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I don’t remember the first time I had eggs in a basket, but I’ll always remember the taste and texture of that special little meal: a serving for one, seemingly grand because it came in its own little dish, on a little plate, just for me.

In my family, if you didn’t own at least two dozen Pyrex custard cups, you just didn’t measure up. You weren’t worthy. Wretched excess always had its rewards. You could make lots of custard, store tidbits in the fridge, and of course, make lots of eggs in a basket for, as my Aunt Arthe used to say, lots of visiting firemen. When cousins came to spend the night, or your parents went out and you had a babysitter, eggs in a basket was a treat. It was unique, and as children, we had no idea it was so simple—we just knew how we loved it.

I can picture the little Pyrex cup smeared with butter, a piece of Evangeline white bread smushed ever so gently into the cup with all four corners sticking up, and the egg, oh the egg, nestled into the bread, topped with a pat of butter, ready to go into the oven. If you did indeed have visiting firemen, lots of cousins or friends, the cookie sheet was loaded up with lots of little cups and off to the oven it went. It didn’t take long, no, it didn’t, just long enough for the whites to cook through, and when the bread corners were well toasted, that was usually the sign to get that goodness out of the oven. Here it came! Now the good part—we felt so grown up to get to use a little Tabasco on our eggs—a couple of spots of the rich redness, and we were good to go!

Now eggs in a basket have grown up, matured, and developed new taste sensations. The combinations of flavors, meats, cheeses, vegetables, and spices are endless, and I encourage you to expand your own culinary horizons—you just may hit the money combination. I personally plan to incorporate some curry, a little chutney, some herbs, and maybe more goat cheese, loving the way that creaminess really compliments the eggs. Whatever you prepare, prepare your eggs in a basket with the gusto and enthusiasm from your childhood—you just might be surprised with the results. Enjoy, create food memories, and I look forward to being with you again.

P.S. Don’t forget something sweet with the rich savory experience of the eggs. Besides monkey bread from this weekend, we’ll be doing some flavored biscuits in the future, bite sized fruit tarts, and lots of other goodies—keep cooking!

Recipes:
Baked Egg in Tomato Cup
Brown Sugar Bacon
Eggs in a Basket
Eggs in a Hole
Monkey Bread

Cold Supper

posted in: episodes, shows

Recipes:
Butternut Squash Salad
Ham Salad
Lemon Ice
Panzanella
Southern Baked Ham

A friend from California called me recently asking for help. He was invited to an international pot luck and wanted something Tex-Mex to bring. So I threw out a couple ideas and came up with a show.

I found a fantastic recipe for Taco Soup at the hunting camp last fall… you won’t believe how easy it is.

Then I pulled out a recipe of my mom’s, Chicken Tamale Pie. I made it even easier by buying some pre-roasted chickens at the grocery store. (Those boys are super life-savers).

The last time I visited my parents in Texas we went to a Mexican restaurant and I had the most fantastic Ceviche. I know just the name scares a lot of people off, but I promise you if you try my Ceviche recipe you’ll understand why it’s such a hit. Think seafood salad with the freshness of limes and cilantro and the heat of jalapeno. Fantastic! When we filmed the episode, the crew left no leftovers… and that’s saying something.

Finally, I threw in Mexican Corn Bread. We made Broccoli Corn Bread on a recent episode and it was such a hit, I thought I’d offer you this twist on corn bread. It’s moist and delicious!

Enjoy… and Bienvenidos to the Pot Luck.

Recipes:

Ceviche
Mexican Corn Bread
Taco Soup
Tamale Pie

Ann’s Bleu

posted in: shows

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I love my parents for so many different reasons. There’s all the obvious reasons we love our parents, but then there are the not so obvious ones. They’re often the small things they did for us when we were kids – a trip somewhere, a few simple words of guidance, maybe a little gift –  that then shape who we become.

Ann Hollowell's Chicken Cordon Bleu Made on The Cooking LadyWhen I was about 12-years-old my parents took me to the HemisFair in San Antonio, Texas. We got there and they said, “Here’s your money, go eat!” And what a world they opened up for me… I went into the French Country Kitchen and ate French Onion Soup, and crab meat, and caviar for the first time. That was the day I became aware of the wonderful world, and the food that fills its kitchens, and how different that food can be, and how delicious!

Ann Hollowell's Roasted New Potatoes from The Cooking LadyBoth my parents are good cooks – my Dad just likes you to name everything after him: Daddy’s Chicken, Daddy’s Mexican Cornbread, Daddy’s Coffee (it gets so bad, sometimes it’s Daddy’s Glass of Milk.) This Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe is one of Daddy’s favorites. I love that it has that French influence because it takes me right back to that HemisFair. And, it reminds me of my parents and how grateful I am for that day when they gave me the seed money to start my food adventure.

Ann Hollowell's Sauteed Spinach made on The Cooking LadyRecipes:

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Sauteed Spinach

Roasted New Potatoes

Berries and Sorbet

HELP!

posted in: Blog Post

There comes a time in every home cook’s experience that you just BOMB!! Nothing works, the more you try the more ingredients you waste until you come to the moment when you say, HELP!!

That was my experience with Nanny’s Fruit Cobbler. I used frozen fruit, non-frozen fruit, all purpose flour, self rising flour, new-from-the-grocery-shelf flour, room temp this and cold that, and still—you can hear the echo of HELP!!

I’ve seen cobblers done before, for goodness sake, I have done them before, and nothing seems to help this particular recipe. The crust lingers on the bottom, it IS golden brown, just on the bottom, and nothing I can think to do will help this crust rise again. My comments on the show still hold true, nothing that a little vanilla ice cream couldn’t cure, but I wanted that perfect, bubbly, brown crusted cobbler to LOOK pretty. It’s sweet enough, the fruit is tender and juicy, the crust, when you can dig it up, is light and somewhat flaky, it’s just on the bottom.

So, my dear friends, HELP!! Help me with your comments, your ideas, your suggestions, and if you have a similar cobbler recipe, please be so kind as to hit “Contact” at the top of this page and sent them to me. I’ll post some of the best ones.

I still do think that small children will not know the difference with this cobbler, I just didn’t have any small children around to do taste-testing. We will progress on to other desserts, and I will continue trying to solve the mystery of Nanny’s Fruit Cobbler and hope for better success.

Again, it just goes to show that when you cook at home, it truly is the effort, the care and concern, the love for family and friends that comes through. All efforts in the kitchen are always appreciated, and when failures happen, it is without fail that friends step in and give you courage, hope, big hugs, and maybe a large glass of wine (or Mint Julep), and say to you, “This too, shall pass.”

The Lemon Chicken as this show’s entrée is divine, savory, and citrus-y, I know for a fact that I didn’t fail with that dish—I hope you enjoy it with your family. It was always a go-to dish for my mother, a home run every time, and with all that glorious juicy lucy so perfect for sopping up with some good bread, or ladling over the Green Rice Soufflé… who needs dessert???

Happy cooking!

Recipes:
Green Rice Souffle
Lemon Chicken
Lemon Maple Syrup Dressing
Mint Julep
Nanny’s Fruit Cobbler

Valentine’s Day is THIS week!!  Excitement! Oh, the thrill!  The anticipation!  Who can wait??!!  I can, really, I’ve given up on the prerequisite flowers, and surely don’t need the box of chocolates, and if Big Daddy sends me one of those really stupid, incredibly large teddy bears, he’s in a lot of trouble.  Not to say that I’m not a romantic, I really am, I’m just more of a realist. I want a great meal with just him, not a lot of folks around, maybe a great drink like an Old Fashioned or some champagne, and just the pleasure of his company.

I’m making a Valentine’s meal for Big Daddy, a meal I made when we first started dating.  It’s very rich, very filling, and something reserved for just such special occasions as Valentine’s Day, because you just can’t have it that often!  My grandmother had a very unique way of pan sautéing steaks in a heavy skillet with lots of seasoning and some butter and sugar that turned those steaks into mouth watering, tender, rare works of art.  You think you’re going to just burn up those precious cuts of beef, but with a little practice, you too can turn out a once a year masterpiece called Sugar Steaks!!  Patience, it takes a lot of patience, and a great cast iron skillet, and a wonderful pair of tongs.

My grandmother saved the “drippings” to make the most fabulous au jus, just a little water into the skillet after the steaks were taken out to rest. The seasonings just bubbled up and burst into aromatic gravy fit for a king, or queen, or a pair of sweethearts.  I always found some crusty bread to sop up the goodness, now I settle for some Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, boiled, and gently mashed with some parmesan cheese and freshly chopped curly leaf parsley.

I’m getting really hungry, ready to indulge in the sweet stoutness of an Old Fashioned, crisp, just the right touch of citrus, and the heady smell of the bitters.  Bitters make all the difference in an Old Fashioned, the slightly licorice taste of Peychaud’s Bitters from New Orleans, or the deep rich Angostura.  Use, what you will, indulge sparingly, and most of all, enjoy: enjoy Valentine’s Day, enjoy each other!

Recipes:
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
Cucumber Bites
Old Fashioned
Parmesan Parsley Mashed Potatoes
Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus
Sugar Steaks

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I’m a retired caterer and it takes a lot to get my attention and make me sit still for a solid thirty minutes watching someone else cook, but Ann has a wonderfully pleasant voice and demeanor.  So happy to have seen this program and hope to see more of her and her simple and what […]

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