Weekend Fun

Creamy Potato Gratin

March 5, 2011

Creamy Potato Gratin


3 Garlic Cloves Cut In Half

4 Tablespoons Butter

3 Pounds (Peeled & Scrubbed) Yukon Gold Potatoes

3 Cups Milk

1/8 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

1 Teaspoon Salt

½ Teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper

Preheat the oven to 425° F.  Rub half of 1 garlic clove all over the inside of a 3 quart shallow glass or ceramic baking dish.  Throw away the garlic piece.  Rub ½ tablespoon of the butter all over the dish and cut the remaining butter into small pieces and reserve. 

With a sharp knife, cut potatoes into 1/8 inch thick slices.  In a 12 inch skillet, combine potatoes, milk and remaining garlic.  Heat to boiling on medium heat and stir occasionally.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 3 minutes.  Stir in nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Remove and throw away garlic cloves.  Carefully transfer potato mixture to prepared baking dish and spread evenly.  Top with the reserved butter pieces. 

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Potatoes should be tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.  Cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before serving.  Serves 12

Beer Can Chicken

March 4, 2011

Beer Can Chicken


½ Cup Chopped Onion

5 Garlic Cloves

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons Chili Powder

1 Teaspoon Sea Salt

1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1 Large Roasting Chicken (Approx 4 ½ Pounds)

1 Can Of Your Favorite Beer (14 Ounce Can)

Preheat the oven to 400° F and move the rack to the bottom of the oven. 

Combine the onion, garlic, oil, chili powder, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender.  Remove any innards or other items from inside the chicken.  Rinse the chicken inside and out in cold, running water.  Rub the chicken inside and out with the combined mixture.  Make sure to get the mixture under the skin as well. 

Open your can of beer and either drink or pour out ¼ of it.  This prevents bubbling over during cooking.  Punch a few extra holes in the can.  Holding the can upright, place the chicken on top of the can, inserting the can as far as it will go into the cavity of the chicken.  Position the chicken legs in front of the chicken to help steady the chicken.  Place chicken into the oven proof pan and tent the chicken with foil for the first hour to prevent over browning.  Put chicken on the bottom oven rack.  Reduce oven to 350° F after ½ hour.  Cook 1 ½ to 2 hours (depending on the size of your chicken).  Rotate chicken at about 45 minutes. 

Remove from the oven when chicken is done, use tongs and an oven mitt to separate the chicken and the beer can.  Carefully remove to a separate platter and allow to stand for 10 minutes. 

Pour any remaining beer into the dripping to make a sauce if you wish. 

Cut up the chicken and serve.  Serves 4

Recommended Cooking Times (at 350°):

2 ½ to 3 Pounds  – Cook 1 to 1 ¾ Hours

3 ½ to 4 Pounds  – Cook 1 ½ to 1 ¾ Hours

4 ½ to 5 Pounds  – Cook 1 ½ to 2 Hours

5 to 6 Pounds      – Cook 1 ¾ to 2 ½ Hours

Panna Cotta With Raspberry Sauce

March 2, 2011

Panna Cotta With Raspberry Sauce


Three ¼ Ounce Envelopes Unflavored Gelatin

½ Cup Cold Water

1 Quart Half & Half

2 Cups Heavy Cream

2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

1 Strip of 3 Inch Piece Lemon Zest

1/3 Cup Sugar

Raspberry Sauce

Two 10 Ounce Packages Frozen Raspberries In Syrup – Thawed

2 Tablespoons Sugar

1 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice

1 Teaspoon Cornstarch Mixed With 2 Tablespoons Water

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and set aside to soften.  Combine the half & half, cream, lemon zest and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Remove from heat and add the softened gelatin.  Stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. 

Discard the lemon zest and add the vanilla extract.  Divide the cream mixture among twelve 6 ounce custard cups.  Cover and refrigerate until the panna cotta is set.  This should take at least 4 hours.  You can refrigerate these overnight if you wish. 

To make the raspberry sauce, puree the berries with their syrup, the sugar, and lemon juice in a food processor or blender.  Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a small saucepan.  Bring the puree to a simmer over medium heat.  Add the cornstarch mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let cool, then pour into a tightly sealed container and refrigerate.  The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator up to 3 days. 

To serve, dip the bottom of the custard cup into a bowl of hot water for 10 seconds.  Run a thin knife around the edge of the cream.  Invert the cream onto a serving plate.  Repeat with the remaining custard cups. 

Spoon some of the sauce around the creams.  Serve immediately.  Serves 12

Wine Poached Ginger Pears

February 27, 2011

Wine Poached Ginger Pears


4 Medium Firm Pears

4 Pieces Crystallized Ginger (1 inch size)

1 Cup Red Wine

1 Cup Water

2 Tablespoons Honey

3 Thin Strips Lemon Peel

½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

Peel the pears, leaving the stems intact.  Use a corer or sharp knife to remove the bottom “flower,” and about 1 ½ inch of the core.  Place one piece of the ginger into each hollow.  Place the pears upright in a medium pot.  Combine the wine, water, honey, lemon peel, and cinnamon in a medium bowl and pour over the pears.  Cover the pot and place over medium-low heat.  Simmer the pears for 20 minutes.  Uncover the pot and gently lay the pears on their sides.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  Uncover and gently turn each pear over to its other side.  Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.  Stand the pears upright in a medium glass bowl.  Pour the wine syrup over the pears.  Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.  Can be served with vanilla ice cream or whipping cream.  Serves 4

New England Clam Chowder

February 26, 2011

New England Clam Chowder

In the 16th and 17th centuries, fish chowder was enjoyed by the French as well as by the Native Americans.  In America, by 1751, recipes for fish chowder began to appear in newspapers.  Many were prepared by “layering chowder ingredients.”  Each ingredient was placed in a pot in a layer of uniform thickness, then slowly cooked.  By the mid-18th century, chowder was a mainstay throughout the Northeast.  Clams and other shellfish were added to chowders largely because of their great availability, as all one had to do along the shore was to dig them up.  When the 1896 edition of the Boston Cooking School Cookbook contained three recipes for chowder, it was clear that chowder was here to stay.


2 Tablespoons Butter

1 ½ Cups Chicken Stock or Vegetable Stock

4 Pounds Scrubbed Litleneck Clams (About 1 ½ Dozen Large Clams)

3 Slices Chopped Bacon

1 Finely Chopped Medium Onion

1 Tablespoon Unbleached Flour

¼ Teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper

1 Pound Peeled & Chopped Potatoes (About 3 Medium Potatoes)

2 Cups Half & Half

1 Cup Milk

¾ Teaspoon Salt

In a medium saucepan, heat water to boiling over high heat.  Add clams and heat to boiling.  Reduce heat slightly.  Cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until clams open up.  Transfer clams to a bowl as they open.  THROW away any clams that have not opened.  When the clams are cool enough to handle, remove them from their shells and coarsely chop.  Throw away the shells.  Strain clam broth through a sieve lined with paper towels into a measuring cup.  If necessary add enough water to equal 2 cups. 

In a medium stockpot cook bacon over medium high heat until lightly browned.  Remove bacon to paper towels.  Add onion to bacon drippings and cook until tender – stirring occasionally.  Stir in flour, pepper and salt until blended and cook for about a minute.  Gradually stir in the clam broth until smooth.  Add potatoes and heat to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender (for about 20 minutes).  Stir in half & half, butter, milk, bacon and chopped clams.  Heat through, but do not boil.  Serves 6

Old Fashioned Pancakes

February 20, 2011

Old Fashioned Pancakes

You Don’t Need To Purchase Mixes… make your own!


1 ½ Cups Unbleached Flour

3 ½ Teaspoons Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Salt

1 Tablespoon Sugar

1 ¼ Cups Milk

1 Egg

3 Tablespoons Melted Butter

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter.  Mix until smooth.  Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat.  Pour the batter onto the griddle, using approximately ¼ cup for each pancake.  Brown on both sides and serve hot.  Serve with fruit, jam or maple syrup.  Serves 8

Victoria’s Naughty Naughty Mashed Potatoes

November 26, 2010

Naughty Naughty Mashed Potatoes!

Serves 6


5 Pounds Peeled & Cubed Russet Potatoes

2 Sticks Butter

¾ Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt

¼ Teaspoon Garlic Powder

½ Teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water.  Cook potatoes in boiling water until very tender for approximately 20 minutes.  Drain well.  Mash potatoes with butter.  Add cream, salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Mix well.  Super yummy and super naughty.

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