Blog & Recipes

The Waco Downtown Farmers Market offers FREE cooking demonstrations using farm fresh ingredients from their vendors. Enjoy these recipes from our demonstration on March 4th using many ingredients available early spring.

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Waco Downtown Farmers Market Saturdays 9 am – 1pm

 

Pumpkin Bread French Toast

  • half a loaf of pumpkin bread or zucchini bread, sliced thickly (about 6 pieces), The Wine Maker’s Pantry
  • 3 eggs, Various Vendors
  • ½ cup whole milk, Richardson Farms
  • a splash of Nielsen Massey vanilla **
  • Cinnamon honey syrup, recipe follows

 

  1. Whisk the eggs, milk, and vanilla together. Heat a nonstick or oiled skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Dip each piece of pumpkin bread in the mixture and soak for about 20 seconds. Let excess drip off, then transfer to the hot skillet and fry for a few minutes on each side (and repeat if needed) until both sides are golden brown and almost crispy (but the insides will still be soft).
  3. Serve with Cinnamon Honey Syrup.

 

Cinnamon Honey Syrup

  • 3⁄4 cup honey, Round Rock Honey
  • 1⁄2 cup butter
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground Ceylon cinnamon**

Heat all ingredients in 1-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until warm.

 

Herbed Pecan Pesto:

  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves, Various Vendors
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans , Pecan Shop
  • 4 cloves garlic, Various Vendors
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup olive oil, Texas Hill Country Olive Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1 pinch ground black pepper to taste **

Blend the basil, pecans, garlic, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt, and pepper together in a food processor until the mixture becomes a slightly chunky paste.

Bowl of Vegetable Soup and a slice of bread topped with Pesto

Farmers Market Soup

Farmer’s Market Italian Soup

  1. In a heavy bottom pot, heat 1 tbs olive oil over medium high heat. Add in the sausage and brown , about 5 minutes. Put the sausage aside on a plate.
  2. Add more oil, the carrots, celery, leeks and onions. Add in 2 tsp salt and 21 tsp pepper. Cook over medium heat, scraping up any brown bits from the sausage on the bottom of the pot, and stirring occasionally. Cook until the onions turn translucent, about 10 minutes.
  3. When the onions have turned translucent, and the vegetables have cooked through, add in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Then add in the can of diced tomatoes, bone broth, sausage, and thyme. Cook over low heat, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Add in the spinach (or other leafy green).
  4. Add in pasta. Stir and continue cooking until pasta is cooked, 5 – 10 minutes depending on type of pasta.
  5. Taste to see if it needs more salt and pepper.
  6. Serve it topped with herbed pesto and warm bread.
  7. Will keep in an air tight container for 1 week in the fridge. Can be frozen for up to 6 months.

** Ingredients available at Gourmet Gallery


Lemon Trifle

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 1/4 cup granulated sugar
12 -ounces cream cheese, softened One 8-ounce jar prepared lemon curd
2 cups heavy cream 22 hard ladyfinger cookies
3 cups mixed raspberries and sliced strawberries Powdered sugar, for garnish
Whipped cream, for serving

 

A clear trifle bowl with layers of lady fingers, raspberries and lemon cream

In a small measuring cup, mix the lemon juice with the sugar and 1/4 cup water until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Place the cream cheese, lemon curd and heavy cream in a food processor and process until smooth and a bit fluffy.

To assemble the tiramisu, place half the ladyfingers in the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish, breaking a few to fit, and drizzle with half of the lemon syrup. Top with half the lemon cream and 1 cup mixed berries. Repeat the layers, using the remaining ladyfingers, syrup and lemon cream.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 8 hours or overnight. Before serving, top with the remaining 2 cups of berries and dust with powdered sugar. Serve with whipped cream on the side.

 


The Making of Marshmallows & Memories – Family Holiday Traditions

By Karyn Miller

Reprint from October 2013

 

The scents of the cool fall air always spark different emotions and trigger memories for me. As a child, once the Trick-or-Treat candy was consumed (or otherwise mysteriously disposed of), my family got to work on the next series of events. Football, Homecoming, a few fall birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day inspired us and gave us all something pleasing to anticipate.

My father owned and managed retail businesses during my youth. He worked six days a week as long as I can remember, holidays being the rare exception. Mom taught high school homemaking and was a foodie before the word existed. While she managed to deliver some amazing meals for us despite the limited help from her industrious husband and her three indolent children, her magic really sparkled when the cool weather and fall fog rolled into town. From homemade hot chocolate to the best pralines ever, from candied orange peel (still not my favorite) to sand tarts and divinity, Mom’s greatest gifts flowed forth from kitchen. For our family, holiday traditions focused on these sweets and other favorite foods.

My daughter and I rely happily and heavily on those holiday traditions from my mother’s kitchen. With the first breath of chilly air, we make homemade hot chocolate just like we did when I was a kid – that perfect combination of chocolate with the tiniest pinch of salt and spice. After I pour it into mugs, my daughter Molly mounds marshmallows so high that it takes half an hour to get to the beverage. By the time the marshmallows are gone, she and I are halfway through another longstanding family holiday tradition, “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.” Never a drop of hot cocoa remains in either of our cups by the end of the show.

One of our newer traditions is to make our own marshmallows – not for the ordinary cold night hot chocolate, but as holiday gifts for teachers and friends, and of course, as a gift to ourselves. The recipe isn’t difficult, but it is time-consuming and messy. And worth every bit of waiting, togetherness, powdered sugar, and fun. That time together is the stuff that holidays are made of, the stuff I remember as a kid with my brother and sister.

Thanks to a mother who was and is a fabulous cook, both of my siblings and I love cooking and eating good food, bantering and being silly with each other; so, what many might view as an onerous tasks in the kitchen I see as luxurious indulgences when we truly take the time to create good food and good memories. I savor the hours “slaving” in the kitchen, even if I complain about how little time we have to sleep, to relax, and to relish the season. Despite my family’s mutual admiration of all things food and all things cooking, our holiday season typically starts with the same friendly sibling argument:

“What are we doing for Thanksgiving this year?”

“I don’t know. I don’t even know what I’m having for dinner tonight.”

“How about turkey?”

“I don’t want turkey this year.”

“How about ham?”

“I don’t like ham.”

“Fine. I’ll ask Gary.”

“Gary, are you and Beth in town for Thanksgiving this year?”

“I think so. I don’t know. You’ll have to ask Beth.”

Aaaaarghhhh! Thus the holiday tradition in the Miller family begins. Eventually my sister and I will congregate over a glass of wine and talk about our plans through the season. We ponder over recipes, menus, new and old favorites. Finally we emerge with our Thanksgiving dinner plan, typically a mix of a new twist on a turkey we likely found in Bon Appetite, our grandmother’s traditional Southern Dressing, Gary’s Potatoes Dauphin, Beth’s rolls, something green (changes every year), a variety of pies, and of course, Mom’s pralines. Perhaps we should just keep that same menu every year, but then we would lose the traditional pre-holiday argument I have come to anticipate and enjoy.

I “interviewed” my daughter before writing this article to find out what she considers her favorite family holiday traditions to be. Without any prompting she said, “Grandma’s pralines. Grandma makes the best pralines ever.” Next she mentioned hot chocolate and homemade marshmallows. She even mentioned how her Aunt Caryl and I have to wrangle over our holiday dinners and gatherings.

She mentioned how she loves for our whole family to get together, usually after New Year’s, to have our official family Christmas where each family member gets to open his or her gifts one by one for all to see. I don’t know why, but it surprised me that Molly defined her holiday traditions and memories so similarly to the way I define mine.  I realized we all have our own traditions – an imperfectly perfect blend of all the traditions that have graced and cursed us through the years. I can only hope she is so lucky with her own family someday.

 

 

Mollymallows

Molly and Karyn’s traditional homemade marshmallow recipe for gift-giving and hot cocoa.

 

4 envelopes unflavored gelatin

1 ½ c water

2 ½ c white sugar

½ c brown sugar

1 ¼ c light corn syrup

¼ t salt

½ t cinnamon

2 t vanilla extract

½ c confectioners’ sugar

½ c cornstarch

 

Combine confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Set aside.

 

Line a large jellyroll pan with lightweight foil. Spray with vegetable spray and dust pan lightly with sugar-cornstarch mixture.  Set pan aside.

 

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, soften gelatin with ¾ c water.

 

Place the white and brown sugars, corn syrup, salt, cinnamon, and ¾ c water in a heavy saucepan. Stir to mix well. Bring to a boil and cook over high heat until the syrup reaches the soft-ball stage (234-240°F). After it reaches the soft-ball stage, remove pan from heat and add vanilla. The mixture will be dark at this stage.

 

With the whisk attachment and the mixer at high speed, slowly pour the hot syrup mixture into the gelatin until the mixture is very stiff. This takes about 15 minutes. The mixture will fluff up and turn almost white.

 

Pour the mixture into the foil-lined pan and smooth the top with a well-oiled spatula. Allow the mixture to sit, uncovered, at room temperature for several hours, overnight it usually best.

 

Light sprinkle some of the cornstarch-sugar mixture over a cutting surface. Turn the stiffened marshmallow mixture out onto the cutting surface. Dip a slightly oiled cookie cutter into the remaining cornstarch-sugar mixture, and cut the marshmallows into shapes. Drop freshly-cut marshmallows into cornstarch mixture, then store in an airtight container.

 

These make beautiful homemade gifts, especially when combined with a cup of homemade cocoa mix and a peppermint stick in a mug.

 

Variations: Chocolate marshmallows, chocolate-cayenne, peppermint marshmallows, coconut marshmallows. Call me for more ideas or for specific recipes for these. Enjoy.

Lemon Trifle

Lemon Trifle 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 1/4 cup granulated sugar 12 -ounces cream cheese, softened One 8-ounce jar prepared lemon curd 2 cups heavy cream 22 hard ladyfinger cookies 3 cups mixed raspberries and sliced strawberries Powdered sugar, for garnish Whipped cream, for serving   In a small measuring cup, mix the lemon juice with the sugar and 1/4 cup water until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside. Place the cream cheese, lemon curd and heavy cream in a…

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The Art of the Charcuterie Platter

Now that I’ve typed it what does it mean? It is the branch of cooking devoted top prepared meat products, such as salamis, sausages, terrines, pates and confit. According to Lori Krieger, the creator of  “Tastes Elevated,” the idea of a perfect charcuterie platter features cured meats paired with artisan condiments, cheeses, breads and a variety of other condiments. For more ideas watch this space, and come on February  7, to meet Lori and learn first hand.

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An Emerald Isle Dessert

(I have a beautiful picture from the Dingle Peninsula, but I can’t get the  ______idjit computer to download it.) Now that we’ve been to Ireland………..Here is a recipe of a wonderful dessert. On two occasions I had this marvelously sweet, flavorful dessert–once at the fish and chips place and again at the Smokehouse which really wasn’t a smokehouse. Both were in Dingle in County Kerry. It’s called Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake.  Added my own touches. Don’t be alarmed at the…

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A Visit to Some Painted Churches

Labor Day is not a great weekend to travel in Texas. The weather is hot, the traffic is heavy, and many restaurants are closed. However, all the stars were aligned for travel. The destination was some of the Painted Churches in south central Texas. Having heard of them for several years, three friends and I set out on THAT Monday to see them.  We took a scenic tour of Bell County, and on a country road saw twenty or more…

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Did You Get the Number of the Truck?

“What truck?” “The one that ran over me”This was the exchange in our family when someone had a particularly difficult day, task, etc. It is appropriate for the past week for Gourmet Gallery and me personally. Now, this is not a BAD thing. There are many good things! Fifth anniversary celebration with 109 friends–GOOD Number One grandson graduating with a Master of Information Systems Degree–GOOD A three-day holiday to West Texas to be with family to celebrate a ninetieth birthday–GOOD…

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Get your Wine-A-Rita Mix at Gourmet Gallery! Great for warm weather sipping!

Why Am I in Texas When There Are Cooler Places?

This is the time of the year– EVERY YEAR–that I ask myself that question. I suppose the answer is that I haven’t gone some other place. The secret to being as comfortable as possible for me is to stay as cool as possible and drink as much liquid as possible. Water , of course, is the logical choice, and it is a good choice. However, our gourmet world offers many options. Below find a couple of drinks that can be…

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My Fig Tree, the Birds and the Squirrels

My fig tree is as tall as the storage house at the back of the lot. It is as big as the storage house. I can onlyreach about 7 feet to pick the large, luscious figs that are beginning to ripen to their sweetest. I COULD get a tall ladder and move it a few feet at a time around the tree to pick the figs. (.Don’t tell.) I devised a plan for harvesting those figs. I was willing to…

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A Source–“Cook’s Illustrated”

Entering the retail world of food has been a education for me. Even though I was a Homemaking teacher  when there were such animals and a wife and mother for even longer, so many new ideas, food and nutrition facts and new methods have appeared since then that I have had to really be alert to all things new. Among  the many magazines that pass through our doors, a stand-out is COOK’S ILLUSTRATED. In fact, it is our go-to for…

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A Summertime Favorite, or Who Doesn’t Love Peach Cobbler?

Peach cobbler always meant making a double pie crust, lining the pan with half and rolling a top crust. I still like it that way, but my niece sent me a recipe that is a hurry-up recipe that is so delicious that I usually make it that way.I have found several similar recipes, but they all require more steps than Lora’s recipe. Here it is:                              …

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Yes, even YOU can bake delicious cobblers!

Berries, Berries, Berries

In “the olden days” my school would dismiss mid-April so that the children could help with the crops–hoeing cotton, gathering tomatoes for the market. Not only was school out, but the berries were beginning to ripen. First, we had dewberries. There were bigger, sweeter than the mixed berries and blackberries that followed later in the spring. We picked and ate and took them home and washed them and ate them with milk, made cobblers, and jelly. (The blackberries made the…

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