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.


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


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.