Sunday, February 26, 2017

Smashed Baby Red Potatoes

Before we relocated, I began getting rid of magazines, dozens and dozens of them.  I tore out all sorts of recipes and stuck them in a folder to add to my personal cook book.  This recipe is in that folder and I just bought herbs and a variety of baby potatoes plus we are grilling rib eye steak tonight.

This is simple enough that if you are entertaining you can at least boil the potatoes in advance.  You can also make them ahead entirely and have them ready for the oven after guests arrive.

In my estimation, any single herb or combination of herbs will do, just base it on what you are serving with them.  You could even use only minced chives or only minced parsley and serve with a side of sour cream for dipping.  Tonight though, I used Thyme.

Rinse the 2 lbs Baby Potatoes and place in a pot and cover with cool water.  Add to the pot,  3 Smashed Cloves of Garlic, 6-8 Sprigs of whatever Herb you plan to use and a 1/4 Cup Salt.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat, reduce heat and simmer until tender.  Strain potatoes and discard the garlic and herbs.  Leave the potatoes in the strainer for 10 minutes in order for them to dry off.  They will be crispier that way.

Preheat oven to 425.  To a sheet pan, add 2 Tbl Olive Oil.  Place potatoes in a single layer on a sheet pan.  Using either the heal of your hand - or I used the flat side of my meat tenderizer - flaten each potato until it is the thickness of 1/2".  Brush upward facing side with 1 TBL Olive Oil.  Season with Salt and Pepper.  Roast in the hot oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.  I turned the potatoes over about half way through cooking.  

While the potatoes are roasting, mix together, 2 TBL Unsalted Butter, 1 Tbl minced Fresh Parsley, 2 tsp chopped Thyme, 1 tsp chopped Rosemary, 1 Pressed Garlic Clove, 1/2 tsp Salt, 1/4 tsp pepper.  When potatoes are golden brown, place on serving platter and brush them with the herbed butter.  Serve immediately.  

NOTE:  If you don't prefer the uncooked garlic, you can omit it all together and instead before roasting, quarter lengthwise 2 bulbs of Shallots and place the separated the layers to the pan.  Red Onion will work as well.   

Sunday, February 19, 2017


I moved to a new state about a month ago and am in a new Reading Club.  We read the book, The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.  The story is set in France when the Germans occupied the country during WWII.  Though they probably didn't enjoy a food like this during that time on account of food shortages, this is said to have originated in the Burgundy Region of France.  

I have on my blog a Dauphine Potato recipe as well as Profiteroles, both based on simple Choux Dough recipes.  This dough is similar and is made savory with the addition of cheese, in particular Gruyere.  

In looking for a recipe to give a nod to the French, I found this recipe in my book where I have indexed recipes from late food magazines.  I've never made them so this is my first go at it.  Based on the font of nearby recipes on other pages, I am fairly certain it came from Food and Wine, December 1988, wow, so practically 30 years old!

Remove 6 Large Eggs  from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature.  5 are for the recipe itself and 1 to brush on the Gougeres before baking.
NOTE: This recipe calles for a total of 5 EXTRA Large Eggs ~ so I made an adjustment on account of using Large Eggs
Preheat oven to 425.   
Grate 6 oz Parmesan Cheese and 1/2 Cup Gruyere Cheese into a bowl.  Set asside.  
In a medium bowl, combine 1 Cup Flour, 3/4 tsp Salt and 1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Pepper.  Set aside.

In a large heavy saucepan, combine 1 Cup Whole Milk and 1 Stick Unsalted Butter.  Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring as the butter melts.  Remove from heat immediately and add the flour mixture all at once.  Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon just until the dough masses into a ball and doesn't cling to the sides.  
Transfer dough to a mixing bowl and using the paddle beater, on medium, add a total of  5 Large Eggs, one at a time, mixing after until each egg is completely absorbed.  The dough should appear smooth and satiny and hold it's shape when a small amount is scooped with a spoon.  Add the Cheese Mixture and mix until throughly.  

I am going to use parchment paper on my sheet pans so they lift easily.  You can either pipe, scoop or spoon 2 tsp of batter into mounds leaving 1 1/2" of space between each.  

Beat remaining egg, and brush each gougeres with the egg glaze before baking.  Bake for approximately 12-15 minutes until rich golden brown.  The recipe called for 10 minutes of baking time but I clearly needed more time.  

Serve warm or at room temperature.  
Can be made ahead and reheated before serving.  Bon appetit!!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sweet and Sour Chicken

I'll have to post this recipe when I get a chance.  Pineapple is in season and right now a fresh one costs about $3.  This is a must for a crowd pleaser dinner.  I have written before about using my Sautéuse pan.  It's quite large as you can see, easily fitting 10 chicken thighs.  What I like best is that I can cook on top of the stove, assemble the rest of the dish, and put it straight into the oven for finishing. 

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Martha Stewart's Oven-Dried Tomatoes

I am in the process of relocating to a new state.  The sad thing is, my new kitchen is nothing like the one I have.   So with this move comes cleaning stuff out and just reducing "my stuff" whether kitchen equipment, bowls I love that have a chip, or things I haven't used in years, it's all going to a new home.

I have years of Martha Stewart Living magazines, fully in tact.  I am going through them one by one and ripping out anything that is still of interest and pitching the magazine.

The other day I came across this oven roasted tomato recipe that I recall I wanted to make when I first read the magazine years ago but somehow never found the time to do so.  We are having company for New Year's Eve and it will go nicely with the Asparagus with Brie Sauce (from Savoir Faire) my son plans to make as an hor's doeurve.

This is really very simple and I could kick myself for not making it sooner.  You just have to plan ahead because it roasts for hours.  I decided since tomatoes aren't exactly in season, that I would buy four varieties of cherry tomatoes.  The recipe calls for "paste" tomatoes which appear like romas in her picture but they were sort of pale and these cherries will roast a little faster, say four hours rather than five hours.  Mine are roasting now and smell delicious!

So preheat the oven to 200.  Line a sheet pan with Parchment Paper.  Cut 16-20 Cherry Tomatoes in half.  Place them on the sheet pan cut side up.  Cut thin Slices of Garlic and place on each tomato.  Drizzle with good Olive Oil.  Add Fresh Thyme and season with Salt and Pepper.  Place in oven, in my case for four hours.  Check every 30 mimutes after the first few hours.  Serve at Room temperature with a crostini, a peice of fresh spinach, a slice of Mozzarella Cheese, really what ever you have on hand.

They can be placed in a jar with additional Olive Oil and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

It's January 1, 2017.  Happy New Year!  I can tell you these were delicious.  5 of us ate them all along with the appetizer my son made.  Wow, I can tell you I will be making these often.  Thank you Martha Stewart!

Thursday, September 1, 2016


I made a wonderful Couscous yesterday to bring to my book club meeting.  We read a book called The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty.   The book is set in Casablanca, Morocco.  Our club has evolved to  trying to prepare foods that are either mentioned in the books we read or served in the location of the setting.  I regret that I didn't photograph this dish, but will next time when I make it again.

The recipe in general came from The Gourmet Cookbook.  The recipe called for Moroccan Style Preserved Lemon Wedges which should have been made 5 days ahead and since I didn't have time I substituted Lemon Zest and Lemon Juice.

Here is how to make the dish.

Preheat Oven to 425.

Cut 1 1/2 Lbs Butternut Squash to a 1/4" dice.  Toss with Olive Oil and roast for 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes.

While roasting is happening, cook 1 1/2 Cups Plain Couscous. (I used a 5oz box of Whole Foods 365 Couscous).  Boil together  1 1/2 Cups Water and 1/2 C Chicken Broth (use Vegetable Broth if mking this for vegetarians) with 1/4 tsp Salt, 1/4 tsp Cinnamon and 1 Tbl Olive Oil.  Once boiling, slowly stir in couscous and remove from heat, keep covered and set aside for 5 minutes to cook.  Remove lid and stir with a fork to keep from clumping.

Meanwhile, toast 1/2 Cup Pinenuts in Olive Oil in a small skillet.  Chopped 1/4 Cup Parsley and set asside and measure out 1/2 Cup White Raisins.

To finish the dish, Dice 3/4 Cup Onion.  Preheat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 1-2 Tbl Olive Oil.  Add Onion and cook until light brown.  Add Roasted Squash and stir.  Add Couscous and stir to combine.  Add Toasted Pine Nuts, Raisins and Parsley.  Add S&P to taste.  Remove to a large flat rimmed platter to keep from continuing to cook.  Serve immediately or at room temperature.  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Spiralizer Vegetable Pancakes

I have been intrigued by the Spiralizer for sometime and being drawn to kitchen gadgets, I bought one.  Bed, Bath & Beyond sells the OXO for $40, $32 after the discount.   I chose that one because of the way the suction mechanism works.  It will get lots of use, though I am not so sure about zucchini cut into spaghetti and then cooked like spaghetti because I like my zuchinni carmelized. Because it's so watery, cooking in water seems like the workings for a watery mess to me.  We'll see, maybe it's pictured raw with olive oil and herbs but we are led to believe it's cooked.  

So first up for me was vegetable pancakes.  I make potato pancakes often enough but wanted to try vegetables along with a small Sweet Potato for a change.  They were fun to make and very tasty.  You can combine many vegetables, including things I chose but also, turnips, rutabagas, scallions, shallots, onions, bean sprouts, black olives, zuchinni, summer squash, jicama, etc.  Really anything you are in the mood for.

We just got a local Whole Food a few weeks ago.  They have tri-colored carrots on their immense salad bar so that became my inspiration.  I figured they must sell them as well and I was right.

It takes a little practice to use the spiralizer and the short ends of the carrots didn't work as well because there isn't anything to grip.  The fatter halves worked better, so I cut them in half.

What I spun created 12 nicely sized vegetable pancakes.  Spiralize onto a sheet pan, 1 Small Peeled Sweet Potato, 1 Peeled Orange Carrot, 1 Peeled Red Carrot, 1 Peeled Yellow Carrot, 1 Medium Zuchinni. To this I added 1/2 Red Onion cut along the radius to make long strips.  Place all of the vegetables in a bowl.  Beat 2 Eggs with a few TBL of Milk.  Add to vegetables.  Generously add S&P to taste.  Add enough Flour to coat the vegetables so the excess moisture is absorbed.  Right before cooking, I dusted with a bit more flour so the vegetable mixture isn't soupy.  

Preheat the oven to 250 and have ready a sheet pan with a cooling rack inserted.  Preheat a skillet over medium heat and add 1/2" Canola Oil.  Make small pancakes and place in hot oil.  Flip over one time once golden brown.  You can add additional S&P if needed to the cooked side.  What's neat is because the spirals come out as very long strands, you have to break them apart and the result is that no 2 are alike.  

Place the cooked pancakes on the cooling rack and place them in the oven once they are all cooked.  Serve warm!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Roasted Cauliflower with Gruyere Sauce

A few weeks ago, we traveled to Chicago, a city I recommend you put on your 'don't miss' list!!  It was fantastic.  There is so much going on and so much to do in a very small square area that you will never be bored. I mostly walked every where I went, even if it was a mile away.  We were go, go, go, from the time we got there until the day we left, with museums, shopping, Wrigley Field for a game, and dining.  

On one of the nights, we went to Gibson's Bar & Steakhouse. It was very good, with the exception that for the first time ever, I was served an end piece of Prime Rib.  Normally, at least in my experience, those slices are saved for Medium Well diners.  I was disappointed that it was over done, when I ordered medium, and too dry for my taste.  I should've sent it back but the piece was large enough that I could find medium in the thicker areas and left the medium well behind.  Would I return, meh, maybe not.

The restaurant, as with most steakhouses, is ala carte.  The side dish we chose to share was something we had not eaten before.  Roasted Cauliflower with a Gruyere Sauce.  We couldn't finish it all and my son had 3 servings.  It was relly good.  When were returned home, I made what I thought was close to the dish.  

Preheat oven to 350.  Rinse and cut , 1 Cauliflower to desired size.  Place on a sheet pan and drizzle and coat in 1/4 Cup Olive Oil.  Add S&P to taste.  Place in oven for a total of 20-25 minutes, turing over the cauliflower after 15 minutes, to ensure even roasting.  

While cauliflower is roasting, make Gruyere Sauce.  For béchamel, heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add 3 Tbl Unsalted Butter.  Once it stops bubbling, add 3 Tbl Flour.  Stir for about 3 minutes total, without letting it brown.  Add 1 Cup Whole Milk and continue to cook for about 5 minutes.  It should bubble gently.  

Using a grater box, grate 5-6 oz Gruyere Cheese and add Gruyere to béchamel.  Add S&P to taste.  Add Roasted Cauliflower to the sauce, toss gently to coat, and place in buttered casserole dish.  

Pictured, I took 2 slices of a Rosemary Boule that we had from the previous night, and I tore them into randome pieces and added to the top. Then I sprinkled with Parsley and Paprika.  You can easliy use Panko Bread Crumbs instead.  Place in hot oven for 25-35 minutes, until bubbly and hot.  Let rest for 5 minutes and serve.

For a variation and bolder flavors, you can toss the cauliflower in hazelnut oil before roasting.  Before adding flour to the butter, add a medium shallot, minced, and let this sweat.  Then add the flour and continue on.  For the topping, instead of bread, use roughly chopped hazelnuts.  Season with nutmeg instead of parsley and paprika.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Tomato Basil Soup

Lately, I have eaten Tomato Basil Soup but have never attempted to make it ~ until today.  I found a nice recipe in my California Fresh Cook Book published by Jr League of Oakland-East Bay.  If you are a vegetarian, on a tight budget, or just like fresh homemade food, this is a recipe for you!

What made this particularly special is that I made it with my son, whom I homeschool and we served the soup in warm Panera Bread Bowls.  

Preheat a large pot over medium heat.  Once hot, add 1/4 C Butter, 1 Medium Coarsely Chopped Vidalia Onion, 2 Medium Diced Carrots.  Cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  

Meanwhile, rinse and quarter, 8 Medium Vine Ripe Tomatoes.  Coarsely chop 1/4 C. Fresh Basil.  Add Tomatoes, Basil, 1 tsp Salt, 3/4 tsp Sugar, 1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Pepper to the pot and stir to combine.  Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add 2 Cups of Chicken Stock (use Vegetable Stock for a vegetarian version).  Cook for an additional 10 minutes.  

At first we both thought the soup looked a tad bit thin, probably on account of my increasing the tomatoes from 5 to 8, so I added 1 Tbl uncooked Basmati Rice to the soup and once it was cooked, I blended it in for a heartier version.  That is an option for you depending on your tastes.  

Either using a blender in batches, blend soup until smooth and return to a clean pot or using a hand blender, whirl until the soup is blended.  The hand blender will not make a completely smooth soup.  If you want a silky smooth soup, use the blender method.  

While soup is cooking, preheat the oven to 300 and add the desired number of bread bowls and bake until crusty.  Remove a circular top and hollow out the bowl.  Turn off the oven, but return the bread bowls to the warm oven until ready to serve.

Once soup is done, season if necessary and serve in the warm bread bowls.  What a delicious lunch we had!!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Baked Brie

It's been a long time since I have posted anything to my blog.  I have been very busy and my blog has gone to the last rung of my priority list.

Last Christmas, at our tennis party, the hostess, my friend MAS, made this Baked Brie appetizer.  It was delicious!!  She sent around the recipe a few weeks ago and I decided I wanted to prepare it for a Thanksgiving Day appetizer.  I normally don't eat a lot so this appetizer will be a welcomed sight as I sip a Whiskey Sour - a Thanksgiving tradition thanks to my sister D and brother-in-law, L!

This recipe works well with a 10" Wheel of Brie.  Preheat over to 350.  Place the wheel of brie on a rimmed plate that you will serve from so you are not left trying to tranfer the soft brie.  Bake Brie for 20 minutes - til soft.

Meanwhile, prepare the topping.  Melt 1 Stick of Butter with 1 Cup of Brown Sugar over medium heat, until the sugar disolves.  Add to the mixture 1 Diced Granny Smith Apple, 1/2 Cup Crainsins, and 1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans and stir until everything is coated.  Remove from heat.  Add 2 Tbl Grand Marnier.  It will bubble as the alcohol evaporates.  Once it is done bubbling, pour over the hot brie.  Serve immediately with Sturdy Crunchy Crackers or Crunchy Bread Rounds.  Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Homemade Mozzarella Caprese Salad with Grilled Bread

I made Homemade Mozzarella for the second time.  This turned out better than the first time because I pulled it longer.  It was firmer and held its shape better.  One gallon of milk made 2 generous 8oz portions of cheese.   

For lunch I ate Slices of Mozzarella and Fresh Tomatoes drizzled in Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar, topped with Cracked Pepper and Hawaiian Black Salt.  I placed the tomato and cheese on Grilled Slices of Bread.  It was delicious!!