Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Buttermilk pie

Today I am thankful for some great memories of Rose and Dudley Johnson and her Buttermilk Pecan Pie! I don't know anyone who can make a buttermilk pecan pie like Rose! I was blessed to live with the Johnson's while I was in college in Lake Jackson Texas. And boy could she cook! She was well known for her sausage balls, bread & butter pickles and pies. I have the EXACT recipes that she used, except for the pickles which are a family secret, and my pies NEVER turn out like hers. I think it was the LOVE she put into it that made it so good. And she loved a lot. There are many fond memories of living with Rose and Dudley! Game nights, watching football with Dudley, dinners, and lots of laughs. I don't know many people that would let a college girl come sleep in their room during a hurricane.  Rose just said I was keeping them young.  She was famous for her Buttermilk Pecan pie and ooohhhhhh is it sooooo good!! It is one of Keith and my favorite. When Keith and I were dating, Rose would make these pies and Keith loved them. One day Keith came over to watch football with Dudley, and Dudley asked Keith if he wanted to have some Buttermilk to drink? Keith thinking that if buttermilk can make a pie soooooo good how could it be bad..... so Dudley poured him a cup and Keith drank it.... and about choked! while Rose and I were laughing so hard in the kitchen. "How can something so bad as buttermilk be made into a pie and taste so good?" I have wondered that myself but whatever magic it is, it works!  I am so thankful for the time and memories I had with Rose and Dudley Johnson! What a sweet couple that loved a missionary college student, that they barely knew enough to let her live with them. Dudley was also the man who led my husband to the Lord.  This couple will always have a sweet spot in my heart. I miss Rose a lot! She died a few years ago unexpectedly but  I am sure she is up in Heaven helping fill the banquet table with pies and all kinds of goodies. I got to see Dudley last month in Texas and we had a good time talking. Love that man and his jokes. He is a GREAT joke teller! I enjoyed living with them so much. So with lots of love and memories I am sharing Rose's recipe for her pie. If you want it to taste like hers make sure you put lots of love into it. This is a delicious pie!

Rose's Buttermilk Pecan Pie
1/2 cup butter
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups sugar( but I use only a 1 1/2 cups cause Keith likes it a little less sweet)
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
3 eggs
3 TBSP flour
1 pie crust

Preheat oven to 300 degree. Bake pie crust about 10 minutes.
Cream butter and sugar together. Add salt and eggs one at a time. Mix well. Add buttermilk, vanilla and flour. Sprinkle pecans in pie crust shell. Gently pour batter over pecans. Bake about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. The pecans will float to the top. Bake till golden on top and firm in the middle.  Let cool before cutting.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Creamy Mushroom Soup

Back in the good Ole days when Zimbabwe was the vacation spot of Southern Africa, our family would go to Harare and spend our holidays there. While Zambia's economy was not very good, Zimbabwe was 10 steps up. There were shops, hotels, restaurants, supermarkets with actual food on the shelf, putt putt golf and many other neat things to do.  One of my favorite places to eat was a restaurant called Tiffany's. It was a VERY ELEGANT, make reservations, put on your best dress and tie and Jacket kind of a place. Seriously, if you didn't have a tie on they would give you one at the door. It was VERY FANCY. My Mom and Dad would threaten us to behave. We were not allowed to behave badly at this restaurant! But for one night of our lives we got to be like royalty. From the crunchy toast with cold butter to the hot tea served with scones. I remember having to sit still in my pretty dress and my brother had to try NOT to pull at his tie while we got to drink a fancy drink and eat all of our 5 courses. Oh it was so much fun! I could handle being royalty... for a night at least! I don't remember much about the food except I do remember the soup being amazing! Their mushroom soup was so creamy and delicious. This recipe is came from my mom and is pretty close to the restaurants. Who knows it may even be the one they used. I have never asked her where she got it, but trust me if you like Mushroom soup try this!! With hot bread and butter.... YUMMY! I have to make adjustments in Galena. Fresh mushrooms are hard to find except in the summer and I usually don't have whipping cream but even with the adjustments is pretty delicious!

 Creamy Mushroom soup
1 cup sliced chopped mushrooms( I use 2 cans mushrooms)
2 TBSP onions
2 TBSP Butter
2 TBSP flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup whipping cream(I use evaporated milk)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp pepper

Saute mushrooms and onions in butter about 5 minutes. Stir in Flour. Slowly add broth. Cook and stir 2 minutes more till it bubbles and thickens. Stir in cream, salt, nutmeg and pepper. Heat thoroughly. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Salmon Tacos

I was never really a fish eater. Don't get me wrong, I eat it but it was never something I ordered when I went to a restaurant unless it was a Fish & Chips kind of a joint. I love fried fish at fish fries and I would eat it if that is what we were having for dinner but I was more of the shrimp kind of a person. But when we moved to Alaska I knew that I would have to learn to love fish. Before we move I copied hundreds of different Salmon recipes and some other fish recipes since I knew Salmon would be a major part of our meal plans here. Many of the recipes we didn't like so I tossed them but this is one that we have kept and made. It is rather quite simple but you have to be careful not to over cook the fish. I use Salmon in this but I am sure any white fish would be good too.

These seriously are easy and delicious! And with winter here, it kind of transported me to the tropics....kind of! I can imagine sitting at a small beach cafe somewhere under the palm trees eating these. Watching the waves crash and drinking a cold Coke. Yep I am transported!
 Salmon Tacos
1 lb salmon (skinned and cut into 1 inch cubes)
1/2 TBSP cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 TBSP olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 limes quartered ( I didn't have lime and used lemon juice and it was still delicious but fresh limes would be AMAZING!)
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilis, drained, ( I used Rotel and actually didn't drain it)
1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped

Toss cubed salmon in cumin and chili powder. Set aside.
Heat large skillet over medium heat and cook onions for about 2 minutes, till soft
Add Salmon to skillet. Lightly sear salmon on each side. turn them gently so they don't break apart. About 3 minutes. DON'T OVER COOK! The salmon will continue cooking through out the next steps. Add canned tomatoes, cilantro, and green onions. Gently stir and heat throughly. Squeeze Lime juice over salmon, Stir and plate up. Serve with warm tortillas or crunchy taco shells. I recommend the hard shell tacos to give a crunch but I also love these with fresh corn tortillas! Top with cheese, sour cream, salsa, sliced avocado, lettuce, shredded cabbage or any other toppings you like on your taco. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Homemade Corn Dogs

Since our last trip to Texas allowed us to test my son Kaden for his egg allergy and find out that he finally outgrew the allergy, I finally got to introduce him to corn dogs. It became both of my sons favorite. They ate them EVERYWHERE. Isaiah loved them even more then Kaden but both ate them all around the state. When we got back here, they were sad that we couldn't buy any more. Thankfully I knew I had my moms recipe for homemade corn dogs that she made for us in Zambia. My boys were thrilled. These turn out really good and are really easy to make.

Corn dogs
1lb hotdogs dry off juices
2/3 cornmeal
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 TBSP sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk

Dry off hotdogs really well. Mix all ingredients together. Heat oil in a deep fryer or deep pan. You want the oil to completely cover the corn dogs. Coat the hotdogs with batter. Dip into hot oil. Make sure all side gets touched by oil or the batter will fall off. Cook till golden brown. These cook pretty fast so keep an eye on them.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Chicken Schnitzel with a Mushroom/Cheese Sauce

One of my favorite holidays growing up was our trip to Europe. Because of rules with the Mission Board back then, returning to the USA was not allowed but traveling to other countries was. So our family decided to take a trip to Europe and travel around and see all the places Jesse(my brother) was learning about in his school. It was AWESOME!! We rented a small popup van, where literally the roof popped up and became a sleeping area where Jesse and I slept. Then the bench/ couch in the back became a fold out bed where Mom and Dad slept. The van had a small little kitchen, VERY SMALL but it was perfect. We got to travel through many countries looking at Castles, Cathedrals, Museums, Art, beautiful landscapes and of course the Sound of Music tour. The sites were amazing! Castles filled with treasures that we dreamed about and gardens and flowers that made you think you were a princess. We climbed the mountains like the Von Trapp family did and learned many things about the movie that changed our whole point of view. We got to see the Swiss Alps, the Black Forest, many famous rivers, Windmills,  and so many tulips. It was a trip of a life time.

But along with the sites, we got to try amazing food! Swiss and German chocolate, Crepe houses where every plate was some sort of yummy crepe, German sausages, amazing cheeses and Schnitzel. We would eat breakfast and lunch in the van while traveling to our next destination. Most of the time it was a combination of yummy sausages and yummy bread and cheese. Though my mom might tell you differently but from what I remember there was no complaining with those options! At dinner we would eat at a restaurant. Because none of us spoke German, Dutch or any other European languages, ordering food was quite interesting. With none of the menus in English and very few people speaking English, it was a challenge.  But after a few guesses and learning what certain words meant, Schnitzel and Bratwurst became a constant. We would order at least one of those and then be adventurous and order an "unknown" meal and see what we ended up. Most of the time we got delicious plates of food, unless you count the sauerkraut that Dad always ordered. I don't know how anyone eats that, but for some reason Dad loves it! During that trip Schnitzel became one of my favorites dishes. You could change up the meat between pork and chicken and then the cream sauce on top. Mushroom or cheese or any other sauce that they would make could be switched too. OH SO YUMMY!!

When I have pork or chicken breast available this is one of the dishes I like to make. I made this for Keith a few nights ago and he didn't want to share. I take that as a good sign. Though my boys didn't like the mushrooms in the sauce I made they did like the chicken. Oh how I hope to be able to travel to Europe when my boys are bigger and let them have as much fun there as I did as a child. But until then we will enjoy the Schnitzel at home.

Chicken Schnitzel
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (4 large breasts)
1 cup flour for dredging
2 eggs
1 cup breadcrumbs, matzo meal, or panko
2 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying
Fresh lemon wedges for garnish
Pound the Chicken to about 1/4 inch thick.  Set up 3 bowls for the ingredients. In the first add the flour. In the second bowl, beat the eggs. In your third bowl, stir together the breadcrumbs, paprika, 1 tsp salt and Sesame seeds(I don't use these) mix well. Pour oil into a skillet deep enough to fry. About 1/2 inch. Heat over medium heat. Dip each chicken breast in Flour, then the egg, then the panko mixture. Place in hot oil. Fry on each side 3-4 minutes till golden. Remove to a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt for flavor and serve warm with a lemon slice.

You can totally eat this all by itself but I like to add a white sauce

 White sauce
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp Flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk
Sauteed mushrooms

Melt butter in heavy sauce pan. Blend in flour and salt cooking and stirring till bubbly. Using a whisk to prevent lumps, stir in milk. Cook till smooth and thickened. I then add some chopped sauteed mushrooms and some cheese and stir till the cheese is melted.  Serve over Schnitzel.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Skyline Apple Muffins

I LOVE these muffins! Mom used to make these growing up and I remember the crunchy sugary top with the soft, moist muffin. These are some of my favorites to make when company come over or when I have apples that need to be used. They make quite a few muffins that are pretty BIG. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Skyline Apple Muffins
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup oil
1 egg
1 cup sour milk or buttermilk( I use milk with a little vinegar in it)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cup grated apples
1/2 cup pecans
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp butter, melted

Combine brown sugar, oil, egg, milk, baking soda, salt, vanilla, flour. Mix well.  After mixed fold in apples and pecans. Pour into muffin tins or greased muffin pans.  Mix topping ingredients together. Sprinkle muffins with toppings. Bake 30 minutes at 325 degrees. Makes about 15 muffins.