Saturday, August 2, 2014

Zucchini Relish with a kick!

10 Cups chopped zucchini (I used one of my monster zucchinis and took out the seeds.)
3  Cups chopped onion
3 large red bell peppers, chopped
3 Jalapenos, seeded and chopped
5 Tablespoons kosher salt

Spice/ vinegar mix
3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon turmeric
3 cups vinegar
1 teaspoon cracked red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Coarsely chop raw vegetables and pulse them through a food processer until they are about the right size for relish. Measure the vegetables at this point for the recipe. Put the vegies into a large plastic container and add the salt. Mix the salt in.  Cover with plastic wrap and let the mixture stand over night.

The next day... 
Before you start any other prep work, put 6 or 7 pint mason jars, 6 or 7 rings, and 6 or 7 lids into your dishwasher on the hottest setting and allow the dishwasher to run when you are working. Start a big pot of water to boil to process the relish.

Put the vegetables into a colander and rinse with fresh water. Press out most of the water. You will have to do this in several batches. Set the vegetables aside for a few moments.

Put all of the ingredients for the spice/vinegar mix in a pot and bring to a full boil.  Add all of the vegetables and bring to a boil again.  Boil for about 10-15 minutes. Ladle the hot relish into the hot jars, leaving about 1/2 inch of head space.  Wipe off the rims with a moist paper towel.  Cover the jars with lids and tighten the rings down.  Put the full jars into a big pot of water and make sure that all of the jars are covered with at least on inch of boiling water.  Put the lid on the pot and allow the jars to remain in the boiling water for 10 minutes.  Remove the jars and put them on the counter.  You will hear several pops in the next few minutes as the jars seal. Any jar that has not sealed after about an hour should be put in the refrigerator and used up in a month or two.

This recipe will make about 6 pints or relish.  You can easily double or triple the recipe.  One monster zucchini will make about 6 pints of relish.  It has a great flavor and is crispy.  I am not going to tell anyone that it is a zucchini relish.  I am going to call it Garden Relish and let that fly. It honestly tastes a little better than regular cucumber pickle relish.  I just ate a cracker topped with cream cheese and relish. Delicious!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Chocolate Orange Zucchini Cake

Makes one bundt pan
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
1 C butter
2 C sugar
3 eggs
2 t vanilla
½ C milk
3 C grated zucchini (grate, squeeze out excess water, packed)
1 T orange zest
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
1 C chocolate chips
1/4 C butter
¼ C buttermilk
1 t vanilla
2 C powdered sugar
1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees  or 325 degrees for a convection oven. Spray cooking spray into a Bundt pan.
2.     In a medium bowl, sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
3.     In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla and milk to the butter mixture. Stir in dry ingredients and mix until well blended. Fold in zucchini, orange zest, and nuts.
4.     Pour into prepared Bundt cake pan. Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Melt the butter and chocolate chips in a medium pan.  Add the butter milk.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Adjust the thickness of the glaze by adding more buttermilk or more powdered sugar. The glaze should be the correct consistency to pour onto the cake and then to spread it around. Glaze the cake three times with thin coats, allowing 15 minutes between coats.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Gluten Free Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet Cake {Gluten-free}
  • 2 cups Gluten Free--I used Life Tastes Good Again
  • 1 tsp. xanthan gum (omit if using a flour blend that contains xanthan)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup salted butter
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder (I use part Hershey’s Dark Cocoa, and part regular cocoa)
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ c. buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. Spray jelly roll pan (15″x9″x1″ pan) with cooking oil.
  2. In your mixing bowl, combine flour, xanthan gum, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine butter, cocoa, and 1 cup water. Bring just to boiling, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and add to dry ingredients, beat until combined.
  4. Add buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla to mixing bowl and beat for one minute on low-medium speed.
  5. Pour batter into greased pan. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. A toothpick inserted into cake will come out with moist crumbs attached, but not wet batter.
  6. Place pan on a cooling rack to cool.
Fudge Frosting:
I used the frosting recipe found on the Texas Sheet Cake that Bonnie posted a while ago.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Texas Sausage Kolaches

Sausage kolaches are a favorite Texas breakfast favorite. They are made with a rich sweet dough and wrapped around a smoked sausage. This is Joe's favorite breakfast. I have been buying frozen kolaches from Sam's, but I decided to try my hand at making them. They are about 1/5th cost to make, so I this will be one of my new favorite recipes.


  • 1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water, 110-115F
  • 1 cup warm milk, 110-115F
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled a little
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • About 5 cups of  bread flour
  • Grated cheddar, optional
  • Fresh jalapeno slices, optional
  • 40 cocktail smoked sausages


  1. Put the yeast, water, milk, butter, salt, and sugar in the Kitchen-Aid. Let the yeast grow for about five minutes. Add the eggs.
  2. Add the flour in two batches (start with about three cups) and mix only until just combined.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it has doubled. (about 2 or 3 hours)
  4. Punch down and put the dough in a gallon sized zip lock bag.  Refrigerate overnight.
  5. Divide dough into 40 balls and set on a lined baking sheet.
  6. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
  7. Flatten each dough ball and top with a slice of jalapeno and pinch of grated cheddar and place the sausage on top. The cheese and jalapenos are optional.
  8. Wrap the dough around the fillings, pinching the edges together and placing seam-side down on the baking sheet.
  9. Cover and let rise for about an hour.
  10. Preheating oven to 375.
  11. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until lightly browned.
  12. Let the kolaches cool for 20 minutes and serve.
  13. Leftovers can be refrigerated for 3-4 days and can also be frozen.
 Some questions that you may ask...Do I really need to chill the dough in the fridge overnight?  You don't have to chill the dough, but chilling the dough helps to develop some natural flavor and sweetness.  Think about the timing too.  If you make the dough the night before, you will have fresh hot kolaches for breakfast or brunch. Are the rising times exact?  No!  Rising time depends on so many factors.  Temperature, humidity, protein content of the flour, and the temperature of the water used in the recipe all effect the time to rise. Keep an eye on your dough and make your best decision.  But don't over rise the dough because there will be no spring left for the oven. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Whole Lotta Texas Chicken Salad

I came up with this recipe a few years ago.  I wanted a chicken salad that had a zing, but wasn't so spicy-hot that I wouldn't be able to eat it.  I wanted to incorporate a lot of Texas ingredients.  I love cilantro, jalapenos, and onions.  I also love pecans and dried cranberries.  After I came up with this combination I knew that I had found a perfect blend. It is very colorful and so it is appealing to the eye as well as the palate.

This recipe makes enough chicken salad for about twenty sandwiches. It can be served on bread or rolls.  I have used the salad on tortillas for great wrap sandwiches and I have also spread it on large lettuce leaves for a low carb wrap option.

One large can of chicken breast 50 ounces
4 large stalks of celery
1/4 very large Red onion
4 green onions
1 large or 2 small jalapenos, seeds and veins removed
2 cups Hellmann's or Best Food's Mayonnaise
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tablespoon Franks Red Hot Sauce
1/2 t black pepper
1 cup Craisens (dried sweetened cranberries)
4 ounces toasted chopped pecans
1/2 bunch chopped cilantro

Drain the broth off of the chicken and reserve it for another recipe.  Flake and shred the chicken by hand into a large bowl.  Finely chop the celery, red onion, green onion, and jalapeno.  Add the vegetables to the chicken and mix together to distribute the vegetables evenly. 

Add the mayonnaise, lemon juice, Franks, and pepper to the chicken and vegetables. Mix these together until the dressing is mixed in. 

I usually put the chicken salad in the refrigerator over night at this point.  This allows time for the flavors to blend.  Just before serving add the Craisens, pecans, and cilantro.