Jacques Pepin Potatoes

I love potatoes…sweet, red, white, you name it!  They are fat free, sodium free, cholesterol free, and a good source of potassium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B!  Until I started writing this article, I don’t think I had actually thought about all the ways to prepare them.  However, thinking of all those wonderful ways to cook or serve a potato, this has to be one of my all time favorites!  These potatoes make a perfect side dish for just about any meat or an addition to any vegetable plate.  They are full of flavor and the Yukon Gold potatoes cook up creamy and perfect!
I do not use a nonstick skillet and I have never had a problem with these potatoes sticking to my pan.  In spite of that, I have a friend, who is an avid cook, that has.  So, my recommendations to you would be to cook these over medium heat and watch them closely.  I cook these in a All-Clad 4-quart skillet.  It is an 11-inch skillet with 3-inch sides and a lid.  The whole 3 pounds of potatoes will not fit into my pan, but I cook what will fit and do not change the measurements of the other ingredients.  They turn out perfect every time!

 

Jacques Pepin Potatoes
 
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Ingredients
  • 3 lbs. baby Yukon Gold potatoes
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 c. chicken stock
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • freshly chopped parsley leaves
Instructions
  1. Place the potatoes in a deep skillet and add salt and pepper, to taste. Cover potatoes halfway with chicken stock, about 3 cups. Add the butter and cover the skillet with a lid. Cook the potatoes in the stock until almost tender, about 5 - 8 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. Remove the lid and allow the stock to evaporate, about another 5 minutes. Once the stock has evaporated pop each potato using a ladle or the bottom of a heavy glass or bottle, creating a small crack in each, but do not smash. Allow the potatoes to brown on each side, another 5 minutes, and reseason with salt and pepper, if necessary or desired. Remove the browned potatoes from the skillet to a serving platter and garnish with parsley.
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Cruise Ship Strawberry Soup

We went on a cruise earlier this summer with something like 40 people from our hometown.  We had a great time and made many wonderful memories.  Other than the excursions, my favorite part of the cruise was dinner in the dining room with our friends.  We had way too much fun at our table!  (Many thanks to Ernesto for that too.)

While on the cruise, my friend Michelle, ordered the Strawberry Soup.  When they brought her bowl to the table, this is what it looked like…

The look on Michelle’s face was priceless!  After everyone was served, she started to think it was a good thing she wasn’t very hungry.  She had her “bowl” of strawberry puree when we all started on our appetizers.  After she had finished, Ernesto came out with a little creamer that held the remaining soup mixture, which was intended to be stirred into the pureed fruit.  It was so hilarious, but after typing the story…it may have been one of those “you had to be there” moments.

When I made this soup today, the memories of that night made me smile, and maybe laugh out loud just a little.  Unlike the soup on the ship, all of the ingredients are combined before serving this soup.  It’s a delicious, cold soup that makes a great summertime appetizer.

 

Cruise Ship Strawberry Soup
 
Author:
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • ½ c. milk
  • ¼ c. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • chopped fresh mint to garnish, optional
  • sour cream to garnish, optional
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Chill and serve cold.
Notes
This recipe can easily be doubled.
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Barefoot Contessa’s Herbed-Baked Eggs

Typically, I’m not much of an egg eater.  However, this is one way that I really like them.  It’s a great way to prepare them when you don’t feel like spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

This recipe is from Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten.  She is my favorite Food Network star and I love her delicious and easy recipes.  This was my dinner one night last week, served with fresh tomatoes, sausage and toasted French bread.

 

Barefoot Contessa's Herbed-Baked Eggs
 
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Ingredients
  • ½ tsp. minced fresh garlic
  • ½ tsp.minced fresh chives
  • ½ tsp. minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 12 extra-large eggs
  • ¼ c. heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Toasted French bread, for serving
Instructions
  1. Preheat the broiler for 5 minutes and place the oven rack 6 inches below the heat.
  2. Combine the garlic, chives, rosemary, parsley and Parmesan cheese and set aside. Carefully crack 3 eggs into each of 4 small bowls (you won't be baking them in these) without breaking the yolks. (It's very important to have all the eggs ready to go before you start cooking.)
  3. Place four individual gratin dishes on a baking sheet. Place 1 tablespoon of cream and ½ tablespoon of butter in each dish and place under the broiler for about 3 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Quickly, but carefully, pour 3 eggs into each gratin dish and sprinkle evenly with the herb mixture, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Place back under the broiler for 5 to 6 minutes, until the whites of the eggs are almost cooked. (Rotate the baking sheet once if they aren't cooked evenly.) The eggs will continue to cook after you take them out of the oven. Allow to set 60 seconds and serve hot with toasted bread.
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Nancy’s Boil Cookies

Wes at about 8 years old.

In honor of Wes starting college this week I thought I would post one of his favorite cookie recipes.  I have made these hundreds of times over the years.  It was always a good recipe for the kids to help with when they were younger.  It’s a really old recipe…I remember my grandmother, Ma, had these in her refrigerator all the time.

There are a few variations of this recipe, but this is the one I like.  This is the way my cousin, Nancy makes her boil cookies and the recipe I continue to use because it never fails.  I love these cookies just after they set and while they are still warm!

Nancy’s Boil Cookies

Ingredients:
2 c. sugar
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1/2 c. milk
1/2 stick butter
1/2 c. peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
2 1/2 c. rolled oats
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:
In a large skillet combine sugar, cocoa, milk and butter.  Heat over medium-high heat until butter melts and mixture comes to a rolling boil (can’t be stirred down).  Boil 2 minutes, NO LONGER.  Remove from heat, quickly stir in peanut butter, rolled oats and vanilla extract.  Drop onto waxed paper and cool until set.

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Sugar Cookies


First, I want to thank Amye for letting me be her first guest blogger! I did not have to think long to know exactly what I wanted to post. One of my kids favorite treats….Sugar cookies! This recipe is very easy and the cookies will just melt in your mouth. I hope your family will enjoy them as much as we have. Amye gave us this recipe after her kids and mine made them years ago together. My daughter Katy and I made them today for a “back to school pool party”. They were a hit! I think the kids were even fighting over the crumbs.

Sugar Cookies
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ c. sugar
  • 1 c. shortening
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 c. self-rising flour
  • 2 tbsp. milk
Instructions
  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Mix sugar, shortening, and butter together with an electric mixer. Add egg and vanilla and mix. Add flour and milk; mix just until blended. Scoop or roll into small balls. Then, roll balls in sugar. Place on cookie sheet and press down gently with the bottom of a glass. Bake at 325 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Take them out just before or right at the point of turning light brown. You do not want to over bake these.
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