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Houston, TX
Just your atypical hispanic male living in the big city

Monday, May 28, 2012

Blueberry Pastry

It's Memorial Day weekend and today is a day in which we appreciate all those who have fought for our country. I have a couple of my family members who were in the service, so want to share a recipe that is American as Apple...or Blueberry...Pie.

For this recipe, I am introducing another rather simple recipe my grandmother made me learn. Our family used to make this recipe and we called it a fattening dessert (will be another post sometime soon). Of course, like many of the recipes, I have tweaked this to something totally new. It's also great to have a little help....from the hairy children.

 Bella and Brodie licking the cream cheese off the beater

1 stick salted butter
1 cup flour
1 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts, preferably)
1 tbsp sugar
2 pkgs cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 16 oz can blueberry

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.

While the oven is preheating, place the cold butter into a large bowl. Add the flour and sugar to the bowl.


If you don't use pre-cut nuts, like I do, start to finely chop the nuts. My grandmother used pecans because that is what we normally used all the time since they were readily available (she had her own pecan tree). I am using walnuts since I didn't have pecans readily available and these were in my freezer. Nuts do keep well in the freezer as long as you keep them firmly sealed. Add half of what you chopped into the butter/flour mixture.


With a pastry cutter, start to crumble the butter assuring that the flour is mixed well forming into a ball. Add the rest of the nuts to the flour mixture as well. You might notice that the mixture needs a little more flour. Add a little at a time until it forms a clean round ball.

I am using a spring form pan as I am only making a bottom crust. Press the ball into the baking dish to the bottom of the pan. Keep in mind, if you are making a larger dish or you want to cover the sides of the pan, then you will need to double the recipe.

After you have placed the pan into the oven, check the oven in about 5 minutes. You might notice that the pie crust has shrunk some, so you might need to extend it towards the edge of the baking dish. Place back into the oven and allow to continue to cook until golden brown (for about 10 to 15 minutes). Take out of the oven and allow to cool. I used a cooling rack in order for it to totally cool.

While the pie crust is cooling, get another bowl and place the cream cheese and powdered sugar.With a hand mixer, blend the cream cheese with the powdered sugar.


Once the crust is fully cooled, add the cream cheese mixture to the crust. Make sure that it is evenly spread throughout the pie crust.

Now that you have the cream cheese layer set, add the blueberry filling to the dessert. As with my grandmother's fattening dessert, you can actually place other types of fillings. Like I said, it is a rather simple dessert that anyone can do.


Notice that I have now taken out of the spring form pan and it is finally set. If you like, add cool whip, rediwhip or other such toppings. I personally enjoy this simple dessert with no additional frills. Hope you enjoy this recipe and try it for yourself.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Weekend Casserole

Everyone loves to have a Brunch every now and again. I am not much of a breakfast person, especially as I got older, but I do have to admit that I sometimes get a hunkering for eggs. Normally, when I do, I end up cooking a brunch for MC and myself. This go around I was wondering what I would cook for everyone.

So one of the other items that I cooked was the Weekend Casserole. This is much like a quiche, but I have to admit that you are cheating with the use of crescent dinner rolls. For this recipe, I have made a double batch since we had about 12 people eating this dish along with the rest of the items cooked for our Weekend Brunch.


1 lb country sausage
1 large onion
2 cups shredded cheese (mozzerella or any type of cheese)
1 can refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
additional green onions for color
4 large eggs
3/4 whole milk
1/4 garlic powder
1/4 salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven at 375 degrees. Grease the 13 x 9 baking dish. Notice that I have decided to use a disposable dish as I want to make it as easy to clean up after everyone had their share of this delicious dish.

Start to cook the sausage. While that is cooking dice the onion. Add the onion to the meat. Continue to cook until well browned. Take out of the pan and allow to drain.

Start to roll out the crescent roll dough. Firmly press the perforations of the crescent dough in order for it to seal.

Sprinkle the sausage and onion mixture. Add one cup of the shredded cheese and the green onions to the meat. For this recipe, I wanted to use monterrey jack cheese.


Combine all of the other ingredients in a large bowl until well blended with a whisk. Pour the egg and milk mixture over the sausage. Add the rest of the cheese over the egg and sausage mixture.


Bake the casserole between 15 to 20 minutes or until it is set. Use a toothpick to make sure it has set well. Let it stand for 5 minutes before cutting into squares. Serve hot.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Tarte aux Fraises (French Tart)


Today, it is Sunday and Mother's Day. Luckily, on this day, my mother had me also on Mother's Day hence me celebrating it today. I know I know....I should be relaxing on this special day, but it doesn't change the fact that I have to cook something and place it on my blog. This weekend was no different as I had 3 other items that I cooked for some hungry peeps over at the new place. On top of that, I opted to be working on the new place, so not only was I cooking/baking for Mother's Day, but I even had time to paint 1 room, 2 closets and put together a closet organizer! Talk about busy!

Well, when it came to this special day, I wanted to cook something that the ladies would appreciate. In addition, I wanted to also cook something that demonstrated how fresh ingredients could develop into something that even a person who doesn't like strawberries would appreciate (apparently I had one that didn't care for strawberry tarts....but they tried it!).

This recipe is a classic French dessert tart and I was inspired to make this from my visit to Paris, but to also impress Maw Maw (MC's grandmother). Normally, this would call for a custard (recipe to follow) as well as a scratch made crust.

Crust Ingredients:

3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter
2 egg yolks
ice water

Blend the flour, sugar and salt.

Cut in the cold butter with a pastry cutter or fork until the mixture resembles a coarse meal with bits of butter no larger than peas. I am not using a food processor, but I am sure you can use this in low.

Add the egg yolks, and continue blending with the pastry cutter until the eggs are evenly incorporated and the mixture resembles a fine meal.

Stir in the ice water with a fork, one tablespoons at a time, until the mixture is just moistened enough to gather and mold into a smooth ball. Keep in mind that I am making a rather large tart. Ideally, you can separate this into two different disks and yields 2 tart shells. I am going to use a spring form pan as this makes it easier to take out and it looks so much prettier out of the pan.


Flatten the disc and wrap with plastic, and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or overnight if you prefer. The dough may also be frozen, but I tend to not freeze it more than a month because its not as fresh as I would like it to be.

Remove the chilled dough from the fridge, and allow to rest at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough. Lift and turn the dough as you work, keeping the work surface dusted with flour to prevent sticking. Fit the dough into a tart pan and press it firmly against the sides and bottom without stretching it. Trim off any excess dough and then cover and chill the dough in the pan for at least 30 minutes before filling and baking.



To prebake the empty tart shell, prick the dough all over with a fork, cover lightly with foil and bake at 375° F (190° C) for 15 minutes. Remove the foil, and continue baking until barely colored for a partially baked shell, or golden brown for a fully baked shell.

Keep in mind, this is a simple crust. It might not be as flaky as you are normally used to. Believe me, I am used to flaky crusts with my pies, but I think its refreshing to try something totally out of my comfort zone. 

Custard Ingredients:

2 cups milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (or 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring)
5 egg yolks
6 to 8 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons corn starch


In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the milk with the vanilla bean almost to boiling.

While the milk is heating, mix the egg yolks and sugar together in a large bowl, then whisk in the flour and cornstarch until the mixture is smooth.

Remove the vanilla bean from the milk, and gradually whisk the hot milk into the egg mixture. Strain the mixture back into the saucepan, and place over medium heat, stirring or whisking constantly until the mixture thickens and reaches a boil. Continue cooking for half a minute longer, stirring hard and constantly to keep the pastry cream smooth.

Remove the pastry cream from the heat. Place a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pastry cream to avoid a skin forming, and leave to cool.

The pastry cream can be used when cool, or covered and refrigerated. Stir chilled pastry cream before using.

Finally, after the shell and custard are both chilled, put together and top with freshly cut, ripe strawberries. Keep in mind, you can have this done the previous day (as I did late the night before). I didn't have to worry about cooking this as I had other things to worry about (my new place). Enjoy this recipe!