Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes

This recipe originally comes from Bon Appetit, and was in their special Thanksgiving Issue from 2014. A classic issue, if there ever was one. It also had the Spatch-cocked Turkey recipe.

4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 2” pieces
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more
1½ cups whole milk
3 sprigs thyme (optional)
2 bay leaves
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Place potatoes in a large pot and pour in cold water to cover by 1”. Add salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are very tender but not saturated or crumbly, 20–25 minutes (boiling will lead to waterlogged pieces).

Drain potatoes, reserving ½ cup cooking liquid if making potatoes ahead. Return potatoes to pot and set over low heat. Gently stir until dry, about 1 minute.

Meanwhile, heat milk, thyme sprigs, if desired, bay leaves, and ¾ cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat.

Pass hot potatoes through a ricer into a large bowl (if allowed to cool, the potatoes will become gummy).

Remove herbs from warm milk mixture; discard. Gradually add milk mixture to potatoes, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon until combined and smooth; season with salt and pepper. Serve mashed potatoes with a few pats of butter on top.

Hasselback Potatoes

The name of this potato comes from the Stockholm restaurant where it was first served: Hasselbacken. I used a giant russet potato, but I think this might be better with a Yukon Gold or other medium-sized thin-skinned potato.

Tip for cutting: Lay two wood-handled spatulas/spoons on either side of the potato, and slice the potato crosswise at 1/8″ intervals, cutting to within 1/4″ of the bottom.

Ingredients:
4 medium potatoes, scrubbed; leave skin on
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 Tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Scrub potatoes, then cut as shown above in the photo, making sure not to cut through the bottom of the potato, as it will fan out a bit as it bakes.

Combine olive oil, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, smoked paprika and parmesan cheese in a small bowl. Mix well. Lay the potatoes on a baking sheet (can line with foil, if desired). Spoon some of the mixture over the top of the potato, then carefully insert pinches of the mixture in between the slits of the potatoes. Rub the outside with any leftover mixture, or if needed, a bit more olive oil.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the inside is cooked through and the outside of the potato is a bit crispy. If olive oil pools in the pan, it’s possible to baste the potatoes with this one time, to assist in crisping. Garnish with additional parmesan and chopped chives.

Note: the giant russets took forever to cook, nearly 90 minutes, and the flavor is earthy (not buttery like the Yukons), so I won’t use them again.

Honey-Garlic Roast Carrots

Ingredients
2 pounds carrots washed and peeled
1/3 cup butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons honey
3 garlic cloves minced
Salt
Freshly-cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

Instructions
Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Lightly grease a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking oil spray; set aside. (If you choose to line the pan with foil, it may stick, so be generous with your cooking spray.)

Trim ends of carrots and cut into thirds. If the end of the carrot is thick, cut in half lengthwise, so that all carrots are about the same size. Place into large bowl.

Melt butter in a pan or skillet over medium-heat. Pour in honey, oil, garlic and cook while stirring, until garlic is fragrant.

Pour over the carrots, tossing so the carrots are well coated. Transfer carrots to baking sheet, and arrange into a single layer so they cook evenly. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, or until carrots are fork-tender. Sprinkle with fresh parsley before serving.

Optional: Broil for 2-3 minutes on high heat to crisp/char the edges. (I did not do this.)

Pumpkin Pie with Shortbread Crust

I served this to my pumpkin-pie-loving son Peter, a bit nervous to see if this new version — with a shortbread crust — would pass muster. It did, and it will be a long time before I go back to the other pie crust.

Prepare Pan:
Lightly butter/grease the bottom of a 9″ square metal cake pan. Using a longer length of parchment paper, line the pan so there is an overhang of paper on two sides of the pan (to facilitate the easy release and removal of the bars after baking).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Crust: Into the bowl of a food processor, place 2/3 cup whole pecans. Pulse a couple of times to break them up.

Add:
⅓ cup light brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
Pulse a few times to further chop the pecans and to blend.

Cut 6 Tablespoons of stick butter into smaller pieces, distribute around the flour mixture in food processor bowl. Pulse until butter is smaller than pea size. It will be loose in texture. Dump into the prepared pan, and with the back of a spatula, press into pan evenly. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, but do not let it burn. Remove from oven.

Turn oven down to 350 degrees F.

Filling (can be made while crust is cooking):
Mix together dry ingredients in a small bowl:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
dash of nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt

Into separate, large mixing bowl, blend:
15 oz. can pumpkin puree
2 large eggs, yokes broken

Add in dry ingredients (sugar and spices). When blended, add in 1 12-ounce can light evaporated milk (see notes below). Carefully pour over prepared crust.

Place in 350 degree F oven, and bake for about 55 – 60 minutes, or until knife inserted about 1-1/2″ from the center comes out clean.

Let cool on rack to room temperature, then place in refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours. When ready to serve, gently loosen edge of crust from pan, then lift out and place on cutting board. Cut into 16 pieces.

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, to which 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 cup of powdered sugar has been added before beating it into soft peaks.

Note: Instead of light condensed milk, regular condensed milk may be used. The original recipe called for 1 cup half-and-half along with 1 Tablespoon cornstarch, a shake of pepper and 1 teaspoon vanilla. I just went with the regular Libby’s pumpkin pie recipe, and it worked just fine.

Charred Carrots with Orange/Balsamic Glaze

This is originally a recipe from Ina Garten, but as I didn’t have any “syrupy balsamic vinegar” that she calls for in the recipe, I made some modifications.

Ingredients
   1 ½ pounds rainbow carrots, scrubbed (about 8 large or 15 medium carrots)
   3 tablespoons good-quality olive oil
    1 ½ teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
   Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  ½ orange, zested and juiced
  1 tablespoon high quality balsamic vinegar (if you have the aged syrupy kind, all the better)
   Fleur de sel or sea salt

Preparation
   Position an oven rack 4 inches away from the broiler and heat the broiler.
   Cut the carrots crosswise into 4-inch lengths. Cut the larger pieces lengthwise in half or quarters so the sticks are roughly 1/2-inch wide. Place in a bowl, and toss with the olive oil, thyme leaves, 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt.
   Place the carrots on a sheet pan and grind 1/2 teaspoon pepper over everything. Spread the carrots out in an even layer.
   Broil the carrots for about 10 minutes, tossing every few minutes, until they are tender and randomly charred. Top the carrots with the orange zest, orange juice and vinegar, return to broiler so juice/vinegar mixture thickens up a bit and coats the carrots. Sprinkle with some fleur de sel, if you have it, or kosher salt/grind some salt, if you don’t.

Taste for seasonings, then serve warm or at room temperature.

Barbara’s Texas Roadhouse Rolls

Ingredients
4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar (to activate the yeast)
2 cups milk scalded and cooled to lukewarm
3 tbsp butter unsalted, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 cup sugar
7 – 8 cups all-purpose flour (start with less, then add as you go)
2 eggs
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter unsalted, for brushing over the finished rolls

Instructions
Add the yeast, warm water and sugar to the bowl of your mixer and lightly whisk. Let it sit for about 10 to 15 minutes until the yeast dissolves and starts to foam.
    To the bowl of the mixer add the milk, butter, sugar, eggs and salt. Lightly mix everything together, using the dough hook of your mixer, for about one minute. Add the flour, 2 or 3 cups at a time, and mix.
   Add additional flour as needed and mix until the dough comes clean from the sides of the bowl and forms a soft dough. (The total flour could be anywhere from 6 to 8 cups, depending on your environment.)
Don’t overmix as roll dough should be softer than bread dough. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place until double in bulk.
   Brush two baking sheets with melted butter.
   Punch down the dough and turn it onto a floured surface. Divide into two portions for shaping. Roll out the dough so that it’s about 1/2-inch in thickness. Cut into squares or rectangles; some of the edges will be triangular. Re-roll those, or just enjoy the shape. Repeat with remaining dough.  Yield is roughly 30 to 35 rolls. Place onto the prepared baking sheets. Let the rolls rise until doubled in size.

    Preheat your oven to 350 F degrees. Bake the rolls for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Brush immediately with melted butter.

If desired, serve with Cinnamon Honey Butter.
Prepare while rolls are baking, by whisking all the ingredients together:
1 stick butter unsalted, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp cinnamon

Bibimbap with Bulgogi

I had a hankering for some of the bimimbap I had while I was in Berlin. I walked up to the free-standing kiosk, in the middle of an empty lot. I had just been to do our laundry, so I was dragging my suitcase of clean clothes, which I parked by a chair, and went to order. It was some of the best I’ve had, matched only by the bowl in Incheon, South Korea.

Berlin Bibimbap stand

So I found this recipe and went to making. I first froze the steak so it was quite firm (but not solid) so it was easy to slice it thinly. I then made up the marinade, happy to see that it needed pear, which is just what the man at the Berlin booth said he included in his recipe. (He also grated it into the gochujang sauce, too, which made it a touch sweet and a bit milder than usual).

Bulgogi
1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup finely grated Asian pear with juices
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon raw or brown sugar
2 teaspoons grated peeled ginger
1 pound thinly sliced (1/8-inch) boneless beef rib-eye steak or short ribs
Whisk first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add beef; toss to coat. Cover; chill for 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.

Rice, freshly cooked short grain brown rice, or crisp rice (recipe below)
• 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, divided
• 8 cups steamed sushi rice or mixed grain rice (from 2 1/2 cups dry rice)
Bibimbap Mix-Ins:
• bean sprouts
• julienned carrots (can use *this* tool, or just cut in matchstick pieces)
cooked spinach (can sautée the cooked spinach with garlic, if desired)
• sauteéd zucchini
• green onions–ribboned or thinly cross-cut (can be tossed with sesame oil, rice vinegar, salt, pepper)
• sliced cucumbers, (tossed with sesame oil, rice vinegar, salt, pepper)
gochujang sauce
• 8 fried eggs (while fried is traditional, I usually use a poached egg)

While the original recipe called for crisp rice, I didn’t do this–we just served it over warm brown rice from the rice cooker. I’m including it here in case it’s something you want to do. In addition, I halved the sliced steak and the marinade, freezing one-half. I also cut down on the additions.

Bibimbap in Berlin

Optional: To Crisp the Rice:
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add rice; pat out in an even layer. Cook, rotating skillet for even browning (do not stir), until rice is golden and crisp on bottom, about 15 minutes.
    Meanwhile, heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add one-quarter of beef and cook, turning once, until cooked through and lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat in 3 batches with remaining oil and beef.
    Divide rice among bowls. Top with beef, bibimbap mix-ins, and eggs. Serve kimchi alongside.

Braised Fennel with Orange

I want to make this every day.  Just kidding.  We served it with some stuffed pork chops, but tonight we are having it with grilled chicken-apple brats.  It’s been modified from where I found it: the last (yellow) Gourmet cookbook.

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter (can omit if vegetarian)
Juice of one lemon, about 3 Tablespoons
1 large fennel bulb (one pound or more), thinly sliced, fronds cut off (but save a few for garnish)
1 navel orange, peeled and chopped in large chunks
1 medium onion, peeled, and sliced thinly
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, plus a few bits for garnish
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
shake of sugar (if needed)

Place oil in a large skillet.  Add fennel, oranges, onion and rosemary.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and stir, briefly sauteeing.  Then pour in the orange juice and lemon juice.

Continue to stir to let the vegetables cook until tender, another 10 or 15 minutes or so.  Add in more orange juice if it starts to dry out.  You want them slightly saucey, but not liquidy (hope that makes sense).  Test for taste and if too tart, sprinkle some sugar over the top and stir in.  Garnish with chopped fennel fronds and rosemary bits.

 

Small Very Vanilla Cake

I read reviews of Simple Cake, by Odette Williams, and immediately purchased the book.  It reads, as my friend Bette says, like a novel. While I’m still trying to master some of the techniques and recipes, I feel confident in this little 6″ cake to put it up on my recipe blog.  I’ve made some changes to the recipe printed in her book and they are incorporated below; to get her original, I would recommend buying this book, for this is only one of the many delicious and excellent recipes.  I love that the cakes aren’t fussy, but can be beautiful in their simplicity.

You’ll need a 6″ diameter springform pan that is 3″ deep.  It’s perfect for making a cake for two people or a small family.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Butter the bottom and sides of your 6″ pan.  Cut out a parchment circle for the bottom, place in in the pan, then butter it again.

1/2 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 stick (8 Tablespoons) real butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 eggs, at room temperature

Mix together the whole milk and the lemon juice and set aside for five to ten minutes to let it curdle.

Stir together the dry ingredients of flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Using an electric mixer with paddle beater, beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds, then gradually add the sugar.  Continue beating on medium speed for another 4 minutes, scraping the bowl at the halfway point, until it is light in color and fluffy.

Add vanilla extract and beat until combined.  With the mixer on, gradually add the eggs, one at a time, making sure they are well blended into the mixture.  Williams notes: “if the batter curdles, add 1-2 Tablespoons of the flour mixture to bind it back together.”  (I had that problem only once.)

Alternate adding dry ingredients with the milk: first add half of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, then the milk.  End with the rest of the dry ingredients, but don’t overbeat.  Scrape down sides and bottom of the bowl, blending well.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.  Bake in the center of the oven for 55 minutes, checking after 50.  If you like a lighter colored cake, cover with tinfoil after 30 minutes.  Check for doneness when a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, and it bounces back after lightly tapping it.

Let stand for 10 minutes on a cooling rack.  Then release the springform pan ring (run a knife around the inside of the pan, if needed) and remove.  Turn cake over, and remove both the pan bottom and the parchment, then return it to the cooling rack, right-side up.

Glaze now, while it is still warm, pouring the glaze on the top, and letting it slowly drip down the sides. It helps to put a sheet of waxed paper underneath the rack and the cake to catch any drips.

A simple glaze can be made with 1 Tablespoon butter, 2 Tablespoons lemon juice.  Microwave this to melt the butter and heat the liquid. Add 1 cup powdered sugar, beating well with a whisk to remove any lumps.  I start with these measurements, but found the glaze seems to work better when it’s on the thicker side.  (I added lemon rind to the cake above and won’t do it again–ugh.)

Next I want to try using water and a few drops of almond extract.  Williams has many variations of glaze in her cookbook, if you need more.

Potato, Snap Pea and Tomato Salad

I was determined to get rid of some of those magazines I had laying around, so went through them one day, folding down the corners of pages that looked great.  Then, today, a friend and I went into the local specialty olive-oil-and-vinegar store, and picked up a couple of different vinegars and oils.  All of this combined to yield tonight’s dinner, served up with a piece of flaky grilled salmon. Perfection!

Ingredients:

1 lb. mixed potatoes: fingerlings, small white or red potatoes, small blue potatoes (our market sells them together, but you can mix and match from your grocer’s produce section).  Cut all potatoes the same size (I made them all about the size of a man’s thumb.)

1 cup sweet pearl tomatoes, cut in half
1-1/2 cups (approximately) sugar snap peas, washed and cut in half, ends trimmed
4 very thin slices of red onion, cut into quarters, then soaked in water for 5 minutes
1 clove garlic, chopped fine (not smashed), then soaked in water for 5 minutes
7-8 basil leaves
salt and pepper — If you don’t have a salt grinder, use a few shakes of David’s Kosher Salt (no substitutions)

Lemon Vinaigrette

Splashes of other vinegars: red wine or lemongrass mint or your other favorite tangy vinegar
Extra drizzles of flavored olive oils: herb, or lime, or other mild flavors

Preparation:

Cook potatoes in salted boiling water until almost tender.  To the same pot, add snap peas and cook until crisp (potatoes should be tender).  Check by dunking the snap pea in ice water; don’t overcook.  Drain and then place in ice water bath to cool quickly and to stop the cooking.

Meanwhile, while potatoes are cooking, snip the basil leaves into ribbons in the bottom of a medium bowl.  Add cut tomatoes.  Drain the onions, and add those to bowl.

Make up a batch of Lemon Vinaigrette, added the drained garlic to the mix, along with salt and pepper, and a splash or two of other vinegars.  Pour over the above vegetables and let sit for a few minutes to blend.  (Note: you can reverse the order of this–prep up the vegetables, then putting the potatoes on to boil.)

When potatoes are cooked and cooled down, drain and pour onto clean kitchen towel, patting to remove excess water.  Place the potato/snap pea mixture into the bowl with the vegetables, toss to coat evenly.  Add drizzles of flavored oils, splashes of vinegar if it doesn’t have enough kick, and plenty grinds of your salt shaker.

Serve immediately.

Happy Summer!