Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I have been making scalloped potatoes wrong my entire life.

Until now.
So I decided in case there was any one reading this blog who is also making the same mistakes, that I would share my new found love.

I am already obsessed with potatoes. I don't know if it comes from my Irish background or just because I love hearty filling carbs, but its there. Until now my favorite has been twice baked. I think that was only because they actually turned out delicious and smooth.

Not like my scalloped, which have always been overcooked and runny. I would boil the tots, cut them as thin as I could with a knife by hand, and mix them with cheese and cream. Eatable but not that great.
I tried slicing them thicker. Mixing the cheese with egg whites. Making them from raw potatoes. Nothing worked!

Flipping through the new edition of Cooking Light I saw an Au Gratin article listing all the different types you could make. They had the regular potato, squash, sweet potato, carrot, and some others. But what caught me was how they prepared them.

The key, I have found, is pre-baking in the liquid. Of course! We have some wonderful cheese from the CSA and it goes perfect with the potatoes from my mom's garden. The simple recipe is just this:

2-3 medium potatoes, washed and sliced thin (I use a mandolin)
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup milk (1% in our house)
1 tbsp flour
1/2 c cheese (gruyere or a flavorful cheddar mix)
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
1 tbsp butter

Heat potatoes, onion, garlic, milk, and flour over heat until partially cooked through and mixture thickens, not too fast or milk will curdle. Flavor with salt and pepper.
Spread butter over dish. Pour potatoes into dish, coat with shredded cheeses.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until top is brown and bubbly. Let cool slightly.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Malomakarona - Greek Chrismas Cookies

Melomakarona - Greek Christmas Cookies

My new favorite little cookies.

Cookie Dough - makes 50 to 60 cookies
2 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup Sugar
2 eggs
1 cup Orange Juice
1 tsp lemon juice
4 cups Plain Flour
2 cups semolima flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
Mix wet ingredients together well. Slowly stir in dry ingredients until well incorporated. Knead with more flour until moldable. Shape into rectangle-like cookies. Place on a non-stick surface and bake at 350 degree for about 20 minutes or until just golden.
Remove and let cool COMPLETLY.
2 cups sugar
1.5 cups water
1.5 cups honey
1 tsp. cinnamon
8 cloves
Heat all together on a stove until bubbly, about 10 minutes. Remove cloves. Pour over cooled cookies in a pan. Flip cookes and let liquid soak in, for about 30 minutes.
Remove and coat in topping. Let dry.
8 cloves, from syrup
1 cup walnuts
1 tbsp sesame seeds

Grind together and toast till dry.
This recipe does make a lot. But you can store them in an air tight container up to two months... if they last that long.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Seasons Greetings

This year I decided to decorate our Christmas tree with some handcut paper snowflakes.
Each one is a little different and unique. They were a challenge starting out, I haven't done them since I was in middle school, but after a few ugly square ones I got the hang of it. Here's a quick sequence to make a pretty circle shaped one...
First fold a square peice of paper over into a triangle, then fold again. Fold into thirds, over each other and cut off the end to a straight section. Either cut shapes into it from here or follow this pattern to get a cute little swedish style snowflake: