a community blog of gastrophiles for all seasons

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Texas, Texas, Yee-haw!

On the subject of baked delights, here are the Best of Show in the Cookie Competition from the 2003 Texas State Fair. My Dad forwarded this over to me, they were a hit at his work.

Turtle Bars


2 Cups all-purpose flour
1 ¾ cups dark brown sugar, packed (divided use)
1 ½ cups unsalted butter at room temperature (divided use)
3 tablespoons whipping cream
1 cup pecan halves, toasted
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350. Mix flour, 1 cup brown sugar and ¾ cup butter (1 ½ sticks) in food processor until well blended and crumbly. Press into ungreased 9x13 inch metal baking dish. Bake until crust is light golden, about 15 minutes.

To make caramel, bring remaining brown sugar (¾ cup) and butter (1 ½ sticks) and cream to boil over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil 1 minute, stirring occasionally; remove from heat. Sprinkle pecans over crust; pour caramel over pecans. Bake about 20 minutes, until bubbles form and color darkens. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let stand 5 minutes. Spread chocolate evenly over top. Chill 30 minutes, or until chocolate sets. Cut into squares.

Upping your PQ; It's a Good Thing

Okay, I can't claim any involvement with the invention of this recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Squares. I made it exactly as written, and they are transcendent. The hardest part of making them is waiting for them to cool down enough to slice. Or you can do what I did and scoop a corner out to taste while they're still warm. Mmmmm.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

There Oughta Be a Law Against'em Bars

My mom got this recipe from some family member who got it from some cookbook. (so, it's possible that some of you have seen this recipe before) I used to make these as Christmas presents at the Academy.

1 box german chocolate cake mix
3/4 cup melted butter
1 14oz package of caramels
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 cup chopped pecans
1 6oz package chocolate chips (I personally love the ghirardelli double chocolate chips)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Mix cake mix, butter, 1/3 cup evaporated milk and nuts. Mix well, then put half of this batter in a greased 9" x 13" cake pan. Bake for 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt caramels with 1/3 evaporated milk. (unwrapping the caramels is the hardest part of this recipe) Pour caramel over the baked portion of the batter. Then, sprinkle the chocolate chips over the caramel layer. Last, pour the second half of the batter on top of the chocolate chips. (Actually, I take that back, smoothing the uncooked dough over gooey caramel is the hardest part of the recipe). Bake for 15-18 minutes. Cool in fridge 1 hour before cutting.

The Great Pumpkin and other foods

In honor of fall (or the 90 degree fall Louisiana is experiencing), I made a pumpkin creme brulee' last night. I'm a huge creme brulee' fan and when and if I get dessert at a restaurant, if it's available, I usually order it. This recipe is good. Burning your finger on crystallizing sugar -- not so much. After that recipe, I've posted a BLT dip that I also made last night, which was a hit.

Pumpkin Crème Brulee

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2 pinches nutmeg
1 pinch ginger
1 pinch ground cloves
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/3 cup coarse sugar or raw sugar

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

In a medium saucepan, heat the cream, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves over medium heat, stirring occasionally, just until it comes to a boil. Immediately turn off the heat and set aside to infuse at least 15 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the granulated sugar. Whisking constantly, gradually pour in the hot cream mixture. Whisk in the pumpkin puree. Pour the mixture into 4 ovenproof ramekins and arrange in a hot water bath. Bake in the center of the oven until almost set but still a bit soft in the center, 30 to 40 minutes. The custard should "shimmy" a bit when you shake the pan; it will firm up more as it cools. Remove from the water bath and let cool 15 minutes. Tightly cover each ramekin with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic does not touch the surface of the custard. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, and up to 24 hours. When ready to serve, preheat a broiler to very hot (or fire up your kitchen torch). Uncover the chilled custards. Pour as much coarse sugar as will fit onto the top of 1 of the custards. Pour off the remaining sugar onto the next custard. Repeat until all the custards are coated. Discard any remaining sugar. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan and broil until the sugar is melted and well browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Let cool 1 minute before serving.


1 c. Sour Cream
1 c. mayonaise
1 lb bacon
1 med. tomato cut up.

Mix all ingredients together and serve with toast or crackers. To cut the fat, I used lite sour cream and light mayo. Instead of real greasy bacon, I bought a bottle of real bacon bits and poured the whole bottle in,

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Holy Mole

Okay, first of all, I promise never to pull a title like that again.

Chicken Mole (original courtesy of epicurious)

6 skinless boneless chicken thighs, each cut into 3 pieces
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced (preferably sweet because, come on, is that ever wrong?)
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes in juice
1 cup canned low-salt chicken broth
2 tablespoons minced canned chipotle chilies plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
(or if you're not a wimp, 3-4 minced chipotles)
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
pinch of sugar

Coat chicken on all sides with cumin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in heavy large pot (cast iron is best) over medium-high heat. Add chicken; sauté until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add onion and sauté until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes with juice, broth, chipotle chilies, adobo sauce, and chocolate and bring to simmer.

Reduce heat to medium-low, stir in sugar, and simmer uncovered until chicken is cooked through and sauce thickens slightly, about 20-30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; serve. (Makes 4-6 servings).

Perfect over yellow rice. Dress your favorite raw veggies in a chili lime vinaigrette (1/4 cp red wine vinager, 3/4 cp olive oil, 1-2 tbsp chili powder, juice of one lime, salt and pepper) for a nice side.

Champagne punch

This is a punch we made for our oh-so-elegant 21st birthday party. Even the guys drank was delicious. I'll post more hardcore recipes later. Tonight I'm making pork chops diane, a BLT dip and pumpkin creme brulee'. If those work out, the recipes will be posted here.

Strawberry Champagne Punch
5 c Water
1 can diluted lemonade
1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
1 bottle of ginger ale
2 bottles dry champagne, chilled

Combine the first three ingredients together, and then right before serving, add the champagne and ginger ale.
We also froze ice cubes with strawberries in them. It would have been better to freeze ginger ale cubes with strawberries, though.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Let's get this party started

So I figured I would start off with a little south louisiana goodness that always goes well with cold weather:

Turkey and Andouille Gumbo


2 Green bell peppers.

2 Medium sized onions.

4 Stalks celery

1 bunch of scallions (green onions)

2 lbs andouille

Turkey meat (1 whole breast will do)

1 cup flour

1 cup vegetable oil

2 quarts turkey stock

1 batch of smothered okra

Garlic Powder

Tobasco sauce


Worcestershire sauce

Kitchen Bouquet (for color)


Chop all vegetables and set aside.

Blend the flour and oil in the bottom of large stock pot. Make sure they are both completely blended before applying heat. Apply medium high heat, stirring continuously. The stirring is very important. I personally like to let my roux get to a milk chocolate color.

When the roux is the right shade of brown, throw in the vegetables. Stir it all together. Add a little bit of water just to loosen things up a little. Let sautee for about 10-15 minutes, stirring the whole time, adding a very small amount of water if things start to stick.

Once the vegetables are sauteed, add the cold stock slowly while stiring the whole time. This allows for the gumbo to maintain a smooth consistency.

After stock is mixed in, add okra, sausage, and turkey. Also add seasonings. Add Kitchen Bouquet to achieve desired color.

Cook on high until you achieve a boil, then let cook covered on low heat for 2 hours stirring every 10-15 minutes. Let cook uncovered for about 10-15 minutes at the end.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

and so it begins...

Now all we need are recipes. And stories. Of successes, and horrible horrible failures.