Monday, May 23, 2016


I have this theory that some foods that are so divinely tasty are the foods we get in heaven.  Obviously we probably won't need to eat there but hey if you could choose food for a buffet in heaven what would your favorites be?  Here are my top choices along with some recipes to go with them....

1. Favorite Appetizer - GUACAMOLE
I love guacamole so much that I ate it everyday for lunch during my entire freshman year of high school.  This recipe makes some seriously heavenly guacamole!

3 medium avocados, seeded peeled,and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, finely minced
1 medium jalapenos, deviened seeded and diced finely or 1 can green chili
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juice of
3 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped
salt and pepper (fresh grated)
chili pepper or adobo (dash)

Mash avocados till smooth but with some chunks.  Add rest of ingredients and mix together.

I first tasted this at a little snack bar off a Mexican themed market.  It tastes exactly like you would imagine sticking a straw in a fresh melon would taste like.  It is absolutely amazing!

2 cups cold water
2 cups watermelon, rind removed, seeded and chopped into cubes
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice

In a blender or food processor, combine water, watermelon, sugar, and lime juice until smooth.
Pour mixture through a strainer into a pitcher, forcing through most of the pulp.  Chill at least 30 minutes before serving.  Serve with or without ice cubes.  As a decorative touch, add slices or chunks of watermelon

3. Favorite Soup - HOT AND SOUR SOUP
Literally every time I eat this soup it makes me so incredibly comforted and happy.  I don't know what it is about the yummy, vinegary goodness but it is definitely a cure for what ails you.

 1 1⁄4 cups water
3⁄4 cup canned bamboo shoot, drained
4 large dried shiitake mushrooms
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
8 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2 in thin strips
2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
1⁄3 cup green onion, including tops, sliced
2 1⁄2 cups chicken stock
2 -3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons honey
1 1⁄2  tablespoons cornstarch
8 ounces firm tofu, cut into 2 in thin strips
2 tablespoons rice vinegar or 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1⁄4 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce (to taste)

In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of the water to a boil. Place the bamboo shoots in a small heatproof bowl and pour 1/2 cup of the boiling water over them; let soak for 5 minutes then drain. Add the dried mushrooms to the water to the water remaining in the saucepan and let soak for 15 minutes. Drain the mushrooms through a sieve, reserving the soaking liquid. Slice the mushrooms, discarding the stems.  In a large saucepan, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the chicken and saut√© for 4 minutes or until no longer pink on the outside. Add the soaked mushrooms, fresh mushrooms, green onions, stock, soy sauce, honey, and mushroom soaking liquid. Bring the sauce pan mixture to a simmer.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with the remaining 1/4 cup water. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the simmering soup and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the tofu, vinegar, and red pepper sauce. Cook until the tofu is heated through.

4. Favorite Salad - WILTED SPINACH SALAD
This is an old fashioned recipe that I can remember my grandmother making, it also has the sweet sour thing going on that my favorite soup does.  

4 slices bacon
2 eggs
2 teaspoons white sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound spinach
1/4 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Crumble and set aside. Reserve 2 tablespoons bacon fat.   Place eggs in a saucepan and cover completely with cold water. Bring water to a boil. Cover, remove from heat, and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, cool, peel and cut in wedges. Return 2 tablespoons bacon fat to skillet, stir in sugar, vinegar, water and salt. Keep warm. Wash and remove stems from spinach, dry thoroughly and break into pieces in salad bowl. Pour warm dressing over and toss until coated. Top salad with mushrooms and bacon, garnish with egg.

5. Favorite Main Course - GRILLED BEEF BRISKET
I love bbq as long as it is made over charcoal.  There is something about the scent of charcoal that instantly has my mouth watering.  Here is a great recipe that Famous Daves uses for their brisket.

5 - 6 pounds beef brisket, lean flat only
1 cup Famous Dave’s Beef Marinate
2 tablespoons Famous Dave’s Steak and Burger seasoning
2 onions, peeled and cut into strips
6 whole garlic cloves
2 cups red wine
2 cups beef stock
1 bottle Famous Dave’s Texas Pit BBQ Sauce

Place brisket in a Ziploc bag. Pour Famous Dave’s Beef Marinate over top. Seal and refrigerate overnight. Pull brisket from bag and wipe off any excess marinate. Discard bag and marinate. Season both sides of brisket with Famous Dave’s Steak and Burger seasoning.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Heat heavy bottom roasting pan on medium heat with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add brisket and brown both sides until a crust forms. Remove brisket and set aside. Add onions and garlic to pan and brown, stirring frequently. Add red wine and scrape bottom of pan to reduce any yummy bits. Reduce wine by half.Add brisket back into pan placing over onions and garlic. Pour in beef stock and bring to a boil. Cover pan with lid or foil. Place in oven and roast for 2 hours.   Remove brisket from oven, and skim off any fat that has formed on top. Stir in Famous Dave’s Texas Pit BBQ Sauce and recover and place back into oven for additional 45 minutes to 1 hour or until fork tender.  Remove brisket from pan and slice across grain into 1/4 inch slices. Spoon sauce over and serve.

The name on this says it all - decadent appetizer meets comfort food creamy side dish, what's not to love?

5 red potatoes, cubed
salt to taste
1/2 cup butter, divided
5 green onions, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced, or more to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream

Place potatoes into a large pot and cover with salted water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and transfer potatoes to a large bowl.  Melt 1/4 cup butter in a skillet over medium heat; cook and stir green onions, jalapeno pepper, and garlic until soft and fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Mix green onion mixture and cream cheese together in a bowl; add remaining 1/4 cup butter and stir until butter melts. Add sour cream and mix well.  Mix cream cheese mixture with the potatoes using a potato masher until most of the lumps are gone; season with salt.

If ever a cake would be called divine, then this is it!  This cake is made completely by scratch but it really isn't as hard as it sounds and the taste is eye rolling back in your head good!

2 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Frosting Ingredients
3/4 cup butter (or margarine)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
5 1/3 cups confectioners' sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans. This cake is known for sticking, you may want to cut out parchment circles to fit your pan, place in bottom of pan. If you use cocoa powder instead of flour, you won't get that white residue.  Use the first set of ingredients to make the cake. In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, mix for 3 minutes with an electric mixer. Stir in the boiling water by hand. Pour evenly into the two prepared pans (note that the batter will be thin, it's supposed to be - promise!).  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to cool completely. The times are approximate, it can take longer depending on the weather and your oven.  To make the frosting, use the second set of ingredients. Cream butter until light and fluffy. Stir in the cocoa and confectioners' sugar alternately with the milk and vanilla. Beat to a spreading consistency.  Split the layers of cooled cake horizontally, cover the top of each layer with frosting, then stack them onto a serving plate. Frost the outside of the cake.

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