse to break up the meat.

Put the meat in a large saucepan and add your BBQ Sauce.  Go easy on the sauce.  You can add more later.  Then heat so that sauce and meat bubble.  Have your rolls ready and serve.  


You could use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store or any left over chicken you have on hand.  Adjust the sauce accordingly.