Tag Archives: From the Kitchen

Minty Smooth Grasshopper Drink Recipe

One of the drinks I learned about long ago, when people entertained lavishly in their homes, was the grasshopper drink recipe. My father, and my mother, to a lesser degree, knew how to tend a bar. My father created all the popular drinks of the era for family and friends.

A grasshopper would be an after dinner drink, or a drink you had at the end of the evening, maybe while others were sipping coffee, or perhaps before you had a cup of coffee. The drink is silky smooth and oh-so minty; a combination that I love. Creme de menthe is one of my favorite liqueurs. You could say I’ve got a thing for mint…even when it’s an alcoholic beverage.

I will add that liqueurs are quite handy when you’re cooking, too. We’ve found, in the Big Grey Horse Media kitchen, that a variety of liqueurs are quite fabulous when you’re baking.

This recipe is so incredibly simple it’s frightening! All you need is creme de menthe, creme de cacao, and cream. And yes, I know that many people will shake the three ingredients with ice, strain, and drink.

Call me a purist. I don’t shake my grasshoppers with ice. The cream cools the drink enough for my tastes.

Grab your shot glass or jigger, a beautiful glass to drink your grasshopper in, and let’s go!

One shot of creme de menthe…

Creme de Menthe for Grasshopper Drink Recipe

One shot of creme de cacao…

Creme de Cacao for Grasshopper Drink Recipe

One shot of cream…

Cream for Grasshopper Drink Recipe

Equals one beautifully smooth and minty grasshopper!

Minty Smooth Grasshopper Drink

 

 

Easy, Fresh, Homemade Red Salsa Recipe That Will Knock Your Pants Off

Fresh produce for Homemade Red Salsa Recipe
Fresh produce for my homemade red salsa recipe.

I dig salsa. Through the years, I’ve had hundreds of different types of salsas, most of which weren’t pleasing to my palate. In my search for the perfect salsa, I was lucky enough to get a friend’s recipe, which I adapted to suit my family’s tastes. My easy, fresh, homemade red salsa recipe will knock your pants off. Get ready, because you soon will be left in your undies.

This recipe is quite simple. The taste comes from using fresh ingredients, so don’t skimp on the produce. It doesn’t really matter which tomatoes you use, either. I’ve used every type of tomato sold at HEB except for the smaller varieties, like cherry tomatoes. The fun part of this recipe is that you adapt the seasonings to your taste buds. I like fresh, red salsas to be quite spicy and tangy, with strong onion and garlic flavors throughout. You can, and should, adjust accordingly.

I used six Roma tomatoes, one large jalapeno, three garlic cloves, one lime, the quarter of a large, white onion, and a handful of cilantro for this recipe. I purposely left out specific amounts in the recipe because you may want to make a larger or smaller batch.

If you have questions about this recipe, feel free to leave a comment. Happy eating!

Homemade Red Salsa ingredients in the blender.
Ingredients in the blender. How easy it that?

 

Homemade Red Salsa Recipe

  • tomatoes
  • white onion
  • garlic cloves
  • cilantro
  • jalapenos
  • lime
  • sea salt
  • olive oil
  • black pepper
  • garlic powder

Cut the tomatoes and onion into quarters, mash the garlic cloves, slice the jalapeno into thirds, and chop the cilantro. Add these ingredients to the blender.

Squeeze the lime juice into the blender and add a tablespoon of olive oil, too. Add sea salt, black pepper, and garlic powder to taste.

Turn the blender on and mix until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Enjoy with tortilla chips, water crackers, or flour tortillas. Use the salsa over eggs, enchiladas, salad, tamales, and beans. There are many ways to utilize this salsa – too many to mention here. Have fun trying the salsa out and using it in a variety of ways.

The salsa will keep in the refrigerator for about one week.

Homemade Red Salsa
Simply delish.

 

 

 

Texas Pudding Surprise Recipe

Texas Pudding Surprise Recipe
Texas Pudding Surprise

Many years ago, my mother acquired what I call a “pudding surprise” recipe. While the original recipe calls for instant pudding and Cool Whip, I reworked it and made everything from scratch. Enjoy my Texas Pudding Surprise recipe!

It took until I started high school to appreciate how easy and amazing from-scratch home cooking can be. I chuckle when I hear others say that they love homemade meals, yet never have time to make those meals. While some recipes are laborious, the majority are quite simple to prepare.

For the crust, the original recipe calls for chopped pecans. Since I have braces, I put the pecans in a food processor. You are more than welcome to stick to the coarsely chopped version. You might be surprised to see there’s no sugar in the crust. Honestly, you don’t need any. The sweetness from the layers is more than enough.

Texas Pudding Surprise
Texas Pudding Surprise – YUM!

Homemade pudding, by far, out shadows anything pre-made or in a package. You can literally make any flavor into a pudding. If you don’t have time for the forty minutes it takes (only twenty if you’re making one batch), then you can break this up into about four ten-minute intervals. Remember that you can always mix the dry ingredients ahead of time and keep them stored until you need them. You can also apply this for the wet ingredients. However, their shelf life is much shorter, so I would recommend that you use them in the next two to three days to guarantee freshness. As a side note, you never want to pour a hot liquid into a powder that can gelatinize. That is why I put the milk in the freezer.

Texas Pudding Surprise - Whipped Cream
Whipped cream, freshly made. Check out the peak!

If you plan on making the whipped cream from scratch, like I did (super yummy and without the processed taste), you can make it ahead of time. I hand whipped this and it took about 5-10 minutes (with a few short breaks to rest my arm) and would have been significantly faster using a hand or stand mixer. Making whipped cream is very similar, but easier, than making a meringue, and there are a couple of tips to remember to always get the best results. While you can use whipping cream, heavy whipping cream is best because it has a higher fat content. I used regular sugar when I made the whipped cream, but you can also use powdered sugar. The preference is yours. Remember those tips we talked about earlier? Do what I say and you’ll have perfect whipped cream. The most important part of making whipped cream is the metal bowl and whisk. Why? Because both need to be chilled in the freezer before using.

As mentioned earlier, you can always make the layers ahead of time, since doing this all at once does take a significant amount of time. I strongly suggest making the pudding the day before. Then you only have to make the whipped cream and the cream cheese mixture.

Texas Pudding Surprise
Texas Pudding Surprise

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family did!

Texas Pudding Surprise

Prep Time: 1 hr.

Bake Time: 50 min

Chill Time: 5 hrs.

Total Time: 6 hrs. 50 min

Crust: 

Texas Pudding Surprise Crust
Texas Pudding Surprise Crust, before and after

Prep Time: 5 min

Bake Time: 20 min

Total Time: 25 min

1 cup flour

1 stick melted butter

1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350o F. Mix flour and pecans together. Melt butter and add to dry ingredients. Mix until crust can hold together into a ball. Press crust into bottom of 13x9x2 in pan. Do not press up the sides of the pan. Bake for 20 minutes and then cool completely before adding other layers.

1st Layer, Cream Cheese:

Prep Time: 25 min

8 oz cream cheese

1 cup powder sugar

1 ½ cups whipped cream (see recipe below)

Put cream cheese into a medium bowl and allow to soften. Use a fork to work the cream cheese into the consistency of thick mayonnaise. Cream in the sugar. Once fully incorporated, add the whipped cream. Pour layer on top of crust.

Texas Pudding Surprise - Cream Cheese Layer
Cream Cheese Layer

2nd Layer, Chocolate Pudding:

Prep Time: 5 min

Bake Time: 15 min

Chill Time: 2 hr

Total Time: 2 hr 20 min

2/3 cup sugar

¼ cup cornstarch

¼ tsp. salt

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 ½ cups milk

4 large egg yolks

2 tbs. butter

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Put milk into freezer for 5 minutes for a brief chill. In a medium bowl, use a whisk to combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cocoa powder. This will take away the need for a sifter. Slowly add milk to the dry ingredients, constantly whisking. Fully incorporate mixture before adding the egg yolks. Transfer mixture to a medium sauce pan. Turn burner onto medium high. Constantly whisk. When mixture starts to boil, continue to whisk for another 5 minutes. Turn heat down to medium low and continue to whisk for another 3 minutes. Add butter and vanilla. Transfer to bowl, cover, and cool for two hours. Then pour over cream cheese mixture.

Texas Pudding Surprise Dry Ingredients
Dry Ingredients – Chocolate Pudding
Texas Pudding Surprise Wet Ingredients and Cooking - Chocolate Pudding
Adding Wet Ingredients and Cooking – Chocolate Pudding
Texas Pudding Surprise - Chocolate Pudding Layer
Smooth as Silk Chocolate Pudding Layer

3rd Layer, Vanilla Pudding:

Prep Time: 5 min

Bake Time: 15 min

Chill Time: 2 hr

Total Time: 2 hr 20 min

2/3 cup sugar

¼ cup cornstarch

¼ tsp. salt

2 ½ cups milk

4 large eggs

2 tbs. butter

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Repeat the steps for the 2nd layer while omitting the cocoa powder. Pour over chocolate pudding.

Texas Pudding Surprise Vanilla Pudding Ingredients and Cooking
Vanilla Pudding Ingredients and Cooking

4th layer, Whipped Cream:

Prep Time: 20 min

1 ½ cups milk

2tbs. + 1 ½ tsp. sugar

1 ½ tsp. vanilla

Put both the whisk and a medium sized bowl inside the freezer for about 10-15 minutes. Once chilled, pour the heavy whipping cream into the bowl. First gently whisk the cream back and forth for about 30 seconds. Pour in the sugar. Whisk vigorously for about 10-15 minutes.

You will notice the mixture will thicken throughout this process. You will stop when you have reached a hard peak. If you continue to whisk you will eventually get butter.  After you have a hard peak you can mix in the vanilla extract. Then top the vanilla pudding with the whipped cream.

Texas Pudding Surprise - Whipped Cream
Making the whipped cream.

Once all the layers are put together, chill the dish for 1-2 hours before serving.

Simple, Easy Avocado on Toast Recipe

Avocado on Toast Sprinkled With Garlic PowderI’m a foodie. That said, I’m a foodie who digs keeping it simple. I don’t have the luxury of time to create fantastically complicated foods. My avocado on toast recipe fills my need for nutritious yet easy-to-make food.

I figured out this tasty little recipe last Fall when my youngest daughter started college. I was incredibly busy with my business and riding my horse. Between taking care of the fur babies at home, nurturing Big Grey Horse Media and her clients, riding and preparing for horse shows, and managing my home, I had little time to fuss over food.

This avocado on toast recipe is perfect for people who want a nutritious, filling snack. It’s so simple: You take a piece of bread and an avocado and combine the two. I’m sure you can dress this open-faced sammie up in a variety of ways, too.

I’ve used a different breads for this recipe, but all within the range of Pepperidge Farms’ or Oroweat’s product lines. For me, there’s no sweet spot with bread. This particular version of my avocado on toast recipe uses Oroweat’s country potato bread (super YUM!). I find potato bread to be a wonderful bread for spring and summer dishes. The colder it gets, however, the more dense I want my bread to be. I’ve really loved avocado on Pepperidge Farm’s Jewish rye and pumpernickel breads, too.

Toasted Orowheat Country Potato Bread

Ripe Haas Avocado

Smashed Avocado on Toast

 

Avocado on Toast

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Ingredients:

  • Medium Haas avocado
  • Slice of bread
  • Garlic powder

Toast the bread for about seven to eight minutes. I prefer toast that has crunch but is not overly stiff as lightly toasted bread serves this recipe well. You want the bread to have enough depth and strength to carry the avocado, but not so much that the bread falls into crumbs when you bite into it.

Slice the avocado in half. You only need half of a medium avocado to make this recipe work. If you want two pieces of toast, however, you can use the entire medium-sized avocado.

Scoop out the avocado and spread it onto the toast. Spread the avocado until it covers the top of the bread.

Sprinkle garlic powder on top of the avocado. You can add sea salt if you want a bit more taste, but I like my avocado on toast simple. The buttery flavor of the avocado really shines through without the help of additional seasonings.

Simple, Easy Avocado on Toast Recipe