Saturday, January 15, 2011

Los Potreros in Laurens, SC

Anybody for some Mexican?  That was the question ringing through my house yesterdayevening.  Of course the answer was a resounding "YES".  But where to go?  How about up to Greenville?  Some pretty good eateries around the area.  Been there, done that.  Everybody goes to Greenville.  Welllllll....
Laurens is overlooked many times when it comes to places to go out for food.  It just seems that whenever someone goes out, they choose another city.  In fact, Laurens has some wonderful places to eat, including our choice for the evening, Los Potreros Mexican Restaurant.
My mother-in-law, my wife and  myself headed out, braving the remainder of our record snowfall and made our way to what we hoped would be a great meal. 
We arrived a bit early (about 5:30pm) and found the parking lot fairly empty.  Great!  We found a parking space close to the front door and made our way in.  The dining area wasn't quite empty but there was no dearth of booths in which to sit.  The waiter (owner? cousin?) promptly appeared at our table and offered to take our drink order, which we were very happy to give.  Then the obligatory chips (fresh fried) and site made salsa (both mild and hot) appeared as if by magic.  Excellent. 
We each ordered our meal (mine was Chimichangas ) and settled down to stuff ourselves with chips while waiting.  It didn't take long. The cook certainly knew what he or she was doing.  My plate was filled to overflowing with two fried, beef chimichangas along with shredded lettuce, tomato slice, sour cream, guacamole, re fried beans and cheese.  Man!  Everything went together perfectly and the Pina Collada on the side was the perfect complement to the meal.  The waiter kept checking back every few minutes and making sure to assist us should we need anything. 
My wife and mother-in-law complimented the kitchen on their orders as well.  All in all it was a very good dinner and very affordable as well.
So, if you are in the Laurens area and have a taste for some Mexican food .. by all means check out Los Potreros, just down the street from Wall Mart.  You will certainly enjoy it!
And tell the owners that you heard it here!!

PS .. Click on the Recipe tab on the right side of this blog and you will find recipes to many of the meals we have enjoyed.  Beginning with the Chimichangas!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Making the Most of the Snow! [Snow Ice-Cream]

Here in the upstate of South Carolina, we are experiencing something that is fairly rare here.  Snow, and lots of it!  We got a taste of the white stuff on Christmas Day and were amazed at our good fortune to see it.  Then the weather folks on TV started talking about a serious winter storm for last night and today.  Well, here we sit!  Snowed in and nowhere to go!
So what do you and the wife do when you are snowed in, there are no kids at home and you are getting cabin fever?  Well .. yeah .. you can do that, but we did that this morning.  Then we ate.  Then we cleaned some in the house.  Then we worked on some crafts in hopes that planning for the spring festival season might help pass the time.  Then we ate some more.  Then ... then ... Hey!  I know!  We can make SNOWCREAM! 
What, you've never had snowcream?  For shame.  You haven't lived till you gather a large bowl of fresh snow, raid the sugar bin, find the vanilla extract and hope you have enough milk!  That's it!

Old South Snow Cream

Ingredients:  I just gave them to you.  Oh, well,  here tihey are again.
1:   Large Pot of Fresh Snow .. As large as you have.  ( Folk wisdom says to wait on the second snow of the season, since the first is full of all the bad stuff in the atmosphere )  (Also, never .. and I repeat .. NEVER, gather the yellow snow.  It tastes very bad!)
MILK :  The amount is relative to the amount of snowcream that you intend to make.  I always start with at least a half gallon.  I may not use all of it, but just in case.  You can substitute sweetened condensed milk.  If you do, then you can back off on the amount of sugar that you add.
Sugar:  Again, have a good bit (at least a couple of pounds) depending on amount of snowcream being made as well as your taste for sweetness!  (You can also substitute Splenda to cut down on the calories a little.)
Vanilla Extract:  Always best to use the real stuff and leave the "Vanilla Flavoring" on the shelf at Wally World.  Start with 2 to 3 tsp. and then go with the 'to taste' method.
Now is the fun part.  Here  you can add basically anything you want.  Like, strawberries, bleuberries, bananas, pineapple .. anything you want to flavor your cream .. add it!  Want some pecans?  Add it!  Want some maple flavor?  Add some syrup!  Want chocolate?  Add it!  Have a ball!  (Don't add that!)

Add milk (or sweetened condenced milk) to pot of snow till mixture is of a creamy texture.  This involves adding the milk slowly in order to not get the mix to sloppy.
When the texture is consistent with regular icecream, then you start adding the sugar.  Again, add this ingredient slowly.  It is very easy to add too much and that is as bad as not enough.
Now add the Vanilla Extract.  Start with 2 tsp.  This will give the cream a more mellow, smooth flow to the ultimate flavor.
And now, whatever else you may want to add.  Though it is difficult to make Neapolitan, but give it a shot if you want.

And finally:   Enjoy!!

Now, what else can the wife and I do to kill five minutes?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sauteed Chicken w/ SF Seasoning

Chicken breasts with marmalade glaze and onions
Amazing!  This chicken recipe is a keeper!  (okay, no mashed potatoes and garnish of Lime)

Saute`d Chicken w/ SF Seasoning


4 Skinless Chicken Breasts
1/2 medium chopped sweet onion
1 tsp Paprika
2 tsp Soul Food Seasoning (salt, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, black pepper, red pepper)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Drizzle 9 inch Saucepan with EVOO on stove top set to med-high
Liberally dust both sides of chicken with Soul Food Seasoning
Place chicken and chopped sweet onion in saucepan and cook on med-high untill center of breasts  reaches 180 degrees
Remove from heat.
Sprinkle 1/4 tsp paprika on top of each breast and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Great with side of Garlic Mashed Potatoes and green vegetable of your choice.

Garnish with a twist of Lime ... AWESOME!

This dish was one of those "What shall we have for supper .. What's in the freezer?" moments.  I love moments that turn out amazing .. and easy!

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Lady’s Oven-Roasted Ribs .. serves 6

When you find yourself in visiting distance of Savannah, Ga., you owe it to yourself to drop by and say, “Hey, Ya’ll” to the First Lady of Southern Cooking, Paula Deen.  In my opinion, she has done more to main street the type of food that I love best, than anyone else, living or dead.  The food that she cooks is the kind I grew up with down on the farm.  It was Sunday dinner as well as Tuesday lunch.  It was what you served company at Christmas and what the family got on June 3rd.
Whenever I eat at the Lady and Sons I am reminded of how she rose from a single mom with little to no money to the status she holds today.  If you've never heard the story you owe it to yourself to purchase one of her several cookbooks and read it for yourself.  Not only will you get to hear the story but will also be able to try one of her many wonderful dishes. 

This recipe is served in her Savannah restaurant, The Lady and Sons, as well as featured in her cookbook of the same name.  Thank you, Paula! 

5 pound slab of pork ribs
4 teaspoons liquid smoke
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
2 teaspoons House Seasoning  (recipe: 1 cup of salt, ¼ black pepper, 1/4 cup garlic powder)

Preheat oven to 325°.  Wash ribs and drain.  Rub each side with liquid smoke, house seasoning, and seasoned salt.  Refrigerate for 4 to 24 hrs.  Roast uncovered 1 1/2 hours.

" Best dishes to you, Paula."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Orange Creamcicle Fudge

According to the story, ‘Twas The Night before Christmas, there were ‘visions of sugarplums’ dancing in their heads.  Not so in my house.  In the Springfield house when we were kids, there were many goodies made by Mom around the holidays.  Not the least of which was the smell of chocolate fudge. 
This was made for ‘Santa’.  Of course, the kids had to taste to make sure it was up to the quality needed.  And we always looked forward to the leftovers from the fudge plate on Christmas morning.

The sights and smells of home are what dreams, memories and traditions are made of.  These traditions are very important to family and we, at our house, continue to create these memories and traditions for all we can. 
We have added a new flavor to the fudge memories.  Christmas Orange Creamcicle Fudge is one of the favorites among our children and grand-children.
Christmas Orange Creamcicle Fudge
3 cups Sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 stick) Butter or Margarine
1 can (5 oz.) Evaporated Milk
1 package (12 oz.) White Chocolate Chips
1 jar (7 oz.) Marshmallow Crème
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 tsp. Orange Extract
Orange Food Coloring
                 (made from combination of Red and Yellow Food Coloring)
Grease 9 inch glass or metal square pan (2 inch deep casserole dish works well)
Place Sugar, Butter and Milk in large saucepan on medium heat and bring to rolling boil, stirring constantly.  Boil 4 to 5 minutes until it shows 234 degrees F. on candy thermometer, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat.
Add White Chocolate Chips, Marshmallow Crème, Vanilla and Orange Extracts and stir until all is melted.  Pour  into pan or dish after removing 1 cup of mixture.
Add color to the cup of mixture.  (Do this quickly due to the fudge continuing to set up.)
Put orange fudge in stripes across the white fudge in the pan or dish.  Use knife or any slightly pointed object to drag orange through the mixture until swirls and eddies are created.  Allow to cool.
Make sure that you save some for Santa!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Pecans and Memories

Pecans and Memories

In the mid-sixties, unlike today, children weren't included in the loop when it came to family finances. I remember going to the grocery store with my mother and asking for some treat or toy and being told 'no', or 'not today.' She never elaborated about why I couldn't have it and, being a kid, I assumed that she just didn't want me to have it. I was not informed that we could not afford it.
Neither, at the time, did I know how tough it was on Mom and Dad when it came to birthdays and Christmas. Dad was a deputy with the county and Mom was a 'stay at home'. Not a lot of money to go toward presents for the kids at Christmas.
However, one memory that has grown in my heart was the year that Mom gathered pecans off the ground under the trees in our back yard and sold them to friends and neighbors in order to earn enough money to buy presents. She was amazing.
I think that it was because of this event that I came to crave the taste of pecan pie at the holidays. This craving was satisfied by my grandmother (on Mom's side of the family) for many years. Even when I was on active duty in the Navy, she would bake at least two for Christmas and make sure to save one just for me. If I were not able to be home over the holidays, she would wrap it and freeze it for my enjoyment when I got home.
After her passing, my aunt (Mom's sister) picked up the torch and made sure that I had my pecan pies over Christmas.
Alas, time passes and so do our relatives. However, we may lose people in our lives but we gain some as well. I got married and for many years now, my wife, Lisa, has provided the wonder of the pecan pie for Christmas.
We don't gather our own pecans, but she follows a recipe' from her family that has been passed down, just for me. Of course, everyone gets a slice, but this feeds more than my taste buds. It tickles my memories of love and family.

Pecan Pie

1 deep dish pie crust
3 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup pecan halves
1/3 cup melted butter
1cup corn syrup

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
Combine eggs, sugar, butter and syrup and beat with hand mixer.
Stir in pecans.
Pour into unbaked pie shell.
Bake 40 to 50 minutes until set.
Remove and cool on wire rack.
Serve at nearly room temperature.