minestrone

A Minestrone Soup Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Souper Trouper

This isn’t our first time at the minestrone rodeo! In 2012 we made this minestrone recipe and Mom must have surely loved this soup because I think I’ve found 3 different minestrone soup recipes in her cookbook.

While the formal definition of minestrone calls for a thick soup with bits of pasta, this recipe – sans the pasta – is just as tasty as our first find, which included dittalini. With Italian origins, this tasty soup warms you up on a cold day! It’s good all by itself or partnered with some fresh baked bread and a salad. For those who don’t know me, a side of wine is a given. :)

foodie tips

  I used red cabbage for a pop a’ color.

  I was concerned at first sight by the mass quantity of soup. But when I later did the math I realized it’s perfect for a party of eight. Or 4 days of 2 bowls each.  :/~  You can also bag and freeze leftovers for a quick meal when you’re short on time.

  “Navy beans” are referred to by many a name. Haricot. Pearl Haricot. Pea Bean. This high fiber bean isn’t navy blue in color – rather white – and prized for its cholesterol-lowering health benefits plus its ability to retain an oval shape after being cooked tender. Navy beans received their nickname after being a popular staple of the U.S. Navy in the early 20th century.
Why Are They Called Navy Beans?

i. ingredients

2 cups | navy beans
4 quarts | cold water
| beef bouillon cubes (or beef broth)
2 tablespoons | vegetable oil
1 ½ cups | onion, chopped
2 cups | celery, sliced
2 cloves | garlic, minced
3 tablespoons | parsley, chopped
1 pound can | tomatoes, chopped (including juice)
1 teaspoon | basil, crumbled (or a few fresh leaves, torn by hand)
½ teaspoon | oregano, crumbled
2 teaspoons | salt (we prefer kosher salt or grey sea salt)
¼ teaspoon | pepper, freshly cracked
1 cup (3 medium) | carrots, thinly sliced
4 cups (4 small) | unpeeled zucchini, sliced
10 ounce package | frozen green peas
10 ounce package | frozen cut green beans
¼ head (2 cups) | cabbage, sliced
to serve | parmesan cheese, grated

Use Red Cabbage For Minestrone Soup... For A Pop Of Color!ii. what to do

1. Wash the navy beans. Place beans, water and bouillon (or broth) in a large pot. Bring slowly to boil and simmer, covered 1 ½ hours, or until the beans are soft. While the beans soften now’s a good time for a little wine rest break! #LongDay

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion, celery, and garlic. Sauté 5 minutes. Add this mixture to the beans and broth.

3. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the cheese. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

4. To serve, sprinkle each serving with the grated parmesan cheese and ENJOY!

Yields: About 8-9 servings (~2 cups each, in size). Nutritional info is below in the original recipe scan!

~ Patrick

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

 

How To Make Minestrone Soup

A Minestrone Soup Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

A Scan Of Betty’s Original Minestrone Soup Recipe


barbequed shrimp

barbequed shrimp recipe from betty's cook nook
Checking The Box

As I sit to write this post I think to myself “How well do I really know things about shrimp?”

Turns out not very well!

Why? Well, as a child of 8 who had an unforgettable unpleasant experience with oysters, I’ve since found seafood literally quite fishy, meaning I typically run from it. Batter it up, fry it, and top it with some fresh squeezed lemon or tartar sauce and I’ll come running back. While crab, grilled salmon, Luby’s fried fish, lobster mac and cheese, even some ceviche are right at home in my belly, my list of “no thank yous” include shrimp cocktail, seafood salad, and the likes of anything resembling octopus and squid. Don’t even get me started about a fish served with a head and a glaring, glazed eye. N.O.

So in the end my knowledge of seafood is what I’d call a short story. Two ships that passed in the night. An un-love affair.

A Fish By Any Other Name

When I established this cooking blog I wanted to organize it identically to how Mom organized the sections in her cookbook. Despite my goal there have been recipes that break convention and this recipe is one of them; the only possible two categories this recipe would likely fit under is “appetizers” or “meats poultry and fish.” So I thought: “Check meats poultry and fish!”

Not. So. Fast.

I turned to Google and started researching to find out what, really, is a shrimp?! I came across posts that:

  • Criticized shrimp as being “bottom feeders” that are high in cholesterol
  • Praised shrimp for being a healthy alternative to meat and poultry
  • Described shrimp as being more closely related to spiders, grasshoppers and crabs than to fish
  • And one post that skewered shrimp for exacerbating climate change. Wow, really?

In the end a shrimp is factually a 10-legged crustacean. And since saying “I’m eating crustacean tonight!” sounds plain ol’ #awkward, most people just settle on referring to shrimp as seafood. So there we go … *POOF* … I just created a seafood category box at right!

Shrimping On The Barbie

Before we dive into Mom and Dad’s shrimp recipe below, let’s watch a memorable throwback with this 1980s commercial featuring Paul Hogan who is better remembered as Crocodile Dundee. The phrase “slip another shrimp on the barbie?” It came from this: * Caution: the “shrimp” on the barbie at the end of this commercial is monstrously ginormous. But maybe it’s a prawn? And is a prawn a shrimp? Oh, that’s a foodie research story best served for another day. :)

foodie tips ~

  Don’t watch the above video with closed captioning tuned on … unless you want a good laugh.

  You probably know who had the bright idea to cloak his shrimp in bacon in the picture above. That’s right!

  Do not overcook this shrimp, per Mom’s note below!

i. ingredientsbarbequed shrimp on the grill

1 cup | salad oil
1 teaspoon | salt
3 tablespoons | parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon | dried basil leaves
2 cloves | garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon | catsup
1 teaspoon | pepper
1 tablespoon | wine vinegar
2 pounds | shrimp, shelled and deveined

ii. what to do

1. Combine the first eight ingredients above to make your marinade. Pour over the shrimp and cover. Refrigerate 2-3 hours.

2. Thread shrimp on skewers and place on the barbie. Grill 3 minutes over coals, basting with the marinade.

barbequed shrimp on the grill from betty's cook nook

3. Turn and grill 5 minutes more, basting several times.

Mom said my Dad always got raves from guests for this dish. Enjoy!

~ Patrick

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

Mom and Dad's Original Barbequed Shrimp Recipe

Mom and Dad’s Original Barbequed Shrimp Recipe


burger pizza

A Burger Pizza Recipe From Betty's Cook NookLet’s Eatsa The Pizza

As a self-proclaimed pizza junky my at-home pizza-like objects often take a variety of forms involving Boboli crust, a nice slice of bread topped with Joe’s Red Sauce or this home grown recipe for Trader Joe’s Bacon Cheese Bread. No matter the form the cheesy, savory taste of pizza is always a delight, morning or night.

It wasn’t until my first trip to Italy that I discovered I actually prefer thin crust pizza topped with a few simple ingredients. Sorry, cheese-stuffed crust, deep-dish gooey pie!

This burger pizza recipe surprised both Joe and I – we agreed it was a bit like the home grown Boboli pizza of the 1970s. But before we dive into how to make a slice of this burger topped piggy pie let’s enjoy a little story.

Burgertime … In The Beginning

Following our family’s Pong and Atari 2600 digital scores, in walked ColecoVision. My Mom “Betty” and I spent many mind-numbing moments playing our hearts away in front of the likes of Dig Dig, Frogger, and BurgerTime. Let’s have a brief look at some of the BurgerTime action:

Wow. Chef eating pickles, eggs, hot dogs brought to life in cutting edge ROM graphics. Exciting, huh? Hah! More than 30 years later I still have my Coleco game console including my BurgerTime cartridge, which shows my inner love of food-related fancies. Anyone game for a BurgerTime playoff?

foodie tips ~

  We didn’t see instructions for how to prepare 1 cup of biscuit mix so we got as close as we could – we used 1 cup Bisquick brand mix plus ¼ cup whole milk to mix. Also, we added a tad more biscuit mix to dust our pastry/cutting board.

  Out of Bisquick? Try this substitute for 1 cup of Bisquick mix: 1 cup flour + 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder +½ teaspoon salt + 1 tablespoon of shortening. Mix it all up and voilà!

  Mom’s recipe doesn’t specify this but we browned our ground chuck before topping and baking the pizza.

 I thought to use fresh herbs but I was corrected. “Dried is what would have been used,” Joe said. I agreed.

i. ingredients

1 cup | packaged biscuit mix (most commonly known in the 1970s as bisquick)
¼ cup | whole milk (if following the foodie tip above)
to coat dough | wesson oil
½ pound | ground chuck, browned (see foodie tip above)
to taste | salt, pepper and garlic salt
½ teaspoon | oregano or basil (we used oregano but I love me some basil)
8 ounce can | tomato sauce
1 tablespoon | parsley, chopped
¼ pound | swiss cheese, cut into 1-inch strips

ii. what to do

1. Prepare dough according to package directions (or my above foodie tip).

How To Make Burger Pizza

2. Divide the dough in half and roll each piece to fit the bottom and sides of the pie pans. Place in pan and brush with the oil.

Let's Layer Our Burger Pizza

3. Put half of the remaining ingredients on each of the pies in the following order: crumble the ground chuck evenly over the dough, sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic salt and oregano or basil. Cover with tomato sauce and parsley. Arrange the swiss cheese strips on top, like a spoke of a wheel.

4. Bake in a 400°F preheated oven about 20 minutes or until brown and cheese has melted.

Yields: 2 delicious pizzas

~ Patrick

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

A Burger Pizza Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

A Scan Of My Mom “Betty’s” Burger Pizza Recipe


chicken breasts au vin

Chicken Breasts Au Vin From Betty's Cook Nook

This recipe is dedicated to the Bauml Family. 

You were more than just neighbors… you’re like family in many, many ways! 

~   ❤   ~

“Au vin” is French for “with wine”

Chicken with wine? What can be better?!? Chicken with more wine! Oui! Oui!

Growing up I was a huge animal fan. I still am! I raised more than my fair share of pets – two toy poodles, fish, zebra finches, a cockatiel named “Sam,” and I raised quail from eggs with the help of an incubator and lots of patience. My passion was more like an obsession and Mom and Dad seemed not to notice as I begged them to let me also have a bantam chicken. This was a critical link in my transformation into a bona fide farmer! :)

A Buff Cochin ChickenWith 30+ quail living in our back yard I really didn’t need a chicken but our family’s friend Mr. Bauml had some chickens with feathers on the legs and toes that I thought were really cool and before anyone knew it, a butterscotch-colored chicken was living in our backyard pen.

Make no mistake – the quail and the chicken were not to be eaten – they were my pets and were to be admired with the eyes and the heart. They could also be hugged or high-fived, if desired.

Chicken is the hero of this meal and partnered with its sidekicks wine and brandy, I hope you’ll find the end result a tasty twist on your typical poultry dish.

foodie tips ~

 For small white onions I suppose you can use pearl onions as the recipe doesn’t say to chop them. I didn’t have any pearls on hand so I used chopped white onions.

 Setting brandy on fire is fun! For another one of Mom’s recipes that will impress your guests, try Betty’s brandied pumpkin flan recipe. It’s always a hit at the holidays!

i. ingredients

| chicken breasts, boned and split
¼ cup | flour
1 teaspoon | salt
⅛ teaspoon (I used more) | fresh cracked black pepper
½ cup | butter (my grandmother insisted on Falfurrias brand butter)
¼ cup | brandy
2 cups | dry red wine
½ pound (2 cups) | small white onions, peeled
¼ cup | parsley, chopped
| bay leaf, crumbled (I left mine whole for easy removal)
1 clove | garlic, crushed (or pressed)
½ pound | fresh mushrooms

ii. what to do

0. Preheat oven to 375°F.

1. Dust the chicken breasts in a mixture of the flour, salt, and pepper. In a skillet, sauté the breasts in the butter.

2. Warm the brandy and set a match to it – no worries, it will be unlikely that you will cause a culinary explosion! Pour the flaming brandy over the skillet chicken. Shake the skillet until the flame dies away.

3. Transfer the chicken and the pan juices to a casserole dish. Add the wine, onions, parsley, bay leaf, and the garlic clove. Cover tightly with foil then with the lid. Cook for 30 minutes.

4. Add the mushrooms and cook for 15 minutes.

I hope you enjoy this dish au vin! I partnered mine with some creamy four cheese Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco treat!

Serves 6 – 8 humans

~ Patrick

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

 

Chicken Breasts Au Vin Recipe

A scan of Mom’s original recipe

 


king crab appetizer puffs

King Crab Appetizer Puffs

Let’s Get Crabby

In my younger years I spent most summers visiting the Texas Coast at Port Aransas. My Dad loved to wade fish and my Mom loved to crab. Port A’s north and south jetties are where I learned to maneuver the giant granite blocks that extended into the sea. There were countless nooks and crannies where the sea met the granite boulders and this was the special place my Mom “Betty” loved to go crabbin’.

The Joys Of Coastal LivingMom would bait her crab net with a small piece of chicken and lower it into the water and wait a bit. Moving very slow and being extra quiet we’d quickly raise the nets to see if we had caught a crab – two if we were lucky! Females went back into the water and the males we’d take back to our short-term home at Executive Keys to boil and create some crab delicacies.

foodie tips ~

 This yields about 3 dozen appetizers. You can half the ingredient quantities if you’re just having a snack. They are best consumed fresh but don’t reheat them in the microwave – only the oven, so they will be crispy!

 I couldn’t find King Crab at my local HEB so I substituted it with plain ol’ crab.

i. ingredients

1 package (6-8 ounces) | frozen crab, thawed
2 tablespoons | butter (my grandmother insisted on Falfurrias brand butter)
¼ cup | green onions, sliced
1 cup | fresh mushrooms, chopped
1 cup | monterey jack cheese, shredded
3 ounce package | cream cheese, softened
⅓ cup | mayonnaise
2 tablespoons | parsley, minced
¼ pound | phyllo pastry sheets
¼ cup | more melted butter

ii. what to do

0. Preheat oven to 350°F.

1. Drain and slice the crab. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Add the onions and sauté them 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and sauté 1 minute longer. Combine the mushroom-onion mixture with the crab, cheeses, mayonnaise and parsley.

2. Spread phyllo sheets out in layers, two at a time (we did 3 layers because we love the crisp of phyllo). Cut each group of two into strips about 2 inches by 10 inches.

How To Make King Crab Appetizers

Look at the butter! Mmm – BUTTER!

3. Brush each phyllo strip with melted butter. Mmm … butter! Spoon a scant tablespoon of filling onto the end of the phyllo strip. Fold the pasty over the crab filling to form a triangle. Continue folding into triangles as you would a flag for the length of the strip. Seal the seam with a little more butter.

4. Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or until crisp and golden.

Serve these hot!

~ Patrick

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

King Crab Appetizer Puffs Recipe

A Scan Of Mom’s “Crabetizer” Recipe

King Crab Appetizer Puff Recipe

They kinda look like crabs already. Next time I’ll fashion these just right!


sauerkraut bend’s potato salad

Sauerkraut Bend's Potato Salad Recipe From Betty's Cook NookTime For A Potato Fiesta

Give your typical cold egg and mayonnaise potato salad versions a rest and get ready for a tongue-tingling-tangy version with German roots. This potato salad recipe is unlike any other I’ve tasted! It’s not a bad thing, it’s just tastefully unique.

Before we dive into this dish let’s enjoy a special story behind it.

Sauer-what? 

When I found this recipe in Mom’s cookbook I expected it to be a dish from a restaurant named Sauerkraut Bend. Reading a bit closer, I saw a well-known word to me “NIOSA” –  an acronym for Night In Old San Antonio – a four-day celebration held during the city’s larger two-week long Fiesta. Two weeks of citywide partying!

Fiesta San Antonio Picture Credit: Pinterest User: Scarlettpayne99

Fiesta San Antonio Picture Credit: Pinterest User: Scarlettpayne99

The NIOSA festival dates back to 1937 and it’s held in La Villita (Spanish for “tiny village”), a small art community nestled along the San Antonio River and very close to The Alamo. NIOSA is synonymous with cascarones, crepe paper flowers, live music, thousands of happy dancing folks of all ages and loads of food and libation. If social media hashtags were around when the festival was founded I would have used #bestofdays.

Mom and Dad attended NIOSA from the time before I could walk on my own two legs until my teenage years when we worked side by side in a pretzel booth with her dear friend Bristol, an important lady to our family and this cooking blog. While I sadly don’t see the giant pretzels listed on the NIOSA menu for 2015, I’m happy to learn the festival still serves the super-crispy-cinnamon-sugary “Buñuelos” and savory Peruvian “Anticuchos.” (I also found the Anticuchos recipe in Mom’s cookbook and it’s coming very soon here at Betty’s Cook Nook).

After a few clicks on Google I surprisingly learned the origin of Sauerkraut Bend. It was one of the 15 cultural areas comprising the NIOSA festival. Sauerkraut Bend was nicknamed after a neighborhood located in San Antonio’s King William District that was founded by German immigrants flocking to Texas in the 1840s in search of a better tomorrow. The ties between this recipe, my German roots, the now historic district where a great family friend moved and NIOSA were literally fast-tracking in the overactive windmills of my mind. Turns out the pretzel booth I volunteered in as a child was located in NIOSA’s Sauerkraut Bend pavilion and I had no idea until I researched for this post (I think way back then I called the area “Germantown”).

It’s so amazing the connections a simple recipe written on an index card can ignite!

I then remembered the connection to a funny picture I saw in our family photo archive. I dug it back up – here’s Bristol and my brother Roger (behind her) having a great time in the ol’ pretzel booth in 1976!

Here's a picture ofHere's a picture of Bristol and my brother Roger at NIOSA in 1976. Note the pretzel in the right hand corner!

I’m not quite sure how my Mom scored this recipe. Perhaps she smooth-talked it from a fellow volunteer friend who also worked in Sauerkraut Bend or maybe it was printed in the San Antonio Express News. Either way, I’m so glad I found it and I’m happy to share it forward to you now. Mom would want it this way.

I could go on and on (and you know I could) about this story and why I love nostalgic food blogging but I’m sure you all have better things to do, like eat. So let’s bring on the Potato Fiesta!

Sauerkraut Bend's Potato Salad Makes A Perfect Side Dish For Most Grilled Dishes

foodie tips ~

  Five pounds of potatoes? That will feed a small army! We cut the recipe in half and this yielded about 6-8 servings. The type of potato wasn’t specified but we used gold.

  One stalk of celery to five pounds potatoes? I’m not pointing fingers, but I am making note of it.

  If you have an eye for potatoes like I do (get it?) you’ll have to try my Mom’s California Potato Recipe which to this day remains one of my top favorites EVER.

i. ingredients

5 pounds | potatoes
5 strips | diced bacon
⅔ cup | sugar
2 cups | vinegar
2 cups | pickles, chopped (we used Texas’ own Best Maid Dill Pickles)
| green onions, chopped
1 stalk | chopped celery
½ cup | parsley, chopped
to taste | salt and pepper

ii. what to do

1. Boil the potatoes, drain and let cool a bit. Peel and discard the skin and cut the potato into pieces.

2. Fry the bacon, reserving the drippings. To bacon and drippings add the sugar and vinegar. Heat and stir until well blended.

3. Pour the bacon mixture over the potatoes.

4. Add the remaining ingredients and blend. The recipe doesn’t specify, but a little research at Wiki mentions that a vinegar-based potato salad like this one likely came from southern Germany and was served warm. I enjoyed mine at room temperature, but either way I’m sure it’s tastefully satisfying.

Yield: A lot of potato salad!

Here’s a scan of the original recipe as penned by my Mom, Betty!

A Scan Of Mom's Recipe For Sauerkraut Bend's Potato Salad

What’s the Big “Dill?”
Here’s a Texas Country Reporter video you might like to watch about Texas made Best Maid Dill Pickles!

Hope you enjoy this recipe!

~ Patrick

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


green pea timbales

A Green Pea Timbales RecipeYou Say Timbale. I Say Teem-Bah-Les.

I’m not quite sure how to pronounce “timbales” (2 syllables or 3) – it seems to depend on whether or not you are using the French or Spanish pronunciation.

The name derives from “kettledrum” after the drum-like mold in which the dish is baked.

Growing up I was a drummer and we often played drums called “timbales.” We pronounced them like this.

So put on your best Charo or Sofia Vergara accent (your choice) and let’s get cookin’!

Foodie Tips ~

  In a hurry? I think you can substitute canned peas for the frozen and save yourself a step. And a pot to clean.

  I must have been a salt block lovin’ cow in a former life. For some reason I couldn’t get enough salt on these so I used more than what was noted below.

  White Pepper? Didn’t find it at my grocery. I just used fresh cracked black pepper. Sorry, Mom!

  I don’t own any custard cups so I used the 4 ramekins, shown below. As a result I made larger timbales which required a little more time cooking. If you’re not planning on eating this as your only item I’d suggest making 6 and serving as a side.

i. ingredients

10 ounces | frozen peas
1 cup | cooked rice
1 cup | chicken broth
½ cup | cream
| cage free eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon | parsley, chopped
¼ teaspoon | celery salt
¼ teaspoon | onion salt

for the sauce:
1 cup | falfurrias brand butter
¾ cup | celery tops, finely chopped
¼ cup | flour
¼ teaspoon | salt
⅛ teaspoon | celery salt
⅛ teaspoon | white pepper
2 cups | milk
to garnish | more chopped parsley

ii. what to do

0. Heat oven to 325°F.

1. Cook the peas and drain. Combine the peas with the next seven ingredients – the rice, broth, cream, eggs, parsley, celery salt and onion salt.

Green Pea Timbales Going Into The Oven

2. Grease 6 custard cups (or ramekins) and fill each 2/3 full of the pea mixture from step 1 above. Place the custard cups on a shallow roasting pan filled with 1 inch of hot water and place in oven.

3. Bake 45 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.

4. After the timbales have been baking about 25 minutes, let’s make the sauce. Melt the butter in a sauce pan. Add and sauté the celery. Blend-in the flour, salts, pepper and milk. Simmer 6-8 minutes, stirring often until thickened.

5. Un-mold the pea timbales onto a warm serving platter and top with celery sauce and some chopped parsley.

Yields about 4-6 servings.

Green Pea Timbales Fresh From The Oven

Here’s a scan of Mom’s original recipe!

A Green Pea Timbales Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

If you missed the Sofia Vergara You Tube link above you have to watch it now. A guaranteed belly buster!