Revisit: USA and Mexico

When we first visited the USA we had burgers and fries- I mean can a meal be more quintessentially American?! I think not… until you start thinking about all of the different regions in America. Our country is so big there are several uniquely different cuisines and there are major varieties within them. One such cuisine is southern food.

We are going to focus in on New Orleans! New Orleans in located in Louisiana, a southern state nestled in between Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas, and the Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana’s cuisine is a beautiful blending of French, West African, and Spanish flavors. The cuisine can be referred to ‘cajun’ or ‘country style’ and ‘creole’ or ‘city style’.

This recipe comes curtesy of my mother who is originally from Baton Rouge Louisiana. What recipe you might ask!?

Chicken Gumbo!

This is a meal that I grew up with. It was one of my mothers go-to large group meals and it was a favorite when we’d come home for a visit during college. For me it is a hug in a bowl- hot chicken, onions, and tomatoes in a sauce over rice. It is so good!

This is the recipe my mother has used for years but like all good chefs this is only a blue print. She adds more here and takes away there. When I make it, I change it a little more to fit my family’s tastes and that is the version I have included below 🙂

Chicken Gumbo

  • 2 Tbs all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3-5 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp salf
  • Dash of pepper
  • Dash of hot sauce (or 10)
  • 2 (16- oz) can tomatoes
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breats
  • 1 (64- oz) carton of chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 tsp file powder
  • Hot cooked rice

Combine flour and vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven; stir over medium heat until flour is lightly browned. Stire in bacon, and cook 1 minute. Add onion and garlic; cook unil onion is transparent. Add the next 8 ingredients. Simmer 45 minutes or until chicken is tender.

Remove chicken; chop or shred chicken and return to Dutch oven. Stir in file just before serving. Serve gumbo over hot cooked rice. Yield 6 to 8 servings.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Early in our marriage my husband set out to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. No fancy add ins or embellishments, just a perfect chocolate chip cookie.

He found it.

We have made these cookies for years but I recently learned some bonus cookie techniques that have taken these to the next level! Like when and when not to really mix your ingredients. For one, I have adopted Chef Christina Tosi’s 10 minute creaming method (she’s the chef and owner of “Milk Bar”). You beat the butter and sugars for 10 whole minutes, then once the flour is added you barely mix it. I didn’t know these cookies could get better but boy did they ever!

“Puppy” helped us out by being in charge of the recipe card

When Martin and I made these cookies, he insisted that his favorite toy “puppy” join us. When you cook or bake with kids you have to be okay with last minute changes and going with the flow. Puppy really wanted to help cook but I quickly learned we would end up with half the ingredients on the floor and puppy in the washing machine. Thankfully we all agreed that puppy would be in charge of the recipe. In the end everyone was happy, we successfully made the cookies and I didn’t have a massive mess to clean up!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup + 2 tbs sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 oz good quality chocolate chips (we use Ghirardelli)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt- set aside
  3. Using a paddle attachment cream butter and both sugars for 10 minutes.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time- mixing well after each addition
  5. Add vanilla
  6. On low speed add dry ingredients until just combined, do not over mix
  7. Stir in chocolate chips by hand
  8. Scoop cookies on to parchment lined baking trays
  9. *optional* chill for 1+ hours (I always skip this step- I never have the time!)
  10. Bake 15-17 minutes *they will look under done but they will be perfect by the time you transfer then to the cooking rack
  11. Let them stand for a few minutes on the tray before moving them to a cooling rack. Store in an air tight container at room temperature.

Sopapilla inspired: Cream Cheese Cake

Many many years ago Pillsbury published a recipe for sopapilla cheesecake that used their canned crescent rolls in the recipe. Sopapillas are thin fried pieces of dough covered in cinnamon and sugar. They are a popular treat in Mexico- hence why I am talking about them 🙂

When I was in high school my family had dinner with another family and the mom made this recipe for dessert- it blew my mind! So much so that my teenage self asked her for the recipe!

It is slightly different from the Pillsbury recipe and in order to make her cake recipe Mexican I added cinnamon with the sugar on top. It is so simple and so delicious!

You lay a can of crescents flat in the bottom of a 13×9 pan. Pour the cheesecake mixture on top, cover that with another can of crescents, then finally top with cinnamon and sugar. Bake and enjoy!

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