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Potatoes Dauphinois

December 10th, 2009 by Jean Gleason

I took the Basic Cooking Techniques class taught by Chef Michael Montgomery at the Culinary School of the Rockies. This five day class covers every thing from sourcing food ingredients and basic knife skills, to basic cooking skills including blanching, braising, grilling, roasting, and deglazing. Chef Michael, shares his passion for good food and people through entertaining stories of french culinary school and restaurant life. He begins each day slowly with a cup of coffee and a review of the days menu, techniques covered, and timing of the preparation of specific recipes. The pace builds throughout the day to a hectic frenzy as all the students coordinate the timing of each tasty dish. The day culminates with a lovely sit down dinner. Wine is poured, the pace slows and everyone relaxes and tastes, critiques, and enjoys the creations of the day. The conversation bubbles with enthusiasm, stories emerge and strangers become friends.  I learned alot about cooking in this class, but I think the most important lesson was to slow down, and relax and savor that which you have created.

Potatoes Dauphinois, was one of my favorite side dishes from the course. It is exceptionally good for entertaining, since it can be made ahead of time and reheated before serving, simplifying the chaos of orchestrating a perfectly timed meal.

If you are concerned about fat consumption, cut the cream with chicken stock. The resulting recipe isn’t as rich as the original recipe, but still very tasty.

 
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Ingredients

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Generously butter a 2-1/2 to 3 quart gratin dish or other shallow baking dish.
  3. Make a bouquet garni by wrapping thyme, peppercorns, and bay leaf in a square of cheese cloth and securing with string.
  4. In a heavy 6 quart saucepan, combine potatoes, bouquet garni, salt, garlic, cloves, and cream. Set over moderate heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes can be pierced with a fork (about 10 minutes). Using slotted spoon, remove bouquet garni and garlic and discard.
  5. Spread potato mixture in buttered dish and sprinkle with cheese and bread crumbs. Bake until top is brown and potatoes are tender (about 30 to 40 minutes). Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

 

Spiced Toasted Walnuts

December 10th, 2009 by Jean Gleason

These spicy/sweet treats are handy to have around for snacking, throwing in a salad, or sprinkling around a warm melted wedge of brie cheese.

 
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Ingredients

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Toss walnuts with maple syrup and spices until evenly coated.
  3. Spread nut mixture on a sheet pan and bake for 7-10 minutes.
  4. Let cool to room temperature.

 

Spiced Cranberry Relish with Port

November 18th, 2009 by Jean Gleason

A few weeks ago, I stopped in the Little Raven Vinyards Wine Shop to pick up a bottle of wine for a friends birthday dinner.  It was my first visit, but definitely will not be my last. The unpretentious wisdom of their in-house sommelier makes exploring their diverse collection of undiscovered wines fun and educational. If your a local, give them a visit at 1590 Little Raven, near commons park. If you aren’t local, you can still share their wisdom by signing up for “The Grape Vine”, their weekly e-newsletter. It’s filled with great recipes and information on wine and food pairings. The recipe below was in this weeks newsletter—just in “thyme” for Thanksgiving dinner.

 
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Ingredients

Directions
  1. Julienne the orange lemon peels. In a small saucepan, heat the juices and ½ cup of the port. Over medium-high heat, cook the peels until tender, about 10 minutes. Reserve.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, onion, 2 cups of the port, ginger, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Over medium-high heat, cook until the relish thickens, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the remaining ½ cup port, the orange liqueur, and the reserved orange and lemon peel mixture. Cool. Transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate, covered until needed. This will keep up to one week, so it can be prepared ahead of time.
  3. Recipe adapted from
  4. Wolfgang Puck’s Adventure in the Kitchen
  5. (New York: Random House), 1991.

 

Slice and Bake Ginger Spice Cookies

November 11th, 2009 by Jean Gleason

The only problem with cookies is controlling how many get eaten, especially if you have a cookie monster in the house. Slice and Bakes are the perfect answer. Just make the dough and freeze it in a log. Then, just slice off a couple and bake them. You gotta love portion control! Did I forget to mention how great these taste? Last night I served ginger-snaps with fresh strawberries and whipped cream to our dinner guests. They are the perfect desert for entertaining. Just through them in the oven while you are clearing the table. Nothing like cookies fresh from the oven!

Slice and Bake Ginger Spice Cookies
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 24

Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter
  • ⅔ cup brown sugar
  • 1⅓ cup molasses
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons Smith & Truslow organic Ginger Spice Blend
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2¼ cup ground oatmeal flour

Directions
  1. To make batter
  2. cream butter and sugar together until well blended
  3. add egg and beat on high for 4 minutes
  4. add molasses and mix until blended
  5. combine flour, oat flour, salt, Ginger Spice Blend and baking soda
  6. add to butter mixture in small increments and mix until incorporated
  7. roll batter in to a log; wrap in tin foil and freeze
  8. To bake cookies
  9. preheat oven to 375°F
  10. slice log into ¼ in slices
  11. place on a cookie sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes

 

Tangy Chicken Soup

October 2nd, 2009 by Jean Gleason

One of the things I love about cooking is that sometimes you have to improvise … and sometimes it results in a great new recipe. Last week, I made this chicken soup while visiting my mother.  During the summer, she lives on Wolf Lake, in the Catskill mountains. Her spice cabinet is scantily stocked. And, though there are plenty of farm stands with fresh produce along the rural roads that weave throughout the Catskills, in traditional grocery stores supplies are somewhat limited. I finally gave up my search for saffron after three unsuccessful attempts. (Can you believe I actually tried to buy saffron in a grocery store?)

John and I had spent the day at Storm King Mountain, which I highly recommend if you are anywhere near upstate New York. The outdoor museum sits on 500 acres of rolling hills in the Hudson Highlands. On display are American and European modern sculptures by David Smith, Alex Calder, Henry Moore, and many others. The sculptures are absolutely fabulous. The leaves were just starting to turn to soft yellows and vibrant reds, so the backdrop was equally spectacular.

We returned from our outing late, so I made the soup while we started cocktails (at the lake, cocktails are a daily ritual!). Fortunately, my mother had already done most of the work (ie made the stock, and picked the chicken meat off the bones). When the soup was ready, I sat down to rave reviews all around.

My mother went into the kitchen to ladel up refills. All alone in the kitchen, she started to laugh. “What’s so funny?” I asked from the table. “You forgot to add the chicken.” she replied from the kitchen. So, we had vegetable soup for a 1st course, and chicken soup as a second course. Both were outstanding.

Tangy Chicken Soup
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 8

Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 carrots, minced
  • 1 celery stick, minced
  • 2 small parsnips, minced
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup broken egg noodles
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • juice of one lemon.
  • 1-2 cups shredded chicken (already cooked).
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions
  1. Saute the onion, carrots, celery, and parsnips in olive oil and butter for 5 minutes
  2. Add chicken stock and heat till boiling
  3. Add egg noodles and cook over medium heat until noodles are just tender (8 minutes)
  4. Add lemon juice, cilantro, and CHICKEN, and cook for 5 more minutes
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve