Friday, February 28, 2020

Buttered Cod on the Stovetop

Missy Tippens

I love cod. I usually buy it fresh and have some wonderful recipes for cooking it. (See here. And here. And here.) But I've also bought a bag of individually wrapped, frozen cod filets and found they cooked up mushy. I cleaned out the freezer the other day and found three of those filets left, so I let them thaw in the refrigerator (which I hoped would help, instead of cooking from frozen like last time).

Then I dried them off with paper towels as best I could (the moisture seemed unending!). Then I used a recipe from Valentina's Kitchen that sounded delicious to me and mentioned that it could be used with frozen fish as well.

The spice mix used to coat the fish had salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika (click above to see the amounts).



I melted the butter in the skillet. I used a little less butter than the recipe called for because in my smaller skillet, it was going to be like deep frying the fish. :)

After two minutes, I flipped the fish. It looked beautiful!


Next I topped the filets with pats of butter and sprinkled with lemon juice, and then let them cook for three more minutes. Is there anything better than food pan fried sautéed in butter? :)


 This turned out really good, even with the frozen fish! So I think the trick is to let the filets thaw and to dry them before cooking.


P.S. Check out those golden, crispy, air-fried tater tots! :)

Have y'all tried working with frozen fish?

www.missytippens.com

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Pecan-Topped Sweet Potato Pie





How can something that sounds that good, possibly be bad?

It can't.

And it wasn't, LOL!

I wanted a sweet potato pie recipe for a Southern book series I'm part of. "Savannah Secrets" is a new Guideposts mystery series that debuts this May, and I wanted to create a great pie to feature in my second book that will come out next March...

And this one has all the feels, folks!

First, I used the basics of the most popular recipe out there, on Allrecipes.com. When a recipe has hundreds or thousands of thumbs up, votes or reviews, you know it's wonderful.

But then I read the comments, what people tweaked and it made sense to me. I like things a little more robust, so using brown sugar instead of all white made sense... Using evaporated milk instead of regular milk. Adding a dash of cloves like you do with pumpkin pie... And baking the sweet potatoes instead of boiling to keep them dryer, but then running them through my food processor with the "S" blade to puree them. (That was clutch, there were no strings and the texture of the pie is hearty but smooth, smooth, smooth!!!!)

And then my own pecan topping. (Recipe below)

I had a frozen pie crust, so I thawed that and rolled it out.

I baked sweet potatoes the day before.  You only need two or three for a pie, I used two cups of the pureed sweet potatoes per pie.

SWEET POTATO PIE 

2 cups pureed sweet potatoes
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened (well, mine wasn't soft enough so I softened it in microwave to blend it)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup evaporated milk

Blend butter and sugars with sweet potato. Warm in microwave if needed to blend the butter in properly. Add eggs, milk and flavorings. Mix well on low to medium/low speed. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 425 for fifteen minutes, then reduce heat to 350 for about 45 minutes, depending on your oven. You'll know pie is done because the center will puff up when cooked and will have a dry-to-touch feel.

Cool on counter.  Top with pecan topping. Refrigerate once fully cool.

Brown Sugar Pecan Topping

1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk, cream or evaporated milk
1 cup chopped pecans

Melt butter in 2 quart saucepan for stirring room. Add sugar. Heat to boiling, stirring the caramel mixture. Add milk. Stir in until smooth and velvety. Add pecans. Spread on pie and allow to cool.



I had a couple of folks who wanted straight pie, so I went halfsies... and both sides were marvelous!

Also, there's this little announcement....  SQUEE!!!!!!!!



THE PAPERBACK RELEASED THIS WEEK!!!!!

And the Kindle edition releases in four days.

I am so excited to be releasing this beautiful story, the third Wishing Bridge story with (wait for it....)

A bonus chapter for a 4th WISHING BRIDGE story to be released in early 2021....

Oh be still my heart.

Okay, that's it until next week as we tackle some new territories here and welcome March with all of her capricious ways... she and I get along quite well. :)

There could be a reason for that, LOL!

USA Today Bestselling Author Ruth Logan Herne is holed up like a rabbit in winter, working on stories while the winds howl and a persistent wintry mix of rain/snow/sleet/ice seems to be the recipe for this year's precipitation, meaning there is a lot of mud and standing water on the farm... therefore her task is to avoid the mud at all costs! Stop by Ruthy's website ruthloganherne.com, friend her on facebook, follow her on Twitter or email Ruthy at loganherne@gmail.com She'd love to hear from you! 


Wednesday, February 26, 2020

A Quick and Delicious Spaghetti Dinner


Sometimes a gal just wants her pasta.

But maybe she doesn't want it to be complicated, and maybe she doesn't want meat sauce, but she needs some protein.

Whatcha gonna do?

Anyone channeling Ado Annie from Oklahoma?

Have you seen this recording from the Broadway show?



Okay, back to pasta.

This is one of my favorite pasta dishes and it is so easy.

Start with a jar of sauce. I'm using Barilla's Roasted Garlic. Heat it up and then mix with a generous helping of ricotta cheese (how much you use depends on how many servings you need). Sometimes I add in a little mozzarella as it's heating up.

I prefer to serve it over angel hair pasta, but something sturdier like rotelle works too.

SO good.




The finished sauce ready to ladle over pasta.





Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Flan

Recently, my husband and I had lunch at one of my favorite restaurants. One of the best things about this restaurant is that it serves one of my all-time favorite desserts. Creme Brulee.
It was rich and smooth, but not too sweet, just the way a traditional Crème Brulee should be.

Of course, when I got home, I wanted more, except I've never made Crème Brulee before. However, there is something I have made that's very similar and I love almost as much. Flan.
Growing up, custard was one of my favorite desserts. Then I moved to Texas and was introduced to flan. For me, it was a new and improved version of custard with a caramel coating. Then along came crème brulee. I don't remember when or where, just that it was love at first bite. And don't try to get all frou-frou on me by trying to "improve" upon traditional crème brulee by adding mango or whatever other flavors you might think. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Crème brulee is perfect as is. 'Nuf said.

Now back to that flan. It's creamy like a crème brulee, but with a  slightly different texture. It's not difficult to make, however you do need to plan ahead. 

Your ingredients are:
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (think Eagle Brand)
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Sprinkle the sugar in a large heavy skillet or saucepan. Add NOTHING else. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until sugar melts and turns light brown. So that you won't be intimidated or wondering if you're doing it right, here's a series of pics on this progression.
 
 
 
Be careful not to overcook it, though, or it will have a burned taste. 

Once all of the sugar, quickly pour hot caramel into a lightly oiled 9-inch round cakepan, tilting to coat bottom evenly, then set aside. (Caramel syrup will harden and may crack, but that's okay.)
In a large mixing bowl, lightly beat eggs, then add remaining three ingredients. Whisk until mixed. Pour custard mixture over syrup in cakepan.
Cover pan with foil and place in a large shallow pan. Add hot water to pan to depth of 1 inch. I added the water after setting the sheet on the baking rack in the oven.

Bake at 325 for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Don't worry if it still jiggles as though it's still liquidy. As long as the knife comes out clean, you're safe.

Remove pan from water bath, and uncover; cool completely on a wire rack.
After it has cooled, cover again and chill at least 8 hours.
Loosen edges of flan with a spatula.
And invert (quickly) onto a rimmed serving plate, allowing the melted caramel to drizzle over top. I set my plate over the pan, then flipped.
Now, if you think you're seeing some different pictures/kitchens here, you are. I forgot about the 8 hours of chilling, so the finished product was not ready when I was typing this post, so I had to reach back into the archives. That does not detract, however, from the fact that this flan is AMAZING! And I can't wait for this most recent one to come out of the pan so I can dig in.

Do you have a favorite dish/dessert that takes on different forms and you love them all?

Three time Carol Award finalist Mindy Obenhaus is passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. She lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, one sassy pup, countless cattle, deer and the occasional coyote, mountain lion or snake. When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, cooking and watching copious amounts of the Hallmark Channel. Learn more a mindyobenhaus.com.

Monday, February 24, 2020

A New Puppy!

I don't think Maggie-Cat will ever forgive us.


Meet Sam! In this picture, he's looking a little woozy. It had been a day of huge changes for him: A couple strangers came along and took him away from everything he had ever known. Earlier that day he had gotten his second round of shots. And he was having his first car ride, fighting sleep the entire way.


Sleep finally won.

Sam is from Nebraska, the state immediately to our south. I don't know about you, but when I think of Nebraska, I think of homesteading, the Oregon Trail, and prairies. We had been through southern Nebraska on I-80 a few times, and we were familiar with the Omaha area, but to pick up Sam, our route took us through the Sand Hills.


We followed Nebraska State Highway 2 from Alliance to Sam's home near Grand Island. The road follows the railroad (originally laid out in the 1860's) through the Middle Loup River valley. The rolling hills and the winding river were beautiful and we saw huge flocks of Canada Geese. It was early in their migration, and I can just imagine what this area will look like in a few weeks...

Because that's when the Sandhill Crane migration starts!



Or watch this video for a quicker look:


I'd love to visit the Sand Hills during March to watch this spectacular sight!

The biggest thing about our drive through Nebraska, though, was the variety of the scenery!

Most of us expect the prairies to look like this:


And there is a lot of this flat land there, but the majority is rolling hills. Then in the northwest corner of the state, you have the Nebraska National Forest.

A National Forest in Nebraska? Definitely!


Beautiful, isn't it?

But back to Sam. The biggest question we faced was: how will Jack take to this newcomer?

Well, after a day together they were down to this:


And a little of this:


And poor Maggie is hiding in the closet.

But things will change. Sam will grow and get bolder. Jack will learn that playing tug-of-war with another dog is great fun. And Maggie will set her boundaries.

Until then, it's "Oops! Another puddle!" LOL!





Jan Drexler lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband and growing family. When she isn't writing, she loves hiking in the Hills or satisfying her cross stitch addiction.

You can find Jan on Facebook, Jan Drexler, author, or her website, Jan Drexler.com


Friday, February 21, 2020

A Week of Dental Work, Oh My

Missy Tippens


I don't have much to share in the way of cooking this week. I've had a rough couple of weeks with my teeth. After a week of awful nerve pain in my jaw and teeth on one side, I finally went to the dentist on Monday and had a filling replaced. We're hoping that is the culprit for the pain. Afterwards, I was feeling a good bit better pain-wise. However, the very next day, I bit down on something hard in a salad at a restaurant (never did find what it was), and broke a different tooth on the other side of my mouth! So I returned to the dentist on Wednesday. We have a plan for a crown. Fingers crossed I won't end up needing an implant.


Needless to say, eating has been difficult. I've been eating soft foods. Made bean soup and have plans to make tomato soup.



Those are my feet at the bottom of the photo. :)

While at the dentist's office, I snapped some photos to share because it's such a beautiful place. All the rooms have a nearly full wall of windows. And they've put bird feeders (and squirrel feeders!) outside so you can relax by watching the wildlife. In the spring and summer, it's even prettier.





I love the squirrel feeder!
For those who have anxiety over visits to a dentist, this setting might help. I actually don't have much anxiety, especially since I'm friends with our dentist and totally trust him. We sang in the choir together for 16 years at our previous church (and ever since we moved, I drive 45 minutes to see him).

Do you fear dental visits? Do you think a nice setting like this might help with anxiety?


www.missytippens.com

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Orange Blossom Special!

This was a fun glimpse of spring/summer in the cold depths of winter, and delicious, regardless!

But first, a glimpse of our shaggy dog, Maggie Mae....

She is so fluffy! And she loves the snow (which has been in scarce supply)

And she loves the mud (big supply.... unfortunately!!!)

But we'll come back to Maggie later. Stinkin' cute dog.

This week I wanted cake. I blame Mindy Obenhaus because she was talkin' cupcakes and deliciousness and I was thinking about our visit to Waco and Magnolia and I wanted cake.

You gals out there will totally understand my rationale.

Cake is cake. It should never be taken for granted.

And this one was so stinkin' easy and wonderful, so I have to tell you about it.

Here is the secret recipe:  ORANGE BLOSSOM SPECIAL!


1 DH Orange Supreme Cake Mix baked as directed except use one cup of orange juice instead of one cup of water...

Bake at 350 until done. (toothpick inserted into center leaves moist crumbs or a light finger touch in center bounces back)

Cool on baking racks.

So that was simple, right?

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

6 oz. cream cheese, softened
6 oz. butter (3/4 stick), softened
4 cups powdered/confectioner's/10X sugar (all the names we've used for powdered sugar)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup Frozen Orange Juice Concentrate, thawed.

Blend softened cream cheese and butter.  Add sugar, vanilla and orange juice concentrate. Mix on low speed until blended, then beat on high for a few minutes to fluff the frosting a bit.

Spread on first half of cake. Top with second layer. Then frost whole cake.

You can decorate it with orange slices or mandarin oranges, but I knew it would take a while for me to eat THE WHOLE CAKE and I didn't want old oranges on top, but if it was for a party, I'd have piped little swirls and topped each with a slice of peeled orange glazed with warm apple jelly so it doesn't get nasty. And the apple jelly is clear and shiny, like a really delicious glaze for fruit on cakes. 


This was delicious.

And wonderful.

A people pleaser if you like fruity cakes. Also, using the juice gave the cake a more homemade texture, so that was different.

And marvelous!

Wednesday was jam making day.... Sour cherry and Very Berry Cherry...


And then we mosey on back to Maggie Mae...

What???

SPA DOG!!!!! Hey, that's a mighty fine trim there, young lady! You look like a classic Doodle!!!! And so sweet and pretty.

Oh mylanta, she is such a nice dog.

I love her.

I still don't let her out with Libby, our 12 year old Standard Poodle. Libby's too old and frail to have to deal with Maggie's puppy ways.

But she loves romping with Jeter, and together they make mad dashes everywhere they can, until the electric fence warns them to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n....

And along with a really cute dog haircut and a great cake we have about ten days until "Finding Peace in Wishing Bridge" releases!!!!

LINK TO AMAZON!!!! And yes, it will be in paperback & Kindle, darlings....

WE ARE SO EXCITED!!!!!


And I hope that folks love Jazz's story as much as they loved Kelsey's and Thea's.... I know I do!

And that's it from the farm this week. Snow/wind/rain/wintry mix/ more rain/mud.... and it's all good. Sending you blessings from all of us on Yankee Belle and the farm!

USA TODAY bestselling author Ruth Logan Herne is tucked on her cold and wet pumpkin farm, writing delightful stories with unforgettable characters because she knows that when the weather warms up, farm duties tug her away from the keyboard and into the beautiful topsoil out back... where she will have dirty fingernails for MONTHS. :)  Visit her website ruthloganherne.com, friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter (which can be a really weird place) or email Ruthy at loganherne@gmail.com