There is a restaurant in Santa Monica that we like to eat at called El Cholo. They offer Pralines at the end of the meal. Then, I found this delicious, easy Southern Praline’s recipe in an old cookbook that my husband’s parents purchased in the 1950’s while on a trip of the Southwest here in the good old USA. I made them to bring as a dessert to a dinner party recently and while I knew they were good, everyone flipped out. Good thing this recipe is so easy.
- 1 1/2 Cups Brown Sugar
- 1/4 Cup milk or cream
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- 1 Cup Pecans
Add the pecans and the butter. Cool off the flame and drop by spoonfuls on a buttered surface or wax paper. Done! Salty, sweet, nutty crunch – just yum.
I think I may make these in batches to give out this holiday.
I love making gifts for people. And, food gifts are especially nice because they think of you and how much time and love you put into their gift while enjoying it. One of the items I love to make is homemade Limoncello. Living in California, it’s easy to grow lemons. The tree I planted only a few years ago is now blessing me with lemons on a regular basis. While we’ve contemplated moving to other places, I’m not sure I could live anywhere that I couldn’t have a lemon tree. Luckily for everyone, lemons are always available in every market. Be sure to use only organic lemons since the skin is what is used for this recipe.
I tried making a batch with herbs and a batch with Vanilla bean and they were not as good as the original, simple Italian recipe. You can double this recipe easily if making several bottles.
- 12 Lemons (Organic)
- One 750 ml Bottle Vodka or Everclear*
- 4 Cups Sugar (or less if you prefer)
- 4 Cups Filtered Water
After rinsing and drying your organic lemons, use a potato peeler (my favorite is Cutco brand) to peel off all of the top yellow layer of the lemon skin (you do not want to get much of the white “pith” as it is a little bitter).
Put the lemon peels into a sealable glass gallon container that has been sanitized in your dishwasher or if you don’t have a dishwasher, boil the container and it’s lid in pot full of water for at least 15 seconds.
Add the alcohol. If you are using Everclear, *add an additional 2 to 3 cups of filtered water to dilute it a bit since Everclear is 190 proof.
Put into a dark place and let sit for a couple of weeks to a couple of months. The longer you let it sit, the better it will taste.
When ready to bottle, make your simple syrup by heating filtered water in a pot on a medium flame, add your sugar and stir until it’s melted in and then immediately remove from the heat and let cool completely.
Add the cooled simple syrup to your lemon and alcohol mixture and stir. Strain into bottles and enjoy! Throughout the year, I like save my clear Tequila and Vodka bottles to reuse for Christmas gifting.
easy limoncello recipe great food gift
When I managed restaurants, most of the kitchen staff were from Oaxaca, a beautiful part of Mexico where indigenous colors and culture abound. Sometimes they would make their own (off menu) food on the line to eat and share. One of my favorites was a meat rub Chucho would mix from dried spices and ingredients and sprinkle over cut meat that he’d fry in a pan and serve with corn tortillas. While the Oaxacan mix is usually paprika, cinnamon, (unsweetened) cocoa powder, cumin, salt, oregano, black pepper and cayenne, below is another variation. But you can have fun experimenting with any mix you like, and, it’s as easy as mixing the ingredients in a bowl and storing in your cupboard! This spice mix also makes a great gift bottled and tied with a simple ribbon. This rub also can be used on steak, fish or shrimp.
- 2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa
- 1 Tablespoon Powdered Cumin
- 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
- 1 Tablespoon any Chili Powder (my favorite is Ancho Chili).
- 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar (this allows the meat to carmelize)
- 1 teaspoon each Salt and Black Pepper
Rub on both side Pork Chops (or a Pork Tenderloin would also work).
Fry in Pan in oil or BBQ for 3-4 minutes per side (depending on thickness. 1 minute longer per side if really thick, 1 minute less if thin). I prefer to Pan Fry so the spices stay on the meat and do not fall through into the grill grates.
Dinner Pork Easy Mexican Spice Rub Cumin Garlic Oaxacan Oaxaca Gluten Free