Potato Salad

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Bacon……….Cheddar Cheese………….Potatoes………….

Ranch Dressing……….

Have I got your attention yet?

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I got his!  Well, to be completely honest, I always have his attention unless I’m talking about veal, hamburgers, steak or chuck roast. In that case he runs for cover and gets in the fetal position for hours until I apologize and promise he’ll never be any of these, give him a giant bottle of warm milk to calm his fears and a big hug. Then we’re friends again…….Meet Tuck!  Also known as Tucky boy and Daisy Dog’s BFF. (She thinks he’s here solely for her amusement.)  He’s currently our resident orphan calf.  To see more of his adventures with his best friend Daisy, follow them along on Instagram @cowgirlskitchentales.

Today, I’m making Potato Salad. But this ain’t like Aunt Verns ole’ tradtional tater salad, it’s my twist on a Southern barbecue staple. Seriously, how can you go wrong with bacon, cheese, potatoes and to top it all off….. ranch dressing?   Whew……..my taste buds are jumping already and I haven’t even started shredding the cheese!

Here’s what you’ll need:

5 lbs Red Potatoes

12-16 slices of Bacon (cooked and crumbled)

1 pack dry Ranch Dressing

1 ½ cups shredded Cheddar Cheese

3 Tablespoons chopped Green Onions

For the dressing you’ll need:

1 pack dry Ranch Dressing

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup buttermilk


Start with 5 lbs of red potatoes like these.

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Wash the taters and cut.

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This is a good size. Try to cut them as close to the same size as possible so they’ll cook evenly. Huge chunks of hard potatoes in your potato salad is a big faux pas. Especially when it’s up against Aunt Verns tater salad at the 4th of July barbecue!

*Tip- You can cut the potatoes in advance. To keep them from browning put them in a large container and cover with water. Making sure they’re all completely submerged. Keep them refrigerated until you’re ready to cook.

Put the cut potatoes in a large stock pot, submerging them all in water. Boil on medium to high heat until they’re tender.

While the potatoes are cooking make the ranch dressing. Whisk together 1 cup of buttermilk, 1 cup of mayonnaise ( I use Kraft)  and 1 pack of dry ranch dressing. Set aside for later.

Once the potatoes are done, drain them in a colander and cool completely. I usually run cold water over them to speed up the cooling process. Just make sure they’re completely cool before you move forward.

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Take one pack of dry ranch dressing and sprinkle over the cooked potatoes.

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This is what I use. *NOTE* You will notice that I talk about the brands I use. I’m not suggesting that one product is better than another nor do I get paid to talk about specific brands. I simply share what I’ve found to work for me. Like in all recipes fill free to adjust measurements and use the brands you love. I’m only sharing for reference.

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Now, throw in the crumbled bacon, shredded cheese and green onions. Stir to distribute everything evenly.

Pour the prepared Ranch Dressing over the potato mixture and stir, making sure everything is incorporated.

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Garnish with cheese and green onions.

How easy was that?  Simple but crazy delicious. Now, set that luscious bowl of tater salad next to Aunt Verns with pride. With just one bite she’ll know you’re the champion of potato salad! I overheard her say  congealed salad is actually her specialty…….

Indulge and Enjoy,

Kadra

 

 

 

Broccoli Salad

Are you cooking up something special for dad this weekend?  If so, I’ve got a quick and easy side dish that he’ll love!

Here’s what you’ll need

1 head of iceburg lettuce (chopped)

¼ cup chopped green onions

1 bunch broccoli florets

1 pound bacon (cooked and crumbled)

1 ½ cup mayonnaise (I use Kraft)

1 pack dry ranch dressing

1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)


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Start by putting your chopped lettuce in a serving bowl. Layer the next three ingredients….green onions, broccoli and bacon. Reserve the shredded cheese for later.

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This is what it should look like. Now, mix 1½ cups of mayonnaise with the dry ranch dressing.

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Spread the mayonnaise mixture on top. Cover and refrigerate over night.

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Right before you serve add the shredded cheese and blend. Sit back and watch it disapper.

Enjoy!

Kadra

 

 

 

Cow Patty

Yippee yay a ………Cow Patty

This tune rings threw my head and invariably out of my mouth in song whenever I start to think about this special dessert.

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Have you ever walked in a pasture filled with cows and smelled a proverbial aroma? It’s coming from a hot, steamy chocolate like patty…..well folks that’s poop…or nicely said a cow patty.  Our best selling dessert looked like a cow patty but tasted better than a BonBon!

I originally called it a BonBon as a nod to the chocolate encased cake that I adored eating at Greg’s Deli, a local family owned deli and bakery, that once thrived in Montgomery, AL. The sweet chocolate cake merely resided as a mouth watering memory since Greg’s closed over fifteen years ago.

The name BonBon was always so enticing to me but just didn’t work for our establishment. I think it might have been to refined for us. I renamed it the “Cow Patty” and guess what……..it sold like crazy!  Who would have ever thought something that sounded so wrong could be so right!

Today I’m going to show you a slighty different version of the original Cow Patty.  Most people will remember buying them in small tin pans as single servings. Today, I’m showing you how to make it in a layered cake version. If you’re bias to the single serving, you can simply make your cake in a 9×13 cake pan then slice into single servings.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need. 

CAKE

2 cups all-purpose flour

2½ cups sugar

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup canola oil

1 cup sour cream

1 ½ cups water

2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

Meringue

5 egg whites

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar

pinch of salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 pound butter (4 sticks softened)

Chocolate Icing

½ cup butter (1 stick)

2 cups sugar

¼ cup cocoa

½ cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla


Let’s start! Line four (8 inch) round pans.

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Lay out a long sheet of parchment paper and trace the outter side of the pan with a pencil.

 

 

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Fold the the parchment paper in half.

 

 

 

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Fold again and cut your outline.

 

 

 

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You should end up with four 8″ circles like this.

 

 

 

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Lightly spray the inside of the pan with a non stick spray and place your parchment paper circle in the bottom.

 

 

 

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Run your fingers around the inside to crease the edges and push any excess parchment paper up the side of the pan.

 

 

 

Now let’s get to the good part……CAKE!

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Start by sifting 2 cups of all purpose flour into a bowl. DO NOT FORGET TO SIFT! It’s hard explaining to your 3 year old child why mommies chocolate cake has white chunks in it……ummm…… so say’s my friend. Trust me…just go with it and DON’T FORGET TO SIFT!

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Now add 2½ cups of sugar.

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Then sift in ¾ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder. Add  2 teaspoons of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of salt. Whisk to combine them well.

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Pour in 1 cup of neutral vegetable oil. ( I use canola but you can also use soybean or a vegetable blend.) Now add 1 cup of sour cream. Confess….which one of you burst out in song……just a dollop of daisy…..if it wasn’t you, I’m sure you are now and YOU’RE WELCOME!

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Moving right on. Gently stir to blend.

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Gradually beat in 1½ cups of water until it’s all combined.

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Blend in 2 tablespoons of distilled vinegar and 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.  (I make my own vanilla extract but that’s another subject we will touch on soon.)

cow patty 074Whisk in 2 eggs. I always crack my eggs in a separate bowl just in case one happens to be bad and to also prevent pesky egg shells from roosting in my cake.

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*TIP* I prefer to bake with eggs that are at room temperature. To achieve this quickly you can place your cold eggs in a bowl filled with luke warm water for a minute or so.

 

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Beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and make sure everything is incorporated.

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Divide the batter between the four cake pans and give each a light tap on the counter to release any air pockets. Bake at 350 degrees until a tooth pick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean (20-30 minutes).

While your cakes are in the oven you can make the meringue and here’s how…..

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You’re going to start the meringue by pouring 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar into a heat proof bowl, I use a Kitchen Aid mixing bowl. Then add 5 egg whites and a pinch of salt.

(You can use a double boiler but to save having to clean one more thing, I use the Kitchen Aid bowl and a pot filled with water about a quarter ways up……  I’m a rebel like that.)

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Don’t over fill the sauce pan, one to two inches of water is enough. The bowl should not sit in the water. The steam is what cooks the mixture.

Side note…my husband officially thinks I’m a little to detailed because he watched me take a picture of this pot! I can’t tell you what he said but it was funny! I’ll introduce you to my funny man one day.

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Back to where I was……. You will need to continually whisk this mixture until…

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you can pull a string of it between your fingers and not feel the grains of sugar. The mixture should feel silky. At this point remove the mixture from the heat and…

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begin to whisk. Start on the lowest setting, gradually increasing to the highest setting until soft peaks form. This should take 8-10 minutes. A good sign is when the bottom of the bowl is cool to the touch.

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Slice 4 sticks of butter into small cubes. When the mixture reaches the soft peak stage slow the whisk down. Add 2 teaspoons of vanilla and the butter cubes one at a time, until all of the butter has been incorporated.

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This is what it should look like.

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Start assembling the cake by placing one cake layer on a plate and add a dollop of meringue.

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Evenly spread the meringue. Continue the same pattern with each cake layer until you’ve placed the last layer on top.

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At this point stop and begin to make the chocolate icing.

cow patty 199Melt one stick of butter in a sauce pan with 2 cups of sugar……

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¼ cup of cocoa and a ½ cup of milk in a sauce pan.

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As the butter begins to melt you will need to stir, allowing everything to incorporate, so that the sugar doesn’t  stick to the bottom of the sauce pan.

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Allow the mixture to boil 1-2 minutes without stirring.

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Give it a good stir and allow it to boil another minute or so. This is a good example of what it should look like.

The chocolate icing is very easy to make.  Just be sure not to walk away from it to fold a load of laundry, wipe the babies nose and check Facebook. If you over cook it, the icing turns into a brick….. so say’s my friend……. just go with it and DON’T OVER COOK! If you do you might as well throw the sauce pan away…..so say’s the same friend!

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Place strips of parchment or wax paper under the bottom layer. Prepare a bowl of ice. You will sit the hot pan of chocolate on top of the ice. This is called an ice bath. Stir until the chocolate has cooled and becomes the perfect consistency to pour over the cake. Make sure to stir all the way to the bottom of the pan. If you feel the chocolate is setting or hardening too fast simply pull it off the ice while you continue to stir. You should work fast during this stage because as the chocolate cools the perfect consistency is hard to control.

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Start pouring the icing onto the center of the cake.

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Work your way around the outter edges. Make sure you pour extra chocolate to allow excess to run over the sides.

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As the chocolate begins to cool pull the parchment strips up along the sides of the cake to push excess chocolate back along the bottom layers.

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Pull the strips away and voilá you’ve got your self a cow patty. The best cow patty you’ll ever eat…….so says my friend!

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Yippee a yay……….. Cow Patty!

 

 

 

Chicken Salad

Here’s my twist on the Southern favorite…..Chicken Salad.

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Our Chicken Salad evolved into something extra spectacular from its original conception after we hired a cook named Marion. Marion would quickly teach me about the importance of correctly seasoning food and to never be afraid to do so. Her tactics along side the spice rack would soon put this Deli favorite over the edge of perfection and it reined as the customer favorite for many years. Here’s the “skinny” on the Sweet P’s chicken salad.

*NOTE* contrary to what your mom and grandma taught you, you do not, I repeat do not need to wash your chicken! I know, shocker, right? This is a tip I learned during a class that anyone operating a commercial kitchen must be certified in. The program is called ServSafe.  Their reasoning is that by washing your chicken under running water in your sink you’re actually splashing bacteria all over the surrounding surface area. So that means bacteria from raw chicken can splash on your counter tops, cabinets, even a window that may be located above your sink.  Now that’s just gross. So tell mama and em’ to stop washing the chicken for heaven’s sake! It’s the ServSafe plea to save the world from germ destruction and chicken bacteria. You can find more food myth busters “here”.

Now, that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let’s get started!

Here are the ingredients you’ll need.

4 Chicken Breast (Boneless/Skinless)

1 cup Mayonnaise

1 cup Sour Cream

½ cup Celery (chopped)

1 ½ cups Red Grapes (seedless)

½ cup Toasted Pecans (medium pieces)

3 Tbsp Tony Chachere’s

Salt and Pepper

Canola Oil

Sliced Onion

Serves 6-8 generous portions


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Take (4) boneless/ skinless chicken breast and trim the fat and yucky parts off. (A good idea is to  keep a cutting board that is reserved only for the use of raw chicken to prevent cross contamination)

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Place the breast on a pan. (You will only need 4 breast for this recipe. I cooked additional seasoned breast this day for my family to enjoy for supper.)

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Season the breast, front and back, with Tony Chachere’s and Pepper. This is where the magic is made in this recipe, so don’t mess this part up! No pressure, right? In all truth, if you properly season your chicken at this stage, little to no seasoning will be needed during the mixing stage.

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Place slices of onion on top of the breast and drizzle with oil. Approximately 3 Tbsp of oil; give or take.

Cook the chicken in a preheated oven until it reaches the internal temperature of 165 degrees. (All ovens cook differently. I suggest keeping a meat thermometer on hand, especially when cooking chicken, to ensure it is fully cooked.)

While your chicken is cooking, you can prep the rest of your ingredients.

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Chop the pecans. This is an example of the perfect size. You can also purchase prepackaged medium piece pecans “here” if you can’t find them in your local grocery store.

Toast the pecans in a preheated 350 degree oven on a sheet pan. Do not burn the pecans, I repeat……. do not burn the pecans! Doing so may cause convulsions and tears; I speak from experience. So watch these babies like a hawk! When they’re perfect, remove them from the oven and place on the counter to cool completely.

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Slice your grapes in half.

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Slice the celery.

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And dice the celery.

I suggest keeping the celery and grapes separate. This way you can add as little or as much as you want to satisfy your tastebuds or your mama and em’s tastebuds.

When the chicken has reached the proper temperature, remove from the oven to cool. (If you’re getting ahead on the cooking for Sundays Dinner On The Grounds but it’s only Thursday morning, you can store the cooked chicken in an air tight container in the refrigerator up to 3-4 days. I promise the preacher will never be able to taste the difference. *Just be sure to consume all of the chicken by the fourth day.)

After the chicken has cooled, remove any fat that you might have missed and begin to pull apart.

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( A food processor can be used, but be aware that you can over chop in a processor.)

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After you’ve pulled apart all of the chicken you can give it a quick rough chop.

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When the chicken looks like this, it’s perfect.

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Now add the grapes.

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Add the celery.

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And finally my personal favorite; toasted pecans.

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Toss these ingredients by hand. It’s o.k., I won’t tell the preacher you used your hands!

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Now add the mayonnaise and sour cream.

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Mix until everything has been incorporated or what I call “married”.

Taste and season if needed with salt and pepper. Please don’t double dip or I will tell the Preacher, the Deacons, and Sister Sara!

May beach chicken salad 2014 190Now lather that deliciousness between two slices of Whole Wheat bread. Top with a slice of home grown tomato and a crisp leaf of romaine lettuce and by George you’ve got yourself a Sweet P’s Chicken Salad Sandwich.

Indulge and Enjoy!

Kadra

 

I’m dishing up more than just food… stay tuned… ya’ hear!

Ya’ll , It’s Kadra here, the girl behind the original PINK COW, Sweet P.

SweetP_MG_3398+logoWe’ve turned the pink heifer out to pasture to roam but I’m here dishing up some of the same recipes that were once used in our restaurant, Sweet P’s Eats and Treats.

On this blog you will find recipes used in our bakery that were enjoyed by locals and travelers alike. Sugary deliciousness such as Cowboy Cookies, Cow Patties, Cinnamon Pancake Cupcakes plus a heaping more will all be shared here. (Featured in the Southern Living Cookbook “Off the Eaten Path, Second Helpings”, written by Morgan Murphy.)

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I’ll also be sharing recipes for delicious fare like our Tomato Tarts, Chicken Salad and the ooooh so yummy Potato Salad that adorned or deli menu. Kick your boots off and pull up a seat at my kitchen table, stay a while………..ya’hear. I’m sharing all my kitchen secrets with you! Along the way I’ll sprinkle in a few tall tales and a dash of the adventures happening here on the ranch.

Don’t fK-Kitchen-MS6A1503orget to subscribe to the blog to get all the Tales from this Cowgirl’s Kitchen!

Until we meet again,

Kadra