Friday, 21 November 2014

Perfect Mashed potatoes with Three Onion Butter - Just in time for Gobble Gobble!

I was surprised to hear one of the trainers at my gym say that he prefers instant mashed potatoes from a box rather than the real thing! I thought to myself – he needs a few tips on how to make perfect (real) mashed potatoes!

I am the Queen of mashed potatoes....yes! Not self proclaimed, my nephew, Ed announced this to his Mother when his Father and Mother had left on holiday and he stayed with us. Everyone loves my mashed potatoes, because they are creamy and seasoned just right!! Do you want to know my secret? ............okay I'll tell you right here, right now!  

To achieve very creamy mashed potatoes 1) do not over cook 2) put the pan back on the burner for  minute, after you drain the water off, to dry up every last bit of water, and 3) put the potatoes through a ricer.....that's right, a potato ricer. A potato ricer will ensure that your potatoes will not be in a sticky glob...we've all experienced the sticky gluey potatoes at least once  at someones house.

Most people use starchy Russets for mashed potatoes. With their high starch and low water content, they’re good for baking, for making French fries, and for mashing. My favorite potato for mashing—even better than Russets for mashing, are Yukon Golds. They’re a little more expensive than Russets, but worth it. They’re naturally creamy when mashed, never mealy, and have a slightly buttery flavor all on their own. Yukon golds make the most perfectly creamy, buttery mashed potatoes.

6 large Russet, Yukon Gold or Red potatoes about 5 pounds, peeled and cut into chunks
1 pint half and half
4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 leek, white and light green parts only, cleaned and sliced
1 large shallot, sliced
2 green onions, sliced
1 cube, 8 T unsalted butter

Always start with cold salted water. Bring the potatoes to a boil and cook the potatoes until tender and can be pierced with a fork. Drain....

Return the pan to the burner for 30 seconds or so, until the water all evaporates. Turn the burner off, put the lid on and put to the side.  

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in large frying pan over medium heat. Add leek and cook just until it is starting to soften, about three minutes. Add shallot; cook until softened and butter starts to brown, about three minutes. Remove from heat and add green onions, swirl the pan to coat with the brown butter.

Heat half and half and 4 T butter in the microwave until very hot. 

Working in batches put the potatoes through the potato ricer, add to the half and half mixture and season with salt and pepper, mix well, until creamy. If too thick add more hot half and half.

Put the potatoes in your serving dish and pour the onion mixture over the top, serve!

*You can make the potatoes ahead, morning of, just heat them up in the microwave, add more half and half if necessary, then, top with the onion mixture. 

Thanksgiving Wrap up~

All your holiday recipes on one glorious blog!! From appetizers to dessert just click this link and find your meal plan!!

 I've been hosting our Thanksgiving family meal for over 40 years and I have a plan that works for me. For the most part, having a plan lessens the stress, except for those year's we lost power! But, not to worry, I walked out to our "Motorhome"  and "wha la" we had a full on "Thanksgiving dinner" for 30 or more! No worries! It's all about * Mise en Place! 

A couple of years ago, I handed the Holiday baton to my very capable children, with a promise to be right there with them, and to help prepare anything and everything.....including, setting the table the night before! This year my son TT (Dustin) and daughter-in-law, Amy are having 21 adults and children to their home for this delicious feast, starting at noon and ending with the Seahawk vs. Forty-niners game, in the evening! We will have the SF contingent in house, so, it will be a spirited evening! I am looking forward to the grandchildren playing together and creating holiday memories and feeling the love of family coming together to give thanks.

 Billy, Moose, Bandit and I hope where ever you are, you have the warmest of Thanksgivings with your family and friends, making memories to last a lifetime....

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Jamaica Inn Cheese and Potato soup

Last February on our annual holiday to Jamaica Inn, Chef Maurice Henry served us a delicious Cheese and potato soup. I was blown away by the deliciousness of this soup and found myself licking up every last drop. I later cornered Chef Maurice and asked if he would share his recipe. He did!!! Yay!! A few months later, I received the recipe in my e-mail. Thank you Chef Maurice Henry.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Vegetarian Lasagna

I have a lot of favorite recipes that I like to make, my Meat Lasagna is one of Wee Bears favorites. A lot of my favorites I have carefully crafted on my own, tweaking and adjusting, trying to perfect over time - adding a little something here, a little something there. I have mostly chosen these recipes based on the positive feedback that I have received from Wee Bear, family and friends. Each time I knead the dough or caramelize the onions, each time I make one of these recipes for the 10th, 15th, or 30th time, I can feel history shaping. For an actor it may be the performance of a lifetime, for a poet the perfect sonnet, for a scientist, winning the Nobel prize, but for me...... I'm assuming many others are out there! It will be my signature recipes that I am remembered for........ along with a few other things!

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Spiced Apple Sidecar

It is always a mystery to certain members of my family what cocktail I might order when we are out to dinner. Most of my family have their drink and that's it, year round.....Borrrrring! To me there are certain flavors that are really only appropriate at certain times of the year. For example, a passion fruit and coconut swizzle is just not done in November. A wonderful drink, for sure, however, not when it's cold out. On the flip side, eyebrows would be raised if you were to offer a maple and cinnamon Old-Fashioned in July. To me it's just not right. So, now that the evening is bringing us a little chill in the air and daylight's a fleeting thing, lets make a Fall drink that will warm us up. Thanksgiving is around the corner quickly followed by Christmas, this is  when those rich, warming spice flavors come in favor. 

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Salted Caramel Creme Brulee

I've written before about my Mother's love for creme brulee. She is crazy about this delicious dessert. So the last few dinner's we had together, before Wee Bear and I left for Scottsdale, I made her creme brulee. She was in heaven with delight, in fact one night she devoured TWO!! 

 Of course who wouldn't likes this? We all rejoice at the fun in cracking the sugar on top and the caramel is the quintessential trademark of smooth, creamy, vanilla custard, foiled by the ever-so-slightly bitter burnt sugar. 

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Five Pepper Cookies!

I still remember the first time I made these remarkable cookies. I was in my late 20's. My father had taken the Summer to go to Montana and find where he was born. He had given us a address to write letters to him, so, I not only wrote letters, I sent him cookies. This cookie was the one he talked about the most. He described his first bite like this, " ahhhh, this is nice- then, without warning his entire mouth was on fire!" However, he couldn't stop, he told me, "these cookies are addictive"!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Super sticky royal icing for - Haunted Ginger Bread House!

A gingerbread house is only as good as it's glue. If you want an A+ on your gingerbread house, you need the best gingerbread house icing. When planning your gingerbread house, the icing is the most  important part. Gingerbread houses are a great way to set the scene for the holidays and WOW visitors to your home, whether it be Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas!