Wednesday, April 25, 2012
I have such fond memories of eating this savory soup. I can't believe I've never made it before now.
Traveling by car from Illinois to Colorado, and then back again, my father would always stop at the same Holiday Inn somewhere in Nebraska. A pretty random place to have the pleasure of eating the best matzo ball soup...ever!
We would pull into the hotel parking lot late in the evening, finding the local restaurants all closed and well past time to order room service. I was 14 years old, exhausted and forever hungry! Even though my dad put together yummy snacks for the ride such as candy bars, Chicken n a Biscuit crackers and potted meat (Lord knows what was in that stuff but we loved it), my belly was still rumbly with hunger.
I would beg my parents to call the kitchen just in case the chef was still there. Without fail, whom ever was attending the kitchen at that late hour was always accommodating enough to send up a pipping hot bowl of homemade matzo ball soup and a pile of saltine crackers. Comfort food at it's finest.
The steamy hot soup hit the spot after our long journey. Slurping down the last drop of savory soup, I would crawl into bed and fall fast asleep too tired to dream. The next day we hit the road with our potted meat snacks and candy bars.
This story reminds me to tell you about eating dog biscuits on one faithful trip. They were pretty darn good if I remember correctly. The green ones were my favorite!
2 cups matzo meal
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 small white onion chopped
1 carrot chopped
1 stalk celery chopped
2 tablespoons chicken base
1 bunch fresh parsley
6-8 cups water
makes about 16 matzo balls
Blend eggs and vegetable oil until well blended, add matzo meal and stir to combine. Cover and chill batter for 15 minutes.
In a medium saucepan, saute chopped vegetables in 1 teaspoon olive oil until onions are translucent, pour water over cooked vegetables. Add chicken base, bring to a boil stirring frequently.
Remove matzo mixture from refrigerator. With wet hands form dough into balls, about 1 tablespoon each. Drop balls into boiling liquid and cover. Cook for 20 minutes
Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and serve with crackers.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
I've tried to re-create the Butter Chess Pie recipe from Furr's Cafeteria for years! I've come close but never met the standard for the creamy, rich flavor of the original recipe. Furr's recipe is the perfect slice of heaven; gooey yet creamy, no brown crust on the top like mine and just the right amount of sweetness to balance the custard texture.
I've tried hundreds of recipes over the years, making two new versions this week. Both recipes boasted their incredible likeness to the Furr's recipe but they both ended up in the trash! One pie literally was in the oven for two and a half hours; what a nasty, soupy mess!
This is my third recipe this week, tasty but not the real deal!
I recently learned that Furr's will not divulge the recipe come hell or high water! So if one of my fellow food bloggers knows the "real" recipe for this luscious dessert please feel free to share!
Butter Chess Pie
1 cup room temperature butter
2 cups sugar
8 egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Filling: With electric mixer, cream butter and sugar. Add egg yolks blend until combined, add vanilla, and flour beating on medium speed. Pour into a prepared crust and bake for 45-55 minutes or until set in the middle. Chill overnight
3 ounces cream Cheese
1 stick butter
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Make crust using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until well combined. Add flour and mix until dough forms a ball. Pat into a 9 inch pie pan. Chill.
Optional: 9 inch frozen deep dish pie shell
The Furr's recipe has a cool yellow crust. Mine always end up with this crunchy brown top. I've tried covering the pie with foil but still no luck. Despite the crusty top this recipe was pretty good. I'm still hoping to find the secret recipe for the Furr's pie. Until then, I'll continue to post my valiant efforts in the quest to find the perfect Butter Chess Pie recipe.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Leftover Easter ham becomes a new heart warming dish in just a few easy steps. Made in a slow cooker with minimal fuss, this dish is robust and delicious!
I prefer a spiral cut ham but one that is not too sweet. This year I tried King Soopers brand, spiral honey ham and was pleasantly surprised by the balance of smoky ham flavor versus the honey. A happy marriage of sweet and salty.
1 ham bone with excess meat
leftover ham slices
(about 3-4 cups total diced ham)
1 red onion diced
2 carrots slice into rounds
2 - 15 ounce cans Ranch Style Beans
1 - 10 ounce can Original Flavor Rotel
1 cup chicken stock or 1 heaping teaspoon condensed chicken base
30 ounces hot water
1 teaspoon Lawry's garlic salt
2 tablespoons olive or grape seed oil
pepper to taste
Cut most of the meat from the reserved ham bone and remove any excess fat from the meat, discard the fat.
Dice remaining lean pieces and set aside. If you have leftover ham slices dice those as well, about 3-4 cups in all.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in cast iron skillet on medium high heat, add sliced red onion and cook till translucent, add round cut carrots and cook for 3-5 minutes.
Heat a large slow cooker on high, add onions and carrots to pot.
Heat remaining oil in skillet and cooked diced ham for 3-5 minutes, you want to see some caramelization before removing ham from pan, add ham to slow cooker
Pour Ranch Style Beans and Rotel into slow cooker and stir to combine, fill 2 -15 ounce bean cans with hot water and pour into slow cooker, add chicken stock or base, garlic salt and pepper to taste. Deglaze the cast iron skillet with a small amount of water making sure to release the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, add to slow cooker.
Cook on high for 5-8 hours
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
This moist and delicious cake is a real winner with fresh sliced strawberries and whipped cream. This recipe is a must try for Easter Brunch.
I used "Mama's Pound Cake" from Paula Deen at the Food Network as my base; and per usual I've made a few adjustments. Follow the link above to see Paula's version!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.With a mixer, cream butter and cream cheese together. Add sugar, a little at a time. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Stir dry ingredients together in a bowl and add to mixer alternately with milk, starting with the flour and ending with the flour. Mix in vanilla. Pour into a greased and floured tube pan and bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Fresh Strawberry Compote
Rinse 1 pound of fresh strawberries under cold water, drain on paper towel, slice berries and place in a medium glass bowl. Add 1 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Allow to stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Serve over pound cake with fresh whipped cream. Optional: dip fresh strawberries in candy chocolate per manufactures instructions, use as garnish.