Saturday, July 30, 2011

Creamed Green Beans, Red Potatoes, and Sausage

This recipe is really special, not only because my Mom and I whipped it together from memory, but because it is a recipe of my Grandma Walters. While making this with my Mom, and then tasting the creamy, peppery beans, potatoes, and sausage, I was flooded with memories and images of my Grandma and being in her kitchen. 
This recipe is best with fresh  green beans and red potatoes, but works well with frozen green beans too. It is a wonderful way to highlight some of the beautiful summer bounty that is so readily available this time of year!
Creamed Green Beans, Red Potatoes, and Sausage
From My Mom and Gram Walters
Printable Version
2 cups fresh green beans, with the ends snipped off
2 cups red potatoes, cleaned
1 package of sausage (we used chicken sausage)
2 cups milk
1 stick of butter
2 tablespoons flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Bring a large heavy pot to boil and put in potatoes. Cook for about 10 minutes and then add in green beans. Cook beans and potatoes about 10 minutes more, being sure to check both for desired tenderness. 
Begin the roux by heating the butter in a small pan over low to medium heat.  Slowly add the flour to the butter, whisking constantly. The roux will begin to have a thick consistency, like frosting. At this point, slowly add the milk, about half a cup at a time. Continue to whisk quickly and constantly, adding the milk and keeping the heat at medium. 
Season to taste with salt and pepper. My family likes a lot of pepper in this, so we end up using about a teaspoon! Meanwhile slice sausage and saute in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil or cooking spray. Cook fully on both sides, about 5 minutes. 
Drain the beans and potatoes and then add back to the large pot. Place the sausage in the pot as well and mix together. Pour the cream sauce over the entire pot and carefully combine. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Panna Cotta with Summer Berries

My husband and I just spent two glorious weeks in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Hubby's family built a beautiful cabin on Lake Michigan in the U.P. (Michiganders know that U.P. is an abbreviation for Upper Peninsula) and just to make you all jealous here is a picture from the porch of the cabin, looking at Lake Michigan:
While at the cabin, I had the chance to cook a little bit with my lovely mother-in-law and her very dear friend Gail. I love cooking with other women in my family and learning from them. Gail showed me how to make a Panna Cotta with summer berries. Although the batch looks small, we made enough to feed about 10 people. The Panna Cotta was extremely creamy with wonderful vanilla flavoring. The blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries were a perfect addition and a great way to incorporate fresh Michigan berries. 
Panna Cotta with Summer Berries
From Epicurious
Printable Version
1 envelope unflavored gelatin (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons cold water
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup half and half (we ran out and used lowfat milk, which was a fine substitute)
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups of fresh summer berries (we used strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries)
1/2 cup sweet dessert wine
In a very small saucepan sprinkle gelatin over water and let stand about 1 minute to soften. Heat gelatin mixture over low heat until gelatin is dissolved and remove pan from heat.
In large saucepan bring cream, half and half, and sugar just to a boil over moderately high heat, stirring.
Remove pan from heat and stir in gelatin mixture and vanilla. Divide cream mixture among eight 1/2 cup ramekins and cool to room temperature (we placed the mixture in a large bowl instead). Chill ramekins, covered, for at least 4 hours or overnight. 
Meanwhile chop berries into bite size pieces. Place berries into a small bowl and pour the dessert wine over top.
Mix to cover berries in the wine and allow to marinate until serving time. If serving in ramekins, dip one at a time into a bowl of hot water for 3 seconds. Run a thin knife around the edge of each ramekin and invert onto a small plate. Garnish with fresh berries. If serving in cup like ours, scoop the mixture into serving cups and garnish with berries.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Alton Brown's French Toast

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Technically, this is Alton Brown's modified French Toast, because I changed the ingredients a bit. I wanted to share this recipe anyway because of the method Alton uses in making his french toast. After dipping the bread in the egg/cream mixture, the french toast is placed on a wire rack where the excess liquid is allowed to drip off. Then it is cooked on a griddle or skillet, like traditional french toast, but the brilliant part of this recipe is that then you bake for just 5 minutes so that is slightly crunchy. I hate soggy french toast  and this recipe guarantees that you will not have soggy french toast. I love Alton, don't you??
Alton Brown's Modified French Toast
From Alton Brown of course!
Serves 4
Printable Version
1 cup half and half (I used fat free but I'm pretty sure Alton would not approve of this)
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons honey, warmed in the microwave for 20 seconds (I did not have honey, but I know this would be a wonderful addition)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon (Alton did not call for this, but I think cinnamon in French Toast is a must!)
8 slices of day old bread
4 tablespoons butter

In a medium-sized mixing bowl whisk together the half and half, eggs, honey, salt, and cinnamon. You may do this the night before to save time. When ready to cook, pour the mixture in a pie pan and set aside. 
Preheat the oven to 375. Dip bread into mixture and allow to soak for 3o seconds on each side. 
Then place the slice of bread on a wire rack that is sitting on a sheet pan. Allow to sit for 1 to 2 minutes.
Over medium low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large nonstick saute pan or griddle iron. Place 2 slices of bread at a time into the pan and cook until golden brown, approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan or griddle and place on a cookie sheet and put in the oven for 5 minutes. Repeat with all 8 slices of bread. Serve with maple syrup, whipped cream, or fruit. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Edamame Hummus

This is my sixth hummus recipe, so I guess you could say I'm a hummus junkie. Unfortunately, hubby is not a hummus fiend, like me, so when I saw this edamame hummus from Ali Girl Cooks I waited until we had people over to make it.
I didn't get more than a couple of bites of this hummus because everyone gobbled it up. It's super savory with the flavors of cilantro, spice, and of course edamame. Since edamame is a major part of the Japanese diet, I am very excited I'll have access to it once we move and still be able to make this delicious hummus!
Edamame Hummus
From Ali Girl Cooks
Printable Version
2 cups edamame, thawed and shelled
4 tablespoons tahini
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup cilantro
4 tablespoons olive oil
Place all of the ingredients except for the olive oil in a food processor. Pulse to combine, using a spatula to scrape down the sides before running the food processor and streaming in the olive oil. 
If needed add 2-4 tablespoons of water to loosen up the mixture. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve with pita chips, tortilla chips, or fresh veggies.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

After making Four Ingredient Nutella Cookies I became a little obsessed with Nutella cookies so a few weeks later I scoured the internet for chocolate chip cookies with Nutella. I finally found the perfect recipe - these Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies from
OH...MY...GOODNESS! These cookies are quite possibly the best cookies I've ever made and I love my cookies. These little babies completely melt in your mouth. They are pure chocolate nutella goodness. Whip up a batch of these ASAP!
Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies
Printable Version
2 1/8 cup all-purpose flour (2 cups plus 2 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled until warm
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Nutella (I used about 3/4 cups!)
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 20X14 baking sheet without sides with parchment paper or a baking mat. Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together and set aside. With an electric mixer mix butter and sugars until throughly blended. 
Mix in Nutella, egg, yolk, and vanilla extract. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in chips.
From dough into tablespoon sized balls. Bake until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden, yet centers are still soft and puffy, about 15 to minutes (start checking at 13 minutes). Cool cookies on sheets for a few minutes then on a wire rack. 
After making these cookies this tragedy occurred:
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An empty Nutella container is one of the saddest events that can happen in the kitchen.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Meatless Mondays: Cilantro Coconut Milk Pasta

It's been a while since I posted a Meatless Monday recipe so I'm excited to share this one with you. Minced cilantro and coconut milk play the leading roles in this creamy, unique pasta from Health Nut. You have never tasted anything like this and the smell of this pasta is amazing and exotic - cliantro, garlic, onions mingling with spices.  Hubby and I really enjoyed this dish - if you are a cilantro fan I promise you will love it too!
Cilantro Coconut Milk Pasta
From Yasmeen @ Health Nut
Printable Version
1 cup fresh cilantro
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 lb whole grain or multi grain pasta
1 clove garlic
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

Puree the cilantro (leaves and stems) in a food processor. Set aside. 
Cook the pasta to al dente according to pasta directions. When pasta is done, drain and cool. In a medium sized pan heat the olive oil and add onion. Cook until translucent and then add garlic and other spices. 
Cook for a minute or two then add in the coconut milk. Bring to a slow boil then mix in the pureed cilantro and cooked pasta. 
Combine throughly, then turn off the heat. Serve warm. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cheesy Potato Casserole

The best way to describe this cheesy potato casserole is that is utter comfort. It's golden, cheesy, bubbly, and creamy. It can accompany any meal you make and is excellent for large groups. The original recipe   called for cornflakes and butter as the topping, but we had some potato chips so I used those instead. It was a very good decision. 
Cheesy Potato Casserole
From My Mom :)
Printable Version
2 pound shredded or diced hash browns (you can use frozen but be sure to unthaw first)
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 pint sour cream
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 tablespoons onions (either fresh or dried)
2 cups shredded cheese
2 cups crushed potato chips or 2 cups crushed cornflakes mixed with 1/4 cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients except potato chips or cornflakes in a large bowl.
Scoop into a 9X13 casserole dish.
Sprinkle potato chips or cornflakes on top of casserole. Bake for 1 hour or until golden and bubbly.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Strawberry Blueberry Mint Spritzer

This refreshing drink is a wonderful summer cocktail and although it's not red, white, and blue, it's got the red and blue component!  Fresh strawberries, blueberries, and mint leaves are muddled together then mixed with freshly squeezed lemon juice, champagne, sake, and seltzer water. I fell in love with the recipe when I saw it called for Sake! A friend gave us a bottle of Sake as a going away present since we will be living in Japan in less than a month. This cocktail was the perfect use for it!
 I served these cocktails when we had a dinner party and everyone loved it! It can also be made without the alcohol, just substitute additional seltzer for the champagne and sake.
Strawberry Blueberry Mint Spritzer
Modified from
Printable Version
1 bottle of Sake
1 bottle of champagne
1/2 pint of strawberries
1/2 pint of blueberries
6 lemons
6 sprigs of mint
2 cans or 24 ounces of seltzer water
Slice strawberries into vertical slivers and halve the blueberries. Tear the mint leaves roughly and all all to a large pitcher. Squeeze the lemons into the pitcher and gently muddle using a fruit muddler or wooden spoon. 
Add the seltzer water in and stir. Add equal parts sake and champagne. Pour into individual glasses and garnish with additional fruit if desired. 


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