lela’s grits

True Grits

Grits were born in the 16th century thanks to the Muskogee Native American tribe of Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia.

Flash forward 400-ish years later and we’re still enjoying cornmeal that’s often served with a seemingly endless assortment of sweet and savory sidekicks.

Because grits don’t have much flavor all by themselves, they are super versatile adopting the taste of their foodie sidekicks like bacon, cheese, onions, shrimp, sausage and more. Butter is a given! I’ve included some ingredient options below, although Lela’s original recipe just called for garlic cheese. Sometimes the simple foods provide the greatest comfort!

My orientation to grits was via the 1970s greasy spoon diner sitcom Alice. I spent many hours watching Flo Castleberry find a delightfully southern and spunky way of telling people to “Kiss my grits!” Here’s a video compilation of some of her sassiest moments:

Truth be told – one bite in and you may just kiss these grits. I enjoyed reminiscing over this dish and hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Foodie Tips

❤  Garlic cheese roll? Yeah, you won’t likely readily find it at the grocery store. This good ol’ classic has been discontinued by Kraft but you can score a way to make your own Garlic Cheese Roll at home with this Betty’s Cook Nook recipe (scroll to the bottom for the bonus cheese roll recipe).

❤  This pimiento cheese recipe tastes great in lieu of the garlic cheese roll.

❤  I discovered a recent Southern Living magazine article with some ingredient options to enjoy grits three unique ways: Option 1: Scrambled eggs, cubed ham, shredded cheddar cheese, halved cherry tomatoes, and chopped fresh chives. Option 2: Fried egg, cubed chorizo, cubed avocado, crumbled queso fresco (fresh Mexican cheese), and hot sauce. Option 3: Poached egg, crumbled bacon, sautéed spinach, and shaved Parmesan cheese.

i. Time

Total prep: About 25 minutes

ii. Ingredients

3 cups  |  boiling water
1 cup  |  grits
to taste  |  salt
1 roll  |  garlic cheese roll
1 stick  |  unsalted butter (my Grandmother always insisted on Falfurrias brand butter)
|  cage free eggs
to serve  |  cheddar cheese, shredded
to garnish  |  bacon, crumbled (optional)
to garnish  |  green onions, sliced (optional)

iii. What To Do

1. In a saucepan bring the water to a boil.

2. Slowly stir the grits into the boiling water. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally for 4-5 minutes until thickened.

3. Add the salt, garlic cheese, butter and eggs and continue cooking until everything melts, about 2-3 minutes. The cheese should cool the grits a bit – you’ll want to make sure you don’t scramble your eggs!

Optional step: We transferred the grits into a buttered casserole dish, topped the grits with the shredded cheddar cheese and baked it at 350°F for 10 minutes to give the grits a cheesy crust up top.

4. To serve (if using): Sprinkle the bacon and sliced green onions on top and enjoy!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

A Scan Of Mom’s Original Grits Recipe Card

Who is Lela?

When I was growing up Lela Swinny lived at 3006 Northridge in San Antonio just 2 doors around the corner from my family’s home at 2927 Trailend.

The Swinny family was a delightful bunch of folks and my family spent almost as much time at their house as our own so naturally “fooding” was a part of the times our two families shared.

Mom’s dear friend “Lela” taught me many things ~ the joy of laughing, how to swim in their awesome pool, and how to cook a memorable breakfast treat called “Egg In A Nest,” which is also posted here at Betty’s Cook Nook.

True family fact: Back in the 1970s Lela was throwing out an old desk that caught my Mom’s eye. A coat of red paint later and it was a cornerstone in my brother Tim’s red white and blue bedroom (it was around the time of our Country’s Bicentennial celebration so red white and blue was extra hot). In the 1990s I painted the desk black and it’s the desk where I author this cooking blog to this day, proving that Lela is still with us, heart and soul!

You’ll find a picture of Lela and me in the “old family photos” tab and you can search for her by name to connect with more of her spirited recipes here at Betty’s Cook Nook.

Cheers to two great friends – my Mom Betty and Lela!


holy guacamole

Holy Guacamole

This special recipe is dedicated to Anna.
“Holy guacamole” not only makes us laugh – it jettisons us back
to our fond and flavorful days in Italy. Long live “Tes Mes” Day
and food comas!

~      ~

Homemade in February 2018 and promptly sent to the freezer, we later released this guacamole from its icy resting place to celebrate Super Bowl 2018 almost 50 years after the recipe was published.

I can promise you this is the first time I’ve made *then not quickly devoured* a delicious bowl of the green stuff but I was following my Mom “Betty’s” recipe clipped from the San Antonio Express-News as an experiment (see the recipe below). The recipe’s intent was to freeze before eating.

The results? Quite surprising!

Good gravy – freezing guacamole?

I agree – it seems odd at first but if you dial back the timeline to the 1960s/1970s the home economist (our Mothers) thirsted for ways to run an efficient kitchen. So freezing guacamole is a great way to prepare for your party without having to do all the work in the heat of the moment.

Back in the day freezing guacamole was considered “normal stuff,” like prepping your wardrobe or your “to dos” for the great day ahead. Brilliant forethought!

Holier than thou

To Texans guacamole is right up there in the inner circle of sanctity along with queso, big hair, and cowboy boots. These are the things we place high and mighty on our list of things to cherish. To literally “mess with Texas” is to tamper with one of its revered staples so you can image I was nervous about tinkering with the obvious – to divert from the culinary mission to make then eat in “normal” fashion.

To my family guacamole is a treasured treat. While we don’t necessarily enjoy “guac” for breakfast, lunch, and dinner like most outside our state might think – guacamole holds its place in our hearts as a “constant craving” food we keep near and dear.

Linus van Pelt and an Avocado

I Feel The Same Way, Linus

My Mom “Betty” truly loved guacamole. And she loved enjoying it alongside all of the wild and delicious Tex-Mex varieties we could consume while living in the unique pureness of San Antonio (rah, 78209-ers!)

Teka Molino Royalty

I Like My Puffy Taco Flanked By The Royal Line Up Of A Guacamole, Cheese, And Bean + Cheese Cups.
Nom. NOM!

One of our most special restaurants was — and still is — Teka Molino — which has some of the greatest food in the region (sorry, Nation, you do not qualify). Heck, I sometimes drive 97.8 miles from Round Rock to San Antonio just to enjoy Teka’s puffy tacos, bean rolls, and I always get a guacamole cup; a pot of gold served from masa fashioned into a cup which has been delicately deep fried.

I’ve lived north and south in Texas and I can promise you there’s nothing more tastefully authentic!

Teka Molino Bean Cups Rule T-Shirt

Considered My “Finer Attire” This T-Shirt Sums It Up Best

While I’m probably the only Texan outside “San Antone” proudly sporting a “Bean Cups Rule” T-shirt, I will promptly buy a “Guacamole Cups Rule” T-shirt when Teka Molino creates them. :)

So let’s dive deep into this guacamole and experience one of the greatest culinary gifts — glorious holy guacamole!

Foodie Tips

  Guacamole isn’t just a dip for chips, it’s a great plus-up to queso, enchiladas, tacos, soups, and it brightens a sad and lonely spoon (oh, yes I have!). Guacamole’s best friends include the nacho chip, the Fritos Scoop, and its often found mingling atop a properly dressed grilled hamburger, along with its farm-raised kissin’ cousins Mr. Bacon and Ms. Monterrey Jack Cheese.

  Nobody likes tired, ol’ brown guacamole. To extend your guacamole’s zest for life give it a slight squeeze of lime on top prior to serving. You can also store it overnight by placing cling wrap on top of the guac and lightly smoothing it out to remove any trapped air.

  I usually forage for the best ripened avocados from the bottom of my local market’s produce container. If I’m reluctantly forced to choose from pre-ripened avocados I’ll place them in a sunny window for a few days to help ’em along their way.

  My brow raised when I saw this recipe calls for parmesan cheese. It isn’t because I don’t love parm, but I’ve never had it alongside guacamole. And, while this recipe calls for lemon, lime is a citrusy suitable sibling. Lemon and lime go together like PB&J, cheese and wine, or a smile birthed from puppy kisses. I prefer my guacamole fork-mashed and chunky but I can respect why a blender was used given the culinary movement of the era.

After digging into the author’s past below I discovered she hailed from South Carolina. Hmm. So while I’m not saying this guacamole isn’t authentically Texas because of lemon and parmesan cheese I’m just noting the special twist Ruby Lou brought to this guac. Guacamole is a wonderfully inclusive dish that pairs well with others!

  Can’t get enough avocado? Explore some of the other recipes by clicking “avocado” in the ingredients word cloud list in the righthand menu. Don’t miss my Mom’s most special flavorful twist on potato salad made with avocado, bacon and sour cream instead of the typical mayonnaise. It’s a “Best Of The Best” recipe that has become a family tradition.

i. Time

To prepare: About 15 minutes.
To thaw: 1 ½3 hours (depends on the depth of your guacamole)
To enjoy:
Mere nanoseconds

ii. Ingredients

juice from ½ a lemon
| avocados, ripened, peeled, and quartered
| tomato, peeled, and quartered
| green onions, chive tops removed
| hot chilies (in Texas we call these jalapeños)
1 clove | garlic, chopped
to sprinkle | parmesan cheese (optional)
to serve | corn chips (we use “Fritos Scoops” these days #GoBold)

iii. What to do

1. Place your lemon juice in a blender.

2. Peel and quarter the avocados and tomato. Wash and dry the green onions and remove the chive tops. (Whoops — we accidentally included them and it was the more the merrier!) Remove the seeds from the jalapeños (we included them for more texture). Chop the garlic into small pieces. Add the avocado, tomato, onion, jalapeños and garlic to the lemon juice.

How To Make Guacamole

3. Cover the blender and run it on high speed until everything is smooth. Turn the guacamole onto a flat serving dish and place it in the freezer long enough to form a frosty crust. You can prepare this several days ahead of time if wrapped for freezing (we used Ziploc freezer bags).
Freezing Guacamole

4. To thaw allow 1 ½3 hours depending on the depth of the your guacamole. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve with corn chips or your favorite sidekick.

Yields 2 ½ cups and a whole lotta “Yee Haws!”

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Potato Salad Shooter

I Siphoned Off Some Potato Salad For A “Potato Salad Shooter.” A Perfect Way To Enjoy Your Day!

Texas Guacamole Recipe

A Scan of Mom’s Recipe Clipping (Circa 1970)

 

Who Was Ruby Lou Potts?

She penned the recipe (above) that caught my Mom’s eye. I found this old newspaper article about her which lends more detail about the era this recipe was likely penned.

SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS NEWS –  July 1, 1969

New Writer For Feature By HELEN MILES Food Editor

Take note of the new byline the “Bexar Cupboard” feature in today’s San Antonio Express.

Since 1952, Nell Read (who later became Nell Read Carraway) has signed these popular weekly articles on food produced by the Home Service Division of City Public Service Board.

When Mrs. Carraway retired at the end of June, Ruby Lou Potts moved into her job as Home Service Supervisor and, with today’s article, becomes the author of “Bexar Cupboard,” an exclusive feature carried Tuesdays in the San Antonio Express.

Mrs. Potts needs no introduction to followers of “Bexar Cupboard.” She has been a home economist with CPSB since 1958 and has frequently been photographed for the column, demonstrating food preparation. Mrs. Potts holds a degree in home economics from Winthrop College in Rock Hill. S.C. She is a former home economics teacher and dietician. She and her husband, William Robert Potts, have two sons. Bob, who lives in Houston, and Charlie, who is serving in the Marine Corps in Vietnam.

Mrs. Carraway has chosen to retire early in order to enjoy her family. When she married Ben Carraway three years ago she acquired four grandchildren, a daughter and a son-in-law. “I have a wonderful family,” she says, adding that she wants to become a full-time homemaker and do for her family the work she has taught so many for so long.

She has been with the City Public Service Board for 41 years and for 37 as Home Service Supervisor, in this capacity she and her staff have helped women of San Antonio with countless problems encountered in running a home. Mrs. Carraway’s work with the annual San Antonio Livestock Show has brought about the organization of the Women’s Division which sponsors competition in cooking, baking and preparation of food and pastries.

Because of her outstanding contribution to the civic life of San Antonio, two years ago the San Antonio Chapter of Theta Sigma Phi named her winner of a Headliner Award. She began writing a weekly feature for the San Antonio Express in 1952 when Hattie Llewellyn was food editor. It was called “In the Spanish Patio.” In 1955, the name was changed to “Bexar Cupboard.” Now, as Mrs. Carraway lays aside her pen, it is with continuing pride that the San Antonio Express publishes “Bexar Cupboard” without interruption. Watch for the column each Tuesday written by Ruby Lou Potts.

Avocado Bacon Potato Salad

Also Known As “California Potato Salad” This Dish Is Deliciously Dy-No-Mite!
Home Style Austin? One Of My Other Blogs! I’m THAT Into Food!
I Have A Third Blog To Boot called ForTheLoveOfItaly.com

 

Fun fact: Avocados are considered single-seed berries — not vegetables. Who knew? Not me! Read more!

Let’s have a closer look at the greatness of Teka Molino:


mexican chef’s salad

Mexican Chefs Salad Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook“…a whole meal in itself…”

I’m not sure who coined the phrase atop this recipe but after enjoying this hearty salad I discovered it to be quite true!

Even more surprising – this Mexican Chef’s Salad calls for Thousand Island (with Canadian roots) or French Dressing (um, with American roots?) – hey where’s the south of the border taste with those?

The mere mention of Thousand Island dressing takes my laughs back to the 1980s with this memorable scene from the movie “Cracked Up” where Jerry Lewis’ character gets a little more service than he bargained for thanks to this rigorously exhaustive waitress!

Despite my salad sign as a Leo, fate had a fresh bottle of Thousand Island dressing in my hands so that’s what I used. What’s your salad sign?

foodie tips

❤  I’ve included Mom’s original recipe scan below. I enjoyed the way the ingredients were organized (chop, toss, crunch, slice, brown, decorate) but I’ve taken liberties to put the typed instructions in order to help make it easy for you to prepare.

❤ Red, white, or yellow onion – it’s all up to you! If you prefer your onion cooked you can add it to the beef medley when browning; otherwise get ready for a little “oompf” from the uncooked fresh onion kick, as did I.

  While I’m 99% confident that Mom used tortilla chips for this dish I went with tortilla strips – their multi-colors are more festive than their typical chip cousin plus they’re easier to eat with a fork! Tip: HEB makes tasty Tri Color Tortilla Strips that I stock in my kitchen. Now if you’re eating this dish with your hands, step up to the plate (or bowl) and get some full-sized tortilla chips … or better yet a bag of Fritos Scoops!

  This recipe makes A LOT of salad. I believe in its entirety this dish will serve up to 6 as a main course and even more as a sidekick! You can easily half the ingredients for 2-3 people.

❤  Make sure and introduce your tortilla chips (strips), avocado, and tomatoes just before serving; nobody likes a limp tortilla chip, brown avocado or mushy tomato! As you would guess it this dish is best consumed fresh as with leftovers the dressing will make your lettuce turn sad and soggy.

i. ingredients

Mexican Chef's Salad Recipe Central Market Kidney Beansbrown together:
1 pound | ground beef
1 can (15 ounces) | kidney beans, drained
¼ teaspoon (or to taste) | salt

for the salad:
1 head | lettuce, chopped
| onion, chopped
| tomatoes, chopped
8 ounces | thousand island or french dressing
4 ounces | cheddar cheese, grated
to top | tortilla chips or strips
to top | avocado, sliced or cubed

ii. what to do

1. In a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat brown the beef. Halfway through browining add the kidney beans and the salt. While the meat-medley is simmering for 10 minutes…

Mexican Chef's Salad Recipe Ingredients

Why yes! I do like my salad with cheese and a side of lettuce!

2. In a large serving bowl introduce the salad ingredients – lettuce, onion (unless browning), tomatoes. Pour your dressing on top and mix well. You can set this into your refrigerator to chill for a few minutes or if your beef is ready…Mexican Chef's Salad Recipe

3. Give one last mix to stir things up a bit… then toss in your beef mixture, top with cheese, chips, and your avocado. Serve pronto!

A Mexican Chef's Salad Recipe To Share

Yields up to 6 servings (using full ingredients)

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Mexican Chef's Salad Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

A Scan Of Mom’s Original Recipe PLUS a Bonus Recipe Found On The Back… For Moist Carrot Cake!


chorizo soup

A Chorizo Soup Recipe From Bettys Cook NookHi Ho, Hi Ho, I’m Off To Eat Chorizo

There’s something special about any soup recipe that calls for Velveeta.

Oh, I know, I know – Velveeta is not “real cheese,” but tell that to my stomach. The mere thought of the cheese-like stuff makes me weak in the knees. Toss in Pace picante sauce, avocado and chorizo and you have a dish that’s straight out of the 1970s with culinary crosshairs for your next meal.

Healthiness aside, I thought this soup was a super-tasty and  f l e x i b l e  soup that can accommodate any of your special ingredients to make it one all your own.

Foodie Tips ~

♥  When using ground chorizo, the finished texture was too grainy for me; on the next go of this I think chorizo links cut into chunks would yield a chunkier texture.

♥  My Cousin Julie said to try “Portuguese Chorizo,” if you can find it.

i. ingredients

1 pound | chorizo
1 large | white onion, diced
2 stalks | celery, diced
| green pepper, diced
3 cans | chicken broth
| tomatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
to taste | cilantro, chopped
16 ounce jar | pace thick and chunky picante sauce (mild)
½ pound | velveeta
to serve | fresh avocado, diced
to serve | tortilla chips (or fritos)
to garnish | more cilantro, chopped

ii. what to do

1. In a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat, brown the chorizo, onion, celery and green pepper.

2. Add the broth, tomatoes, cilantro and picante sauce and simmer 1 hour, uncovered. Relax in your comfy chair or couch while you catch-up on your latest 1-hour of DVR programming.  :)

3. Add Velveeta to the soup and stir here and there, until melted.

4. Serve soup into individual bowls. Top with avocado, chips or fritos … and a tad more cilantro.

Ole‘ Ole

A Chorizo Soup Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

 


steamed artichoke

A Steamed Artichoke Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Knock? Knock!

“Who’s there?”

“Artichoke!” “Artichoke, who?” 

“Arti chokes when he eats too fast!”

This was one of my most favorite childhood jokes. While many friends say I have a good sense of humor, my biggest deficit is I can count on one hand the funny jokes I can remember. Go figure!

Tasty Chokes

When I think of Mom, I think of her special white artichoke plates; these made frequent appearances for our great gatherings in the 1970s. I don’t think I’ve had an artichoke since then but was happy to be reunited with their taste as an adult – the artichoke reminds me of the great taste of an avocado – just with a different texture/composition.

Foodie Tips ~

  My Grandmother “Nanny” absolutely loved Falfurrias brand butter. If you want to make your taste buds happy, buy it!

  I never knew how to prepare this tasty deliciously awesome treat but I did my research and found THIS, THIS and THIS!

  I’m a big fan of warm butter. I don’t have any butter warmers but will be looking to get some soon!

A Steamed Artichoke Recipe From Bettys Cook Nooki. ingredients

1 or more | fresh artichokes
1-2 | cloves (optional)
1 | lemon slice (optional)
1-2 | bay leaves (optional)
¼ cup | falfurrias brand butter
1-2 teaspoons | lawry’s brand seasoned salt

ii. what to do

1. Wash the artichoke well and drain. Prepare the artichoke by cutting and discarding about ¾” – 1″ of the artichoke top as well as part of the stem. Some folks like to eat the stem but you can remove all of it if you have no plans on eating it.

2. If you want a “restaurant style” presentation, you can cut and remove the tops of the leaves as shown; this is typically done to remove the thorned tips of the leaves. Rub the top and bottom of the artichoke with lemon to help prevent discoloration.

3. You can boil, microwave or steam your artichoke. Mom always steamed her artichokes so this is how we’ll detail them here in this post. To do so, insert a steaming basket into a pot and fill with water (fill to just underneath the bottom of the basket). You can add a couple of cloves, a slice of lemon and a bay leaf to season the water.

4. Place the artichoke on top of the steaming basket, cover the pot with a lid and bring the water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer the artichoke for 25-45 minutes – until the leaves are soft and they can be removed.

5. Just before the artichoke is done prepare the sauce by melting the butter and mixing some Lawry’s seasoned salt into it.

A Steamed Artichoke Recipe From Bettys Cook Nook

6. Remove the artichoke from the pan and place on a serving dish similar to the white one shown – below not the soup bowl I used (sorry, I don’t have the proper plates)! Remove a leaf, dip the bottom/root end into the sauce and place it in your mouth, dip side down, and pull the leaf through your teeth to remove soft, pulpy, delicious portion of the petal. Discard remaining petal.

A Sample Artichoke Plate

7. Dip, pull, repeat until all leaves are gone! You can enjoy the artichoke heart by scraping out and discarding the inedible fuzzy part (called the “choke”) covering the artichoke heart. The remaining bottom of the artichoke is the heart. Cut it into pieces and dip into sauce to eat.

Delicious!

A Steamed Artichoke Heart

A Steamed Artichoke Heart That's Ready To Eat


avocado mayonnaise

Avocado mayonnaise? Move outta the way... I'm hungry!A Diet Delight

To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, let’s make Cinco de Mayo-nnaise (sorry for the cheesy play on words… it’s what I do).

I did find evidence of some diet foods in mom’s cookbook. This was one of them.

This recipe caught my eye more than once as I flipped through mom’s recipes. So let’s let ‘er roll! Who doesn’t love the taste of avocado?

Let’s Go, Avocado

i. ingredientsavocado mayonnaise ingredients (the bread's hanging out for the sammy party)

1 | small 10- to 12-ounce ripe avocado, peeled and seed removed
3 tablespoons | lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon | salt
1 teaspoon | peeled garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon | mayonnaise
2 tablespoons | water or chicken broth
3 or 4 drops | Tabasco brand sauce

ii. what to dogetting ready to make my blt sammy

1. Cut the avocado into small pieces and place in an electric blender (or immersion blender) with remaining ingredients.

2. Cover and blend until creamy and smooth.

3. Makes 1 cup; ¼ cup of the mayo is 114 calories.

Foodie Tips ~

The sauce may also be made by mashing garlic to a paste with the salt then mashing all ingredients together with a fork. Chunkier.

my avocado mayonnaise blt sammy


While the serving suggestions pair the mayo with broiled fish steaks and steamed mixed vegetables, this mayo *has* to be great on a BLT sandwich or chicken sandwich. Diet, “sm-iet!”

To make the BLT Sammy: Toast your favorite bread, top with avocado mayo, tomato, lettuce and your favorite bacon.  ♥ ♥ ♥

mom's avocado mayonnaise recipe (plus two bonus recipes!)


california potato salad

delicious california potato salad

One of the best things about recovering Mom’s cookbook is that I’m able to discover new food journeys with ease. With literally hundreds of recipes to choose from, I didn’t experience them all growing up; in fact I only remember a few special handfuls.

When I stumbled across this unique potato salad recipe that packs a lotta punch compliments of avocado instead of hard boiled eggs, I knew I had to give it a whirl.
I can see why mom clipped this recipe ~ it has a super great taste!

This potato salad made its debute in my cucina on the 4th of July in 2011 and it has since visited many times!

i. ingredients

3 cups | potatoes, cooked then cubed
1 cup | sour creamspices join forces in this california potato salad recipe
½ teaspoon* | salt
½ teaspoon | seasoned pepper
½ teaspoon | caraway seed
to taste | lemon juice
bunch | parsley sprigs
3 | california avocados
¼ cup | chopped onions
8 slices | hickory-smoked bacon, crisped and crumbled
1 | large tomato

ii. what to do

1. Scrub then boil the potatoes in a medium-sized pot. Boil until tender, but not “mushy.” Set aside to cool.

2. Blend the sour cream with the salt, pepper, caraway seed and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice.

3. Chop the parsley to yield ¼ cup; set aside.

4. Cut 2 of the avocados lengthwise into halves, removing the seed and skinning.

the avocado-potato salad mixture before adding the sour cream5. Cube the avocado and gently combine it in a medium-sized salad bowl with the chopped parsley, potatoes, chopped onion, sour cream mixture and 1/2 of the bacon.

6. Arrange additional parsley sprigs on the top around the outer edge of the salad. Cover and chill.

7. To serve, prepare the remaining avocado by slicing lengthwise into halves. Remove the seed and skin and cut into slices. Slice the tomato crosswise then cut the slices in half.

8. Alternate the avocado and tomatoes on top of the potato salad and sprinkle with lemon juice.

9. Sprinkle remaining bacon on top of the potato salad and serve.

Foodie Tips ~

  While the original recipe calls for 1½ teaspoons of salt, I found this a bit too salty and suggest using just ½ teaspoon of salt. You can always add more salt later, should your taste buds beg for it.

  If you prefer, you can omit the ring of parsley used for presentation … and you can dice and scatter the tomatoes and avocado that sit atop the salad.

Buon appetito!

Avocado Bacon Potato Salad

Also Known As “California Potato Salad” This Dish Is Deliciously Dy-No-Mite!

A scan of the original california potato salad recipe from Mom's cookbook

A Scan Of The Original California Potato Salad Recipe From Mom’s Cookbook


san diego steak


T
his special recipe is dedicated to my nephew Travis ~
a spirit who teaches us all to savor the great steak of life!
~      ~

Julia Child once said “The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.”

The Kiker family knows this well as the word “diet” rarely crosses our lips. That being said…

…You better have a couch nearby after eating this foodie family fave!

my family's san diego steak recipe ~ thanks to roger!

Probably the best part about creating an online haven for mom’s recipes is that my brother “Roger” chimed-in with this San Diego Steak recipe, which wasn’t in mom’s cookbook. So this recipe hails from mom to Roger’s kitchen… and now, to your belly.

After a few clicks searching online for a look-a-like recipe yielding *no results,* I’m thinking this San Diego Steak recipe is literally “from the inner Kiker family vault.” So get ready for a savory family treat named after “America’s finest city!”

Roger says San Diego Steak was a real treat growing up ~ usually partnered with mashed potatoes.

San Diego Steak really hits home as showcased above on mom’s actual table sporting sparkling water served from her own “Special Occasion” glasses.

The food and the ambiance of yesteryear is still kicking today, so let’s eat!

i. ingredients

4 strips | thick cut bacon strips, sliced in 1/2 length-wise then cut into small cuts, about ¼” square
1 pound | ground sirloin
2 tablespoons | worcestershire sauce
6 shakes | lawry’s brand seasoned salt
12 twists | freshly milled black pepper (medium grind)
garnish | sour cream
garnish | bacon bits
garnish | thinly-sliced avocado
garnish | lawry’s brand seasoned salt

ii. what to do

1. Begin by frying the small cuts of the bacon ’til CRISP. Drain the bacon bits on a paper towel(s).

2. WHOA! Save the bacon drippings for cooking the steaks, coming up next.

3. While the bacon is cooking, mix the four next ingredients (above) by hand until you can’t wait any longer and form into two or four patties (depending on the growl).

4. Cook the steaks in the bacon drippings. When done, let the San Diego Steaks rest on a paper towel or two.

5. Place steaks and potatoes on plates and garnish as shown (splitting 1/2 the bacon bit between steaks and potatoes) and loosen your belt. You’ve arrived “home.”Nanny Insisted On Texas-Made Falfurrias Butter ~ You Should Too!

Foodie Tip From Roger ~

  “Only use Falfurrias brand “real butter” for the potatoes, like our grandmother ‘Nanny’ always did.”

Foodie Fact ~ San Diego Steak was the first “missing recipe” added to Betty’s Cook Nook, compliments of my brother Roger. Foodie props to you, big bro, for remembering how to make this tasty dish! Almost lost, the San Diego Steak recipe is now in the family’s digital cookbook.


patrick’s chicken tortilla soup

This recipe is dedicated to my special niece Melissa ~ Her zest for food taught me
the more spice you add to life, the merrier!

~   
  ~

my tortilla soup recipeIf my Mom “Betty” was still alive, I would have made sure she put my own favorite recipe in her cookbook. And better yet, I would have made her some bowls of this great-tasting soup.

I’ve tweaked this recipe over the years, and you can also edit it to please your own personal taste buds. I’ve had several friends say it’s the best tortilla soup they’ve had … plus, it’s easy to make. My secret? Squeezing lime juice on top just after the cheese starts to melt.

As temperatures start to “dip,” what better way to warm-up chilly evenings, than with this all-time favorite tortilla soup recipe? Perfect as an appetizer, or as a main course, one bowl of this soup usually leads to two … or more! Totally a comfort food staple for the Fall Foodie in you.

ingredients

2 cups | cooked chicken breast (cubed)
1 cup | chopped onion
1 tsp. | olive oil
1 – 4 oz. can | chopped green chilies
1 – 1.25 oz. package | taco seasoning mix ~ the hotter, the better
1 – 16 oz. can | stewed tomatoes
6 cups | chicken broth
1 – 10 oz. package | frozen corn
1/3 cup | fresh chopped cilantro
to taste | tortilla chips, broken into pieces
4 cups | your favorite grated cheese (we prefer pepper jack, monterey jack or cheddar)
1 | avocado
garnish | sour cream
garnish | green onion (scallion)
to taste | fresh ground black pepper
garnish | a squeeze of lime juice

what to do

1. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and place into a medium pot filled with water. Bring to a boil for 5-7 minutes and cook until done. Drain and set aside.

2. In a 5-quart saucepan over medium heat, sauté onion in oil 3 to 4 minutes, until soft.

3. Stir in chilies and the seasoning mix, cook 1 minute.

4. Add tomatoes and juice, breaking them up with a spoon.

5. Stir in broth and bring to a boil.

6. Add corn and chicken, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.

7. Top with the cilantro.

8. Spoon into bowls and top with chips, cheese, avocado, and sour cream. Garnish with scallion, black pepper, and a squeeze of lime.

Serves 4-5 hungry folks. The soup refrigerates well; keep the garnish (chips, cheese, avocado, sour cream) as last minute additions. 

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

 


cold avocado soup

A Cold Avocado Soup Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

A Desperado For Avocado

This recipe held first position in the soups section of mom’s index card file, so undoubtedly it was a favorite. This was the first of mom’s recipes that I made, since I can’t locate the calabacita recipe just yet.

I don’t remember eating any avocados as a child. And despite my mom’s great culinary skills, I remember one night when a pairing of split pea soup and liver arrived in front of me at dinner, which almost ruined my love of green-colored foods (I’ve never liked liver). Hah! Regardless, now in my 40s, I’m a huge fan of avocados, so let’s eat up some avocado soup!

Wait! You didn’t think I’d jump right into the recipe makings without sharing my favorite avocado-inspired commercial with you. Whelp – here you go!

Foodie Tip ~

  I couldn’t find “madrilène” – canned or otherwise… even online – so I’m including extra info below for a recipe I found for making the consommé from scratch.

Overall, the avocado soup recipe would be much faster to make if canned madrilène was available. I’ll keep my eyes out for it and post an update here, if I ever find it. I wrote to Pepperidge Farm and they wrote me back saying they no longer made madrilène but I’m including a picture of it (below) that I found online.

i. soup ingredients

1 ½ | avocados
1 pint (2 cups) | sour cream
1 | chicken bouillon cube
10 ounces | water
1 can | madrilène (a tomato-flavored consommé. see recipe below)
to taste | cayenne pepper
to taste | salt

ii. what to do

1. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend, until smooth. That’s it! Well, almost…

2. Since you may have trouble finding madrilène, below are the tidbits for how to make it.

madrilène ingredientspepperidge farm consomme madrilene. i can't find it in stores!

6 | large tomatoes, peeled*, cored and diced
2 | green bell peppers, cored, seeded and quartered
1 | leek, trimmed and cut into chunks
4 | egg whites, lightly beaten
8 cups | chicken stock
to taste | salt & pepper
1 | small bunch chives, chopped
2 oz | pimiento, chopped

Foodie Tip ~

  For an easy way to remove the tomato peel, boil the tomatoes in water one-at-a-time for 1 minute. Remove tomato and plunge it in a cold water bath. Cut the tomato in ½ and you should be able to easily remove the peel. A presto!

madrilène : what to dos

1. In a large saucepan, add  of the tomatoes and the green peppers, leek and egg whites. Mix well.

2. Add chicken stock and season to taste with salt & pepper.

3. Place pan over medium-low heat and slowly bring to a boil, 5-10 minutes.

4. Strain the mixture through a sieve or strainer lined with cheesecloth or a linen towel.

5. Discard vegetables and refrigerate consomme until serving time.

6. Just before serving, mix the remaining  of the diced tomatoes with the chives and pimiento. You now have a garnish for the soup!

* To enjoy the consomme as “full-on” consommé ~ Place 1 or 2 tablespoons of the tomato mixture in the bottom of each soup bowl. Pour chilled consommé over the pimiento mixture and serve at once. The consommé Madrilène should be thick and syrupy, but not “set.”

** To use part of the consommé in Betty’s Avocado Soup recipe (above) ~ Add 1 ½ cups of the consommé into the blender along with a dash of diced tomatoes, chives and pimiento and blend away. You can garnish with more of the tomato mixture (shown above).

Buon appetito!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Mom's original recipe card for her cold avocado soup

A scan of Mom’s original recipe card – typeset with an old typewriter (circa 1950).