Monday, September 23, 2013

jalapeno cream cheese topping

Last week we went to Hubby's favorite Mexican restaurant.  His family has been going to Popo's at 6542 W. Indian School Rd. since they move to the west side of Phoenix back in the early 70's.  They measure every Mexican restaurant they eat at against Popo's.   When one of them comes back to visit friends and family still in Phoenix the first question they ask is, "Did you get to go to Popo's?"  

While we were there Hubby had a combo plate that had a red enchilada with it and he had the choice of two toppings.  One of the toppings was jalapeño cream cheese.  Hubby liked it so well that he had me take a taste of it to see what I thought of it.  I like it well enough that we sat there taking tiny nibbles of it to figure out what was in it and how it was made. We came home and I did a search for recipes, taking notes and combining ideas, then heading to the kitchen for the experiment.   Here's what I came up with:

Jalapeño Cream Cheese Topping

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 to 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
3 TBSP of cilantro, finely minced (And for the cilantro challenged, use parsley.)
1/4 cup finely minced onion
1 to 2 finely minced pickled jalapeño peppers or to taste (You could use fresh here, seeded or unseeded based on the heat level you wanted.)
2 TBSP of jalapeño pickle juice to thin (Milk could be used here, also.)
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. of salt, to taste
1/4 tsp. of mesquite smoke, if you want a smoky flavor

Use a fork to blend.

Some of the recipes suggested heating it in the microwave until warm if you wanted a hot dip.

This turned out very tasty.  It was more of a spread consistency than a dip or topping.  We spread it on tortilla chips and I topped a few with some refried beans I was making for supper.  WOW!  Extra Yummy!  I do wonder if you added some sour cream or crema if you could get more of a dip consistency without losing the tangy flavor.  By the way, this gets hotter the longer it sets!

Have a good day!


Saturday, September 14, 2013

ice cream

While out pursuing the elusive 2 foot by 4 foot folding table with adjustable legs at Target, Hubby and I found an ice cream maker on the clearance rack that is battery operated.  The ice cream maker holds between 6 and 12 ounces.  It is put out by Hamilton Beach and doesn't have very good reviews but what the heck it's kind of fun to play with until it goes kaput.

The first recipe I tried was from Leslie's blog, La Cocina De Leslie. I tried Paletas de Jamaica y Limon recipe with some variations, of course!  I used:

4 cups water
1 cup dried jamaica flowers (hibiscus flowers)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. stevia extract powder
1 tsp. dried quarter-cut ginger root
1 TBSP of lemon juice.

I brought the water to a boil.  Removed the water from the heat and stirred the jamaica flowers and ginger root, covered and let it steep for an hour or so.  Strained and then added the rest of the ingredients.  Stirred until the sugar was dissolved.  I chilled the syrup in the refrigerator until I was ready to make the sorbet.  The sorbet didn't freeze up very well and the paddle rode up in the freezer bowl.  After I broke up the ice that was building up on the bowl it froze a little better but we ended up sticking the freezer bowl back into the freezer and I whipped it a couple of times before we got the consistency we wanted.  Delicious!

Next up, I tried a recipe from the booklet that came with the ice cream maker with some changes, what else! Observation: why, if the capacity of the machine is 12 ounces, would you write the recipes in the booklet for twice that much?

1 cup half-n-half
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

I stirred everything up until the sugar was dissolved.  But this time I stuck the mixture in the freezer for about 30 minutes before I tried to make the ice cream.  Because I remembered reading that La Gringa from  La Gringa's Blogicito pre-froze her ice cream mix to get it to freeze in her climate.  I still scrape down the sides of the freezer bowl for the ice cream maker a couple of times to make sure all the frozen cream mix was being incorporated into the rest of the mixture.  I let it harden about 30 minutes in the freezer after churning. Very tasty!

The last go round I wanted to try making a non-dairy ice cream so I used Elana's recipe from Elana's Pantry as a starting point.

1 cup raw cashews
2 cups water
3/8 tsp. stevia extract powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch salt

Soak the raw cashews in warm water for a couple of hours, drain and rinse.   Put everything in a blender and blend until creamy smooth.  This yields about 3 cups of cashew cream.  I measured out 12 ounces of the cream and put that back in the blender. Then added:

1 tablet of Abuelita's Mexican Chocolate, softened in the microwave

to the cream in the blender and gave it another whiz.  I pre-froze this batch also.  The mixture was very thick but not icy coming out of the freezer and I only had to scrap the sides of the freezer bowl once while making this batch and didn't have to harden it at all.  Excellent!

So, we will keep playing with our little gizmo until the motor craps out or the freezer bowl cracks and leaks all the blue-ice stuff out.

Hope everyone is having a great day!


* The photo is courtesy of the Hamilton Beach web site.

Friday, September 13, 2013


There was a fire in the apartment complex across the street from ours.  A young lady with waist length hair was hopping around on the back of the fire truck unloading hoses.   I stood at my kitchen window shaking my head.  Not at the fact there was a female firefighter but at the loose hair.

Over forty years ago I watched a co-worker get scalped because she didn't have her hair tied back and up.  Her hair got caught in a conveyor belt.  I stood there getting sick to my stomach praying the firefighter didn't get her hair caught in or on something.  Man!  I don't ever want to see someone get scalped again!  She did get her hair tied up.   I don't know if the guy working the truck with her said something or she just finally had time to take care of it.   I guess memories like that never lose their vividness.

If I was still a drinking person, I'd have a couple of shot of tequila to get rid of the willies.


Friday, September 6, 2013

hello phoenix!

 Warning:  This is long-winded!

We have arrived, unpacked and finally have telephone and Internet service all at the same time as of last night at 10:00 PM.  It's been a wild and patience-testing ride since the 14th of August.

We left Thursday morning and by the time we had got to Andover, Hubby had dealt with three phone call wanting documents to verify our income and bank statements.  Holy Mother of God!  Where were these requests two weeks ago when we could have faxed everything from the home computer?  It's tied down, under a tarp and buried in one of fifteen bazillion boxes and wouldn't cost $2.00 a page to fax! 

So we sweated that and keep moving down the road.  Five miles north of Dalhart, TX, I dodged a road alligator.  I got on the radio and ask Hubby if we just had a blowout on the trailer.  Sure enough, we lost the driver-side rear tire on the trailer.  We limped into Dalhart, got a room and spent the night.  Just our luck, the tire shop had closed five minutes before the tire blew.  The Super-8 has nice rooms, by the way, and the steak house up the road had great chef salads.  Psycho Cat was so freaked out she was literally trembling when we got into the motel.  I put her under the covers and she hid there most of the night.

Friday morning, Hubby gets both rear tires on the trailer replaced and the bank statements e-mailed to Phoenix and we find out the retirement office didn't fax my income verification but stuck it in some internal e-mail account I'm suppose to have access to.  Rrrright!  Hubby tells me he did not pack the blue book that has all my retirement account access codes are in.  It is still in the center drawer of the desk we left.  Sister Suzy finds it and gives us the codes.  Next piece of the puzzle is sent.  30 miles north of Alamogordo, NM the front tire on the driver's side blows.  We have someone come out and put the spare on which is the only new tire we started with.  We call it a day when we got to Alamogordo and got a room at a little motel that had top ratings.  Psycho Cat is still freaked but better.

Next morning, Saturday, Hubby got another new tire and off we went.  I notice the check-engine-light is on at the Border Patrol Station on I-10.  I don't say anything; the car is running great.  Just outside of Deming, NM, another blowout!  Driver's side front tire, again!  The one new tire we had in the beginning!  Of course, it's noon, and all the tire shops have closed for the day!  We pick up a tire at Wally-World, and they can't change the tire because it is against company policy to change tires on trailer.  Ok, whatever!  So we head back down the street to the Chevron station at the first exit heading west into Deming.  The gentleman not only changed the tire but also balance it and sold us a used tire for a spare all for $40.00 bucks.  Happy dance!  Hubby checked out the idiot light on the car and came back with error messages that did not agree with the performance of the car.  The car was running great!  We headed for Phoenix with the wind-shredded tarps flapping in the breeze watching the rain at Tucson.  I explained to God I wasn't Job and He could knock it off!  Evidently, He was listening because we only drove through a light shower.   Psycho Cat decides she can eat, have a drink and use the litter box. Yeah!  I was starting to worry about the cat.

We slept in on Sunday!

Monday morning, we can't have the keys the apartment isn't ready.  Oookkkaaayyy!  We can have the keys Tuesday morning at 8:00 am.  We reschedule the moving crew, again, for 8:30 am.  Great, another night in a motel room with questionable A/C!

Tuesday morning, Hubby heads for orientation for his new job and I'm sitting in the parking lot of the apartment complex waiting for the apartment manager to show up.  She's late; and I have to promise to set all the boxes in the dining area because the carpet cleaner hasn't shown up yet to clean the carpets to get the keys.  First order of business is to install the cat in the master bath so she has a safe, cool place to stay.  The carpet cleaners don't show and we set the cots up to sleep on until we can get our pedestal bed rebuilt.

Spent the next couple of days washing cabinets, laying shelf paper and unpacking the kitchen.  I gave the apartment manager a gift for the cleaning crew of a mummified potato we found on a top shelf.  And people wonder why I'm so anal when I move into a place!

Friday the transmission died on the car for Hubby, on the way to work.  Fortunately, it happened at the end of the block.  We pushed it back into the parking lot and Hubby took off in the truck.  The car is still something we need to deal with.

We discover the DSL worked but we didn't have phones.  Do people in customer service actually listen to anybody when they call?  Don't answer that!  And when you get the phone line fixed, how hard is it to ring in to check to see if it is actually working?  Don't answer that!  We had an electrical storm and guess what happens when you turn off your laptop but still have it hooked up to the modem?  You not only fry your computer but the modem as well!  I'm just sick about Hubby's laptop.  Back to customer service. Sigh!

Last night while we were trying to get the new modem set-up we discovered the phone jacks in both bedrooms do not work.  I haven't worked up the courage to go talk the apartment manager but I need to before the day is out.  I really don't like being wireless.  I like my computers hard-wired.  I know, I'm a Luddite!

So what have I been doing with all my free time without a computer and the Internet?  Knitting!  I have five dishcloths done and my sweater out.  And just for kicks and grins, once I got my sewing machine set up I started quilting a top I found in a tub I had forgot about.  I plan on giving the quilt to the neighbor kid and his girlfriend that are house-sitting for us in Kansas.

Oh!  It should stop raining since I am more or less unpacked now.  LOL

I hope everyone is having a great day!