Monday, February 19, 2018

POTATO GRATIN

I've been searching for a great gratin for a few years, and I finally found it. The original recipe calls for quarter-inch-thick potato slices, but I cut mine with a European cheese slicer, which I also used to peel the potatoes, and the slices were about an eighth of an inch thick. One more thing, be sure to let gratin rest for 10 minutes after removing it from the oven.




Potato  Gratin
Serves 9


2 ½ cups whipping cream
¾ cup finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons salt
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into ¼-inch or thinner slices                                                                             
8 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, coarsely grated


1. Whisk together cream, shallots, rosemary, salt, and pepper in medium bowl.
2. Place half of potatoes in buttered 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish, distributing them evenly.
3. Spread with about ¾ packed cup cheese.
4. Top with second half of potatoes, distributing them evenly.
5. Pour cream mixture over potatoes.
6. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top of potatoes.
7. Cover gratin with aluminum foil and bake at 375°F. oven for 1 hour.
8. Uncover and bake until top is golden brown and potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes longer. May be broiled for a few minutes if necessary to get top golden brown.

9. Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

APRICOT BARS

Candy-like topping over delicious shortbread crust—gotta love it! These store well and are better eight or more hours after baking.





Apricot  Bars
Makes 16

2/3 cup dried apricots
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/4 cup fine granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 eggs at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup shredded coconut

1. Butter 8x8-inch baking pan.
2. Rinse apricots, cover with water, and boil 10 minutes. Drain, cool, and chop.
3. Combine 1 cup flour and granulated sugar. Blend in butter until crumbly, using fork or pastry blender. Press mixture into bottom of prepared pan.
4. Bake crust at 350°F. until lightly browned, about 18 minutes.
5. Beat eggs and vanilla, and then gradually beat in brown sugar.
6. Sift remaining 1/3 cup flour with baking powder and salt.
7. Blend flour mixture into egg mixture.
8. Stir in walnuts, coconut, and apricots. Spread over baked crust.
9. Bake in 350°F. oven for 30 to 35 minutes.

10. Cool completely before cutting into 16 bars.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

CLASSIC BRAN MUFFINS

Committed to eating more fiber, I plan to make a batch of these muffins each week and then to freeze most of them. Each night that I don't have fresh muffins, I will remove two muffins from the freezer and place them in a plastic tub to thaw overnight. The next day, I will eat the thawed muffins as a treat, not necessarily for breakfast.

Note that doubling the recipe would be a cinch.




Classic  Bran  Muffins
Makes 12


1 cup buttermilk
1 12 
cups wheat bran
1 egg
13 
cup vegetable oil
12 cup brown sugar
34 teaspoon baking powder
34 
teaspoon baking soda
12 teaspoon salt
34 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 cup all-purpose flour
12 cup whole-wheat flour
1cup raisins, shredded coconut, or chopped walnuts or pecans



1.    In quart-sized measuring cup, measure buttermilk. Add bran and stir. Let mixture stand for 10 minutes.

2.    In medium-large bowl, beat egg.
3.             
3.  To beaten egg, add vegetable oil, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and vanilla. Beat by hand until well-blended.

4.  Add bran mixture and stir well.

5.  Gently stir in all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, and raisins, coconut, or nuts.

6.  Distribute batter among 12 greased or paper-lined muffin tins.

7.  Bake in 375°F. oven for about 18 minutes. Let muffins rest for a few minutes before serving.




     NOTE: These freeze well. Recipe tested at 6000 feet.

Friday, March 24, 2017

PIGS IN A PRETZEL BLANKET

These were a huge hit when I took them to a potluck. I used Hillshire Farm Lit'l Smokies. My dough didn't rise well, partly because I cheated on the rising time and partly because my yeast was old, yet the appetizers still were delicious.




Pigs  in  a  Pretzel  Blanket
Serves 10

1 cup water at 110°F.
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup honey
3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
Canola or vegetable oil
1 14-ounce package cocktail franks or smoked sausage
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
Honey mustard for dipping

1. Measure warm water in a 2-cup measuring cup. Stir in yeast and a teaspoon of the honey. Let stand for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in medium-sized bowl, combine bread flour and 1 teaspoon salt.
3. Blend remainder of honey into yeast mixture.
4. Pour yeast-honey mixture into flour mixture. Stir well with wooden spoon.
5. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface, and knead for 10 minutes.
6. Place dough in lightly oiled medium-sized bowl, turning dough to oil top. Cover bowl, and let rise until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
7. Punch down dough, re-cover, and let rise another 30 minutes.
8. Divide dough into 32 pieces. Roll or pat each piece of dough into rough rectangles, approximately 1.5 inches by 3 inches.
9. Place each frank or sausage along short side of dough rectangle, and roll dough around it, pinching the long end to seal. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
10. Combine poppy seeds with kosher salt. Lightly brush each appetizer with beaten egg. Sprinkle with poppy seeds and salt.

11. Bake in 450°F. oven until golden brown, 10 to 14 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with honey mustard for dipping.
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