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My Unexpected Incredible Texas Food Tour: Part II

16 Jun

img_2318Here is the sign welcoming me to my sister’s beautiful house.

 

Seven days is not enough…Taking on two Texas cities calls for at least one week in each city. Nothing in the Houston Area is quick and around the corner from what I can tell. Here are some notes/advisements I thought I could share when planning a big trip:

  1. Do a lot of research on places of interest to you.
  2. Create a daily to-do list and a plan of attack.
  3. Map out destination locations and plan your tour according to distance and proximity. (If  there are events, places, and restaurants of interest in the same or close area plan to see those on the day, permitting there is no conflict with dress code or other requirements.) Doing this will allow you and your companions to cover more ground in less time on your trip.
  4. Start early in the day on your adventure.
  5. Find out in-advance which places are difficult to get into, will most likely will have a wait, and/or requires pre purchasing tickets.
  6. Parking? How much does it cost? Is it close to your event or destination?
  7. Last but not least… If you are planning for public transportation such as Uber or Lyft verify that it these services are available in that area. (Trust me.)

**Following these pre planning steps should insure you and your accompaniment a smooth and successful time on your trip.**

Here I am enjoying the night air at Cowboys and Indians..
Continuing on our tour……..

Have you ever been to Central Market Gourmet Grocery Store?….This lovely place houses everything noteworthy for making your breakfast, lunch, dinner or event the best of the best. I love, love, love grocery stores… Not just any grocery stores though. I love the kind that inspire me to cook great food or try new ingredients because their ingredients look good enough to eat right there in the store. Isn’t that good looking food when you just want to create something delicious on the spot?  From domestic and exotic produce like baby pineapples and kumquats and dragonfruits to cheeses of every flavor and texture, and $17 dollar jams and jellies too. (That is not a typo and I did not buy it. I wanted to though.) The meat department would make you flip it starts from one wall and ends on the other just for the fish and seafood and on the other side is the beef, pork and poultries and its wall to wall too!. Then there is the dried spices and herbs section, it is pretty cool to offer such a broad spectrum of flavors and be able to purchase just what you need. No need to buy a whole jar of anything there if you will never need it again or just want to sample it for your dish. You can just buy what you need. If lived in this area, Central Market Grocery and I would be on a first name basis.

Baby Pineapples and more are available at Central Market. 



Other Amazing things inside Central Market

  • Pre prepared fresh ingredients for soups for quick dinners (packaged and bagged ready for easy pick up)
  • The bakery section has an infinite number of baked goods and fresh breads ready to eat.
  • The Cheese section. That’s all I have to say about that. Cheese is everything.
  • Chef prepared hot foods and cold food selections.
  • Cooking Classes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
  • Healthy Living Department
  • Housewares, Dinnerwares, and Cookwares

I could’ve stayed there for one full day, just creating ideas in my head….One day I will. Next time you’re in Texas look for Central Market. You won’t be sorry.

Central Markets shopping bag gives hints to all the awesomeness inside the store.
On Friday during my Houston/Austin Texas takeover we visited Bourdreaux’s a Cajun restaurant and bar. It was early evening and not very busy in the bar section so we sat there and ordered Frozen Hurricanes. I also ordered a basket of Hushpuppies with jalapeno’s. Hushpuppies are especially delicious when they are hot just out of the fryer…  Bourdreaux’s served the fried cornbreads with butter. That was new for me. I eat butter always on cornbread, but never considered it for my hushpuppies.. I continued to think further on it. Why not honey butter or why not just honey? That would be delicious…. Savory hot fried cornbread rounds with honey or maybe even a good maple syrup?….. Ok, let me calm down…… I will have to try it at home……In the mean time these hushpuppies make the grade.

 Frozen Hurricanes…..

From Boudreaux’s we ventured on to what is know as “The Flat” a Houston area bar/grill music venue. This hidden gem gave me a bohemian vibe just from the lighting and ambiance…  The DJ kept the mood right with music that switched from Hip Hop to R & B without pause keeping us music lovers satisfied. It was still early evening and not a whole lot of patrons, but I appreciated the atmosphere and the beats. The outdoor patio area still had more to offer with the rhythmic sounds playing outside too. The perimeter was enclosed with wooden fencing and lined with planted trees and various greenery. Lighting the early night would be white lined lights. It was beautiful. This place was perfect for a girl like me who appreciates intimate music lounges. No disappointments here. Good music. Good people. Good Vibes.
The Flat offers coffee options too I see!

The patio in the back of  The Flat.
From the flat we Uber’ed to Cowboys and Indians. A Tex- In kitchen. Get it? A Texas, Indian Kitchen A blend of Texas American food with the flavors and spices of India is what the description advises. Cowboys and Indians offers a variety of dishes for meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans too. Offering traditional burgers, fries, and salads and american desserts for the Cowboy appetites and if you desire Indian tastings you would be happy to see Butter Chicken Tikka Masala, Lamb Vindaloo, Beef Coconut Curry and more. Being semi full from the hushpuppies I decided to go with the Beef Samosa’s (flaky  pastries filled with ground beef and onions). I opted out of the offered dipping sauce for traditonal barbeque sauce. Mi hermana (my sister) offered the no meat option of this same dish.  Hers was filled with curried potatoes and peas. She also had the crispy fries.

Cowboys and Indians a Tex-In Kitchen menu

Beef Samosa’s: Tasty!!
We sat outside in the covered patio section, the weather was threatening to rain and the sprinkles were beginining when we arrived but with the patio being covered there were no worries of being saturated by the water. So far I can say that I love the option of being able to dine outside at a lot of eateries. This is one my favorite things in Texas.

 Me again, in the covered patio section of Cowboys and Indians.

Lastly on this weather perfect Friday night we made our final appearances for the evening at The Alley Kat bar. The music was pumping as soon as you hit the door. The source was unknown. People were enjoying the sounds, the drinks and each other.  Out of all the places we checked out tonight, this place had the largest turnout.  The Alley Kat was like a maze to me. There was an upstairs featuring live music, and a separate downstairs section with more music possibly coming from a sound system, and outdoor seating protected from the immediate outside.  The best part of Alley Kat was the female singer. I did not catch her name and I am still disgruntle over it… I just remember her singing like Chrisette Michele covering an India Arie song. She was great. Her performance to me was definitely worth that stop.

On my to do list while in Texas:

  1.  Sprinkles Cupcakes
  2.  In -n-Out Burger
  3. The Breakfast Klub

Confirmation. It was meant to be.

Number one was done. Number 2 was getting checked off on Saturday, and number three I didn’t think was going to happen. Katrina was not interested in going to The Breakfast Klub which is quite a hike from the home base, you’re almost always guaranteed a wait and with limited hours of operation (so we thought) it was looking like a “no go”. I had given up on eating at the Zagat rated restaurant. While walking through the maze of The Alley Kat bar a sign was posted noting The Breakfast Klub is now open from 10pm-3am. YES! YES! YES!.. There’s still a chance!…… The Alley Kat sat right behind The Breakfast Klub.  I was destined to be there after all….It was fate….. Again, so I thought. My belly had been feeling queasy and full since the Hurricanes and I could not even consider just doing just a tasting here; where they were once voted one of the best breakfasts across america. I wanted to have a full scale smorgasbord tasting. The menu boasts of pancakes, wings and waffles, katfish and grits, biscuits and gravy, eggs and more!!!! I am heartbroken. No Breakfast Klub for me. Not tonight. Not this trip….

 Today I am recovered from my Hurricane belly. I miss those wings and waffles I haven’t met yet. I was so close…..Yet, so far.

Making the painful decision to abstain from breakfast for dinner; we decided to head to the homestead and prepare for tomorrow. Austin Texas our weekend adventure!

Texas Foodie Adventure Locations: Part II

Central Market Gourmet Grocery: 3815 Westheimer Rd, Houston, Tx 77027                  Phone: 713.386.1700

Boudreaux’s Cajun Kitchen: 17595 Tomball Pkwy, Houston Tx 77064                                Phone: 713.463.0099

The Flat: 1701 Commonwealth St., Houston, Tx 77006                                                             Phone: 713.360.7228

Cowboys and Indians Tex-In Kitchen: 1901 Taft St., Houston, Tx 77006                            Phone: 713.485.6724

The Alley Kat Bar & Lounge: 3718 Main St., Houston, Tx 77002                                             Phone: 713.874.0722

The Breakfast Klub: 3711 Travis, Houston, Tx 77002                                                               Phone: 713.528.8561

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Unexpected Incredible Texas Food Tour: Part I

2 Jun

I’ve just recently returned from my first visit to Texas. I went by airplane to Houston to visit my sister for 1 whole week. This trip included my first plane ride since I was a 14 year old and, prior to that I had only flown once.  I was a complete novice at this whole airport and airplane thing (buying tickets, picking a seat, paying for bags, checking in, printing a boarding pass)…. whew! Can’t someone put me to sleep and wake me when I arrive? No such luck with the help of an anesthesiologist though. I was fortunate enough to have worked over night before the flight. Sleep was in order after all once we reached flying altitude. I slept all but thirty minutes of the flight when the captain announced we were making our decent into Houston. Yes! I did it!  I got on a plane and did not have to be sedated by choke-hold from air marshals due to my heightened anxieties.

This is me waiting to board the plane in Detroit after numerous delays.

 
The plane had a flat tire.

 
I got off the plane so excited… So excited to be on the ground, so excited to see my sister, her 2 dogs, and the city she decided to make her home 10 years ago.  I am so extremely proud of her. She is such a self-starter, so driven, determined, and focused. In this one week she inspired me and motivated me without even trying.

My sister was waiting for me with this wonderful sign when I got off the plane.

 
So, upon my arrival to Houston we immediately wanted food. My sister drove us to Guadalajara Hacienda, a Mexican restaurant. I went there with my mind on one thing. QUESO and CHIPS… welp, mostly queso. I was hoping for a hot and spicy melted cheese bowl and warm chips. I didn’t even get that far. After they seated us in the beautiful outdoor patio section, we were greeted with red salsa, chips, and a white and green cream sauce they called “Creamy Cilantro”.  Let me tell you, I was skeptical and hesitant to try it, but I’m so glad I did.  The dip was served cold, flavored with cilantro and spicy jalapeño with a sour cream and mayonnaise base. This amazing dip closed all my thoughts of Queso cheese for the next few days. I ate all of that dip by myself and then requested more. The server was so generous he brought me enough for 2 days of snacks. Pure delight was my state of mind. It was so yummy? Why have I never had this before? Is this only available in the southern Mexican restaurants? Who know’s, but I have to learn how to make this at home…STAT! My sister and I enjoyed a delicious dinner after the chips and dips. All I have to say is Guadalajara Hacienda, I will be back!

I’m pretty sure I was hypnotized and could not think beyond my taste buds. Therefore, I do not have any optics for Creamy Cilantro…. Stay tuned for pictures of my copy cat version!

 

 

The menu for Ooh La La Dessert Boutique. Several pages of dessert options available.

 

On day 2 in Houston we visited Ooh La La Dessert Boutique. Walking in I was immediately impressed with the ambiance of this place. It was a larger space for a bakery but, not too big. There is enough space for both hungry customers waiting to make a to-go purchase and for customers who want to sit and enjoy their tempting treats in store. The food cases enclosed tall layer cakes, cheesecakes, creme’ brûlées, cookies, and cupcakes of all different flavors. Also on the menu were coffee drinks and lemonade. I decided to order 2 cupcakes, Nilla Nilla (vanilla) and Bunny Boo (carrot). My only disappointment occurred when I ordered my Bunny Boo cupcake. I very clearly asked if there were nuts in the cupcake. The young man said no nuts were in the cake. Turns out there were nuts hiding inside there. The cake was tender, moist and a pinch spicy…… with nuts. I was deceived. Anyhow, I ate around the nuts and then advised the same young man; indeed there were nuts in the cupcake and had I had a food allergy, that could have been very hazardous. I took my other cupcake home for later.

Bunny Boo Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing
Tasty carrot cupcake after the first bite.

 
After I had my event with the life threatening carrot cupcake, we drove to another part of town for lunch. Crab cakes for me. Sushi for my sister, Katrina. All I have to say about this stop is she is the winner of picking the right entrée/sushi roll. A vegetable tempura roll with fried asparagus and sweet potato rolled and topped with tempura served with wasabi and ginger. It was tastier than my crab cakes. I wished I ordered it….. Whomp, whomp….. Don’t look back on your past Kim, you’re not going that way.

 

 

On to the next…..cupcakes!

Sprinkles Cupcakes!  Cupcakes, Pupcakes, and Ice Cream too!!!
Sprinkles may I please have four more cupcakes to go! In this box at least…..

 
Our last and final stop of physical face stuffing for the day ended in cupcake heaven. It’s not named that, but that’s what I’ll call it….Yes we hit 2 cupcake bars in one day. So what? Who’s counting the cupcakes anyway? (I think I bought 7 total between the 2 shops. But, that’s between you and me.) Sister had told me about this cupcake shop named Sprinkles that offered delicious cupcakes including a vegan Red Velvet cupcake and a traditional version too. I accepted the challenge. I’ll take the vegan Red Velvet the traditional Red Velvet and raise you 4 more various cupcakes. This Houston location has a small store front with what looks like a very large kitchen in the back. In the display case at Sprinkles you will see cupcakes, pupcakes and, happiness all around. I was totally absorbed in this place with a self titled theme song playing in the background that I did not hear the retail associate talking to me….. I only remember placing my order for our cupcakes and paying for them before I heard the words that have me contemplating my life’s meaning….. “The cupcake ATM is in the back.” Wait. What did she just say? The associate was talking to someone else but the words were meant for me.  She said it again. “It’s open 24-7.”  I wasn’t dreaming. I must see this on demand cupcake deployment machine, NOW!  My sister probably thought I was having a mental breakdown at this point, as I say “Please drive me around to the ATM.”
…..And, there is was: A true story. Cupcake heaven for sure. Magic in a box. A cupcake ATM.

This is not a drill!! A cupcake ATM is a real thing. We are at DEF CON 1. DEF CON 1. Cupcakes prepare to be annihilated……..

 

 

So, you know I had to use it. I did. I didn’t need any more cupcakes to take home with me. I saw a nice lady coming by the ATM and offered to buy her one to see how it worked. She accepted. I ordered the flavor of her choosing by touch screen, paid with a debit card and watched it work. Neatly placed in a brown cardboard box for 1, it came down the ATM and laid flatly on the surface ready to for consumption.

All I want to know is who is the genius behind this awesomeness? Is it possible to get one installed at any address? (Asking for a friend.)

How is this happening?….. Push a button and dessert comes out?…. This is the end of life as we know it, to say the least.

 
After I got home and calmed down from all the excitement, I was able to test my Red Velvets. The traditional cake was yummy moist red cake with light notes of chocolate with cream cheese icing. Again, I was impressed.  Testing the vegan version was the true test though. For months I have been hearing about this vegan alternative and how delicious it is. It was my turn to judge it. With skepticism swirling around my taste buds. I took a bite and thought “this can’t be right”. “Let’s try that again.” The same exact deliciousness I received from the first bite is what I got again. Fresh moist red cake with  hints of cocoa with a vegan cream cheese icing…..You know what? I like it better than the traditional Red Velvet. Who knew?

Vegan Cupcake on the left. Traditional Red Velvet on the right.

 
The first two days of my Texas adventure were already winners. How could it get any better?…. Just wait, because it does.

I’ll tell you more soon!!

Have you ever been on a foodie adventure?

What places are on your foodie adventure checklist?

 

Texas Foodie Adventure Locations:

Guadalajara HaciendaMexican Restaurant: 27885 I-45, The Woodlands,             Texas 77380                                                                                                                                 Phone: 281.362.0774 (4 Texas Locations)

Ohh La La Dessert Boutique: 770 W. Sam Houston Parkway N. Suite 500 Houston, Texas 77024                                                                                                                                 Phone: 713.465.6338  (3 Texas locations)

Sprinkles Cupcakes: 4014 Westheimer Road Houston, Texas 77027                        Phone: 713.871.9929 (Nationwide with 4 Texas locations) 

 

 

 

 

Favorite Cookbook Friday #9 with Pepper Steak

5 May

Today I want to share with you one of my favorite dinners, Pepper Steak. I love, love, love this recipe. I got it from my mother, who got it from her mother, my grandmother. I don’t know how or where this recipe came about but, I am sure glad it did. I don’t think I appreciated this recipe as a kid. I liked the steak just fine. I wasn’t sure about the peppers and for the rice it was served with, I just wanted it with butter and sugar….Which is why I probably didn’t want it together as a meal. I don’t remember when I started to like it the way I do now? I just know that I really, really do like it now. 4-5 times a year is how often I make it. When the cravings strike, I go for it.

I wasn’t sure what recipe I wanted to share with you this week, so I asked my mom what should I make. She suggested Pepper Steak. I said, “It has to be in a book for the Favorite Cookbook Friday series.” She said, “It is.” and pulled out this book that was compiled by The Vernon Chapel A.M.E. church of Flint, Michigan’s Sick Committee in 1976….I had forgotten about this book… Or even that it had a name. The copy that I had seen didn’t even have a cover, so I was surprised to see this almost perfect copy she gave me. This book is a gem with recipes for Sweet Potatoes on the Half Shell, Donuts, Quick Ice Cream and, today’s recipe Pepper Steak.

It is easy and quick to prepare for a complete meal. Prepare this dish with 2 to 4 hungry people in mind. It is best on the very first day served over hot fluffy rice with garlic bread.  The steak has so much flavor from the onions, garlic, salt and, black pepper… It is mouthwatering. The peppers are so tender and savory, they melt in your mouth. This recipe is definitely note worthy.  Please let me know how you like it.


Pepper Steak

Ingredients

2 tablespoons shortening

1 pound flank steak

1 teaspoon salt or more to taste

1/2 teaspoon black pepper or more to taste

2 tablespoons red onion, minced

2-3 medium green bell peppers, sliced and halved

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1 cube beef boullion

1 can stewed tomatoes cut into quarters (optional)

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1/4 cup water

hot fluffy rice, prepared according to package directions

Directions

Mince garlic cloves and onion and place into a small bowl. Slice and halve green bell pepper and place into a medium bowl. Next cut the steak into bite size pieces or 1 inch strips and season with the salt and pepper on both sides.

Melt shortening in a large skillet on medium heat. Add in the minced garlic and onion, cook on medium heat while stirring for 2-3 min till fragrant. Place the steak pieces into the large skillet and cook on both sides until no longer pink.

When the meat is brown place one bouillon cube in the middle of the skillet between the steak and top with the green bell peppers. Cook on medium to medium-low heat for 30 minutes. Stir the mixture every 10 minutes making sure it doesn’t stick or burn.

Add in the optional* stewed tomatoes and cook 5 minutes.

Combine water, soy sauce and cornstarch in a glass measuring cup and stir with a fork or tiny whisk. Pour into beef and pepper mixture. Cook 5 minutes more.

Serve over hot fluffy rice with a garlic bread of your choice.

*notes* Stewed tomatoes are just an option for this dish. I rarely choose this option because I think it takes away from the flavor of the steak. I used it today for color and demonstration.

**Also, feel free to use a red bell pepper with the green peppers, that will give a sweeter flavor. Just use one of each, or 2 green and 1 red pepper.

***About the steak, purchase flank or round steak. You may be able to find steak already cut and sliced for you at some grocery stores. Go for it! Don’t buy beef stew meat though.

 Cut the steak into bite size pices or strips.

 Season generously with salt and pepper on both sides…. 

 Melt shortening in a large skillet on medium heat.

 Add in the garlic cloves and onion. Cook till fragrant.

Place the steak in the skillet with the garlic and onion. Cook till no longer pink. 

 Place beef bouillon cube in the skillet along with the sliced peppers.

 Cover and cook on medium to medium-low heat for 30 minutes.

 Stir in stewed tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes longer.

 Combine the cornstarch, water and soy sauce in a glass stir together with a fork. 

 Mix the soy sauce mixture with the beef mixture. Cook 5 minutes more.

Serve over hot fluffy rice!

Questions, comments or clarifications, let me know in the comment section of mouthfuloffood.com.

Please don’t forget to like this post and share on your social media pages!!

Feel free to email me at mouthfuloffood@gmail.com

Thank you for stopping by and reading Mouthful of Food!!!

Kim

Favorite Cookbook Friday #8 and a FAIL!

28 Apr

The picture of this cupcake is enough reasons to pick up the Magnolia Bakery cookbook and take it home. (Original Picture from Magnolia Bakery Cookbook)

 

It’s the end of April and I have not met all of my goals for the month……..Sigh. Although I did not write them down or post them anywhere, they were in my head. And, they still are. April has given me challenges while I was thought it would be a breeze being that April is my birth month. Yay!!!…April 3rd was my birthday and I spent it recovering from what I think was food poisoning. I spent the first 3 days of the month at home except for one 8 hour shift of work that turned out to be a blessing because, it was an observation shift. The rest of the time, I sat home with no appetite and no ambition. By the 4th, I was out and about without appetite, taking care of business. I baked my self a birthday cake on April 5th. The finished product was not what I had intended or expected. But, I moved on. I put candles on it and sang happy birthday to me and cut it to have for lunch at work that night.. NOTE: Do not judge my baking skills by the pictures that will be featured here today.) LOL….Actually, it was not the baking or the cake itself that was bad, it was the frosting that did not set up. Ugh. I was not happy…..with the finished cake presentation.

I also had work challenges that I have been dealing with this month but, have since been resolved. I am so grateful for my job, my bosses, and my co-workers. The challenges I experienced almost got the best of me and, may have had me down for a minute, but though communication, honesty and support of my family and bosses, I have regained my footing and feel pretty good about my job again. I’m feeling pretty good again about everything… But, I have to say that this month everything had seemed to give me some type of grief… It distracted me from what my goals were and, what I wanted to work on to become more successful personally. I didn’t realize this was going on for about 3 weeks. I don’t think I cooked more than twice this month, I just felt yucky mentally and physically… Then I realized something was purposely keeping me away and distracted from my plans/goals/tasks I had set for myself to become a better me… As soon as I conscious to it, I knew I had to get right back in focus.  I had to get back to working on my goals, my blog, and me. I was done with the failures/losses for the month of April.

So, I started making wins immediately. I booked airline reservations to Houston to visit my sister next month….I have not flown in 28 years. Yes I’m nervous. But, I’m going. I have never been to see her in all the time she has been there…. (What a bad sister I am. I know.)…By happy accident I wrote out a plan for growing my brand… I entered a contest and it asked all types of questions on my vision and when I answered them I realized I answered a lot of questions I had for myself… It all came together once I started writing. I call that a Win Win!

So, as this month began really bumpy and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next, I’m glad it did happen. I got a few “W’s” and a couple of “L’s” (wins and losses mom), and if I keep going I know can certainly get more “W’s”….

 


This week’s Favorite Cookbook Friday “The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook” is a winner in my book! Written by Jennifer Appel and Allysa Torey, Magnolia Bakery is probably one of the most famous bakeries in New York if not the whole U.S.A…… Scratch that, the world. I just checked out there website again and they have 9 U.S. locations and 17 international locations!!!! How exciting is that?…This place is on my long list of food spaces to visit. If only for a cupcake or 2….dozen.

The recipes I tried though are a 50/50 half win half loss…. I’ll explain but, first let me tell you why this book is a favorite of mine. Three words: OLD FASHIONED RECIPES. To me old fashioned basically means comfort. It could mean food, recipes, or even a quilt or afghan that was past down from one generation to another.  Old fashioned makes me feel good and secure. You can’t feel that way about everything or everyone. It’s almost like a special nostalgia feeling you can only get from being at home or when you think of your grandparents………I decided to bake myself the Old Fashioned “Traditional Vanilla Birthday Cake” with “Traditional Vanilla Buttercream Icing”. I personally don’t usually go for cakes with “birthday cake” icing because the icing tends to be too sweet for me. If I happen to have a cake with the too sweet icing, I generally flip it over and eat it from the bottom up because the cake is the best part anyway for me. Why waste time getting to the best part? Anyway, this cake is very easy to make even if you have never baked a cake before. And, the cake itself is delicious. I liked it. I like cake. It was moist and had good flavor. That was not the problem. I give the cake a ‘W”. It was the icing… It did not set up well. I made the frosting after I put the cake in the oven….I mixed and colored it and kept it completely sealed on the kitchen table until the cake was cooled and ready to be assembled….When i mixed the icing, it seemed to be stable but, when I came back to it hours later it was runny and soupy….I still assembled the cake and frosted it and watched the icing just fall off the cake before I could even make my way around the whole cake. For those reasons I give the icing a “L”…… I to scrape off as much of it as I could and make a “naked” cake. A cake that basically has a crumb coat of icing is a “naked” cake. You can find pictures of naked cakes on the internet…There will be some not so great photos here too. But, please reference the internet for a better interpretation on this one, thank you.

I was so disappointed in the finished product, I baked it again later that week and just bought some milk chocolate icing from the store and used it on the new cake. Who does’t love chocolate??  I did not want to be defeated. I do not have pictures to show for it because I was really anxious to cut into this cake and did not think pictures at that moment. I thought only about my belly. Again. LOL.

Here’s the recipe for the cake. Try it out and see for yourself. You have to choose the icing though.

 

Traditional Vanilla Birthday Cake

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

2 cups granulated sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups self rising flour

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour three 9×2 inch round cake pans. Line the cake pan bottoms with wax paper circles.

To make the cake: In a large bowl, on medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine and stir together the flours. Combine and stir together the milk and vanilla extract. Mix in 1/3 of the flour mixture and then 1/2 of the milk mixture and repeat beginning and ending with the flour.  Mixing each addition just till combined. Divide the batter among the prepared cake pans. Bake for 20-28 minutes or until a toothpick/cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake. Cool cake layer in the pan for ten minutes. Remove cake layer from pan and then remove and let cool completely on a wire cooling rack.

Assemble and frost with your favorite homemade buttercream or chocolate icing. If your in a pinch. Pick some up at the closest grocery store! (Smile)

Spray your pans with pan spray or grease with shortening and line with wax paper.

Measure everything into separate bowls and combine according to the recipe.

Cream together the butter and the sugar with the mixer on low.

Mix together the butter and sugar until combined and fluffy.

Mix in the room temperature eggs one at a time just till the yellow disappears.

Next, mix in the 1/3 of the flours.

Mix in 1/2 of the milk and repeat with the flour & milk. End with the last 1/3 of the flour.

Your mixture should look like this with all ingredients combined.

Evenly divide cake batter among the prepared pans. Bake at 350 degrees 20-28 minutes.

Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Cool completely on wire cooling racks.

Choose your favorite cake plate to assemble and frost your cake!

Evenly distribute your desired icing on each layer. Put as much or as little as you like.

Pinks are one of my favorite colors. I had so much hope for my Pink Vanilla Cake. 😦

I couldn’t bare to show you how the icing just fell straight of the cake so I just scraped it off.

That’s ok, I made the best of it anyway. I still had my birthday cake.

What is your favorite Birthday Cake flavor? Let me know in the comments.

If you liked this post or any of the others also let me know.

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Thank you for stopping by mouthfuloffood.com,

Kim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Favorite Cookbook Friday #7: Macaroni and Cheese Please

31 Mar

 

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When I think of a true soul food dinner I think, greens, candied sweet potatoes, pork chops, fried catfish, or chicken, sweet cornbread, and really, really wanting these two things especially: REAL Cornbread Dressing and REAL Macaroni and Cheese. Now, the cornbread dressing may not happen as often as I would like but, I will whip up my favorite pasta covered in a melted cheese sauce in a hot minute. But, my love for both of them is equal, constant, and never ending.  (see below)img_0950cornbread dressing

img_1147-1macaroni and cheese

Everyone can’t make a great pan of cornbread dressing or an amazing pan of macaroni and cheese. And, I will not claim to make the best of either one. But, I have had the best cornbread dressing. It came from my grandma. It is the best. My grandma is now 93 going on 94. She doesn’t make the dressing too often anymore (my sister has taken on that task) but grandma always makes the cornbread for the dressing. That is the most important ingredient. Oh, and the stock that is made from the turkey parts.  And let me just say one more thing about my grandma’s cornbread dressing….. There is never enough, no matter how much is made.

Moving on now….(smile)…. We are here today to talk about Macaroni and Cheese. Again I will say this. Everyone can’t make this, (not even my grandma). My uncle Keith can. His is the nominated version for Thanksgiving dinner or any event where food is on the menu. It is delicious. So delicious, I’ve seen it sell out more than once as one of the sides on his BBQ food truck Big Daddy BBQ in Columbus Ohio.  My mother used to make a good one. When I started cooking, I used her recipe, which she got from my Aunt “Sister”. That one is/was delicious. The sauce was made from Kraft cheese slices, evaporated milk and butter. It’s still the one I love the most.  That doesnt mean I can’t try a new one every now and then.  Which brings us to today’s recipe and FAVORITE COOKBOOK FRIDAY #7!!!!…..YAY!!!!!

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Stories from my Grandmother’s Kitchen is for me an award worthy cookbook. Authored by Darius Williams this man proves he knows how to show out in the kitchen. What ever you can dream of I bet if you ask Darius what to do with it he will come up with an answer cooked hot and on a plate. I’m not sure how long Mr. Williams has been around but I’ve been watching him for around 2 years now on You Tube and Facebook cooking LIVE! Darius goes on tour cooking across the country, hosting events where he cooks for about 25 people from appetizer to dessert.  And from what I see online he and the guests party the whole time. In between all of that he wrote and self published his own cookbook! Last but not least of all of that Darius Williams just announced he is opening a restaurant in Atlanta Georgia. I am such a fan of his, all the way around.

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I chose his “Ultimate Baked Mac and Cheese” to showcase today because it started with a sauce. The same way my mom’s used to. How could I lose?

 

The Ultimate Baked Mac and Cheese**(adapted from Darius Cooks)**

4 cups cooked pasta

4 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

2 cups half and half

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon coarse ground pepper

1 pinch garlic powder

1 pinch paprika

1 cup sour cream

1 cup mild cheddar cheese shredded

1 cup colby cheese shredded

1 cup pepper jack cheese shredded

note: ***shred your own cheese*** You’ll thank me later.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large pot, melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Then, stir in the flour and cook for about 60-90 seconds while constantly stirring with a wooden spoon.
  2. Whisk in the half and half and continue stirring while on a medium high heat. When the sauce comes to a boil it will start to thicken.
  3. Turn the stove down to low. Fold in the cheeses and sour cream, stir until everything is melted together to make a cheese sauce. Taste it.
  4.  Stir in the salt, pepper, paprika and, garlic powder. Taste again.
  5. When the sauce is smooth, mix in the cooked macaroni pasta and pour into a 2 1/2 quart greased baking dish. Sprinkle lightly with paprika cover lightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes till hot, brown and, bubbly.
  6. Enjoy!

Is macaroni and cheese one of your favorites? What about cornbread dressing? What does your favorite meal consist of?….. I’ve shared with you mine, show me yours!

img_1113Melt butter in large deep skillet.

img_1115-1Add in flour. 

img_1117Stir for 60-90 seconds.

img_1121Stir in half and half.

img_1125Cook on medium high till just boiling and thickened.

img_1129Add in the cheese and sour cream.

img_1131Stir until completely smooth.

img_1132See.

img_1134Stir in the seasonings.

img_1138Next stir in the cooked macaroni!

img_1139Completely mix the cheese sauce and pasta together…..Almost ready for the oven. 

img_1145Pour macaroni and cheese into a casserole dish and bake for 45 minutes.

img_1147-1Eat! Eat! Eat!

This recipe was golden to me. I was very happy with the outcome. Darius is a genius. His recipes seemed to all be created with love. Thee most important ingredient in any dish. Check out the mac and cheese, and also a great recipe for cornbread dressing. You can find that recipe in the book too. You can find the book on his website Dariuscooks.com. Believe me, that will be money well spent. You will be licking your lips from the first picture to the back cover. I promise. And, I will be licking my lips when I go see him cook live this June in Detroit!

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Until next time,

Kim from Flint

 

 

 

 

Favorite Cookbook Friday #6 with Simply Sweet (and buttery) Cornbread

24 Mar

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Hello everyone!

It has been a few weeks since my last post, it has been very busy at my away from home work place. When the demand for overtime exist we have to step up to the “plate” or step out of employment. There are really no other options when it is a 24 hour 7 day a week operation. Any who, I’ve missed sharing with all of you who take the time to read mouthfuloffood.com. It is really a great delight to be able to express how I feel about food, recipes, cookbooks and my family with you. Thank you for taking the time to be here.

The Get ‘Em Girls’ Guide to the Power of Cuisine: Perfect Recipes for Spicing Up Your Love Life is this week’s choice for Favorite Cookbook Friday. Authored by culinary enthusiast Shakara Bridgers, Jeniece Isley, and Joan A. Davis, this book is second of three books by this trio and is a masterpiece. This second book I believe, is a second edition of the first cookbook that was published by the ladies. Some of the recipes are the same, some have been omitted and there has been some new additions to the newer version. All the while the purchase was still worth the duplication in my culinary information center.

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I first read of the “Get Em’ Girls” in a Houston Texas newspaper several years ago. My mom brought the article home to me in Flint, Michigan after her visit with my sister.  I remember reading the article at my desk at work and being excited for these ladies becoming cookbook authors. Immediately after I was off the clock I was ordering their first cookbook on Amazon. I was not disappointed and, have not been with those Get Em’ Girls. Filled with tips for spicing up your love life, cooking for your love, reasons to cook for him, and, preparing you to do so even if you have no idea what to do in the kitchen arena. Then there are the RECIPES!!!!….

  • “Grown ‘n’ Sexy” desserts meant for sharing
  •  “Morning After” Breakfast
  • “Bring Him Back” Chicken Soup
  • “Meet the Parents” Carrot cake …and today’s recipe:
  • “Simply Sweet” Cornbread

This cornbread is delicious plain and simple.uj Yummy yummy to my tummy. If you like a sweet cornbread such as a box of Jiffy corn muffins, you will L.O.V.E. this one. And it take no time to make. The wait time is all in the oven. Sweet yellow cornbread hot out the oven with butter and/or honey. There are no words….. Except two…… MORE PLEASE. And when you taste this one you will understand why…..

img_1089I first made this recipe way back in April 2010!!

 

If you happen to be a novice baker, this is a good place to start. Basically, you only need 2 bowls, a wooden spoon or rubber spatula and a round cake pan. Measure all dry ingredients  into one bowl for the dry. Then measure all the wet ingredients and place into the bowl for the wet. Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and stir just till combined. Pour into the prepared greased and bake. Easy Peasy. You are a success. This can be your first dish to take to a pot luck. Congratulations!!!!

SIMPLY SWEET CORNBREAD

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 large eggs

1 cup milk

1/3 cup vegetable oil 

4 tablespoons butter, melted*

Butter, for serving

Honey, for serving (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenhiet. Spray a 9 inch round cake pan with your preferred pan spray.
  2. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, lightly death the eggs. Stir in the milk, vegetable oil, and butter until well mixed. Slowly stir in the egg mixture into the cornmeal mixture and mix until just combined. Pour the batter into prepared skillet.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean. 
  5. Serve with additional butter and honey if using.

Serves 8 generously.

img_1031-1Measure the dry ingredients into one bowl.

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img_1049Measure the wet ingredients into a separate bowl or large measuring cup.

img_1050Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir till combined.

img_1053This should how the combination should look when totally combined.

img_1061Pour the cornbread mixture into the prepared pan and place into the preheated oven.

img_1063Bake for 20-25 minutes till done. Test with a clean toothpick.

img_1064-1See, even the cornbread itself knows how good it is. It’s smiling!!!

img_1068Turn the cornbread out onto a serving plate and cut 8 ways. Serve hot with butter and/or honey.

If you happen to be a novice baker, this is a good place to start. Basically, you only need 2 bowls, a wooden spoon or rubber spatula and a round cake pan. Measure all dry ingredients into one bowl for the dry. Then measure all the wet ingredients and place into the bowl for the wet. Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and stir just till combined. Pour into the prepared greased and bake. Easy Peasy. You are a success. This can be your first dish to take to a pot luck. Congratulations!!!!

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How’d it turn out?! Great, I hope!

What do you prefer savory or sweet cornbread?

Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

Kim

10 Signs Five Guys Burgers and Fries Loves Me As Much As I Love Them….

21 Feb

Today I visited my favorite burger place, Five Guys Burgers and Fries. My visit was spontaneous based on me being hungry for food that would be made to order when I ordered it, the way I ordered it and hot when I sink my teeth into thee. No matter if it is now or 10 minutes from now. It will be H.O.T.. Although, I could have picked healthier options for lunch, I couldn’t have picked a better tasting place to have a caloric meltdown. Let me tell you why…

  1. The person at the register is always glad to see me. I believe this place to be a judgement free zone. Today, I was dressed as if I was going or coming from a rigorous workout. I’m sure they knew my outfit was deceitful, but they didn’t say anything. Even though I probably should’ve been next door at Panera ordering lighter food options they understood my hearts desire for american cheese melted over beef patties served between two buns, hot fries and, a coke. 
  2. Anything I ask for, the answer is always yes! They want it to be perfect for me. I love that the burger is not on the griddle until I place my order. I love it that the Fries are not dropped in the hot grease until I say I want fries (Who wants not hot fries? Not me.) The menu board gives all the options available for ordering hot dogs, burgers (cheeseburgers, bacon burgers, 1 patty or, 2), other sandwich options are available too.  The list of free toppings makes my excitement climb even higher! Remember,  this is all just for me…. At least that’s what I tell myself.
  3. They are generous with the fries. When you order a regular size fry at five guys they pour love into the bag of happieness by adding more fries to your now full cup of fries. Picture this: Your specially made burger of choice is tightly wrapped in foil and now in the paper bag marinating all the flavors together. Very shortly after, the fries you order are added to the bag, your order is complete. (At least that’s what you think on the first visit). You have your beverage in hand and ketchup cups ready..You are just waiting for the food preparer just to turn around and give you your bag….. Nope, she didn’t.  This is only taking a few seconds by the way. But, what happens next is nothing but LOVE. She adds more fries to the bag!!!! And not just a few fries, enough for another person. That is a crime in some jurisdictions. But, what people do for love is not for me to judge. Finally, I have my bag of LOVE. Hot fries overflowing!!!
  4. Imagine getting your yumminess and driving home and it’s still hot. Yes, I said it. I’ll say it again. The food is still hot when you get home! Blasphemy, you say? Well, I’ve seen it! It happened to me!  My Five Guys of choice is at least 10 miles away using the expressway and I have ordered my food to go several times and it is still always so good when I make it home. Anything is possible when it’s done in love…. 
  5. They serve appetizers. That is a true story.  They have an unlimited supply of peanuts to snack on while you wait for your order. Now, I don’t eat nuts or peanuts, so I don’t take advantage of this perk. I will give them credit though. It’s the thought that counts, right?
  6. Conversation topics are a plenty at a Five Guys restaurant: When you enter the joint you will see artwork on a bulletin board made by school children usually to say thank you to the restaurant. Magazine articles are posted all around, the topic is all about Five Guys and how much other people love them too. Last but not least, you will always know where the potatoes you are going to eat are coming from. They write it on a white board and probably refresh it daily or, when the grower/distributor changes. Communication is the key for a relationship to work.  😉
  7. COKE products!!!! Need I say more?The Coke Freestyle pop machine is magical for anyone who wants to create their own soda recipe. The possibilities are unlimited. For me, classic coke or classic cherry coke makes me the happiest. 
  8. Now serving milkshakes and malts! I personally have not experienced the milkshakes but, whenever someone speaks ice cream to me my eyes sparkle! Milkshakes are not available at my favorite location but, I promise we will have a rendezvous soon.
  9.  The employees always look clean wear gloves and, they change them between jobs of register and food prep. They post Safe Serve signs! Yes, all of that is a restaurant after my own heart. 
  10. $13.75 that’s what I pay for the promise of mouthwatering, delicious crispy hot fries, a perfectly cooked and dressed two patty cheeseburger and a large coke. Although my bank account says I have no business paying almost 14 bucks for any food that comes in a to go bag, I spend it anyway.  This is worth it. Everytime.
  11. BONUS!! They always give me a chance to win my hard earned money back. 

This is why I love Five Guys Burgers and Fries they way I do. What’s on your dream hamburger? Who makes it the best? Where should I try next? Let me know in the comments. 

Questions or comments? Leave them below. Thank you!

Talk to you soon,

Kim

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