Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Quick Apple-Bacon Guac

Guacamole is one of those comfort foods for me. It seems nourishing and refreshing at the same time. I like it simple, just fresh avocados with salt and pepper. Or I like it fancy, with tomatoes and sour cream and onion. The only way I don't really like it is sweet. (When I lived in Brazil, they always tried to serve me avocado mousse or avocado smoothies or even just sliced avocados with sugar on them. Sorry. Doesn't work for me.)

This one's got bacon, so how can it go wrong?? And apples too! The watery crunchy crispness of the apples contrasts perfectly with the soft, mellow avocados.

3 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 avocados
1 firm apple, sliced
salt and pepper to taste

Cut your avocados in half. Remove the pit and scoop out the flesh. Smash together.

Add the crumbled bacon and the apple slices.

Add salt and pepper if you so desire and serve with tortilla chips. Wha-la! You're done! Told you it was quick.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Best Biscuits Ever (and I mean Ever)

I need to get in the habit of photographing everything I make, because I never know how it's going to turn out. This was one of those quick and easy Sunday breakfasts. I felt like I was cheating, serving biscuits and jam for breakfast.

Maybe it was cheating because it was so easy. But it turned out sooo good. I ate five biscuits for breakfast, then one more before church, then two more when we got home. Eight. I ate eight biscuits that day.

2 C flour
1 T baking powder
2 T sugar
1 t salt
1/2 C cold butter, diced
1 C whole milk

Mix flour. baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or fork. Add the milk and stir until everything is wet, but don't over mix it. (You can also use a food processor which is oh-so-easy.) Roll out gently to 1/2 an inch, then fold it in half and roll out again (this gives it the fluffy layers). Don't press it down. Use a biscuit cutter to cut out the biscuits. Roll out the scraps and keep cutting out biscuits until the dough is used up.

Bake at 450 degrees F for 12-15 minutes. Yield: about 20 biscuits.

You could substitute the whole milk with buttermilk if you want, but these are so wonderful just the way they are. Serve with eggs and bacon and butter and jam. And then make some more and do it again. (I have to make two batches for my family of six.)


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Easy Southern-Fried Catfish

I don't know how trendy it is to eat catfish outside of the Southern states, but around here, it's pretty popular. And for good reason. Catfish is easy to prepare, meaty, and tasty. It doesn't have that strong fishy flavor others have, either, at least not in my opinion. It's also cheap to buy.

Yet frying catfish sounds rather daunting. It doesn't have to be. Here it is, made easy!

So, getting down to business!

2 lbs. catfish (You can use catfish fillets, or catfish nuggets. I used the nuggets. They're more cost effective and easier to eat, since they are in smaller pieces. And they are just as good).
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 C milk
1 C cornmeal
1 T flour
1 C vegetable oil
salt and pepper

Salt and pepper the catfish and set aside.

Beat the egg in a small bowl. Add the milk. Set aside.

Mix the cornmeal and flour in another bowl.

Dip the catfish pieces in the egg mixture first, covering both sides. Dredge the fish in the cornmeal and flour mixture next.

Heat the oil in a frying pan until hot. (A drop of water should sizzle immediately.) Lay the catfish in the hot oil in one layer and fry for 2-3 minutes.

Flip it over and fry the other side for 2-3 minutes until browned.

Set on paper towels to dry.

Serve with tarter sauce or fry sauce and vegetables for a complete meal!


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Raspberry Bread Pudding

I apologize, when I started making this recipe, I didn't realize how good it would turn out and that I would want to share it. It wasn't until afterwards that I was like, "Man, I need to blog this recipe." So I don't have very many good pictures, and I have none of the actual process.

But let me assure you, it's very very easy. You could probably make do with frozen raspberries here, but I happened to have fresh, and this was divine.

The best part? This is a crockpot dessert. Toss it in and let your slow cooker do the work!

6 C diced bread (this is a the perfect time to use up the odds and ends of sliced bread in your freezer. Oh, you don't have? Start collecting them. Don't throw away the last two slices of baguette or French bread or the heels of sandwich bread. Put them in a bag and freeze them. For bread pudding.)
2 C fresh raspberries
2 C heavy cream
2 C whole milk or half and half
1 C sugar
6 eggs
1 T vanilla extract (or one vanilla bean, scraped, if you're feeling extravagant!)

Coat a medium slowcooker with non-stick spray (if you only have a large one, that's fine, but watch the cooking time, it might cook faster. Or increase the recipe by 1/2).

Layer half the bread in the bottom, followed by half the berries. Then the rest of the bread and the rest of the berries. Mix the cream, milk, sugar, eggs, and vanilla together. Pour over the bread and berries. Make sure all the bread gets some of the liquid mixture. Cover and cook on high for 2 1/2 hours. Remove lid and cook another 15 minutes.

Let cool ten minutes before serving, or wait until it cools to room temperature. We ate (and loved) this just the way it was. But feel free to embellish it with whipped cream if you so desire.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Maple-Blueberry Pie

I think I've already mentioned how I'm not a big fan of blueberries. I feel like I should apologize for this, but really, I just don't think the fruit measures up to the hype. 

Unless they are freshly picked. And then I have to reserve enough to make this, my absolute favorite blueberry pie.

And the best part is, it's sugar free! Well, in a manner of speaking. There's no sugar, but it's sweetened with plenty of maple syrup. :)

I sell this pie out of my in-home bakery, so consider yourself very, very lucky that I'm sharing the recipe.

2 pie crusts (I like a butter crust)
4 C blueberries (fresh or frozen will work; I pick mine fresh and then freeze them and they work just fine)
1 C maple syrup (important!! This is not pancake syrup! Try this and never look back!)
1/4 C flour
1/4 C quick-cooking tapioca
4 t fresh lemon juice

Combine the blueberries, syrup, flour, tapioca, and lemon in a bowl. Stir well (but gently). Let sit at least fifteen minutes to let the tapioca start to dissolve.

Roll out one pie crust and lay it over a 9-inch pie plate. You can trim the excess now, or leave it (like I did) until you put on the top crust, then trim together.

Pour the blueberry mixture into the pie plate (on top of the crust).

Admire that filling some more and imagine how wonderful it will taste cooked up.

Roll out your top crust. Place over the blueberries. Trip both crusts to about a 1-inch overhang. To get this look, pinch the two crust together and fold over the top of the pie. Crimp the edges using your index fingers and thumbs (this does take some practice).

Make a couple of slits for steam and juices to escape (this is what makes it pretty). Baste with cream or milk and sprinkle with sugar, if you desire.

Bake at 375 for 1 hour and 15 minutes. (Start checking at the 1 hour mark. You want to see filling bubbling out but you don't want your crust to burn.)

Cool on a wire rack to room temperature. I always make my pies a day before we plan to eat them. I think they taste better when they've sat. 

Slice and serve! Best blueberry pie ever. I promise.


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