Thursday, December 29, 2011

What a Beebs Cooks and Eats!

Please enjoy the following recipie from my Husband, El Grande Beebs! Beebs' Own Guacamole recipe available upon request!!

Migas Con Fajitas de El Grande Beebs

This is a very large pan of epic breakfast goodness.
The following recipe is not Mexican or American, it is exclusively Tex-mex. Living so close to the Texas/ Mexico border, we have grown up with our forks on both sides of the Rio Grande. Migas translated in English means crumbs. This recipe utilizes left overs, which makes it smart, and delicious, just like El Grande Beebs. So break out the sombreros, and get ready for a fiesta in your boca (mouth).

1/2 bag of left over corn tortilla chips (NOT STALE!!)
3/4 stick of butter
2 tbs dried onion
1 tbs minced garlic
1 dozen eggs
1/2 cup half and half
1 1/4 cup of your favorite salsa (Pace Picante works well too, and no need to get a rope)
12oz package of shredded cheddar and monterrey jack cheese
Leftover beef or chicken fajitas

Step 1:
Heat large skillet to med low, melt your butter and add the onion and garlic. Cook until onions are slightly browning. Lightly crush corn chips, and add to the butter mixture. Toast to a golden brown perfection. Add leftover fajita meat to a pan, sprinkle with water, and stir occasionally on low temp.
Reheat your fajitas and make those chips toasty brown
Step 2:

Whisk together the eggs and half an half thoroughly. Add salt and pepper as you please, but don't forget the chips are salty. Add egg mixture to the toasted chips, and make sure to distribute the chips in the eggs.
eggs, milk, whisk get to it!

Step 3:
When the eggs are almost completely done, add your salsa and lightly fold into migas. Add your cheese on top and serve
So very close to done, but something is missing.... 

Step 4:
Serve with Beebs' Own Guacamole, and sour cream. Don't forget the tortillas, and divy up the fajita meat.

You can't handle the deliciousness that is shown in this picture. I know. It's okay. 

Adios from The House of Beebs, and a big thanks to my special guest chef, and photographer, El Grande Beebs!  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Peanut Butter and Chocolate Kind Of Love

Possibly two of my favorite flavors in the world are peanut butter, and chocolate.  I have been known when desperate or just feeling reckless to eat teaspoons of peanut butter drenched in Hershey syrup, with no ceremony.  I am a total hoss, and recommend you not do as I do. But if you made these cookies, it is almost like doing the same thing, and way more respectable.  Remember that! (If you eat it in cookie form, it is more respectable.) Peanut butter blossoms are yummy, easy to make, and look pretty on a plate.  This cookie walks a fine line between candy and cookie, and unless you are allergic to peanuts, it is the bee’s knees. In total honesty, I don’t make these for me; I make them for my almost 29 year old “baby” sister. If it wasn’t for her, my life would be a 1000 times less funny and satisfying. Not only is she my best friend, but she is the mother to my baby boy, and she is utterly selfless. So I make these every year just for her.  Merry Christmas from The House of Beebs!!

48 HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup REESE'S Creamy Peanut Butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Granulated sugar

.) Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.

.) Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.

.) Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.

.) Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each
cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.
About 4 dozen cookies.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Oddest Christmas Ever!

Christmas is due in less than 9 days, and it is time for those who make an epic meal on Christmas or Christmas Eve to start scrambling for the store to pick up the turkey or ham and trimmings. My family is pretty traditional in regards to the feast. We usually do ham and potatoes au-gratin, green beans, stuffing, and rutabaga. What is a rutabaga?? It is what you get when you try to cross a cabbage and a turnip. It is popular all over the world but it is most often called a Swedish Christmas tradition. Now how my Irish Italian mother picked up on a Swedish tradition I will never know. (She is special like that.) But as a kid, I rejected the veggie and it's odd name. My parents were great about not forcing food on us as kids, if we didn't want to eat it, we simply didn't have to. But as an adult, my tastes have changed considerably. I now look forward to the unusual treat with my Christmas dinner. You may eat this twice a week, but we don't and I find it something special to look forward to.
Ugly, yet tasty...
So my challenge to you is to find something out of the ordinary to make a part of your Christmas feast. It doesn't have to be anything elaborate, it could be a simple as preparing a veggie you or your family would normally walk past as if it wasn't there or adding cajun spices to your turkey and stuffing it with boudin. This is how traditions are made. Your kids won't have the slightest clue why you added dried cherries to the stuffing they will just know that omg that Christmas stuffing is the best!  No one says you have to completely stray from the norm, just make it a little more special. Don't be scared!

This year we are changing up our Christmas Eve program. Usually, we party at Mom and Daddy's house having drinks with family and friends that stop by here and there. But this year we have opted for a quieter version of the event at my sister's house. We may not be hosting the usual gang, but we are going to make some finger foods, drink some whiskey, and possibly enjoy a fire. I will decorate a gingerbread pineapple with the kids, and enjoy the grab bag of rednecks, geeks, and freaks I love most in this world (my family). 

Yes, they make these, and yes I bought one.
 Doing something special and different is what makes memories, and after all the wrapping paper settles, and the last bit of figgy pudding is shoved down our gullets, that is all you have left, the memories. Go Enjoy!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Toffee Talk

The most impressive gifts to give are not the most expensive. I honestly think that a basket filled with homemade treats is almost as good as getting that diamond you have been after for awhile. While, I might be exaggerating slightly, (seriously guys get her that diamond!) Homemade toffee is just below that. It is so ridiculously easy and tasty, you will kick yourself for not making it before. People are extremely impressed when you bring them boxes of homemade toffee. This simple 5 ingredient recipe is so delicious and decadent, you will be crowned Christmas Queen or King for making it. Bag it up nicely, and give it out to co workers, and extended family. Everyone gets something yummy and you get +5 admiration from everyone.

You made this?!

2 cups butter
2 cups white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup finely chopped almonds (or try crushed candy cane, it looks so festive!)

1.) In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the butter, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Allow to come to a boil, and cook until the mixture becomes a dark amber color, and the temperature has reached 285 degrees F (137 degrees C). Stir occasionally.
2.) While the toffee is cooking, cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
As soon as the toffee reaches the proper temperature, pour it out onto the prepared baking sheet. 

3.) Sprinkle the chocolate over the top, and let it set for a minute or two to soften. Spread the chocolate into a thin even layer once it is melted. 

4.) Sprinkle the nuts over the chocolate, and press in slightly. Putting a plastic bag over your hand will minimize the mess. 

5.) Place the toffee in the refrigerator to chill until set. Break into pieces, and store in an airtight container.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cookies Rule and Cookie Rules

Cookies. They are a portable party. Everyone loves them, and if someone says they don't they are LYING. (they just haven't met the right cookie yet!) Baked from scratch cookies are the apex of the hierarchy in cookiedom, but just below are the slice and bakes, and the dry mixes. These two make you exert very little energy, and can still come out fabulous, but at the very bottom of all is prepackaged store bought cookies. Unless you are using junk food cookies for an ingredient in a recipe,  save the energy you spent on opening the package on picking your nose. No, it isn't the thought that counts. Now I realize there are certain times you can't do freshly baked goods. For instance my nephew's school tells parents that all baked goods must come from the store in a sealed package, nothing homemade. I find this both gross, and sad. If you aren't totally understanding what I am saying here, try this:

Unlike the food pyramid you always see, the bottom of my diagram is bad, and the top is yummy delishisness.
You can't top the hard work of someone mixing and measuring the flour, eggs, and what-not. Those preservative laden easy-open packaged imposters try to trick you into thinking they are good and fresh, but that is bull, and you know it! If you are sure that mixing and measuring is not your thing, or even looking to save time, but want to come out looking like a hero, try the pre-made dough, or even the dry cookie mixes found in the baking aisle. You can make these easy-does-it cookies with little effort, and can even add to them, morphing them from okay to "Wow! you made this?!" However...

Baking is a delicate, and attention demanding process. Don't try to rush your product, or forget about it, because you will end up disappointed, and hungry. Everyone that cooks has issues with a product coming out just right. I have over cooked plenty of cookies, and tend to still do that when I am in the kitchen at this time of year. It is easy to get distracted when you are doing so many things at once. I have a few tricks that help me put my cookie care packages together with pride. I make no less than 5 different cookies every year, and that doesn't include the fudge, toffee and truffles I usually make as well. I have much to keep me busy, and my rules make my mountain of self inflicted work look effortless.

1. Some things can be corrected or substituted, if you know what you are doing. But if the recipe calls for white granulated sugar, and all you have is white powdered sugar, DO NOT SUBSTITUTE!!! The only exception is the replacement of shorting for butter. When at all possible, use real butter. You and your taste-buds will thank me. You are welcome.

2. Use your timer. Buy a timer. Borrow a timer. Make sure it is something that will get your attention, just in case you get caught napping in between batches. (!!you should never sleep with the oven on!!) Your recipes will always give you a time range after the oven temp. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes. What are you supposed to do with this!? Do as I do. I set the timer for the lowest time. Come back and judge your product at the sound of the alarm, and either pull them, or reset for another couple minutes. Hover over the oven like a mamma bird. Going from done to burnt happens in a blink.

3. Parchment paper promotes easy clean up and even baking. Get some. Right now. I'll wait.

4. Your oven has a mind of it's own. I don't care if you can roast a rack of lamb in it like America's Top Chef. When you are baking, you get to see all of your oven's personality traits. You don't discover them until you put your fist batch in, and you start noticing that one side is browning, and the other is half baked. Your oven has a hot spot, isn't that adorable? You rotate the sheet so the under cooked side is getting the hot spot and pat your stove with a loving look in your eye. Possibly you set your oven temp, and it preheats as it should, and you pop in your sheets of currently gloppy goodness. You set your timer like I told you to, and came back to burnt product! WTF!? Don't always trust your oven's dial. It is like a woman, but instead of lying about it's weight it lies about it's temp. Bump your temp down 25 degrees, and wait 10 min to put in the next batch. Now this round, time it to the bottom of your time range given, but check those cookies every few min. Just to see how they are getting along. When they are looking good, take note of the time, and set your next batch to the beat of that tune. You are looking like a kitchen genius my friend.

5. I mentioned butter in rule #1. Using it in your baked goods shows you really care about how your product tastes. But there are things you need to do to make sure that your product doesn't fail you. Butter is usually room temp @ mixing time. So that leads to a batter that will spread like lava from a slowly moving volcano. Before you know it, your cookie sheet is one big cookie.  If that happens, say you meant to do that, and ice it like a cake. Add sprinkles, and viola! Cookie cake! But to prevent that from happening, put your raw dough in the fridge for 30 min to an hour. I know that seems like a long time, but hot kitchen + warm dough = hot mess. Prevent the melt down with some chill time. This goes for the cookie sheets too. No don't put them in the fridge, but make sure you aren't adding the dough to hot sheets. This produces the same issues. Allow ample time for cooling between batches.

6. How to make a chewy product: This part is a bit of luck, and a bit of savvy. If you are looking for chewy, pull the product from the oven a min or so early, and cool on wire racks ASAP. But beware, over mixing in the bowl can make any cookie come out crunchy. A gentile touch, and a keen eye. It's science!!

 7. Have fun.

These are but a few of my secrets of cookie conquering. You will never catch me making cookie cuts outs in my kitchen. I buy the pre-made ones and decorate them if I so desire. It is the same with gingerbread houses. I am more for enjoying the act of decorating and spending time with the kids, than making gingerbread walls and royal icing. Buy a kit, save the time for deciding on what candy goes on the roof. No one said if you aren't covered from head to toe in flour you didn't do it right. It could be as simple as breaking off a sugar cookie dough square and rolling it in red and green sugar before you bake it. It isn't the cost or the time, but the effort and love you put into it that makes it special. Go forth and bake cookies people, if for no one but yourself.