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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Southern Fried True Grit Cakes Smothered with Shrimp Gumbo

The other day I ate at my favorite top of the Rock lunch spot...The Flying Fish...and because I am such a true gritty kind of gal, I tried a new dish called Grits and Gumbo. I had people all over the place demanding to know what this lil' missy had ordered. Felt like I had to stand tall and guard it from a couple of anxious droolers. It was sooooooo good that I immediately started the duplication process at home. Here is my version and take extra caution as you begin to savor this great dish...hover over it with your life until the last tasty true grit morsel is gone!

Southern Fried True Grit Cakes Smothered with Shrimp Gumbo
Serves: 4
Grit Cakes:
1 1/2 cups water
Kosher salt to taste
1/2 cup quick cooking grits
1/4 cup Cheddar cheese, grated
1 tablespoon butter
Flour to dredge
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1. Boil water, add salt, stir in grits, return to boil.
2. Turn down to a simmer and cover to cook for about 15 minutes stirring a couple of times.
3. Stir in the cheese and butter. Mixture should be thick and smooth.
4. Grease an 8inch square pan and pour mixture into the pan, refrigerate overnight or until firm.
5. Cut into 4 squares, dredge in flour, fry in hot oil in an iron skillet until golden brown and crisp on both sides.

Shrimp Gumbo
Serves: 4-6
bacon grease (can use vegetable oil or olive oil)
3 TBS all-purpose flour
1 can stewed diced tomatoes (16 oz)
2 TBS tomato sauce (can use ketchup)
1 small onion chopped fine
1 chopped bell pepper (green or any other color)
1 TBS parsley flakes
1 clove garlic (crushed or chopped very fine)
1 1/2 cups hot water
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
½ lb shrimp cleaned and shelled (frozen or fresh)

1. In a frying pan with fairly deep sides, heat the bacon grease (or oil) until pretty hot. Then, stir in the flour. Use a fork to mix it in well. Stir and cook until the roux is a pretty light brown color.
2. Add all the other ingredients to the roux except the shrimp. Shrimp cooks fast, so you do not want to add it early because it will get tough if it cooks a long time.
3. Bring to a boil. Then turn the heat down to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
4. Add the shrimp. Simmer around 10 minutes with frozen shrimp and closer 5 minutes for fresh shrimp. The size will make a difference. You may need to cook a shorter time for small shrimp and likely longer for large shrimp. Just check the shrimp. It should be a pretty orange like color. Taste a shrimp if you’re not sure if it’s done.
5. Place your Southern Fried True Grit Cake in the bottom of a bowl and smother with this wonderful Shrimp Gumbo. And, don't forget the hot sauce!

And, guess where I will be tonight (thanks to a very special friend of mine)...checkin' out the Sneak Preview of the new True Grit movie...Coen Bros style...look for my review tomorrow at On A Quest For...

Monday, November 29, 2010

My Favorite Spot in the Rock

Yesterday, me and #3 had lunch at my fave restaurant in the Rock...The Flying Fish! We love to race down on a Sunday (as we attempt but forever fail) to beat the Baptists and get in line for some really serious food eating. My choice tends to be the Tilapia Grilled Fish Tacos with Red Beans and Rice. #3 seems to be choosing a Grilled Fish Platter of some sort these days. Along with the scrumptious side dishes like Steamed Spinach, we are able to eat wisely and watch our figures even at this fried fish haven!

Try this cool and trendy place when you are in the Rock...and don't forget to 'walk it off' in the River Market area! Lots of fabulous places to visit within walking distance and we especially love to stroll down to the Old State House to check out the historical stuff they have on display as we not only get smarter about the history of the Natural State, but burn calories to and fro. Also, be sure to ask for a FF License and eat every ninth meal free!
Flying Fish of Little Rock on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Three Day Coconut Cake

Just made the Three Day Coconut Cake (which was always my Nannie's contribution to any special meal) and according to my limited mathematical abilities it won't be edible until Friday! Yipes, should have started earlier, but will peek at it on Thanksgiving Thursday to see if the ingredients have all soaked in which is the reason this delight is the most delicious, moist, and easiest coconut cake around!

In the horrific event that the cake has not completely absorbed all of its flavorful coconut juices, I will just have to make another signature dessert and save the cake for Saturday's celebration when the Razorbacks whoop up on LSWho at War Memorial Stadium. In the event you choose to make this special cake, do use a calculator to determine the third day...and what's your most dire holiday cooking disaster?

Three Day Coconut Cake
Cake:  1 box yellow cake mix    1 1/3 cups water    2 eggs    Mix for about 2 minutes. Pour into a couple of 9inch pans and bake at 350F for about 23 minutes. Split each layer in half to make four layers.
Icing:   2 cups sour cream    2 cups sugar    2 (9oz) packages of frozen coconut    Mix well. Refrigerate for a couple of hours in the fridge before icing the cake. When icing the cake, put layers upside down , except top layer.  This soaks up the icing and makes it moist. Refrigerate 3 days before eating!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Di's Cup Cakes: Appetizer...The Start To Something BIG!

Di's Cup Cakes: Appetizer...The Start To Something BIG!

Appetizer...The Start To Something BIG!

So excited about the upcoming holidays!. One of my favorite parts to any big meal has got to be the appetizer. Succulent little starters headed toward the main event! Hors d'oeuvres are often cold, hot, fresh, colorful, fancy, or plain. Pretty much anything goes, however stick to these three simple rules: 1. One to two bites per appetizer 2. Must have terrific eye appeal  3.Must taste great. If time permits watch my video below for a little history on the appetizer and be sure to make my Cheesy Sausage Mini Corn Muffins with Kickin' Philly Topping for your next big happening!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Cheesy Sausage Mini Corn Muffins with Kickin' Philly Topping
8 ounces breakfast sausage, cooked and drained
3/4 cup yellow corn meal
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg, large
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Spray a 24 count mini muffin pan
  3. Cook sausage, drain well
  4. Combine the corn meal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl
  5. Whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and melted butter in another bowl and then add to the corn meal mixture
  6. Fold in cooled sausage, thawed corn, and the shredded cheese
  7. Divide batter into prepared mini pan to just about 3/4 full for each one...don't overfill
  8. Cook for about 15 minutes, remove from oven and top with Kickin' Philly Topping and a whole stuffed green olive...serve warm
Kickin' Philly Topping
8 ounces Philly Cream Cheese, softened
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons hot sauce
1/4 cup shredded scallions(green onions)

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a medium bowl and pipe onto mini corn muffins with a pastry bag
  2. Serve these little jewels in the same clean muffin tin with a tooth pick inserted for easy lifting

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mexico Chiquito...Dinner With Friends

The other night I went to Mexico Chiquito and had dinner with a dear friend I have known for most of my life. Her sister was in town and first things first for all former residents returning to North Little Rock...eat at Mexico Chiquito! This familiar eatery has been around in some form or another since 1935 when the Donnally family brought their treasured Texas/Mexico recipes to Arkansas. The Cheese Dip and Hot Sauce are famous as well as the quality of food and incredible service. I enjoyed the Steak Fajitas Nachos which were served with generous chunks of tender beef, plenty of real cheddar cheese, guacamole, sour cream, and pico di gallo. We also had one each of their fantastic frozen Margaritas!!! It was a great night...old friends...good food...great service...and booze.

Oh, and I wrote about the famous Hot Sauce recipe on another post a while back...could it be one of the Donnally's prized family recipes...probably not...but it's pretty darn close! And FYI, the Senoritas and Margaritas logo above can be found on all sorts of neat stuff at this cool website http://www.senoritas-n-margaritas.com/ ...check it out too!
Mexico Chiquitos Incorporated on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 25, 2010

Happiness In the Simple Things...like plain cheese cake, vanilla ice cream, brownies w/o nuts and E's Bistro, NLR, AR

Last week me and #3 went On A Quest For this simple little restaurant we had read about in the Arkansas Times called E's Bistro. Did not take long to find this jewel of a eatery in the Lakehill Shopping Center on JFK Blvd. Actually we had passed by many times before and just can't explain why we never dropped in. Oh, the power of suggestion from the Arkansas Times... 

Arriving for lunch, we were seated by a friendly lady who gave us brief instructions on how to order. First check out the menu, order at the centralized table cart, serve yourself with beverage of choice, and wait for the meal to be brought to your table. OK, simple enough...got it! 

Was only a few minutes before we received our Chicken Salad and Pimento Cheese Sandwich...both simply delicious! The Chicken Salad was heartily simple with huge chunks of chicken breast, creamy mayo, toasted almonds, whole grapes, and bits of celery. Served with a tasty herb encrusted slice of toasted bread. The Pimento Cheese Sandwich was loaded with a simple creamy spread on a fresh croissant with lots of crisp kettle chips (my request) and cute little cut up cucumbers. Plenty to eat, but as we watched the waitress carry a slice of fresh Coconut Cake to the next table we could not resist the temptation. Slightly pricey at $6 per slice, but well worth it! Simple, light, and airy thin vanilla layers loaded with fluffy frosting and topped with toasted coconut...simply out of this world! Total tab plus tip came to $28.25.

The food presentation, quality of service, and overall cleanliness of this simply adorable cafe has us aching to experience E's Gourmet-To-Go items in the frozen food section and returning soon to see what the Sunday Brunch is all about! And did I mention the local artwork for sale on the walls? Support your local community...simple enough...my kinda place!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mrs. Cleaver or Mrs. Wolowitz...You Choose

Gee, I can't believe one of TV world's most perfect moms died a couple of days ago. Mrs. Cleaver was the perfect mom to Wally and the Beave and the perfect wife to Ward. I will miss every perfect thing about her...perfect bouffant hair do, perfect white pearls and snazzy outfits when she cooked her perfect meals, and perfect parenting skills to boot. There was really not much of anything that nobody didn't love about Mrs. Cleaver. I admire her for making something really spectacular out of her ordinary housewife status and especially for overshadowing that perfect jerk of a husband...check out this video...

I salute this character for pioneering the libber road long before libbing wasn't cool. Good bye Mrs. Barbara Billingsley!

And just for fun...don't you ever wonder what could have happened to June's boys if she hadn't been such a perfect wife for Ward?  Seems like one of our favorite geek's father left his mother when he was only eleven...check out this YouTube video with Howard Wolowitz and the Big Bang Theory nerds...Howard's Mother to the Rescue. I really like Mrs. Wolowitz as well...she may scream and yell and be labeled a "crazy old lady"...but somehow she will probably also go down in TV world stardom as one of the greatest TV moms ever and we'll never even know what she looked like. Mrs. Cleaver or Mrs. Wolowitz...which one is your favorite mom?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Spicy Pumpkin Chili

This year we are having a cool, crisp and gorgeous fall in the Natural State and I have been On A Quest For a really scrumptious recipe to serve this Halloween season. I finally found the perfect chili recipe...Spicy Pumpkin Chili! Yes, believe it or not you inflexible fuddy duddys out there, pumpkin puree can be used in a variety of other recipes aside from the classic pumpkin pie. And we also tend to overlook the value of pumpkins as a source of nutrition. In fact, pumpkins are loaded with Vitamin A and fiber while being low in calories. So why not keep some canned pumpkin on hand in your pantry and figure out ways to add it to your collection of priceless recipes! And for that extra Di Touch, serve in cute little hollowed out pumpkin bowls!

Spicy Pumpkin Chili

1 lb lean ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 cup each beef broth and water
1 1/2 oz grated unsweetened chocolate
2 tablespoons chili paste
1/4 teaspoon each allspice, cloves, cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon each ground cumin, paprika, pepper, salt
3 oz tomato paste
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 tablespoon wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons sugar or Splenda
Sour cream, minced onions, and roasted pumpkin seeds for garnish

Brown the lean ground beef in a large pot. Add the onion, garlic, beef broth, and water
Stir until mixed well
Add the remainder of ingredients, stir, and cover to simmer for about two hours
Remove the bay leaf and serve in real hollowed out petite pumpkin bowls
Garnish with sour cream, minced onions, and roasted pumpkin seeds

Monday, September 27, 2010

Red Apple Inn's Famous Breast of Chicken

Party Potpourri, is a wonderful Southern cookbook for anyone who loves to entertain!  It's a delightful guide with over 500 recipes and one that I refer to most frequently.  I bought it a while back when  #3 and me were visiting The Peabody Hotel in Memphis.  These scrumptious recipes have been compiled by The Junior League of Memphis, Inc. which "is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism and to improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable."

I was never a Jr Leaguer, but I do respect the integrity and accomplishments these ladies contribute to their communities. And, I especially love the Breast of Chicken, Eden Isle recipe I found in it the other day from Arkansas' own fine restaurant and lodge, The Red Apple Inn in Heber Springs. You must visit this quaint little town nestled in the beautiful Greers Ferry Lake area of Arkansas. Stay at the Inn and enjoy the golf, shopping, or lake amenities this exclusive resort has to offer. There is a dress code for the restaurant, so check first and if you don't get in the door...you can always make your own Breast of Chicken, Eden Isle style!

Breast of Chicken, Eden Isle
6 chicken breasts, boned
6 slices bacon
1 small jar of dried beef
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cups of sour cream
1 8ounce package of cream cheese

Pepper, but do not salt the chicken breasts. Wrap a slice of bacon around each breast. Place layer of dried beef in bottom of baking dish.  Place the bacon wrapped breasts in the dish.  Cover with mixture of chicken soup, sour cream, and cream cheese.  Cover lightly with foil. Place in 325 degree oven for 2 hours.  When tender, remove foil and let brown slightly.  Serve on a bed of rice. Serves 6.

And by the way, you don't have to go all the way to Memphis these days to visit the Peabody and their twice-daily march of  famous ducks... the ducks are also at the Little Rock Peabody Hotel which is now in downtown Little Rock! We love to go for exotic fruity drinks at the cool bar and always to watch the ducks...you will too! And, hey little guy...don't get your feathers in an uproar...it's a chicken recipe!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ketch Up Cake

Was reading an article by Jennifer Hansen  Heart & Soul, Arkansas Democrat /Gazette the other day and she said something that really hit close to home...seems Hansen had been retreating and rebuilding her life the last few years following a painful divorce. However, these days she has slowly and tentatively reached back out to her friends and states she cannot believe their willingness to pick right up where they left off. Hummmm...wonder where she got her friends. Sounds like the perfect little world I often dream of. You know, the world where family, as well as friends, allow you necessary alone space for sorting out life's gory little mishmash we are all handed from time to time.  Oh well, cynical me...but I do think I will send a couple of emails and attempt to pick up where I left off with a couple of friendships that I have neglected over the last few years while rebuilding my own life...will let you know if I get any positive responses. And if any of these relationships kick back on...how about a Heinz Ketch Up Cake to catch up with old friends/family and new beginnings! Sounds like a perfect little world...
2 cups (500 mL)all-purpose flour
2 tsp (10 mL)baking powder
1 1/2 tsp (7 mL)cinnamon
1 tsp (5 mL)baking soda
1/2 tsp (2 mL)ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp (2 mL)ground ginger
1/2 cup (125 mL)Heinz Tomato Ketchup
1/2 cup (125 mL)water
2 tbsp (30 mL)red food colouring
3/4 cup (175 mL)butter, softened
1 1/2 cups (375 mL)packed dark brown sugar
6 oz (175 g)brick-style cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup (175 mL)butter, softened
1 tsp (5 mL)vanilla extract
4 cups (1 L)icing sugar (about 1 lb/500g bag)
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease two 9-inch (23 cm) round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Stir the flour with the baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and ginger into a bowl. Stir the ketchup, water and colouring in a separate bowl. Set aside.
Beat the butter and blend in the sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in the eggs. Add the flour mixture and ketchup mixture. Beat on low, scraping down the bowl as needed, until combined. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 1 minute. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake for 30 minutes or until the centre springs back when touched lightly. Cool the cakes for 15 minutes before turning onto a rack to cool completely.
Frosting: Beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla on medium speed for 2 minutes or until smooth. Gradually beat in the sugar on low, scraping the bowl as needed. Beat on high until fluffy. Frost between the cake layers and over the sides and top of the cake. Makes 12 servings.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Did I Just See Martha Stewart Tipsy on the Hallmark Channel?

How could this be...my hero (heroine) Martha and two young guys hit the NYC scene and Martha gets loaded...all caught on camera! Well OK, maybe not loaded in the usual manner, but filled to the brim (as we say in the South) with some sinfully scrumptious Southern fried mania at a trendy NYC, soon to be very famous hot spot, Pies n Thighs.

The story goes...as I was watching the Hallmark Channel today, Martha was getting awfully tipsy on martinis at the Dram Bar and suggested to her young suitors they might go have a bite to eat...at a restaurant of their choice. These two clever fellows took Martha to eat at this cool, hippy joint called Pies n Thighs. Watching those three eat that saucy looking Chicken Biscuit made me run to the computer to check it all out! Drats...no recipes...I must have the secret sauce that was saturated all over that scrumptious looking biscuit. Anyone gotta clue??

Martha has long been my hero(ine), but now I have three more...Sarah Buck, Carolyn Bane, and Erika Geldzahler who opened this sinfully delicious looking joint...Pies n Thighs! Can't wait to go there. Oh, and the Dram Bar looked good, too...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Oh Henry...You're One Year Old Today!

Today is the big 01 for Henry! What a great age to be...about the only thing you have to worry about is your TECKNO KRAZEE Nana sharing your Bad Hair Day picture all over the Internet! This mug shot has future  Facebook Profile picture written all over it.
And because Henry is such a big boy...all 30 lbs of him...I'm sure this potential little Razorback will love a Razorback Cake from the coolest bakery in Arkansas...Rick's Bakery in Fayetteville.
We love you Henry! And have a wonderful 1st Birthday Bash!!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I Brake For Butterflies and God Messages

Life has been really hectic these days with my family going through some pretty hard times. You know the usual family stuff like screaming at each other in hospital rooms, listening to martyr like people claiming to do so much more than the other, and dramatic "What the heck are we gonna do's?" flying all over the place...so I did what any normal, abused, bothered and bewildered person would do...I took a Ferris Bueller day off and headed straight to the beautiful hills of the Ozarks...my second home and home of my cherished Alma Mater...the World Famous Arkansas Razorbacks!

Yes, it's all about one woman's struggle to take it easy...at least for one day! Check out the cool pics and life lesson I learned along the way...
My day trip through the Ozark Mountains was the perfect opportunity for unwinding as I maneuvered the winding roads of this famous hill country. I braked to save the myriad of butterflies that fluttered all around my vehicle and I stopped to smell the traditions of the Ozarks at some of my favorite local hangouts on the road to Arkansas Hog Country that wonderful day. If you are ever in these parts, check out the Hwy 23 Pig Trail where you will find the Turner Bend Store and some mighty fine Dagwood style sandwiches as well as cool biker and river gear. Head on toward Hwy 16 East, past Elkins and check out the world class subs and freshly made potato chips with fabulous homemade ranch dressing at Loafin' Joes in the cool small college town of Fayetteville.

And thanks to a small community church sign I happened to notice as I was NOT SPEEDING through the teeny tiny town of Elkins, I did ponder a thing or two that enlightening fall day...
In fact, opportunity appears to be knocking right now. I just hope I have the grit to open the door and let all the twittering butterflies come rushing in. Don't you just love God messages?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Please Eat Responsibly...Chicken Fried Bacon

Hope you enjoy my Father's Day interview with the best dad I've ever known, Wild Bill Montgomery! From his days of growing up in Green Forest, AR to his working days on the MoPac Railroad to his family days in North Little Rock, AR...he's had a very special life. Just in case you haven't had the opportunity to meet him face to face...take a peek at my special dad!

No smoking, very little drinking, and eating on the healthy side has helped my dad live a long, productive life. And, because my life is a topsy turvy kind of world...here is a recipe I know you will love, but I hope you will choose to only eat every now and then! My hope for you is a full and happy life just like Wild Bill's! However, I couldn't resist sharing this Chicken Fried Bacon recipe and a YouTube video of where this dish just might have originated...it's a widow maker for sure!  Please eat responsibly!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Always a day late...and a blog entry short...Celebrate National Pecan Pie Day today

Yipes! I was reading my favorite food blogs today and realized I missed National Pecan Pie Day, yesterday! What a freakin' bummer!! I do love that classic, good ole, Southern recipe...Pecan Pie and certainly want to pay tribute to it right here on Di's Cup Cakes!

However, I do wonder why it is that I can't keep up with all these national holidays and tributes geared toward just about everything under the sun that we can name, mention, relate to, chow down with, borrow, investigate, love to handle, or never live without. Anyway, I've got all the ingredients for three, yes, three delicious, classic pecan pies! Eat one...give the other two away...found the recipe and giving idea a while back on one of my fave sites, Bakerella!

And, I am without fail not going to miss National Pecan Pie Day on July 12th of next year, nor April 14th which is National Pecan Day which is certainly not to be confused with plain ole Pecan Day which is held in March! Got it? Oh well, nuts to you and hope you make these three pecan pies and give away two, too!

Three Pecan Pies
Melt 2 sticks margarine in microwave, set aside
Measure out 16 ounces pecan halves, check for hulls and such
Place 16 ounces light brown sugar in bowl
Add heaping tablespoon of self rising flour, stir
Add 16 ounce bottle light corn syrup, stir
Add 1 tablespoon vanilla, stir
Add the melted margarine and fold into mixture
Crack 6 eggs and loosely beat, then add to mixture
Add the pecans and stir completely
Pour mixture evenly into 3 traditional (not deep dish) frozen pie shells
Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or done when the pies swell up then go back down
Cool and store on counter or in fridge

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Buttermilk Pie

Had dinner with a friend the other night and she ordered a piece of Buttermilk Pie...it was so delicious, I had to make one myself. It was so delicious, too! Got this super easy recipe out of one of my favorite cookbooks, The Contemporary Cowboy by Dotty Griffith.  Griffith suggests adding some blackberries for color and a tart zing...will do that next time. But this time... couldn't wait to cut into this beauty...was very, very good! 

Buttermilk Pie with Blackberries
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 T all purpose flour
7 T melted butter, not margarine
1 1/2 t vanilla
1/4 t salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 10in pie shell
1 cup fresh blackberries
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
mint leaves for decoration, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place eggs in a medium bowl and beat until smooth but still frothy. Add sugar, flour, butter, vanilla, and salt.  Mix thoroughly until dry ingredients are well-blended.  Gently blend in buttermilk being careful not to over beat. Pour into pie shell.  To prevent crust from over browning, place strips of foil (or a 1inch wide circle of foil) over crust just to edge of filling.  Bake pie for 50 to 55 minutes or until filling is set.  To test, insert a knife in center of filling; blade should come out clean and the middle should not jiggle.  Remove from oven and cool completely.  Serve pie at room temperature or gently chilled. About 30 minutes before serving, rinse blackberries and drain.  Place in a small bowl and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.  Toss gently to coat berries evenly without bruising.  Garnish each serving with a spoonful of berries and a drizzle of accumulated juice.  If desired, add a mint leaf or two for additional color.  Makes 8 servings.

You gotta make this pie...and check out the cookbook, too. Dotty blends great Southern recipes with insightful quotes from real cowboys and fancy chefs that are sure to please your palate and slap yo mama...they are sooooo good!

Friday, June 18, 2010

My Three Dads...and taking the easy way out

Hey, what's cooking for your Happy Father's Day this Sunday? I have decided to take the easy way out this year! Will do fillets from the Meat Shoppe, salad in a bag, bottled Kraft Seven Seas Green Goddess dressing, Green Giant Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower in a cheese sauce, Mary B's Tea Biscuits/Cheddar Cheese, and my very own...make ahead and stick it in the freezer...Di's Tortoni! Yes, I'm doing something different this year and getting outta the kitchen and into quality visiting time with three of the greatest dads in the whole world...Willie, #3, and AB!  AB won't be with us in person, but always in our hearts...he does live in Charlotte!  And, you gotta make my special Di's Tortoni...cool, refreshing, and soooo eassssssy!  So, get outta the kitchen and spend some quality time with all the favorite dads in your life, and have a very Happy Father's Day! And, please leave a comment about how special your favorite dad is!
Di's Tortoni
1 cup crushed macaroons
1/2 gallon soften, vanilla ice cream
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted and cooled
1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries
1 teaspoon almond extract

Mix all together gently and put in plastic cups or lined cup cake tins. Garnish with cherries and mint leaves. May store in the freezer for up to one week...cover them with foil. Serves about 8 in plastic cups and 18 if using the lined cup cake tins.  Enjoy!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Classics I Could Never Live Without...If I Were Lost on a Deserted Island

Did you catch the final moments of LOST?  Like who didn't?  Date night for me and #3 had us flipping back and forth between the last LOST and the Celebrity Apprentice finale, simultaneouslyWay to go, Brett Michaels! He's a cool dude! We did record both shows and will watch each one in it's entirety, at a later "date." Love that modern technology...the DVR!  I especially love the fact that we can operate this convenient device without any grandkids present for assistance!  Anyway, #3 and me usually plan a delectable, easy, and memorable spread for these 'one of a kind' final episodes or season finales that are sure to stimulate active conversations for many years to come.  These flashy and epic like endings on the shows we all know and love like Mash, St. Elsewhere, Seinfeld, Friends, Dancing with the Stars, Survivor, deserve majestic dishes and beverages to go right along...and this night was no exception.  Our paramount menu included only fabulous and classic items we could never choose to live without...

Homemade Pizza and Red Sauce with Meat, Caramelized Onions, and Cheeses
Fresh Arkansas Strawberries
Cool and Refreshing Coors Light

Nothing like freshly made pizza and sauce with whatever meat and cheeses you have on hand.  Some delicious brats with freshly ground Parmesan and Mozzarella were just aching to jump on our pizza! And, caramelizing the onions always gives the toppings an extra special taste!  No plain chips, either...I brushed the round corn tortillas with a hint of canola oil and popped them into a 425 degrees F oven to bake until crispy and golden.  Yum, yum! One pound of Kraft Velveeta (cubed) and a full can of Rotel Tomatoes in the microwave on high for 5 minutes came out bubbly and tasty as ever!! Kraft and Rotel...I even like them on Facebook!

In fact, this famous cheese dip recipe, along with freshly fried corn tortillas, dates back to the 50s when it was the center of attention at my annual overnight birthday bashes...till we got the Ouija Board out. However, from way back then until this moment in time, this legendary queso dish, homemade pizza and sauce, fresh Arkansas strawberries, and a cold Coors Light have become some of the classics I would be forever LOST without, if I were somehow LOST on a deserted island!!

And, best wishes for Jack Shephard...discovering the final way out of all chaos and being the true shepherd he was meant to be by leading the LOST sheep home...as Hurley probably would have said..."Cool, dude!"

Monday, May 17, 2010

Strawberry Winning Recipe...time will tell

Ahhh...strawberry season has arrived in the Natural State! Don't you just love the taste of fresh strawberries? They are so low in calories and full of vitamins, fiber, and minerals, you should really include these juicy little morsels into your meal plans any way you can!.  Lots of ways you can do this, too!  And...according to the London, Ohio Strawberry Festival, how about a few, fun strawberry facts?

  1. Strawberries are the only fruit with seeds on the outside
  2. The average strawberry has 200 seeds.
  3. Madame Tallien, a prominent figure at the court of the Emperor Napoleon, was famous for bathing in the juice of fresh strawberries. She used 22 pounds per basin. 
  4. Strawberries are a member of the rose family.
  5. Ninety-four percent of US households consume strawberries.
Check out this site for more interesting trivia on strawberries. But, in the mean time, if you are one of the 94 percentile of families in the US that consumes this delicious fruit and doesn't bathe in them like Madame Tallien, please read on...

I have been working on a recipe for the Real Women of Philadelphia Contest  and, recently have come up with a wonderful and hopefully winning dessert that will rock Paula Deen and her boys socks off!  They are judging this super contest, and I have my fingers crossed to get to meet them in Savannah, come late June, to cook this luscious recipe I just originated, especially for Paula! Check out all of my cooking videos for this fun contest on YouTube! And, try this prize winning recipe...at least in the Hocut home...when your local berries come in season!

Strawberry Scone Shortcake
with Strawberry 1/3 Less Fat Philly Cream Cheese

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, unsifted
3 tablespoons sugar
2 cups fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt 
6 tablespoons butter, cold
1/3 cups milk, whole
1 (8 ounces) tub of Strawberry 1/3 Less Fat Philly or more!

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F
  2. Wash, hull, and slice berries
  3. In an upright mixer, mix together flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder and then add the butter
  4. Mix until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs or cornmeal and remove from mixer
  5. By hand, mix in about 3/4 cup of the prepared strawberries
  6. Add all of the milk and with a fork, toss together until the mixture holds together, well
  7. With floured hands gently form into a ball
  8. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thickness with a rolling pin
  9. Cut the dough with a 2 1/2 inch circle cutter
  10. Place the scones onto a greased cookie sheet and bake about 12 minutes or until golden brown
  11. Remove from oven and serve your Strawberry Scone Shortcakes warm and generously spread with the Strawberry 1/3 Less Fat Philly
  12. Sprinkle with the remaining strawberries
When I tasted these scrumptious scones lathered in the Strawberry Philly for the first time, I knew they were absolutely the best dessert I have made in a good while! I hope you enjoy the simplicity and tastiness of this ???prize winning??? recipe. The Strawberry 1/3 Less Fat Philly Cream Cheese is the perfect topping for these perfect Strawberry Scone Shortcakes.  And, thanks for stopping by Di's Cup Cakes...we always love your visit and especially enjoy reading your comments! And, as my Nannie use to say..."Y'all drop in when you can!"

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Happy Birthday, Real Woman...Debi Wood

If by chance you have been living under a rock lately, and not heard of the Real Women of Philadelphia Contest, you have to drop by the site and check out this Real Woman...Debi Wood! This month, I've been told is her birthday, and if it isn't...who cares...you gotta meet this gal!

On her Real Women Contest profile, Debi considers herself a "lucky girl." Yes, Debi, as for my experience, the harder you work, the luckier you get...and, I see how hard you are working at husbands, kids, grandkids, gardening, pets, a rewarding job, cooking, and everything else that comes your way like this Real Women Contest.  I'm worn out just writing about it! And, you are doing a terrific job, Debi, because apparently you are doing the things you love! Debi also says, "As you can see I wear many hats, and speaking of hats, I have a huge collection of unique hats, too!"  Well, Debi, if those hats are as colorful as your shining personality, I'm gonna need some powerful shades, for sure, if I ever get to the Sunshine State to meet you!  Happy Birthday and congratulations on your "lucky" life...and thanks for all you do on the Real Women of Philadelphia website! We other Real Women appreciate and absolutely love your humor and zest for life!

Check out all of Debi's contest entries at YouTube...your're in for a Real treat! And, don't forget to wish her a big 'ol Happy Birthday, all month long!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My New Love...A Friend With Benefits

This Ordinary Housewife has been working especially hard these days!  Blogs, husband, kids, animals, shopping, cooking, cleaning, lover (tee hee hee...just checking to see if you're still with me)! However, I have taken a new love... Philadelphia Cream Cheese...my new BFF and cooking buddy!  I've hooked up with this dude because Kraft Foods has sponsored an exciting cooking contest called Real Women of Philadelphia. So, I have been recreating every cream cheese dish imaginable to enter in this fun and rewarding challenge.

I must confess, Philly (pet name for my love) is not really a new love...rather a comfortable old friend I have kept around for many, many years!  Ahhh...a friend with benefits.  The reason I have resorted to such behavior is because Philly is such a versatile ingredient that goes so well in tons of different  appetizers, desserts, side dishes, and entrees!  Philly thickens my soups, enhances my doughs, and satisfies in ways you can never imagine! Warning, once you begin this kind of affair with Philly, you will never be able to live without it.

Check out the recipe entries on my Youtube Channel!  Please be sure and tell me what you think...go ahead...I'm a big girl...I can take it...but, please be nice...my feelings get easily distressed  these days because I'm worried at any time now, #3 will begin to suspect my sinfully indulgent amusements, and I will never hear the end of it!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Happy Birthday, #3, If You Only Had a Heart


On this day in 1951 a wonderful and big surprise came to the Hocut family in Hot Springs, Arkansas.  No, they didn't win big at the now famous Oaklawn Race Track http://oaklawnpark.com, which, by the way, opened February 24, 1905 and is still growing bigger and better every year.  They also did not get pampered and rejuvenated at one of the legendary hot baths on Bath House Row http://buckstaffbaths.com. And no, they didn't stay at the famous and exciting  big Arlington Hotel http://arlingtonhotel.com in downtown Hot Springs.  They didn't even go for the bigplate sized pancakes at the Pancake Shop http://pancakeshop.com on Central Avenue, either.  They had bigger things to do as they headed to the Hot Springs, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital to deliver a bouncing, big, baby boy  into their lives! Douglas Michael Hocut, sometimes referred to as BIG Mike, was born to Vollie Mae and Juanita Hocut on February 10, 1951. By the time this dude started grade school, he was always the biggest guy in the class every year, which probably was the reason Big Mike always attempts to surpass everything on the mediocre or average scale with an appetite for only the biggest and the best!

BIG Mike happens to be 6'6" tall and a whopping 300 pounds! But, that is not the biggest thing about him...his heart is also very, very big!   Yes, this big guy is loved by all (just ask his grandkids) and always the life of the party (just ask his co workers). In fact, there is nothing average about him.  He has successfully worked in the trucking industry for over 30 years becoming a vital part of the company he loves, MHC Kenworth/Volvo in Springdale, Arkansas. He is devoted and happily married to the woman of his dreams (and nightmares) for 23 years...me...of course.  And, for a guy of this magnitude...he deserves a big cookie on his birthday today!  Not just an average cookie, rather a Big Heart Cookie.  I adapted this recipe just for BIG MIKE, the big guy with the big heart! You will need an 11inch heart shaped cake/cookie pan.  Don't have a heart??? Shop for your heart pan at Wilton...http://wilton.com.

Big Mike is not just the only big happening to the small town of  Hot Springs...check out all these great Hot Springs sites, just like we are gonna do on BIG Mike's BIG Birthday Bash!  See you there! We'll be the ones with the big cookie.  You can't miss us...nobody can miss BIG Mike.

Big Heart Cookie
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate morsels
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate morsels
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
Spray 11 inch Wilton Heart Pan with cooking spray
Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in a med bowl and set aside
Cream butter and sugars using a mixer until fluffy
Add egg and vanilla and mix
Add dry mixture and blend well
Stir in chocolate morsels
Transfer cookie dough to the pan and spread evenly until the bottom of pan is covered
Bake about 12 minutes or until nicely browned 
Remove from oven and cool, then remove carefully from pan
While cooling, make the Ganache
Heat cream and butter in a saucepan until melted and remove before boiling
Place chocolate morsels in a bowl and pour cream mixture on top
Let it sit for a few minutes, then stir until smooth 
Let cool and then spread on top of cookie with a spatula
Decorate as you like, and be sure to give it to someone you really love!