Tomato Basil Soup

November 16th, 2009
by: Blue

Tia Loca sent this recipe – it sounds heavenly, as well as delightfully quick and easy.  I will be making this soon – you should too.


4 cups fresh tomatoes, blanched, skinned, chopped (Or two large cans of whole, diced or stewed)
4 cups tomato sauce
12-14 basil leaves, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
¼ cup minced onion
1 small container fresh parmesan
1 pint of Half and Half
¼ lb. butter


Saute garlic and onion in olive oil. Add tomatoes and sauce, simmer for 30 minutes. With a hand held mixer or in food processor, puree tomato mixture and chopped basil. Add butter, cream and Parmesan and puree. Season with fresh ground sea salt and pepper. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Top with croutons and extra Parmesan.

For croutons, take day-old french bread, brush with olive oil, and toast in the oven @ 400 for 10 – 15 minutes until brown.

Cranberry Apple Gelatin Salad

November 16th, 2009
by: Blue

Another recipe from Tía Loca.  I love Tía Loca more than a fat kid loves cake!


1 3-ounce package cranberry or raspberry jello
3/4 cup boiling water
1 1/4 cups cold cranberry juice
1 cup tart medium apple, finely chopped (granny smith)
1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of cloves


Dissolve jello in boiling water. Add remaining ingredients and stir to blend. Pour into a 3 cup mold. Chill at least five hours. Serve as a relish with meat or poultry.

Beer Battered Oat Bread

November 16th, 2009
by: Blue

Another recipe from my Tía Loca.  This is my kind of recipe – beer and oatmeal.  Sounds like breakfast to me.


2 cups all purpose flour
1 ¼ cups rolled oats
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon honey
1 12 oz. beer
1 stick of butter


Preheat oven at 375, grease a 9X5 loaf pan. Mix dry ingredients, drizzle honey over mixture, pour beer on top, fold carefully (don’t over mix). Fill up loaf pan and drizzle melted butter over the top.

Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.

Brine for Poultry and Pork

November 16th, 2009
by: Blue

My Tía Loca sent this recipe, it sounds fabulous.  Gracias Tía Loca, te amo!

Ingredients For Pork or Chicken:

Kosher Salt – 2/3 cup
Brown Sugar – 2 ½ tablespoons
Whole Peppercorns -  ¾ teaspoon
Water – 1 quart
Ice Water – 1 ½ quarts

Ingredients For Turkey:

Kosher Salt – 2 1/2 cups
Brown Sugar – 2/3 cup
Whole Peppercorns -  1 tablespoon
Water  - 1 gallon
Ice Water  - 1 ½ gallons


In a large pot over high heat, combine the salt, brown sugar, peppercorns and water. Bring to a boil and continue boiling, stirring until the salt and sugar are dissolved, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Let cool to lukewarm, about one hour. Stir one-third of the ice water into the brine.

Place the chicken pieces, turkey or pork chops in a brining bag (available at Williams-Sonoma and worth the trouble). Pour the brine and remaining ice water. Seal the bag and place in a bowl (pork chops or chicken) or ice chest (turkey). Refigerate or keep covered with ice/water for 6-12 hours or for up to 24 hours for turkey.

Before cooking, remove meat from the brine, rinse thoroughly with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Cook as desired.

(Taken from the Williams Sonoma brining bag box and worth sharing…)

German Chocolate Cake

November 16th, 2009
by: Blue

I made this for a co-workers birthday at work.  I did a lot of research before making it and pretty much pieced together a combination of different recipes I found.  It took a ridiculous amount of time but it is a ridiculously amazing cake.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cake Layers:

4 ounces baker’s chocolate (recommend: Baker’s German Sweet Chocolate)
1/2 cup water
2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 cup buttermilk

In a micro-safe bowl, melt chocolate and water together in microwave. Stir until smooth and set aside. In a separate bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together the butter, vanilla extract, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add egg yolks 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in melted chocolate. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk, alternating, until everything is combined.

Beat egg whites, in a small bowl, until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whites into the batter.

Pour batter into 3 (9-inch) cake pans or 2 (12 capacity) cupcake tins. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before filling and frosting.

Coconut Pecan Frosting:

1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
5 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup butter
2 1/2 cups flaked coconut, toasted
2 cups toasted pecans

Combine evaporated milk, slightly beaten egg yolks, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and butter in a large saucepan or heavy pot over low heat. When butter melts raise the heat to medium, stirring constantly. The mixture will thicken after 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat. Add coconut and pecans and cool before frosting cakes. 


1 cup water
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons dark rum

In a small saucepan, heat the sugar and water until the sugar has melted. Remove from heat and stir in the dark rum. 

Chocolate Ganache:

8 ounces bittersweet (60% cocoa) chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 ½ ounces unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream

Place the 8 ounces of chopped chocolate in a bowl with the corn syrup and 1 ½ ounces of butter.  Heat the cream in a pan until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate in the bowl. Let stand one minute, then stir until smooth. Let sit until room temperature.

To assemble the cake:

Remove the cake layers from the pans.  Set the first cake layer on a cake plate. Brush well with syrup. Spread about 1 cup of the coconut filling over the cake layer, making sure to reach to the edges. Set another cake layer on top.   Repeat, using the syrup to brush each cake layer, then spreading 1 cup of the coconut filling over each layer, including the top.

Ice the sides with the chocolate ganache, then pipe a decorative border of chocolate icing around the top.

Overnight Slow Cooker Steel-Cut Oats

November 16th, 2009
by: Blue

I made these oats this past weekend for my family while they were in town.  It turned out quite excellent, and the recipe was requested.  I absolutely love the convenience of this.

Find a metal or oven proof glass bowl that:
1) Holds four cups of liquid
2) Fits inside your slow cooker with the lid on.

I used a metal bowl.

1 cup steel cut oats
4 cups water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup dried cranberries, or other dried fruit
dash of salt

Place all ingredients in the inner bowl that will fit inside the slow cooker.  Stir well.  Fill the slow cooker with water to a little more than halfway. Set the inner bowl in the slow cooker and see how high the water is. Add water to the slow cooker if needed, so that the level of water in the slow cooker is approximately equal to the level of liquid in the inner bowl.

Place the lid on your slow cooker.  Set on low.  Go to bed.

Serve this oatmeal with a splash of half and half or heavy cream, and real maple syrup.  Leftovers can be stored in the fridge and reheated.

How simple is that!!