The Heights Delights is a wonderful cookbook compiled by the Houston Heights Association Museum Committee and includes a variety of recipes from Heights area residents and their families. When I saw this used cookbook in a Half Price books, I knew I had to buy it for my collection. The Houston Heights is a diverse little community in the heart of Houston, just minutes northwest from downtown. It’s one of my favorite areas of town and includes some of my favorite shopping and eating spots, which include Canino’s Market, El Bolillo Mexican Bakery, Spanish Flowers Mexican Restaurant, Another Place in Thyme Nursery, Buchanas Native Plants, and Wabash Feed Store… just to name a few. If you are interested in learning more about the Heights, you can check out this website: http://www.houstonheights.org/photos.htm
This cookbook is fabulous! You know by looking at the recipes that each and every recipe is a favorite of the submitter and that always makes for a great cookbook! I was surprised to notice while looking through the book, that I recognized a few familiar names from the list of recipe submitters, so of course I had to try their recipes. The first was a recipe submitted by Libby Lee. Mrs. Lee has known my family for years, since before I was born. My family and the Lee’s met while attending church at Baptist Temple. I tried Mrs. Lee’s recipe for Chicken a’la King and it was great! I made just a few changes, using milk instead of cream and if I were to make the recipe again, I’d cut the dry sherry by half to be only ¼ cup. I served it over white rice, but she suggests to serve it in plates in the following order: Chow mein noodles, white rice, Chicken a ‘la King, sliced pineapples, sliced tomato, chopped chives, silvered almonds and soy sauce. The note in the book says she serves it with an apricot salad and peanut butter sticks. I made this dish ahead of time and froze it for two weeks in my freezer. A day before I was going to serve it, I placed it in my refrigerator to thaw. Then, all I had to do was heat this up and make some rice, which made a super easy, yet delicious dinner.
The second recipe I tried was Blue Ribbon Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream submitted by Dennis and Laura Virgadamo, which is my uncle and aunt on my dad’s side of the family (my father’s brother). This ice cream is so creamy and the flavor is perfect! I think it is now my favorite homemade ice cream recipe. I used my new electric Cuisinart ice cream maker that had been sitting in the garage for over a year. The machine works great by the way, and I’m not sure why it sat out there unused for so long. I followed my Uncle Dennis’ directions exactly and I wouldn’t change a thing as far as ingredients. I noticed after I combined the fruit and base that my directions on my Cuisinart says to add the fruit during the last few minutes of freezing, so that is the only think I will do differently next time. Oh… and the note in the recipe says that this recipe won the “Best All Around Homemade Ice Cream” at the Homemade Ice Cream Social at Baptist Temple in 1992. ~NOTE~ I didn’t take a picture of the ice cream because we were so anxious to try it out, but next time I make it, I’ll add a picture.
Chicken a ‘la King
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup mushrooms
2 tablespoons green bell pepper
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Dash of cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon celery salt
¼ cup dry sherry
1 cup chicken stock
1 ½ cups milk
1 tablespoon finely diced pimentos
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
Melt butter in a large stockpot. Add green bell peppers and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally for five minutes. In a small bowl, mix seasoning with flour and blend; add to stockpot. Cook for about 5 minutes. Gradually add chicken stock and milk. Cook until thickened. Add cooked chicken and parsley. Add pimentos and heat until heated through.
Blue Ribbon Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream
1/3 cup sugar
Juice of ½ lemon
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoon strawberry extract
2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup milk
For fruit, combine the strawberries with 1/3 cup sugar and lemon juice. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour. After the fruit has chilled for an hours, mix the base. For base, mix eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Ad ¾ cup sugar, adding a little at a time. When completely blended, stir in extract and set aside. Mash strawberries well and add to base. Put all ingredients into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. Makes 1 gallon.