Welcome to my site!

Welcome to my site!
I'm Cindy, and I love to cook! And, I love to eat... hence the size of my rear end! I come from a long line of cooks. My great great Grandmother was a cook in the original Harvey Houses. My grandmother Julia was an awesome cook, and my mom was incredible. I owe my skills to these great women. Especially my Mom who said this to me about making gravy... "Cindy Lynn, wallpaper paste is wallpaper paste & gravy is gravy. Never the two shall meet!" Shall we say my first experience at making gravy left a little bit to be desired! Thank the high heavens my cooking skills have improved since then! Enjoy!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Tito's Tacos Copycat Salsa Recipe

No photo today.  I made this a few weeks ago and forgot to take a photo.  I was too busy stuffing my face with this delicious salsa!!!
Tito’s Taco’s is an institution in Culver City, where I grew up.  This is one of my favorite places for tacos, salsa and burrito’s.  Since I moved away I really miss their food – and I REALLY miss their salsa. 
I came across some copy-cat recipes on Pinterest the other day.  So, I decided to give it try.  I’ve put my own twist on it, as usual.  I’m not going to say this is a perfect copy-cat… but it’s pretty darned close.  And, even if you’ve never been to – or heard of – Tito’s, I think you’ll like this fresh salsa.
8 -9 Roma tomatoes, cut into quarters
1/4 white onion
4 pickled jalapenos, sliced
Juice from the pickled jalapenos can, to taste (I used almost all of it)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Juice from one lime
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Put the tomatoes into a food processor and blend.  Add the remaining ingredients and blend until everything is chopped and the desired consistency.  Refrigerate overnight.  Enjoy!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Jalapeno Popper Pinwheels

I saw these on Pinterest – but added my own little “spin” on them by adding cumin, some cheese and a dash seasoning salt.  They were very tasty and the perfect little appetizer to share with friends.  Mildly sweet and definitely savory; the jalapeno’s give them a little “kick” that is very satisfying. Enjoy!
1 Package of Refrigerator Crescent Rolls
4 oz. can diced jalapeno’s
8 oz.  Cream Cheese, room temperature
8 oz. mozzarella cheese
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. ground Cumin
Dash of Seasoning Salt to taste
Drain the jalapenos and chop them into smaller pieces.  I used about 3 of the 4 ounces.  You can use more or less depending on how spicy you’d like them.
Mix the cream cheese, sugar, cumin and seasoning salt until smooth.  Fold in the jalapenos and cheese.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Unroll the crescent rolls.  Using a rolling pin, roll them together to form one solid rectangle.  Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the crescent rolls.
Roll long side to long side.  Cut into rounds.  Should make approximately 24 pinwheels.
Bake for 12 minutes at 400 degrees.  They are best served when warm.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake

Another fantastic Pinterest find.  I have not changed the original recipe at all – no need – because it is DELICIOUS!  I need to give credit where credit is due… the original recipe can be found HERE.
1 small package instant chocolate pudding
1 1/2 cups cold milk
1 box Devil's Food cake mix
1 1/2 cups chopped caramels
Coarse sea salt for sprinkling
1  cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Whipped cream, for serving (optional)
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13-by-9-inch pan and set aside.
2.  In a large bowl, whisk together chocolate pudding and milk for one minute to combine.
3.  Add cake mix ONLY and stir until thoroughly combined.
4.  Spread batter evenly into bottom of prepared pan (batter will be thick). Sprinkle with chopped caramels. Sprinkle with sea salt to taste (remember: A little bit goes a long way).
5.  Bake cake 30-40 minutes or until edges pull away from sides and a toothpick inserted in the cake portion comes out clean. 
6.  Remove cake from oven and let cool on a cooling rack.
7.  Pour chocolate chips into a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until chocolate is fully melted. Using a spoon, drizzle chocolate over cooled cake.
8.  Serve cake with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Potato Leek Soup

I owe the inspiration for this recipe to Stephen.  He made us an amazing dinner last night, and one course was a super delicious Potato-Leek soup, that had just the right amount of spicy and was incredibly satisfying!  I didn’t ask him for the recipe… I decided to “wing it”.  But, I think I made a pretty good imitation and I and owe it all to him.  So, thank you Stephen!  (But I am going to have to get the recipe for that Lemon Vinaigrette you served with the salad!!!)
2 large leeks, cleaned and sliced
Olive Oil
2 Tbls butter
3 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
4 cups chicken stock (I used Rachael Ray’s brand, have also used Swanson’s)
¾ tsp white pepper
¼ tsp nutmeg
6 – 8oz. cream
Chopped chives for garnish
Salt to taste

Optional: Drizzle with Truffle Oil just before serving.
Clean and slice the leeks, using mainly the white parts.  Heat a soup pot and drizzle olive oil into it.  Add the leeks and cook on low to sweat them; you don’t want them to brown.  Continue cooking on low until soft.  Add the butter and allow to melt.
Add the chicken stock to the pot and add the potato pieces, along with pepper and nutmeg.  Bring to boil; reduce heat and cover.  Simmer until potatoes are cooked through. 
Place the soup in a blender in batches, making sure to get enough of the chicken stock added to allow the soup to blend easily.  Blend until smooth.  Repeat until all soup is smooth.  I was able to do this in two batches.
Return blended soup to the pot; turn on heat and add the cream.  Heat until it begins to bubble.  Taste for seasonings.  Garnish with chopped chives and enjoy!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Jamie Oliver's Pork Medallions with Jerk Sauce

I have always loved Jamie Oliver.  He makes delicious food – that is both visually and taste appealing.  Plus, his recipes are full of healthy fresh ingredients.  Last week I was flipping TV channels and I came across his new (to me) series – “15 Minute Meals”.  I have already made this recipe two times in the past week.  It is DELICIOUS!!!  Quick, Easy, Healthy and Delightful.  I served it over some fragrant basmati rice.  Fabulous!
2 pork tenderloins, each cut into 4 – 5 medallions – depending on size
Coriander powder
For the Jerk Sauce
Half a bunch of Cilantro
4 green onions, torn into two or three pieces
2 bay leaves
1 tsp allspice
Thumb size piece of ginger, peeled
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ scotch bonnet pepper, these are incredibly hot.  I used a jalapeno instead and stripped the seeds out of half of it.  That was spicy enough for me.
1 heaping Tbls. Honey
5 – 6 small tomatoes, not cherry tomatoes.  I use the Campari tomatoes on the vine from Costco.
1 Tbls. soy sauce
Dash hot water
2 Tbls. Red Wine Vinegar
Whirl the jerk sauce ingredients in your blender until fully combined and smooth.  It takes a bit of time for everything to whirl together nicely.  Be careful not to add too much water in an effort to get it to whirl together.  I will stop the blender periodically and smash everything down into it with a wooden spoon.
Cut Pork Tenderloins into four - five pieces each, depending upon size of the tenderloin.  Pound each down piece down with your fist.  Sprinkle with Coriander and a touch of salt.
Heat a frying pan and add olive oil.  Flash fry the pork medallions in the pan 2 ½ minutes each side.  Remove to a plate.
Add the jerk sauce to the hot pan the pork cooked in.  Bring to a boil.  As it gets thick add the pork medallions back in; reduce heat.  Cover with a lid and cook for 3 – 4 minutes more.
I like to serve this with rice.  But, you could serve with whatever you desire.  Jamie dressed the dish with some fresh plain yogurt.  Looked very yummy.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Lemon Almond Cake (Gluten Free)

I made this cake for my friend, Brenda.  It was her birthday – and as I’ve posted before, she needs to stay away from gluten.  I made her a gluten free coconut cake (click HERE for that recipe) last year for her birthday, but this year we decided to try something different.  Viola!  I found this recipe on Pinterest.  The measurements were all metric.  GAH!  I didn’t realize there would be math involved in this cooking project.  But, with the help of the miraculous internet (and my husband, who for some strange reason understands the metric system) I think I made the cake according to the instructions.  It was super good!  Very lemony and delicious with the almond flavor and glazed with powder sugar and fresh lemon juice.  Cooking the lemons first was really interesting!  The consistency is unique and the flavor is wonderful!  I would totally make this cake again.
3 large lemons
1 cup Bakers (superfine) Sugar (250g)
2 cups Almond Meal (250g)
6 eggs
1 tsp. baking powder
Place the lemons in a medium saucepan and cover them with water.  Bring the saucepan to a boil and then reduce to a simmer; cooking the lemons for about 1 to 1 ½ hours until they are soft to the touch and a spoon goes through the skin easily.  Keep an eye on the saucepan and top off with boiling water from a kettle when necessary.
Once the lemons are cooked, remove them to a bowl and let them cool. It works well to cook the lemons the night before making the cake and simply leave them at room temperature overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375°.  Grease and line the base of an 8” cake tin.  I used an angel food cake pan.
Place the cooked lemons in a food processor and process until you have a fine puree.  Remove any seeds that remain.  Add the sugar, almond meal, eggs and baking powder.  Blitz again until everything is well combined. 
Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 1 hour, until a metal skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.  At about 40 minutes check to see if you need to place a sheet of foil on top of the cake to prevent it from browning too much. 
Remove from the oven and allow cake to cook in the cake tin on a wire rack.
Once cooled and placed on a serving plate, I combined powder sugar and fresh lemon juice to make a glaze (kind of on the thick side) and glazed the cake with it.
Serve with ice cream, if desired and enjoy!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Taco Soup

I got this recipe from my friend Kathy.  I’ve adjusted and changed things slightly – but this is ALWAYS a hit at our house.  It can be made in relatively little time and it can also be frozen for future meals.  Enjoy!
1 – 1 ½ lbs ground beef
1 white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Olive Oil
15 oz can corn, drained and rinsed
15 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
29 oz. can tomato sauce
29 oz. low sodium chicken broth or stock (I use Rachel Ray’s Chicken Stock)
Optional:  Small can Chopped Black Olives, drained
Diced Green Chilies, drained
Taco Seasoning Mix Recipe – or you can use a package of taco seasoning if you prefer
2 Tbls. Chili Powder
1 Tbls. Cumin Powder
1 Tbls. Oregano
1 tsp. Onion Powder
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. Celery Salt
¼ tsp. Cayenne Pepper
¼ tsp. Black Pepper
¼ tsp. Garlic Salt
Garnish Suggestions:
Grated Cheddar Cheese
Crushed Tortilla Chips
Sliced Avocado
Sour Cream
Drizzle some Olive Oil in a soup pot, heat.  Crumble ground beef into the pot; break up large chunks with the back of the mixing spoon.
As beef begins to brown add the garlic and onion.  Continue to cook until beef is browned.  I used 7% fat beef, so there is little grease – but if you use a higher fat content, drain off some of the fat before adding the spice mixture.
Stir until combined; add the drained corn and kidney beans.  Add the tomato sauce; fill the can with chicken stock and add to the pot.  If using olives and/or green chilies – add at this point.
Continue cooking until the soup comes to a simmer.  Cook for an additional 15 minutes.
Serve with the garnish of your choice.
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