Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Salt-Baked Potatoes With Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Butter

If you like baked potatoes you will love these potatoes.  These potatoes are flavorful and their flesh is light and fluffy.  As for the skins, they are crisp and delicious.  Not at all tough. 

Oven Ready

The secret according to "America's Test Kitchen" is baking the potatoes on a bed of salt. To add flavor to the spuds rosemary and garlic are baked with the potatoes. To keep the potatoes moist, the baking pan is covered with foil.    Bake the potatoes in a 450 degree oven for 1 1/4 hours then remove them from the oven.

Once removed from the oven, the skins are brushed with some olive oil and they are placed back in the oven.  They are baked uncovered for 15-20 minutes.  Remove from oven and remove any salt that is on the skins.
Brushed With Olive Oil

You can serve these potatoes with Garlic and Rosemary Butter or with toppings of your choice.    I served mine with our favorites of butter, sour cream, chives, and bacon bits.  Best potatoes ever:)

Salt-Baked Potatoes With Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Butter
From America's Test Kitchen


2 1/2 cups plus 1/8 teaspoon salt
4 russet potatoes, scrubbed and dried
2 sprigs plus 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1 whole head garlic, outer papery skin removed and top quarter of head cut off and discarded
4 teaspoons olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Spread 2 1/2 cups salt in even layer in 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Gently nestle potatoes in salt, broad side down, leaving space between potatoes. Add rosemary sprigs and garlic, cut side up, to baking dish. Cover baking dish with foil and crimp edges to tightly seal. Bake 1 1/4 hours; remove pan from oven. Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees.

2. Carefully remove foil from baking dish. Remove garlic and set aside to cool. Brush exposed portion of each potato with 1 teaspoon oil. Return uncovered baking dish to oven and bake until potatoes are tender when pierced with tip of paring knife and skins are glossy, 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, once garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze root end until cloves slip out of their skins. Using fork, mash garlic, butter, 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt (or pinch table salt) and minced rosemary to smooth paste. Remove any clumped salt from potatoes (holding with kitchen towel if necessary), split lengthwise, top with portion of butter, and serve immediately.

Serves 4

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Guacamole Deviled Eggs

Guacamole deviled eggs.  A delicious way to gobble up the Easter Eggs that may be in your fridge next week. Rich and buttery in flavor with just a hint of southwestern flavor.   To make these eggs you start by cutting hard boiled eggs in half.  Remove the yolks and set aside.  Next you make some Guacamole.   Avocados are smashed and mixed with some spices.  To this mixture, I added some lime juice, sour cream and two egg yolks.

The Guacamole was then spooned into the egg white halves.  I topped mine with a cilantro leaf but you could sprinkle with paprika  if you wished.  If you have some Guacamole leftover just serve it with some chips.

Guacamole Deviled Eggs


6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
2 ripe avocados
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon sour cream
12 fresh cilantro leaves

1. Scooped out the cooked yolks from the hard boiled eggs and set aside.
2. Cut the avocados in half and remove the pit.  Scoop out the flesh and place it in a bowl.  Mash the avocados with a fork.
3. Add the lime juice, salt, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and sour cream and stir until mixed.
4.  Crumble 2 of the egg yolks into the avocado mixture.  Stir gently to mix. Save remaining egg yolks for another use.
5. Spoon the guacamole into the hard boiled egg whites.  Top with a cilantro leaf and serve.

Makes 12 halves

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Potato Soup

It was an overcast day -a soup day.  I have a list of different soup recipes I want to try.  On top of the list was a Potato Soup recipe from The Pioneer Woman Cooks.  This soup looked and sounded delicious with all the great veggies -potatoes,carrots, celery, and onions.   Seasoned with salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning.  All of the ingredients are cooked together in a creamy broth.

After the veggies are cooked in chicken broth with some milk, about 2/3 cup of the veggies are puréed.  Next you stir in some cream. Ladle in bowls and top with some bacon and cheese.

I really enjoyed this soup.  The Cajun seasoning added a wonderful flavor to this soup.  To me, this soup was more like a chowder.  Great for a quick cup for lunch or a bowl for dinner.

Potato Soup 
From The Pioneer Woman Cooks 
6 slices Thin Bacon, Cut Into 1-inch Pieces 

1 whole Medium Onion, Diced 
3 whole Carrots, Scrubbed Clean And Diced 
3 stalks Celery, Diced 
6 whole Small Russet Potatoes, Peeled And Diced 
8 cups Low Sodium Chicken Or Vegetable Broth 
3 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour 
1 cup Milk 
1/2 cup Heavy Cream 
1/2 teaspoon Salt, More To Taste 
Black Pepper To Taste 
1/2 teaspoon Cajun Spice Mix 
1 teaspoon Minced Fresh Parsley 
1  cup Grated Cheese Of Your Choice
Preparation Instructions 

Add bacon pieces to a soup pot over medium heat and cook bacon until crisp and fat is rendered. Remove the bacon from the pot and set it aside. Pour off most of the grease, but do not clean the pot.
Return the hot to medium-high heat and add the onions, carrots, and celery. Stir and cook for 2 minutes or so, then add the diced potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes, seasoning with salt, pepper, and Cajun spice.

Pour in the broth and bring it to a gentle boil. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are starting to get tender. Whisk together the flour and the milk, then pour into the soup and allow the soup to cook for another 5 minutes.

Remove half to 2/3 the soup and blend in a blender/food process until completely smooth. Pour it back into the soup pot and stir to combine. Let it heat back up as you taste for seasonings, adding more of what it needs. Stir in cream, then stir in parsley, reserving a little for garnish.
Serve in bowls garnished with parsley, grated cheese and crisp bacon pieces.
Makes 12 servings

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Blackberry Ricotta Pancakes

I had some ricotta cheese in the fridge and had picked up some fresh blackberries at Costco.  I was in the mood for some pancakes.  I thought Ricotta cheese and blackberries with a touch of lemon zest would make great pancakes.  I was right - these pancakes were delicious.  They were like eating a fluffy blackberry cheesecake in pancake form.  And the lemon zest, well what can I say but lemon zest always adds extra zing to food.  Deliciousness in every bite.

These pancakes make a perfect breakfast..  You'll start everyone's day with love.

Blackberry Ricotta Pancakes
1 cup ricotta cheese drained if necessary
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs, separated into yolk and whites
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup fresh blackberries, slighty smashed
Butter for the pan

1. Whisk togethe flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a small mixing bowl.
2. Combine ricotta, milk, egg yolks, lemon zest, and vanilla in a larges mixing bowl.  Add the dry ingredients to the ricotta mixture until just combined.
3. Add the fresh blackberries to the mixture and stir until combined.
4. Beat eggs whites until stiff peakes form. Gently stir a small scoop of the egg whites into the pancake batter, then fold in the remaining egg whites with a spatula.
5. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Melt a small amount of butter in the pan, just enough to coat the skillet.  Using a 1/3-cup measure, scoop out the batter and pour onto the hot griddle.  Cook the pancakes for about 3 or 4 minutes, until the undersides are golden.  Flip and cook another 2 to 3 minutes.  Repeat with the remaining pancakes.

Makes 8 to 10 pancakes



Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Irish Cream Alcohol Free


A nice way to celebrate is to pour yourself a nice cup of coffee that is flavored with this rich  homemade Irish Cream.  It is delicious.  So much better than the coffee creamers you get at the store.

This recipe has evaporated milk, milk, and whipping cream - great ingredients for a rich cup of coffee.  In addition to the milks and cream, this recipe also includes some chocolate syrup, sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract and some coffee granules.  Blend them together and then store in fridge until ready to use.

The recipe suggest using 1/3 cup of creamer to cup of coffee.  I used this amount and it was perfect.   This recipe yields about 3 cups.

Irish Cream
From Taste of Home

1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup brewed coffee
1. In a blender, combine the first eight ingredients; cover and process until smooth. Store in the refrigerator.
2. For each serving, place coffee in a mug. Stir in 1/3 cup Irish cream. Heat mixture in a microwave if desired.
Yield: 3-1/3 cups.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Irish Beef Stew

Irish Stew - great dish to serve on St. Patrick's Day.  This stew has a rich and very flavorful broth.  The meat is extremely tender and flavorful as are the veggies.  Doesn't it look delicious:)

I found this recipe on one of my favorite foodie websites Simply Recipes.  Like all good Irish Stew recipes, this recipe has Guinness Stout as an ingredient.  I was a little skeptical because I have used Guinness before in recipes and the taste was bitter.  Not so with this recipe.  Everything tasted wonderful.

I have saved this recipe and plan to make it again.  You can find this fantastic recipe here.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Tex-Mex Chopped Salad

It was one of those perfect days when the sun was shining bright, but it wasn't  too hot.  There was just a very little breeze in the air.  Hard to believe we are still in winter.  Spring is around the corner though.   A salad would be perfect for lunch on a beautiful day like this.  I chose to make a bright and colorful salad - a Tex-Mex Chopped salad.

This salad has colorful ingredients that are tasty and good for you.  There are some slice green peppers, tomatoes, corn, avocados, pinto beans (the recipe called for black beans, but I substituted pinto beans), lettuce (again, I substituted lettuce for cilantro).  All of these salad fixings are tossed in a tangy lime vinaigrette dressing that is out-of-this world delicious.   I like tang to my  salad dressings.

What is great about this salad if you have picky eaters like I do, the  ingredients are separately placed on individual plates.  If a family member doesn't like say avocados, they do not need to put them in their salad.

I loved the flavors and texture of this salad.  Everything blended together nicely and the lime dressing added a wonderful tangy flavor.  I topped my salad with fresh ground pepper.

Tex-Mex Chopped Salad
From Better Homes & Gardens Magazine Adapted by From My Southwest Kitchen

1/3 cup lime juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 (15-16 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained (I used Pinto)
10 ounces frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
2 cups lightly packed cilantro, chopped or 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 avocado, halved, pitted, and chopped
1 green sweet pepper, chopped
6 green onions, thinly sliced


1. In a screw-top jar combine lime juice, oil, sugar,  kosher salt, and crushed red pepper.  Shake well to combine.
2. Arrange black (pinto) beans, corn, cilantro (lettuce), tomatoes, avocado, sweet pepper, and green onion on plates.  Drizzle with dressing.

Makes 4 servings