Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

The Epic Fail of the Dinner Rolls

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011
Something had triggered the memory of Donna Blair’s rolls in the kitchen in hers and Wooten’s house on the big hill.  We would go up to visit and Donna Blair would always be making fresh rolls.  They were sweet, a little floury and delicious!  When this memory triggered, I knew I wanted to make some sweet dinner rolls.  This was obviously a mistake because a) I’ve never made rolls from scratch before and b) I don’t bake very well.  But I was bound and determined to give it a shot, which let to my comedy of errors.First off all, let me start out by saying you should never …NEVER bakes stuff in the oven when the daytime temps are over 100 degrees every day.  It will heat up the house to unbearable levels and will basically make you melt.  That being said, I pulled out the water, milk and yeast and mixed it up in the kitchen aide mixer.  I was then supposed to add softened butter.  Here is my first problem.  I didn’t let the butter soften long enough so I basically had little butter chunks floating in the liquid.  This was disturbing, but I figured I might as well press on.I added the egg, sugar, salt and such.  Then I slowly added the flour.  As I got to the end, I switched to a dough hook because the stuff was just to thick.  I let it mix with the dough hook for a couple of minutes, then I removed the bowl from the mixer and covered it to let it rise.  I set the timer for 45 minutes.When the timer went off, I went to punch the dough but oddly enough, it hadn’t risen and was kind of cold to the touch.  But never one to stop a task for such trivial problems, I pressed on.  I broke the dough apart and rolled it into little balls and put them in a pan.  I was going to let them rise another hour, but since everything had seemed cold I moved the pan on top of the stove and covered it.  I had preheated the oven to 400 but since these were going to rise for an hour, I turned the oven down to about 250.When I came back after the second rising cycle, I was pleased to see some progress.  The rolls seemed to have risen nicely and it was time to put them in the oven.  Following the directions, I popped them in the oven and set the timer for 10 minutes.  When the timer went off, I went and checked and they hadn’t even thought of turning brown  yet.

“Hmmm…”, I thought.  “Lets give them another 5 minutes.”  So I reset the timer and went back to the chair.  When the timer went off I checked them again and still they weren’t even close to brown.  I decided to give them yet another 5 minutes.  I set the timer and sat down and then it dawned on me.  I had reduced the oven temperature to 200 when the rolls were rising.  They were never going to cook at this rate!

I raced into the kitchen and turned the temp up to 400, wondering what I was going to finally end up with out of this fiasco.  I gave them about 8 minutes and they were browning on top so I pulled them out.  I pulled out my wooden cutting board to place them on, turned the pan upside down and shook, waiting for the rolls to pop out.  Oddly, the rolls gave no response.  I shook again.  Still no response.  I banged the edge of the pan on the cutting board.  Still nothing.  Then it dawns on me.  I didn’t grease the pan!  I grabbed a spatula and tried to scrape the rolls out of the pan but ended up just ripping things apart.

I looked down at my failure with scorn, but decided I might as well see what the taste and texture is like.  I gathered some of the mush up on a plate, grabbed some jelly and sat down at the table.  They were not the best rolls I’ve had, but they were definitely edible.  I discovered from the taste that to attempt to recreate Donna Blair’s rolls, I would need to add some more sugar (hers were definitely sweeter) and a bit more flour and salt.

All in all it was a worthwhile experiment and I will definitely try again, but probably not until the weather cools in October time frame.

Day 7 of the 31 Day Personal Photo Challenge – + BONUS!

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

I got up this morning and wasn’t feeling so well.  I took some meds and before they took effect decided to whip up a little breakfast treat.  So today, in addition to the photo, I’m gonna give you the recipe for my “Reeses In A Blanket”.  This is real bachelor cooking.  Unfortunately, my food photography skills need a little work.  I’m ordering Nicole S. Young’s great new book “Food Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots” and hopefully mine will improve.

Reeses In A Blanket

Reeses In A Blanket

Well let’s get to it.  First, the picture:

Now the recipe:

REESES IN A BLANKET (Measurements not really required)

A can of crescent rolls
Peanut Butter
Milk Chocolate Chips
Melted Butter
Chef Paul Prudhomme’s “Sweetie” seasoning (You can substitute a mixture of sugar and cinnamon if you don’t have any.

Preheat oven to 35o
Lay out each crescent dough triangle flat
Spread some peanut butter on each triangle
Sprinkle a little “Sweetie” on each triangle
Place a few chips in the center of each triangle then roll/fold/close however you like
Brush with melted butter then sprinkle with a little more “Sweetie”.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, (Until golden brown)

Allow to cool then chow down!


A Little Romantic Dinner

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Although this is cool anytime for anyone, I’m mainly throwing it out here for the men since tomorrow is Valentine’s day.  There are expectations, gentlemen.  Expectations, I say!  You’re gonna need a nice, romantic dinner and if you don’t want to go out, I’ll throw out a little bit of home cooking that should do the trick.

Let’s do a Fondue!!  But what is Fondue?  Fondue is a Swiss and French dish of melted cheese served in a communal pot (caquelon) over a small burner (rechaud), and eaten by dipping long-stemmed forks with bread into the cheese.

Now, at first reading, this may sound complicated, but trust me, if I can do it, anyone can do it.  Just remember the main mantra, KEEP STIRRING!

We’re going to do two fondue dishes here.  The first is our main course which will be a sharp cheddar fondue with a little cajun kick served with apples, celery, carrots and toast.  Then for desert, we’ll do a very simple chocolate fondue with apples and toasted cake.  So if you happen to have or can get hold of two fondue pots, cool!  If not, you can serve it in regular bowls, but if you are going for that romantic edge, the fondue pots are the way to go.

Next lets make a little grocery list.  You’re gonna need some stuff, but don’t get intimidated.  This really is pretty easy.

  • 1.75 cups of Heavy Whipping Cream
  • A large package of good quality, extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Wouschester sauce
  • Tabasco sauce
  • Cajun Seasoning
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 package of chocolate chips (milk or white)
  • 2-3 large apples
  • Small package of strawberries.
  • celery
  • Loaf of french bread
  • Carrots
  • Small white or chocolate cake from bakery (no icing)
  • Lemon Juice

Now the key to a good fondue is timing and the key to good timing is preparation, so you want to get everything set up and ready to go before you start heating anything up.  Start by washing and cutting the veggies into bite size pieces.  Place the veggies in individual bowls cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge until serving time.

Next, toast the bread and cut into bite size pieces.  Crisp is good here.  Next cut the cake into slices, toast, and then cut it down into bite size pieces.

Wash the strawberries and cut the tops off, if you like.  Put in a bowl and refrigerate.

Finally, wash and cut the apples up into bite size pieces.  Put half the results in each of two bowls and add just a little lemon juice to keep them from browning.  Cover with plastic wrap and toss in the fridge.

Now lets lay out the ingredients.  In a couple of measuring cups, put 3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream in one and a cup of heavy whipping cream in the other.  In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg.  Get your cheese package open and ready to go because you don’t want to have to run around trying to open the package while you have cream burning on the stove.  Have the rest of your ingredients sitting close and ready to go.

If you are brave, you can try to cook these simultaneously, but if this is your first rodeo, you can make one then the other or even make one, eat, make the other and eat again.  Whatever you feel comfortable with.


Put the cup of heavy cream into a pot and and slowly bring to a gentle simmer, STIRRING CONSTANTLY.  When the cream is simmering add the cheese, still stirring constantly.  Keep stirring until cheese is melted and smooth.  Add a couple shakes of Wouschester sauce and KEEP STIRRING.  Next, add the egg and continue stirring.   Add a couple of shakes of the cajun seasoning, a shake of tabasco and a pinch of salt and pepper and KEEP STIRRING (noticing a pattern here?)  Now the hard part.  First, take a little taste of your fondue.  Need more salt, pepper, cajun seasoning?  Add what you think it needs gently until it’s right.  Next, look at the consistency.  Does it look too thick?  Add a little more cream or part of another egg to thin it out.  Does it look to thin?  Add some more cheese.  When it’s good, remove from the heat, put it into your fondue pot and light ‘er up.

Now just serve it up with half the apples, the toast, the celery and carrots.


Now this one is super easy!  Just like with the cheese, put 3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream into a pot and slowly bring to a gentle simmer STIRRING CONSTANTLY.  When you get that nice simmer, pour in your package of chocolate.  Keep stirring until it’s smooth.  Remove from heat and put in your fondue bowl.  Serve with apples, strawberries  and toasted cake.

Serve the whole thing by candlelight and you have a winning, simple romantic dinner!

Turkey Day

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

I’ve tried to stay on my back a bit today, but did get a little bit of cooking done.  Here’s a couple of shots from my cooking escapades today.

Turkey Day - 171/365 - 26 November 2009

Bird bird bird...Bird is the word...

Boiling Potatos

Boiling Potates in Black and White


Cajun Chili and Cornbread

Sunday, October 11th, 2009
Chili and cornbread - 125/365 - 11 October 2009

Chili and cornbread

Chili and cornbread-3

Cuttin' the cornbread

Chili and cornbread-2


Chili and cornbread

Corn bread in iron skillet


Welsh Rarebit Recipe

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

I’ve got a simple little recipe for ya today that I’ve been making for over 20 years.  Welsh Rarebit (Rabbit) is a wonderful cheese dish similar to a fondue sauce.  Traditionally, it’s served over toast, but you can dip in it like a fondue but I love to use it over grilled fish.

Let’s get to the recipe.  The key to this particular dish is to have everything you need ready to go right by the pot before you start.  It’s easy but requires constant (and I mean constant) attention.  Here’s what you’re gonna need.

  • 2-3  bags(16 oz) of extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup of cream (you can also use milk)
  • one egg, beaten
  • 1 tbls worcestershire sauce.
  • tabasco sauce
  • cayenne pepper

Whatever you are going to serve this on/with (toast, fish, as a fondue, etc..), ensure it is ready BEFORE you begin making the welsh rarebit.  It should be served immediately.

Stir constantly throughout the following process.  In a pot over medium heat bring the cream to a boil.  Slowly stir in about 1 1/2 packets of the cheese.  (add a little bit, let it melt, add a little bit, let it melt, etc…)  When the sauce is smooth, add the egg.  Again, when the sauce is smooth, add the worcestershire.  A couple of dashes of the tabasco and a couple of shakes of the cayenne.  Stir until it’s smooth.  If you want it a little thicker, stir in some more of the cheese.  Remove the pot from the heat and immediately serve.

As long as you are prepared and keep stirring, this recipe is as easy as it gets.  If you stop stirring and the cream/milk or cheese burns, throw it out and start over.

Cabo Wabo Anyone?

Friday, August 28th, 2009

I maintain that Cabo Wabo tequila is the best I have ever had. It’s great for cooking, shooting and, apparently, photographing. If you’ve never tried it, do yourself a favor and get a bottle. It’s worth it!

Cabo Wabo Anyone - 81/365 - 28 August 2009

Cabo Wabo Anyone?


I got my birthday present a day early!

Friday, August 21st, 2009

I think I’m gonna cook up some chili first!

Got my Birthday Present a Day Early - 74/365 - 21 August 2009

I got my birthday present a day early!


Lans’s Cajun Turkey Chili

Monday, August 10th, 2009

This is a repost from my blog.  It seemed like it belonged over here, so I moved it.  (If you notice at the end, it’s not just this year that I whine and complain about the heat in South Texas)


It’s been real hectic for me recently. I have been majorly stressed and somewhat depressed, (don’t worry, I am not going to spontaneously write poetry here) so I decided today that I needed a little comfort food. Unfortunately, I had a few things in mind that sounded good and couldn’t decide. I love good Chili, so I thought about that. I was craving some cajun/creole also. So I just grabbed some ingredients and started playing. It turned out really well, so I decided to share the reciepe (well…actually, I wanted it somewhere so I wouldn’t forget what I did…but, sharing is good too). Since how much of each depends on the size of your pot/crockpot, I am only giving vague quatities. So here is the reciepe for Lans’s Cajun Turkey Chili:


Bunch of Celery
Bell Pepper
1/2 of a Large Onion
2-3 Cans of Tomato Sauce
1 Can of Rotel Chili Fixings
1 Polska Kielbasa
Cooked Ground Turkey
Package of frozen corn
Can of Cream of Chicken Soup
Tablespoon of chopped garlic
2 Bay Leaves

Turn the crockpot on high and put in the Tomato Sauce, the Rotel and the Cream of Chicken Soup and the Bay Leaves. Add some Kosher Salt and some ground Black and/or White pepper, whichever you prefer (I use both). While this is warming, cut and saute’ the Trinity (Onion, Bell Pepper and Celery) in some butter. Add the chopped garlic at the end just to mix the flavors. When it is done, add it to the pot and begin browning the ground turkey. At this point I also added a little cumin (the rotel already has some, so not too much) and some Paul Purdhomes Cajun spices. Use whatever creole/cajun spice salt you like. Emrils is good if you want to stay with a milder taste After the Turkey is brown, put it in the pot and add the frozen corn. Cut the Keilbasa in to bite size pieces and add to the pot. If you like it hot, add some “Slap Yo Mama” salt, if you can find it.  If not, tabasco or cayenne will do nicely. If you like it mild, ignore this step. Let it simmer until you get really hungry, then remove the Bay Leaves and chow down. Top with some cheese if you like.  (I love to top it with an extra sharp cheddar)

I think this reciepe would be even better if a cold snap just hit. I wish that would happen. I am sick of the heat!

See…every now and again you can show up here and I will actually talk about something that you can use!

Chocolate Pear Wontons

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

A while back, I made treats and they were EXTRA GOOD so thought I would share the recipe.


1 Bartlett Pear
1 Package Milk Chocolate Chips
1 Package White Chocolate Chips
1 Package Wonton Wrappers
Peanut Oil
Confectioners Sugar

This is so simple. Wash and peel the pear and cut it into fairly small pieces. Take a wonton wrapper and place a piece of pear, a few milk chocolate chips and a few white chocolate chips in the center. Moisten you finger tips with a little water and then run them along the 4 edges of the wonton wrapper. Lift each corner and connect them in the center. Give them a good pinch to make sure they stick.

Heat the peanut oil in a pot over medium high heat. Carefully drop each wonton into the oil and leave until golden brown. The wontons will begin to float so you will need to carefully flip them to brown the tops. Remove and place on paper towel. When they have cooled a bit, sprinkle with confectioners sugar.


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