Sunday, November 13, 2016

November 6, 2016

We met at my house and all 4 musketeers were present. 

Cocktail - Angie, Mid Winter Mule
Appetizer - Angelica, Crab Ceviche
Salad - Mary, Wedge
Main Dish - Crawfish Etouffee
Dessert - Tonya, Bananas Foster

A mid winter mule featuring cinnamon syrup was our cocktail for the evening.  While I could not taste the cinnamon flavor, the drink was strong enough that you did not mind.  The ginger beer or ginger ale is necessary to cut through the spirits.  Or not!


Next we moved on to Angelica's crab ceviche with tortilla chips.  Rather than using imitation crab, Angelica used a crab cake that she baked and flaked.  She also used a jalapeno pepper rather than Serrano peppers.   The dip tasted fresh with all the raw vegetables and had quite a kick.  The lime juice tempers the heat nicely. 






I think this wedge salad prepared by Mary is the most delicious salad that I have EVER TASTED.  She added crumbled bacon and that is the ingredient that made this salad addictive.  The bacon was stored in a baggie and I called it "crack in a Ziploc".  Anyway, let me reiterate, YOU MUST ADD BACON TO THIS SALAD. The dressing is creamy, salty and tangy, the lettuce is crisp and the BACON, onions and tomatoes add nice texture. 















Our main dish, that we prepared together, was crawfish etouffee.  Tonya, having graduated from LSU and thus a Cajun expert, was on the most critical roux duty.  She did an excellent job!  I bought 3 packages of frozen crawfish tails and we used it all.  I have always been intimidated by etouffee but no more!  The most complicated part of this dish is the stirring of the roux.  Once that is complete you add the other ingredients, except for the tails, and simmer.  The vegetables stay a little crisp and it is creamy and not too spicy.  You can spice it up with hot sauce to taste.






The final dish of the evening was Tonya's bananas foster.  Bananas are sauteed and slightly caramelized and lite aflame for a dramatic finish!!  Unless you use banana flavored rum.  While delicious, flavored rum does not have the same, high alcohol content of normal rum and thus, will not catch fire. Either way, this dessert is divine with a sweet, caramel like sauce and bananas that are served over vanilla ice cream.  You could also serve left overs over waffles or pancakes.  Or, eating straight out of the pan with a big spoon.

Friday, November 4, 2016

October 23, 2016

We met at Mary's for a Thai theme!  All were present and there were zero "others".  :-)



Mary - cocktail, pineapply goodness (same as at her party in July)
Tonya - appetizer, Thai Pizza
Angie - salad, Thai Chopped Salad
Angelica - dessert, Turtle Pumpkin Cheesecake

We began our evening with Mary's famous cocktail and Tonya's Thai Pizza.  The pizza had extra red onions and carrots and Tonya used naan bread rather than Pita.  The peanut sauce is a traditional sweet sauce with a bit of a kick.  The crust was chewy on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside and the vegetable toppings, chicken and sauce paired perfectly.  This would make an excellent main course.



For the salad, I prepared a Thai salad.  I shaved all the vegetables using this new tool which also does an excellent job of peeling.  The dressing is sweet and you can really taste the sesame oil.  The cashews add a nice crunch.  I had never used baby kale before and you can find it with the bags of salad and spinach.

This salad would be excellent with chicken, shrimp or beef and turned into a main course.  A tip for left over salads:  put the dressing on the bottom of your container and layer the salad on top.  The next day you mix it and this will keep the greens from wilting or getting soggy.








Our main dish was Hot and Sour Prawn Soup from a cookbook that Mary bought in Thailand.  It had some unique ingredients!



















Ingredients:
1 bowl water
1 stalk lemongrass - smashed and chopped in half
1 slice galangal - thin sliced
2 kafir lime leaves - torn
2-3 small chilies - smashed
mushrooms - sliced
onions - chopped
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp fish sauce
2 tbs lime juice
1 tsp chili jam
 shrimp

Heat water until boiling.  Add lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves and chilies.  Cook 2-3 minutes.  Add onions and mushrooms, cook 30 seconds.  Add sugar, fish sauce, lime juice and chili jam.  Add shrimp and cook a few minutes until shrimp are cooked through.  Garnish with  green onions and cilantro.

Above are the directions per the recipe.  Essentially you are making a flavorful broth full of items that you will not eat (lemongrass, galnangal, leaves and chilies).  We used double or triple the amount noted of the aromatics and let it cook several minutes.  Then we added the mushrooms and onions and let that cook for a few minutes.  The spices followed and we adjusted accordingly.  Last the shrimp are added.  I loved this soup.  It was salty and a little spicy and we were all surprised at how it started with water and not a broth since it was so full of flavor.  The lemongrass is the strongest note, in my opinion.  Very good and the new ingredients were not that scary at all once you figured out how to handle them.



For dessert, Angelica baked a delicious pumpkin cheesecake.  The Cheesecake was creamy and sweet with the chocolate and pecans.  It has a more mild pumpkin taste than pie and was the perfect way to gently move into fall and Thanksgiving type foods.   Personal touches that Angelica added were: 

Used personal size pie crusts for individual desserts

Brushed the graham cracker crust using melted chocolate

Toasted the pecans

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Mary's Soiree

We gathered at Mary's for a little party on Saturday night and of course I had to share the recipes.  The main course was the most delicious beans I have ever had.  Perhaps it was due to the ham bone that had been in Mary's freezer since Easter!


Pinto Beans

2 lbs dry beans.  Pintos are my favorite but any dried bean variety should work
1 bone.  Gotta gotta have a ham bone.  Just not the same without a bone but in a pinch you can use a couple of smoked ham hocks.
1 small package of salt pork
Pinto bean seasoning (see picture below)
Several stalks of celery
Salt and pepper to taste
  
First soak the dried beans for a half hour or so.... just to wash them a bit.  Pour off the water, replace with fresh water (covering the beans) sprinkle on a liberal amount of baking soda.  Let beans soak for an hour.  Pour off the water, wash the beans well to get rid of any baking soda or residue.
In large stock pot, add beans and cover with fresh water.  Put in the ham bone and salt pork.  On a medium high heat, let beans cook a half hour  to soften a bit then add several stalks of celery and several tablespoons of pinto bean seasoning.  Turn down to a lower-medium heat and continue to cook for about an hour and a half.  Add salt and pepper and more pinto seasoning along the way. 
Hint:  As beans cook you will need to add additional water.  DO NOT add tap water!!  Adding tap/cold water causes the beans to split open.  Keep a pot of hot water on the stove to add to the bean pot as necessary.

On the side was Mary's famous coleslaw with poppy seeds.

For dessert, Tonya and I did a battle of the bars.  Mine were seven layer bars.  Make sure you toast the coconut - you can do this step while you put the other parts together.  Then cool in the refrigerator before slicing.



Tonya prepared passion bars. When she told me the name, I thought passion fruit would be involved.  NO.  Passion is for the passion you will feel after eating one because they are that damn good!  PEANUT BUTTER = PASSION.  Apparently.  :-)

The cocktail, which was sweet and tangy and had no hint of alcohol *DANGEROUS* was dubbed the new official cocktail of the cooking group. 

Vodka Fruit Punch

16 oz can frozen pineapple juice concentrate
12 oz can frozen orange juice concentrate
12 oz vodka
2 - 2 liters lemon lime soda (can be diet)

Mix all and sip cautiously!


Saturday, July 2, 2016

Summer sweets

I have been doing some baking. I prepared these chocolate chip cookies despite the name of the recipe being the WORST chocolate chip cookies.  After reading the recipe and blog post, I realize these cookies are so DELICIOUS that you cannot only eat one, therefore this cookie could ruin your life.  Or at least your waist line. The recipe also includes a secret ingredient:  maple syrup.  I love maple syrup, buying it by the jug from Sprout's.  

Next I made this banana pudding cake for a coworker's birthday.  The cake was super moist with a nice banana flavor and a lemony glaze.  The only change I would make is to double the glaze and the banana garnish is a must.

June 12, 2016

We met at Tonya's for good ole' shrimp and grits!  These have become quite the rage and I admit, I have never had this dish.  The theme of southern comfort food started with Mary's deviled eggs and crab dip.  She also prepared a very yummy strawberry daiquiri using strawberry soda.

Daiquiri

1 12 oz can strawberry soda

I can frozen daiquiri concentrate (in the freezer section of the grocery store)

Refill the empty can about 3/4 with rum

Ice

Put all ingredients in blender and blend until an icy slurpee consistency.
 


Shrimp Dip

1 small onion, finely chopped
1 can shrimp
8 oz cream cheese
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
6-8 chopped stuffed green olives
dash red pepper
dash  worcestershire sauce
thin with mayo

Mix all, chill and serve.

Angelica prepared a green salad with croutons and shredded Parmesan cheese.



The shrimp and grits were complex and flavorful.  The shrimp were mixed with sauteed mushrooms and shallots and served over the grits. The garnish of fresh parsley and BACON were a great touch.  Everything is better with bacon!  The grits were creamy and cheesy and combine well with the shrimp, especially if you add more heat with hot sauce.






What is more southern than a bundt cake?!  I prepared a pineapple upside down cake with a pretty design made possible by the bundt pan.  The recipe matches the typical pineapple upside down cake recipe, using pineapple juice in the cake.



Sunday, May 22, 2016

Butter Chicken

After last week's cooking, I had a lot of left over ingredients:  lemons, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, yogurt and cream.  I love when I find a recipe that uses ingredients that I already have and need to get rid of.  I prepared this cucumber tomato avocado salad and added some fresh corn.  This is a healthy side dish to the main course I prepared with the other left overs:  butter chicken.  I know. BUTTER chicken.  I am on a diet.  I used half the butter called for and figured between all the servings, it is not THAT BAD.  Plus, with a big bowl of the salad, I only need one thigh per serving.

I did not have the fancy spice called for in the chicken, so I improvised and used cumin and coriander, spices I had from the shawarma.  The dish results in tender chicken with a creamy, onion filled sauce.  Very good served over white rice with cilantro.

This Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad recipe is a keeper! Easy, Excellent Salad

Peanut Butter Cookie Gooey Bars

I was requested to make a peanut butter dessert and the first thing that came to mind are peanut butter cookies.  In my old age, I have decided that I do not have time for baking cookies.  The repetition of dough on a tray, in and out of the oven, waiting to cool, repeat... no.  I am a BAR cookie girl!   So this peanut butter cookie gooey bar was the perfect recipe for the request.  It is a peanut butter cookie with a chocolate and sweetened condescend milk layer and with more peanut butter cookie on top. When I was putting the dough on top I thought "this will never work.. there is not enough dough... there will be holes of melty, messy chocolate... I am a failure".  Well, a miracle happened in the oven and the top layer spread and there were NO HOLES!  After the bars cooled, I put them in the refrigerator to harden over night, resulting in easy cutting.  It also helps that I used a giant pizza cutter, making for clean cuts (see below - I love this gadget for cutting bars).  I served the bars at room temperature and they were indeed gooey but not in a messy way.  The condensed milk and the chocolate chips mix together, creating a peanut butter and chocolate sandwich.  Yum!!

May 15, 2016

We met at my house for a Middle Eastern meal.  We started off with a hummus trio, thanks to Tonya, and a Tennessee Breeze cocktail (NOT Middle Eastern).  

Tennessee Breeze: 2 parts Tennessee Honey Whiskey, 1 part cranberry juice, 1 part orange juice, spritz of tonic water. Combine whiskey and juices, with 2 parts ice, in a blender and blend.  Add more juices if it is too strong (I thought it was).  Pour into glasses and top with tonic water.  

For the humus, Tonya used this basic recipe as one version and then for the roasted red pepper version, she cooked halved red bell peppers at 400 for about 25 minutes, took off the skin, and pureed it in with the hummus. For the chipotle version, she used a few chipotle peppers and sauce from a can and some cilantro and pureed that into the basic hummus.  All three were delicious and different. Very creative, Tonya!


The side dish was prepared by Angelica and was a flavorful bulgur tabbouleh with feta cheese.  It was a perfect accompaniment to the main dish of Spicy Chicken Shawarma.  

The other day, my boss was talking about the best shawarma he has ever eaten and I had never heard of such a thing. As a kind-of-a foodie, I did some research and thought this would be a great meal to share with the cooking group. 

The chicken looked beautiful with the red pepper and green parsley flakes and the thin strips cooked quickly.  The pitas were spread with the garlic yogurt sauce, filled with chicken and topped with tomatoes, red onions and tomatoes.  Pita bread has 6 grams of protein, which was news to me.  Later in the week I spread a pita with homemade guacamole and added some of the chicken and it was delicious!  



We finished our meal with a Middle Eastern bread pudding made by the bread pudding queen, Mary! It was creamy and topped with crushed pistachios. The real name is aish el saraya and it has rose water in it that Mary found at World Market.









Below is a cooking group selfie with a chair leg that decided to chose the moment Tonya was sitting in it to declare it was rotted and needed to split in two.






Saturday, April 9, 2016

April 3, 2016

Mary started us off with a Beam Honey and Lemonade cocktail.  Instead of club soda she used ginger ale.  She could have used ginger beer because as I have pointed out in the past, ginger beer DOES NOT HAVE ALCOHOL.  I believe there are now some "hard" ginger beers which do have alcohol though I could not find these when I was looking for the elusive ginger beer.





For our appetizer we enjoyed Smoked Salmon Dip.  It was served with crackers, bagel chips and crostini,  I used a 4 oz package of smoked salmon and it looks like a salmon fillet that you order in a restaurant and not lox. HEB carries lox and Sprouts (love you) carries the kind that I used in the dip. I first used lox and was not pleased at all with the results.  So I started over using the correct kind of salmon and it was so tasty.  I used one jalapeno and I seeded it but used the spine from one half.  I thought this was enough heat.  The dip is good for days and I munched on it for the rest of the week.  






For the main dish, we prepared Ham, Spinach and Mushroom Quiche. This dish was as pretty as it was delicious.The recipe is perfect and I would not change a thing.  We doubled the recipe and this equaled two pies plus another pan that Mary added some bread pieces to and I am sure she was eating on for a week! The quiche is very cheesy though it only has 1.5 cups of cheese.  It also re-heats nicely in the oven.


To side with the quiche, I cooked Oven Roasted Potatoes.  The potatoes are good on their own but when you add the topping of bacon, fresh rosemary and thyme, they go to a whole new level of "get in my belly"!  Carol, our guest attendee, told me that you can make very good oven potatoes using a packet of ranch dressing mix.  As I enjoy roasted potatoes, I will have to give it a try sometime.




Berry crisp with Mascarpone Whipped Cream was our scrumptious dessert.  One word:  YUM. Tonya used peaches, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries, but kept the total fruit to 6 cups (as in the recipe).  The crisp is not overly sweet and the topping has nice texture with the oatmeal.  The fruit is soft and blends together nicely. The whipped cream was thick and not delicate like a cream only whipped cream.  The mascarpone cheese adds a nice flavor as well..  This crisp was the perfect ending to our brunch-like meal.


Saturday, April 2, 2016

March 20, 2016



We met at Tonya's.  Deb was in New Zealand!!  The rest of the gals were present.

Mary started us off with a beautiful platter with cheeses, hummus, almonds and grapes.  All were delicious and it was a sophisticated display to get us started as we slaved away over the bolognese.   Ha!


Our second course was Angelica's Italian Romaine Salad.  It was dressed with a delicate lemon vinaigrette.  This was a very nice, simple salad that paired perfectly with the complex herb flavors of the main course.  All photographs but the cake were taken by Tonya with her new camera.  I love the sharp detail and she shall be deemed the new Gourmet Gals photographer!




Salad

1 large bunch or 2 small bunches romaine lettuce
1 small red onion
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives or pitted jumbo ripe olives
1 jar (6 oz) marinated artichoke hearts, undrained
1/2 cup seasoned croutons
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Lemon Vinaigrette

1 or 2 medium lemons
2 cloves garlic or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

For the main dish, Tonya picked Chicken Bolognese with Crispy Oregano.  I have never prepared bolognese and I was excited to try it - both cooking and eating!  I had just heard on the radio a recipe for turkey bolognese in reference to healthy, quick, flavorful, week night meals.  So apparently bolognese is all the rage these days.

This recipe featured ground chicken rather than turkey.  The combination of the fresh tarragon and diced tomatoes gave the dish a unique, complex flavor.  Be careful when "frying" the oregano garnish. Those damp little leaves like to pop!  Tonya squealed quite a few times during this step of the recipe.






We finished our meal with a cake, that while not Italian, was delicious.  Brown Sugar Pound cake was moist and sweet without being too sweet.  I used only half of the recipe for the brown sugar glaze because the sugar count was getting into the outrageous range.  

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Sweet Treats

I've done a lot of baking lately.  Let me catch you up.

Remember Treebeard's Butter Cake?  I have made this several times and people always love it.  And get confused by it... what is that flavor?  How do you make it so yummy and creamy on the inside yet lightly crunchy on the outside?!  MAGIC!  No.  Cream cheese and A POUND of powdered sugar.  So, I found a chocolate version!  I was tasked with making the birthday treat for a coworker and when I asked her what she wanted she said "anything chocolate".  After some googling (is that a verb yet?) I found Paula Dean's recipe for Double Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake.  I left out the nuts for the birthday girl, because there are some that do not like nuts.  It was delicious sans nuts.  Just like the vanilla version, same texture, and tastes like a brownie on steroids!  Do not over bake this as you want it to be slightly creamy.  I made it again with nuts and it is just as delicious yet with more crunch.  A little tip - a pound of powdered sugar (16 ounces) equals 3 3/4 cups.

Next, I made two different types of brookies.  A "brookie" is a brownie mixed with a cookie.  My sister asked me, after she stopped laughing, "why can't it be called a 'crownie'?;"  I don't make the rules, I just follow them. Anyway, I prepared both Oatmeal Scotchie Brookie and Ooey Gooey Brookie.  Silly names, yes, tasty, YES!!  The oatmeal one uses a boxed brownie mix and tastes like an oatmeal cookie with butterscotch chips laid on top of a brownie.  The ooey gooey one is a basic brownie and chocolate chip cookie marriage made in heaven.  The total cooking time is SEVENTY MINUTES.  When I read that, and that the pan size is 8 x 8, I knew that something is wrong.  I used a 9 x 13 pan and it was a successful recipe with a more reasonable cooking time (start with 30 minutes and test).  


Image result for biscoff cookiesFinally, I prepared Sprout's Cookie Butter Blondies I was excited to mix these blondies up because while I have heard of this mythical ingredient "cookie butter" I have never purchased it or tasted it.  And I admit I do not understand what it is for - spreading on cookies?  Why would a cookie need a butter?  

 With recipe in hand and a coupon for Sprout's cookie butter, I headed to Sprout's only to be told they did not have it in stock.  What?!  And come to think of it, the manager could not even figure out what part of the store that the butter would be stocked in.  It was seeming as if cookie butter was remaining out of my grasp when I found a recipe for DIY cookie butter.  I used Biscoff cookies and whipped up a batch.  I felt all Martha Stewart, making my own cookie butter!  The recipe made 1 cup and I needed only 1/2 so the remaining is sitting in my fridge.  I do now know how this butter should be eaten... with a spoon, straight out of the container.  The blondies received excellent marks at work and if I ever find cookie butter in the store I will definitely make these again.  I will not make cookie butter again because I do not need to eat a cup of crushed cookies and sugar. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

February 7, 2016

We met at my house on Superbowl Sunday.  All were present except for Angelica plus new guests Deb and Molly.

Cocktail:  Angie, Moscow Mule
Appetizer:  Deb, Artichoke Dips
Side Dish:  Mary, Jalapeno Cheddar Corn Bread
Main Dish:  Angie, Texas Crock Pot Chili
Dessert:  Tonya, Chocolate Football Cupcakes

We started with Absolute Ruby Mules.  I jumped on the Moscow Mule train and purchased the mugs.  Gotta be authentic, yo. This is a sweet cocktail, thanks to the ginger beer which does NOT have alcohol and is pretty much ginger ale.   I mixed the lime juice and vodka in a pitcher and topped with ginger beer.  Delicious and refreshing. 








For appetizers, Deb brought two dips that she served with tortilla chips.  She said the dips were similar recipes, just one had spinach.  They were served warm and were creamy and rich.












Artichoke Dip
1C     Parmesan cheese (Shredded)
1C     Mayo
1-15oz can Artichoke hearts
        
Mix all together. add garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste.
You can make another dip by adding 1/4 box frozen spinach.

It's that easy!

Bake 300  30 min.



Along with our chili we ate Mary's mom's recipe for Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread.  Or, as we called it, CORNBREAD OF THE GODS.  This was perfection in an iron skillet.  The bacon grease is a must and adds so much flavor.


1 1/2 cup corn meal
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup oil
1 cup sour cream
1 20 oz can cream style corn
3 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
2 chopped jalepenos
1 cup grated cheese
Mix all ingredients.
Use a well seasoned cast iron skillet to bake cornbread.  Use a couple tablespoons of bacon grease in skillet, get skillet hot on stovetop.  Pour in the cornbread mix and let it cook on the stovetop for maybe 2-3 minutes so bottom gets a nice golden crust.
Place skillet in preheated oven about 425 degrees and bake around 30 minutes or until cornbread is baked through.. monitor the cook time and temperature.  If top starts to get too brown cover with aluminum foil. 
Serve with lots of real butter!!







For the chili, I used this recipe.  We had some discussion about beans in chili and all decided we prefer it that way.  Whether that makes it non-Texas chili or not is a talk for another time.  I followed the recipe except I used a can of Rotel Orignal, drained, for the green chilies.  I also added more water.  I served it with onions, sour cream and freshly grated cheddar cheese.  Sorry, I did not get a blog worthy picture.  I loved this chili and plan to enter it into a contest at work.  It is spicy but not too much and I found that the spice mellowed on day 2.

What better way to end cooking group on Superbowl Sunday than with Tonya's amazingly cute cupcakes?!  These are chocolate cupcakes with green frosting, candied "grass", goal posts and little footballs.  As always, Tonya wins for creativity in the dessert decorating!











Saturday, February 13, 2016

Seafood

I have made a couple of seafood recipes lately that turned out really well.  Garlic Butter Shrimp and Rice is both creamy and light. Creamy with Parmesan cheese and milk and light with fresh parsley and plump shrimp.  If you want to be a little less decadent, I would reduce the butter to 3 or 4 tablespoons.  I also used 1/2 a bunch of parsley because I think it would be difficult to put too much parsley in a dish.   I love it!

This tastes a bit like risotto though much simpler to prepare.  I served this with a side of sauteed spinach and mushrooms.




The second dish is Cilantro Lime Honey Garlic Salmon.  Whew, try saying that three times fast.  This dish is even easier to prepare than the rice - place the salmon on the foil, pour over the marinade and bake.  I like salmon best with some sweetness and this recipe cuts the sweetness with sour lime, spicy garlic and fresh cilantro. 




Saturday, January 16, 2016

January 10, 2016

I cannot believe it is 2016.  But I am happy to say, I have not messed up and written 2015 - yet.

We met at Mary's and we were joined by guests Rachel and Carol and missing Angelica.  The theme was Mexican street food.  Ole!

Cocktail - horchata, Mary
Appetizer - scallop ceviche and guacamole, Angie
Side Dish - creamy corn cups, Tonya
Main dish - tortas, Mary
Dessert - tres leches, Carol

Mary started us off with horchata that she added some brandy to.... because first rule of cooking group is we drink alcohol.  She used the basic recipe and then added a can of condensed milk, almond milk and brandy.  Serve this refreshing, slightly sweet drink over ice.
Our appetizers were ceviche and guacamole.  I have never made ceviche before and this was a super easy, not scary (of ending up with raw seafood in juice) recipe.  I halved the recipe and it was plenty for a small gathering.  I recommend roughly chopping the scallops to get small pieces rather than just quartering.  I followed the recipe exactly except used half a seeded jalapeno instead of a Serrano.  I found the unsweetened coconut in the bulk section and while I do not think it added any flavor, the little white specs look pretty.  I served both the ceviche (after using a slotted spoon to move it to a new bowl) and guacamole with tortilla chips.



In case the ceviche did not work out, I also made guacamole.  This recipe had essentially the same flavors, just swapping out the scallops for avocados.  I have made guacamole many times, normally just mashing avocados and adding some garlic salt, lemon juice and hot sauce.  I decided to try this fancy recipe and I really liked it.  I do think you should use less onions than called for but otherwise would not change a thing.  Funny that the recipe calls for fresh coriander because this is also known BY EVERYONE as cilantro.  You're welcome.

Tonya prepared the most tasty corn recipe and served it in mini mason jars.  The toppings are stirred into the corn, resulting in a sweet, creamy, salty, limey, concoction.  Mary had this spice and Tonya sprinkled some on top and it was so delicious.  



The main dish was tortas de milanesa, which in our case was fried chicken cutlets served on rolls and topped with spicy (sriracha)  mayonnaise, lettuce, avocado and tomato.  Mary marinaded the chicken breasts in something spicy (probably more sriracha)  because the chicken alone had a nice kick.  I realized this because I ate my left overs on plain white bread (I know - who eats this any more besides children) and there was a pleasant spiciness.  I loved this sandwich.  The chicken was crunchy because of the double breading and frying and the combination of the toppings cool down the heat.  


 We finished our meal with Carol's tres leches cake.  Carol reported this dessert was rather easy to make because it starts with a boxed cake mix.  We all discussed that we prefer boxed cake mixes to homemade.  I know I have made a homemade yellow cake recipe and it was an embarrassment.  The sweetness and texture were off.  It was a very old recipe and I think today's tastes have evolved where the old recipes are less palatable.  The cake was creamy but not as wet as other tres leches I have eaten.  For the icing, Carol used a box icing mix which she said was just egg whites and you add hot water.  Yum!!