Monday, November 29, 2010

Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Garlic

3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
1 head garlic (3 inches wide)
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups whole milk
4 T unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Preheat oven to 425°. Wrap each potato in foil, then prick potatoes through foil several times with a fork. Cut off and discard 1/2 inch from top of garlic head, exposing cloves. Put garlic on a double layer of foil, then drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Twist foil tightly to enclose. Roast potatoes and garlic on rack in upper third of oven until tender, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

Unwrap garlic and cool to warm, then squeeze cloves into a large bowl and mash well with a fork. Heat milk, butter, white pepper, and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until butter is melted. While milk mixture heats, unwrap baked potatoes and force through ricer into bowl with garlic. Pour in hot milk mixture and gently stir with a large heatproof rubber spatula until combined.

Note: Because of modifications to the original recipe, we ended up with too much liquid. I've adjusted the amounts to what should work, but add a little at a time, just in case.

Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups firmly packed unseasoned mashed sweet potatoes (about 3 pounds) (see note)
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter a 2-quart casserole and set aside.
2. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, beating until smooth. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust as needed.
3. Scoop into the casserole, spreading to the edge and roughing the surface. Bake uncovered on the middle oven shelf for about 45 minutes or until tipped with brown.

Note: Wash potatoes and pierce with a fork, roast on a cookie sheet at 400° for 1 hour. Cool to room temperature, peel, then mash until light and fluffy.

We used an immersion blender to mash and combine ingredients simultaneously. This recipe had a lovely orange flavor, and was only lightly sweet.

Apple Ginger Pie Filling


Fills one 9 1/2" pie

3 pounds Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 teaspoon apple pie spice

Bake at 400 for one hour.

Note: I was skeptical that there was enough bourbon in this recipe to be noticeable, but it played off the ginger really nicely. We made up our own apple pie spice combination.

Crème Fraîche Gelato

Makes about 5 cups
Source: Molto Gusto: Easy Italian Cooking by Mario Batali and Mark Ladner

2 cups milk
½ cup sugar
½ cup corn syrup
1¾ cups (14 ounces) crème fraîche (see note)
½ teaspoon salt

Combine the milk, sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved and the temperature registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Pour the mixture into a heatproof bowl and chill over an ice bath, stirring occasionally, until cold.

Using an immersion blender or a whisk, mix the crème fraîche and salt into the milk mixture. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into another bowl or container, cover and refrigerate for at least six hours or, preferably, overnight. Whisk the crème fraîche mixture until smooth. Freeze the gelato in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze one hour before serving.

Note: For homemade crème fraîche, combine four parts heavy cream with one part buttermilk (~1 1/3 c and 1/3 c, respectively) in a covered container and let it stand at a cool room temperature (65 to 70 degrees) for 24 to 36 hours, until it thickens and sours slightly. Stir it well and refrigerate. It'll keep for one week.

Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream

One generous quart

For the praline:
  • ½ cup (100 gr) sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
For the ice cream custard:
  • 2 cups whole milk, divided
  • 1½ cups (300 gr) sugar
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • scant ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
1. To make the caramel praline, spread the ½ cup of sugar in an even layer in a medium-sized, unlined heavy duty saucepan. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or oil lightly.

2. Heat the sugar over moderate heat until the edges begin to melt. Use a heatproof utensil to gently stir the liquefied sugar from the bottom and edges towards the center, stirring, until all the sugar is dissolved. (Or most of it—there may be some lumps, which will melt later.)

Continue to cook stirring infrequently until the caramel starts smoking and begins to smell like it’s just about to burn. It won’t take long.

3. Sprinkle in the salt without stirring, then pour the caramel onto the prepared baking sheet and lift up the baking sheet immediately, tilting and swirling it almost vertically to encourage the caramel to form as thin a layer as possible. Set aside to harden and cool.

4. To make the ice cream, make an ice bath by filling a large bowl about a third full with ice cubes and adding a cup or so of water so they’re floating. Nest a smaller metal bowl (at least 2 quarts/liters) over the ice, pour 1 cup (250 ml) of the milk into the inner bowl, and rest a mesh strainer on top of it.

5. Spread 1½ cups sugar in the saucepan in an even layer. Cook over moderate heat, until caramelized, using the same method described in Step #2.

6. Once caramelized, remove from heat and stir in the butter and salt, until butter is melted, then gradually whisk in the cream, stirring as you go.

The caramel may harden and seize, but return it to the heat and continue to stir over low heat until any hard caramel is melted. Stir in 1 cup of the milk.

7. Whisk the yolks in a small bowl and gradually pour some of the warm caramel mixture over the yolks, stirring constantly. Scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan and cook the custard using a heatproof utensil, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom as you stir) until the mixture thickens. If using an instant-read thermometer, it should read 160-170 F.

8. Pour the custard through the strainer into the milk set over the ice bath, add the vanilla, then stir frequently until the mixture is cooled down. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or until thoroughly chilled.

9. Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

10. While the ice cream is churning, crumble the hardened caramel praline into very little bits. Once your caramel ice cream is churned, quickly stir in the crushed caramel, then chill in the freezer until firm.

Note: As the ice cream sits, the little bits of caramel may liquefy and get runny and gooey, which is what they’re intended to do.

Pie Crust Victory!

NOTES: We used the Betty Crocker crust recipe and a lefse board with a muslin cover. It rolled out PERFECTLY, and was still flaky three days later.


6 eggs
3 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 c sugar
1 c margarine, melted (do not substitute oil)
4 tsp baking powder
2 tbls anise extract (1 fl oz bottle)

Beat eggs, add sugar gradually. Beat until smooth.
Add cooled margarine and anise.
Sift flour and baking powder. Blend into egg mixture until smooth. Dough will be sticky enough to be dropped by spoon.

Bake in pizzelle maker. Makes approximately 60. "Can use vanilla instead of anise, but I've never tried it."

SOURCE: Jan Antinozzi (who was also gracious enough to lend her pizzelle iron)

Gingerbread Plus

3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 c molasses
1/2 cup ginger syrup, or light corn syrup
8 tbls melted butter
1/4 c vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 1/2 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tbls ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 c (4.5 ounces) minced crystallized ginger (optional)
1 c boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together the sugar, molasses, syrup, melted better, oil, and eggs, beating until smooth. Stir in the flour, baking soda, spices, salt, and crystallized ginger. Then carefully stir in the water; go slowly, as it will want to splash up. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and stir in any of the pasty patches that have gathered there.

Pour the batter into a lightly greased 9 x 13 pan or tube pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until it tests done. Brush with additional ginger syrup.

NOTES: Great flavor. When I make this again, I will definitely consider adding a chopped apple (omitting some of the boiling water), or perhaps will add some of the chopped ginger by-product from the ginger syrup recipe.

Ginger Syrup

"Bitingly hot and sweet, this ginger syrup is a snap to make. Drizzle it over gingerbread, biscuits or scones, pancakes, or oatmeal. It's a wonderful addition to tea, too."

4 cups (about 13 ounces) fresh gingerroot, unpeeled, cut into 1/8-1/4" thick slices (a food processor makes short work of this task.)
3 1/2 cups sugar
3 1/2 cups water

In a large, heave saucepan, bring the ginger, sugar, and water to a boil. Boil the mixture for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until it registers 216-220 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. The lower temperature will give you a thinner syrup, one that's easy to stir into drinks; the higher temperature will yield a thicker syrup, more the consistency of corn syrup. (You can't tell how thick the syrup will be while it's still hot; you have to go by its temperature, as it'll thicken as it cools.)

Remove the pan from the burner and carefully strain the syrup into a nonreactive container. Store in the refrigerator.

SOURCE: It's a page copied from some cookbook. I got the recipe from Becky Brounstein and it's pretty fantastic. Her notes say it lasts months in the refrigerator, it's great in seltzer for homemade ginger ale (good for sour stomach), makes a great glaze of fruits and tarts, and really good in tea.

NOTES: I made this to use in and on a gingerbread cake recipe. Yum! Mine never did get up to the higher temperature, in spite of the long cooking time. It tastes fantastic and is really easy to make. (It really didn't even need to be stirred.) The only change I'd make is to possibly peel the ginger root. It was delicious and could possibly be chopped and used in some recipe (maybe even the gingerbread recipe noted above). I highly recommend slicing it in the food processor. It was super-easy.

YIELD: Two pints of syrup and a bunch of delicious (somewhat) candied ginger.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Vanilla Rum Caramels

1 lb. butter
2 lb. brown sugar
16 oz corn syrup
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp vanilla paste
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup dark rum

In a large kettle melt butter, stir in brown sugar, rum and salt. Gradually add corn syrup and milk, stirring constantly. Cook over medium heat until it reaches firm ball stage(245 to 250). Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour into a well buttered jelly roll pan. Let cool until set and then cut into 1 x 3/4 inch pieces and wrap in waxed paper.

Makes ~200 pieces

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thai Coconut Chicken

3 chicken breasts(1.5-ish lbs) cut into large cubes
1 can coconut milk
3/8 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/8 cup fish sauce
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
1 tsp curry
2 tbsp sriracha(or to taste)
2 cups steamed veggies(broccoli, carrots, snap peas)

Whisk together coconut milk, soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, peanut butter, curry & sriracha. Add chicken cubes to sauce and let marinate for 15 minutes to 3 hours. Pour chicken and sauce into a pan and cook for ~10 minutes over medium/high heat until chicken is cooked, add veggies right at the end.

Serve over rice.

Makes 5 servings.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Farm Journal Fudge

1 cup butter
4-1/2 cups sugar
1 (7oz) jar marshmallow creme
1 (14.5oz) can evaporated milk
12oz milk chocolate
12oz semisweet chocolate
2 cups chopped walnuts

Combine butter, sugar, marshmallow creme and evaporated milk in a small kettle. Bring to a boil over medium to low heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Boil steadily over low heat for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat. Add chocolate and nuts; stir until chocolate is melted and blended in.

Pour at once into two buttered 9" square pans. When cool and firm cut into pieces.

Makes approximately 5.5 pounds.

Generic marshmallow creme does not work well, it must be Kraft!
I use a candy thermometer to make sure the mixture is below 115 degrees so that I don't scorch the chocolate.

Candy Corn

1 cup white sugar

2/3 cup corn syrup

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon vanilla extract(or 1/8tsp Fiori di Sicilia if you want creamsicle flavoured)

2 1/4 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup powdered milk

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

10-40 drops red and yellow food coloring

- Heat white sugar, corn syrup and butter in a sauce pan over low heat. Stir until all ingredients are dissolved. Turn heat to high until mixture comes to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and let bubble (uncovered) for 5 minutes.

- Stir in vanilla extract and remove from heat. Allow to cool until warm to the touch (about 15 minutes).

- In a large bowl sift powdered sugar, powdered milk and salt. Add cooled mixture from sauce pan and stir until it’s too thick. Begin to work with your hands and knead the dough until all of the powdered sugar have been absorbed.

- Divide dough into 3 sections, make a dent in 2 pieces and add 20 drops of yellow food coloring to each. In one of those, add 9 drops of red food coloring to create orange. Mix each until colors are even throughout.

- To make candy corns, eyeball 1/8th of the dough from each piece. Roll each color into long ropes and press together. Cut with a knife and smoosh the seams together. Microwave them in short bursts to keep the dough warm. Allow the candy to cool and air dry.

- Once dry, store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas Verdes

2 bone-in chicken breasts (1 1/2 to 2 pounds total)
1 16-ounce jar mild salsa verde
2 cups fresh cilantro sprigs
1 cup sour cream, plus more for serving
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
8 ounces Muenster or Monterey Jack cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
kosher salt and black pepper
8 6-inch flour tortillas

  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Place the chicken in a medium pot, add enough water to cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes; remove from pot and let cool. When cool enough to handle, shred the chicken, discarding the skin and bones; place the meat in a large bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, in a blender, puree the salsa, cilantro, and ½ cup of the sour cream until smooth. Transfer to a small saucepan and simmer until slightly thickened, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the remaining ½ cup sour cream.
  3. To the chicken, add the corn, ½ cup of the sauce, 1 cup of the cheese, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper and toss to combine.
  4. Spread 1 cup of the remaining sauce in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Roll the chicken mixture in the tortillas (about ½ cup per tortilla) and place seam-side down in the dish. Top with the remaining sauce and cheese. Bake until bubbling and beginning to brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with cilantro, sour cream, and rice, if desired.
NOTES: Measure the cilantro very loosely (don't pack it in). The only change I made was to use small, fajita-sized tortillas. The recipe made 16 of these and I divided them into two 2.75 quart pyrex baking dishes. I baked one right away and the other is in the freezer. I put the topping sauce in a zip-loc and the extra cheese in another zip-loc. It can all be assembled before baking.
SOURCE: Real Simple

Italian Chicken

1 lb. boneless chicken breast
1 c. crushed onion and garlic croutons
1/3 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 c. tomato puree

Combine crushed croutons, cheese, and seasoning in a wide shallow bowl. Put puree in a second bowl. Cut chicken into 1-inch strips. Dip in puree, then coat with crumbs. Place on sprayed baking dish, and bake at 400 for 35-45 minutes.

Source: Church Cookbook, Joy Polnaszek

I made this with some changes last night and Dad and Nick really liked it.

  • I didn't have croutons, so I used dried bread crumbs instead.
  • I mixed the seasonings with the crumbs (but not the cheese).
  • Instead of tomato puree, I used some leftover pizza sauce.
  • I cut each chicken breast into about three parts (instead of strips), cutting off the narrower half and then slicing the thicker part in two pieces lengthwise so there were three pieces of about the same general thickness.
  • I sprinkled the Parmesan on top of it all before baking.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Bread Pudding with Vanilla Rum Sauce

Bread Pudding

4 cups cubed bread(old dry bread is just fine)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup amaretto
3 eggs
1 cup half and half
1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

Spread the bread cubes evenly in a greased 9x13 pan, drizzle with butter and amaretto. Whisk together remaining ingredients and pour evenly over the bread. Bake at 350 for 35-50 minutes or until an knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Vanilla Rum Sauce

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup rum
1 cup half and half
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste(or 1 split vanilla bean, or 1 tsp vanilla extract)

In a small sauce pan melt butter, stir in rum and vanilla. Whisk together half and half and cornstarch, then whisk that into the butter. Stir over medium heat until slightly thickened. Serve warm over bread pudding.