Monday, September 26, 2011

Hot Apple Cobbler

I love apple cobbler and I love dump cakes.  Combine the two and you get this recipe for Hot Apple Cobbler thanks to Wanda of  The only tricky part about dump cakes is making sure the dry cake mix gets enough moisture so it turns into a delicious topping.  I normally use a fork halfway through the cooking process to press all the cake mix down.  I especially had to do it for this recipe because the cake layer is thicker than normal because of the cooking vessel.

Hot Apple Cobber

1 (18.25 oz) box yellow cake mix
2 (21 oz) cans of apple pie filling
1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple, un-drained
1 (5 oz) can evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup natural sliced almonds

Heat oven to 350 degrees and lightly butter a 3-quart dutch oven.  (I used the dutch oven I use for everything and I think it is more than 3 quarts).

Spread pie filling and crushed pineapple over bottom of pan.  Evenly spread DRY cake mix over fruit.  Pour evaporated milk over top, covering all of the cake mix.  Drizzle melted butter evenly over this.  Sprinkle almonds over top and bake 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September 18, 2011

We met at Janet's home for a very special gathering and a theme of Chinese food.  All were in attendance except for Lauren and we had the addition of Teresa, who recently moved to Florida!  It was a lovely afternoon with delicious food!

Appetizer:  Angie, Wonton soup
Salad:  Carol, Chinese Salad
Side:  Tonya, Stir Fried Vegetables
Main: Janet, Oriental Chicken with Orange Ginger Wine Sauce
Dessert:  Mary, Chinese Root Cake
Wine:  Teresa

Janet set a beautiful table with souvenirs from her recent trips to China.  In the center was a beautiful array of flowers featuring red and orange roses.

We started our meal with wonton soup.  I intended to make it from scratch but alas, unexpected weekend plans got in the way so I purchased the soup at a local Chinese place.  I am happy to report this sin has not resulted in my being expelled from the Gourmet Gals.  Yippee!

Carol made one of my favorite salads, Chinese salad.   The crunchy noodles and almonds are delicious with the fresh cabbage and light, sweet dressing.  This salad should be mixed at the last minute so the noodles stay crisp.  For this reason, it is not as tasty the next day because the noodles get soggy.  Carol sliced the cabbage into ribbons which made for a very nice presentation.

Tonya quickly put together these stir fried vegetables in a dutch oven.  The colors were gorgeous and the flavor very tasty.  The recipe is from my Dorothy Huang's Chinese Cooking cookbook.  

Stir Fried Vegetables
serves 2

1 onion
4 oz fresh mushrooms
4 oz fresh snow peas
red bell pepper (added by Tonya and great for presentation)
3 tbs oil
1/4 tsp salt

Thickening Sauce
1 tsp corn starch
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbs chicken broth
1 tbs oyster sauce
1/4 tsp sesame oil

Cut onion into 8 wedges and separate into layers.   Cut mushrooms into half inch slices.  Remove tips and strings from snow peas.  Cut bell pepper into strips.  Combine ingredients for thickening sauce.

Heat 3 tbs of oil in pan over high heat.  Add vegetables and salt and stir fry 2 to 3 minutes.  Add thickening sauce and stir, until sauce is thick.

For our main entree, Janet picked Oriental Chicken with Orange Ginger Wine Sauce.  It was so good!  The chicken was marinated then coated in cornstarch and deep fried.  It is then mixed with the sweet sauce.  We discussed that while not as tasty, it would be easier to pan fry the chicken.  This would also reduce the fat content.

Oriental Chicken with Orange Ginger Wine Sauce

by Lin Gee Way Bessey, guest chef, Central Market Cooking School   1/1/2006




2 pounds chicken breast cut into 1-1/2 x 1-1/2 inch cubes
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon ginger root, chopped
1/4 cup PLUS 1/3 cup soy sauce, divided
1/4 cup PLUS 1/3 cup cooking wine, divided
1 cup PLUS 1 tablespoon cornstarch, divided
6 cups peanut oil
1 can mandarin orange slices with syrup
1 cup fresh kiwi cut into big pieces
orange slices for garnish
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh orange peel, grated
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon fresh ginger root, grated

Cooking Instructions

Mix the chicken, garlic, 1 tablespoon chopped ginger root, 1/4 cup soy sauce and 1/4 cup cooking wine together and let the mixture sit for 30 minutes. Dry chicken and coat with cornstarch. Heat the peanut oil, and deep fry the chicken pieces until they turn light brown. Mix all sauce ingredients (orange juice, orange peel, 1/3 cup soy sauce, sugar, 1/3 cup cooking wine, 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root, 1 tablespoon cornstarch) and bring to a boil. During this time, add the cooked chicken with the mandarin oranges and kiwi pieces. Mix in the warm sauce. Garnish plate with orange slices and serve.

For dessert, Mary prepared a lightly sweet cassava cake with a curd-like topping.  It is awesome that she was able to stick with the theme of Chinese!  Not an easy feat!  The cake was the perfect compliment to the sweet, rich chicken dish.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Apple Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

Carol made this cake for a church function and says it is DELICIOUS!  Sounds great for fall! 

Thursday, September 1, 2011


For the final night of Houston Restaurant Weeks, we dined at RDG Bar Annie.  There is a sitting room and private dining rooms downstairs and the bar and restaurant are upstairs.  When we arrived the happy hour was hopping in the bar that also includes an outdoor patio. 

Our first table was just off the bar and the noise was so loud that we could not hear over the boisterous crowd!  We asked the hostess for a new location and she gladly complied.  Our final table was in view of the kitchen where we could see the calm Robert Del Grande walking amongst his chefs, who also seemed very calm.  Their demeanor went well with the soothing atmosphere of the wood paneled dining room.

RDG offered a 4-course dinner deal with two starters, a main course and dessert.  Appetizers included polenta, trout with egg salad, and pear and endive salad with a spicy dressing.  Entrees ordered were the strip steak with hominy and salmon with ginger slaw.  For desert the choice was unanimous of cheesecake covered in caramel.  All entrees were delicious and several had lots of heat!