Thursday, December 15, 2011

By the way...

So, you may be wondering - or not - why our blogging has been so sporadic this fall.

Well, we have two very good reasons that we have neglected to share with you up until this time. You will be in the dark no longer.

Reason one has to do with this...

Reasons two has to do with this...

A little explanation on reason one. In September, Uncle He-Man proposed to Lou. Yee-haw! They decided to get married sooner than later, and after a whirlwind two-and-a-half month engagement, they were hitched the Saturday following Thanksgiving.

As for reason number two, Jo's got a bun in the oven, and we're not talking about cooking in the kitchen. The baby above is actually Lou's nephew (shown with his mother). Isn't he a cute teaser? Jo is due this coming June. And for the sake of a visual, the pillow had to suffice.

Thanks for sticking with us.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My guess is you will like Migas

Several weeks ago, we made Ree Drummond's Migas (p. 61), which is a Southwestern breakfast dish. It's full of tasty veggies, eggs, cheese and crispy, fried corn tortillas.

Don't tell your mom you're eating corn chips for breakfast.

We began by dicing tomatoes, onion and beautiful bell peppers. This was followed by a chopped jalepeno. Lou did not squirt the juice up her nose this time.

Next we mixed twelve eggs and some half-and-half.

For the third step we fried several corn tortillas, until they were nice and crunchy. These were sliced into pieces. Thus, the corn chips for breakfast.

As you've come to know with each recipe, we tend to make a mistake. Spoiler alert. We made another mistake. Ree's instructions, at this point, say to cook the onion and pepper in butter and olive oil. Well. We, on the other hand, saw the pretty picture of vegetables in the book and tossed all of our vegetables into the skillet, including the watery tomatoes. Humph. While this did nothing to ruin the taste, it did make our concoction slightly soggier than it needed to be. Oh well.

Next we tossed in the tortilla chips.

This was followed by the egg mixture. The egg mixture began to cook on the bottom. We carefully turned the mixture with a spatula.

Once the eggs were done, we topped the dish with wonderful Monterey Jack cheese and cilantro.

Our guys really liked this hearty dish - as did we ladies. With the exception of the fried tortillas, it's really quite healthy. You could choose to leave out the tortilla chips, but they truly did add a nice dimension of flavor to the dish, as well as a great, crunchy texture. Salud!

Happily full,

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Does twice-baked equal twice-as-good?

In short. Yes.

About a month ago, we made Ree Drummond's Twice Baked Potatoes (p. 152).

We were feeding a small crowd of approximately nine people. The fellas grilled some burgers, and we, of course, needed a tasty side dish. These 'taters hit the spot.

We started by washing the potatoes and lathering them with canola oil.

See Lou's scary parafin-wax-alien-like hand? There's no clean way to put canola oil on a potato. These were baked for 45 minutes at 400-degrees. In theory. We deferred to our own directions and baked the potatoes for 45 minutes, but at 350-degrees. Jo no longer is allowed to pre-heat the oven. It's a miracle either of us made it out of the seventh grade because we do not follow directions worth a lick. Sorry, Ree.

Next we diced and fried some bacon.

This was mixed with butter, sour cream, milk, pepper and seasoned salt.

Once the potatoes were finally done cooking, we played hot potato and sliced them in half, lengthwise.

Next came possibly the most frustrating part of the process. Spooning out the guts of the potato, or the flesh for the more refined, proved to be difficult. If anyone has any suggestions for how to do this neatly, without tearing up the potato skins, please let us know. Perhaps baking them at the proper temperature would help. We did find that a serrated grapefruit spoon made things a bit easier.

The potato flesh was added to the bacon mixture and mashed together. We needed extra mashing power, so Lou girded her loins and stood on a step stool to mash more efficiently. What we lack in upper-body strength we make up for in innovation. Perhaps our engineering-minded men are rubbing off on us.

Next we added cheese. This was followed by green onions. Once everything was thoroughly combined, we spooned the mixture back into the potato skins. These were topped with more grated cheese and baked for 10-15 more minutes.

We had some potato mixture left over, so we put the remainder into a 9x9 baking dish and topped it with more grated cheddar.

These were a huge hit with our little group. The skins were nice and crisp while the filling was creamy. Delightful.

Happily full,

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What is America without ranch dressing?

Midwesterners put ranch dressing on...everything. This ranch is so good you'll want to put it on your salad, cheese sticks, crackers, cereal. Well, you might want to rethink the last suggestion. It is tasty nonetheless.

A couple weeks ago, we made P-Dub's Homemade Ranch with Iceberg Wedge (p. 168).

We started by smashing minced garlic in a bowl.

Next we added mayonnaise and sour cream.

We added buttermilk. In true Lou-and-Jo fashion we didn't have buttermilk on hand, but we did mix whole milk with white vinegar to create a buttermilk substitute.

We chopped parsley and chives.

Then came chopped dill, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, paprika, black pepper and salt. And a little more cayenne. Spicy ranch.

We gave this a good stir, and decided to leave the ranch on the thicker-consistency side. If you prefer a thinner dressing, simply add more buttermilk. We chilled the dressing in the fridge. Oh, wait. Before the fridge came sneaks of crackers dipped in ranch. Heaven on a cracker.

Meanwhile, Momma Vickie quartered a head of iceberg lettuce for us. Well, really it was more than quartered. She eighthed it. Got it? We don't either.

This was served with some T-bone steaks that our fellas, including Jo's father-in-law, grilled up. A delightful meal was had by all.

Happily full,

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cowgirl Dinner Party: The Sabetha Chronicles, Part Five

Here we will tell you how to make crème brûlée. Or, perhaps more accurately, a variation thereof.

Ours was more like crème brû-soup. But, we're getting ahead of ourselves.

For our final course of the Cowgirl Dinner Party we made P-Dub's Crème Brûlée (p. 208).

We started by warming a quart of heavy cream. Then we added a teaspoon of vanilla extract. This was brought to an almost-boil, then removed from the heat.

Mr. Fabuful's mother, Momma Vickie, was super sweet. Earlier that week, she had separated a plethora of egg yolks, saving them in the freezer for us. The day before we used them, she kindly moved the egg yolks to the fridge to thaw. Well, we should have taken them out of the fridge earlier because they were still quite gelatinous and/or crunchy. So, we of course thought, "Let's try adding water!" We're geniuses. Ok, maybe not.

See? A little gelatinous. A little crunchy.

We put the egg yolks in a bowl along with a good amount of sugar and began to stir. And stir, and stir, and stir. Lou and Jo took turns so as to avoid getting carpel tunnel or tendonitis.

Next we slowly tempered the egg mixture by gradually adding the warm cream mixture, continuing to stir. The crème brûlée sauce was then placed in these cute little ramekins.

The ramekins were placed on a jelly roll pan. Water was poured into the pan to keep them from burning. These were baked for approximately 40 minutes. They were cooled for several hours in the refrigerator.

When we were ready to have dessert, we sprinkled each ramekin with sugar and placed them under the broiler. That was interesting. We didn't have a hand-held torch, so it wasn't as pretty as Ree's pictures. Also, because of the water we added to the egg yolks, the dessert was more of a yogurt-consistency rather than a custard-consistency.

Our guests were kind and gracious and said it was delicious. Well, it did taste pretty good. And there were true little treats of properly-baked custard on the insides of the ramekins. We just encourage people to use their own imaginations.

Here we will leave you with some parting shots of our dinner party. Glad you could join us, even if only on the other side of the screen.

Happily full,

Monday, October 31, 2011

Cowgirl Dinner Party: The Sabetha Chronicles, Part Four

Did you know that if you mouth the phrase, "Olive juice," to someone across the room, it looks like you've just told them, "I love you"? If you're not ready to commit, we don't suggest it. Although, Mr. Fabuful really does do this to Jo. And, he's serious on both accounts. What does this have to do with the price of eggs? Nothing. Except, we did make Olive Cheese Bread (p.206) for our Sabetha Cowgirl Dinner Party.

Lou is not a big olive fan, and even she liked this bread. It made for a fantastic appetizer as our guests arrived.

We started by roughly chopping the black and green olives.

We diced green onions and mixed these with Monterey Jack cheese, softened butter, mayonnaise and added the olives.

Then we sliced two lovely loaves of French bread length-wise and spread our fine concoction liberally on the halves of bread.

Each half was placed in a tin foil boat, finely crafted by Lou, Jo and Janice. This was placed in the bottom of the oven, underneath some un-named food we were preparing (we believe it was the tenderloin). They baked at approximately 325-degrees for approximately 20 minutes. It's hard to say exact numbers since the bread was bunking up with the un-named food.

Once it was removed from the oven, we let the bread cool, then sliced it. We served it on the deck while our guests avoided the burning olive oil (again, from the un-named food) and the maniacal fire alarm. At least the alarm works. We're just helpful like that.

Everybody loved the olive cheese bread. As Ree suggests, the mixture is also good with crackers. Don't worry, we tried it.

Olive juice.

Happily full,