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.

If You REALLY Love Your Valentine, Cook at Home

I really love my Valentine. I love my Valentine so much that I want to stay home and have a wonderful, satisfying, delicious, meal. Of course, my Valentine is my 8-year-old daughter. She is, without question, the love of my life. And, at least for now, she loves me almost as much as I love her. She thinks I am beautiful. She is loyal. She is kind. She is worth everything I can give her on Valentine’s Day. So, I…

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Thanksgiving with the Millers

  I love Thanksgiving. It is one of my favorite holidays. It almost always means our whole family spends weeks working on a menu that will satisfy all of us. My nephews get frustrated and ask why we can’t just have “normal” food on Thanksgiving, and why it has to be so elaborate. Part of the reason is that we are not “normal.” Part of the reason is that we love experimenting. And part of the reason is that the…

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The Benefits of Hoarding

Sometimes I have trouble throwing things away. My grandmother once scolded me for throwing away some used tin foil she had kept since The Great Depression. Consequently, my house has little piles of things I feel guilty about throwing away in almost every cobwebby corner. Many of the piles have something to do with cooking. I need to clean out most of these corners. This once, however, I was really, really glad that I hadn’t. In the midst of one…

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Flat Irons and Red Cabooses

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Beautiful Mediterranean Appetizers

At Gourmet Gallery we occasionally offer a “Mediterranean Menu” class in conjunction with MClennan Community CollegeC. MCC’s Karen Hix has taught these classes for us, and she returns this week for a 2-class series on Mediterranean foods. Karen is Lebanese and Scottish. Fortunately for us, her Lebanese mother’s cooking expertise (read Mediterranean) beat out the haggis and blood pudding influence her father brought to the union. Thus we have a Mediterranean Menu cooking class by the Scottish/Lebanese- American, Karen Hix. Boy,…

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Simple Italian Cuisine

We recently returned from a trip to Tuscany where we ate, prayed, and loved! One of the best evenings we experienced was the farmhouse dinner at Fattoria il Poggio, a working winery, olive orchard, and farmhouse in Montecarlo, Lucca. It was a beautiful evening with fabulous food, wine, and good friends. They made a spelt soup that I could live on. (After I find a regular spelt supplier, I will make it and share the recipe if it’s okay with…

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An Impromptu Picnic

AN IMPROMPTU PICNIC(from Picnics I Remember by Jo Ann Orr Miller) Picnics with Mother’s family were usually by Murvaul Creek, near a pond out in a pasture, at the Angelina River, or by the bay or beach at Galveston. Mother, Nannan (my grandmother), and Aunt Nellye loved to fish. Occasionally we fried the little crappie or sun perch that we caught served up with a big helping of DO NOT SWALLOW A BONE. However, we usually released the fish to…

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Remembering DadBy Jo Ann Miller My father was born in 1901, the oldest son of ten children. He was the family patriarch from about age 30. He worked hard, never worried about weight, blood pressure or cholesterol and died at 97. All this made me start thinking about what he ate. Living on an East Texas farm he ate fresh vegetables (hot peppers and peas, etc) and fruits, pork and chicken, cornbread and biscuits–and dessert–lots of desserts. His favorites were…

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Nothing Sweeter than a Little Tart

Yesterday, Le Cordon Bleu trained Chef Megan Lasiter conducted a fun pre-Easter class for us, “Nothing Sweeter than a Little Tart.” What a refreshing breath of air for Spring! Although her recipes are tried and true, she added just a bit of pinache to keep her audience interested. Among her recipes in this demostration class were pate sucre ( translates, “sugar paste” but is actually a slightly sweetened pastry tart), whiskey pecan tart, lemon meringue tart with Italian meringue, pastry…

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