Tuesday, October 27, 2009

So Sweet Giveaways!!

Here's a great blog to check out  So Sweet Giveaways!!  I'm hoping to win the beautiful dishes from http://www.thinnerware.com/!! 

Dishes that are designed to help with portion control without sacrificing beauty!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Laissez les bons temps rouler!!

Next week, we have another home game and along with that comes another fun time tailgating.  We haven't done cajun food for a few years so we think it's high time to "let the good times roll"!  To spark menu ideas, I've gotten several books from the local library.  What's fun about these books is the storytelling that comes with the recipes.  Cajun country breeds great food and also great storytellers!

Eula Mae's Cajun Kitchen  - lovely stories of life on Avery Island, the home of Tabasco sauce.  I would like to make her Shrimp and Sausage gumbo but I'm not sure that's the right one for the tailgate.

Louisiana Real and Rustic - much simpler recipes than I expected from the master chef, Emeril.  Plenty of ideas to work with here.

Brennan's of Houston in Your Kitchen - Oh, how I miss Brennan's of Houston.  It burned down last year during Hurrican Ike.  This was the place we loved to go for special occasions because the old world atmosphere mixed with perfect service and beautiful food was not like anywhere else.  The crab cakes that my mother had at lunch one day were memorable!!  I haven't had crab that tasted like that since I was a child and we went crabbing on the Gulf Coast.  I enjoyed reading the cookbook, but the recipes were more geared to fine dining than the more rustic food I need for the tailgate.

Arnaud's Restaurant Cookbook - This was the most elegant looking cookbook from a historic New Orleans restuarant but I think it has some real gems in the recipes.  Red Beans and Rice that "serves a crowd" sounds perfect!!  A 2 gallon recipe for Sausage and Turkey Gumbo!  The recipe for Creole Jambalaya is straight forward but does add the use of fish stock which might give this dish an added depth of flavor.  Creamy Pralines is definitely one I am going to try out.  I've made pralines plenty of times but this recipe gives more tips and insights on getting the sugar mixture cooked just right  so that your pralines turn out perfect!

Next week, I'll let you know how the recipes turned out!  Until then, Laissez les bons temps rouler!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Blue Cheese Souffle – not recommended tailgate food :)

This is a blog for the Barefoot Bloggers and definitely not a dish I can translate for tailgating!!
Okay, I'm going to admit it. I didn't want to make the soufflé. I didn't think I liked soufflé (unless it involved a lot of chocolate!). I didn't think the blue cheese sounded good. I didn't think I had the right dish to make it in. I heard it was hard to do and I didn't know if I could make it work out.
Tonight, I was making dinner for my husband and my daughter who is home from college on fall break. We were grilling some salmon that my husband had caught in Alaska back in August. As a side dish, I was jumping ahead to one of the dishes on the "A Week of Barefoot Contessa Recipes" – French String Beans. THEN, I remembered that today was October 22nd and the Blue Cheese Soufle posting was due today! Oh dear, I had to face it but I was still looking for a way out.
But, I had the dish, had the cheese, had the time and so I gave it a shot. Guess what? It tasted really wonderful with the grilled salmon and Green Beans!! It wasn't hard to do and turned out really well. I think that having to do some recipes that I don't want to will really push me to try some new things! I asked my husband for a quote for the blog regarding the soufflé and he said, "It tastes good." Yep, that's it. That's all. He's a man of few words, but he ate a man-sized portion of soufflé! Can you say man-sized and soufflé in the same thought??

Right out of the oven!

Two minutes later!

A few more minutes later!!

"I'm shrinkinnngggg!!!" but I still taste great!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Overnight Taquitos

For our breakfast tailgate last Saturday, I made about 40 taquitos. I learned this trick from a friend who went to an early morning tailgate at a Texans game. Most everyone knows how to make an egg, sausage or bacon and cheese taquito, but the technique to get them ready the night before is the trick! Every one enjoys a nice warm breakfast at the tAdd Imageailgate and these are easy to grab and eat while getting other things set up and ready to go. Since they are made the night before, there is little to do the next day except to reheat. Delicious and a crowd pleaser!!

Egg, Sausage or Bacon and Cheese Taquitos

2 18-count large or extra large eggs
2 packages of bacon
1 package of breakfast sausage ( I like Jimmy Dean Hot!)
Grated chedder and Monterrey Jack cheese
40-50 6" flour tortillas
foil sheets cut in half or regular foil torn into 5 in pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, place bacon strips on foil lined baking sheet and bake for approximately 15-20 minutes until bacon is crispy and browned. Place on to paper towels until cool and chop into 1/2" pieces. Set aside. Wrap about 20 tortillas in a stack in foil, repeat 2 times and place all 3 into the oven to warm. Place sausage in large nonstick skillit and cook throughly, into little crumbles. When sausage is cooked thru and nicely browned, place on to paper towels to drain. Wipe out skillet and spray with cooking spray, heat on medium. Crack 18 eggs into blender and mix until lightly frothed and completely combined, pour into skillit and cook eggs, scrambling on medium heat until just cooked almost dry. Cool slightly.

Set up an assembly area with warmed tortillas, eggs, bacon, sausage, grated cheese and foil. Take a tortilla and place about 2 T of scrambled eggs, then either bacon or sausage, then grated cheese. Fold in both sides and roll tightly like a burrito. Roll in foil tightly and close ends of foil. Use 2 half-size aluminum pans to hold the rolled taquitos.

Half size aluminum pan

Put bacon taquitos in one pan and sausage in the other. Cover the pans securely with heavy foil and write "Bacon" on the top of one and "Sausage" on the top of the other. Put into the refrigerator overnight.

In the morning, either warm in the over for about 45 minutes. If you want to warm them at the tailgate, place both pans in a full size aluminum pan that has 1/2" water in the bottom.

Full size aluminum pan

Put the full size pan holding the 2 half pans into your preheated grill. Heat 30 minutes on 350 degrees, checking the ones in the middle every so often to see if they are warmed.

Remove and place into warming tray and serve with Salsa.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ina’s Cheddar Corn Chowder

Soup is not my first choice for tailgating in Texas because it's usually too hot for soup. However, the Barefoot Bloggers are making the Barefoot Contessa's Cheddar Corn Chowder as one of the October recipes. Since it makes a big pot and got rave reviews on the Food Network, I thought I would give it a try for the tailgate this Saturday. I'll have to make some adjustments to the recipe because I can't in good conscience use bacon fat, olive oil AND butter in one soup! I think we'll just go with a little bacon fat!!

Find your inner prep chef, because there's a lot of chopping to do! Chop the BACON, chop the ONIONS, chop the potatoes and slice the CORN off the cob! The recipe called for TURMERIC which is not a spice that I use often. It was expensive to buy a whole jar, so I headed to the bulk spice section of the store. I only needed a ½ t. but bought about 2 t. for ONLY $.06!!!

I didn't use the olive oil to fry up the bacon, just a little spray of PAM in the pot to keep the lovely bacon from sticking!

Whew! 4 large yellow onions chopped is a lot of onions!!

If you cut the corn off the cob while standing it up in a large bowl, the corn will end up in the bowl and not all over the kitchen!!

Stirring in the flour, salt and pepper into the lovely sautéed onions!

After adding the broth!! You know it's really hard to get a good photo of a steaming hot pot. The steam kept fogging up the camera lens J

Okay, I AM taking the soup to the tailgate BUT I had to try a bowl!! Yummy! Ina knows how to make great chowder! I think it will even taste better after sitting in the frig for a day. The sweet corn will meld with the potatoes and onions to become a dish of delish! Be prepared. This recipe makes a BIG pot! Personally, I might like a little hot sauce because we Texas girls like a little spice in everything! The only alterations I made to the original recipe were to eliminate the olive oil and butter, and I also took out 2 cups of potatoes before adding the corn and pureed it in a blender. I added the pureed potatoes back into the soup to give it a thicker texture. What's not to like about a little crispy bacon on top!!

On Saturday, I will heat the soup at home and put it in a beverage cooler to keep it hot, but we we'll use a ladle to serve the chowder and not the beverage spout!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

TV messes with my menu

At the beginning of the season, I make a tentative schedule of what the menus will be for the tailgate. I take into account time of year (how hot it will be!), the opponent, crowd favorites and usually something different to keep it interesting! However, there is always that one little issue - TV. As soon as the game is picked up to be on TV, kickoff time is usually moved and then I'm back to the drawing board! Plan A - BBQ before the game and Baked Potatoes after the game. Plan B - now that kickoff is at 11:30am, we'll have Taquitos for breakfast and BBQ after the game. It's all good, remaining flexible is the key. . . that and remembering to check for schedule changes!!!