Blackberry Pie

11:55 PM

I remember growing up, this time of year and picking wild blackberries in the woods surrounding our house. We would venture off into the woods and battle the many thorns to come home with bowls of berries. Back then, we were fans of anything salty or sour so we would sprinkle our berries with salt. Oh the good ole days.

Blackberry cobbler/pie is one of my all time favorite desserts. I love these berries. I love the gooey filling in the cobbler and the pies. I love it.


2-3 cups blackberries, cleaned
1½ cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Juice of half a lemon
1½ cup water

In a pot, bring the ingredients to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Reduce heat to low and stir. Cook for 5 more minutes and remove from heat. The mixture should be thick when cooled.

Pie Crust via Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening
6 to 8 tablespoons (about 1/2 cup) ice water

Dice the butter and return it to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and shortening. Pulse 8 to 12 times, until the butter is the size of peas. With the machine running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball. Dump out on a floured board and roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Cut the dough in half. Roll each piece on a well-floured board into a circle, rolling from the center to the edge, turning and flouring the dough to make sure it doesn't stick to the board. Fold the dough in half, place in a pie pan, and unfold to fit the pan. Repeat with the top crust.

Coat your pie pan with the pie crust, trim edges. Fill with your filling and use remaining pie dough to cover or decorate your pie as you wish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes until top is golden brown. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, or ice cream and fresh blackberries.


Pulled Pork Tacos & Chipotle BBQ Sauce

9:24 PM

We are huge fans of tacos around here and we are huge fans of pulled pork. Getting ready for Cinco De Mayo, I decided for us to try these for the first time. Oh my, they were a hit. I invited some friends over and made some Mexican Street Corn and blackberry pies. It was just such a good dinner and a great time. I topped my tacos with red cabbage, queso fresco , chipotle bbq sauce and some pickled red onions. Oooooowweeeee.

Chipotle BBQ Sauce

1 cup ketchup

2 slices of lemon

3 tbsp of chopped chipotles

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup molasses

1 1/2 tbsp white vinegar

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

In a sauce pan on low heat, begin adding your ingredients. Squeeze the slices of lemon and then add the slices into the mixture. Stir well. Let cook for about 15 minutes and then remove from heat. Allow to cool and place into your container.

Pickled Red Onions

1 large red onion, sliced

1/2 cup of water

1 cup of apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp of sugar

Mix well and add in your slices of onion. Let the onions sit for at least 2 hours before serving. 

Grilled Pulled Pork

1 Pork Shoulder

8 tbsp of Creole Seasoning

4 tbsp of Tajin classic seasoning or Trechas Spicy Powder

Mix the dry ingredients together and using your hand, pat the dry mix all over the shoulder. Be generous. If you need more, add more! The idea is to coat the outside of the pork with a nice layer of seasoning.

Place your shoulder on a hot bbq grill, fat side up and allow to cook for 7 hours.

From the Food Network for cooking your shoulder in the oven: "Set the meat on a rack set into a roasting pan. Roast for 20 minutes, and then reduce the heat to 325 degrees F. Continue to cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into theshoulder reads 185 degrees F, about 4 hours. Remove the pork from the oven and let stand until cool enough to handle, about 30 minutes.

Once the pork is cooked, allow it to rest for about 30 minutes to an hour. Using your hand or two forks, begin separating the meat or "pulling" it into strands. Remove and discard the fat. (My mom likes to leave a bit of the fat inside the pulled meat for moisture as pork will dry quickly)

Corn Tortillas

2 cups masa harina

1 1/2 to 2 cups warm water

1 tsp salt

In bowl mix your ingredients together. The dough should begin having a consistency similiar to play dough. If it is too dry, add more water. Knead into a ball and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rest for 15-20 minutes. Separate the ball into 15 smaller balls. Place one of the dough balls in between two pieces of plastic wrap, roll flat. I used a bowl to 'cut' out my circle shape. You can use a tortilla press but I did not have one.

Place in skillet lightly greased with olive oil on medium-high heat and cook on both sides for a minute each. Remove from heat and serve warm.

Spicy Italian on Focaccia

12:49 PM

I love sandwiches. Lunch around here almost always consists of a sandwich in one shape or fashion. There are just so many possibilities, so many variations, so many tasty combinations to try and it takes little prep time.

I always base my sandwich combination off of the type of bread. I love a really nice bread that will not get soggy and fall apart or worse, stick to the roof of my mouth. I want a delicious sturdy bread. Most of my sandwiches are made from fresh rolls from the deli.

For your next sandwich, why not try focaccia?  Bake for about 5 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees to heat the bread and add a slight crustiness, then slice in the middle. For this sandwich, I did basic toppings and dressing. I slathered the bottom bread in mayo, topped with slice turkey, layered salami, pepperoni, canadian bacon, fresh spinach, tomato and crumbled feta cheese. I also sprinkled a nice olive oil and vinegar mixture that I made by infusing italian seasoning in the bottle. Of course, I also added hot peppers because I love spicey!

What is your favorite sandwich combination?


Liberian Pepper Soup: Coming Soon

11:13 PM

I traveled to Chicago last week and as always it was a food addict's paradise.

I had the honor and my stomach had the priviledge of dining on a traditional African dish: Pepper Soup.

Oh. My. Word.

It is not the easiest or most appealing thing to photograph but trust me. It. Is. GOOD.

Aint nothing like this soup. It kinda reminds me of the story, Stone Soup. A little bit of everything is put in this but the crushed eggplant, okra and tons of seafood make this dish spectacular.

Crab. Chicken. Roasted turkey. Fish. Neckbones. Snails. Mussels. Shrimp. Steak.  It is like a meat heaven.

Add in some fufu and yes!

I will be recreating this dish soon. I only hope I can find snail meat locally. Here's to hoping the Asian Food Market has something for me. The snails is my favorite part.


Happy Easter!

8:12 PM

I am of course, always last minute.

I did not decide on a cake until last night and that meant my friends scrambled to the store to pick me up chocolate bunnies and cake mix. I ended up venturing into the front yard pulling up various flowers while looking like a maniac in my skull cap. I am sure the neighbor's kids were traumatized by my appearance. But those flowers coupled with the ones I picked up from the store were perfect for a simple Easter table.

Nothing fancy here, just a cool table that cost me all of $15. We had a great dinner my mom made and the kids enjoyed their egg hunt. Each prepared an Easter lesson for us for the REAL reason for the day.


Carrot Garden Cupcakes...

11:11 PM

While scanning pinterest for Easter ideas I ran across this super cute idea. I have always wanted to make cupcakes in flower pots and found some fabulous silicon baking pots at WalMart. I knew it was meant to be for me to make these. Super easy, although messy to make, they are so cute!

I found this idea over at Frog Prince Paperie.

You need:
Cake mix (mixed as directed)
Large Marshmallows
Melting Chips (I used yellow and mixed with a few drops of red food coloring)
Edible grass (Or make your own using green soft candies you make into strings)
Chocolate cookies (finely crushed)
Chocolate Frosting
Orange Sugar Crystals

Melt your chips and add food coloring to make orange if you have yellow.  Quickly coat the marshmallows in the melted coating, then dip the top into orange sugar crystals. I used a chopstick to stick the marshmallows on and then swirled into the coating. Place on wax paper to set.

Cut a slit into the top of the marshmallows once they have dried. Using a chopstick, I pushed the 'leaves' into the top of  each 'carrot'.

Frost your cupcakes and then top with the crushed cookies. Then firmly place a 'carrot' into the center.

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