CHEESE!!!!! *****UPDATED****

Cheese post updated

Texas Pistol In The Kitchen

Here. We. GO!!!!!

My ingredients

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Of course I took a picture AFTER I poured the milk and citric acid into my pot… oops…

Bring the milk up to 100° slooooowly

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The citric acid starting to work.

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20 minutes later. Now to let it sit for 15 minutes undisturbed.

Well, here I am two weeks later….

My mozzarella mission failed. I could never get my curds to form a clean break much less form at all. I have read that using Organic milk usually does not yield very good results. That may be the reason but that didn’t stop me from wasting $12.oo worth of Organic milk!!!!!

Soooo…. here’s what I ended up doing to save my… half ass curds? Not sure what it was….. It looked half ass anyway. I set my half ass curds underneath the stairs with towels wrapped around it. I read that sometimes letting it sit…

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Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna with homemade Mozzarella and Ricotta

Here’s where I used my creamy ricotta cheese that I made from my failed attempt at mozzarella. You can find that story here: texaspistolinthekitchen.com/2014/7/19/cheese

 I usually put half hot breakfast sausage and half Italian sausage in my lasagna but I didn’t have any on hand. We didn’t miss the meat with this lasagna one bit. The mushrooms added a meaty flavor which was delicious. You can still add meat if you want.

My ingredients

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Left to right: Butter, my creamy ricotta, lasagna noodles, Italian seasoning, pepper grinder, red pepper flakes, mushrooms, extra virgin olive oil, tomato sauce and tomato paste.

 

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Fresh from the garden garlic, minced baby carrots and onion, baby spinach and fresh homemade mozzarella a very good friend made for me.

First I start out with roasting my garlic for my garlic bread.  Put the oven on 450 and prep your garlic. I skin them and give them a tiny smash with the back of my knife. Not too much just let some of the olive oil get in there while roasting. Seems to make it go a little faster. I make a little bowl with foil just big enough for them all nestle in there together then bring the corner up and pinch the edges together to seal. Resembles an onion bulb. I do this so it is easier to check on it during roasting and it wont burn your fingers.

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Little fresh cracked pepper and a splash of olive oil to coat. Pop it in the oven.

Now I start on the spinach and mushrooms.

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Add a splash of olive oil, add the mushrooms and a generous tablespoon of onion. Saute until the onion is almost clear. Turn off the heat and add the spinach stirring frequently until wilted.  Remove from pan and set aside. SAVE THOSE BEAUTIFUL JUICES! You will use them in the sauce!

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Saute the carrot and onion in olive oil until tender. Remember those beautiful juices?

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Squeeze all the juices from the spinach and mushrooms with the back of a spoon into your pot. It’s OK if you loose some spinach in there.

Add your tomato sauce, paste and spices to the pot. Stir. Heat sauce to bubbling not boiling but bubbling. You don’t want to scorch it. Just get it hot. Reduce to low-simmer. Put a lid on it. Stir occasionally.  I cook it for about 30 minutes.

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Check your garlic!

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I like mine a little more roasted so I put it back in.

Now. To start my roasted garlic butter for my bread while the sauce is cookin’. It’s time consuming but to me it’s well worth it. I love garlic and I really LOVE good garlic bread. I let my butter soften to room temp in a micro safe bowl. Add a few shakes of parsley, some coarse ground black pepper and pop it in the microwave for about 15 seconds. Stir it around. I then take my roasted garlic and SMASH it with a fork and add it to my melted butter. It should look like this:

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Pop it in the freezer to harden.

Make sure you set it on a flat surface and not in the ice bin where it can easily shift when someone slams the fridge door or you will have garlic butter that looks like this….

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Yes. I pried that off the freezer and I still used it. Don’t judge me…. You can NOT waste butter people!

Anyway

I let it sit in the freezer to long but I let it sit out and soften a little. You want it to look like this so you can spread it easily.

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On to the lasagna noodles. I used oven ready but I don’t care what the box says they are NEVER oven ready when I use them. Never. I always soak them about 10 minutes in hot water occasionally stirring with my hands so they don’t stick together.

The sauce should be done now.

Put a layer of sauce in your pan and add your noodles and spread a layer of ricotta on top of the noddles.

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Add another layer of sauce, noddles and ricotta then sprinkle and spread out the spinach and mushroom mixture.

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Add more sauce, noddles, ricotta and another layer of sauce. Top with fresh slice mozzarella.

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Loosely cover with foil and pop it on the oven at 350 for 30 minutes

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I take the foil off and pop it back in for about 15 minutes. Then it is perfect! Let it sit about 15- 20 minutes while you toast the bread.

The bread!

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Spread that beautiful garlic butter  liberally on sourdough bread. Broil until desired toastyness.

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Done!

Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna

The Bread

  • Two pieces of sourdough bread cut into halves
  • 4 cloves of garlic lightly smashed
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • few cranks of fresh cracked black pepper
  • few shakes of parsley
  • Olive oil

Preheat oven to 450. Set butter out to soften. Smash garlic. Make a bowl with foil that has been folded into a small square large enough to hold cloves. Add cloves, a splash of olive oil and fresh cracked pepper. Bring corners together and pinch closed. Not too tight. Put in the oven for about 30 minutes. It should be done about the time the sauce is. I checked it about 20 minutes in to cooking. When the cloves are a nice golden brown they are done. Let the cloves cool and mash with a fork. Add the cloves to your soften butter along with cracked pepper and parsley. Stir to combine and place in the freezer to firm up. When the lasagna is done spread the butter mixture on bread and broil until toasted.

 

The sauce

  • 3 1/2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning
  • big pinch of sugar ( I don’t use measuring utensils often)
  • fresh black pepper to taste
  • 1-2 teaspoons of crushed pepper
  • half to a whole bay leaf
  • 1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • olive oil
  • 2 big handfuls of baby spinach (about two cups) rough chopped
  • 1/2 an onion minced
  • 1/2 cup of baby carrots minced
  • 1/2 cup of chopped mushrooms
  • one container of ricotta cheese

Mince and chopped all veggies.

Add a splash of olive oil to your pot, add the mushrooms and a generous tablespoon of onion. Saute until the onion is almost clear. Turn off the heat and add the spinach stirring frequently until wilted.  Remove from pan and set aside. Do not drain.

Saute the carrots and onion in olive oil until tender. Squeeze juices from the spinach and mushrooms with the back of a spoon into pot with carrots and onions. Add your tomato sauce, paste and spices to the pot. Stir. Bring sauce up to a good bubbling not boiling but bubbling. You don’t want to scorch it. Just enough to get it hot. Reduce to low-simmer and cover. Stir occasionally.  Cook sauce for about 30 minutes. Spread a layer of sauce in a glass casserole dish. Remove noodles from the water and blot with a paper towel. I only used 6 lasagna noodles for this recipe.  Place two on top of sauce and spread on a layer of ricotta. Spread sauce onto ricotta. Layer two more noodles, spread another layer of ricotta then spread mushroom and spinach mixture over ricotta. Spread sauce over mushroom and spinach mixture add another layer of sauce. Repeat noodle and ricotta layer cover with sauce. Place last two noodles on top with a generous layer of sauce. Top with fresh sliced mozzarella. Place in oven at 350 loosely covered for thirty minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes or until mozzarella is melted. While your lasagna is cooling, butter and toast the bread.

Hope y’all enjoy this recipe. I sure did.

 

-Texas Pistol

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Homemade Pickles

My first attempt at pickles. Everything I used is from the garden except the dill. It didn’t make it this year. Garlic, dill, cucumbers, jalapenos, white vinegar, water,salt and sugar.

I used my Momma’s recipe that she and my Aunt tweaked and played with until they got it just right. I had the privilege to watch these two ladies make huge batches of pickles in our kitchen for years. I loved to watch them laughing, chopping, sometimes cussing up a storm when they cut or burned themselves. It was really entertaining LOL! When the jars cooled and the lids sealed, they would put them back into the Mason jar box and set them in the guest bedroom until they were ready to eat. A few weeks would pass and my cousins and I would sneak in there, take a jar,  hide in the back yard and eat the ENTIRE jar. My Momma and my Aunt couldn’t get mad at us. They just laughed and said “We must’ve made a good batch this time!”  Oh how I miss those days.

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I don’t know why I waited so many years to make my first batch of pickles. I’m glad I decided to make them with my Momma. It’s something I will never forget. She talked about the memories of making them with my Aunt, laughing about her just noticing after 15 years that her recipe calls for “warter” instead of water.  She said it must have been because she had two small girls driving her insane while trying to write it down…. Sorry Momma!

Anyway. If your Mom, Momma or Mum, whatever you call her,  is still around and you have the chance make one of her recipes, DO IT. It will stay with you forever and one day you will look back and be thankful that you did.

 

Here’s to Momma’s!!

-Texas Pistol

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CHEESE!!!!! *****UPDATED****

Here. We. GO!!!!!

My ingredients

image

Of course I took a picture AFTER I poured the milk and citric acid into my pot… oops…

Bring the milk up to 100° slooooowly

image

The citric acid starting to work.

image

20 minutes later. Now to let it sit for 15 minutes undisturbed.

Well, here I am two weeks later….

My mozzarella mission failed. I could never get my curds to form a clean break much less form at all. I have read that using Organic milk usually does not yield very good results. That may be the reason but that didn’t stop me. I was not going waste $12.oo worth of Organic milk!!!!!

Soooo…. here’s what I ended up doing to save my… half ass curds? Not sure what it was….. It looked half ass anyway. I set my half ass curds underneath the stairs with towels wrapped around it. I read that sometimes letting it sit for at least 3- 24 hours you can achieve a clean break. Well, I didn’t get a well formed curd with a clean break. I got a half sunk very thin curd that tried…. I still didn’t give up. I drained the whey and half ass curds through a terry cloth( waaay better than cheese cloth) and hung it in the fridge like so

 

 

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I let every bit of moisture drain so it could be firm and sort of age so it would have a slightly tangy flavor.  Wednesday I took it out of the fridge to see what it looked like and give it a taste.

Here is what it looked like.

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Here’s how I dressed it up for lasagna (post coming soon)

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I added a few generous shakes of both Garlic Salt and Parsley. Stirred until it was combined. I didn’t like the texture. It was to dry so I added about a fourth  cup of milk. PERFECT! It tasted like cream cheese but it still had that ricotta taste. It was great on crackers.

Here is the final product!

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Smooth, creamy, garlic goodness. I decided to use it for lasagna with some homemade mozzarella a very good friend of mine made.

So when your cheese mission looks like it’s going fail and you might have wasted time and money getting it together, don’t give up. Research on what may have happened. Look up other easy cheese making recipes like ricotta, spreadable,  even goat cheese like chevre. I pretty much just experimented with what I had read about making other cheeses and what could have went wrong.  I don’t regret it. It came out pretty dang good! Made on helluva lasagna with it. Keep at it!

I’ll post that lasagna recipe soon.

 

-Texas Pistol

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Sneak peak into future recipes!!!!

 Bacon Wrapped Wild Hog tenderloin with Texas Three Pepper Jelly Glaze

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 Smoked Turkey

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Smoked Wild Hog leg

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 and plenty of these babys!!!

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See you down the road folks!!!

-Texas Pistol

 



</script

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My First Blog Post….. Ever

Hello world!!!!

My name is Annie aka Texas Pistol. First off, naming a blog is HARD! Texas Pistol in the Kitchen is the only thing I could come up with that wasn’t already taken and well, I AM quite the pistol. Anyway, It sounded better than the other things I had come up with.  I won’t bother boring you with those. They weren’t very good.

I decided to start a blog to keep track of my cooking adventures and conquering the the most difficult cooking tasks I just cant seem to get a hold of. Baking cakes seems to be the hardest for me. I suck at it. Plain and simple. I can make frosting, no problem. But the actual cake? NO! I once had the bright idea at the ripe ol’ age of six that I was going to bake a cake for my Momma on Mother’s Day. Well, I baked the cake. It didn’t look too bad despite being lop side and deflated. I liked it… I followed all (or so I thought..) of the directions to a Hershey’s Black Magic Cake except I made one small substitution for the baking powder it called for. I decided to use extra baking soda because we didn’t have baking powder.  I finished the cake, iced it and put it on a big Stoneware plate. I waited patiently for my Momma to wake up so I could surprise her with my glorious cake. My parents woke up and were more surprised by the mess I had made in the kitchen than by my lop sided cake. They got their coffee and mustered up some courage to try it. I could see by the first bite it was NOT so good but they forced a smile anyway. Bless them.  cakefail

Yeah…. That’s about how my glorious cake looked LOL

As I got older when something I cooked didn’t come out right, they always bring up that Mother’s Day cake I made. “It tasted like a mouth full of pennies with icing on it!”. Thanks for the constructive criticism…. They said they ate it anyway and smiled as much as they could through the copper taste so I would never give up on cooking. I never have and I never will. It’s my passion. I love making people smile with the food I make and fillin’ up those bellies!

 

What to expect from this blog:

I try cook with garden grown veggies and fruits when I can. I also like to cook local meats, wild game and fish I harvest and catch myself. Mainly Wild Hog, some Deer, Catfish and Crappie. The game and fish I usually harvest and catch myself. I know where it comes from and I always take care of the meat in manner that I am eating only the freshest.  Plus, I trust it more than the antibiotic pumped meat you buy in the store…. You can also expect grilled food, smoked food, salads, desserts, etc.. Some canning, homemade sausages and homemade CHEESE!!!  Which by the way I am making two batches of Mozzarella with two different kinds of milk to determine which makes the best cheese of the two. One batch I will be using a Promised Land Whole milk and the other from Kalona SuperNatural Organic Whole milk. I will take pictures of the whole process, document what I did and post the results of my cheese making!!! I’m waaaay to excited about this LOL!!!  If you are wondering, this will not be my first time making cheese. The first time it came out really good but I wanted more depth and flavor to my cheese. I used regular whole milk from Borden which is ultra pasteurized. It had a good flavor but it was seriously lacking some that creamy flavor and FAT. Yes, I said fat. Don’t judge me….. You gotta have fat and cream for awesome CHEESE!!! That’s why I chose Promised Land and Kalona. They have more proteins and FAT for mucho good cheese making. Anyway, I will post the results sometime Monday.

 Here’s to happy, full bellies!!!

-Texas Pistol

 

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