Tuesday, September 30, 2014

puffy taco Amazing :)

When I was a kid, a visit to San Antonio's North Star Mall meant one thing, and it wasn't shopping. Sure, there were the obligatory hours I spent trailing my mom and my aunt through its cool halls, wholly enchanted by the splashing fountains, less so by the dress department at Joske's. But that was a mostly tolerable prelude to lunchtime, when we'd load up in the Suburban and lumber two tenths of a mile down San Pedro to Teka Molino. Some thirty years later, I can easily call up details of the modest little restaurant (still going strong) where I had my first puffy taco: the rock walls, the stained-glass window, the scent of masa being molded into tacos and guacamole cups and bean rolls and . . .

Teka is one of a select group of puffy purveyors in the Alamo City, which claims unequivocal dominion over this Texas treasure. There's no agreement as to who served it first, and it must be noted that Mexico has no lack of chubby-tortilla delicacies (see: salbutes, gorditas, et cetera). But it is safe to say that a San Antonio puffy taco is a work of art, the quick-fried tortilla a consummate expression of fresh masa, its crackly-chewy sapidity enhanced by a very narrow window for optimal consumption. Or, as the ever-contemplative Guy Fieri puts it, "It's fluffy, puffy, and you can't get enough-y."

Note: A puffy taco is distinguished by its tortilla: a round of uncooked masa bobs in hot oil until the moisture evaporates and air pockets form. As for fillings, you're a Texan—you don't need to be told what to put in a taco.


Unless you have mad masa skillz and plan to nixtamalize your own corn, buy fresh masa from a tortilleria. Masa harina is fine, but you won't get that great corny flavor and texture.


Take a chunk of masa and roll it into a golf ball–size ball. Line the bottom of a tortilla press with some thin, slicky plastic (swipe a few pieces from a package of store-bought flour tortillas or cut some circles from a grocery bag), then place the ball on top, a little off center toward the hinges. Cover with another piece of plastic and press out the tortilla. Remove the top sheet, then turn the tortilla over on your palm and peel off the bottom sheet.


There's a fine line between puffy and grease-sodden; the temperature of the oil is important (use a thermometer). Heat about 3 inches of canola oil in a cast-iron pot to 375 degrees. Place the tortilla in the oil; when it rises to the surface and starts to bubble up, use a spatula to press down in the middle of it, forming a gentle U-shaped crease. Let it fry for about 45 seconds more, then remove the tortilla, fill it up, and serve immediately.

Mrs. Jerabek’s Kolache Recipe


2 yeast cakes or 2 packages dry yeast 
1/4 cup lukewarm water 
1 teaspoon sugar 
3/4 cup shortening or margarine 
3/4 cup sugar 
2 egg yolks 
2 teaspoons salt 
1 large can evaporated milk plus hot water to equal 2 cups milk 
6 cups flour (measure by lightly spooning into cup and leveling off) 
melted butter for brushing

Dissolve yeast in water and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar. In large bowl or mixer, cream sugar and shortening or margarine together. Add yolks and salt and mix well. Add the dissolved yeast and about á cup of the flour. Mix slowly with mixer. Add all the milk and continue adding the remaining flour, using mixer or stirring with a wooden spoon until dough becomes glossy. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double in bulk, about one hour.

After the dough has risen, cut off small portions of dough about the size of an egg. Using a tablespoon, shape into balls and place on a greased pan about 1 inch apart. Brush with melted butter to improve flavor, cover loosely and let rise until light. Make a small indentation in each piece and place filling there. Sprinkle with topping and bake in a preheated 425-degree oven for 15 minutes. Brush the kolaches with melted butter when they come out of the oven and cool on wire racks. Kolaches are best the day they are made. Yield: 3-4 dozen kolaches, depending on size.


1 cup sugar 
1/2 cup flour 
3/4 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon 
2 tablespoons melted butter

Mix together until it resembles coarse meal. Store in refrigerator.


Prune filling: Cook 1 pound of prunes slowly in water to cover until soft and tender. Remove stones from the cooled prunes and add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and mix well. Do not overmix or prunes will lose their color. Filling for about 2 dozen kolaches.

Apricot filling: Cook a 10-oz package of dried apricots slowly in enough water to cover until fruit is soft and water is cooked out. Do not cover or fruit turns dark. Add 1 1/2 cups sugar or more to taste and mash with a potato masher until well blended. Filling for about 2 dozen kolaches.

Cottage Cheese filling: If using cottage cheese as a filling, be sure to enclose cheese in the dough. Spread dough balls out, place cheese in the middle and pinch all sides together to seal completely. Place sealed side down on the greased pan and butter the pastry. Let rise until light, sprinkle with topping and bake. If commercial cottage cheese is used:

1 pint dry curd cottage cheese 
1 8-oz package cream cheese 
pinch of salt 
1 egg yolk 
1/2 cup sugar 
grated zest of one lemon 
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Mix together until blended. If cheese is too moist, add very finely rolled crackers, about 10 or 12 to absorb liquid. If using country-style cottage cheese, cream cheese can be omitted or used for added flavor, according to taste.

Dave's Pinto Beans

  • 6 cups dried pinto beans
  • water
  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
  • 8 corn tortillas
Wash pinto beans in a colander. Put in bowl and cover with 3 inches of water. Let sit overnight. Next morning, drain the beans. 

Place beans in pot and cover with 3 inches of water. Add onions, soy sauce, vegetable bouillon cubes and garlic. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes, reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 6 hours. Check occasionally and add more water when necessary. Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with cheese, and serve with freshly steamed tortillas.

Prep time: 8 hours; Cooking time: 6 hours; Total time: 14 hours

Bean Notes

Dried beans cook faster if they are soaked. Cover beans with 3 inches of water, soak them overnight, drain, and then cook according to your recipe. A shortcut to overnight soaking is to cover the beans with plenty of water, bring them to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Then, turn off the heat, cover tightly, and let them sit for 1 hour. Then, drain and cook as usual. 

People in areas with hard water can cook their pinto beans
 till the cows come home, and the beans will still be tough or not thoroughly done. If you have that problem, add a scant 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to the cooking water, and you will have one less problem. 

Plain and Simple Black-eyed Peas

A heavenly meal for a Texan, a Southerner or anyone who can enjoy a meal that doesn't necessarily include a big hunk of meat.
  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas
  • 1/2 pound salt pork
  • salt to taste
Wash and pick over peas. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, cover peas with about an inch of water. With a sharp knife, make several cuts into the salt pork (almost down to the rind, but do not cut through). Push the salt pork down into the peas. 

Cover, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer about 1-1/2 hours, or until peas are tender. During cooking, check water level and add more, if necessary. Taste, and add salt if desired.

Fresh Black-Eyed Peas

Obviously, fresh peas will cook in much less time than dried peas. The same method can be used as with dried peas, using salt pork. Just cook them until they are tender. If you are lucky enough to get a fresh "mess" of peas from someone's garden and shell them yourself, be sure to leave plenty of "snaps" (unshelled, broken (snapped) pieces about 1-1/2 inches long) for flavor.

What do I do with the Salt Pork?

The salt pork used to season the peas never reached the table at my house when I was growing up. When I was little, my mother used to give it to me to eat -- I loved it. Probably no worse for kids than today's junk food. The lean part of salt pork is delicious. The fat part is easily stripped away; then you can put the lean back in with your cooked black-eyes. Give the fat to the cats; they'll fight over it.

Makes 4 servings. 

Prep time: 10 minutes; Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes; Total time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Monday, September 29, 2014

Dutch Spiced Beef


2 lb Beef Round Steak * 
1/2 tb Vinegar
1/2 ts Salt
1 ts Prepared Mustard
1/8 ts Pepper
1 ea Bay Leaf
6 tb Butter
2 ea Whole Cloves
1 ea Large Spanish Onion **
4 ea Canned Spiced Onions
1 tb Water
12 ea Strips Pimiento


* Steak should be 3/4 inch thick.

 ** Onion should be thickly sliced.

Cut steak into 4 pieces; rub with salt and pepper. Heat butter in large frying-pan until hot but not brown. Brown meat on both sides; remove to platter. Add sliced onions to frying-pan and fry lightly; remove from pan. Add water to frying-pan, scraping pan to loosen any bits of beef. Return meat to pan; cover with onion slices. Add vinegar, mustard, bay leaf and cloves. Cover and cook slowly 1 1/2 hours or until tender, turning every 1/2 hour. Place steaks on serving platter. Remove bay leaf and cloves and place onions on platter. Granish each steak with 1 spiced onion and 3 pimiento strips.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken



 (I sort of haphazardly threw ingredients into a bowl when I made my chicken, so these measurements are my best guesses for how much of everything I used.)

– 1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces (or, just a whole bunch of wings/legs/whatever)
– 3 cups buttermilk
– 2 cups flour
– 1/4 cup garlic salt
– 1/8 cup paprika
– Lots of salt and pepper (I like my food salty, so I used a lot of salt — probably about 1/2 cup)
– Lots of vegetable oil (peanut oil would be great too)


(1) In a large bowl, pour buttermilk over chicken and soak overnight, or at least a few hours.
(2) In a separate large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients until well-combined.
(3) Fill a wide, heavy-bottomed skillet about half-way full of oil. Heat until very hot — if you flick flour into the oil, it should immediately sizzle/bubble up.
(4) Throw buttermilk-soaked chicken directly into the bowl containing the flour/seasoning, and toss to coat. Shake off excess breading, then slide the chicken into the bubbling oil.
** The chicken should be mostly covered, but it's fine to have some of it peaking out above the oil. The longer you fry, the less oil you'll have anyway, and you'll be flipping the pieces eventually.
(5) Cook chicken until golden-brown, about 8-10 minutes on each side. Don't overcrowd your skillet — 3 to 4 pieces at a time is best.
** I would say it's better to over-cook than under-cook in this situation. Do NOT flip your chicken obsessively like I did. Just throw it in there, walk away for a while, then flip once and leave it alone again. The breading will keep the meat nice and juicy, so it's fine to cook the chicken longer. There's nothing grosser than biting into raw/bloody meat near the bone…
(6) Set cooked pieces aside on your serving plate — don't use paper towels or your chicken will be soggy. Keep frying until all your chicken is done.
(7) Eat immediately with sides of your choice.

** I suggest buttery mashed potatoes, biscuits, greens, and creamy mac n' cheese.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fruit Salad with a "KICK"

1 cup honey
1/2 cup lime juice
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 cup mayonnaise, can use no-fat or low-fat
1/4 tsp. salt
1 each banana, peach, Golden Delicious apple, pear
1 each star fruit, mango
2 each oranges, kiwi fruit
1 handful grapes
1 handful blackberries
       Mix honey and lime juice.  Add cayenne pepper.  Add mayonnaise and salt; whisk with a fork until blended.  Peel and slice fruit.  Sprinkle with lemon juice. Rachel says that she uses only enough to glaze the fruit, about 1/4th.

Tomato Salad

5 tomatoes, diced
1 onion, chopped
1 cucumber, diced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 tbsp. each chopped fresh basil, chopped parsley
2 tbsp each crushed garlic, white wine vinegar
to taste salt, ground black pepper


      In a large bowl, combine tomato, onion, cucumber, bell pepper, basil, parsley, garlic and vinegar. Toss and add salt and pepper to taste.  Chill and serve.  Makes 6 - 8 servings.

Iced Coffee

4 cups freshly-brewed coffee
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, optional
1/4 cup each white sugar, boiling water
3 cups crushed ice
1/2 cup cream

      Refrigerate coffee until cool, about 30 minutes.  Chill 4 glasses, if desired.   Stir vanilla extract and sugar in boiling water until dissolved.  Refrigerate until cool, about 30 minutes.  Divide ice and chilled coffee evenly.  Stir in cream and sugar mixture, to taste.  Lightly sweetened with hint of vanilla.  Makes 4 servings.

Crockpot Breakfast Burritos

1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained, rinsed  
1 can (10 oz.) diced tomatoes with green chilis, undrained
1 cup uncooked pearl barley
2 cups vegetable broth
3/4 cup frozen corn, no need to thaw in advance
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tbsp. fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 tsp. each ground cumin, chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
3 cloves garlic, chopped
      Place above in a crockpot, give it all a stir, and set pot on Low.  Cook 4 - 5 hours.  When filling is done, scramble however many eggs you intend to eat, and spread some filling on an flour tortilla along with eggs.  Garnish with any or all of following:  Shredded cheddar cheese, Fresh cilantro, Salsa, Lettuce, Guacamole
Makes 4 servings.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Fancy Pants Chicken

You'll need 2 packages of THIN chicken breasts
a few slices of prosciutto
a half bag of fresh spinach
an 8 oz package of fresh sliced mushrooms
1 envelope Lipton Recipe Secret's Savory Herb and Garlic
1/2C White Wine
1/4C Olive oil
8oz shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 375 -- spray a 13x9" pan with pam
put 2 layers of chicken in pan, cover with proscuitto, 
top with spinach, sprinkle with a little kosher salt and coarse black pepper
top with mushrooms
whisk together olive oil, wine and savory herb envelope
pour over everything.
Lay a piece of foil over (not tight)
bake for 30 minutes
top with cheese and bake for 5 minutes more.

Herb Chart

What Herb goes with what food !!!

Pizza Balls

3 cans Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuits (10 ct)
60 pepperoni slices (2 per biscuit)
Block of cheese (Colby/Monterey Jack or Chedder)
1 beaten egg
Parmesan Cheese
Italian Seasoning
Garlic Powder
1 jar pizza sauce
Slice cheese into approx. 28 squares. 

Flatten each biscuit & stack pepperoni & cheese on top. Gather edges of biscuit & secure on top of the roll. 
Line rolls in greased 9x13 pan. Brush with beaten egg. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning & garlic powder. 
Bake at 425 degrees F. for 18 to 20 mins. 
Serve with warm pizza sauce for dipping. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Blackberry Cobbler

1 to 1-1/2 quarts fresh or frozen blackberries
2 cups (about) sugar
6 Tablespoons cornstarch, or
1/2 cup flour
2 refrigerator pie pastries
2 Tablespoons butter or margarine

Combine the blackberries, sugar and cornstarch in a bowl and mix gently. Taste and add additional sugar if desired. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. If using frozen berries, thaw and combine undrained berries with the sugar mixture.

Fit 1 of the pie pastries in a 10-inch deep-dish pie plate. Spoon the berry mixture into the prepared pie plate and dot with butter. Top with the remaining pie pastry, sealing the edge and cutting vents. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown.


1/2 pound lump crab meat, canned is fine
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp lemon juice or to taste
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsps minced green onions
1 tsp minced parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne
6 pre-made crepes
6 whole chives, blanched

In a medium bowl, gently mix together all of the ingredients, except for the crepes and chives. Spread the crepes on a flat work surface, and place 1 heaping tablespoon of the crab meat salad in the center of each.
Draw up the crepes as though making a bundle, twisting the crepe gently to enclose the crab meat. Tie a chive around the top of the bundle to seal the purse.
Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped for no longer than 1 hour.
Serves: 2 - 3.

Apple Cobbler Recipe

Pastry for 1 pie shell
7 cups peeled, sliced apples
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter


1. Place apples in 8 x 12-inch or 9 x 9-inch baking dish.
2. Sprinkle apples with remaining ingredients sand dot with butter.
3. Top with rolled pie crust. Pierce with knife and bake.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

SERVES: 6 - 8

Avocado Dip

4 avocados
1 red onion
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 ear sweet corn
1 pint sweet grape tomatoes
juice of 1/2 lime
2 fresh jalapeño peppers
to taste: salt, pepper

Remove avocado and dice in a bowl. Shuck corn and remove kernels from cob; add to avocado. Dice red onion, cilantro and jalapeño. Slice tomatoes in half. Add to mixture, season with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator. Be sure to press plastic wrap to surface of dip to prevent browning,
until bacon looks done.

Autumn Pumpkin Soup

1 pound onions, chopped
3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup flour
2 quarts chicken stock
1 (14-ounce) can pumpkin
1-1/2 teaspoons curry powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup half-and-half
2 Tablespoons honey


Saute the onions and mushrooms in 1/4 cup of the butter in a large saucepan until the onions are tender. Transfer the undrained onion mixture to a bowl. Heat the remaining 1/4 cup butter in the same saucepan until melted. Add the flour and mix well. Whisk in the stock gradually.

Cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Stir in the onion mixture, pumpkin, curry powder, salt and pepper. Add the half-and-half and honey and mix well. Cook just until heated through, stirring frequently. Ladle into soup bowls. Garnish each serving with a dollop of sour cream and minced fresh parsley. Serve with hot crusty French bread.

SERVES: 10 - 12



1 egg
1/3 c. sugar
1 c. sifted flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. milk
1 c. quick-cooking oats
1/2 c. melted butter
4 sliced peeled apples
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 tbsp. butter

Beat egg and 1/3 cup sugar together until creamy. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add alternately with milk to egg mixture. Stir in oats and melted butter. Spread half the batter in a greased 9-inch round baking pan. Arrange apple slices over batter. Spread remaining batter over apple slices.

Combine 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over batter. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until done. 8 servings.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Chicken Jalapeno Bomb Bites


16 Tyson Any'tisers Popcorn Chicken Pieces, cooked
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
5 slices bacon, fried, crumbled
2 tbsp. diced jalapeños
1 pkg. (11 oz.) refrigerated pizza dough
enough olive oil for brushing
sprinkling of salt and black pepper

    Heat oven to 425ºF (220ºC).  Cook popcorn chicken according to pkg. directions.  Mix cream cheese, bacon, and jalapeño.  Roll pizza crust 12x12" size.  Cut in 3" pieces, then across all pieces to create (4x4") pieces.  Place 1-1/2 tbsp. filling on 1 side of pizza strip, cut 2 cooked popcorn chicken pieces into 3 - 4 strips.  Place on top of cream cheese mixture.  Brush olive oil around outer edge of dough strip, fold in half, press edges.  Transfer to cookie sheet.  Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Note:  After pressing edges and to help secure dough even more, I picked it up and tucked dough under bite.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mexican Potato Salad

If you like a little heat in your food, add a diced jalapeno to this recipe. 

Serves 4.

10 new red potatoes
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup lime juice
3/4 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper to taste 

Boil the potatoes until just soft. Cool and quarter. Toss in the remaining ingredients and mix well. Serve immediately at room temperature or refrigerate. -

Mashed Potato Salad


5 red potatoes
5 Yukon Gold potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup prepared mustard
1/2 cup sour cream
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 red onion, finely diced
2 small sweet pickles, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped

Cube potatoes. If desired you may peel them. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender. Drain and place cooked potatoes in a large bowl. Mash potatoes with butter and salt and pepper to taste. Once mashed, stir in the mayonnaise, mustard and sour cream, mixing well. Stir in the celery, onion, pickles and green pepper.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Pie

  • 1-6-oz. graham cracker pie crust*
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup Sun-Maid Natural Raisins


Heat oven to 325 F.
Beat together eggs, corn syrup, sugar and butter.
Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into crust. Place on baking sheet.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until top is golden brown and filling is "just set" in center.
Allow to cool completely.
*You can use a graham crust as suggested in the recipe or a store bought, unbaked pie shell of your choice. I'm using my unbaked Mix in Pan pie crust.Click here to get my Mix In Pan Pie Crust Recipe .
Recipe printed with permission from Sun-Maid Raisins