Saturday, July 17, 2010

Blue Cheese Bacon Wrapped Dates


This is my favorite appetizer of 2010 hands down, and I have the Happy Hours of the Sunset Strip to thank for the idea. All the bars on the strip are overpriced but there's a little loophole that stingey 20-somethings like me take full advantage of: Happy Hour! Almost all the bars on the strip have half-off Happy Hours, which is the only reason why you would ever catch me throwing caution to the wind with my American Express Aluminum in hand with the few others lucky enough to have their early evenings free. Would I have paid $12 to for 6 bacon wrapped dates? Probably not. And I woulda really missed out. But $6 is just in my budget. So now, Hushpuppie blog reader(s), I can bring this to my home as well as yours.


1 pkg. good bacon
1 dozen dates
1/4 lb. blue cheese

Gently remove pits from dates and pack inside of dates with blue cheese. Tightly wrap each stuffed date with one entire slice of bacon--maybe if you have fancier bacon you can only use half a slice, but FUD brand at my store doesn't pack enough to allow for that. Bake at 375 for about 15-20 minutes or until bacon looks just right. Serve when warm. The dates turn into caramel, and the salt from the cheese and bacon blend to make it a very well-rounded appetizer.

The generic brand of ice cream at my grocery story this summer released Coconut-flavored ice cream. Yeah. They did. And it's as good as it sounds. That's why I sliced up my bacon-wrapped dates and ate them with it. Yeah. I did. And it was as good as it sounds.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Shrimp Brushetta


I stole this idea from a restaurant/bar in my northeast LA neighborhood, The York--because it's what I get every time I go there--and reproduced it for my family for my dad's and his twin sister's birthdays. The prep time for me was about an hour, but when these snacks were served it took all of 20 seconds before they were completely consumed by each of my family and extended family members. Everyone was asking for more.


French bread or baguette (sliced)
canola oil
1 lb. shrimp (peeled and deveined)
shrimp/seafood seasoning of your choice
1 bunch/pkg. micro greens or arugula

for Tomato Bruschetta:
3-4 large ripe tomatoes, diced (more if smaller)
1/2-1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
3-4 basil leaves, diced
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
black pepper to taste

for White Wine Butter Sauce:
3 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. flour
1/2 c. white wine
3/4 c. chicken broth

First, prepare the tomato bruschetta: combine diced tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper in bowl or tupperware and refrigerate. This may be made in advance (or I suppose you could get pre-made bruschetta, but it won't be as good).

Next, prepare toast: preheat oven to 450 degrees, slice toast and arrange onto cookie sheet. Do not place in oven yet.

Then, season and prepare shrimp. I use a seafood seasoning that I created: Also, to spread the measly one pound of shrimp over the whole appetizer I sliced each shrimp down the middle to create two halves. Set aside in fridge.

Now the next ten or so minutes is gonna happen fast and be kind of busy. The more kitchen help you can get the better. Toast bread for about 3-4 minutes and remove to cool slightly. Move on to sauce.

White wine sauce: whisk together 3 tbsp. butter with 1 tbsp. flour in a small saucepan on low-medium heat. Once smooth add 1/2 c. white wine and 3/4 c. broth. Stir until blended and continue to cook on medium heat until begins to bubble, then reduce heat to let thicken.

But wait! While you or someone else in the kitchen stirs the white wine sauce until it bubbles you must cook the shrimp.

Heat a heavy skillet with several tablespoons of canola oil on medium-high heat. Once fully heated toss in shrimp and spread evenly over the skillet. After about one minute (assuming your heat is high enough) flip shrimp with metal spatula. After about one more minute gently flip shrimp again and continue to toss and flip them for another 45 seconds to a minute until shrimp appear to have been cooked thoroughly. Be careful not to overcook them.

Finally, layer greens over toast then bruschetta, then shrimp, then drizzle with wine sauce. Serve immediately.

As you can see mine never made it off the cookie sheet onto plates or a platter. The minute I turned to set down the white wine sauce half the toasts were eaten. And seconds later they were all gone. Yum.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Orange Slice Bars


Man these orange slice bars are good, and I'd bet if you're not from Texas or a family of diabetics you've never even seen one. Mom posted this recipe on her blog, Bella Vista Food Snob, and I made them recently and took a picture. So good--especially because of all the pecans in it, too. Yum.

Thanks, Ma.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Easy Fish


I'll have to thank the beautiful Kay Tiller for the following easy fish recipe. A few weeks ago I spent an evening with my Aunt K-K and Uncle Leo, and they served me the best from the Gulf of Mexico (yes, pre-oil spill): wild caught fish with a spicy, creamy tomato Alfredo sauce.

My blog has always been centered around recipes that anybody on any budget with any amount of cooking expertise can whip up and call their own. I think this fish dish represents just that. If you think Rotel and Alfredo sauce sounds like an unusual combination to serve with fish you should now begin to open your mind and free yourself from all of your eccentric food inhibitions then close your eyes for a real winner.

1 can Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 jar Alfredo sauce
1-2 lbs. filleted white fish (Basa, Tilapia, snapper, catfish, etc)
favorite seafood seasoning
mixed greens

In a medium-sized saucepan dump Rotel and Alfredo sauce and turn on medium-low heat and cover with lid.

Grill, roast, or pan cook fish.

grilling: preheat grill to med-low heat, season fish with season and squeeze of lemon season, and sear fish on each side for about 5-6 minutes closing lid in between.

For roasting: coat fish in seasoning and lemon and place on cookie sheet at 450 for 8-10 minutes (less if cooking less quantity of fish).

I pan cooked my fish because I think it is the easiest: heat a heavy frying pan with about 3 tablespoons of canola or vegetable oil (or any other that can get hot enough, i.e. not olive oil) to medium-high heat. Sear seasoned fish on each side for about 2 minutes (if your pan is as hot as it should be).

Remove and squeeze lemon. For each method I would just flake off a piece of fish when you think it might be done to check its progress. You definitely do not want to overcook the fish.

Place fish over a layer of greens or with rice or any other creole tasting side dish of your choice and top with tomato Alfredo sauce and serve. I usually think of fish being paired with white wine, but his would be a good red wine fish meal I think--even if it's from a box.

The Bella Vista Food Snob

Hello to all my reader(s). I'll have to apologize for not posting anything recently, but I now have strict competition in the food blog world with the creation of my mom's new food blog. She's only been posting for a couple months now, and she's already got me outnumbered with delicious recipes.

Please check it out. She does a phenomenal job explaining the meals and preparation and has a palate suited for only those who think of themselves as 'food snobs'.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Crunchy Nut Cookies


This is another one of grandma's recipes. She has a number of cookies with weird fruits, Jell-O products and the like that I have never tried before, but this one I knew would be great--though I'd never had these cookies growing up because like all kids I hated nuts in my food! I grew up, however, started eating vegetables, and thought I could handle a cookie with a crunch. I could almost smell grandma's kitchen when I made these the other night.

1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. Crisco shortening or softened butter (1 stick)
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 c. sifted flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. chopped nuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a mixer combine sugars and shortening or butter. Mix thoroughly before adding beaten eggs and vanilla.

Sift flour with soda and salt and then pour into mixer at slow speed--I think the trick with these cookies like others is not to over beat the batter while adding flour; you want the batter light and fluffy but thoroughly combined.

Fold in chopped nuts--I used a combination of almonds, cashews and walnuts, but you can use whatever nuts you'd like. I can only imagine pecans, peanuts or pistachios would be great as well.

Roll dough into balls about walnut size and dip top half in sugar before placing on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until light golden brown.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Crepe a la ghetto


Some people might be offended by the term 'ghetto' but I think that is ludicrous. After all, I live in the ghetto and I'm not offended. Instead I'm honored. Only in the ghetto do you have the opportunity to find a perfectly intact crepe maker for $4 and just enough in savings to buy it. You gather a number of your other jobless friends, combine resources and are able to eat in class a meal that comes all the way across yonder from France. Bon a petit.

Come to find out, crepes are from France and blintzes are from the Mediterranean. Both are either folded or rolled. I still don't know what I've made, but it all turned out great. Two nights in a row and then a dessert.

I guess your only problem now is to find a crepe maker for yourself. Or you can come to my house at $3.50 a head.

The basic crepe:

1 c. flour
pinch salt
1 1/4 c. milk
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp canola oil

Slowly whisk milk with flour and salt, then add eggs and oil. Pour mixture into a pie plate or similar and heat skillet or crepe maker; dip. My machine has a light on it that times it perfectly--only takes about 20 seconds for each side.

Once the crepes are made you have your choice of fillings for them. When I worked at farmers' market several years ago, there was a crepe booth that loved trading my tortilla chips for a daily lunch crepe, savory. They folded the crepes with some sort of lunch meat, spinach, tomato, mushroom, cheese, and avocado, or basically whatever they had fresh. I did the same, sauteed the mushrooms first and added a tangy white wine sauce to float over it.

Wine sauce:
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 c. milk
1/4 c. white wine
salt/pepper/favorite spice

Heat butter and flour over low heat until melted. Slowly whisk in milk then wine and spices. Simmer until thickened.


Add a little cinnamon or nutmeg to the crepe batter and fill crepes with chopped strawberry, banana, walnuts or pecans, and marscarpone cheese. I didn't have marscarpone so I 'ghetto'-rigged it by mixing some sugar in a container of sour cream and drizzling over the filling. Put in buttered casserole dish (like you would enchiladas) and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes. Remove, let cool slightly, and top with Nutella and Cool Whip. That's how I did it at least, and I didn't hear any complaints.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fricken Chickassee


There's something about this meal that's both all-American and foreign-tasting. Kind of like the Beef Stroganoff I know we all had at least two nights a week as kids, I think it's one we Americans stole from the Axis powers and pretended like it was our own sometime in the early fifties. Chicken Fricassee was one of my family's counterfeited staples, and it is the only one of the two I still enjoy eating. Even though CF's made with cheap, bone-in chicken, there's something about eating those slimy, spiral egg noodles of Beef Stroganoff that make me think even I'm not poverty-stricken enough to eat that kind of cafeteria food.

5-6 boned but skinless chicken thighs (a leg would do)
2 bunches asparagus
8-10 red potatoes (quarter the larger ones)
1/2 c. flour (plus more to dip the chicken)
1/2 c. oil
4 c. chicken broth
black pepper

Fill a large bowl or dish with flour, paprika, and black pepper. Then, turn stove to near high heat on a large and heavy stock pot with a little oil in the bottom. Dip both sides of thighs in flour and put in pot to brown thigh for about 1 minute each. Set aside. (I was drinking too much to remember to take a picture here for ya, but I'll get one next time)

With all of the thighs browned and set aside, pour together slowly the oil, flour, and chicken broth into the large and heated stock (My mom uses this jar technique to make to keep the gravy from lumping, but I just beat the whisk to death). Put fresh or dried dill then meat then potatoes into gravy, spooning the gravy over each before putting the lid back on to cook at medium heat for about 40 minutes or more. When the potatoes are almost done, throw in the asparagus, spoon gravy over them, and cook for another 5-7 minutes. Serve with dinner rolls.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

This Is It!!!


This WAS it, but it's gone now. Chocolate pie is another recipe from grandma's cookbook. In it she was always so nice to credit the chef from which she got the recipe, and sometimes had a helpful parenthetical, too. "This is it!!!" is written below the title of Chocolate Pie on page 47, just underneath her recipe for "fresh fruit cheese pie"--Mmmmm, weird. I haven't tried her Coke salad recipe either. The chocolate pie, however, is truly it. One of a kind.

1 pie crust
1-1/2 c. sugar
3 eggs yolks
4 Tbsp. dry cocoa
3 Tbsp. butter
4 Tbsp. flour
2 c. milk
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla

3 egg whites
6 Tbsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar

Bake a single pie crust in a pie plate according to directions on box. This pie, however, is also great in one of those store-bought graham cracker crusts, which doesn't need to be cooked.

Mix sugar, cocoa, flour, yolks (put whites in fridge until using them for meringue), milk, and butter in top of double boiler turned to medium heat--if you don't have a double boiler just cook in thick saucepan at med-low heat. Cook until thick, stirring constantly. Pour custard into pie crust and let cool.

Beat egg whites with mixer on med-high speed, slowly adding in sugar, then cream of tartar. Beat until whites are stiff and peak (a few minutes at least). Spoon or spatula meringue over pie and bake at 350 degrees until the peaks begin to brown. Cool pie again and serve or refrigerate. This is it!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Carne Guisada


A Texas tail-gating favorite, here it comes!

2 lbs. chuck roast, cubed, or beef stew meat
1 onion, chopped
2 Poblano peppers, sliced
3 cloves garlic
1/2 c. flour
1 can diced tomatoes
1-2 c. beef broth
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. coriander

Brown meat in heavy stock pot until almost all liquid has boiled out--about 20 minutes. Add onions, garlic, and peppers and cook until softened. Stir in flour until evenly coated and quickly add can tomatoes, broth, and seasonings. Should be kind of soupy. Turn heat to low and simmer for another half hour or as long as you can wait so meat will be tender. Serve with flour tortillas.

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