Potato Leek Soup

Potato Leek Soup
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Potato Leek Soup
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  1. In a 6-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks and a heavy pinch of salt and sweat for 5 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook until the leeks are tender, approximately 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the potatoes and the vegetable broth, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and gently simmer until the potatoes are soft, approximately 45 minutes. Turn off the heat and puree the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in the heavy cream, buttermilk, and white pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately.
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Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese

The crispy topping and the Gruyère cheese really make this recipe special.

However, if you don’t have Gruyère on hand, feel free to experiment with other cheeses, just stick to the proportions.

  • 1 Quart whole milk
  • 8 tablespoons Unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 12 ounces Gruyère cheese (grated)
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese (grated)
  • 1 pound rigatoni or elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup corn flakes (crushed)
  • white pepper and salt ( to taste)
  1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.

    Grate both cheeses and reserve 1/4 C of Gruyère and 1/4 C of Cheddar to be used for the topping.

    In a zip lock bag, add the Corn Flakes and crush until you have fine crumbs. Add, the reserved cheeses. set aside.

    In a separate sauce pan or microwave proof container, heat the milk.

    In a large sauce pan , melt 7 T. butter. Add, the flour and cook over low heat for about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly stir in the heated milk, and continue to cook until mixture thickens. Remove the mixture from heat and stir in the Gruyère and Cheddar cheeses.

    Season with white pepper. Taste the cheese sauce to check the seasonings, if it needs salt add it now. Add the white pepper to taste.

    Stir in the cooked pasta until combined. Pour into a 3-quart buttered, baking dish.

    Sprinkle the corn flake and cheese topping over the pasta and dot with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.

    Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.

Grapefruit Olive Oil Cake

While finishing up a great lunch at one of my favorite restaurants in Austin,  I was presented with the difficult decision on choosing which dessert to share with my good friend and fellow foodie Heather; Grapefruit Olive Oil Cake was the special of the day.  Honestly, I turned up my nose at the idea of a grapefruit cake!  Heather was shocked that I had not ever tried an olive oil cake and  insisted we order a slice but,  just to be safe we ordered a back up dessert!  Well, I took one bite and fell in love!

I ran across the following recipe which was adapted from Melissa Clark’s blood orange olive oil cake.   The cake has a great texture and isn’t overwhelmingly heavy or sweet. It is a wonderful treat to enjoy at mid-day with a cup of hot tea or coffee.

As I am an empty nester, a large bundt cake is just too much cake for the two of us.  I baked this recipe in three mini bundt pans; kept one at home and took two to the office to share with friends. These make beautiful edible gifts!

For the cake:
2 grapefruits
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 large eggs
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

For glaze:
1/2 cup brown sugar
juice from one of the grapefruits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a standard bundt pan.

Zest the 2 grapefruits into a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar to the bowl, and using your fingers, rub the zest and sugar together until they’re well-incorporated to infuse the sugar with the grapefruit essential oils.

Halve one of the grapefruits and squeeze its juice into a measuring cup. Add buttermilk to juice in the measuring cup until there is a total of about 2/3 cup of liquid (you may not need the entire 1/2 cup of buttermilk, depending on the size of your grapefruit).Pour the grapefruit juice/buttermilk mixture into the bowl with the zest and sugar and whisk well. Whisk in the eggs and olive oil.

In another bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan.
Bake the cake for 50 to 55 minutes, until it is golden brown on top until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. When done, remove the cake to a rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Run a knife around the edges and unmold the cake onto a cake platter.

For the glaze, halve and squeeze the juice from the remaining grapefruit into a small sauce pan.  Add the brown sugar and simmer just to dissolve the sugar.   Using a toothpick, prick the cake all over, slowly brush the glaze over the entire cake.


Brown Butter Pumpkin Layer Cake

Brown Butter Pumpkin Layer CakeLate September, early October I begin to see sugar pie pumpkins at the market and immediately start making my plans to bake a brown butter pumpkin layer cake.

“A gingery glazed nut topping and brown butter spiked cream cheese frosting are the finishing touches for the spectacular spiced pumpkin cake”. I couldn’t of said it any better than that! This cake is so worth the effort and is a sure hit with family and friends! THANKS to Fine Cooking Magazine for publishing this recipe!

This recipe looks overwhelming with four different components but, preparing the pumpkin puree in advance you will save a lot of time.

For the Puree:
2 t. vegetable oil
1 medium-large Sugar Pie pumpkin, cut in half from stem to bottom and seeded

Position rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush a rimmed baking sheet with the oil. Put the pumpkin halves in the sheet cut side down and bake until tender when pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes. Let cool. Scoop out the pumpkin flesh into a food processor and blend until smooth. You can make the puree up to two days ahead or freeze for later use.

For the cake:
6 oz. unsalted butter, more for the pans
9 oz. all purpose flour, more for the pans
1 ½ t. baking soda
1 ½ t. ground cinnamon
1 t. ground ginger
¾ t. salt
¼ t. ground cloves

1 ½ C. granulated sugar

2/3 C. firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
½ C. buttermilk

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Butter two 9 inch round cake pans and line with parchment. Melt the butter in a heavy-duty quart saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally until the butter turns a nutty golden-brown, about 4 minutes. Pour into a small bowl and let stand until cool but not set, about 15 minutes. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and cloves. In a large bowl, whisk 1 ½ C. pumpkin puree with the granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and buttermilk until very well blended. With a rubber spatula, stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Gently whisk in the brown butter until completely incorporated. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake the cakes until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 28 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto racks, remove the parchment, and cool completely.

For the topping:
1 ½ T. unsalted butter
2/3 C. pecans
½ C. unsalted, raw, hulled pepitas
2 T. firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ t. salt
1 ½ T. chopped crystallized ginger

Melt the butter in a heavy-duty non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the pecans, pepitas and cook until the pecans brown slightly and the pepitas begin to pop, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle in the brown sugar and salt and stir until the sugar melts and the nuts are glazed, about 2 minutes. Stir in the ginger. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool in the skillet.

For the Frosting:
4 oz. unsalted butter
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temp
¼ C. firmly packed light brown sugar
1 ¼ C. (5 oz.) confectioners’ sugar

Melt the butter in a heavy one quart saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling the pan occassinoally until the butter turns a nutty golden-brown, about 4 minutes. Pour into a small bowl and let stand until the solids settle at the bottom of the bowl, about 5 minutes. Carefully transfer the bowl to the refrigerator and chill until just firm, for about 18 minutes. Using a spoon, scrape the butter from the bowl, leaving the browned solids at the bottom.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, cream cheese, and brown sugar on medium high speed until light in color and the brown sugar has dissolved, 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar and continue beating until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes

Assemble the cake:
Put one cake layer on a cake plate. Spread ½ C. of the frosting on the layer. Sprinkle ½ C. of the nut mixture over the frosting and top with the second layer. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Arrange the remaining topping on the top of the cake. Can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Best served at room temperature.

Awesome Meatballs

So my husband named this meatball recipe!  And, they are delicious!!
I love that these meatballs are baked in the oven, so they are very quick  to mix up and with minimal mess.  The recipe makes a huge batch, about 40 meatballs.  These freeze really well  and are always great to have on hand.  When I do make a batch, I have to keep it on the down low as my daughters (aka sticky fingers), will surely stop by and raid my freezer.  <3<3<3
This recipe comes from America’s Test  Kitchen with a few minor modifications.
My marinara sauce will be posted soon…


Awesome Meatballs

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. ground veal
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 2.25 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1.5 cup Buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 5 oz. Prosciutto (thinly sliced and chopped fine)
  • 3 oz. Parmesan Cheese (Grated about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 6 Tablespoons Parsley (fresh minced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (pressed through a garlic press – about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1.5 tsp Knox unflavored gelatin (dissolved in 3 tablespoons of water)
  • 1.5 tsp Salt
  • 1.5 tsp Pepper
  • 1.5 tsp Oregano (dried leaves)
  1. Instructions
    FOR THE MEATBALLS: Place wire racks in 2 foil-lined rimmed baking
    sheets. Adjust oven racks to lower-middle and upper-middle positions and
    heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine bread crumbs and buttermilk in large bowl
    and let sit, mashing occasionally with fork, until smooth paste forms,
    about 10 minutes.
    Add eggs, beef, pork, prosciutto, Parmesan, parsley, garlic, gelatin
    mixture, 11/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to bread-crumb
    mixture. Using hands, gently mix until thoroughly combined. Lightly form
    about ¼ cup mixture into 2-inch round meatball (about 2 ounces); repeat
    with remaining mixture to form approximately 40 meatballs.
    Spray wire racks with nonstick cooking spray and place meatballs, evenly
    spaced, on racks; roast until browned, about 30 minutes, rotating trays
    from front to back and top to bottom halfway through.

    As the meatballs come out of the oven, I drop them into a pot of my favorite marinara sauce.