puffy tacos

Puffy Taco Recipe

2 Treats In 1

If you’ve never eaten a puffy taco, you’re missing out on one of life’s greatest culinary creations! Picture the usual taco shell but it’s filled with air (kinda like a blow fish) and about ¼” thick. The shell is not crunchy but when made properly arrives in-between a soft and crunchy taco and it’s made of corn flour. The taste is 100% authentic and delicious!

Growing up in San Antonio I thought puffy tacos were as common as burgers, hotdogs or soda pop. Almost since the very beginning in 1937 my family has scored our favorite Tex-Mex delights from Teka Molino which is still in operation. Whenever I visit my hometown of San Antonio I make sure and load-up on an a la carte plate filled with my favorite edibles: bean and cheese cups, guacamole cups, and of course puffy tacos.

It wasn’t until about 30 years later in life I found myself living in Round Rock (a mere 90 minutes away) and was surprised that our Tex-Mex waitress had never heard of a puffy taco. And no, they didn’t carry them.

Teka Molino Treats

Behold The Puffy

We accidentally fell into making the puffy tacos. We were making empanadas with masa and decided to give it a whirl. After watching the Hilah video below we realized after a couple of fails we could make the puffy tacos! They were way easier to make than holiday tamales of 2019, when I was sore for two days later from the 5-6 hours of labor. I will never see a tamale the same way again!

What’s even better my Cousin Jennifer told me that the usual beef mixture inside the puffy taco wasn’t just mere old taco meat but picadillo, so that recipe is here as well! My favorite part of the picadillo are the small potatoes that are married-up with green bell peppers and the seasoned meat. Give this dish a whirl and I think you’ll love it!

Puffy Chalupa

Even Dressed As A Chalupa The Puff Makes All The Difference

Foodie Tips

❤  No tortilla press? I found some tips for how you can press your own without a formal press. Here’s one approach that makes use of plastic cutting boards and in this YouTube video you can see what you’re doing while you press, thanks to a glass pie plate! Since our tortilla press was on extra backorder we used the pie plate method with Ziploc bags (vs. plastic wrap) and it worked like a charm.

❤  Don’t be discouraged if your first few tacos shells crack or don’t fold properly! You can use the imperfect tacos for masa chalupas, make an impromptu taco salad, dip them into queso, serve with fresh pico de gallo, etc.

❤  For the best taco filling this recipe goes hand-in-hand with this picadillo recipe. You can trust me on this one! #PinkySwear

❤  I’ve never seen a yellow (orange) Mexican cheese but that’s how Teka Molino serves theirs. So a mild cheddar would work or possibly grated Velveeta. If you want to try a white cheese, go Oaxaca or Monterey Jack.

❤  For the best creamy jalapeño dressing recipe (shown above) click here.

  Want to learn more about the history of the puffy taco? This video is my favorite!

i. Time

Total prep: About 30 minutes (excluding the makin’ of the picadillo). This dish is best consumed fresh. We enjoy ours progressive style, meaning we set up our taco bar and eat as we make.

ii. Ingredients

for the puffy:
2 cups  |  maseca brand corn flour
1 ½ cups  warm water
1 teaspoon  |  salt
to form  tortilla press (or see alternate pressing tips above)
to press  PAM Spray, plastic wrap, or a Ziploc bag with the sides trimmed away with scissors
to fill pot 2 inches deep  canola, peanut or vegetable oil (we found canola didn’t stink up the kitchen as much)
1  deep pot or pan for frying
thermometer (for testing the oil temperature)
1  large metal spider strainer or strainer spoon ladle
1  metal spatula

to dress your puffy:
lettuce, thinly sliced
mild yellow or white cheese, shredded
tomato (diced or sliced)
fresh pico de gallo (chopped tomato, onion, salt, lime juice, and cilantro)

iii. What To Do

A word of caution: Remember you’re frying in hot oil! Please keep kids and pets safely away from the range top in case of any wayward oil splatters.

1. Prepare the masa!

  • I have a feeling for best results make your masa fresh; don’t make the masa tortillas in advance and refrigerate them.
  • In a medium-sized bowl combine 2 cups of the corn flour and the water.
  • Mix by hand until the dough is nice and soft. The dough should be moist but not stick to your hands. If the dough feels dry you can add a teaspoon or two of water and continue mixing until you’re happy. Don’t put too much water or else the puffy taco will get holes in it as it fries.
  • Hand roll the masa into the size of a golf ball.
  • Take one ball at a time and press it using your chosen pressing technique. You can press them all at once or press as you fry.

2. Puff those tacos!

  • We used a 2 quart cast iron pot filled with our chosen oil and the temperature gauge attached. The oil was heated precisely to 375°F. Make sure your range vent is on!
  • Insert one flattened tortilla into the oil and let it fry! Flip it over once after it has fully puffed (about 20 seconds). You’ll cook it no more than 60 seconds. After you flip the taco, form the signature fold by gently press and holding a metal spatula into the middle of the puff – this is where your toppings will eventually go. Be careful not to cut the taco in half! While forming the fold, keep the taco submerged under the oil to keep it cooking.
  • Using your strainer, lift the taco from the oil, lightly shake the puffy shell a few seconds and transfer it to a cooling rack that is sitting on top of a baking sheet (to catch any oil drippings). Let the taco rest with the inside of the taco fold facing down.
  • Ensure that the oil has returned to 375°F then continue making additional tacos until all the rolled masa balls are complete.
Puffy Taco Side View

Puffy Taco Shells Should Be Like An Al Dente Noodle – Soft To The Bite – Not 100% Crunchy Or Soggy

3. Dress those tacos!

  • This isn’t Taco Bell! So a properly dressed taco is what tastes Um Um, vs. OH. MY. GAWD! delicious! (we’re going for the latter).
  • Fill a taco with about a 1/4 cup of picadillo (or your chosen filling) then add your toppings.
  • While I could go crazy with an assortment of toppings, I prefer to enjoy my puffies how Teka Molino makes them – rather simple, so the picadillo doesn’t get lost with an avalanche of other toppings. My suggestion: lettuce, cheese then the tomato slice on top.

Perfection!

~ Patrick

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

Spicy Shrimp Puffy Tacos


picadillo, part ii

Picadillo Recipe From Bettys Cook NookThe Big Deal About Picadillo

In 2014 I posted this original picadillo recipe which remains a family favorite. This recipe makes a welcomed “second spin” on the original via my main squeeze: the puffy taco.

I routinely obsess about eating my favorite puffy tacos from my childhood chomping grounds of San Antonio’s Teka Molino where my Mom “Betty” grew up eating bean rolls for a nickel. She was barely 3 years old when “Tekas” opened in 1937!

This week while I was catching up with my Cousin Jennifer about newsworthy topics like puffy tacos she confirmed that the usual beef mixture inside the Teka puffy taco is in fact picadillo, which is anything but “just” ground beef! The flavors are unmistakably from south of the border and make a signature part of the best puffy tacos you’re likely to encounter.

My favorite part about picadillo are the small potatoes that are married with green bell peppers and the seasoned meat. Some describe picadillo as a ground beef hash and I’ve been known to eat it straight from the skillet with a spoon and a smile.

Give this dish a whirl and I think you’ll love it!

Foodie Tips

❤  Picadillo is one of those rare finds that makes exceptional leftovers. Enjoy it atop: 1) Nachos; 2) Warm, crusty bread; 3) Chalupas; 4) White or corn taco shells; 5) A baked potato; 6) Feeling adventurous? Make picadillo and baked eggs! To do so just reheat the picadillo in a skillet or microwave. Transfer the picadillo to a skillet and make a small well (indentation) for each cracked egg to rest in. Bake everything at 350°F for 13-15 minutes. You’ll want the egg yolks to finish a tad “runny,” – not hard boiled. This makes it a delicious way to start the day!

❤  In case you missed it don’t forget to enjoy this picadillo inside a puffy taco. Puffies aren’t necessarily easy to make the first time but after our second attempt I declared Joe a pro.

❤  Never heard of a puffy taco? Learn more about its history here!

i. Time

Total prep: About 30 minutes.

Picadillo and Baked Eggs

Picadillo and Baked Eggs. 100% delicious!

ii. Ingredients

1 tablespoon  |  oil (we prefer vegetable, canola or avocado)
1 pound  |  ground beef
½  |  onion, diced
½  |  green bell pepper, diced
1 medium  |  russet potato, chopped into ¼ – ½ inch squares
10-ounce can  |  diced tomatoes and chilies (a.k.a. RO*TEL), with the juice
8-ounce can  |  tomato sauce
2 tablespoons  |  taco seasoning
1 teaspoon  |  cumin
2 tablespoons   |  minced garlic
to taste  |  salt and pepper

iii. What To Do

1. In a medium-sized skillet over medium heat, add the oil and ground beef, break-up the beef with a spoon or spatula for a couple of minutes while sautéing.

2. Add the chopped onions and bell pepper and sauté another minute or two.

3. Add the potatoes and give things a stir.

4. Add the rest of the picadillo ingredients (diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, taco seasoning, cumin, tomatoes and minced garlic).

5. Add salt and pepper to taste.

6. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes. While things are simmering you can move to making your puffy tacos with this recipe or… when the picadillo is done, remove from heat, leaving covered to keep warm. You’ll know it’s done when the potatoes are soft, but not mushy.

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do!

~ Patrick

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

Puffy Taco Recipe

If you’re reading this you must be interested in puffy tacos, pictured here with picadillo!


fried rice

The Best Fried Rice RecipeA Rice Surprise

This fried rice recipe didn’t seem much of a recipe at all.

There were just a few ingredients listed on Mom’s recipe card (below) and there were no measurements. Seriously?

Well I was shocked when Joe made the fried rice seemingly out of nowhere. It was absolutely the best fried rice I’ve ever had and he made it at home using my Mom “Betty’s” recipe as a guidepost!

After all these years… I’m glad there looks to be what is a dash of a soy sauce stain on Mom’s recipe card.

Foodie Tips

❤  This dish loves seemingly day old, dry seemingly unusable rice. This recipe will bring the rice back to life in a delicious way! Joe will make a fresh batch of rice in our Zojirushi rice maker then refrigerate it so it gets nice and dry.

❤  A bit about peas and carrots. We keep the frozen bagged stuff on hand at all times and these are super easy to add to the fried rice. Plus these add a nice pop of color!

❤  If you haven’t heard the term “soft scrambled eggs,” they’re just a little under cooked or taken “just to the shiny” and a bit wet look. To some, soft scrambled is the preferred way to eat them. In this recipe they’ll finish cooking in the rice.

❤  Winner Winner! Joe’s extra spin on this recipe included 3 cage free eggs and 1 tablespoon each of fresh minced ginger, garlic, soy sauce and hoisin sauce. OMG.

i. Time

Total prep: About 20 minutes.

ii. Ingredients

|  cage free eggs
1 pound  |  meat (pork, chicken, beef)
2-3 tablespoons  |  vegetable oil
at least 2-3 cups  |  cooked, cold rice (we prefer white, basmati and jasmine rices) follow the package instructions
2-4 tablespoons  soy sauce
1-2 cups  peas and carrots (frozen or fresh), optional
lots o’  |  green onions, sliced
to taste  |  kosher salt
to taste  |  fresh cracked black pepper
optional  |  sesame seeds, toasted

Fried Rice Recipe

iii. What To Do

1. In a large pan over medium-low heat soft scramble the eggs and set them aside to rest.

2. In the same pan sauté the meat in oil. Joe used some thinly sliced pork and it was tender and delicious!

3. Add the the cooked rice. Stir/sauté everything until nice and brown.

4. Season with the soy sauce and continue stirring. Hungry yet?

5. Add the peas and carrots then the green onions.

6. Toss on some salt and a few fresh cracks of black pepper. Sprinkle with some sesame seeds and you’re done!

~ Patrick

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

Yum Yum Fried RiceFried Rice Recipe Bettys Cook Nook


spinach crepes with ham sauce

Spinach Crepes with Ham SauceCrepes Of Great

Whether they’re sweet or savory, crepes have always intrigued and intimidated me.

I’m always afraid I can’t keep them in tact (no crepe skills) which is likely why only recently I found the encouragement to make them later in life. Thanks to this recipe my partner Joe showed me firsthand that crepes are actually doable without a fancy crepe pan or cooking classes!

Crepes originate from Western France and they are celebrated every February 2nd during e jour des crêpes or “the day of the crepe.”

Growing up I don’t remember eating these crepes with ham sauce but I do remember dreaming about every kid’s treasured hammy story “Green Eggs and Ham.” You can enjoy a video short of that below.

This recipe hails from my Cousin Julie’s kitchen and I’m pegging it at circa 1970s or 80s. Julie wrote the recipe on her special stationery to my Mom “Betty,” and I’ve included a scan of the original below!

Foodie Tips

❤  If you’re fast-tracking this recipe while the crepe batter is chilling in the fridge you can continue on to prepare the filling and ham sauce. Or you can enjoy a mimosa and some conversation with your friends and family while the party crescendoes.

❤  Depending on the size of your pour you may have some leftover crepes. You can refrigerate them to enjoy a day or two later or… we froze a few of ours by placing a sheet of waxed paper between each crepe then placing the stack in an air tight, freezer-safe bag.

i. Time

Total prep: About 90-120 minutes (including 1 hour for the crepe batter to chill)

ii. Ingredients

for the crepes:
1 cup  |  flour, sifted
½ teaspoon  |  baking powder
¼ – ½ teaspoon  |  salt
|  cage free eggs
1 cup  |  milk
¼ teaspoon  |  nutmeg

for the filling:
1 cup  |  onion, chopped
2 tablespoons  |  unsalted butter (give Falfurrias brand a try per my Grandmother “Nanny”)
10 ounce package  |  frozen spinach, thawed
1 cup  |  swiss cheese, diced
2 teaspoons  |  dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon  |  salt
¼ teaspoon  |  nutmeg

for the ham sauce:
2 tablespoons  |  Mmmmmore unsalted butter
2 tablespoons  |  flour
¼ teaspoon  |  salt
1 cup  |  milk
½ cup  |  half and half
2 teaspoons  |  dijon mustard
1 ½ cups (about ½ pound)  |  ham, cooked and diced
to garnish  |  green onions, chopped (optional)

iii. What To Do

Prepare The Crepes: 1) Combine by hand the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized bowl and set aside. 2) In a separate bowl beat the eggs and milk together then add to the flour mixture. 3) Refrigerate 1 hour or overnight, if you’re preparing this ahead of time. 4) Over medium-low heat (we used gas) melt some butter in a flat pan or crepe pan. 5) Pour 3 tablespoons of the batter all at once into the heated pan and let it sit a few seconds. Carefully rotate, flip and cool a bit more on the second side. Transfer the crepe onto a plate until ready to use. Continue cooking and stacking until you’ll all out of batter, making about 12 crepes. If you’re lucky the crepes will turn out something like this:

Prepare The Filling: 1) In a larger pan over medium-high heat, sauté the onion in butter. 2) Add the spinach and cook until the moisture evaporates. 3) Stir in the swiss cheese, mustard, salt and nutmeg. 4) Preheat your oven to 350°F. 5) Fill the crepes using ¼ cup of the filling for each, roll ’em up, and arrange them in a lightly buttered casserole dish. You can place them in a chafing dish if you’re serving right away.

spinach and ham crepes from bettys cook nook

Prepare The Ham Sauce: 1) In your crepe pan, melt butter and stir in the flour and salt. 2) Add the milk, half and half and the mustard. 3) Cook, stirring constantly until thickened. 4) Fold in the diced ham and heat until warm. 5) Pour the ham sauce over the crepes and “warm up the whole business at once in the oven” as Julie wrote below, about 10-15 minutes or heat in the chafing dish (per above).

We sprinkled some chopped green onions on top to serve (optional).

Enjoy!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook
spinach crepes and ham sauce

Julie's Spinach Crepes with Ham Sauce Recipe

Who is “Julie Mueller”

Julie is more than my 1st Cousin; she has been like my 2nd Mom. Julie had a heart bigger than Texas and I can still hear her signature “infectious” laugh which would instantly brighten any room.

Julie was known for having the impeccable skill of a master entertainer and with that the tastiest of foods were always to be enjoyed by all! I always thought of Julie as my very own Martha Stewart as she was crafty well beyond the kitchen across mediums like needlepoint, painting, furniture restoration and being a wonderful decorator and story teller. Whether by design or accident, Julie taught me to never underestimate the loving power and influence of a Cousin!

You’ll find several of Julie’s recipes, photos, and stories here at Betty’s Cook Nook. Her memory lives on in those who knew her and I’m happy to share some of her favorite foods with you.


slang jang

Slang Jang Recipe From Betty's Cook NookA Delightfully Interesting Creation

I had never heard of “Slang Jang” before finding this recipe in my Mom’s cookbook.

I was curious about the origin of Slang Jang and one theory is that it hails from the East Texas town of Honey Grove, known as “The Sweetest Town In Texas.” Slang Jang has roots to 1888, a giant washtub, and the creative appetites of a group of men who just wanted lunch.

Slang Jang can be made a multitude of ways; surprisingly this recipe omits the often incorporated oysters, clams, and shrimpy things I know my Mom Betty would have loved. This Slang Jang recipe is super simple and super versatile – think of it like a relish or a “chow chow.” You can enjoy it on many things including hamburgers, hot dogs, atop cheese and crackers, or as an accompaniment to corn bread or black eyed peas.

Diving into Mom’s culinary legacy – her cookbook – I’m often able to connect pieces of the past together. I noted this Slang Jang recipe was written by my Mom on stationery from Hotel Monteleone (a.k.a. “The Monteleone”) in New Orleans. I only know of one trip my parents took to New Orleans so possibly they scored this recipe during that trip in 1956. Here’s a slice of history – a picture of them enjoying dinner in New Orleans at The Roosevelt Hotel’s “Blue Room” – a historic “supper club” venue where dinner, drinks, and dancing all converged.

The Blue Room

New Orleans (1956): The Blue Room ~ Shown here are my Uncle Bill (Willard Franklin Sutton,) Aunt Delores Marie Hannes Sutton, and my parents “Betty” (Elizabeth Joanna Hannes Kiker,) and Louis Orville Kiker.

i. Time

Total prep: About 20 minutes

ii. Ingredients

1 large can or jar (3 ½ cups)  |  sauerkraut, drained (we used 2 bags of Boar’s Head)
1 large  |  onion, finely chopped
1 cup  |  celery, finely chopped
|  green pepper, finely chopped
½ cup  |  water
½ cup  |  oil (we used Wesson Vegetable Oil)
¾ cup  |  vinegar
1 ½ cups  |  sugar

iii. What to do

1. Prepare all the vegetables.

2. Place the four wet ingredients in a medium pot and bring things to a boil.

3. Remove from heat and pour the boiling mixture over the vegetables and you’re ready to enjoy!

Stores well in the fridge

~ Patrick

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

 

Also note: Don’t miss the recipe’s shorthand “code” for one 2 ½ can of sauerkraut. Back in the good ol’ days can sizes were often used to denote how much of an ingredient to use. A “2 ½ can” would translate into 3 ½ cups!

Slang Jang Recipe

A Scan Of Mom’s Handwritten Slang Jang Recipe


hondo corn casserole

Thanksgiving Spectacular

In uncommon fashion I’m pre-posting some recipes that are on deck and ready for the upcoming foodie festival!

Scroll down below and you’ll find three recipes that hail to my kitchen from my Cousin Julie – Hondo Corn Casserole (thank you, carbs), Madeira Turkey, and Wild Mushroom and Pecan Stuffing! These are on deck and coming out of the oven soon!

For you new-comers out there if you missed it make sure and check out the latest posts perfect for Thanksgiving –  Pumpkin Bread, Sour Cream Apple Pie plus Brandied Pumpkin Flan which is a family Thanksgiving staple. On our sister site Home Style Austin you can score our newest recipe Honey+Rosemary Roasted Cashews which are great for gift giving. Enjoy our 2019 fall “flavorites” from us to you!

This is surely going to be a Thanksgiving to remember. Photos and my usual rambling on about the good ol’ days to follow!

HONDO CORN CASSEROLE

This recipe sat in my cookbook likely since the 1990s. This year I was searching for the best sides to make for Thanksgiving and dived in. I couldn’t remember the origin of the recipe but when I read the ending of the recipe “If guests arrive, give them a drink and regale with stories of Texas Gulf Coast wonders” I knew this recipe hailed from someone special.

One phone conversation with Cousin Jennifer and it was confirmed – this recipe was from my dear Cousin Julie Sutton Mueller. Jennifer said this was one of Julie’s long-standing recipes at the holidays and as the recipe indicates – it’s a crowd favorite and people always ask for this recipe. That certainly proved true this Thanksgiving when I made it for our annual gathering at Canyon Lake!

Foodie Tips

❤  All about the corn: You can use a box of frozen corn – the instructions below presume you’ll use canned corn. If you’d like to increase the serving sizes to 8-10 you can add a can of the whole kernel corn.

❤  “Unsweetened condensed milk” – you’ll likely not find this in your store… but never fear – it’s the same thing as evaporated milk. Who knew?!? I didn’t until I researched it!

i. Time

Total prep: About 75 minutes

ii. Ingredients

16 ounce can  |  cream style corn
16 ounce can  |  whole kernel corn
1 cup  |  cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup  |  Ritz crackers, crushed
1 small  |  onion, chopped (or several green onions, chopped)
|  cage free egg
3 tablespoons (or less)  |  sugar
⅔ cup  |  unsweetened condensed milk (see foodie tip above)
1 stick  |  unsalted butter, melted (tip: my Grandmother “Nanny” insisted on Falfurrias brand butter)
1 small can (4.5 ounces)  |  chopped green chilis
to taste  |  salt and fresh cracked pepper

iii. What to do

0. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Meanwhile…

1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine all the ingredients together and set aside.

2. Grease or spray an oven casserole dish and fill it with your casserole mixture. You can either refrigerate this overnight until ready to bake or you can simply jump to step 3!

3. Bake for 50-60 minutes until the top is golden brown. Recommended step: If you’d like to make a pretty top crust, 10 minutes before the casserole is done baking sprinkle more cheese or crushed Ritz crackers on top. Deeeee-licious!

Serves: 6-10 (see recipe expansion tip above)

~ Patrick

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

Hondo Corn Casserole

A Scan Of Cousin Julie’s Hondo Corn Casserole

Thanksgiving 2019Enjoy your preview of what’s to come for Thanksgiving 2019!Wild Mushroom and Pecan Stuffing

Madeira Roast Turkey


helen corbitt’s quiche lorraine

Helen Corbitt's Quiche LorraineChampagne & Lorraine

When I first met this recipe’s name I presumed Helen Corbitt was one of my Mom’s dear friends. Like many of the old recipes that found their way into my Mom’s cookbook they were often penned with a name giving a clue linking us back to the the recipe’s origin.Joskes Department Store PostcardA few curious clicks later I stumbled upon this Texas Monthly article from December 1999 (the turn of our century) that revealed who Helen was – her connection to Texas and to food. With culinary ties to the University of Texas, the Houston Country Club, Joske’s Department Store, the Driskill Hotel, and Neiman Marcus, Helen’s craft touched the hearts of many. While she may not have loved Texas from the start, the people of our great state eventually won her heart. So we can tip our hat to her for staying here and pioneering the way for better days. Helen earned the title “Tastemaker of the Century,” undoubtedly an honor for any foodie who loves cuisine and sharing it with others.

I know my Mom “Betty” loved quiche because I’ve found a handful of eggy recipes in her cookbook. I love how simple quiche is to prepare and share… and how changing 1 or 2 ingredients can magically transform the taste.

Let’s enjoy a slice of the good life and raise a toast to our “forefoodies”
~ Cling Cling / Cheers!  🍾 🍾 🍾 🍾 🍾

Helen Corbitt's Quiche Lorraine
Foodie Tips

❤  “Light cream” always trips me up. I look for it at the grocery store and often shake my fist at the sky when I cannot find it. Sometimes called “coffee cream” or “table cream,” light cream is a tad bit higher in fat than half-and-half. So what. Who cares?

❤  While I slightly overbaked the crust, the quiche itself turned out great! Try using a silicon pie crust shield to help prevent your dough from burning. I shudder to think what my quiche would have looked like without it. #charcoal? :)

Helen Corbitt's Quiche Lorraine

❤  I hope to become an “aficionado” at the meat counter soon. When I read “thin sliced” ham I guessed it was a thickness of 2. On the next go of this recipe I’ll try a 1.

❤  My Mom loved quiche. And if you’re still reading this post I’m guessing you do, too! Check out this recipe where I wax on about the origins of quiche and its relationship to my hometown, San Antonio.

Helen Corbitt's Quiche Lorraine Swiss Cheese

i. Time

Total prep: About 40 minutes.

ii. Ingredients

8 inch | pie crust
4 slices | bacon, crisped and chopped
4 | thin slices of onion, sautéed
8 | paper thin slices of ham, shredded
8 | paper thin slices of swiss cheese, sliced
3 | cage free eggs
¼ teaspoon | dry mustard
1 cup | light cream, heated
a dash | nutmeg
Helen Corbitt's Quiche Lorraine Onions

iii. What to do

1. Prepare the pie crust according to the instructions. Mom wrote hers was baked at 450°F for about 10 minutes.

2. Sprinkle the bacon and onion over the pie crust. Add ½ of the ham then top with 4 slices of the cheese. Wait – we’re not done! This is Texas! Repeat the layering again – add the rest of the ham and the last 4 slices of cheese.

3. Beat the egg and mustard. Add the heated light cream and continue beating. Pour the egg mixture over the layers of ham and cheese. Let things “stand” for 10 minutes. Is your stomach growling yet?

4. Sprinkle a tiny bit of nutmeg on top of the quiche then bake it at 350°F until this custard is set (about 15-20 minutes).

Helen Corbitt's Quiche Lorraine

Serves: One to a few, depending on your ability to resist deliciousness.

~ Patrick

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

In Case You Missed It…

Honored in 1999 as “Tastemaker of the Century” by Texas Monthly Magazine, Helen Corbitt may have not have loved Texas as much as those who were born here but she became enchanted with the unique blend of Texans and their love for food. If the stories I’ve read are true (and I bet they are), Helen had a lot to do with the culinary cultivation of our state introducing our fore-parents to artichokes, raspberries, soufflés, Texas Caviar, and surprising creations limited only by the stars.

I don’t know if my Mom, Betty, knew Helen. But I know they shared the love of great food… so Helen is as much a family member as one can wish for.

With the love of food, all things are possible. ###

 


shrimp victoria

Shrimp Victoria Recipe From Bettys Cook NookTales From The Sea

I found this recipe folded in my Mom “Betty’s” index card holder. I recognized her handwriting immediately.

There’s no doubting Mom’s love for seafood as this recipe is one of several shrimp recipes I’ve discovered in her cookbook (surf the shrimp recipe archive).

While I tell a few funny stories on this food blog about my dislike for most types of seafood, this recipe is delicious, proving once again that my distaste for seafood is waning. Mom would be proud.

The Write Stuff

I look closer at the paper containing the recipe and notice the phone number “CA6-4141”. I was time-warped back to an era when phone numbers began with exchange names. Exchanges were phased out in the 1960s and 70s, so this would date the origin of this recipe back about 50 years ago. The number CA6-4141? “CA” stood for “Capitol” which translated to “22” so the full phone number would have been 226-4141. Confusing short-code, huh? Today San Antonio has 10-digit dialing like most large cities. The city’s newest area code 726 went into effect in 2017 and made me smile because 726 is my birthdate, July 26th.

Also on the paper recipe (below) I see The Clegg Company. A quick Google and this San Antonio Business Journal article popped-up in sight. I was surprised to learn that the then 104-year-old retailer was purchased by Herman Miller – the maker of the iconic Herman Miller Aeron chair. This very chair was one I sat on during my days working for a large internet consultancy that went belly up after the dot-com bust. That’s another long twisty, turbulent story for another day!

While stories like these likely don’t mean much to folks outside my family I include them here as an example of the amazing ways we are connected to the past if we’re open to it. All this from a Shrimp Victoria recipe scribbled on a notepad… and tucked away for more than 50 years!

Foodie Tips

  The rice was good but believe it or not I’m trying buttered toast on the next go (we were out of bread)!

  Not sure how to clean and devein your shrimp? I’ve included a couple of YouTube videos below that will show you how easy it is!

  I thought I was being fancy by letting my shrimp marinate overnight in the fridge. Turns out that it’s not really necessary! My online sleuthing showed that a 30-minute marinade should be fine but with an acid-based marinade (this recipe has lemon juice) the shrimp can turn “mushy” as the acid can start to break down the shrimp. I didn’t experience this with my dish, however!

  While stores may not be consistent in how they classify shrimp, when you’re at the seafood counter there’s a method to the madness for how many shrimp typically come per pound (this is indicative of their size). Resources that will be helpful include the Certi-Fresh Shrimp Sizing Guide you can print, and keep with your cookbooks (score!)… and the Farm to Table guide that provides some detail on larger-sized shrimp. Now you’ll be able to decipher shrimp-like code like PUD, P&D, U/15, and 61/70!

i. Time

Total prep: About 30 minutes.

ii. Ingredients

½ cup | unsalted butter (my grandmother “Nanny” insisted on Falfurrias)
1 ½ pounds | cleaned, raw shrimp
½ cup | onion, chopped
1 cup | fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons | lemon juice
1 tablespoon | worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons | flour
1 ½ teaspoons | seasoned salt
dash | fresh cracked black pepper
1 ½ cups | sour cream
1 tablespoon | fresh parsley, chopped
to serve | rice or buttered toast (optional)

Shrimp Victoria On The Stove

iii. What to do

1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat melt the butter. Cook shrimp and onion, stirring until the shrimp is almost tender, about 5 minutes.

Shrimp Victoria Recipe With Mushrooms

Shrimp Victoria With Sour Cream

A Mound Of Sour Cream? Texans “Yee Haw” About This!

2. Add the mushrooms, lemon juice and the Worcestershire sauce. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat.

3. Stir in the flour, seasoned salt and black pepper. Then the sour cream. Return the skillet to the heat and cook over low heat stirring until hot, but not boiling.

Shrimp Victoria Recipe

4. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve at once over rice or buttered toast.

Yields 6 servings

~ Patrick

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

Shrimp Victoria Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

A Scan Of Mom’s Shrimp Victoria Recipe ~ Note The Suggested Pairings
For The Perfect Meal (see bottom of recipe)


jim’s canadian cheese soup

Canadian Cheese Soup Recipe From Betty's Cook NookAn Ol’ Time Family Favorite

The very first “Jim’s” opened back in 1963 at the corner of Broadway and Loop 410 in San Antonio. This location was my Dad’s absolute favorite to meet up for a standing breakfast with a large group of colleagues. When it was a lucky weekend day Dad would let me tag along. Here the staff knew him like the best of family.

Jim's No 1 Restaurant Broadway at Loop 410 Circa 1963

Circa 1963 ~ Jim’s Restaurant (No. 1)

My friend Dan said his Dad created this cheese soup for Jim’s Restaurants, which I remember being a favored thing right up there with the pet rock and the skateboard. This soup was a pre-appetizer staple that I liked more than the greener alternative – the salad. Um, no. When I asked my friend why his Dad named it “Canadian Cheese Soup” he said it was because “the name sounded good.”

Flash forward several decades to today and the recipe is still on Jim’s menu so it’s quite exciting to be able to enjoy it at home now that I’m not within walking distance of my childhood Jim’s.

My research for this recipe helped teach me the difference between a mirepoix, a roux, and the foodie “holy trinity” (deets below) so hats off to this silky, delicious, cheesy soup!

Foodie Tips

  I’ve adjusted the recipe ingredients below based on my friend’s inside scoop – cutting back on the milk, adding Tobasco, and using Velveeta instead of the triple play of cheeses I found in another copycat recipe which was: Cheese Whiz (16 ounces), Swiss (2 ounces), and cheddar cheeses (2 ounces).

  You can adjust the flour and milk as you see fit to arrive at your preferred consistency.

  I wasn’t sure what “chicken base” was, thinking it might be chicken stock or chicken broth. Turns out there is such a thing as chicken base – I found this “Better Than Bouillon” at my local market and it sure was flavorful, living up to its name.
Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base

  Refrigerate leftovers for an impromptu treat for when you’re in a hurry – you may find that adding a bit more milk will help return the silky, smooth consistency.

i. Time

Veggie prep: About 10 minutes.
Total prep: About 45 minutes.

ii. Ingredients

6 cups | water
5 stalks | celery, finely diced
¼ medium | onion, finely diced
3 medium | carrots, finely diced
4 tablespoons | low salt chicken base
2 sticks | butter (my grandmother insisted on Falfurrias)
1 cup | flour
20 ounces | Velveeta, cubed
2 ½ cups | milk
tiny bit | Tobasco
to garnish | oyster crackers (optional)

iii. What to do

1. In a stockpot over high heat bring the water to a boil.

Canadian Cheese Soup Ingredients
2. Let’s make “mirepoix!” To the water add celery, onion, carrots, and chicken base. Reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes, or until the celery is tender but firm. Note: About 15 minutes into the simmering start Step 3 (if you like the quick route)!

3. Next up? The roux: In a heavy skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Add the flour and mix constantly with a whisk until things are smooth and free of lumps. Cook your roux 8-10 minutes, whisking constantly to prevent scorching.

4. Reduce heat under the soup (not the roux) to medium-low, add the prepared roux and continue to whisk until everything is smooth and thick, 4-5 minutes.

How to make Jim's Canadian Cheese Soup

5. Add the Velveeta and continue cooking until the cheese is melted, making sure to whisk occasionally.

6. Heat the milk in the microwave (or double boiler). Slowly add the milk to the soup mixture, whisking all the way. You can add a little more – or less – milk to reach your desired consistency.

To Serve: Spoon into bowls and top with a few shakes of Tabasco. After enjoying my first bowl I added a few oyster crackers for crunch and 5-7 fresh pinched oregano leaves to add a pop of herby flavor.

Yields 12-16 servings!Jim's Restaurant Logo

~ Patrick

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

Relevant, Additional Foodie Info: 

Is Velveeta Cheese Actually Cheese?

The History of Cheez Whiz

My Own “Cheesy Love Affair” With Velveeta

Kitchen Tip: Mirepoix vs. The Holy Trinity

More Vintage Jim’s Pics

More About Mirepoix:


souper burger

Souper Burger Recipe | Betty's Cook NookTwo Treats In One

I’ve heard of putting lots of things in burgers, but never soup. Until now.

I’ve made, enjoyed, and posted quite a few soup recipes from my Mom, “Betty’s”, cookbook so there’s no doubting her love for the stuff. Whether they’re served cold, hot, thick or not – these sensationally savory bowls that epitomize “home” itself deliciously nourish the soul.

One of my childhood favorites is this cheese soup that was served at Jim’s Restaurant’s rooted in 1960s San Antonio. Jim’s was our go-to place for an outside meal, which was a rare treat in our home! There are still 15 Jim’s in San Antonio and 3 in my current hometown up the street in Austin so it’s nice to see that Jim’s has survived the test – and taste – of time.

The most popular soup at Jim’s is this Canadian Cheese Soup so I’m happy to add it to the digital archives here at Betty’s Cook Nook! Make a bowl and you’ll see why!

Foodie Tips

  For my vegetable soup I chose Campbell’s Old Fashioned Vegetable Soup,shown below. Campbell’s has been a trusted friend of our family since before I was born.

  Mom would have likely served these burgers alongside a chilled salad. I would also suggest some of my favorite “less leafy” sidekicks: Blue Cheese Bacon Twice-Baked Potatoes, California Potato Salad – even these home favorite “Hatchbrowns!” My hips don’t lie.

i. Time

To prepare: About 15 – 20 minutes.

Campbell's Old Fashioned Vegetable Soup

ii. Ingredients

1 pound | ground beef
½ cup | onion, chopped
1 can | vegetable soup
2 tablespoons | catsup
1 teaspoon | prepared mustard
dash | fresh cracked pepper
| hamburger buns
to schmear the buns | butter (my Grandmother “Nanny” insisted on Falfurrias)

iii. What to do

1. In a skillet over medium-high heat brown the ground beef and onion. Stir to separate the meat.

Souper Burger Ingredients

2. Add the soup, catsup, mustard, and pepper; simmer about 5 minutes.

3. Butter your buns and toast them in an oven (or your favorite heating device).

4. Scoop and serve the souper burger mixture onto the hamburger buns and enjoy!

Yields 6 souper burgers!

~ Patrick

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

Souper Burger Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Souper Burger Recipe | Betty's Cook Nook

A Scan Of Mom’s Original Souper Burger Recipe Card