Saturday, December 28, 2013

Apple Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Onion Cider Gravy

Apples and apple cider add a wonderful sweetness to simple mashed potatoes.  Wonderful with a pork roast or chops!

Serves 4 to 6

For the potatoes

4  1/2 cups peeled and cubed Yukon Gold potatoes( one inch cubes)
1 large granny Smith apple, peeled cored and cut into one inch cubes
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup half and half
3 Tbl butter
5 or 6 gratings nutmeg
Salt and white pepper to taste

Place the cubed apple and potatoes in a 4 quart pot, cover with water and add the cup of apple cider. Bring to a boil and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender.
Drain the apples and potatoes and then start mashing or ricing.  Add the butter and half and half and keep mashing until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the nutmeg and add salt and white pepper to taste.

For the gravy

3 Tbl butter
1 large sweet onion, quartered and then thinly sliced
1 tsp granulated sugar
2 sprigs fresh thyme
3 Tbl all purpose flour
1 cup apple cider
1 cup chicken broth
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

In a large saute pan, melt the butter and add the sliced onions, sugar and thyme. saute on low heat until the onions turn golden.  This might take about 20 minutes.  Stir the mixture around a bit while you do this.
After the onions have caramelized, fish out the thyme sprigs and stir in the flour.  Continue to saute for another minute or to to incorporate the flour.
Stir in the cider, chicken broth, salt and pepper.  Bring up to a simmer and simmer until thickened. Serve the gravy over the apple mashed potatoes.

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Christmas Gift from Louisiana!

The doorbell rang the other day...I answered and a FedEx driver was standing there with a huge package.  She was smiling from ear to ear and when I told her it must be something I ordered for Christmas she pointed to the return address on the box and said "This looks like food...let me help you get it in the house"  I looked down and saw that the package was from Tony's Seafood in Baton Rouge and knew immediately that my brother had sent this. He works for Tony's which is a huge retail/wholesale seafood operation in the South.
We got the package in the house and Tom, Matt and I began to make our way through it.  Inside we found pork boudin, crawfish boudin, pickled quail eggs, a crawfish pie,  Louisiana Fish Fry spices and crab boils and last but not least...a 14 pound turducken! A turducken is a boned turkey stuffed with a duck and then stuffed with a chicken . Everything was frozen but in perfect condition!
We took everything to the freezer and decided that the turducken will probably be saved for Dad and Margie's upcoming birthday, but if nothing else, we'll all sample the crawfish pie on Christmas Day.

Thanks so much Tom!!


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Whipped Artichoke Spread

I was looking through the latest Zingerman's catalog (I love Zingermans!) and found a product for artichoke cream described as whipped with spices and vinegar.  I thought it sounded like something I'd like to try but when I went to order they were out.  I was determined to have some artichoke "cream" and checked the pantry and found 2 cans of artichoke hearts packed in water.  And so I made this spread....good on crackers, vegetables, pita chips and even as a spread for sandwiches. A little tart but if you like artichokes you may want to give it a try!

Makes over 2 cups

Two 14.5 ounce cans artichoke hearts packed in water
2 roasted garlic cloves
Juice of one small lemon (Meyer lemon is especially good)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 to 1/2 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Drain and rinse the artichokes and then place them in the bowl of a food processor along with the garlic, lemon juice, salt, white pepper and 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs.
Start processing while drizzling in the oil.  Process until fluffy and add a little more bread crumb if you'd like the spread a little sturdier. Place in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for several hours to let the flavors marry.