5.29.2012

Back from break and Biscuits..

Hi there folks..

Hope everyone enjoyed their Memorial Day, mine was too short... I Think.
Seems like Tuesday and that dreadful beeping noise that comes from my alarm clock promptly at 6am, rolled around way too fast.

It is Tuesday right?

Anyway, the other day when I made these cookies, I had some leftover rosemary that I wasn't quite sure what to do with. When I got up the next morning there was a note left on the counter that said..

"Mom will you make some biscuits this morning" 

Ummmm... Yes Master.. I will make your biscuits because I am your humble servant.. No No I didn't say that.. but I thought it... I'm not a morning person... and my other kid has not yet taking a liking to sleep through the night.. 2 hours here 2 hours there.. yea that he will do.. but through the night. I think not..

Sorry what was I talking about.

Right.. ok

So of course I pulled out my bowl and got to work because I am more than happy to make biscuits.
Mainly, because I eat them like they are healthy scoops of granola... which they are not.

How to make biscuits was one of the first things that I learned during my culinary  education in Granny's kitchen. According to my grandmother.. my great grandmother only required 3 ingredients to make her biscuits..

Are ya listening.. flour, sugar, cream...
Mix in a bowl, roll them out... use cup to cut out biscuits.. then bake.. then eat.

So this has been the recipe that I have always used.. I've tried others.. actually tons.. I have 4 cookbooks dedicated to cooking nothing but biscuits.. but nothing quite gives me that warm fuzzy feeling like Cream Biscuits with a little honey please..

When I started putting out those ingredients my eyes kept going to the leftover rosemary.. so I gave into my curiousity..chopped it up and put some in the mix..

I'm glad I did.. and so was the little lady that made the request..

So the next morning the note said...

"Mom, can you make those biscuits with the green mary stuff again"

Sure


Rosemary Cream Biscuits 



You might need these:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons rosemary

I really like this photo effect... Random.. I know


Here's what you do:

Pre-heat oven to 450
Lightly grease baking sheet with butter or coat with cooking spray

In a large bowl mix together flour, sugar and rosemary. Pour in cream and fold together until soft dough forms.
Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface.  Knead the dough gently about 6 or 7 times adding just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.

Roll out the dough and cut out the biscuits using a biscuit or cookie cutter.
Bake until golden brown, 10 -12 minutes. Then remove from the oven.



I'll need some honey on mine...


5.25.2012

To my Geraldine, with love....

There is a lot to be said about a love that is timeless, that touches your soul and makes you whole again. The deep sigh of relief you expel knowing that you have found someone you can forever hold on to.
Well.. I feel this way about cookies..preferable shortbread cookies. I developed this love because they were my Granny's favorites.. she could make them into anything. From classic circles to stars, or using her thumb she could make a place for jam.. maybe even take 2 shortbread cookies and add ice cream in between.
They were simple and delicious but most of all made with love..
I remember her telling me they were her favorite because my grandaddy used to buy them for her when they were "courting". He would come by her house with the bag of cookies and they would walk down the street talking while they ate them... Once on their anniversary he gave her a jewelry box with a beautiful bow and a tag that read... To my Geraldine, with love Lee Thomas..

The box was full of shortbread cookies..



Rosemary Lemon Shortbread Cookies 



You might need these:
Recipe adapted from One Girl Cookie Cookbook

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Turbinado Sugar for sprinkling... you've seen this before I promise.. it's the "Sugar in the raw" box.


Here's what you do:

Whisk flour and salt together in medium bowl- set aside
Using an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add lemon zest and rosemary and mix for 30 seconds. Add eggs and vanilla, and mix for 1 minute until well combined.
Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture a little at a time until dough comes together. Try not to overmix.

Turn dough out onto a floured work surface. Sprinkle a little flour on the dough (it's kind of sticky)
and divide in half. Place a sheet of parchment paper on the work surface, put half the dough on the parchment paper and top it with a second sheet.
Roll the dough out to desired thickness.. I did it to about 1/8 inch. Repeat process with the 2nd half of the dough. Then place the dough in the fridge for about 30 mins.


Almost there.....

Preheat oven to 350
Remove dough from refrigerator, peel off both sheet of parchment and place the dough on a cutting board. Using your favorite cookie cutter, cut out the dough. Place cookies on parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops of each cookie with Turbinado Sugar.


Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes or until they are slightly golden around the edges.

Then go find your sweetheart... sit down and eat cookies...




Enjoy My Friends...

5.20.2012

Issues with the laundry and Coffee Cake


A letter…

Dear people that live in my house,

I think there are 3 (not including me). So can one of you explain why the laundry room makes me think there maybe 12 people living here?
Every weekend I look at all the mountains of clothes thrown across the laundry room floor and wonder who the heck is wearing all this stuff. !!
It makes me go to the maid to ask if she has a solution only to realize that I’m looking in the mirror talking to myself.  See ya’ll made me delusional.
So dear Family of mine.. Please help me out…. Think of all the wonderful things we could do if I wasn’t trying to keep up with all the laundry.. Let’s work together..Or else I might have to go on strike!

Love ya,
Ma-Dukes

Well now that I've gotten that out of the way....


Y'all want some coffee cake? 



Blueberry and Cheese Coffee Cake 




You might need these.  

1/2 cup butter, softened 
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs 
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup milk 
1/4 cup water
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 (8oz. package) cream cheese, cut into 1/4 in cubes.. 


Crumb Topping: 
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp butter, softened 


Ok, now what: 

Pre-heat oven to 375 
With an electric mixer beat 1/2 cup butter at medium speed  until creamy; gradually add 1 1/4 cups sugar, beating well. 
Add eggs, l at a time mixing after each addition
In a separate bowl combine together 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt.
In another bowl... sorry you'll have some dishes to wash.. combine milk and water. 
While mixing at low speed. combine flour mixture to butter mixture alternating with milk mixture..
Mix until well blended then gently stir in blueberries and cream cheese.  Just stir these don't use mixer.
Pour batter into a 9 in square pan. 

Combine 1/2 cup flour and remaining 3 ingredients for the topping; stir well with a fork.

Sprinkle mixture over batter and bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes.. 
Remove from the oven and let cool on wire rack.. or if your like me eat them immediately.. 
I can never seem to wait...






Did I mention how much I love blueberries.. and anything that has blueberries in it.. 


 

5.16.2012

Tomato and Corn Pizza

Today I was day dreaming...

This happens often... normally when I'm at work facing an extreme deadline with people breathing down my neck... like that is going to really get me to move any faster.. in the words of my 11 year old..

As If...

Sorry.. I got off track..

I was day dreaming....  about all the places I'd rather be... thinking about this amazing tomato and corn casserole like pasta dish at one of my favorite restaurants that is too far away from my office to go to during lunch... I really wish I had that recipe.. I've been tempted on several occasions to ask the chef for the recipe..

Yes the chef.. because I always find a way to talk to every chef at every restaurant where the food knocks me off my feet..
 Hey.. I'm southern... we talk to everybody...and we want to meet everybody and know about their mama and grandmama and what their cousins uncles sisters last name is because we might be related....

Sorry.. I got off track again...

Anyway, I haven't asked for the recipe yet... but I have thought of several different combinations of corn and tomatoes.. this has my family wondering what's going on with me now.. especially the last thing I made which was this Tomato and Corn Pizza which to them sounded crazy.. until they tasted it..

What do y'all think?



Tomato and Corn Pizza


You might need these...

1 package pre-baked pizza crust...I used Boboli Original Pizza Crust.. but if you are feeling fiesty and want to make yours from scratch go right ahead.. I have a tendency to lean toward the laziness side of things. This often has me looking for shortcuts... i.e pre-made pizza crust.
3 small plum tomatoes, sliced
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
1/2 cup of cooked sausage (optional) my family won't touch anything pizza related if there is no meat..
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 cup of marinara sauce.. I've tried this with pesto sauce too.. very tasty... tasty is good.
8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves


Here's what you do..

Preheat oven to 450
Place pizza crust on parchment paper lined baking sheet .
Stir together corn and salt and pepper.
Spread with marinara sauce on top of pizza crust, then top with corn mixture, tomatoes and sausage (if you decide to go the "meat please" route)
Then add mozzarella and basil leaves to the top of the pizza
Place pizza in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden. 
Remove from oven and well you know what to do now..

Let's eat pizza.. shall we..

5.13.2012

Happy Mother's Day!!

Happy Mother's Day to all you fabulous ladies....


I Love You Mommy..... 


Granny this Mother's Day will be hard without you... but I know you are watching over us all..

The 2 women who taught me how to love, cook, be fabulous... everything...


Thank you for my Mother's Day Breakfast my sweet "angel baby" mommy loves you.. 

After years of being told there would be no you... you came into my life... Love you Charles Nicholas

 Lord, Thank you for these 2 amazing kids.. Thank you for the 2 amazing women that raised me into the woman that I am today...




Sunshine and Sweet Tea


5.11.2012

First Blog Award

A lot of excitement over here in the "Southern Girl's Kitchen"


 I recently received my first blog award.

The lovely Ashley over at "Everyday Pixie Dust" has honored me with a Liebster Blog award.
Then wait... I almost lost my britches when I received another comment from the my fabulous new blog friend  Chelsea over at Chelsea's Culinary Indulgence that she nominated me for this too..

What in the world.. that means there are people just up the street, around the corner and on the other side of the barn actually reading my non-sense and with interest...

I love all you folks.. I do...

One day I'll have a good ole "Southern Girl's BBQ" down here in Georgia and if you don't eat meat then I'll have some Fried Green Tomatoes too.. don't want those... then there is always my "Sweet Georgia Whiskey" that will make you forget you're hungry (and probably your first name) anyway...

I'm rambling.. sorry

So there are some rules to this blog award.

1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award Presenter on your blog by mentioning them and linking back to their blog.
2. Copy and paste the blog award and rules
3. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed.
4. Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment on their blog.
5. Share 5 random facts about yourself.

Ummm.. not sure about #5... but I'll give it a shot...

1. Once I went to Hawaii and got stung by a jellyfish.. this is #1 because it changed my life and my level of paranoia forever.
2.I speak both Spanish and Portuguese, so when I retire I plan to take my biscuit making behind to somewhere like Argentina and open a "Chicas Cocina del Sur"
3. I've been quite a few places in my life, but Barcelona by far was the best.. the food, the ocean, the air.. just everything.
4. I'm obsessed with Tory Burch and I think I've given her way too much of my money... same applies for everything on Esty.
5. I have 2 beautiful kiddos that are 10 years... (YES... 10 YEARS) apart in age.. y'all pray for me.

Here are my picks to pass this blog on over too....

1. She Makes and Bakes...     (Love her recipes...)
2. For the Love of Food (and Eating!) go check out the lovely Brianne
3. Feed Your Soul Because what could be better then a man that can cook... honestly..
4.A Kitchen Addiction My Tasty Kitchen soul sista...
5. Debbie Uncharted  My fellow Georgia Girl

Go on over and check out these bloggers... Join their sites..leave them a comment..


Sunshine and Sweet Tea! 

5.10.2012

The Lunchbox Debate

My daughter has always taken her lunchbox to school.

Me... I never took my lunch because it wasn't cool and I really enjoy that squared shaped pizza with the matching square shaped pepperoni...

Call me crazy..

Now that we are in the 5th grade the lunches have become somewhat... involved

Like Bowtie Pasta with Parmesan cheese and Hummus with Pita

What happened to Peanut Butter and Jelly, do they still make that?

Not to long ago she came home telling me all about how some of her friends are bringing Sushi to school.

Sushi..ummmm

Just the thought of packing her lunch, which is normally the night before and then it sitting until 12:15 (lunchtime) the next day had my stomach in knots.

Sushi...huh

So after lots of begging and pleading and promises to keep the room clean.. I said I would try to find something that would be just as cool but minus the wasbi and spicy tuna.

Yes, her friend had spicy tuna sushi for lunch.. I just see a problem there...

I found this really neat recipe on one of my favorite blogs 101 Cookbooks and thought I would give them a try.

They came out fan-tab-oulous! and my 11 year old thought they were "Mad Cool"... took them to school and now all of her friends think that I'm "Mad Cool"

You want to be "Mad Cool" too?


Sesame Cucumber Rice Balls 



You might need these:

2 cups sushi rice (this is not hard to find.. it was in the rice aisle at my local market)
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or just plain ole salt if that's what you got)
1/4 cup sesame seeds (black/white mix)
1/4 cup minced green onions
1 cucumber chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Bring rice and water to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower to where the water is just simmering on low- medium and cook until water has been absorbed and the rice is cooked thoroughly.  Be careful not to over cook. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and let cool.

Add cooked rice, salt, sesame seeds, onions, cucumber and soy sauce to a bowl mixing together to incorporate all ingredients.

Now let's shape them...
I let my rice get cool before I mixed and shaped into balls


To form rice balls, line a small cup with plastic wrap sprinkling with water to keep the rice from sticking.
You should also put a little water on your hands because the rice will be very sticky.
Fill the cup about 1/2 full with rice, gather the plastic wrap forming a ball shape then remove from plastic wrap and set aside on a parchment paper lined dish or plate. Repeat this with remaining rice.
I ended up only making enough rice balls for my daughter to take to for lunch and then we ate the rest of the rice straight out of the bowl. That's how good it was..

Very clean and fresh tasting... without the spicy tuna...




Enjoy!

5.05.2012

Happy Cinco De Mayo with cake

Feliz CInco De Mayo mis amigos...

Es el momento de celebrar e que mejor manera que la torte..

It's time to celebrate and what better way then with cake.. Tres Leches Cake at that...

This cake is one of my favorites. It's moist milky flavor taste even better when topped with Dulce De Leche Frosting, so I added that too...

This is a somewhat short post because... well....I want to celebrate too...

and since I've had my cake..

It's Margarita time.. me and the Geek Squad are headed out to enjoy this wonderful holiday with friends and Patron and a few limes...

So I'll holla at y'all folks soon...

In the meantime....

"Vamos a comer la torte"   Let's eat cake....

Tres Leches Cake

You might need these...

For the cake:
3 Cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
2 Sticks butter, softened
2 Cups sugar
4 Eggs
1 Cup milk

Three milk sauce:
1/4 heavy whipping cream
1/2 Cup sweetened condensed milk
1- 12 oz can evaporated milk

Dulce de Leche Frosting:
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese
3/4 cup of Dulce de Leche... this is easy to find in the specialty section of your grocery store. I promise..I don't use fancy ingredients.. they must be accessible at your local Piggly Wiggly.
1/4 Teaspoon of salt
2 Cups of powdered sugar

Here's the drill:

To make the cake:
Preheat oven to 350
Grease and Flour a 13x9 in pan.. I'm not being bossy you can use whatever pan you like but this is what I used. : )
In a bowl combine the flour and baking powder stirring with a fork to mix well.
In the bowl of a mixer combine the butter and sugar, mix on high speed until light and fluffy.
Then add eggs one at a time beating well each time and stopping to scrape down the bowl.
Add flour mixture and milk and mix until combined.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes. or until it passes the toothpick test.
Remove cake from the oven and allow it too cool completely while still in the pan..

Combine the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and 1/4 heavy cream... Can you say Tres Leches...

When the cake is cool invert to a platter (as you can see I forgot this part..) and poke hole in the surface the a fork. Then pour the milk mixture evenly on the cake. Even getting around the edges. The cake will absorb the liquid but some will spill down the sides.. Don't worry..

Now for the frosting.. you tired yet... no? ok good we're almost done...

Place cream cheese in mixer and beat until very soft.. about 30 seconds.
Stop mixer and scrape down the sides, add butter and dulce de leche. Beat on medium speed until well incorporated. Stop mixer and add salt and powered sugar, mix well until frosting is fluffy and light in color.

Now spread the frosting over the top and sides of the cake... you see I was so anxious to eat this cake, that I could only get to spread the frosting on the top. Don't be like me..

Now let's party and eat cake!!!





5.03.2012

The Other White Meat and Bacon

Today was like any other day, except I bought pork chops at the market instead of chicken.

I'm somewhat a creature of habit...

One of my biggest habits is that I always gravitate towards the chicken section. Even when my daughter is walking behind me asking..

"Is there anything else other than chicken?"

Oftentimes I have to stop myself from saying "no" or "yes, but the steaks just don't look good today" because that would be false and I was told you're supposed to teach your kids about honesty.

So this time I over looked my precious chicken and decided to give Mr. Pork Chop a chance.

Needless to say I'm very happy that I did because the end result of that decision brought about what you see below, they were delicious I might add.

Even though the whole time they were baking I was thinking about my 100+ ways to cook a chicken.

So guess what we're having for dinner tomorrow night.

Smoky Bacon Pork Chops




You might need these:

1/2 cup  shredded pepper jack cheese
3 green onions chopped
1/4 cup of cooked bacon pieces- I was feeling lazy so I bought some.. don't be like me and cook your own. It was $4.99 for a little pack of cooked bacon, sometimes laziness can be expensive.
1/4 cup olive oil mayo (or regular mayo) I have a new obsession with olive oil mayo so I put it in everything.
2 tablespoons mesquite seasoning- I used "grill-mates" brand.
4 pork chops... choose whatever cut you like... here in the "Southern Girl's Kitchen" we like the bone-in cut pork chops.. so I used those.



Here's what you do:

Preheat oven to 425. Line baking sheet with foil and spray a little non-stick cooking spray on the foil.

Season Pork Chops with mesquite seasoning; place on baking sheet.
In a bowl combine cheese, onions,bacon and mayo. Then spread cheese mixture evenly over Pork Chops.

Bake for 15 minutes then turn oven heat to broil and cook for about 3 more minutes or until pork chops brown.

Remove from the oven and dig in..

Wait till they cool off a little though.... learn from my mistakes...


See.. No Chicken everyday= Happy  Daughter  Happy  Daughter= Peaceful Mama...


A Heartfelt Thank You....

When I returned to work after my Granny's passing, I was greeted by warm smiles, words of encouragement and even a few hugs. There are just no words to describe the array of emotions that I felt from all the love that I received. Towards the end of the day, I was given a large manilla envelope that I opened once I got home. It contained cards and letters from my colleagues expressing their heartfelt condolences on my loss. There was a waterfall of tears that occurred as I read each letter and card, some of them belong to my daughter who read them with me..
She turned to me and said..
"That is so sweet, if only Granny was here to make one of her "Thank You" cakes."
Yes, Granny felt that Thank you cards were not always enough, so she often baked a cake that contained so much love, it felt like more then a Thank you..

Well, the next day I pulled down Granny's cookbook and decided on the perfect cake to express my heartfelt thanks to all those that sent me love. I put as much love as I could in to it and took it to work.

I wish there was also a way that I could send each of you a slice, my blog/recipe family. Your words of encouragement were amazing and I can't thank you enough. Maybe one day we can all meet, and I'll make you cake and give you each a big hug.

In the meantime, Thank you all for your kind words... Know that Granny is smiling at all of you fellow foodies and frowning whenever you forget to add buttermilk to your cakes. 
I just love this picture so much...

Sunshine and Sweet Tea....