Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Spice Rack Challenge: Mace -- Scalloped Potatoes Au Gratin – the best of both worlds

Traditionally, scalloped potatoes have tons of butter and cream and no cheese at all. It’s Au Gratin potatoes that are cooked in a cheese sauce. I decided to combine the two recipes and I came up with the absolute BEST potato casserole I have ever had!!! Truly, The Best of Both Worlds.  And the bonus part – mine are made with NO butter, NO cream and very little cheese! Believe me, you will not miss them. And the mace? A perfect, perfect spice – warm, unexpected and totally great with the gruyere…. But I am getting ahead of myself…. Follow along…..

Slice 3 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes ¼ inch and simmer them for about 8 minutes or until they are tender. Whisk ¼ C flour into 3 Cups low-fat milk (2%) over low heat. Weird, I know.

While the potatoes are simmering away, bring the milk to a slow boil, stir a lot and believe it or not, it gets nice and thick….Add lots of black pepper, salt to taste and ¼ t mace (the Spice Rack Challenge of the month). Also add 1 C of grated Gruyere cheese.

Arrange about ½ of the potatoes in a greased 9 X 13 casserole; pour over ½ of the beautiful sauce. Make another layer of potatoes and sauce.

Sprinkle with another ¾ C gruyere. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. Broil for a few minutes to get a nice crispy top. Let all that delicious sauce absorb into the potatoes...  SO GOOD! SO GOOD!

I literally ate my way through this entire casserole…. with no guilt because it’s not very high in fat/calories.

(printable recipe)

One Year Ago: Brisket ( I wish I gave this one a better name.... like BEST Brisket)
                        Cannoli Ice Cream Cake (Super easy and super impressive. I make it for company.)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Oatmeal Honey Cookies

These cookies might get away with the name Oatmeal Honey Breakfast Cookie – I am eating two as I write this. It’s very early Saturday morning and I am having my first cup of coffee.

It’s my favorite part of the week actually.  Sitting in my favorite chair, the house is quiet, the dog is in his favorite spot right near my feet, the sun is rising outside my window. The sky is honey colored and the trees are golden. There is frost on the lawn and mist is rising from the lake. Autumn at its finest. The day is full of possibilities.

If you like oatmeal, you will like these cookies and if you like honey, you will love them.

Here’s what you need:
1 ½ C sugar (I think you could get away with 1 C)
¾ C butter
2/3 C honey
3 egg whites
4 C oats
2 C all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda

Here’s what you do:
Mix the sugar and butter. Add the honey and egg whites. Add the oatmeal and mix well. Add remaining ingredients.

You can see I made some small cookies and some giant cookies. The small ones were 1 level tablespoonful baked for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees. The giant ones were ¼ cupful, pressed down a bit before baking, baked for about 15-17 minutes at 350 degrees.  They never got completely brown on the bottom and I did not over bake them – just left them a tiny bit soft in the middle. Excellent. Chewy. Sweet. Golden. 

One Year Ago: Eggplant and Wild Rice (one of my favorite ways to eat eggplant)
                        Four Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies
     Pumpkin Butterscotch Chip Bundt Cake (you might already know how much I like my Bundt cakes!!)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Duchess Potatoes

My girlfriend totally impressed me the other day by casually mentioning that she had made Duchess Potatoes for her family for dinner. “What,” I asked, “are those??? And why don’t I know what they are??? And how can you pull that off on a work night???”

Not one to be outdone, I set out to make Duchess Potatoes that very week! Here’s how I did it….all thanks to my 26 year old Betty Crocker Cookbook. (and my competitive spirit….)

Boil some potatoes.

Mash them with 2 egg yolks and just a bit of milk, cream, buttermilk or half and half. Salt and pepper if desired.

Plop them in decorative (or not so decorative) mounds on a greased baking sheet. (Speaking of Betty Crocker, you, of course, could use a pastry bag and a star tip – none of which is owned by me…) Drizzle melted butter over the mounds of potatoes....  Dust with paprika… or not.

Bake at high heat (450 degrees) for about 10 minutes. Broil for a few minutes for a nice fancy finish.
Serve to your admiring family… on a work night… when they are expecting regular old mashed potatoes. 
(Yeah… I made Jello too…. Betty Crocker here….)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Apple Lemon Bread

I get tired of making banana bread…… all those frozen bananas waiting in the freezer…… you know the ones. I am not a huge fan of zucchini here to see one I tried. Pumpkin bread? .....don't love it…..I also have little bags of leftover frozen pumpkin lurking in the freezer in the obligatory 1 C measures.

So I was very surprised how much I liked this Apple Lemon Bread. Tender. Light. Not too sweet. Lemony.  It was good as is, and even better toasted with butter.

Here’s what you need:
¼ c butter
½ C sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 C flour
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 tart apples, peeled and grated (about 2 cups worth)
Zest from 2 lemons

Here’s what you do:
Grease a loaf pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar.  Beat in eggs. Add the remaining ingredients, mixing well.

Bake for about 50 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before cutting.

Early the next morning..... where's the coffee?

I pulled this bread out of the oven late in the afternoon and then had to rush off to choir practice before I could get a photo of the finished loaf. My husband volunteered to finish up my shots. I hope you have fun seeing his creative props. Remember that old Sesame Street song... "One of these things is not like the other" ? I think these photos will will give you an glimpse into what my kitchen often looks like when I am preparing my blog photos..... no, I am not talking about the nice Yahtzee game in the background. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Salmon Fish Cakes - Food Revolution

It was pretty hilarious. The day that I made these for dinner, I had the TV on and I was listening to an old Julia Child program on the DVR. She was making a classic fish chowder…. of course, just for fun she pronounced it ‘cha-dah.’  (like about 100 times) She actually made the fish broth using about 10 different types of fish – the bones, skin, heads, fins…… she recommended leaving the eyeballs in for extra flavor….. ugh.

If you have seen this episode, then you know she chops this fish in two with the BIGGEST knife on Earth! She had such gusto!  (Have you seen the episode when she cuts up a chicken with a sword? Classic.)

The funniest part of the show is when Julia says, “If you have good relations with your fish monger you can have him prepare the fish for you.” Good relations? Am I the only person who thinks that is hilarious? 

These Salmon Fish Cakes are excellent.  See Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution website here for the recipe.  

Here's basically what you do:

Gather potatoes, salmon, parsley, and and egg. I used fresh salmon, with the skin and bones carefully removed. 

Follow Jamie Oliver's advice and steam the salmon in a colander over a pot where you are gently boiling the potatoes. I thought it was very strange, but it worked perfectly. 

See how beautiful the salmon is? Since you will be frying the patties later, it does not need to be overly cooked at this point.

Mash the potatoes. Add the salmon, egg and parsley.

Form the mixture into a round and divide into serving size patties. I doubled the recipe from what was suggested. 

Dust the patties with flour. Fry in a bit of oil until nicely golden and crisp on both sides. 

These were excellent! 

(no printable recipe today, simple click here to see the original recipe on the Food Revolution site)

One Year Ago: Mom's Minestrone (easy and perfect for a quick meal)