Friday, December 24, 2010

Taste of Texas Pecan Pie

Taste of Texas is a restaurant you don’t want to miss when traveling into the Houston area.  You especially don’t want to miss their pecan pie

Yield: 8 servings.
1 9 inch pie shell
1/2 C. dark Karo Syrup
1 C. brown sugar
1 stick butter
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 C. Pecan halves
Melt butter, add to syrup and sugar. Mix well until all sugar is dissolved. Add the eggs, and vanilla, and mix until smooth. Pour mixture into pie shell. Place pecan halves on the top of the pie. Bake at 325 degrees for 50 minutes, or until done. You can check this with a knife, when it comes out clean, the pie is done. P.S. Don’t forget the Blue Bell Ice Cream.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet potato casserole is good anytime of the year, don’t just have it for Thanksgiving.  Sweet potatoes are covered with a lovely pecan sweet crust.   This recipe is by Virginia McDowell. Jefferson City, Mo. 1984.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Yield: 8 servings.
4 C. mashed sweet potatoes
1 C. white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
4 large eggs
1 stick melted butter
1/3 C. milk
1 C. coconut (optional)
1/2 C. firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 C. flour
1 C. chopped pecans
2 1/2 Tbsp. butter
Beat casserole ingredients in mixer until well blended. Put unto a 2-qt. long casserole dish that has been well greased with butter. Mix and spread topping ingredients over the sweet potato mixture. Bake in 350 degrees oven for 55 minutes.

Piccadilly Carrot Souffle

I first tasted Piccadilly Carrot Souffle side dish at a Piccadilly Cafeteria in WPB, Florida several years ago and spent the next 6 months trying every recipe I could find that might be “it.” Then a lady posted it to a recipe list I was on, and EUREKA!! “it” was finally found. I have tweaked it a wee bit to make it less sweet than the original recipe. This is a perennial favorite, enjoyed by everyone, even kids who don’t like veggies.

2 lb. carrots (about 8 med-large) peeled, and cut into chunks
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup flour
4 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted
Cook the carrots until tender; drain and mash. In large mixing bowl, combine mashed carrots, sugar, baking powder, vanilla and flour. Beat for 3 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue to beat, slowly adding melted butter.  Pour mixture into a greased 1-1/2 quart baking dish or 9″ square pan. Bake at 325F about an hour, or until set in the centre. Note: if your oven runs hot, reduce the temperature a bit to avoid scorching the bottom.
To serve,lightly dust the top with powdered sugar.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Luxury seafood pie with a parmesan crust

The absence of high street fishmongers nowadays always poses problems, so it's important to point out that this recipe can be made using all frozen shellfish and any variety of white fish. However, what we recommend (because they are so good in December) is getting the scallops fresh. Likewise the fish, which can be monkfish, turbot or any firm white fish.
Luxury seafood pie with a parmesan crust
Hearty: Luxury seafood pie with a parmesan crust
Serves 6
  • 250g (9oz) scallops (with corals if possible)
  • 800g (1lb 12oz) monkfish fillet, cut into 3cm (1¼in) pieces
  • 250g (9oz) frozen cooked mussels
  • 250g (9oz) frozen large, raw tiger prawns
  • 450ml (16fl oz) dry vermouth
  • 1 bay leaf
For the sauce:
  • 25g (1oz) butter
  • 15g (½oz) flour
  • 2 rounded tablespoons crème fraîche
  • 1 heaped tablespoon fine capers in vinegar, drained, or salted capers, well rinsed
  • 8 cornichons, drained and roughly chopped
  • 1 heaped tablespoon chopped dill
  • a good pinch of cayenne pepper 
  • seasoning
For the pastry:
  • 375g (13oz) ready-made butter puff pastry
  • 20g (¾oz) freshly grated Parmesan, plus
  • 2 tablespoons to sprinkle
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • You will need a round pie dish 20.5cm (8in) in diameter at the base, 26cm (10½in) at the top and 3.5cm (1¼in) deep.
To start, if the scallops are large slice each one in half. Then pour the vermouth into a medium-sized saucepan and add the bay leaf.
Bring it up to the boil, add the scallops and, when it comes back to a simmer, time it for exactly 1 minute before removing them with a draining spoon to a colander over a bowl. Next add the monkfish – in two batches – following the same procedure (back to a simmer, but this time cook each batch for 2 minutes).
Next poach the frozen mussels (same as above, but remove them just as they come to a simmer) and finally the frozen prawns, only this time poach them until they turn pink and opaque. Then add the drained juices from the poached fish to the poaching liquid in the pan and bring it up to the boil, then reduce by two-thirds, which will take about 10 minutes.
Then pour the poaching liquid into a jug, you need about 150ml (5fl oz). Next make the sauce, do this by melting the butter in a small saucepan, stir in the flour, then gradually add the poaching liquid bit by bit, stirring continuously with a mini whisk. Cook on a gentle heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the sauce has cooked, add the crème fraîche, capers, cornichons, and dill then season and add some cayenne pepper.
Once the sauce and fish are completely cold, mix them together in a bowl and pile into the pie dish. Next roll the pastry to an oblong 20 x 30cm (8 x 12in), then use a pastry brush to dampen the surface with a little water and sprinkle evenly with the 20g (¾oz) of Parmesan.
Then fold the pastry over and roll it out to 35cm (14in) square. Now cut two 2cm (¾in) strips from two of the edges of the pastry square.
Dampen the rim of the dish with water, press the strips of pastry on to the rim and dampen them. Press the rest of the pastry loosely over that to form a lid and, using a sharp knife, trim any excess pastry off. Then press the edges firmly together and flute them all round.
Make a steam hole in the centre with a skewer and roll any pastry trimmings together and cut them into leaves or little fish to decorate the top. Cover and chill for at least an hour, but it will be fine until the following day.
When you are ready to cook the pie, preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7, then brush the pastry with beaten egg and sprinkle with the rest of the Parmesan.
Place the pie on a baking tray and cook on the centre shelf of the oven for 25 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/gas mark 4 and cook for a further 20 minutes.
Leave to stand for about 5 minutes before serving.

World Famous Lasagna Recipe

I have tried many different Lasagna recipes over the years.   This is the culmination of all that trial and error, a wonderful recipe that needs to be shared with the world.  The ingredients and actual recipe are at the end of this article.  I know you won’t be disappointed with my Best Lasagna Recipe!
Start with the following in a pot:
1 pound (450 g) of sweet Italian sausage
1 pound (450 g) of ground beef
1/2 cup (120 mL) of chopped onions
2 cloves of garlic chopped
The flavor of the Italian sausage varies from brand to brand.  You may need to try a different brand the first couple of times you cook this dish.  Find the flavor you like the best.
Brown the ground beef, Italian sausage, onions and garlic in a pot until they start to cook.  It takes about 6 to 9 minutes to brown the meat.  I like to use a Dutch oven to cook this portion of the recipe.  I use a medium low temperature to brown the meat.  It is optional to remove the grease from the meat once it is finished browning, your choice.
Add the following:
1 (28 ounce) (784 g) can of crushed tomatoes
2 (8 ounce) (230 g) cans of tomato sauce
2 (6 ounce) (168 g) cans of tomato paste
1/2 (120 mL) cup of water
Gently stir this into the cooking meat.
Add the following:
2 tablespoons (30 mL) white sugar
1 teaspoon (5 mL) fennel seed
2 teaspoons (10 mL) fresh Basil leaves chopped
2 tablespoons (30 mL) fresh Italian parsley chopped
1 teaspoon (5 mL) salt
1 teaspoon (5 mL) Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) ground pepper
Gently stir these seasoning into the sauce.
Cover the pot and let the meat sauce simmer.  Simmer on low heat for 1 hour and 30 minutes  This is the ideal simmer time but not mandatory.  If you don’t have time it will still be great after one hour of simmering.
I will sometimes make this sauce and refrigerate it after it finishes simmering.  I will use the meat sauce the next day to put the rest of this recipe together.  For some reason Italian meat sauce taste even better the next day.  But that’s up to you.
Soak 12 lasagna noodles.
The lasagna noodles need to be soaked in hot tap water for 15 minutes. 
While the noodles are soaking you can make the cheese filling.
Put the following in a mixing bowl:
23 ounces (644 g) of ricotta cheese.
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) fresh grated nutmeg
Grate fresh nutmeg over the Ricotta cheese. 
Add the following:
1 egg
2 tablespoons (30 mL) fresh Italian parsley chopped
Mix these ingredients together with a spoon
Now we start building the lasagna layers.
Use a 9×13 inch baking pan.
Spread 2 Cups (480 mL) of meat sauce on the bottom of the pan.
Remove your lasagna noodles out of the water bath.  Shake water off wet noodles.
Lay 6 noodles across the layer of sauce.
Spread half of the ricotta cheese mixture over the layer of noodles.
Spread 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese over the ricotta layer.
Sprinkle half of the Parmesan cheese over the mozzarella layer
Spread 2 cups (480 mL) of meat sauce over the cheese layer
Lay down the next layer of noodles
Spread the remaining ricotta mixture over noodles
Spread the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses saving  some cheese for the top of the lasagna
Put the last layer of meat sauce on the cheeses
Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
It should look similar to the picture above.
Cover with foil
Bake in preheated oven at 350 F (177 C) for 25 minutes
Remove foil and bake uncovered for another 25 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for approximately 15 minutes.
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1 pound of sweet Italian sausage
1 pound of ground beef
1/2 cup of chopped onions
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1 (28 ounce) can of crushed tomatoes
2 (8 ounce) cans of tomato sauce
2 (6 ounce) cans of tomato paste
1/2 Cup of Water
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon fennel seed
2 teaspoons fresh Basil leaves chopped
4 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
23 ounces of ricotta cheese.
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1 egg
1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
12 lasagna noodles
–Serves 12 people–