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  1. Tuesday, September 18, 2012

    Devilishly Delicious Cream and Potatoes

    A side dish that I grew up with were these delicious potatoes…cooked in cream and seasoned simply with salt and pepper. There’s something about the flavor of cream and potatoes paired with pepper that just takes me back in time.

    I realized a few weeks ago that I’ve never actually made these tasty taters myself. Which is crazy because they are easy to throw together and OH SO GOOD.

    And, yes, they are devilishly delicious. I mean, it’s pretty much straight up cream with some potatoes thrown in for good measure. But the peels are healthy, so there ya go!

    Devilishly Delicious Cream and Potatoes
    From Phyllis and Hans Wallin (Jane’s parents)
    • About 6 good-sized red potatoes (go with a less starchy potato, like new potatoes, if you can)
    • 1 pint cream
    • Salt & pepper, to taste
    • 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and butter
    1. Chop potatoes into evenly-sized, bite-sized pieces. Heat butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add potatoes and cook over medium-low to medium heat until potatoes have softened and can be cut easily with a thin knife. I usually cook the potatoes with the lid on the pan and stir them every few minutes.
    2. Pour cream over potatoes and season to taste with salt and pepper, about ¼ to ½ teaspoon of each. Make sure there is enough pepper that you can taste it. Heat over medium-low heat uncovered until hot and cream has started to thicken. The potatoes will help thicken the sauce, which is good but is also why I like to use red potatoes so that they hold their shape and don’t thicken the cream too much.


  2. Tuesday, April 3, 2012

    Simple Cream Sauce for Pasta

    When we lived in Boston, there was a small Italian restaurant in the North End that I loved to go to (no idea what it’s called, unfortunately). I often would order their penne in cream sauce with broccoli and chicken. It was simple and oh so delicious. I’ve been having a hankering for this dish, so I tried throwing it together myself this week.

    how to make perfect cream sauce for pasta from @janemaynard

    The results were yummy. It’s still not like what I ate in the North End, but this is a delicious recipe nonetheless. Plus, the cream sauce is nice and neutral, so you can really take this dish wherever you want it to got…chicken, pancetta, your favorite veggie, mushrooms…go crazy! I personally really like the simplicity of steamed broccoli and grilled chicken.

    Simple Cream Sauce for Pasta
    • 1 cup white wine
    • ~ 2 cups cream
    • Half of a small onion, chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pushed through a press
    • salt & pepper to taste
    • tablespoon or so of oil
    • fresh, shredded parmesan cheese (optional)
    1. Saute onion in olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Add garlic and saute for about 30 seconds, then add white wine and simmer until wine reduces to about about half. Add cream and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly to avoid scorching the bottom. Salt and pepper to taste. The sauce will remain pretty thin, which is fine for when you mix it with the pasta later. If you really feel like thickening it up, you could add a bit of flour, but I would resist doing this since the sauce will thicken as it cools on your plate.
    2. Mix with one package of cooked pasta of your choice and whatever toppings you desire. If you want it a little "saucier" don't use quite the whole package of pasta. I love this with steamed broccoli and grilled chicken breast mixed in. I also like to toss in a handful of fresh, shredded parmesan cheese at the end, stirred into the pasta.

  3. Wednesday, February 15, 2012

    Pots de Crème au Chocolat

    Despite my busy day yesterday (p.s. Owen does not have an ear infection, which is good…but he is still grumpy!), did you really think I would let Valentine’s Day pass without whipping up some sort of chocolate decadence?

    Last night, after the kids were in bed, dinner was done and Nate and I had another Breaking Bad episode under our belts (romantic, eh?), I ventured to the kitchen to make pots de crème au chocolat. Our friends Ana and Tom made these a few weeks ago when they had us over for dinner. (p.s. Ana and Tom are not only fabulous cooks, they are both hilarious. I wish I could eat dinner at their house every night. Hint, hint, Ana.) The dessert was pretty much divine and, after Ana assured me it was easy to make, I decided to give the recipe a go.

    Ana was right. They were in fact easy to throw together and required only a few ingredients. My kind of cooking.

    If you’ve had pots de crème au chocolat before, you know what they’re like. {Delicious.} If you haven’t, it’s sort of like the custard in crème brûlée, only chocolate flavored. This chocolate dessert is rich yet still kind of light. And, if you’re not feeling up to the task of using and washing 20 bowls to make Julia Child’s mousse au chocolat, this is a great alternative – not quite so thick and rich as the mousse, but still delicious. I mean really – can you go wrong with cream, chocolate and eggs? Nope, you can’t.

    Pots de Crème au Chocolat
    A mish mosh of two Williams Sonoma recipes and comments from Ana Haymore
    Recipe type: Dessert
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 3 ounces semi-sweet (or bittersweet) chocolate, chopped
    • 3 egg yolks
    • ¼ cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 4 pinches of salt (I’m sure I could give you an actual measurement, but I did four pinches, so there you go)
    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
    2. Heat cream in a saucepan over medium heat until small bubbles appear around the edges, stirring occasionally. Remove from the stove and stir in the chocolate until melted. Let cool while you do this other stuff”¦
    3. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar in a bowl for about 5 minutes. You want the eggs to be pale yellow. Just keep whisking. The more the merrier. (I had Nate do this last night”¦what a whiner, by the way. Oh wait, I mean, he was such a sweetie to do this for me and didn’t complain once! I suppose you could get out a hand blender”¦but a little wrist exercise never hurt anyone, right?)
    4. Slowly stir the chocolate cream into the egg mixture. Stir in the vanilla and the salt.
    5. Pour the chocolate mixture through a fine sieve into 6 ramekins, dividing evenly. Place ramekins in a 9×13 baking dish or pan. Pour boiling water around the ramekins in the 9×13 pan, 1 inch deep. Cover the ramekins and dish with foil.
    6. Bake for around 20 minutes, until the edges are set but the chocolate still trembles a bit (I cooked mine a minute or two too long and they still came out fine).
    7. Let cool on a wire rack. The Williams Sonoma recipes say to refrigerate for at least four hours and up to 2 days before serving”¦but we also have eaten them right after they’ve cooled but still sort of warm and they were delicious.

  4. Thursday, March 10, 2011

    Swedish Semla

    Our neighbors are Swedish and they invited us over this past Tuesday night to enjoy some semlor (plural for semla), a cream-filled bun with almond paste. The pastry is a Fat Tuesday tradition in Sweden. Rebecca and David told us that people love the buns so much they start appearing as early as Christmastime and are enjoyed for months rather than just one day. Click here for a fun article about semla.

    The semlor were scrumptious. Essentially it’s a cardamom bun with almond paste and cream. You slice off the top, scoop out the insides, mix it with almond paste and milk, then add it back to the bun. Top with whipped cream and some powdered sugar and you are ready to party it up Fat Tuesday style. Cate, like a true Kindergartener, barely touched hers. Which means I ate two. And only an unusual amount of will power kept me from finishing off Anna’s as well!

    Rebecca and David did a great job making the buns and Rebecca kindly translated her recipe for me to share on the blog. My brain almost exploded converting the measurements, so I hope you appreciate all the hard work that went into this recipe. Translating, converting…Rebecca and I are ready for a nap! (Also, big thanks to Nate the scientist for making sure I kept my decimals in the right spots!)

    I’m including Rebecca’s original measurements so that you can’t blame me if I got the conversions wrong. Which I’m pretty sure I got right. Remember, I didn’t even take one math class in college. But Nate helped, so we should be good.

    Swedish Semla
    From Rebecca and David Montag, our great Swedish neighbors
    • Buns (12-16 pcs):
    • 75 grams of butter = 5.3 tablespoons butter
    • 2.5 dl of milk = 1 cup milk
    • 25 grams by weight soft yeast = 1 pkg dry active yeast (Rebecca used one envelope dry yeast, which was 7 grams)
    • 1.5 ml salt = ⅓ teaspoon salt (so, a little more than ¼ tsp)
    • 0.5 dl sugar = ¼ cup sugar
    • 7.5 dl flour = 3 to 3¼ cup flour
    • 5 ml ground cardamom = 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
    • 1 beaten egg for “coating”
    • Bun Filling:
    • 300 grams almond paste = 1⅓ cup (Rebecca used half a tube of almond paste from Safeway, which was less than 300 grams)
    • ~1 dl milk = ⅓ – ½ cup milk
    • For serving:
    • 3 dl of whipped cream = 1¼ cup whipped cream
    • Powdered sugar for sprinkling on the finished product
    1. Melt the butter, add milk and heat to 37C / 98.6 F (optimal yeast temperature). Put the yeast in a bowl and add a little bit of the butter/milk mix to dissolve the yeast. Then add the rest of the mix, along with salt, sugar, cardamom and most of the flour (save some for making the buns). Work up a good dough that’s not too sticky. Let it rise under a towel for 40 minutes.
    2. Make 12-16 round buns and place them on a baking tray, which preferably has been covered with parchment paper. Cover them with a towel and let them rise for another 30 minutes.
    3. Set the oven heat for 225C / 437 F. Brush the buns with the egg. Bake the buns in the middle of the oven for about 10 minutes. Let them cool off under a towel.
    4. To prepare for serving:
    5. Cut a lid off each bun, quite high up on the bun. The lid should only be a flat hat. Take out some of the insides of the buns and put them in a bowl. Crumble the almond paste into the bowl and work it together with the bread. Add milk until the mix is very moist and gooey. Put the filling in the cavity in the buns. Whip the cream and put a large scoop on each bun. Put the lids back on and sprinkle some powdered sugar on top. (Rebecca found this link so you can see a traditionally-made semla bun.)
    6. We asked Rebecca and David how to eat the semlor. They said many people have strong opinions about this and laughed. They like to eat the top and then just pick the bun up and bite right in, which worked well for us!

    We asked Rebecca and David how to eat the semlor. They said many people have strong opinions about this and laughed. They like to eat the top and then just pick the bun up and bite right in, which worked well for us!

  5. Friday, October 16, 2009

    Cream of Mushroom Soup

    I know, I know…another soup recipe! Apparently there is a theme to my cooking lately…an unplanned theme, but a good one nonetheless. Tonight I made cream of mushroom soup. This is one of my favorite kinds of soup, and this recipe was perfect.

    cream of mushroom soup 1 web

    Quick note, all of the soups I shared this week can easily be made vegetarian by substituting in vegetable broth.

    Anyway, I’m sure you want the recipe, so here goes! I found it on Simply Recipes…Elise is one of my blogging buddies whom I have had the pleasure of actually spending some time with. She’s a gem. And so is her soup.

    Cream of Mushroom Soup
    Modified from a recipe by Elise Bauer on Simply Recipes – I modified based on what I had in the kitchen tonight, but it was really yummy so wanted to document exactly what I did
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Soup
    • 1 pound regular white mushrooms, cleaned, quartered or sliced (2/3 of my mushrooms were white, ⅓ were mini portobello)
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 1tablespoon butter
    • 2 finely chopped shallots (the recipe only called for 2 TBSP”¦I misread it, but the flavor was actually really lovely with two whole shallots, so there you go!)
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme (I only had about ¼ tsp of thyme left in my shaker, but the soup still tasted great!)
    • ½ bay leaf
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
    • 2 cups heavy cream
    • 1½ cups chicken broth
    • 4 tsp Wondra (or flour could work) dissolved in 2 Tbsp water
    1. Coarsely chop mushrooms and lemon juice in a food processor.
    2. Melt butter in (4-5 quart) sauce pan and lightly sauté shallots on medium heat. Add mushrooms, thyme and bay leaf, sauté over moderate heat for 10-15 minutes, or until the liquid that is released from the mushrooms disappears.
    3. Add salt, pepper, cream and chicken stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
    4. Add flour slurry and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.