River Road Recipes

Growing up, my Mother always had her River Road Recipes Cookbook on the kitchen counter.  I believe she probably cooked from it often.  I know that she made her fudge and French cocoa balls from this cookbook every Christmas.  When I moved out on my own, I knew this was one cookbook I would have to have in my collection.  The cookbook was published by the Junior Leage of Baton Rouge.  It was first published in 1959 and has had many printings over the years.  The recipes are tried and true and if you like southern cooking, this cookbook should be on your shelf.

One weekend back in August, my husband and I went to Canino’s produce market in the Heights.  As a child, I remember my grandpa shopping there and always bringing home a huge box of apples.  He did this about once a month when apples were in season. Canino’s produce is always fresh and they have individual local growers selling their produce in the back.  It is so much fun to go look around.   Anyways, my husband loves lima beans, in fact, I think he is the only one in our family who will eat them.  He saw a bag of frozen lima beans and quickly put them in our cart.  Well, I still had more than 1/2 a bag in the freezer, so I decided to make a recipe to use them up.  I found the perfect recipe to go with our bacon-wrapped chop steaks and baked potatoes…. “Barbecued Lima Beans”.  Believe it or not, they were really good and I even ate them.  As usual, I made a few changes to the recipe and below is my version of the barbecued lima beans.

Barbecued Lima Beans


½ pound fresh or frozen

1 smoked ham hock

1 tablespoon salt

1 clove garlic, crushed


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon mustard

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1  8-oz can tomato sauce

1 tablespoon vinegar

Boil lima beans with ham hock, salt and garlic.  Simmer until beans are soft.  Drain, reserving ½ cup of liquid.

For sauce, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until onions are translucent, being careful not to burn garlic.  Add remaining ingredients for sauce; stir well.  Add cooked lima beans to sauce and stir.  Heat on stove until heated through or bake at 300F for 40 minutes.  If baking in the oven, a slice or two of bacon can be added to the top.




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Farm Journal – America’s Best Vegetable Recipes

Oh my!  Why have I not cooked anything from this book before now?  There are so many delicious looking recipes in this book!  I’m talking about a Farm Journal cookbook, titled “America’s Best Vegetable Recipes”.  My copy is a first edition, printed in 1970.  My copy is a little worn, by a previous owner, and is missing the jacket and has a worn binding.  The pages are a little discolored, but the recipes are legible.  Best of all, I picked up this little gem about five years ago at a Half Price Bookstore for $1!

My husband picked the last two heads of cabbage from our garden, so I decided to make the Cabbage Au Gratin recipe with one of the heads of cabbage.  I served it with chicken fried steak and green beans and boy was it good!  This cabbage dish reminded me a little of a broccoli rice casserole, because of the cheese sauce.  It’s probably not the healthiest of veggie dishes, but is truly a comfort food kind of dish.  I will definitely be putting this recipe in my card file and making it again.  My husband and I think an addition of rice might be good as well, so I might try that next time.

Our spring garden is now planted with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions and squash, so I hope to make more vegetable recipes from this cookbook in the near future.  As usual, I made a few changes to the original recipe and the recipe below reflects my changes.  Enjoy!

Cabbage Au Gratin

1 large head of cabbage, torn into pieces

1 can condensed cream of celery soup

1/4 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup milk

1 8 oz block of Velveeta cheese, cut into pieces

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

2 tablespoons butter, melted

Cook cabbage in boiling salted water for about 5-7 minutes, or until tender.  Drain.  While cabbage is cooking, combine soup, celery, milk, cheese, salt, and pepper in a saucepan.  Heat until cheese is melted, stirring constantly so that the cheese doesn’t burn.  In a bowl, combine cooked cabbage and cheese mixture.  Pour mixture into a greased 1 1/2 qt. casserole dish.  In a small bowl, toss bread crumbs and butter together, then sprinkle on top of cabbage.  Bake at 350F for about 15-20 minutes, or until thoroughly heated.  Serves 4-6.

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Recipes and Reminiscences of New Orleans

Recipes and Reminiscences of New Orleans is a cookbook that was published by the Parents Club of Ursuline Academy in 1971.  This cookbook has some very interesting information concerning the Old Ursuline Convent in New Orleans.  It was so interesting, that I did an internet search myself  and found more information.  Yes, I love to read about history.  Did you know that the Old Ursuline convent was built in 1752 and is the only remaining French-Colonial building in the United States today?   After a long hard journey at sea, the Ursulines, or Sister of Ursula, arrived in New Orleans in 1752.  They were the first to provide decent medical assistance to countless people, and they were the first to open a local school and orphanage for girls.  St. Mary’s Church was added in 1845. I won’t bore you with more history details, since this is a cooking blog, but if you would like to take a tour, it is located at 1100 Chartress Street and to see details of tours and times, you can click  http://www.neworleansonline.com/directory/location.php?locationID=1278

OK, to get back on track with my post….  I made the Tarte A. Bouillie, which means French Custard Pie.  It was a deliciously rich and sweet filling, yet the crust turned out a little dry in my opinion.  This was probably the cook’s error.  The recipe says to mix up the pie shell and place it in the pie dish.  Once you cook the filling on the stove, you are supposed to pour the filling in the shell and bake until brown on top.  Since the crust was really thick, I decided to bake it a little before adding the filling.  Perhaps I baked it too much.  The crust did have a nice flavor though.   I did made a few changes to the recipe, as I usually do and the recipe printed below reflects those changes.

Tarte A Bouillie

Tarte A. Bouillie (French Custard Pie)

Sweet Dough Crust:

1/3 cup vegetable shortening

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon baking powder

2/3 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon salt

Custard Filling:

1 1/3 cup milk

2/3 cup milk

4 eggs, beaten

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

For crust, cream shortening and sugar.  Add egg, flour, baking powder, nutmeg and salt.  Mix well and knead slightly.  Roll and dough and place in a pie dish.  Note that crust will be thick.  Pre-bake the crust for about 6-8 minutes at 400F.

For filling, bring 1 1/3 cups milk to a boil.  In a separate mixing bowl, combine 2/3 cup milk, beaten eggs, flour, sugar and salt.  To prevent curdling, remove the boiling milk from the stove and SLOWLY add a little of the hot milk at a time to the cold milk and egg mixture, stirring as you add it.  Be very careful not to add to quickly because you don’t want scrambled eggs in your filling.  Once all the hot milk has been added to the mixing bowl, pour the mixture back into the sauce pan and cook over medium-high heat until mixture is thick.  Stir constantly to keep from burning.  Pour filling into half-baked crust and continue baking in 400F oven until crust is slightly golden.  Keep leftover pie covered in the refrigerator.


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Louisiana Entertains

Living in Texas, I have visisted many parts of Louisiana throughout the years and I love the friendly people and their food.  Over the last few years, I’ve been cooking a Cajun dinner on Mardi Gras.  In the past, I’ve made gumbo, jambalaya, and king’s cake, of course!  This year, I decided to invite my parents over and the four of us enjoyed red beans ‘n’ rice, cornbread and a French custard pie.

Louisiana Entertains is the official cookbook of the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition.  It was copyrighted in 1978 and 1983 by the Rapides Symphony Guild of Alexandria, Louisiana.  This cookbook is unusual because instead of the cookbook being divided into categories such as appetizers, side dishes, main dishes, etc., it is divided into menus.   These menus come from a series of parties that were hosted by Central Louisianans to support the Rapides Symphony Orchestra, over a three-year period.  I chose a recipe from a “New Orleans Fare” menu.  The menu included Red Beans ‘n’ Rice, Green Salad, French Bread, Praline Sundaes and Coffee, and the wine suggested was either a Zinfandel or Chianti.    The red beans ‘n’ rice turned out delicious and my family really enjoyed the meal.  I added Tabasco to mine just to give it an extra kick.  Below is the recipe for Red Beans ‘n’ Rice and as usual the recipe refects the changed that I made.   I’m sorry, but I didn’t snap a picture of this dish.

Red Beans ‘n’ Rice

1 pound red beans, rinsed and drained

1 smoked ham hock

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic

3 stalks celery, chopped

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 pound smoked sausage


The night before cooking, soak beans in water.  Soak at least 8 hours before cooking.  Drain and rinse beans.  In a large stockpot, add beans, ham hock, onions, celery, pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper.  Add enough water to cover beans.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 4 to 5 hours.   Add sliced smoked sausage and cook additional 30 minutes.  Serve over hot rice and with Tabasco, if desired.


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Patsy’s Cookbook

 Happy belated Valentine’s Day to you!  I hope your day was as fantastic as mine.  I decided at the last minute that I would make a special meal for my hubby for Valentine’s.  He asked me, the night before, if I wanted him to take me out, but I said no.  I hate fighting crowds, so we decided to go out later this week.  Anyways, I was craving Italian food, so I searched my cookbooks looking for Italian cookbooks and my Patsy’s Cookbook seemed to jump out at me.  How romantic would it be to eat at Patsy’s, in New York City, on Valentine’s night???  If any of you know me personally, you know that my one big dream is to go to New York City around Christmas time!  I’d like to see the Statue of Liberty, shop in Little Italy, ice skate at Rockefeller Center, catch a ride in the Cash Cab, visit the site of The World Trade Center, and of course… eat at Patsy’s!  Well, I decided a meal planned from the Patsy’s cookbook would be very romantic.

After spending a good thirty minutes drooling over the recipes in the cookbook, I finally decided on one…. “Frank’s Veal Cutlets Milanese”.  It’s known that Frank Sintara used to eat at Patsy’s all the time, as well as many other famous people.  Pasty’s has been around at least 60 years.  The cookbook was written by Sal J. Scognamillo in 2002, and the foreword was written by Nancy Sinatra.  The cookbook is very interesting  to read.  I love a cookbook that includes some pictures and history. 

Anyways… after picking the recipe, I went to the store to buy the veal cutlets and wouldn’t you know, they were out of veal cutlets.  Since I had no back up plan for dinner, I ended up buying ground veal and making patties, which I then followed the recipe to bread and cook them.  They turned out fine!    As usual, I made a few changes to the recipe and the recipe printed below reflect my changes.  I served the Veal Milanese with garlic and olive oil fettucine and green bean.  I paired the dinner with one of our favorite Texas wines, the Llano Cabernet Sauvignon.

Frank's Veal Cutlets Milanese

Frank’s Veal Cutlet Milanese

1 pound veal cutlets

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1 cup of dried bread crumbs (I used crumbs purchased from Maceo’s in Galveston, TX)

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1 cup flour

2 eggs, beaten

1 lemon

Pound cutlets to about 1/4″ thick.  (In my case, form patties, but not too thin, as they will fall apart.  Thus if using ground veal, you will have to cook a little longer.)  Using three separate bowls, place the flour in one, the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese in the second, and the eggs and 1 tablespoon olive oil in the third.  The olive oil in the eggs will help the breading to stay on the meat while frying.  Season the cutlets with salt and pepper.  Dredge each cutlet into the flour, then egg mixture, then bread crumbs.  Heavily coat the cutlets in the bread crumbs, patting in the palm of your hand to get the crumbs to adhere.  Set cutlets aside.  Heat 1 cup olive oil in deep skillet.  Add more olive oil if necessary, so that the bottom of you skillet is covered.  Heat oil to 350F.  Saute the cutlets for about 2 minutes.  While cutlets are cooking, squeeze a little lemon juice over the top of each cutlet.  Then, turn the cutlets over and cook another minute or two.  Drain cooked cutlets on paper towels.  Sprinkle tops with more Parmesan if desired.   Enjoy!

Here are some pictures of my Valentine’s Day table.  I didn’t have a red tablecloth, so I used a black and white plaid tablecloth, black place mats and red napkins.  The china is our wedding china, which is Noritake Whitecliff Platinum.  The silverware is just my everyday Oneida, which my Maw Maw helped me order when I was in high school from Betty Crocker.  The pattern is called Plantation and I believe the still make it under a different name. 


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From an Adobe Oven…

I’ve had the cookbook titled “From an Adobe Oven…” by the Junior League of Pueblo in my collection for a while now and I don’t think I’ve made anything from it until a few days ago.  I tried a recipe called Beef and Dumplings because it sounded like something my two meat-loving men would like.   Hubby didn’t care for it much by my son loved it.  I liked it enough to make it again, but I’d probably rather try a new recipe than repeat this one.  To me something was off just a bit with the flavor.  I keep thinking it was perhaps the celery and bell peppers that just didn’t go well, but I’m really not sure.  The dumplings were good and my hubby did like those.  The recipe doesn’t make a lot of dumplings, so I served this over egg noodles.  Also, I served with broccoli, which I thought was a good choice.  Perhaps if made again, I will do some tweaking.   As usual, I did make a few changes, but nothing that I think would really alter the recipe too much.  I’ll type it here for you.  If you try it out and make some changes and liked it, please comment and let us all know how you improved  the taste. 

Beef and Dumplings

2 pounds round steak, cut into cubes

1 medium onion, sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

1 10.5 oz can cream of chicken soup

1 10.5 can cream of celery soup

8 ounces fresh sliced mushrooms

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

10 ounce package of frozen peas

1 bell pepper, cut into rings



1 egg

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoons dried parsley

2 tablespoons cooking oil

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/3 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon salt


For beef, place cubes in a 3-quart casserole dish with lid and cover with onions and garlic.  Add bay leaf.  Combine the two cans of soup with Worcestershire sauce and flour.  Pour over meat.  Place lid on dish and bake at 350F for 2 hours.   Combine dumpling ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.  Remove from oven and carefully remove bay leaf.  Add peas and stir.  Top with pepper rings and dumplings dropped by rounded teaspoons in and around the peppers.  Cover and bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes. 


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Dolce Memories

Dolce Memories, by Irene Ritter, is a wonderful collection of Italian desserts.  Victoria came in town for a little over a week, and while she was here, her Aunt Lucy and Uncle Rush came by to visit.  I served homemade pizza and for dessert, I made the Sicilian Cassata from this cookbook.  Excellent choice!  This Sicilian cake was delicious.  This cake is normally served for weddings, birthdays and Easter.  

As usual with my posts, the recipe was altered slightly to suit our tastes and adapt to what I had available in the pantry.

Sicilian Cassata


1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup half and half or milk

3 egg yolks, well beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

2 cups cake flour

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon salt


1 (15 oz) container whole ricotta cheese

1 1/2 teaspoons half and half

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup shredded coconut

3 tablespoons Amaretto

1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Semisweet Chocolate Frosting:

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup brewed strong black coffee or espresso

1/2 cup chilled butter, cut into thin slices

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease and flour a 9X5-inch loaf pan.  For cake, in a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar.  Add milk, egg yolks, vanilla, and nutmeg until creamy.  Gradually add cake flour, cream of tartar, and salt and mix until well combined.  Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until wooded toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Let cake cool for 20 minutes, then invert to remove cake from pan.  Allow cake to cool.

For filling, using an electric mixer, mix together ricotta cheese, half and half, powdered sugar, coconut and Amaretto  until smooth and well combined. 

To assemble, using a serrated bread knife, slice the cake two times, horizontally so that you have a top, middle and bottom piece of cake.  Spoon half the filling onto the bottom piece of cake.  Place the middle piece of cake on top of filling.  Then spoon remaining filling on top of middle piece.  Top with the top cake piece.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to “ripen” in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

For frosting, about an hour before serving, melt semisweet chocolate chips with coffee in a saucepan.  Add one slice of butter at a time, mixing with a whisk until melted.  Beat until mixture is smooth.  Refrigerate frosting until thickened to spreading consistency.  Before serving, spread frosting over top and sides of cake.  Decorative swirls can be added to the top to make it fancy.  


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