Stinky Cheese Scalloped Potatoes

Raclette

 

I made two versions of scalloped potatoes for Easter.  One was the normal cheddar cheese variety and the other was a fancier scalloped potatoes using a cheese I had never heard of that didn’t smell all that great.  We called it “stinky cheese.”  Adults and children agreed that the best potatoes were the “stinky cheese” variety so I thought I would share the recipe with you here.

Ingredients
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for brushing
1/2 clove garlic
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup shredded asiago cheese
1/3 cup shredded raclette cheese (I found it at Whole Foods)
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 fresh bay leaves
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions
Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Generously brush a large skillet with butter, then rub with the garlic. Combine the mozzarella, asiago and raclette in a bowl.

Heat the skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the potatoes, spreading them out. Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt, half of the cut-up butter, half of the shredded cheese blend, and pepper to taste. Arrange the remaining potatoes on top. Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Pour the cream over the potatoes, then add the nutmeg and bay leaves; simmer 3 minutes. Dot the potatoes with the remaining cut-up butter.

Generously brush a shallow baking dish with butter; slide the potatoes into the dish; arrange with a fork, if desired. (If your skillet is ovenproof, you can skip this step and bake the potatoes in the skillet.)

Sprinkle the potatoes with the parmesan and the remaining shredded cheese blend. Bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving. Discard the bay leaves.

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Irish Coffee Cupcakes

Irish Coffee Cupcakes

I hope everyone enjoyed their St. Patricks Day.  I made some really yummy dishes.  Two of them are certainly blog-worthy.  This is the dessert I served and if you love the flavor of coffee you can enjoy this cupcake year round.  The only thing I did differently was I added some homemade chocolate buttercream around the top of the cupcake and put the whipped cream topping in the middle.  I thought the chocolate addition would be a tasty added treat.

 

Ingredients:

Cupcakes

½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup water
2 tablespoons good Irish Whiskey (I used Bushmills)
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder – use divided
½ cup white rice flour (preferably finely milled)
¼ cup sweet rice flour (preferably finely milled)
¼ cup potato starch (not potato flour)
2 tablespoons tapioca starch
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup ½ half and half, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Topping

1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons confectioners sugar (add more to taste if needed)

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners.

In a small saucepan, stir together the granulated sugar and ½ cup water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Boil for 1 minute. Take off the heat and whisk in 1 tablespoon of instant espresso powder. Stir in the whiskey and let cool.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the white rice flour, sweet rice flour, potato and tapioca starches, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt and remaining 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar on medium high speed until fluffy, 2 – 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time mixing well and scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Turn the mixer to low and gradually add half the flour mixture, then the half and half and finally the rest of the flour mixture. Blend until almost all the flour is mixed in. Add the vanilla and mix. With a large spatula, finish mixing the batter.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool in pan for 5 minutes and then spoon coffee whiskey mixture over cupcakes.  Let cool completely for 30 minutes and then whip cream with 2 tsp of sugar to swirl on top.

 

**This is the chocolate buttercream recipe I used from Savory Sweet Life**

Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or ½ pound), softened (but not melted!)
  • 3½ cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Cream butter for a few minutes in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Turn off the mixer. Sift 3 cups powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl. Turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the dry ingredients do not blow everywhere) until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time.

 

Homemade Ricotta

 

Who wants to make their own cheese?  When people talk about making their own ricotta cheese from scratch I figured it would be some long complicated process.  Boy, was I wrong!  This is a really easy step by step recipe that results in some fresh creamy ricotta that you will really enjoy.  This just takes some time and patience and then you will be able to say you made your very own cheese!

Ingredients:

4 c whole milk

1/2 c heavy cream

1/4 tsp kosher or sea salt

1 1/2 T fresh lemon juice

Combine the milk, cream and salt in a very large pot or saucepan.  Line a colander with cheesecloth and set inside a large bowl.  Bring the milk mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat stirring occassionally with a spatula.  Don’t let the mixture scald.  Once the milk has reached a steady simmer add your lemon juice and stir gently.  Stir quickly just to blend.  Let the mixture sit for a minute or two (turn down the heat slightly so it continues to simmer but doesn’t reach a boil).  Stir with spatula for another minute.  Once it looks like the mixture has seperated into curds and whey (cheese curds and liquid) it is ready.  Drain the mixture in the colander lined with cheesecloth and let it drain at room temperature for one hour.  Transfer your ricotta cheese to an airtight container and then refrigerate.

Frozen Mudslide Pie

This is an easy coffee flavored, creamy pie that will really hit the spot on a warm summer day.  Make sure to thaw the pie for 30-40 minutes before serving or else you will have a difficult time cutting into this mudslide pie dream.

Ingredients:

1 package Pamela’s simple bites gluten-free extreme chocolate mini cookies

6 T unsalted butter

6 oz semi-sweet chocolate morsels plus 2 additional tablespoons, divided

1 tsp freeze dried coffee

1 tsp hot water

3/4 c sour cream

1/2 c granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 c heavy whipping cream

1 c confectioners sugar

1/4 c Hershey’s cocoa

Melt butter and set aside.  Pulse cookies in food processor until crumbs and then add butter and pulse to combine.  Press crumbs in the bottome of a 9-inch pie plate.  Melt 1 c morsels in small saucepan over lowest possible heat.  When morsels begin to melt, remove from heat and stir.  Return to heat for a few seconds at a time stirring until smooth.  Remove from heat and cool 10 minutes.  Combine coffee and water in medium bowl.  Add sour cream, granulated sugar and vanilla.  Sir until dissolved.  Stir in melted chocolate until smooth and then spread into crust.  Chill in refrigerator.  Beat cream, powdered sugar and cocoa in small bowl until stiff peaks form.  Spread over chocolate layer and sprinkle with remaining morsels.  Freeze at least 6 hours.

Double Chocolate Fudge Tart

Last Christmas I got a one year subscription to the Rachel Ray Magazine and I was so excited.  It is full of great kitchen gadgets and recipes which is right up my alley.  The December holiday edition arrived in the mail last week and after finding this recipe I had to try it.  I modified it to make it a gluten-free and I took one shortcut, but it was absolutely divine.  My Mom couldn’t stop raving about it and she’s a tough critic.

Ingredients:

1 bag of Pamela’s chocolate cookies like these (grind them in food processor)

6T melted unsalted butter and 8T unsalted butter cut into pieces

10.5 oz semisweet chocolate chips or chocolate bar

2 eggs

1c heavy cream

1/2 c granulated sugar

1tsp vanilla extract

1 pinch of salt

2T confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 350F.  After cookies have been ground in food processor drizzle melted butter and pulse until combined.  Press into fluted tart pan (I used a springform pan and it worked fine).

Bake in oven for 10 minutes and then cool.  Grate several chocolate chips or 1/2 oz bar to sprinkle over the top.  In a saucepan melt remaining butter and chocolate stirring until smooth.  Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.  In a large bowl whisk eggs, cream, granulated sugar, vanilla and salt.  Whisk the cooled chocolate into the egg mixture until well combined.  Pour the filling into the crust and bake for 20 minutes if using a fluted tart pan (it took me about 26 minutes using the springform pan).  The tart should be set, but the center should still be slightly jiggly.    Let tart cool completely and then sprinkle with confectioners sugar. 

I served mine with a dollop of Cool Whip Seasons Delight French Vanilla with chocolate sprinkles on top.

If you want to make the topping Rachel Ray used take 1c of heavy cream and 2T confectioners sugar and 1T orange liquer and beat with an electric mixer until thick and billowy.

I’ve already been asked to serve this dessert again at Thanksgiving 🙂

My Caramel Calamity

I don’t know about you, but I seem to always try to do too much during the holidays when it comes to food.  I want to make everything from scratch, try things I’ve never done before and drive my family crazy in the process.  I decided to tackle making homemade caramel this weekend to do create amazing caramel apples.  I had this vision in my head of these perfect apples wearing a thick coating of my delicious homemade caramel and then I would drizzle them with milk chocolate and coat the bottom in some chopped nuts.  Wrong!  Not only did I create some of the ugliest caramel apples you’ve ever seen I gave up on the chocolate and nuts after making three different batches of caramel and each one was an epic failure.

I didn’t do any research on making caramel specifically for apples so my first batch of caramel was a caramel sauce I’ve made several times before which consists of just granulated sugar, butter and heavy cream.  My sauce was beautiful and delicious and I felt I was well on my way to perfection.

I let the sauce cool a bit (maybe this was mistake number one) and then I applied it to the apples.  The sauce did not adhere and began sliding off making a large caramel puddle.  I began my second batch of caramel without the cream thinking this was causing the issue.  My result was a caramel rock candy (mistake number two).

This is when the cursing began #$%&@!

I calmed myself and went to my computer to retrieve a recipe specifically for caramel apples which called for brown sugar, condensed milk, butter, etc.  It was supposed to cook for 30 minutes, but my batch started to slightly burn (mistake number three) so I stopped this process short and tried again to coat my apples.  I then burned my right index finger in the coating process (mistake number four).  It was at this point that I vowed never to attempt this project again, but I will probably forget about that promise next year.

In the interest of full disclosure let me introduce you to my fugly apples:

Pretty darn hideous, huh?  Has anyone had success at making homemade caramel apples or should I just be satisfied with unwrapping 50 pieces of caramel like we used to do when I was a kid?

Pumpkin Soup

You know it is officially fall when I start making this pumpkin soup.  It is perfect for a windy autumn day.  This soup is a Rachel Ray recipe and it is creamy and delicious, but what really makes it is the cranberry apple relish served on top.  Give it a try and let me know your thoughts!

Pumpkin Soup

Soup Ingredients:

1 T olive oil

2 T butter

1 bay leaf

2 ribs celery finely chopped

1 medium yellow onion finely chopped

salt and pepper

3 T all-purpose gluten-free flour

1 tsp poultry seasoning

1 tsp dried thyme

2 tsp hot sauce

6 c chicken stock

28 oz can of pureed pumpkin

2 c heavy cream

1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

Relish Ingredients:

1 crisp apple finely chopped

1/4 c finely chopped red onion

2 T lemon juice

1/2 c dried cranberries

1 tsp chili powder

2 tsp honey

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Heat a soup pot over medium high heat on the stove and add your oil and butter.  When the butter has melted add your bay leaf, celery and onion and then season with salt and pepper.  Cook veggies until tender (about 7 minutes).  Add flour, thyme, poultry seasoning and hot sauce and cook for one minute.  Whisk in stock and bring liquid to a bubble.  Whisk in pumpkin adding small amounts at a time until incorporated.  Simmer for 10 minutes and then add your cream and nutmeg.  Taste soup and adjust seasoning as needed.

For relish, combine all ingredients in a separate bowl and stir.  Ladle soup in a bowl and serve with a couple of spoonfuls of relish on top.

What is your favorite fall soup?

Chocolate Pots De Creme

I watched an episode of 5 Ingredient Fix recently and saw Claire Robinson make this easy chocolate dessert topped with a cherry whipped cream.  I had to try it for myself and it was fabulous!  If you don’t like the taste of dark chocolate try making this with milk chocolate instead.

Ingredients

4 oz of semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Kroger’s Private Selection brand)

2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided

1/4 c granulated sugar plus 1 tsp

2 large egg yolks (put them in a separate bowl)

1/4 c cherry preserves

Preheat oven to 350F and bring 6c of water to a boil on the stove.  Put the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl.  In a medium saucepan over medium low heat bring 1 1/2 c heavy cream and sugar to a low simmer making sure sugar has dissolved.  Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate and whisk until all the chocolate has melted and it is smooth.  Add a small amount of the hot chocolate mixture to your egg yolk bowl and whisk to temper them.  Transfer the egg mixture to the chocolate mixture and whisk to thorughly combine.  Transfer the mixture to a liquid measuring cup and pour into 4 small ramekins filling evenly.

Put ramekins in a high sided baking pan and fill the pan with hot water halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  Bake about 301 minutes.  The custard should be slightly jiggly when you remove it from the oven.  Cool the custards to room temperature and then refrigerate them for 2 hours or overnight.

Whip the remaining 1/2 c heavy cream with 1tsp of sugar until stiff peaks form.  Whisk the cherry jam until loosened adding 1-2 T of water to thin it out.  Fold the jam into the whipped cream and top the custards.

You’ll thank me later!

End of Summer Ice Cream

The end of summer is fast approaching and that means the beginning of my favorite season is just around the corner.  I thought I’d celebrate this summer season with an ice cream dessert that is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.  Here is my recipe for Carmelized Bananas A La Mode:

Ingredients:

1c granulated sugar

2-3 T of heavy cream

1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp of ground cardamom

2 ripened bananas sliced

1/4 c crushed honey roasted peanuts

vanilla ice cream

sea salt

Put all of the sugar in a small saucepan and heat over medium high heat.  You can stir this as often as you like and it shouldn’t crystalize.  Continue to stir and heat until the sugar liquifies and turns caramel brown in color.  Reduce the heat to medium low and add your cream and spices.  Add your sliced bananas and add them to your sauce until heated through.  Pour the sauce over some scooped vanilla ice cream and garnish with the crushed honey roasted peanuts.  Finish with a small sprinkling of sea salt.  We enjoyed this dessert on a balmy evening on our deck and it was divine!