Sunday, November 15, 2009

Favorite Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

My youngest daughter is my mashed potato girl (she even plays mashed potatoes in a school play this year!). For the past couple of years, she has had mashed potato duty from start to finish. I bought a very pricey but very quick mashing tool that makes the whole process a snap. She also peels and leaves a small amount of skin which actually helps the dish.

I love the roasted garlic in these. They add a great dimension!

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
gluten free


1 full head of garlic (outer leaves peeled)
1 TBSP olive oil
salt and pepper
7 or 8 Idaho potatoes, peeled and quartered (leave little bits of skin on)
5 TBSP butter (and more just in case)
1/2 C whole milk

Preheat oven to 350. Slice off the top of the garlic head and drizzle olive oil over it. Season with salt and pepper. Wrap in aluminum foil leaving top exposed. Bake for one full hour.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add potatoes and cook about 15 minutes (until tender--can easily pierce with a fork). Drain and let cool, slightly.

Add butter and milk. Mash. Season with salt and pepper. Add more butter or milk as needed.

Take garlic out of oven and squeeze moist cloves in the mashed potatoes. Continue to mash until the potatoes are to your liking :)

The Thanksgiving Turkey

Before you even begin to read this, please remember this is a Thanksgiving recipe. It is meant to be extremely calorie-laden. This turkey is gluttony at its finest. Try not to think of the calories or the fat content as you read it ;)

I got this incredible recipe from Tyler Florence and make it every year (oddly, I switch all my dishes every year but the turkey--you cannot top perfection)

Maple Glazed Turkey with Bacon
(gluten free addition)


1 11-13 pound turkey (thawed, brining optional)
2 sticks butter, room temp
handful fresh sage, chopped
1 C maple syrup (yes, real!)
1/4 C hot water
10 strips bacon (uncooked)
1/4 C arrowroot flour (or regular flour)
Chicken stock (amount varies but have a full box handy)
1/4 lemon, juiced

Pre-heat oven to 350.

Combine sage and butter in small bowl ( great smaller kids activity if you don't mind greasy fingers!). Season with salt and pepper.

Remove gizzards and neck from turkey. Carefully rinse in cool water and pat dry.

Using your fingers, pull up the turkey's skin and push in the sage butter all around the bird. Try to push the butter back as far as possible for an even coat. Truss (tie up the turkey) and place in large roasting pan. Pop in the oven.

Combine maple syrup (and it is real, right?!) and hot water. You are going to baste the turkey with this. Suck up the juice with the baster and baste the bird. Baste using the juices from inside the pan every 30 minutes.

In about two hours, pull out the turkey to add the main attraction (at least it is here), the bacon. Carefully layer the bacon over the turkey covering the entire turkey breast (think roof shingles). Place back in the oven.

Turkey should be ready in about 3 hours. You should place a meat thermometer in the turkey thigh (meatiest part) to really know when it is done. Turkey temp should be 170. Another hint is seeing CLEAR juices if you stab the thigh with a fork or the thermometer. (For everyone's sake, please use the thermometer!)

Take the turkey out and let rest on a carving plate for at least 20 minutes prior to carving (keep the pickers away!).

Place your roasting pan over two burners over medium-high heat. Skim off the big chunks of fat. Carefully add your arrowroot and whisk away. Season with salt and pepper. Carefully add chicken stock to get the right consistency.

After about 5 minutes, finish your gravy off with the lemon juice. Continue to whisk and then add to the gravy boat.


Cranberries with Mint

My absolute favorite way to prepare cranberries. This recipe is based off one I saw in a Williams Sonoma catalogue.

Cranberries with Mint

2 C sugar
2 C water (boiling)
4 C cranberries
1 C water (boiling)
bunch of mint leaves

Place mint leaves in a fine strainer and over a bowl. Pour the boiling water over the mint leaves, pushing the mint leaves down to get all the flavor.
Let water cool.
In a medium saucepan, combine mint water and sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and partially cover. Sauce will thicken within a half hour.
Remove from heat and let cool (thickens even more).
Place in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"Instant" Pancakes

I love this recipe because the dry portion can be made way before and stored (the McCann Irish Oatmeal tin can is ideal for this!) and then mixed with egg, butter and milk. it's so easy, my ten year old can make this. I got this idea from Nigella Lawson's book. It makes you feel so accomplished to just whip together homemade pancakes on a Saturday morning!

Dry Pancake Mix

4 C flour mix 
3 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp plus 1 tsp sugar

Whisk all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.

"Instant" Pancakes

1 C dry pancake mix
1 C fat free milk
1 tbsp butter, melted
1 egg (beaten)

Mix all ingredients. Using a small ice cream scoop, laddle on hot griddle. Flip when the pancake bubbles and edges are slightly brown.

Serve with real maple syrup or try mixing microwaved frozen fruit with one tbsp maple syrup--very yummy!

* For variety, mix in blueberries, chocolate or another fruit of your choice.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Let's Talk Bacon

Bacon is one of the most fattening things on the planet; that being said it is, let's face it, one of the tastiest things on the planet. I was a vegetarian for 6 six years (vegan for 1) and the one thing I missed, BACON. 

Sure there is turkey bacon, soy bacon but none can come close to the that sweet, salty, smokey, chewy, crispy bacon. It cannot be duplicated in my mind.

But can you be a healthy family and eat bacon?

This family does, about twice a month max. The guidelines for us--it's exactly 1/2 pound for all six of us and the bacon has to be top quality organic. A 1/2 pound keeps us from gorging ourselves, organic because lots of the hormones, etc. given to pigs reside in fat and bacon is pretty much all fat and top quality because I am not going to waste my rare bacon treat on the pre-packaged junk.

I have the two slice rule for myself and older kids. My kids under 5 have one slice, that I cut in half ;)

The good news is good bacon is not as expensive as you think. Fresh, smoked bacon at Whole Foods is $6.99 a pound--not terrible considering wild salmon can go up to $30 a pound. 

And bacon is more than just breakfast--think wrapped around fish or asparagus, chopped over a spinach salad or added to a soup.  The flavor adds so much to so many dishes--and a little goes a long way.

So go ahead and allow your kids some bacon--just remember moderation is the key :)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Yogurt Breakfast Bar

This is a fun one for morning after sleepovers or when you need to feed a bunch of children.
I use a dolled plain yogurt but you may want to start with a mix of vanilla and plain. Keep in mind, flavored yogurts are loaded with sugar so the more plain you use, the better.

Yogurt Breakfast Bar

Container of Plain Fat Free Yogurt
dried fruit
fresh fruit
freshly ground flax seed
Go Lean Crunch cereal

Mix honey in plain yogurt (if using vanilla, skip this step) and taste. Add honey until you are happy with the taste. Place all remaining ingredients in glass bowls.
Give everyone a pretty tall glass and kids can make their own parfaits :)

Friday, August 8, 2008

Italian Frittata

Frittatas are basically baked eggs. Below is one of my favorite frittata combinations but don't let it limit you. Try roasted red peppers, various herbs, cheeses and veggies.

These do take a bit of effort so you might want to reserve this breakfast when you have a little time. They are worth both the time and effort!

Italian Frittata

1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
12 eggs, beaten
few basil leaves, torn (and a couple more for garnish)
1/2 C sundried tomatoes packed in  olive oil, sliced
1/2 C goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 C baby spinach, torn

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add eggs and salt and pepper. Stir and pull egg mixture away from pan sides. After about 4 minutes, add remaining ingredients. Stir and remove from heat. 

Place in oven and cook 15 minutes. The center of the frittata should be set. Remove and allow to sit for ten minutes. Carefully slide a thin knife around the pan to loosen the frittata. Flip the pan over on a large plate. Slice the frittata in wedges and serve, garnished with fresh basil leaves.