Monday, November 28, 2011

Hasselback Potatoes with Garlic Sour Cream

IMG_0198e Hands down these are the most delicious potatoes I have ever eaten and are worth every.single.carb-and-fat.calorie they contain.  Buttery, garlicky, fluffy on the inside and a little crispy on the outside.  Perfection!!

IMG_0184eAlso wonderful is that they’re simple to make.  Thinly slice fresh garlic and then slice partially through the potato a few times and insert the slices of garlic.

IMG_0189eThen toss in some melted butter and olive oil…YUM!  Sprinkle on some salt & freshly ground pepper and then pop in the oven.  The most difficult part, waiting the hour for the potatoes to finish cooking.


Hasselback Potatoes with Garlic Sour Cream 

12 red new potatoes
5-6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (I used a mandolin)
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400F. In a large cast iron skillet or oven safe casserole dish, melt the butter and olive oil together.  In the top of each potato, make several parallel slits making sure not to slice completely through. Place garlic slices into the slits on each potato. Toss the potatoes with the butter and olive oil mix and lay potatoes so that the cut sides are up.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Bake until the tops are crispy and potatoes are cooked through, about 1 hour. Transfer to a platter and serve with Garlic Sour Cream.

Garlic Sour Cream:
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine sour cream & garlic powder in a small bowl. Season with salt & pepper to taste and refrigerate until time to use.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Apple, Cranberry & Rhubarb Crisp

IMG_2503eI don’t particularly care for pie crusts but I enjoy the fillings so over the years I’ve realized that what I do really enjoy are crisps and they’re super simple and very forgiving to make.  Back in July I posted a recipe for a Rhubarb Crisp and because I love that crisp so much I decided that for Thanksgiving this year I would change it up a little adding apples and cranberries for a more seasonal taste and serve it for dessert.  In addition to the more seasonal fruit I changed the crisp topping ingredients to make it “safe” for Maisie and her food allergies.  The recipe worked out well, the dessert was delicious and a perfect finish to our Thanksgiving dinner.

IMG_2477eIn a large oven-safe casserole dish mix together the fruit and syrup.

IMG_2480eTop the fruit mixture with the oatmeal and nut crumble mixture.

IMG_2494e Bake until the fruit is bubbly and the topping has browned a bit.


Apple, Cranberry & Rhubarb Crisp

4 Granny Smith apples, peeled & large dice
1 pound ruby rhubarb, fresh or frozen, sliced
1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 TBS fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
2 TBS warm water

Crumb Topping
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup very roughly chopped walnuts
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup old fashioned oats 
1/4 cup Earth Balance buttery spread

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large oven-safe casserole dish combine the lemon juice, sugar and water and stir to dissolve.  Add the apples, rhubarb & cranberries and stir to coat the fruit with the syrup.  In a separate microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter and then add the walnuts, brown sugar and oats and using your fingers, mix to combine into a crumbly mix.  Sprinkle over the fruit.

Bake 40-50 minutes until the fruit is bubbly around the edges and the crisp has started to brown.  Serve warm or room temperature.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Rum Cured Salmon

Back in February 2010 I posted Rum-Cured Salmon Summer Rolls and I posted the recipe for the salmon along with a single picture of the summer roll.  We honestly adore this salmon recipe and since I was making it again recently I decided to document the recipe.    

IMG_2001e1On a foil and then plastic wrapped sheet pan, place salmon skin side down and cover the salmon with the curing mixture.

IMG_2007e1Drizzle on the rum.

IMG_2010eCover the tray with plastic wrap and then place a second sheet pan directly on the salmon along with 5 pounds of weights and refrigerate for 18-24 hours.

IMG_2140eSalmon after curing overnight.

IMG_2142eScrape off the curing spices and pour off all the juices.

IMG_2160eThinly slice the salmon on the diagonal.

IMG_2149eDeliciousness on a plate.

IMG_2163eI used two filets totaling 3 pounds of salmon so I scaled the recipe below to fit my needs.  We enjoyed one filet and I froze the second one and we’re looking forward to enjoying it very soon.

Rum Cured Salmon

1 cup (lightly packed) chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh ginger
3 TBS. Sichuan peppercorns, cracked
one 2-pound fresh salmon fillet with skin still attached (I use steelhead salmon)
1/3 cup dark rum

In a bowl, combine the cilantro, brown sugar, salt, ginger and Sichuan peppercorns.  Line a sheet pan with foil and then cover the foil with plastic wrap.  Place the salmon on the prepared pan skin side down. Press the cilantro mixture evenly over the fish and then drizzle the rum over the salmon.  Lay a piece of plastic wrap over the salmon, covering completely. Place a second sheet pan directly on top of the covered salmon and then place about 5-pounds of weight on top of that. Refrigerate for no less than 18 hours and no more than 24.

After salmon has cured, scrape off the curing mixture and discard. Using a sharp knife, cut the salmon into thin slices on the diagonal. Store the salmon for up to a week in a tightly sealed, air squeezed out, Ziplock bag or freeze the the entire filet for later use.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Apple Dumplings

IMG_1944e Recently I saw a recipe for apple dumplings on Tina’s blog, Moms Crazy Cooking and they looked so easy and delicious I just had to make them.

IMG_1898e When I say easy, I mean easy.  Peel and slice an apple.

IMG_1902e Wrap each apple slice in a triangle of refrigerated crescent dough.

IMG_1907e Lay the wrapped apples in a greased pan.

IMG_1909e Pour on a mixture of melted butter, sugar and vanilla.

IMG_2209e Spread on some partially thawed apple  juice concentrate and add some water.  

IMG_2214eSprinkle with cinnamon and chopped pecans and then bake. 

Like I said, super simple and what you get are hot and delicious apple dumplings.

IMG_1939e Apple Dumplings (Adapted from here)

1 stick butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cups sugar
1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls
1 granny smith apples
1/2 can frozen apple juice concentrate
1/4 cup water
ground cinnamon 
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Peel and slice your apples. Wrap each slice in a crescent dough triangle and place in a sprayed (greased) 8x8-inch pan.  In a bowl melt the butter and then lightly stir in the sugar and vanilla so that the mixture remains grainy. Pour over top of the wrapped apples. Spread the frozen apple concentrate over the wrapped apples and pour in the water.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and pecans. Place in 350 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.


Thank you to everyone who commented and emailed with food suggestions, websites and links in helping me with food substitutions and suggestions so that I can feed Maisie with her recently diagnosed allergy to wheat, milk and egg whites.  I am beginning to find my way and hopefully soon I’ll easily be cooking up a storm of wonderful foods that are safe for Maisie to eat.

Friday, November 18, 2011

HELP!!! What do I feed her?

My foodie friends I need your help.  Last Friday I took Maisie in for her yearly physical and while the doctor said she was doing great and she’s healthy, strong and growing along her percentile curve she was concerned about Maisie’s allergies.  We have never had Maisie tested for allergies and I guess that it was always assumed that she had pollen allergies but lately pollen counts are at almost zero and Maisie is still suffering.  So last Friday they drew blood and today the doctor called with the results and that’s why I need your help.  Maisie’s tests showed that she didn’t have any pollen or environmental allergies but that she is allergic to egg whites, milk and wheat.  Just frikkin great because that accounts for all her favorite foods.

IMG_2204eIt’s ironic because just yesterday on our family blog, Moments with Maisie, I posted that Maisie eats Nutella on wheat bread almost every morning and now there is nothing in that sentence which she can have as obviously the bread has wheat and Nutella contains milk…Cr@p!!

Maisie’s favorite foods are pasta, cheese, Nutella, eggs and dumplings and it’s from the cheese, Nutella, eggs and dumplings where she gets most of her protein as she’s not a huge meat eater.  So my dear helpful readers I need your help with food options for my girl as I have no idea what to feed her now that I need to remove egg whites, milk and wheat from her diet and I’m freaking out!  Truly, anyone who has experience with this I would appreciate your comments and recipe suggestions. 

In other food related news, I still have to plan my Thanksgiving menu but just haven’t had time to think about it yet.  I do know that we are going to have Spice Rubbed Turkey with Cognac Gravy, the same turkey as last year as it was freaking amazing and I don’t even really care for turkey but I’m looking forward to having this one again.  Past the turkey I just don’t know yet but I’ll figure it out.  If you’re still looking for a fabulous turkey recipe, just click on the picture to be taken to the recipe.

Spice Rubbed Turkey with Cognac Gravy


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Praline Pumpkin Cheesecake

IMG_2055eHere we are already, the second month of the Improv Cooking Challenge which is now being hosted by Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker.  How this challenge works is, each month two ingredients are assigned and you can make any recipe of your choice as long as it includes those two ingredients.  Last month, for the inaugural challenge all the participants made recipes using caramel and apple and I have to say, the Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies that I made were over the top wonderful.  I loved seeing all the other wonderful caramel and apple recipes, eighty-two to be exact, that the other participants submitted and if you’re interested in seeing them all, just click over to my Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies post and scroll to the bottom to see all the submissions. 

This month we were challenged to make a recipe which included cream cheese and pumpkin and to this end I decided on a Praline Pumpkin Cheesecake.  I decided that I would use a basic cheesecake recipe that I have been using for decades and that I would change it up a bit and get that pumpkin pie flavor in there.  Next I chose to not only top it with praline but to also carry those flavors through by only using brown sugar throughout the cake and also by adding pecans to the crust.  In the end I managed to make one of the best cheesecakes I have ever made.  The flavor of the brown sugar with the pumpkin, the spices, the toasted nuts, well they melded perfectly and this recipe is going to be made again and again.  I hope that you’ll give this cheesecake a try as it’s beyond delicious and a perfect dessert to grace your holiday table.

IMG_1965eThe crust came together quickly as all the ingredients went into the food processor.

IMG_1969eA couple spins of the blade and the crust was ready to bake.

IMG_1972ePress the crust ingredients into the bottom of a 10-by-3 inch springform pan and bake for 10 minutes.

IMG_1976eWhile the crust bakes and cools, drain the pumpkin squeezing out as much liquid as possible.

IMG_1979eOnce the crust is baked and cooled place the pan in an oven bag and roll down the edges.  I find that the oven bags are easier and work much better than layers of foil for keeping the water out of the pan.

IMG_1984ePour the filling over the crust and then put the pan into a large roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with hot water so that it comes half way up the springform pan.

IMG_1986eCheesecake, crack free since it was cooked in a water bath.

IMG_2026eOnce the cheesecake is cooled completely top with the praline topping and chill to allow the topping to set.

 IMG_2057e Praline Pumpkin Cheesecake

1 cup pecans
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs 
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 egg yolk

3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin 
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups brown sugar 
2 tsp. roasted ground cinnamon 
1 tsp. ground ginger  
1/2 tsp. allspice 
1/2 tsp. ground cloves 
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg 

1 1/2 cups pecans
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 TBS. butter
1 TBS vanilla extract 
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to at 375°F.

To make the crust:  In a food processor pulse the pecans, brown sugar, graham cracker crumbs, flour, butter and egg yolk until fully mixed. Press into the bottom of 10-by-3 inch springform pan and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.  Once the crust is cooled completely, put the pan into a large oven bag and roll down the edges so that they are the same height as the pan.

Once the crust has baked, reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.  Bring a kettle of water to a boil.

To make the filling:  Drain the pumpkin purée by placing it on several layers of paper towels. Cover with additional layers of paper towels and use your hands to gently squeeze out as much liquid as you can from the purée.  In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Scrape down the bowl and add the pumpkin purée and mix until well blended.  Add the egg, sour cream, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves and nutmeg and blend until everything is well incorporated.

Pour the filling into the cooled crust and then transfer the oven bag lined pan to a large roasting pan and place in the preheated 325°F oven.  Pour the boiling water into the roasting pan so that it comes about halfway up the side of the springform pan.  Bake the cheesecake for 60 minutes and then turn oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven for 30 minutes longer.  Lift the cheesecake from inside the oven bag and keeping the cake in the springform pan, place on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

To make the praline topping: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange the pecans, single layer on a baking sheet and toast for 7 to 9 minutes, until golden and aromatic. Coarsely chop the nuts. Stir together the brown sugar, cream and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Boil the mixture for about 1 1/2 minutes making sure it does not boil over. Do not stir. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla, salt, and pecans. Cool the praline about 30 minutes so that it thickens up some before pouring over the top of the chilled cheesecake. Pour over the cheesecake and then chill a few hours or overnight allowing the praline to harden a bit.  When ready to serve, if necessary, run a sharp knife around the inside of the springform pan before opening the clasp and removing the ring.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pink Strawberry Cake Balls

IMG_0565eI’ve gotten better at actually photographing the things I make but it takes a lot longer for me to actually write up my post and get it published, or what happened with this recipe, it just sort of got lost amongst the drafts.

IMG_0410eIt was back the beginning of September that I posted this picture on Moments with Maisie of Maisie helping to make a strawberry cake because it was just what we had done that day but I never posted what we did with cake…Until now.

IMG_0563eMaisie and I made adorable little pink Strawberry Cake Balls.

IMG_0571eThere were mini chocolate bits inside and they were coated with white chocolate and pretty pink sugar.

Pink Strawberry Cake Balls

1 box strawberry cake mix, prepared according to package instructions
1 8 oz. brick cream cheese, room temperature
1 16-ounce can strawberry frosting 
1/2 bag mini chocolate chips 
white candy melts 
Crisco solid shortening, if needed
pink sugar crystals

Prepare the cake mix according to the package instructions.  Allow the cake to cool completely and then crumble into a large bowl.  To the cake crumbles stir in the cream cheese and strawberry frosting until fully mixed.  Mix in the mini chocolate chips.  Using a cookie scoop form and place each cake ball on a Silpat lined cookie pan.  Once all the cake balls have been formed place the tray in the freezer to allow the cake balls to harden.

Melt the candy melts in the microwave, stirring every minute so not to burn the candy.  Add Crisco if the candy needs to be thinned a little.  Dip the frozen cake balls in the melted candy, place back on the Silpat and immediately sprinkle with the sugar crystals.  Refrigerate to set the candy.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Aloo Tikki

IMG_1472eHere we are already at the third month of the Crazy Cooking Challenge hosted by Tina of Moms Crazy Cooking.  Each month she challenges participating bloggers to search non-celebrity blogs looking for the ultimate recipe of the month and then to make and feature that recipe and the blog.  The first month we were challenged to find the ultimate mac & cheese recipe and I made a delicious Velvety Mac & Cheese.  Last month the challenge was chocolate chip cookies and for me, my ultimate was Chocolate Chip Gingersnaps, truly delicious. 

This month we were challenged to find the ultimate mashed potato recipe.  Sounded simple enough as everyone seems to have what they consider a wonderful mashed potato recipe but as I was reading through all the various recipes, nothing struck me.  Don’t get me wrong, they all sounded delicious, some with simple additions some with a myriad of ingredients, butter, cream cheese, sour cream, bacon, garlic, herbs and spices but just nothing called to me.  So I looked in a different direction and there were cakes and brownies which had mashed potatoes as one of the ingredients but still, I was uninspired.   Then it happened, I was having lunch with a friend and was happily enjoying some Aloo Tikki,  It struck me, Aloo Tikki are essentially wonderfully seasoned mashed potatoes fried up into little patties, Brilliant!  I was finally inspired so off I went looking for the my ultimate mashed potato recipe in the form of Aloo Tikki and I found it at Arundhuti’s My Saffron Kitchen.  The recipe was simple and the pictures captivating so I was ready to cook…well once I picked up some potatoes. 

I changed the spices in the recipe somewhat to utilize what I had available at home and also to adjust it to my tastes and in the end I have to say, I made some ultimate Aloo Tikki and and I think they qualify as the ultimate mashed potato recipe of the month.  If you think so too, I’d appreciate your vote on the links below.  I hope too that you’ll give Aloo Tikki a try and remember if you have some regular mashed potatoes, they could easily be used as the base for these.

IMG_1421eMy beautiful Maisie Miao Miao helped by mashing the boiled potatoes.

IMG_1428eWe mixed all the ingredients together in one big bowl and then using a large cookie scoop I portioned out the potato mixture.

IMG_1441eI patted down the scoops to make patties, each about 1/4-inch thick.

IMG_1451eI coated the outside of the patties with a cornmeal & cornstarch mixture.

 IMG_1454eIn about 1/8-inch of oil, I fried the Aloo Tikki.

 IMG_1460eOnce browned on the first side I carefully turned and browned the other side.

 IMG_1464e Crispy on the outside, creamy spicy potatoes on the inside and the peas have a nice little pop when you bite into them, perfection!

Aloo Tikki  (Adapted  from here)

2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and boiled until easily pierced by a knife
1 cup frozen sweet peas
1 medium onion, finely minced (I used Vidalia)
2 green Thai chilies, seeded and minced finely
1 red Thai chili, seeded and minced finely
2 1/2 tsp. amchur powder (dried mango powder)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 TBS. finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
salt to taste
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup cornstarch
Oil to shallow fry (I used peanut oil)

Drain and mash the potatoes in a large bowl.  Add the peas, minced onion, minced green & red Thai chilies, amchur powder, ground cumin, ground coriander, grated ginger, fresh cilantro and ground pepper.  Mix well and add salt to taste.  Using a large cookie scoop portion out the potato mixture.  Flatten each ball to approximately 1/4 –inch thick.  In a bowl mix together the cornmeal and cornstarch and then coat each patty lightly with the mixture.  In a large fry pan heat approximately 1/8-inch of oil.  Fry the tikkis on both sides until golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack lined with paper towels to drain the excess oil.  Salt if desired and serve hot with ketchup or a chutney of your choice.



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