Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Meet Chris!

Hi there! My name is Chris, and I'm SO thrilled to be a new addition to 37 Cooks! I am a true Texas gal, born in Fort Worth, raised on a ranch out West, a UT- Austin grad, and a current Houston resident!!! I love my Longhorns, Astros, and Texans (amongst others), but more than any of those, I love to cook!!! I am a bilingual elementary school teacher who loves her job, puppies, and cats. I love my hubs, "S", as well. But that's another story. I
also like to camp, travel, and read, but again... back to the food!!!

I must admit that growing up in a farm-style environment has definitely influenced my work in the kitchen today. I personally feel that there is a nice balance to be found in life, food included. Baking is fun on occasion, but I'm a cook at heart. A recipe, to me, should be a guideline, not a blueprint. I can't draw, paint, or sculpt, but I express my creativity in the kitchen. And I LOVE it!

I did live in Venezuela for awhile, so I have a certain nostalgic take on lots of recipes. If I were to describe my cooking style, I'd have to say that I am... a serious Texan, including BBQ, brisket, and Tex-Mex... with a German mother and a love for New Mexican and Caribbean influences... lots of spice and Latino flavors are hanging out in my kitchen, and I'm trying my hand at more Creole/ Cajun and Seafood. My surroundings inspire me, and I am proud to be who I am. Oh, and we do enjoy adult beverages around here, so don't be surprised if you stumble upon a concoction every once in awhile!

I'm really excited to be a part of this awesome group, and I look forward to sharing a lot of new ideas with you all! Cheers!!!

Caribbean Corn Bread, Texas-Style
adapted from a recipe in At Blanchard's Table by Melinda and Robert Blanchard

I'm always looking for new ideas and inspiration. This, however, is a time-tested, group-approved, down-South (well Texas Coast, at least) side that goes with just about anything. The original recipe is from the cookbook "At Blanchard's Table", by Melinda and Robert Blanchard. The (extra and varied) cheese mixture and jalapeño additions make it mine! I think that it's a good representation of my style of cooking -- a little sweet, a little rich, a little spicy... all rolled into one. Can be enjoyed with BBQ, chicken, salads, or as a nibble. I've even sliced a piece open, tossed in some sausage, and called it breakfast!!! Please try it -- and enjoy every bite!!!

1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
2 Tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ pound butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
4 eggs
1½ cups cream-style corn
½ cup crushed pineapple, drained
1 1/2 cups shredded jalapeño Monterey Jack and "the sharpest" cheddar that you can find (a mix of the two)
3 Tablespoons minced pickled jalapeños
2 Tablespoons pickled jalapeño juice, from the jar or can

1. Heat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour a large, deep pan, 9" x 13" (disposable is best). I usually line a cookie sheet with foil and place the pan on top of that. Trust me, it's worth the extra effort!!!

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, corn meal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add the corn, pineapple, and cheese. Mix to blend.

4. On low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix until blended well.

5. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour, 1 hour and 15 minutes. (It usually takes longer.) Don't undercook!!!

6. The cornbread is done when there is a nice, firm, browned top on the dish. The "toothpick" test doesn't really work on this, as you want the bread itself to be moist and crumbly. Once you have a solid top on the cornbread, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes.

*** A Little Tip... If the cornbread will be eaten in 2-3 days, it is okay to leave it, covered, on the counter. If, however, it will be hanging out longer than a few days, stash it in the fridge. Since pineapple and jalapeño are moist, they are susceptible to mold and I have had a couple of sad, sad instances of it. It also freezes really well. Let it cool, cut it up, and toss it into some Ziplock freezer bags. Then defrost -- just let it sit out -- and warm in either the microwave or oven. Microwave will produce a softer texture, while the oven will give you a nice crust and fresher taste. It's really up to you... But do please try it, it's a pretty simple recipe that always has people asking for more!!! Cheers!


  1. Love those cutie puppies and that cornbread looks great!

  2. Arm70, thank you for your sweet comment! Those puppies are my Loves, they mean the world to me! And the cornbread is really good- please let me know if you try it!!! And Thank You SO Much for checking out the 37 Cooks Website!

  3. Arm70, thank you so much for your sweet comment. Those puppies are my Loves!!! And the cornbread is really good- Please let me know what you think if you try it! Also, Thank You SO much for checking out the 37 Cooks Blog. It means a lot to all of us, and we appreciate each and every person who stops by. Cheers!!!- Chris