Have a Fabulous New Year with Okie Hoppin’ John

It’s a longstanding belief, at least around these parts, that eating black eyed peas on New Year’s Day is good luck for the coming year. So, every year I make my version of Hoppin’ John. It’s a bit of a nuisance, but so worth it.

Okie Hoppin’ John

2 packages wild rice, cooked as directed

1 package Kielbasa sausage, cut into chunks

12 ounces Velveeta cheese

1 small carton sour cream

1 can chicken broth, divided

1 can black olives, sliced or chopped

1 tablespoon butter or cooking oil

1 large sweet onion or 2 bunches green onions, chopped

8 cloves garlic, minced

1 can black eyed peas with jalapeños, including juice

1 can black eyed peas with bacon, including juice

6-10 drops hot sauce, optional

Cook rice according to directions. While rice is cooking, sauté onions and garlic in butter or cooking oil.

Mix remaining ingredients except chicken broth in a slow cooker, adding the onions and garlic when they are ready. Add rice after cooking. Add about 1/2 can of chicken broth so the sauce is slightly runny and let it all sit in slow cooker on medium for at least an hour before serving. If sauce thickens too much, add another splash of chicken broth.

Notes: For added heat, add jalapeños or extra hot pepper sauce. Dish is also delicious with cooked bacon crumbled in it.

This dish is a wonderful way to start the New Year. It’s a southern superstition that eating black eyed peas on New Year’s Day is good luck for the coming year. However, many people don’t particularly enjoy black eyed peas on their own. In this Hoppin’ John, even the pickiest eaters will usually gobble them up.

FamilyHolidayFavorites10-15This recipe is from Family Holiday Favorites, only $2.99 on Amazon. The e-book contains 50 tried-and-true recipes gathered from several different families. The book is illustrated to maintain a festive appeal and has a linked table of contents for frustration-free navigation. Check it out here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005WDHL20

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Vintage Recipes: Hot Chocolate Drinks from Hershey’s

I have a 1979 edition Hershey’s Cocoa Cookbook and it is chock-full of chocolately deliciousness!

With winter officially here, I thought it would be nice to share a few of the hot drink recipes. Cold weather makes me think of hot chocolate as well as football games and falling leaves. It’s nice to have several easy, delicious recipes to heat up a chilly evening.

Favorite Hot Cocoa

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa

½ cup sugar

Dash of salt

1/3 cup hot water

1 quart milk

¾ teaspoon vanilla

Combine cocoa, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan and blend in water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 2 minutes. Add milk, stir and heat to serving temperature but do not boil. Remove from heat then add vanilla. Beat with a mixer until foamy. Makes about 5 servings.

For a single serving, combine 1 tablespoon cocoa, 2 tablespoons sugar, a dash of salt and 1 tablespoon of water. Boil and stir for 1 minute. Add 1 cup milk and 1/8 teaspoon vanilla. Heat to serving temperature, stirring occasionally.

Spiced Hot Cocoa

¼ cup cocoa

1/3 cup sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon salt

½ cup hot water

3 ½ cups milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Dash of ground cloves

Combine cocoa, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a saucepan then blend in hot water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 2 minutes. Add milk and heat to serving temperature, stirring occasionally. Do not boil. Remove from heat then add vanilla and cloves. Beat with mixer until foamy. Serve hot. Garnish with cinnamon sticks, if desired. Makes 5 servings.

Hurry-Up Hot Cocoa

1 tablespoon cocoa

2 tablespoons sugar

Dash salt

Hot milk

1/8 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Combine cocoa, sugar and salt in a cup. Stir in hot milk to fill cup. Add vanilla and stir until blended.

Variations

Canadian Cocoa: Add 1/8 teaspoon maple extract.

Irish Mint: add 1/8 teaspoon pure mint and peppermint extract.

Orange Cocoa Cappuccino: Add 1/8 teaspoon pure orange extract.

Swiss Mocha: Add ½ teaspoon instant coffee granules.

Viennese Cocoa: Add a dash of ground cinnamon and a dash of ground nutmeg.

FamilyHolidayFavorites10-15For more delicious wintery treats, check out Family Holiday Favorites, only $2.99 on Amazon, here http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005WDHL20.

It features 50 tried-and-true show stopping recipes split into sweet and savory dishes with a splash of holiday illustrations to keep spirits high.

Claremore’s Hammett House Spreads Joy Through Amazing Pies

 

There is a special restaurant in Claremore, Oklahoma that is famous for its pies. For what it’s worth, everything on the menu is excellent, but the pies are over the moon!

Hammett House’ slogan, “As close to home cooking as it gets!” is an example of truth in advertising.

For any poor souls who may not live in Northeastern Oklahoma, keep reading! Hammett House is generous enough to include the recipes for three of their pies on the website, www.hammetthouse.com.

The restaurant has been a treasure in Claremore since 1969. And with food this amazing, their fame will doubtless continue to spread.

 

Sour Cream Raisin Pie

1 cup Sour Cream

1 cup White Sugar

2 Eggs

1 cup Raisins

½ tsp Cinnamon

¼ tsp Cloves

¼ tsp Salt

1 tbsp Butter

Cook until thick in a double boiler, then chill thoroughly (may be set in freezer to chill).

Pie Base:

1 (3 oz.) package cream cheese

½ cup powdered sugar

Mix well. Use 2/3’s of pie base to line bottom of 8″ pie crust, then pour filling on top and spread evenly. Take the remaining 1/3 of the pie base and mix with 4-5 cups of whipped topping. Top pie with whipped topping and base mixture, refrigerate.

 

German Chocolate Pie

4 cups Milk

¾ stick Butter

1 ½ cups Sugar

1 tsp Vanilla

1 Pinch of Salt

½ cup  Chocolate Chips

¾ cup Cornstarch

1 cup  Coconut

5 Egg Yolks

1 cup Pecans

Heat milk to scald. Mix sugar, salt, and cornstarch in a bowl, add dry ingredients to milk and stir constantly. Add one cup of mixture to egg yolks and stir. Add back to remaining milk and bring back to a boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Cook until thick. Add melted butter, vanilla, coconut, chocolate chips and pecans. Stir until one color. Cool shortly and put into 9″ baked pie shell.

Topping: Mix 4 cups stiff shipping cream with chocolate syrup to color.

Add 1/3 cup coconut and 1/3 cup pecans. Pile high on pie. Decorate with chocolate syrup.

 

Lemon Pecan Pie

6 Whole Eggs

1/3 stick  Oleo, melted (do not used “whipped” oleo)

2 ¼ cups White Sugar

¾ cup Pecan halves or pieces

1 tsp  Lemon Extract (juice of ½ lemon)

Mix ingredients in order given, but do not use a mixer or beat until frothy. Pour into 8″ unbaked pie shell. Put in preheated oven (350°) and bake about 10 minutes. Then cut oven temperature to 300° (slow oven) and bake until crust is browned and pie is set. Too rapid cooking will cause pecans to scorch and crust to brown before center of pie has finished cooking.

For variety, try Orange Pecan Pie — substitute juice of 1/2 fresh orange for the lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of orange extract in lieu of lemon extract.

FamilyHolidayFavorites10-15For more great holiday dishes, check out Family Holiday Favorites: 50 Delicious Dishes,  available online for only $2.99 at Amazon.

This collection of 50 tried-and-true recipes brings together the holiday favorites from several different families and groups. These are the dishes all the relatives rave about. These dishes are the most in demand!

Recipes were also selected based on ingredients and expense. All of these recipes use ingredients that can be found in most any grocery store and none use outrageously expensive ingredients.

This e-book includes color illustrations, holiday artwork, and a linked Table of Contents for easy navigation.

The book is divided into 2 sections:

– Sweet Treats, filled with desserts of all sorts, and

– Savory Dishes, other tasty fare.

The sweets include wonderful old-time baked goods like Buttermilk Pie, an amazing Apple Crisp, and spicy Molasses Sugar Cookies. A few newer recipes that are sure to become classics, such as Peppermint Bark, Pumpkin Gingerbread, and Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies are here as well.

For those who would rather not bake, try the No Bake Mints or Jan’s Pistachio Dessert.

The second section of recipes is full of great side dishes and a few main courses. Comfort foods like Best Ever Macaroni and Cheese or Smashed Sweet Potatoes are a sure hit at your next pot luck. Or surprise the crew with a new salad like Apple Cranberry Slaw or Kim’s Asian Salad.

These recipes will help spice up the holidays with new treats and tastes – from Thanksgiving all the way around to Easter.

Don’t forget New Year’s Day. Superstition says you should eat black eyed peas for good luck in the coming year. Unfortunately, many people dislike black-eyed peas, or at least think they do. Serve the Okie Hoppin’ John this New Year’s and you won’t be sorry.

Add Flair to Halloween Cakes by Starting with Cocoa

Digging around in my stack of ancient cookbooks, I ran across the  Hershey’s Cocoa Cookbook. It includes a couple of great Halloween-named cakes — Devil’s Food and Black Magic cake. But before we get into the recipes, I thought it would be nice to share the substitution guidelines Hershey included in this 1979 cookbook.

For baking chocolate: 3 tablespoons cocoa plus 1 tablespoon shortening or oil equals 1 square (1 ounce) baking chocolate.

For pre-melted unsweetened chocolate: 3 tablespoons cocoa plus 1 tablespoon oil or melted shortening equals 1 envelope (1 ounce) pre-melted unsweetened chocolate.

For semi-sweet chocolate: 6 tablespoons cocoa plus 7 tablespoons sugar plus 1/4 cup shortening equals one 6-ounce package (1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips or 6 squares semi-sweet chocolate.

For sweet cooking chocolate: 4 tablespoons cocoa plus 4 2/3 tablespoons sugar plus 2 2/3 tablespoons shortening equals one 4-ounce bar of sweet cooking chocolate.

Why all the fuss about cocoa? It is convenient because you can store it almost indefinitely in the pantry, even after the can has been opened. Also, you can spoon it directly into the mix of your recipe without pre-melting, which saves time and clean-up. Cocoa is also less expensive for cooking, so it’s a money saver.

Devil’s Food Cake

3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

2 eggs

1 3/4 cups unsifted all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup buttermilk or sour milk

1/2 cup boiling water

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs and beat well. Combine four, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add alternately with buttermilk to create a creamed mixture. Add boiling water and beat until smooth. Pour batter into wax paper-lined 13x9x2-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until done. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan and remove waxed paper. Cool completely before frosting.

(To make sour milk, use 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar plus milk to equal 1/2 cup. This is a fine substitute for buttermilk in most recipes.)

Hersheys recommends frosting your Devil’s Foood with Fluffy Vanilla frosting.

Fluffy Vanilla Frosting

1/2 cup butter or shortening

5 cups powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 to 5 tablespoons milk

Cream butter, 1 cup powdered sugar, vanilla and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add remaining powdered sugar alternately with milk, beating to a spreading consistency. Makes 3 cups of frosting.

Black Magic Cake

1 3/4 cups unsifted all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup cocoa

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup strong coffee

1 cup buttermilk or sour milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl then add remaining ingredients. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Batter will be thin. Pour into a greased and floured 13x9x2-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes until cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely, then frost.

 

July 4th Celebrations Deserve Great Ice Cream

When I think of July 4th and food, the first items that come to mind are corn on the cob, watermelon, and ice cream!! The corn on the cob and watermelon pretty much take care of themselves, but not the ice cream. So many choices, so many flavors!

I think I made a great find at a garage sale when I purchased the Complete Book of Homemade Ice Cream for a quarter! It also includes Milk Sherbet and Sherbet recipes. This book dates from 1973 and boasts 300 recipes!

With the 4th right around the corner, I thought I’d share a few recipes from this book that look the tastiest!

First, a few ice cream making tips from Carol Anderson, the author of the Ice Cream book.

  • If no cooking is required, often the ingredients can be combined right in the freezer can, which means fewer dishes to wash.
  • If ice cream is to be hand-stirred during freezing, or if it is to be removed from one container to another, use a wooden spoon to prevent transfer of heat to the mix.
  • Always allow space in the freezer can for expansion of the ice cream when it freezes. Approximately 1/3 of the can is needed for the swell.
  • Cool the mix to room temperature or slightly lower before freezing. Churn-freezing a warm mix may cause a buttery texture due to the increased freezing period.
  • Rock salt can be saved for later use by pouring the used ice and salt mixture into a burlap sack. The the ice melt to leave the salt.
  • Lightly whipping ingredients such as egg whites or cream before adding them to the mix makes a creamier frozen product.
  • Chill serving dishes for 5 minutes in the freezer if the frozen dessert is not too firm.
  • To decorate ice cream, work on a cookie sheet over a pan of ice.

Okay, ready to make some ice cream? Try these recipes on for size.

World-Famous Philadelphia Vanilla

6 cups light cream

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

2 vanilla beans (3-inch size), split

1/8 teaspoon salt

In top of a double boiler, combine 3 cups cream, sugar, vanilla beans, and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes. Remove beanpods, scraping pulp and seeds into the cream. Cool.

Add remaining 3 cups cream to the cooled mixture and mix well. Churn freeze. Makes 1/2 gallon.

Anderson notes that this is a key recipe, so cooks can use their own imagination to add fruits, nuts or flavorings to the vanilla to create many other great ice cream treats.

Banana Marshmallow Ice Cream

Anderson marked this one as a favorite of hers. It is certainly unusual.

1 cup milk

30 marshmallows

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3 cups sliced bananas (about 4 bananas)

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

3 1/2 cups heavy cream

In an electric blender, combine milk, marshmallows, sugar, sliced bananas, and lemon juice. Blend on high speed.

Whip heavy cream and then stir into blended banana mixture. Still-freeze. Makes 1/2 gallon.

Anderson notes that still-freezing is just what it sounds like. You make the ice cream mix, put it in a container, and freeze it in the freezer. No churning required. You can churn ice creams mixes that are made for still-freezing, but don’t still-freeze a mix that was created for churning. The still-freeze mixes have a lot more air whipped into them.

Blueberry Ice Cream

2 pints fresh blueberries

1 cup granulated sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 cups heavy cream, lightly whipped

1 cup evaporated milk

Mash berries and cook with sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes.

Press berries through a sieve. Cool.

Add salt, lightly whipped heavy cream and evaporated milk to the berries.

Churn freeze. Makes 1/2 gallon.

For more great freezable flavors, try Gourmet Ice Pops for Kids and Adults. It’s full of great flavors, from kids’ favorites, to more sophisticated flavors, to naughty but delicious alcohol-infused party pops. Available exclusively through Amazon. On sale for the 4th at 99 cents. Now that’s a great party waiting to happen!

Here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/Gourmet-Pops-Kids-Adults-ebook/dp/B007SPP0I2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1341240133&sr=1-1&keywords=gourmet+ice+pops+for+kids+and+adults

Making May More Mexican

Ever since Cinco de Mayo, I’ve been feeling like having more Mexican food! I made my favorite, Queso Grande, for Cinco de Mayo and had delicious soft tacos at a friend’s house, but it somehow hasn’t been enough. So, I remembered that I picked up an old Mexican cookbook at a garage sale recently.

It’s called Favorite Mexican Cookin’ and it was published in Amarillo, Texas in 1972. I cracked it open looking for a new favorite dish. But, alas, many of the recipes are not very Mexican. They contain ingredients like crushed saltine crackers. Huh?

But I kept looking, and think I’ve found a couple to try. Both are served cold, so they will be great additions to my summer menu.

Pinto Bean Salad

2 15-ounce cans cooked pinto beans, drained

4 tablespoons hot chili sauce

1/4 cup chopped bell pepper

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup pickle relish

1/4 cup chopped celery

1 tablespoon piniento, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients then chill thoroughly. Serves 6 to 8.

The use of pickle relish as an ingredient should still disqualify this as an authentic Mexican recipe, I think, but it sounds like it may be tasty. Worth a try.

Here’s another recipe that’s a Mexican twist on an American favorite.

Mexican Cole Slaw

1 medium head cabbage

1 small can pinientos

1/2 cup chopped green onions

2 teaspoons chopped bell pepper

2 teaspoons hot chili sauce

Dressing:

2/3 cup salad oil

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

1 cup vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons salt

It is better to prepare slaw 3 or 4 days in advance. Combine dressing ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to boil. Pour immediately over cabbage, onions, pepper, pimiento and chili sauce. Slaw will keep for weeks.

I suspect that I will want to add a bit more sugar to this recipe because I like my cole slaw a little sweet.

I’m excited to try out some new Mexican recipes. These should be great side dishes when I make quesadillas, too. Ole!

For great quesadilla ideas check out 25 Quick & Easy Quesadilla Recipes available online for only $1.99 cents at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony or Smashwords.

Devil those Easter Eggs

Easter is just around the corner so it’s time to gather the deviled egg ideas to use all those hard boiled eggs!

First, to have Easter Eggs, you need hard boiled eggs. For anyone who doesn’t know how to hard boil eggs, here’s the easy way:

Place a dozen eggs in a single layer in a large saucepan then add enough cold water to cover them by about an inch. Cover the pan and heat to full boil then turn off the heat. Let eggs stand in the hot water for 20 to 25 minutes then run cold water over the eggs to cool.

After the Easter Egg Hunt, you may be left with lofts of eggs. We always check them carefully and only use eggs that have no cracks in the shell, then make deviled eggs. Our favorite recipe follows.

But if you have lots of hard boiled eggs and want to get adventurous, try adding an extra ingredient or two to the deviled yolk mixture. If you make a ham for Easter, dice up a bit of ham and include it. Or if you are an onion fiend, try mincing up some chives for festive-looking deviled eggs. You could even add both ham and chives for a special treat!

Southern Deviled Eggs

12 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled

1/2 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish

2 teaspoons prepared mustard

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Paprika

Cut eggs in half, lengthwise. Remove yolks and place in a small bowl. Mash yolks with a fork then stir in mayonnaise, relish, and mustard. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Fill egg whites with yolk mixture. Garnish with paprika. If made in advance, store covered in refrigerator until serving.

Note: Spoon filling into a sandwich baggie and snip off the corner to create a dispenser. This makes it quick and easy to fill the egg whites.

Southern Deviled Eggs recipe is from Family Holiday Favorites: 50 Delicious Dishes, available online for only $2.99 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony, Kobo or Smashwords.