lemon pie hawaiian

The Hawaiian Pie Of My Eye

This pie definitely tastes like it flew straight out of the 1950s or 60s and flashed forward into my mouth. And based on where this recipe was located in my Mom Betty’s cookbook, I’m likely not that far off on its origins. I’ll continue some research to see if I can determine the publication for this recipe because I recognize the size, format and paper.

The original recipe below claims this pie is a cross between lemon chiffon and lemon meringue. I had to Google the difference between both in order to put my stink eye at ease.

I love that this recipe calls for a pre-made pie crust vs. fresh (hey, this era was a time often about making fast meals which were often a combination of part scratch and part ready made). This has a definite sweet-sugary taste which is one of the reasons I recommend unsweetened coconut – you don’t need extra in this.

I’m not sure how Hawaiian this pie actually is but with coconut in it, the taste will likely remind you of soothing tropical sunsets and beautiful beaches. You can read more about my Texas family’s connection to Hawaii through a few more Hawaiian-inspired recipes. Enjoy!

Foodie Tips

❤  What’s a pie shield? It’s typically made of silicon and it can help prevent the top edges of your crust from burning. Here’s ours from Williams-Sonoma which is adjustable and its been a life saver! You can also make your own impromptu version by using foil and shaping it around the crust’s edge.

❤  A word about the filling. We had a lot of filling left over but we didn’t opt to make a second pie as we were on diets (yeah, that’s the ticket)! We poured the extra filling into some custard cups to devour on some weak moments after our initial pie festival.

i. Time

Total prep: Allow 1 hour for Hawaiian pie prep plus 4 hours for chilling. 

ii. Ingredients

8 ¼ ounce can  crushed pineapple, drained (I could only find an 8 ounce can of Libby’s)
¼ cup  brown sugar, packed
¼ cup  unsweetened flaked coconut
2 tablespoons  unsalted butter, softened (my Grandmother “Nanny” insisted on Falfurrias)
9-inch  pastry shell, unbaked
4-serving size  regular lemon pudding mix
½ cup  granulated sugar
1 ¾ cup  water
cage free egg yolks, slightly beaten (save the whites for below!)
2 tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon  more butter
cage free egg whites
¼ cup  more granulated sugar
to garnish  toasted coconut (optional but highly recommended)

iii. What To Do

0. PREP
Set out your butter to soften to room temperature. Preheat your oven to 425°F

1. MAKE THE PIE BASE
Combine the drained pineapple, brown sugar, ¼ cup of the coconut and 2 tablespoons butter. Spread it over the bottom of the pastry shell.

2. BAKE THE PIE’S BOTTOM
Cover the edge of the pastry with foil or a silicon pie shield. Bake in your preheated oven at 425°F for 15 minutes, removing the crust protector after the first 5 minutes of baking. When done, remove the pie from the oven and set it aside to cool.

3. LET’S MAKE CUSTARDY FILLING
In a  medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat combine the pudding mix with a ½ cup of the granulated sugar. Stir in the water and egg yolks and cook and stir until things are bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in the lemon juice and the remaining butter. Cover with clear plastic wrap and let things cool, stirring occasionally.

4. LET’S PREP THE WHITES
In a bowl beat the egg whites on high speed with your mixer until you see soft peaks. Gradually beat in the remaining ¼ cup sugar until everything forms stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the cooled filling. Pile everything on top of the baked pastry shell.

5. PREPARE FOR DISMOUNT
Place the pie in the fridge for at least 4 hours. When ready to serve garnish with some toasted coconut.

~ Patrick

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

A Scan Of Mom’s Original Recipe Clipping


sausage stroganoff finale

A Sausage Stroganoff Recipe from Bettys Cook NookHit Me Baby One More Time

Ladies and gentlemen, fasten your seatbelts – we’re on for another taste bud adventure compliments of this sausage stroganoff recipe!

This isn’t the first time I’ve waxed on about stroganoff (it’s the fourth time to be precise) but it may be the last. Sadly I think this is the final stroganoff recipe in my Mom’s cookbook. As the last Betty’s Cook Nook meal of the year this dish marked the perfect culinary dismount to a wacky and wild 2020!

So What Makes This Recipe A Classic? 

Well, a couple of things. For starters I’m 99% confident this recipe hails from an early 1980s Southern Living magazine clipping; I recognize the recipe’s font (see the original clipping below)!

Secondly I incorporated a hidden weapon ingredient which you can learn more about below: the Wendish noodle is a blast from the past and it has a special connection to this recipe and the people of Texas. Incoming story below!

Tip: If you just prefer the recipe please fast-scroll to the Foodie Tips section below. If you want to enjoy a random family story about early Texas in the 1800s, please grab your favorite beverage and read on!Texas Wendish Heritage Society Wendish Noodles

A Little Bit About Dime Box

It all started harmlessly with a random pic my Cousin Alison texted of a likely relative “Adolph Hannes” who surely lived in the greater Dime Box, Texas area. Dime Box is the birthplace of my Maternal Grandmother “Nanny” who was ironically also one of my bestest of friends when I was a kid. Dime Box isn’t a big city – in fact even today it’s an unincorporated community of about 1,100 residents. But for the European immigrants who claimed it as home, they found Dime Box a small but magnificent place that rests on the eastern Texas prairie offering big sky views and wide open spaces that could cultivate new beginnings.

A Dram by Henry Kruemcke and Adolph HannesAfter a few online queries I learned Adolph’s picture was from a 1961 book “Texas Wends – Their First Half Century,” authored by Lillie Moerbe Caldwell.

Texas Wends tells the magnificent story of how in 1854 the Wendish people of Lusatia (east Germany and southern Poland) fled to Texas in search of religious and political freedom. After 3 months at sea on the Ben Nevis clipper ship they disembarked in the port city of Galveston and ventured by wagon and foot to Serbin, Texas which is just a few minutes drive from Dime Box and 69 miles from where I live today. The story of the Wends is wild and wondrous and sadly 1 in 8 of the 588 crammed ship voyagers lost their lives on their journey to Texas. I had hoped to connect the Wends to my nuclear family (was I Wendish?) but after receiving the book I quickly combed through the Ben Nevis’ ship manifest only to find no surnames that I recognized. Regardless, Adolph’s picture proved my family was friends of the Wends!

There on page 80 of Texas Wends was a picture of Adolph Hannes that became a remarkable key to a chapter in my life that has connected the past with the present! Adolph shared a surname with my grandmother “Nanny’s” husband Harry Hannes and there in the pic Adolph was enjoying a “dram” with his friend Henry Kruemcke. I quickly and luckily discovered a hardbound copy of the book on eBay and it’s now in my library. I did some Ancestry.com research and discovered that Adolph is my Grand Uncle! #MicDrop

Texas Wendish Heritage Museum, Serbin, TexasInto The Car We Went

Soon after geeking out on our family lineage Cousin Alison and I decided to travel to Dime Box and nearby Serbin to inspect a few things. We visited the Hannes-Old Dime Box cemetery where we saw several headstones bearing our family’s surnames (Hannes and Hejtmancik). It was surreal being in the very origin of our Texas roots! A 20-minute ride from Dime Box landed us just outside Giddings in Serbin. We visited the Texas Wendish Heritage Museum, its next door historic painted St. Paul Church and while taking in the historic sights we learned about black wedding dresses, the art of decorating Wendish Easter Eggs and low and behold we scored the glorious egg noodles that are made on site and that I used in this recipe!

We’ve made two trips back thus far and are planning a third. We’ll return to the Dime Box Heritage Society Museum where we gratefully discovered family photos and artifacts with ease. And of course no trip would be complete without paying our respects at the Heritage Museum where I plan to reunite the Texas Wends book to the Memorial Library of its author, Lillie Moerbe Caldwell.

So there you have it – how a little noodle has great big ties to this recipe and newly-discovered great chapters of my family history! I never underestimate the power of food.

Foodie Tips

❤  The Wendish noodles are about 3 inches in length and have an al dente (“to the tooth”) texture that I love. No soggy noodles here! Don’t live near Serbin, Texas? No worries – you can score your noodles online!

❤  I cooked the Wendish noodles separately according to the package instructions then poured the stroganoff on top to serve. On my next go of this recipe I think I’ll add the uncooked noodles and let them simmer in the stroganoff per the original recipe instructions below – they will likely absorb more of the tasty stroganoff flavor.

❤  Fan of the stroganoff? Luckily there are a few more you can try out here on Betty’s Cook Nook. Click and scroll down!

i. Time

Total prep: About 45-60 minutes.

Sausage Stroganoff Ingredientsii. Ingredients

1 pound  bulk pork sausage
1 cup  white onion, finely chopped
1 cup  green pepper, finely chopped
16 ounce can  diced organic canned tomatoes (Kirkland)
8 ounces  sour cream
1 cup  water
1 tablespoon  sugar
2 teaspoons  kosher salt
2 teaspoons  chili powder
8 ounces  egg noodles (Wendish noodles if you can)

Texas Wendish Noodlesiii. What To Do

1. In a skillet over medium heat combine sausage, onion and green pepper and stir until the sausage is brown and the onion is tender. Drain off the pan drippings.

Sautéing Sausage StroganoffHow To Make Sausage Stroganoff2. In a separate bowl combine the tomatoes, sour cream, water, sugar and seasonings. Stir this mixture into the sausage mixture.

Simmering Sausage Stroganoff3. Gently stir in the noodles. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes or until the noodles are tender. Stir occasionally.

Yield: 4-6 servings

~ Patrick

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

Sausage Stroganoff Recipe Betty's Cook Nook

A Scan Of Mom’s Original Stroganoff Recipe Clipping

One more time: This video may not qualify as an antique or vintage… but it’s certainly retro!


texas kolaches

How To Make Texas-Czech KolachesWhere Old Meets New

In the golden days of past my Mom “Betty” subscribed to Southern Living magazine and to this day, so do I. 

In SL’s most recent September 2020 issue they gave claim to the seven “Cooks of the Year” for their culinary innovations. I, too, love innovators for without them we’d be eating the same thing day after day… (fancy some porridge and toast?). But I will continue the foodie fight to honor those in the rear view mirror – the ones who fed our bellies when we were kids. Our Mothers, Grandmothers, and best of all – the ones likely before we can remember. These are the true culinary geniuses who made mealtime a favorite time without the aid of modern kitchen contraptions like microwaves, silicon utensils, immersion blenders, air fryers, and bluetooth ovens (I’m guilty of owning all these items)!

The Missing Piece

With more than 200 recipes here at BettysCookNook.com, the Southern Living kolache recipe fills a missing puzzle piece in my Mom’s culinary legacy; Mom’s kolache filling recipes (below) had been in her cookbook without their much needed pastry crust recipe until now! And since kolaches hold a near and dear place in the heart of Texans right up there with queso, big hair, and cowboy boots you have plenty of recipe ideas thanks to my Mom’s 3 filling recipes below – apricot, prune, and cottage cheese. In addition, there’s a streusel recipe to top things off!

Thanks to Southern Living Magazine I’m gratefully able to connect the past with the present. I hope you try and enjoy this recipe! Thank you, Lydia Faust, for sharing a slice of the great days with the rest of us! #HatsOff

While I usually veer off the I-35 interstate in the city of West, Texas for some of the world famous savory Czech Stop kolaches (bless you, jalapeño, sausage and cheese) let’s not forget their sweet kolache friends! I didn’t make all 3 fillings but the apricot filling was my first pick and it was dy-no-mite! I’d suggest starting with that one first.

This is a recipe for those with a little kitchen grit. I found kolaches much easier to make than homemade tamales (which had me sore for 2 days) or puffy tacos (Joe does most of that work) and you’ll have plenty of leftovers to share with friends and family. I’ll never bat an eye at how much these cost as I found hand making these to be a labor of pure love.

Foodie Tips

❤  This kolache recipe made 53 of the yeasty delights and ironically Mom’s apricot filling recipe filled them all to the last scoop!

❤  It’s customary for the kolaches to touch while baking; they often come out of the oven square-ish. I had giant stainless baking sheet pans so my kolaches came out round. Despite the tweaked shape they tasted the same!

❤  To form the hole we wrapped a spice jar with saran wrap to prevent the dough from sticking and pressed away (shown).

❤  I remember growing-up my Mom’s friend “Miss Joyce” called some savory pigs in a blankey “koblasniky.” Turns out she wasn’t kidding – the sweet treats are kolaches and the savory friends koblasniky. I was happy to confirm in this article. My Moravian ancestors would be proud I stand corrected! Here in Texas folks just refer to anything wrapped in the billowy dough kolaches and we all know what’s involved.

How To Make Kolaches

i. Time

Total prep: Your entire morning. (includes 60 minutes for baking)

ii. Ingredients

for the kolache pastry:
1 ½ tablespoons  active dry yeast
½ cup  warm water (105°F115°F)
¼ cup  unsalted butter (my Grandmother “Nanny” insisted on Falfurrias)
¼ cup  vegetable shortening (Crisco)
1 ½ cups  lukewarm whole milk (100°F105°F)
6 cups  all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for the prep surface
¾ cup  evaporated milk
⅓ cup  granulated sugar
1 tablespoon  kosher salt
2 large  cage free eggs
1 large  cage free egg yolk
5 tablespoons (or more)  unsalted butter, melted

for the apricot filling:
1 pound  dried apricots
¾ cup  granulated sugar
3 tablespoons  unsalted butter

for the streusel:
½ cup   granulated sugar
½ cup   flour
½ cup   butter, melted

iii. What To Do

1.
Sprinkle the yeast over warm water and stir to combine. Set aside. Place the butter and shortening in a large microwavable bowl, and microwave on high until melted, about 1 minute. Stir well to combine. Whisk in the lukewarm whole milk and yeast mixture.

2. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Sift 3 cups of the flour over mixture. Add the evaporated milk, sugar, salt, eggs, and egg yolk. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Remove the whisk attachment and replace it with a dough hook. Gradually add the remaining 3 cups flour; beat on medium speed until dough is smooth, about 2 minutes. Let the dough sit at room temperature for 5 minutes; then beat it on medium-high speed until the dough is elastic and very smooth, about 10 minutes.

Kolache Dough Rising3. Brush the top of dough with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour. Punch the dough down and cover it again and let the dough rise until doubled, about 30 more minutes.

Making Kolaches

4. Generously flour a work surface. Gently roll dough out to a 1-inch-thick rectangle (about 18 x 14 inches). Using a 2-inch round cutter, cut out circles, and place them 1 inch apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Brush the tops with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter. Let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in bulk, about 20 minutes.

How To Make A Kolache

Texas Kolache
Apricot Kolache Filling5. While the dough rises, let’s make the apricot kolache filling. Prepare the apricots according to the package directions (I boiled mine in water for about 10 minutes then drained the water). Add the sugar and butter. I used an immersion blender to get things soft but I was careful not to over process it; you still want it a bit thick (not like apple sauce) and a few chunks here and there are OK. Set the filling aside.

6. Let’s continue on by making the posypka (streusel topping): Use a pastry cutter (suggested) or your fingers to combine the sugar, flour, and butter to form a crumbly texture. Store this in the refrigerator until ready to use.

7. Back to the kolaches! Make one small indentation in the center of each dough circle (see tip above or you can use your fingers), and fill each with about 1 tablespoon of the filling. Sprinkle each kolache with 1 to 2 teaspoons of the posypka. Let the kolaches rise until they’ve doubled in size, 20 to 30 minutes.
Kolache with Apricot Filling
8. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Position racks in top third and lower third of oven. Bake the kolaches until golden brown, about 20 minutes, rotating baking sheets between top and bottom racks halfway through the baking time. Remove from oven. Brush the kolaches with the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter and transfer them to wire racks. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Apricot Kolaches

You may be tired by this point so sit back and enjoy a few bites of the sweet life!

~ Patrick

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

Apricot Filling Recipe For Kolaches

A Scan Of Mom’s Original Apricot Kolache Filling Recipe

Prune Filling Recipe For Kolaches

A Scan Of Mom’s Prune Kolache Filling Recipe

Cottage Cheese Filling Recipe For Kolaches

A Scan Of Mom’s Cottage Cheese Kolache Filling Recipe

Streusel Topping Recipe

A Scan Of Mom’s Streusel Topping Recipe


pork chop limas

Pork Chop Limas RecipeA Lima Good Tima

When I least expect it I’m surprisingly rocked by one of my Mom “Betty’s” recipes. This one totally changed how ima gonna feel about limas from today going forward.

In my former me, I thought limas were right up there with split pea soup – green, gross … grody to the max! Had my Mom called them by their other given name – the butter bean – I would have dove mouth first into a large bowl of ’em. Superfan of butter here! #Bombdiggity

Decades later I decided to revisit my mental block for limas by making this recipe and you know what? It wasn’t all gag me with a spoon. If fact, I wanted a bigger spoon – I actually loved limas! Totally gnarly! Are you channeling some 80s lingo yet? If not, best saddle up to this vintage classic for a refresher, if you wanna be a cool kid again:

I’ve also included The Periodic Table Of 80s Slang down below to help you on your way!

Foodie Tips

❤  During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic we couldn’t easily find dry limas. Lame. But we could source frozen and they worked just fine. In fact they seriously reduced the prep time in a rad way by 2 hours. Legit!Lima Bean Retro Sticker

❤  Mom noted the caraway seeds as optional but I totally included them – their earthy unique taste makes dishes extra fresh and special.

❤  Wanna profess your love for limas beyond mealtime? I just ordered a lima bean T-shirt and sticker to keep things legit!

❤  While your chops ‘n limas are baking why not enjoy some vintage lima bean art?! I’ve peppered a few examples below for you to peruse and enjoy.

i. Time

Total prep: About 90 minutes (includes 60 minutes for baking)

ii. Ingredients

1 ½ cups  |  dry california limas (or frozen if dry is hard to find)
1 quart (4 cups)  water
½ teaspoon  |  salt
pork chops
to taste  salt
to taste  fresh cracked black pepper
white onion, sliced
1 can  cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
½ cup  |  milk
1 teaspoon  |  caraway seeds (optional)

A bowl of lima beans

iii. What To Do

1. Prep the limas!

  • If using dry limas: Rinse the limas with cold water. Put into pan with water and salt and bring things to a boil. Simmer about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until tender.
  • If using frozen limas: Bring 2 cups of salted water to boil over high heat. Add the frozen lima beans and return to a boil. Cook uncovered 20 to 25 minutes or to desired tenderness. Drain the limas and set aside.

Making Pork Chop Limas2. Prep the chops ‘n onions!

  • Our pork chops are usually from Costco and they are hella thick. So we usually trim them in half; they usually end up more tender.
  • Season the chops with salt and pepper. Brown them quickly in a skillet with a little fat/oil/butter (we used olive oil). Remove the chops.
  • In the same skillet brown the onion slices in a little fat/oil/butter.

Pork Chop Limas About To Go Into The Oven3. Bake those chops ‘n limas!

  • Turn (pour) the drained limas into a baking/casserole dish.
  • Arrange the chops and onions over the lima beans.
  • In a medium-sized bowl mix together the soup, milk, and caraway seeds then pour over the whole shebang.
  • You can refrigerate this dish until you’re ready to bake or roll forward by covering the casserole with foil and baking at 350°F for 45 minutes… then remove the foil and bake for 15 additional minutes. Plate up and enjoy!

Limas: Bad To The Bone

~ Patrick

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

Pork Chop Limas In Casserole

Pork Chop Limas Fresh From The Oven

 

Enjoy this vintage lima bean art!

Spam and Limas Recipe

“Ah” Inspiring? Or “AAaaacckkk!” Inspiring?!? LOL #SPAM

Pork Chop Limas Recipe

A Scan Of Mom’s Original Recipe Card

The Periodic Table Of 80s Slang


puffy tacos

The Art Of The Puffy Taco

My Homemade Birthday Puffies July 26, 2020

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

A Pic Of Teka Molino Delights

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!

red tortilla press

Press On!

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!

  Using a small wire whisk we dipped the masa tortillas into the fryer and formed puffy cups! These are similar to the cups Teka Molino serves and super easy to make. AND EAT! Just load ’em up with beans n’ cheese, guacamole, picadillo… and you’re off to outer space!

Puffy Taco Cup

The Puffy Taco Cup Is My BFF

 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)

Puffy Chalupa

Even Dressed As A Chalupa The Puff Makes All The Difference

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

Puffy Taco Recipe

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

How To Make Picadillo

Picadillo Is So Much Tastier Than Plain Ol’ Taco Meat (Sorry, Taco Meat)

Spicy Shrimp Puffy Tacos


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


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!


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


pumpkin bread

Pumpking Bread

Fall Is In The Air

It’s hard to image Halloween without enjoying the time-tested taste of pumpkin.

Nowadays the season is ushered in with the arrival of anything pumpkin spice. Back in my younger days, however, pumpkin was simple, usually in the form of pie, flan, or bread.

Before we break into this bread recipe let’s have a look and some laughs at some vintage family Halloween pics from the good ol’ years! And before we watch the Hallo-slideshow, please click and listen to The Great Pumpkin Waltz by Vince Guaraldi. It sets the mood for pumpkin bread perfectly!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Foodie Tips

❤  I often get stumped on the material differences between baking powder and baking soda. This Bon Appetit article explores the yin and yang of these two essential baking ingredients.

❤  Fancy pumpkin? Take your tastebuds on a spin with my Mom’s other pumpkin bread that’s a kissing Cousin to this recipe… it includes raisins and pecans!

i. Time

Total prep: About 75 minutes

A Pumpkin Bread Recipe From Betty's Cook Nookii. Ingredients

4 | cage free eggs, beaten
3 cups | sugar
1 cup | salad oil
20-ounce can (2 ½ cups) | pumpkin
3 ½ cups | all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon | baking powder
2 teaspoons | baking soda
2 teaspoons | salt
½ teaspoon | ground cloves
1 teaspoon | ground allspice
1 teaspoon | ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon | ground nutmeg
⅔ cup | water
handful | pecans, chopped (optional)

iii. What to do

0. Preheat your oven to 350°F.

1. In a large bowl mix together well the eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin.

2. In a separate medium-sized bowl combine the 8 dry ingredients and add to the pumpkin mixture. Add the water and mix well.

A Pumpkin Bread Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

3. Pour the batter into 3 greased 8-inch loaf pans. You may have noticed that I snuck in some nuts (a.k.a Texas pecans) on top of two of the loaves. Just to keep me an honest Texan.

A Pumpkin Bread Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

4. Place the loaf pans in the oven and bake at 350°F for 45-50 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

A Pumpkin Bread Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Yield: 3 loaves. Each loaf will yield about 8-10 slices each!

~ Patrick

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

Vintage Witch And Moon BeistleFancy Retro Halloween Decorations?

You’re not alone! Revisiting some of my old family photos has me wishing we still had our old decorations! You can still find some online at Vintage Beistle. Great stuff!