Oh Oh Something Shiny!!!

No Theme Required – Just Whatever comes up in my Brain

Three Bachelors left = Tres Leches — July 14, 2015

Three Bachelors left = Tres Leches

Every Monday, my daughter and her friends hang out at the house and watch The Bachelorette. I have never watched any sort of these shows nor do I like them. But, when your child is 19 and the only night she is at home you take what you can get. So, every week, I make something for us all to pig out on while watching Kaitlyn slobber over all the guys.

First off, I do not like to advertise for this show but it isn’t like my four visitors in history of this blog is going to make a difference!!! Here is my opinion about the show.

1. Do they have a microphone in her nose or inside her mouth? I mean, she either kisses really loud or they turn her microphone up to 100 or something.

2. Do these guys have vaginas? They whine as much as women.

3. How did Shawn not know her and Nick did it like what…………… on the second episode or something? Wow!

4. Shawn is just different … I don’t know what and God knows I am not in the place to judge on appearances but he is just odd.

5. What happened with the guys and the bromance?

Now that I have that off my chest, I feel a little better.

I didn’t want to come home and cook a five course meal as usual last night. Jordan is going to Virginia for two weeks so I didn’t want to spend all night in the kitchen yelling, “Who is she kissing now?” while everyone else got to enjoy the show. So, I ordered pizza. And let me just say this……………… I had one piece only because ever since I started making my own pizza crust, the Chain kind is just nasty!!!! I swear I can taste the preservatives!!!! But, the girls enjoyed it so thats’ what matters…………….. that, and the fact that I didn’t have to stand in the kitchen and cook while everyone else got to hang out.

While waiting on the girls to get there, I remembered the croissants on the kitchen counter. I had bought them last week and nobody ate them. Ugh!!! I decided to look up bread pudding recipes and attempt that. I had never made one and I had about 30 minutes of boredom.

Of course on Pinterest, there are hundreds but I saw the word Tres Leches and was intrigued. I mean, hello…………. I love that cake!!! I also thought about Greg at this moment because I remember his mom making him a bread pudding years ago saying it was one of his favorites. Now, that I know her and their relationship, I don’t know if he just said that to her or if she just said that in general because most things are all about her. I promise, that isn’t meant in a bad way…….. I have never seen her make something because someone else likes it. Just Sayen!!!

I do know that Tres Leches is one of Greg’s favorite desserts and he has been in the funk lately so I figured I would be nice. Plus, Tres means three and there are three bachelors left on the show. I also happened to have everything (or so I thought) and I won’t have to throw away the croissants. Winning!!!

Here is a link to the recipe:

Tres Leches Bread Pudding

After tearing up the croissants, I realized I did not have any whole milk so I had to substitute Half and Half. I don’t know the difference between the two really anyways so what the heck.

I also used Bourbon instead of rum just because I like bourbon.

I also put some in the liquid portion at the end.

All in all, I think it was pretty good……… I have only tasted Bread Pudding once but I think it had the correct texture from what I remember. As far as tasting like Tres Leches…………. I am not too sure. Personally, I think it needed more bourbon or possibly some Kahlua.

I do have to say, it was very easy though and for some reason, I was always under the impression that Bread pudding was difficult. I am sure my MIL made it out to be when she made it but really don’t remember. Of course, nobody else ate any of it which was really annoying!!! I am sure the girls didn’t even know what Bread pudding was. They left to get ice cream as soon as Kaitlyn’s make out sessions were over. And of course, Greg didn’t get a piece.

Ugh!!! See if I am nice and thoughtful again.

My new “Toy” — May 27, 2015

My new “Toy”

At this point I have no clue why I am blogging. It is as if I am writing to myself or something and humoring myself as well. Is that how all blogs start? Why do people start blogs anyway? It is like I am talking to all these people but yet there is nobody there. And how the heck do people make money from blogs? And what does buying a blog mean? I am so confused. I do admit, my “blog” came in handy this weekend though…. I was at Kroger and I decided to make Banana Pudding. I got on pinterest  and I had pinned at least ten Vanilla pudding recipes. Well Dangitt!! I really liked that one I had made last time. So, I just googled “Banana Pudding Oh Oh Oh something shiny” and there my recipe came up!

I am famous!!! OMG!!! You can actually google me and I come up!!!

Okay, to the point of this blog … I guess I am talking to myself because I saw I had no views on my “Mom’s under pressure” blog but I need a place to keep the recipes I have made on it for my own use. I cook all my meals on Sunday most of the time but something just aren’t good re-heated. Plus, I love to try new gadgets. Well nw to me………..

My first recipe I tried was Porcupine Balls. I had never heard of these but I had all the ingredients AND the meat was thawed out. I did use Turkey meat instead just because I have 25 extra pounds to fit in my jeans so I am trying to be healthy. Oh, and it is cheaper than Beef of course. I did however, add my Wildtree Spaghetti Seasoning and a little cayenne to it to make it my own of course. It was a hit! Even with Jordan and she is pretty picky. And, they really did look like porcupines I swear. They were really cute!

My second recipe was Chicken and Rice Soup . I used a box and a half of Chicken Broth though. I am a hoarder of food so my freezers are full of meat. I don’t have space for homemade broths. HHHMMMMM, maybe I should buy another freezer….

Note to self: Check Craigslist next for a used freezer

This came out awesome as well! I am very impressed with it. Now, it won’t replace me cooking at all. I know that. I enjoy the smell, the cooking huge pots, etc. But, this will totally be good for quick meals with meat that has been in the fridge for three days and needs to be cooked or if I didn’t cook and want something simple and healthy in the pm.

That Wednesday, I met a friend for Happy hour. I came home and Greg had even made something. Yes!! He never cooks (unless his parents are coming over and I go on strike in the kitchen while they’re there). Now grant it, the sausage was already precooked but he had put some rice in under the sausage. Just a faster rice cooker I am thinking but I of course did not knock it. The juices got in the rice also while cooking so it was very flavorful as well.

I left it on the counter for a week or so…….. I was fixing to write 2 weeks but I don’t think that it has even been that long since Mother’s Day. I know it is under the counter now in my “Toy” cabinet with all my other gadgets now though. My plan was to leave it out and maybe Pops would experiment some more and actually enjoy it from time to time. But no… didn’t happen.

Oh Wait!!! I did make something else with it though………. I kept seeing on Pinterest how you could make ribs in an hour or so. That Thursday, I stopped by HEB from work and picked up some Pork Ribs. I came home and found Baby Back Ribs . They were really good. I was very surprised. Of course, we had had several glasses of wine while they were cooking but I promise, the next day they were still good (despite being hung over and having that nasty taste in your mouth). I didn’t use that brand of spice or that brand of BBQ sauce but I am sure it will taste the same. I will totally make it again that is for sure!

Over all, I am still happy with buying a pressure cooker. Yes, an outfit or some new shoes would be more fun but if you’re like me and can’t sit down then you’re always looking to try new things. I am also hoping for my daughter or Greg to get “inspired” when they see it.

I do have pictures but I only write in my blog / write to myself while at work.  And yes, I have the pictures on my phone but would mean I would have to transfer from my phone which makes it appear I am not working and that is just cccrrrraaazzzzzzyyyyyyy!

Crown Royal Truffles — February 23, 2015

Crown Royal Truffles

I love Chocolate period. It is the reason I cannot see my crotch at the moment.   I have always had thunder thighs and can live with having blisters between my legs from just a five minute walk.  Heck, I have done that since I was three.  However, the gut is really bothering me.  This has not been my year… I have turned into a lazy procastibaker.   I know I can’t blame anyone else but myself for my new waistline.  I just have no motivation. Therefore, I handle my new weight gain the only way I know how………..  eat more chocolate and drink more wine.

I will get over this slump and become the old Collette one day I promise!  But, until then, I will use the excuse “I just didn’t have time to work out cause I had to cook for my family”.  I am sure anyone would agree my entire family NEEDS truffles.  Doesn’t everyone?

One Saturday am., I was watching my Idol, the Pioneer woman.  She was making her Sea Salt Truffles.  I was totally jealous how hers was perfectly found and smooth.  I have tried cake balls before and mine turn out looking like massive hair balls that my cat has spent the past four hours choking up.  I decided I would try them and send them in care packages to my family who is in the navy along with sugar cookies, and macarons.

Last Sunday, I stayed in the kitchen the entire day making my treats.  Unfortunately, the truffles only got started.  They never got past the point of putting in the fridge the first time.  Lets face it….  sugar cookies are way more time consuming than I ever presumed before and I feel very bad for not appreciating every bite I ingested when my grandma and mother would make them.

But, back to the truffles….  As the recipe says, I put in the fridge after making the chocolate mixture.  It said to put in the fridge for 24 hours then before you were ready to make, take them out and let them get to room temperature before forming into balls.  So, since I actually worked out this week there was no time to let them have time to come to room temp AND to make the balls.  So, I left them in their bowl with a lid for the week.  Sunday am, I woke up and let them sit on the counter while I watched a lifetime movie and drank my coffee.  They were still not room temperature so I had to get another cup of coffee and watch a few episodes of Chicago PD while they “warmed up”.

Whew!!!!  These things are a lot of work!!!

Finally, they’re room temperature and I could get to work.  I formed them into balls and heated just regular chocolate bark in the microwave.  Then, I dipped the balls in the chocolate and put on a cookie sheet.  No, mine were not near as pretty as the PW but by this time it is 7 pm and I am worn out from my extensive day of making truffles.  I put some hickory salt like she did on a few of the tops but for the most part, I left them plain.  At the end, I tried to squeeze some left over pink glaze over the top but it wasn’t the effect I was going for.  Oh well.  They still taste yummy!

Here is my version

8 oz – bittersweet chocolate

8 oz – semi sweet chocolate

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 1/2 Tbsp. Crown royal

Mix all ingredients in a double broiler. Or, you can get really fancy like me and put a pyrex mixing bowl on top of a quart saucepan and stir.

Once melted, cover bowl and let set in fridge for 24 hours

Take truffle filling out and let set to room temperature.  Form into little balls.  Put back in fridge for at least an hour

Dip the balls of chocolate into your melted chocolate bark or almond bark.  Do not get too hot.  Just melted is enough.

Dip, roll, and set on waxed paper.

While wet, you can dip into sprinkles, chocolate crumbles, nuts, whatever you fancy.  You have to act quick though.  This would be great for kids.

After I finished all the balls, I still had chocolate so I dipped some strawberries in also.  You can never have too much chocolate!

You’ve never heard of a Rice Cooker? —

You’ve never heard of a Rice Cooker?

I grew up in Winnie, Texas.  Not many people have ever heard of this town.  If they have, it is all about the restaurant there, Al-T’s Steakhouse.  It is hilarious to me because I see all my friends checking in there every time they go past Winnie on the way to Louisiana or on the way home.  It is a Tourist destination.  However, I want to tell them how people from Winnie do not go there.  The food is disgusting!  Well, their breakfast is pretty good but other than that, their food does not compare to any of the coon-ass families I grew up eating dinner with.

I have people over quite often for dinner.  Several weeks ago, I was making gumbo and had my rice cooker out.  Everyone was asking what it was.  When Jordan has friends over, they always ask what that big white thing is.  Even she is shocked!  I have to pat myself on the back.  Since leaving Winnie, I do not eat near as much rice as the normal Winnie person does but I could not live without my rice cooker.

Last week, I went to visit my Winnie friends.  While I was getting me some rice for my Etoufee out of the second full rice cooker, I told my story how people in Pearland have never seen a rice cooker.  We all laugh and they remind me I was born in Rice county where Rice is a food group.

Since I have learned to cook, I have invested in numerous small electronics.  Some are amazing.  Some, like the Rice cooker, I could not live without.  You can cook an entire meal in the rice cooker.  It has a steaming tray on top with holes.

For instance, last night, I was making my rice to side with my gumbo.  In the top tray, I seasoned some fish and fresh broccoli.  While the rice was stealing I was also cooking my lunch for today.  I have also made Quinoa in it.  I have no idea why this is not on the counter of every home.  I had a friend who never cooks and finally did her first meal in six years the other day.  She was so proud of herself.  She said she bought herself a steamer and it made things so easy.  After describing it to me, I said, “oh you bought a rice cooker?”

Grab your balls and go — February 8, 2015

Grab your balls and go

 

I use to be a good wife / mom and wake up at 5:00 a.m. every morning and make breakfast for the girls and Greg.  After about 2 years, I got tired of coming home from work at least three days a week to find Greg’s wrapped breakfast still sitting on the counter.  And of course, all the dirty dishes I would dirty making their breakfast would still be on top of the oven with the (now bad) leftovers in the pot.

Now, I wake up at 7:00 a.m. and I am out the door at 7:23 a.m. If they want breakfast or lunch it is in the fridge and they can wake up ten minutes earlier to make it if they want it.  I mean, they’re all still asleep when I leave in the am and home when I get home.  Therefore, they are perfectly capable of making their own breakfast or heating up left overs right?

Yesterday, Greg was complaining how he spent $30 on breakfast every am.  Of course, my blood pressure raised immediately since I feel he is perfectly able to wake up and make his own breakfast.  Ugh!!!!  This am, I saw the episode of Trisha Yearwood cooking for her nephews.  She had made these peanut butter protein balls. So, I decided to go and get everything to make them for quick grab and go breakfasts this a.m. Of course, I changed hers up a bit in hopes that Jordan may grab and go as well.

Here is my version

4 Cups regular Old fashioned Oats (not one minute)

2 Cups extra crunch peanut butter

1 Cup raw honey

1 Cup of chocolate chunks

1 pkg of Craisins

1 pkg of yogurt covered raisins

3 Tablespoons of flaxseed

I put the oatmeal, PB, and flaxseed in the food processor first.  Then I added the honey.  The processor wasn’t sounding very happy so I decided to quit before I overloaded it and dumped everything in a bowl.  I mixed everything else and it is now in the fridge.

20150207_203605            20150207_203407           20150207_203218

According to Trish’s recipe, you roll them in balls after 30 min.  and then place on waxed paper and store in the fridge.  I haven’t gotten that far.  I still have them in the big bowl. I plan on rolling them tomorrow.  Of course, I have busted Greg going in several times and grabbling handfuls of dough.  I be damned if he eats it all before tomorrow and has nothing for the week.

 

My very first chocolate pie — January 5, 2015

My very first chocolate pie

 

Growing up, traditions were not something me or my brother were a customed to when it came to holidays.  Well, maybe there were traditions……

New step-parent every year

Weeks of arguing where we would be for Christmas Day

Traveling to at least five places all day long

I am not griping at all.  At the time, we thought that was normal. We didn’t know.  And we have had lots of laughter talking about the memories. I like to say my family put the Fun in Dysfunctional.  There were a few things that were always present no matter what.  One was my grandma’s chocolate pie and my grandma’s sugar cookies. They were a staple no matter what.  I grew up extremely close with my Grandma Lindemann. I still say today if it had not been for her, there is no telling how I would have turned out.  She was my rock.  She is the one thing I knew would always be there. She lived in the same house, went to the same grocery store on Thursdays, woke up at the same time every morning and watched the same shows everyday. I grew up in Winnie with my mom but during the summer I would go stay quite a while with my dad and he would take me to stay with my grandma Lindemann or Grandma Harbes every day while him and my step mom were at work.  I loved going both places.  They were my favorite people in the world.

As my grandma Lindemann got older, she started taking short cuts with her baking and cooking. I never said a word and ate with a smile and listened to her latest “change” and acted as though it was just the same.  Heck, she was 70 years old.  Good Lord.  Her specialty was desserts.  Her meringue was always perfect. It was at least 3 inches high. Of course, I didn’t appreciate this “talent” at all.  I feel bad admitting it but I took the meringue off every pie she put it on.  Of course, seeing it all the time did give me a “standard” . When I would visit other’s holidays and I would see their “attempt” at a meringue I would think in the back of my mind how they so desperately had no clue obviously.

When my grandma died, my mom pretty much took over the roll of reproducing my grandma’s sugar cookies and her chocolate pies.  She would arrive and be so proud and want us all to gawk over her beautiful dessert and then tell a story about grandma.  I will admit, it was quite annoying at times.  I was thinking what is the big deal???  Grandma did it every year and never asked for a trophy.  I think some of it was also jealousy.  Mom would make a point to say how the chocolate pie was specifically for my brother.  So, I assume the cookies were just for me???  Okay, I know they weren’t but can I pretend please?  I would get a little jealous since every holiday grandma would make me a special dessert.  She always made me a cottage cheese pie every Christmas and every Birthday.  But, I also understand that cottage cheese is not everyone’s “thing”.  That was between my grandma and I.

When my mom passed away, the only thing my brother mentioned he would like is one of grandma’s old pie plates.  Well, unfortunately, none of my grandma’s stuff much less my mom’s stuff has become available to me or him.  I am just crossing my fingers hoping my step dad has not given everything away.

Okay, I will shut up before I get on that rage.  Happy Thoughts!!!!

A couple of months ago, I came across an old pie plate Tracy was talking about.  At that moment, I decided I was going to ATTEMPT a chocolate pie for him for Christmas.  I mean, we didn’t have 20141224_222848

many traditions coming up but if there was something I could do about keeping one thing somewhat normal, I was going try.

 

I asked my aunt if she had grandma’s pie crust recipe and she said no.  Of course, my mom probably has it since she kind of took the pie thing over but it isn’t like my step dad wants me going through any of her stuff.  So, I had to improvise.  I have a copy of the “Walkins Cook Book ” from the 1930s.  I figure that would be the best place to start.

 

Here is the pie crust recipe:

1 1/2 cups sifted flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp Watkins baking powder (don’t think this exists anymore.LOL)

1/2 c. shortening

1/4 c. butter (no cheap stuff)

1/4 c. or less ice water

Sift dry ingredients together and work in chilled shortening lightly.  Add ice water slowly and roll on lightly floured board.  Line pie tin,  have dough well over edge of pan.  Roll dough outwards from center, keep in circular form.

Hints from the Hint section in the Watkins cook book :

You can use lard

Use only enough water to hold dough together.  Chill for several hours or overnight

Do not grease pie tin.  Just dust with flour

Make circle 2″ bigger than pie pan upside down and cut so you will have hangover for the edges

Brush the edges with egg whites to brown and give a nice color

The border should stand up over the edge so nothing will fall out over edges

To bake with filling inside put in 350 deg. oven and bake 40 to 50 min.

To bake shell only, poke holes in shell with fork and bake for 12 to 15 min. at 400 deg.

My hint: I doubled the recipe just in case so I knew I would have enough for my shell to hang over like Grandma’s did.

 

20141224_22284120141224_23025320141225_010747

As you can tell, I don’t do a very good “circle”. After four attempts and a few tears I finally got it. It still wasn’t big enough to make the beautiful waves I was so going for so I added extra dough onto the sides and tried to mimic the way that Carla Hall did it on the Chew one morning.  She made it look so easy.  Also, my crust was uneven so I got a wine cork and rubbed it vertically up the sides to try and smooth it out which would make lots more come over the top and it was an ongoing issue.  My husband tried to come help but me being stubborn as I am told him to go upstairs and I would figure it out on my own.

Yep, ADHD moment………..  frustration and anxiety cause it isn’t perfect.  Ugh!!! I will get this dangit!

So, yes it ended up with full fledged fingers instead of the pretty “waves” but I had to tell myself it would all be okay.  I placed it in the oven to brown and one of the fingers fell off when I took it out.  Trying not to break down in tears and start bauling, I told myself one finger gone would be okay.

While that was cooking I had started on the filling.  I was really stressed about this since I am very picky about my pies.  Ever go somewhere and you are so excited to see the chocolate pie but of course you wait til the first slice is gone.  An hour later you go back and it is cut into but the filling is all spread through the entire plate, looking more like a melting pudding pop then a cake?  Yea, totally ruins my appetite.  I was very worried this would happen.  So, I told myself since my crust wasn’t beautiful the filling had to make up for it.

For the filling, I turned to my favorite Texas Food blogger, The Homesick Texan.e only thing I did differently was use Hershey’s DARK cocoa.  I just love it more. It gives everything more richness.  And, I like to say I am fighting cancer while eating my dark chocolate. And, it is less calories so of course it is healthy right?

http://www.homesicktexan.com/2008/09/grandmas-chocolate-pie.html?m=1
Homesick Texans Chocolate Pie

20141224_233809IMG_20141224_235034     20141225_010905      20141225_01091020141225_01115020141225_01155220141225_01245320141225_102542

Now don’t quote me but I am almost positive I doubled the filling.  I knew this was a deeper than normal pie plate and I wanted it to be full.

Another one of my pet peeves……….  more crust than filling

I know I stood there stirring for about half an hour. I wanted it so thick my wisk wouldn’t move anymore.  When reviewing her recipe, she had said that you have to get it as thick as you want before putting it in the fridge cause it does not thicken up once it gets cold.  Awesome that she put that note!!!  I would not have thought that at all.  I think that is why I love her so much.  She does give little details like that that some people probably take for granted.

So, Christmas morning, I am so excited about my “gift” for my brother. It wasn’t really the pie. It was more about the pie plate.  I wasn’t going to say anything and just decided to wait and see if he noticed.  Of course, him being a man, he didn’t. He brought his piece and I said, “Did you notice what it was baked in? I found it so you get to keep it since that is all you asked about when mom died?”. His answer???  “I asked for that?”.  Typical man…….

Ten minutes later, my step mom goes to the pie and says, “Thats’ where my pie plate was. I have been looking for that. I must’ve left it there at your house last Christmas”.  I told her how I thought it was grandma Lindemanns and she said it was hers.  I told her the story and she laughed and told my brother he could still keep it anyway.  I felt bad. I was so disappointed It isn’t like I feel her plate wasn’t important. It is just we haven’t been able to get anything really from my mom’s.  When I have gone through things, none of my grandma’s stuff that I know my mom had is there.  I don’t know if other women have came and taken it or its’ been thrown away since it was “old”.  All I know is I was so excited thinking we got at least one of my grandma’s memories and it ended up not being hers.  Yes, I am bitter and angry. I admit it.  Ha!  If Gaylyn’s “church friends” are the ones who took the stuff, it is just stuff to them.  They obviously have no respect for me nor care about what may be important.

Okay, on a rant again… I will shut up!

Over all, I was very proud of my first pie. I wasn’t impressed about my “finger” reaching over the top but I am sure that will get better with practice.  I liked the dark chocolate flavor better than the regular chocolate flavor. The pie crust was awesome.  It was flaky as heck.  My brother asked how I got my grandma’s crust recipe and I told him I got it from a really old cook book. He said it was dead on.  (patting my own shoulder).

Until next year……..

 

as far as chocolate pies go

 

 

Banana Pudding with Meringue — December 31, 2014

Banana Pudding with Meringue

Homemade Vanilla Pudding

1 1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar

8 Tbsp. Cornstarch

1 Tsp. Fine Salt

9 Cups Whole Milk

12 large Egg Yolks, lightly beaten

12 Tbsp. Unsalted butter cut into small pieces

8 Tsp. Vanilla Extract

Place a mesh strainer over a 4-cup measuring cup or bowl with a spout and set aside.

  • Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan and whisk until incorporated. While constantly whisking, slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup of the milk until smooth. Whisk in the egg yolks and remaining milk.
  • Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook, whisking often, until the pudding begins to thicken and just starts to bubble. Since this is such a big amount, it took me about 20 min. Yes, it is boring and hard as heck to stand in one spot for that long but I promise (Pinky swear even) it is worth it!  Reason #485 I have a TV in my kitchen
  •  Reduce the heat to medium low and switch to a rubber spatula. Stir constantly, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan, until the pudding makes visible ribbons when drizzled over the surface.  Yes, you have permission to play with your food at this point.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla extract until the butter is melted and completely incorporated. Pour the pudding through the prepared strainer into a good sized mixing bowl. Press a piece of plastic wrap on top of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Chill in the refrigerator until set.  All the recipes say a few hours but in reality, I would suggest overnight.  If you are making this for a Saturday get together, I would suggest doing the pudding on a Thursday PM after work.

Now, get some wine and relax….  You have just now made Homemade Vanilla pudding.  Who does that these days with all the hustle and bustle going on in the world ?

Personally, I like all desserts the next day.  It gives the food a time to “marry” and all the flavors blend in in my opinion.  So, you can either finish this step the day of or in my opinion the night before.

Besides, you have to worry about looking cute right?

Start by layering your serving dish. I personally like the trifle bowls for stuff like this.

20140824_201614913_iOS

Layer the pudding, then your vanilla wafers, then your bananas.  I tried to stand some up on the side so you could see the definite layering on the outside of the bowl.  Keep repeating the layering until you are to the top.

Now, apparently, banana pudding usually has cool whip on top.  Me? I have never heard of such a thing.  Actually, when my grandma started getting older, she would take short cuts with her cooking.  Adding cool whip on her Banana pudding was one of them.  Personally, I didn’t like it and would say I was full if it had cool whip.  My husband said he had never had banana pudding any other way…. especially with a Meringue.

Maybe his family didn’t know how to make one???  Just Joking 🙂

I can’t talk any noise cause I tried to make one once ten years ago and it was a disaster.  But, my mom is gone and so is my grandma so someone has to step up to the plate right?

Of course, I googled a recipe.  Here is the one I did for the pudding.  I am use to a very high meringue.  I mean, I am from Texas so we like everything big here.  I like to think of a meringue as the desserts hair and I did grow up in the 80s.

No, this isn’t me. I just googled 80s hairstyles and my hair was very similar to this one.  I wonder if she used Vavoom hair spray and got her bangs that high with a toothbrush also….

80s hair

So, long story short, I doubled the recipe.

http://www.food.com/recipe/easy-meringue-topping-34403

20140824_202946577_iOS

I love my kitchen aid! It is so ADHD friendly!  You can walk off and basically forget about it.  I think that is the secret here … be patient!  Perfection takes time.

20140824_203538187_iOS

Now, me being in a hurry when making this I totally forgot to “Pin” the Meringue I made.  For my next pudding, I made another one and it was not near as good or fluffy.  There was way too much sugar!  But, I have also heard humidity does have a part to play when you make a meringue.  HHHHMMM, maybe I will google that real fast to see if the rumors are true.

After it is light and fluffy, just spoon it on the pudding.  Don’t make it flat and smooth…  make it big and proud!

20140824_203845621_iOS

Then, put in the oven.  That’s it!  If you do decide to make it the night before, your meringue may fall a little but will still taste good.  So, if you want it extra high,   you can wait until the last minute for that part.

20140824_204936979_iOS

I do honestly think my grandma was smiling down at my meringue saying, “Well, its’ about time”.

20140824_204946633_iOS

Meringue:

4 Egg Whites

8 Tbsp. Sugar

1 Tsp. Vanilla extract

Pudding Mixture

Box Vanilla wafers – and no off brands allowed.  There are some things you can’t skimp on

About 4 or five bananas

Homemade Vanilla Pudding

1 1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar

8 Tbsp. Cornstarch

1 Tsp. Fine Salt

9 Cups Whole Milk

12 large Egg Yolks, lightly beaten

12 Tbsp. Unsalted butter cut into small pieces

8 Tsp. Vanilla Extract

Shrimp stuffed Eggplant – Asian Style — August 26, 2014

Shrimp stuffed Eggplant – Asian Style

Every week before I buy groceries, I ask my kids and husband if they are hungry for anything in-particular.  Every week, they say “no” then are complaining on Wednesday about nothing to eat.  Then I go into a long spill how there is this and that and blah blah blah.  Most of the time, it is pure laziness cause I have spaghetti sauce made and all that needs to be done is boil noodles.  Or, they don’t feel like going into the garage to get something to heat up.  I do admit, sometimes it is because my teen daughter probably just doesn’t like what I have prepared.  To that, I remind them, “I asked you if you wanted me to make you anything in-particular. You should have spoken up.  You can’t live on fast food”.  It doesn’t happen as often anymore. She is tired of hearing my reply over and over I am sure just as much as I am tired of saying it. Or, she will go to Greg and ask if we can go out to eat.  He always says yes to her. LOL!  And, I have been known to send Jordan to ask him if we can go out to eat if I am tired of eating leftovers for the week.

However, this week Greg asked me if I would make “shrimp stuffed eggplant like Fung’s”.  For a foodie like me this made me very excited.  One, that he finally gave me input.  Two, cause it was a challenge.  We have only been to Fung’s Kitchen twice.  If you live in HOuston and have never been, you have to go on a weekend.  They have carts of dim sum they just roll around and you grab them as they pass.  There is also Steamed Chicken feet (in clear bowls mind you) and even pig snouts.  It is an experience if you have never seen such things.  For me, my first time was also the first time I had even tasted dim sum so I really enjoyed it.

 

Since I had never tasted Dim Sum, Greg told me to order something off the menu “just in case” I don’t like Dim Sum.  At that time, we were still dating so he was very worried about me enjoying all these new experiences.  Remember, I am a country girl……………  Asian food was still fairly new to me so I ordered Eggplant of course.  I love Eggplant! Then you add some shrimp and that has to equal the “Big O” inside your mouth right?  It was awesome!!!  However, it has been at least five years since we have visited Fung’s so when he requested this, I had to use my brain and remember the exact way it was.  I googled “Shrimp stuff eggplant” and came up with numerous options.  I am much better with pictures so this picture resembled what I remembered the most. http://www.pinterest.com/offsite/?token=940-97&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwhataboutsecondbreakfast.blogspot.com%2F2010%2F11%2Fmoms-shrimp-stuffed-eggplant.html&pin=268808671483903937

This was how many eggplants I started with.  They are the Japanese Eggplants which sometimes are difficult to find but will be at any Asian Grocery store.  Of course, the closest one to me is all the way in China town so I make sure to have a few planted in my garden every year.  They produce a lot as well!

20140824_233247517_iOS

 

Now the cutting was quite tricky.  The recipe I was following did have a few pictures though so I had to keep checking it out.  Just gets tiring on my little 3 inch phone screen so It is hard to see exactly how to do it.  Thankfully, I had quite a few eggplants.  Btw, I was doubling this recipe.  Since some of these are small, I think I ended up using like nine of them.  I did have left over filling though which was very disappointing. I hated throwing away Shrimp! In her blog, she also explains how to make Dim Sum so you could easily use the shrimp stuffing to make your own.  You would just need to buy the little Won Ton wrappers.

Here they are cut.  Trial and Error people Trial and Error 🙂  I loved this Challenge!

 

20140824_234238499_iOS

At this moment, it was very hard not to “play with my food”

 

20140824_234259034_iOS

Now, the blog does not mention soaking the eggplants in salt water before hand.  When using regular eggplant, all the recipes I am usually doing says you need to soak the eggplant in salt water for about 30 minutes so it won’t be bitter. I do know when you just normally “fry it up in a pan” (Dynomite moment there)  you cannot taste a difference.  I still always soak Japanese eggplant just in case.  It isn’t like this is a difficult stage anyway.

20140824_234724433_iOS

 

While those were soaking, I made my shrimp stuffing.  I just used frozen de-veined shrimp that was already pilled.  Yes, it was the lazy version.  Since I didn’t know exactly what I was doing and my memory wasn’t the best, I didn’t want to buy fancy shrimp at 9.00 a pound ecspecially since I was doubling the recipe.

My stupid logic: I had all these eggplant I had to use. I can’t waste these FREE eggplant so I have to spend all this money on shrimp to use ALL of them.  If it doesn’t turn out, at least I didn’t waste any food.  Yes, I shake my head at myself too. Don’t worry.  I have been known to go spend $15 dollars on stuff to make a particular dessert to save the two apples that are on the verge of going bad so I won’t be wasting them.

The recipe says to lay them out and smash them.  I tried that. I got my cutting board out and spread the shrimp out on it.  I covered the shrimp with saran wrap and started beating it with my meat tenderizer.  After several shrimp flew from under the wrap, I decided this wasn’t a bright idea.  I opted on putting it in the food processor since the directions said to cut the shrimp after beating it anyway.  Took ten seconds!

 

20140824_235755548_iOS

I also put the 1 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp cornstarch in with the shrimp at this time.  Remember now, I am doubling the recipe so the ingredients are doubled if you’re comparing it to the “real” version.

 

20140824_235823996_iOS

They remind me of Cookie monster.  🙂  You can tell by looking at first they were straight edged then I started getting my diagonal technique down eventually like she originally shows.

 

20140825_001102089_iOS

 

20140825_003631848_iOS

At this point the clouds separated and Angels sang in my head!!!  I finally remembered what the eggplant looked like at Fungs.  It was just like this but was fried. So, I decided to take a detour and try my own thing a bit.  I mean, I have to keep my thighs touching somehow. They may miss rubbing against each other!

So, I made me up a bowl of eggs and put some salt and pepper in there.  I also made me a plate of flour and added salt, pepper, garlic, and some Chinese five spice powder.  This is all in addition to the “real” recipe of course.  It was approximately about 1 tsp of each.  Just dip in the egg mixture then coat with flour.  This also helps with the Shrimp mixture not falling out while frying.  I just pressed it neatly as tight as I could then would be sure and cover the filling part with flour as well.

20140825_001004512_iOS

 

20140825_001106052_iOS

And here it goes……………………  Lets Do This!

20140825_010604243_iOS

 

I am a regular viewer of The Chew and they frequently point out not to crowd the pan.  This is very frustrating for an ADHD person cooking three meals all at the same time!  But, as Carla Hall says, “There is flavor in the brown”.  And, I hate admitting it but it is very true.

 

Excuse the blurry pictures please……….  I take all these from my I-phone.

20140825_010920629_iOS

While those were browning, I made my sauce.  Now, at this time I was planning on making rice as well so I tripled the original recipe.  I also added about an extra teaspoon of sugar.  No, I did not have mirin.  And, since she had an easy substitute I decided it wasn’t safe to go on the hunt for Mirin since that would make me go on isles I didn’t need to go on. Ha!  I mean, there could be something “New and Improved” or god forbid, something shiny.

I also took the lazy route and used Penzey’s minced garlic.  I know I know!!  If I am doing this I need to do it right.  Well, remember, I am making three meals at a time here.  At this point, I am approaching hour six and am getting tired.  Here is my spices and oyster sauce ready and waiting to join the party!

20140825_011345631_iOS

 

As I took the eggplants out, I sprinkled a little salt and pepper on them as well.  This picture looks like a huge blob. Wow!  They really don’t look like this on my camera on my Instagram page I swear!

20140825_012342245_iOS

 

The recipe says to put them all back in the pan but does not say whether to empty the pan. To me, there was just too much oil in the pan still so I opted to empty it out.  I did however add a little olive oil though before adding the sauce just in case. Probably only 1 Tbsp though.  Then, I put the eggplant in the sauce and let it simmer for about 5 to ten minutes while I washed dishes and opened my wine.

20140825_012345952_iOS

 

 

Nothing but the finest for me!  Can’t get any better than Barefoot right?

20140825_014124290_iOS

Since Fungs serves everything family style I got my fancy serving dish out.  Plus, I don’t have any of the cool rectangle plates and I just thought this dish needed to look more appealing.  I hurried and cut up the scallions because yes, I did forget about them and this definitely needed some garnishing.  Usually, I could care less about garnishes but since I am now an official “blogger” I have to umph it up a little bit I guess.  That is, if I ever get a view. LOL!  But, until then, I can jot down all my recipes and keep them along with my tweaks that I come up with along the way.

Final Product:

20140825_014600699_iOS

We ate outside on our back porch. I just took two forks outside along with the wine and gave it to my husband.  To all you feminists, no I usually do not make his plate nor carry it to him.  I was just particularly proud of my dish and felt like I would’ve made Fung’s chef proud.  As you can tell, the rice never got made.  I was done at this point!  Needless to say, there was none left.  We shared this plate then my husband took the rest and ate it all.  I think he liked it!