Hickory House Ribs

The Hickory House has absolutely fabulous baby back ribs.  They are specially butchered ribs that are cooked to perfection.  They are succulent,  fall off the bone, yummy.  When I ask my husband “what should we have for dinner?” and he doesn’t have a clue, the answer is ” Hickory House”!  It is always a treat to order take out!

The meal comes with baked beans, cole slaw, potato salad and Texas Toast.  It is truly a feast!

I must say…. the only ribs that are as good as these are the ones that my friend Chef Jimmy makes.  They are scrumptious!  But they do take a long….long…time to make.  They are worth it, but they don’t qualify for a “what the heck are we going to have for dinner” night.  I’ll have to post those next time Chef Jimmy makes them for us.  Stay tuned!!!

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Oil Poaching

Poaching in oil is very popular now.  Don’t be afraid of it.  It does not taste oily or greasy.  This works extremely well with fish.  The key is to use good simple seasonings.  And to make sure that the oil is at the proper temperature.

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You should use a saucepan that can hold the fish fillet submerged completely in the oil.  You should heat a good olive oil to about 325 degrees.   Season the fish (in this case I used Salmon) with salt and pepper.  You can even use slices of lemon.  Carefully place the fish in the oil and maintain the temperature of the oil.  Poach the fish for 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet and serve.

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Mustard Sauce

My grandmother Oma did not know how to boil an egg before she married my grandfather.  But my grandfather considered himself a “gourmand”.  For the record, he was rail thin.  His favorite pastime was reading cookbooks.  Even if he was sick and could not stand the sight of food, he still loved his cookbooks.

He never cooked, but he taught my grandmother how to cook.  He was so supportive to her “experiments”.  My mother told me that even when they were served the most God awful meals, he would just turn to my grandmother and say: ” this is fine, next time we should try to do it a little differently”.  My mother and my aunt would not be able to eat any of it, but he would have enough bites to ensure that she was not discouraged.

Oma turned out to be a really wonderful cook.  And she had a vast repertoire.  My grandfather would emphasis the German foods of his youth, but the did have an eclectic cuisine.

A very simple sauce that Oma made was the Mustard Sauce.  It is very easy, it’s just equal parts of butter and Dijon mustard melted and served over vegetables or fish.  It is very simple but delicious.  I recently served with green beans to my family, and they raved about it.  I had forgotten how good it is.  Try it!

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Rosca de Reyes

The Rosca de Reyes is the traditional bread that is eaten for the celebration of the Three Kings on January 6th.  The Three Kings are Gaspar, Melchor and Baltasar.  The classic beverage that goes with this is a steaming hot Mexican chocolate.  What a wonderful child friendly dinner.  Each person cuts their slice and hidden in the bread is a plastic or porcelain baby Jesus.  The person that gets the toy is responsible for hosting a party on the 2nd of February, the “Dia de la Candelaria”.  Hey, it can’t be bad to have holiday celebrations from December to February!!!

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The traditional song is below, with it’s English translation.

Ya vienen los Reyes Magos
ya vienen los Reyes Magos
caminito de Belén
olé, olé, Holanda y olé
Holanda ya se ve

Cargaitos de jugetes
cargaitos de jugetes
para el Niño de Belén
olé, olé, Holanda y olé
Holanda ya se ve

Qué cargados van
qué cargados van
los camellos rebozan jugetes
para el Rey de los cielos
que está en el portal

Que está en el portal
que está en el portal
los camellos rebozan jugetes
para el Rey de los cielos
que está en el portal

Como el camino es tan largo
como el camino es tan largo
pide el Niño de beber
olé, olé Holanda y olé
Holanda ya se ve

No pidas agua mi vida
no pidas agua mi vida
no pidas agua mi bien
olé, olé Holanda y olé
Holanda ya se ve

Que los ríos vienen turbios
que los ríos vienen turbios
y no se puede beber
olé, olé Holanda y olé
Holanda ya se ve

Dicen que nació
dicen que nació
sin pañales ni ropa ninguna
y la misma luna sábanas de Dios

Sábanas de Dios
sábanas de Dios
sin pañales ni ropa ninguna
y la misma luna sábanas de Dios.

The Wise Men are coming
the Wise Men are coming
on their way to Bethlehem
olé, olé, Holy land and olé
Holy land can be seen.
Carrying lots of toys
carrying lots of toys
for the Child in Bethlehem
olé, olé, Holy land and olé
Holy land can be seen.

What a load they carry
what a load they carry
the camels bearing all the toys
for the King of Heaven
that is in the portal.

That is in the portal
that is in the portal
the camels are loaded with toys
for the King of Heaven
who is in the portal.

Since the journey is too long
since the journey is too long
the Child asks for water
olé, olé, Holy land and olé
Holy land can be seen.

Don’t ask for water my love
don’t ask for water my love
don’t ask for water my dear
olé, olé, Holy land and olé
Holy land can be seen.

The rivers are turbid
the rivers are turbid
and you can’t drink its water
olé, olé, Holy land and olé
Holy land can be seen.

They say He was born
they say He was born
without dippers or cloths
but  the moon is God’s bed sheet.

God’s bed sheets
God’s bed sheets
without dippers or cloths
but the moon is God’s bed sheet.

In Mexico there are so many great bakeries that make super Rosca.  I really don’t make it,  yes, yes…I know… But here is a really nice recipe from Ingrid Hoffman.  She does a really wonderful job with it.

Three Kings Bread: Rosca de Reyes
Recipe courtesy Ingrid Hoffmann, 2008

Prep Time:35 minInactive Prep Time:1 hr 0 minCook Time:40 min
Level:
Difficult
Serves:
8 servings

Ingredients
1 (1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup dried figs, cut into strips, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup candied orange peel, cut into strips, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup candied lemon peel, cut into strips, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup chopped candied cherries, plus more whole for garnish
2 tablespoons light rum
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, divided
Water
Directions
In a small bowl, combine the yeast and warm water; stir to blend. Let stand until the yeast comes alive and starts to foam, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Put all of the candied fruit in small bowl and drizzle the rum on top. Let stand for 15 minutes to 1 hour to infuse the flavor.

In a small pot, warm the milk over medium heat. Add the sugar, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.

In a large bowl, mix 3 1/2 cups flour, 2 eggs, yeast mixture, milk mixture, and the rum soaked candied fruits, mixing very well until the dough gathers into a ball. If the dough is too wet, Add additional flour, a little at a time, if needed to form a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it’s smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Put the ball of dough back into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and set aside in a warm spot to rise for 1 hour.

Remove the dough from the bowl and knead on a lightly floured surface. Using your palms, roll the dough into a long rope. Shape the coil into a ring, sealing the ends together. Insert a little doll or coin into the bread from the bottom, if desired. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and coat with nonstick cooking spray. Carefully transfer the dough ring to the prepared baking pan.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon of water to make an egg wash, and brush the top of the bread. Decoratively garnish the top of the bread with more candied fruit and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the cake is golden.

Cool on a wire rack before slicing.

Cook’s Note: Let your guests know there is a little doll or coin inserted inside.

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Happy New Year and Feliz dia de los Reyes

I hope that everyone has had a wonderful start to the New Year.   We all hope that 2010 is going to be a year of peace, happiness, health and prosperity to all.DSCN0833

The year certainly did start well for our family.  Nothing says New Years like a glass of the bubbly….yum, and fireworks.  We had both, and it was spectacular.

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Today is the day that we celebrate the Day of the Three Kings.  Children in Mexico put out their shoes the night before and get a gift from the Kings.  Other Latin American countries have slightly different traditions.  I have heard of some countries where the children put out their shoes and in return get books.  I think it is a beautiful tradition.

Whatever your family tradition is, this is the time to reflect on the wonder of a loving family and the prospect of a fabulous future year.  Remember life is what you make it.  It’s a journey…be a good traveler.