Squash patties

October 14th, 2009
by: Sue

This is something I developed so my sweetie would get more vegetables with his breakfast. Reminiscent of hash brown potatoes, it has a sweetness from the browned squash that we love.

1 medium yellow squash per person, washed, ends cut off, then grated.

Place the squash between paper towel squares and blot the excess moisture.

Heat 1-2 T butter in skillet. When the bubbles have subsided, add the squash. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

When the bottom has browned, flip the patty, and brown the other side. Remove to plate and serve with eggs, bacon & toast.

I have added onion to this simple dish, but I prefer the simplicity of the butter, squash, salt and pepper. It’s magic!

Chile Relleno

October 14th, 2009
by: Sue

8 long green chiles, roasted and peeled, preferably Hatch but fresh chiles from *anywhere* are good
8 sticks of string cheese
1 cup flour
6 eggs
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cup oil
12″ iron skillet

Stuff the chiles with cheese, being careful to seal the cheese with the skin of the pepper. Place 1/2 of the flour in a large plate. Put the chiles on top, and sprinkle the rest of the flour on top. Pat the flour in. Place oil in skillet and turn heat to medium high.

Separate the eggs. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Beat the egg yolks with the salt, then fold slowly into the egg whites.

Heat the cast iron skillet until the oil begins to roll (not smoke!). Dip floured chiles into the egg batter and fry until golden brown, turning once. (I like to cook two at a time). Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.


Perfect Gravy

October 12th, 2009
by: Blue

One of the ways I rate restaurants is by the quality of the gravy.  It doesn’t matter what kind of gravy it is – brown, white, chicken, sausage – if it’s not made from scratch, I can tell INSTANTLY.  Pun intended.  Instant gravy has a very distinguishable taste, and it’s not all that great.  Alot of people don’t seem to have an issue with instant gravy, but apparantly I am a spoiled rotten gravy snob.  That’s right – a gravy snob.  I know what homemade gravy is and I know how easy it is to make, so my tolerence for any other kind is low.

Gravy is easy!  All you have to do is start with a roux.  Again, it doesn’t matter what kind of gravy you are making; a roux is always the perfect beginning to a perfect gravy.  And puh-lease! I don’t belong to the cornstarch-in-gravy fan club!  Cornstarch is flavorless, and I don’t like the gelatinous texture.  I’d much rather have a flour-based roux that allows me to layer flavors in the gravy. 

To make a roux you need a 1 to 1 ratio of oil/fat to flour.  For a medium size batch of gravy I usually use 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 flour.  I don’t think you can really have a better flavor combination for roux than butter and flour, there’s nothing bad about that, but feel free to substitute oil or crisco for the butter if you must.  Melt the butter over medium heat in a saucepan.  Once it’s melted whisk the flour in, and continue to whisk constantly until the flour is light-to-medium brown and smells nutty.  Don’t walk away from roux; it burns easily.

Add your liquid according to what kind of gravy you are making (see  Gravy Variations below).  Your gravy will be lumpfree if you add a cold liquid to a hot roux, but don’t sweat the small stuff if you have hot liquid and hot roux and no time to wait.  Just whisk and whisk and whisk, until the gravy is smooth.  Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the gravy is as thick as you like it.  Season to taste with salt, black, and white pepper.  I always season with white AND black pepper because I like the bite of white pepper, and again, it’s all about the layering of flavors.

Gravy Variations:

Poultry gravy – add 1-2 quarts of chicken or turkey stock to the roux.  Add poultry seasoning if desired.
Brown gravy – Add 1-2 quarts of beef stock to the roux
Cream gravy – Add 1-2 quarts of milk to the roux
Lighter cream gravy – Add 1/2 – 1 quart of chicken stock and 1/2 – 1 quart of milk to the roux
Sausage gravy – Add 1-2 quarts of milk to the roux and 1 lb of browned, crumbled breakfast sausage (or vegetarian sausage)

Who doesn’t love sausage gravy?  It is a favorite in my house, even when I make it with vegetarian sausage.  Please pass the biscuits!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

October 9th, 2009
by: Sue

This recipe, like many of our family recipes, became a favorite during the depression years. Using only one egg, it was an economical dessert for the family. This small cake is tender and delicious while still warm from the oven, and doesn’t require much time to make. No frosting for this cake, because the pineapple, butter and brown sugar provide a wonderful sweet topping when the cake is right side upped onto a plate.

3 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 slices pineapple, drained (reserve syrup)
Maraschino cherries or walnuts
1/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, unbeaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup sifted flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup syrup from pineapple slices

Topping: Melt 3 T. butter or margarine in an 8 inch square pan (or cast iron skillet), sprinkle with 1/2 cup brown sugar. Arrange over sugar pinepple, with cherry or walnuts in center.

Cake batter: gradually add sugar to shortening, creaming until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat well. Add alternately small amounts of sifted dry ingredients and pineapple syrup, beating smooth after each addition. Spread batter over pineapple slices in pan, and bake in moderate (350) oven 50 to 60 minutes. Let stand five minutes, then turn out on plate. Serve warm. Serves 6 – 8.

Old Fashioned Divinity

October 9th, 2009
by: Sue

This recipe closely resembles the divinity I loved as a child. Nobody kept the recipe, so I borrowed from Paula and adapted. When I make this candy and include it on my Christmas candy gift boxes some people have said, “What is this? I love it!” Obviously, divinity has fallen out of favor but it’s worth the effort to make this. Just make sure you have pecans worthy of the recipe, because they provide, along with the vanilla, the flavors you really taste.

4 cups sugar
1 cup white corn syrup
3/4 cup cold water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
3 cups chopped pecans

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir until mixture is clear and sugar is dissolved (taste to determine if sugar is dissolved). Do not stir after this, cook until mixture is at 250 on a candy thermometer (soft ball stage).

While the syrup cooks, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. A large Kitchenaid standing mixer is best for this. When sugar mix is at 250, carefully pour a steady stream of syrup into the beaten egg whites as the mixer beats at high speed. Add the vanilla and continue to beat until the mixture holds its shape, approximately 5 minutes. Stir in pecans.

Using 2 teaspoons, drop the divinity onto waxed paper , using the right hand spoon to push the candy off the left hand spoon which dipped the candy mixture. (If you are right handed*). Twirl the right hand spoon to make the candy look like a DQ soft serve ice cream cone. If the candy gets stiff, add hot water. Cool the candies on racks after they are cool enough to lift from the paper. Store in an airtight container.

Cheese Roll

October 9th, 2009
by: Sue

For many Christmases, we had this cheese roll to snack on while we waited for Mema’s rolls to rise. There is nothing like the smell of yeast rolls and turkey in the oven to whet your appetite for this garlicky cheese roll.

1 pound grated longhorn cheese (or sharp cheddar)
1 small package cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup pecans, toasted
1 small onion, grated
1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, chopped (you can substitute garlic powder if desired, to your own taste)
salt and pepper

Put everything except pecans through grinder or food processor, add pecans. Form into rolls the circumfurence of a Ritz cracker , wrap with wax paper and aluminum foil and refrigerate. Chill overnight. Slice and serve with Ritz crackers.

Variation: roll cheese roll in chili powder

22 Minute Cake

October 9th, 2009
by: Sue

Grue loves this chocolate cake. My Mom passed the recipe to me, and is an easy, moist chocolate cake you bake in a sheet pan (or 9x 11 pan) and frost while still hot. Almost every family in West Texas has a version of this type of cake.

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 stick oleo
1 cup water
1/2 cup shortening
3 1/2 Tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon vanilla

Do not use mixer. Combine flour and sugar in large bowl. In a saucepan combine and bring to a boil the butter, water, shortening and cocoa. Pour over flour and sugar mix.

Combine the buttermilk, eggs, soda and vanilla. Add to other mixture and mix all together. Pour into 12″X 8″ greased pan and bake at 400.


1 stick butter
3 1/2 Tablespoons cocoa
1/3 cup milk

Bring to boil and add

1 pound powdered sugar
1 cup chopped nuts

Pour over hot cake.