Month: July 2014

Time to refuel

Food Mar 18 003

In case you are following the blog closely, let me remind you that the entire High’s gang will be on vacation from July 30 through August 13. We will reopen August 14. Your blog maestro will take a break too. Thank you for reading, for commenting, for cooking. If you do have some comments or questions, please submit. I will check in from time to time and I will respond.

Take care. See you soon. Many more recipes to share.


Cream of Cauliflower Soup

July 18 019

(serves 8-10)

½ stick butter

¼  C olive oil

 July 18 021

6 stalks of celery, medium dice

2  small yellow onions, medium dice

6 garlic cloves, minced

S & P

 July 18 020 July 18 022

2 heads cauliflower, trimmed and cut into pieces, use only florets

3 parsnips, peeled and cut into medium-sized pieces

2 large turnips, peeled and cut into medium-sized pieces

July 18 023

1 t red pepper flakes

1 T plus 1 t herbs de Provence

5 whole cloves

8 C chicken or vegetable stock

 July 18 025 July 18 026

July 18 027

In a preheated soup pot, add butter and olive oil. Once butter has melted, add celery, onions, garlic and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook over medium high heat until onions are translucent and celery begins to soften. Add cauliflower, parsnips, turnips, red pepper flakes, herbs de Provence, cloves and stock. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer over medium heat until all vegetables are fork tender. Remove soup from heat and allow cooling. Once cooled, puree the soup in batches using a blender. Be very careful. Once soup is smooth, place it back in your soup pot and add 2 C of heavy cream. Warm soup over medium heat. Adjust seasoning with salt and cracked pepper. Stir to prevent sticking. Ladle into bowls and garnish with pumpernickel croutons, parmesan cheese, and chives.

July 18 063

Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette and Curried Cashews

For dressing:

5 strips of slab bacon, cooked crisp and diced

July 18 033

Nothing like a picture of bacon to get the appetite stirred up.

1/2 C apple cider vinegar

3 T whole grain mustard

3 T maple syrup

¾ t salt

¾ t black pepper

July 18 036 July 18 044

July 18 045 July 18 046

1 ½ C olive oil

In a pitcher, combine apple cider vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Using a stick blender, combine the ingredients until well incorporated. With blender running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until a smooth emulsification forms. Pour dressing into a small sauce pan and warm over medium low heat. Once dressing is warm, add reserved bacon pieces and pour over prepared spinach salads.

July 18 053

For cashews:

1/2 t smoked paprika

1/2 t curry powder

2 T fresh rosemary, finely copped

2 T olive oil

1 C whole cashews, roasted and salted

In a mixing bowl, place paprika, curry, rosemary and olive oil. Mix well. Add cashews and stir to combine. Spread cashews on a cookie sheet and place it into a preheated 325 oven degree and bake for 10 minutes. Remove and cool.

July 18 040 July 18 041 July 18 042

For the salad:

Assemble the following ingredients:

  • Pink Lady Apple sliced into sticks.

July 18 2 001

  • Cremini mushrooms sliced very thinly. When buying mushrooms, make sure caps have not separated from the stem.

July 18 047 July 18 049

  • Red onion thinly sliced and rinsed.

July 18 050

  • Hard-boiled eggs cut into chunks.

July 18 051

  • Curried Cashews

July 18 052

  • AND, baby spinach.

Compose the salad, individually or one large, and spoon the warm dressing over the top. Don’t be stingy. This dressing is yum.

July 18 055

July 18 056

Italian Cream Cake

(makes 10  personal-sized cakes)

July 18 002

Place coconut in an even layer on a cookie sheet. Place into a preheated 325 degree oven and cook for about 8 minutes. Remove and mix well for even cooking. Outside edges cook faster. Place back into oven for an additional 8 minutes or until golden.

July 18 004

Place walnuts on a cookie sheet and put into a 325 degree preheated oven for 15 minutes or so. Bake until fragrant and toasted.

1 ½ C flour

½ t salt

¾ t baking soda

½ t nutmeg

¾ C coconut, toasted plus extra for garnish

½ C dried apricots, diced small

2/3 C walnuts, toasted

July 18 005 July 18 007 July 18 008

July 18 009 July 18 010

1 ½ sticks butter, soft

1 ½ C sugar

Zest of half an orange

July 18 012

3 eggs

1 t vanilla

July 18 011

¾ C sour cream

July 18 015 July 18 017

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter, sugar and orange zest. Beat with the paddle attachment until light texture and well combined. Place flour, salt, soda and nutmeg in a separate bowl and whisk to combine. Add apricots, walnuts and coconut to the flour mix making sure that the apricots are not clumping together.

Combine eggs and vanilla in a pourable container. Pour eggs, one at a time, into the butter mix with the paddle attachment on medium high-speed. Make sure each egg is well incorporated before adding the next. Turn mixer on lowest speed and spoon flour mix and sour cream alternately into the butter mix beginning and ending with the flour mix. Finish incorporating by hand. Let batter rest for 15 minutes or so before portioning into cooking molds.

At this point, it’s up to you whether you make personal-sized cakes or one large. For personal-sized cakes, portion dough, using an ice cream scoop, into Pyrex ramekins that have been sprayed with non-stick baking spray. Place ramekins on a parchment lined cookie sheet and put into a 325 degree preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes, rotate cookie sheet and bake for an additional 12-15 minutes. The cakes will just be set to the touch. Place your finger tips on the top of each cake and slightly move it back and forth. The entire cake top should move as one. No soft spots. Remove from oven and place ramekins on a cooling rack. Once thoroughly cooled, slice each cake in half. Place a scoop of orange cream cheese icing on the base portion of the cake. Place the top portion on and press down slightly so that the icing is revealed on the sides. Place a scoop of icing on top and garnish cake with toasted coconut, an apricot slice and powdered sugar.

July 18 037 July 18 038

July 18 039

July 18 057 July 18 058

July 18 059

July 18 061

Orange Cream Cheese Icing

(makes enough icing for 10 personal-sized cakes)

¾ stick butter, soft

8 ounces cream cheese, soft

1 t orange zest

1 t vanilla

4 C powdered sugar, sifted

July 18 001

Make sure butter and cream cheese are soft before beginning. I prefer allowing it to come to room temperature rather than microwaving.

July 18 028 July 18 029 July 18 030

July 18 032

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter, cream cheese and orange zest using the paddle attachment. Beat on high-speed until well combined. Add powdered sugar to butter mix and begin on slow speed. Increase speed as sugar becomes incorporated into the butter mix. Remove paddle and scrape down sides and bottom to insure a very smooth mix. Once sugar is incorporated, add vanilla and continue to beat until the icing has a very spreadable, smooth texture. The batter can hold in the refrigerator for several days. Allow icing to come to room temperature for smooth spreading.

Gazpacho with Shrimp Veggie Relish and Avocado Cream

(Please read through the entire recipe before you embark. I found this a challenge to format. It’s very simple and delicious. Good luck!)

July 9 001

(Ingredients needed for 2 blender batches:)

5 mini cucumbers

1 each – red, orange and yellow bell peppers

4 C cherub tomatoes

2 T pickled jalapenos

16-20 Manzanilla olives

2 bunches cilantro

4 C tomato juice

1/3 of a small red onion

 July 9 003 July 9 004 July 9 005

July 9 007 July 9 008

One blender batch:

2 mini cucumbers, cut into large pieces, skin on

1/3 of a red, yellow and orange bell pepper, cut into large pieces

2 C of cherub tomatoes

1 T sliced pickled jalapenos

8-10 Manzanilla olives

Pinch of cilantro

2 C tomato juice


Place cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, jalapenos, olives, cilantro and tomato juice in a blender. The blender will be full. Start by pulsing the mixture before you go to high speed. Puree until smooth.

Repeat this step for a second batch. Place both batches in a large bowl and then add the salt, celery seed, EVOO and sherry vinegar. Use a stick blender to incorporate.  Do not double the seasonings. Listed below is the correct measure for two blender batches. Cut it in half if you only make one batch of gazpacho.  Chill in the refrigerator for several hours. Overnight is best for full flavor.

Final seasoning for 2 batches:

 2 t salt

1 t celery seed


2 T sherry vinegar

For avocado cream:

½ C sour cream

1 large avocado

Pinch of cilantro

Pinch of salt

2 T fresh lemon juice

Place ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Puree until smooth.

July 9 016 July 9 017

For chopped relish:

Use remaining pieces of the bell peppers and dice them small, 1/3 of a red onion diced small and one miniature cucumber, diced small-skin on. Combine in a bowl and add diced shrimp.

July 9 010 July 9 012

For diced shrimp:

Fill a sauce pan ¾ full with water. Bring water to a boil. Add 1 t salt, juice of one lemon, 1 t red pepper flakes, and 6 bay leaves. Add 1 pound of large shrimp. Cook until firm to touch. Drain off water and chill shrimp. Peel and dice each shrimp into four pieces. Combine with chopped veggies.

July 9 009 July 9 011 July 9 018

July 9 019

For serving:

Ladle gazpacho into highball glasses and top with veggie/shrimp relish and avocado cream. Garnish with pickled okra. Summer delish!

July 9 021

July 9 022

Lemon Blueberry Cakes with Lemon Glaze

(makes 9 cakes)

July 10 001

Purchased at Sur La Table. Fat Daddio’s is the brand. 2″ height, 3″ width.

1 ½ C cake flour

2 t baking powder

½ t salt

 July 10 003

½ C vegetable oil

1 C sugar

Zest from 2 lemons

 July 10 002 July 10 004 July 10 006

3 eggs

1 t vanilla

July 10 005 July 10 007 July 10 009

1 C blueberry yogurt

½ pint fresh blueberries

July 10 012 July 10 015

Syrup ingredients:

½ C fresh lemon juice

½ C sugar

 July 10 016

July 10 019

July 10 020

An oven rack makes a great cooling rack.

Glaze ingredients:

1 C powdered sugar

1 T plus 1 t fresh lemon juice

July 10 022

Prepare mini cake pans with non-stick cooking spray.

For lemon syrup: combine granulated sugar and lemon juice in a small sauce pan. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves completely. Set aside to cool.

For cake: in a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add oil, lemon zest and sugar. Beat until mixed well. In a pourable container, combine eggs and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat until smooth. To the egg mix, add flour mix and yogurt alternately in several batches. Begin and end with the flour. Finish incorporating by hand. Allow batter to rest before placing in prepared molds for baking. Use an ice cream scoop for precise portioning. Place blueberries on top pressing them slightly into the batter. Place molds into a preheated 325 degree oven. Bake for 15 minutes, rotate and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until the tops are set to the touch. They will be slightly golden in color. Remove to a cooling rack and spoon lemon syrup over warm cakes. Cool for another 10 minutes or so and unmold. They need to be slightly warm for unmolding. Allow to cool completely before lemon glaze is added. While the glaze is nice for dressing, it is not needed for flavor. The cakes are delicious naked 😉

For glaze: combine lemon juice and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk together until smooth.

For presentation: garnish with lemon slice and fresh berries.


2 pounds ground beef, 90/10 mix

 July 1 017 July 1 018

July 1 010

¼ C vegetable oil

1 large yellow onion, diced small

4-5 garlic cloves, finely minced

2 T tomato paste

½ C water

July 1 021 July 1 022 July 1 024

1 T chili powder

2 t cumin

2 t dried oregano

1 T brown sugar

2 t salt

1 T chipotle puree

Juice of one lime

1 potato, peeled cooked and diced

(Wash potato and prick it all over with a fork. Cook on high heat in a microwave for 5 minutes. Let cool, peel and dice.)

July 1 019 July 1 025 

For tostadas: Brush olive oil on both sides of the corn tortillas. Sprinkle with salt and chili powder. Place in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes until crisp.

In a skillet, brown beef with a pinch of salt and cracked pepper over medium high heat until cooked through. Remove meat to a paper towel lined plate and pour off fat. Wipe out pan and place back on the stove. Over medium high heat, add oil. Once it is shimmering, add onion and garlic. Once onion becomes translucent, add tomato paste. Reduce heat to medium and mix paste in well. Cook until a deeper color develops and bits begin to stick to the bottom of the skillet. See picture. Add water and scrape up brown bits. Add meat back to the skillet with the remaining ingredients. Cook over a medium heat until liquid is mostly absorbed and flavors have fully integrated. Cover and keep warm for service. Keep meat warm to at least 170 degrees. Meat can store overnight and be reheated with a little water added.

July 1 029

Chalupa bar?

July 1 030

To assemble: place corn tortilla on a plate, add meat, green leaf lettuce, avocado tomatillo salsa, pickled red onions, cherub tomatoes, crumbled queso fresco, sour cream, lime and cilantro.

July 1 001

Queso fresco is a mild, crumbly cheese.


Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta

(makes 8-10 servings)

3 T water

1 package gelatin

July 2 003 July 2 004 July 2 008

In a sauce pot:

1 ½ C heavy cream

¾ C sugar

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

July 2 001 July 2 002

In a mixing bowl:

1 ½ C heavy cream

2 C crème fraiche

1 ½ t vanilla extract

July 2 007 July 2 009 July 2 010

July 2 011

Place water in a shallow bowl and evenly sprinkle gelatin over the water. Let it sit while you prepare other ingredients.

Place pot mix on the stove and bring to a slow boil. Remove from heat and allow cream mixture to steep for 15 minutes.

Whisk mixing bowl ingredients together until smooth and well incorporated. Avoid whipping air bubbles into the mix.

Once gelatin is set up (see picture), add it to the steeping cream mixture and stir in until it completely dissolves. Pour the pan mix through a fine sieve into the mixing bowl ingredients. Slowly whisk to blend both mixtures. Pour the combined mix through the sieve again into a pitcher. Pour into molds. Chill in the refrigerator for 5-6 hours. Overnight is perfect.  This is another make ahead dessert that holds for several days. Carefully run a knife around the edges of the mold and gently nudge the panna cotta onto a plate. Serve with macerated fruit and a drizzle of the reduced Frangelico. A bit of orange zest on top is a nice touch.

July 3 001

This plastic implement works well for removing the panna cotta. Cut around the very top and then slide the spatula down the side of the mold until you are at the bottom. Then just nudge it a little to loosen the suction. Slowly wedge it out.

July 3 004

July 3 005

You will not be able to resist this!

For macerated fruit: combine a ½ C of golden raisins and a ½ C of dried cherries in a small sauce pan. Cover with Frangelico and place over medium heat. Reduce liquid by half. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Stores well in the refrigerator.

July 2 012

Panna Cotta means “cooked cream”. This is a refreshing, light dessert perfect for summer time eating. The absolute best version of this is served at DOUGH PIZZERIA in San Antonio. Carla’s Panna Cotta always ends meals there. They drizzle some caramel along with the dried fruits for their presentation.

I found these acrylic highball glasses at Ace Mart to use as my molds. Small flared pyrex bowls could work too.

Pickled Red Onions

1 red onion thinly sliced

1 T dried oregano

½ t coriander seeds

3-4 bay leaves

1 t salt

1 T honey

5-6 whole peppercorns

1 C apple cider vinegar

½ C water

1 t orange zest

July 1 004

Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl. Cover and let marinate overnight in the refrigerator. The onions will keep for many days and are a great topping for the highlupa, fish tacos, shrimp tacos, burgers, hot dogs, grilled pork sandwiches etc…