Creamy Gravy Scalloped Potatoes

December 6th, 2019

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And so it begins.  I have to admit that I got a head start on the holidays by putting up the tree and decorating right before Thanksgiving. Since we have to put everything away by December 29th to make the trek to Florida, it seemed like the right thing to do to get the most joy out of the season.  This Scalloped Potato Recipe is another reason for joy.  It is easy to assemble and a perfect dish to make ahead of time and reheat.  Because it is just the two of us before the holidays get underway, I halved the recipe for this photo-op.  But as a full recipe, it would go so well with Christmas celebrations with friends to accompany most anything from Roasted Rib Eye, Crown Roast of Pork, Baked Ham or Leg of Lamb.

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The combination of Gruyere Cheese and a thick white sauce make the potatoes luscious.

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There will be more Christmas recipes in the next few weeks.  We wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

Christmas 2019

CREAMY GRAVY SCALLOPED POTATOES

  • 3 pounds Potatoes , peeled and sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup Butter , plus extra for buttering baking dish
  • 3 cloves Garlic , minced
  • 1/4 cup Flour
  • 1 cup Chicken Stock or Beef or Vegetable Stock
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt , or to taste
  • Fresh Cracked Black Pepper , to taste
  • 2 cups shredded Cheese , divided
  • Optional – chopped Italian Parsley for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter an 9”x13” baking dish. Set aside.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Melt the butter and then add the garlic. Cook until softened, about 1 minute.
  3. Whisk in the flour until smooth and cook for about 20 seconds. Slowly whisk in the chicken stock until well combined. Whisk in the milk and then season to taste with salt and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring regularly until it comes to a gentle boil and slightly thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Layer 1/2 of the potatoes in the prepared baking dish, making sure to separate slices. Top with half of the gravy. Layer about 1/2 of the cheese over the potatoes.
  5. Top with the remaining potatoes (making sure to separate slices). Top with remaining gravy and cheese.
  6. Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes, the remove foil and bake uncovered for about 30-35 minutes or until top is golden and potatoes are cooked through. If desired, top with chopped parsley and serve warm.

Printable Recipe

Fall Tomato Galette

October 23rd, 2019

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The end of summer is bittersweet.  Warm days of sitting on the dock overlooking sparkling waters have been replaced by glowing russet leaves reflected in quieter waters.  The Farmers’ Markets are reflecting the change of seasons with hard squashes, apples and pumpkins.  But at many farm stands you can still find the last of the summer tomatoes, both red and yellow.  I snatched up a few to give summer its due.  I celebrated them in a small pastry galette sprinkled with the last of my basil.

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This is such an easy preparation especially if you use a store bought pie crust.  The recipe came from Country Living Magazine.  We are preparing for cooler weather.  Our weekend plans include a trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway to enjoy the fall colors.

FALL TOMATO GALETTE

1 1/4 lb. heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

refrigerated rolled piecrust from a (14.1-ounce) package
2 oz. sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated (about 1/2 cup)
1 tbsp. fresh basil or thyme, plus more for serving
large egg
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels. Arrange tomatoes on paper towels and lightly sprinkle with salt; let sit 10 minutes. Blot with paper towels.
  2. Roll piecrust to a 12-inch circle on a piece of parchment paper. Slide paper and crust onto a baking sheet. Top with cheese and basil, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border all around. Season with pepper.
  3. Arrange tomatoes on top of cheese. Fold border of crust over tomatoes. Beat egg with 1 tablespoon water in a bowl; brush on top of crust. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with additional basil or thyme.

PRINTABLE RECIPE

Almond Puff Coffee Cake

May 14th, 2019

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As a continuation of some of my favorite posts, I am including this simple homemade coffee cake that has been in one of my recipe boxes for a long time.  The following blog entry was posted 10 years ago and reflected on our life in the Lake Lure Cottage long before we expanded it to a full-time home. We were in the process of renovating.

While cleaning out the back of an old closet for renovations, I found a small recipe box that I put together years ago. It was done shortly after we bought our 600 square foot Lake Lure cottage in 1984. We fell in love with this lake from the first time we saw it and when a realtor showed us a modest cottage with a huge screened in porch, we knew it would be ours. Our son Michael was seven years old at the time. He did not know how to swim, but an old speed boat came with the cottage and after watching all of the water skiers on the lake, Michael said he wanted to learn to ski. We had grown up on lakes in Michigan and had always skied. But a prerequisite to skiing is knowing how to swim. So he learned to swim and that was the beginning of wonderful summers of swimming, boating and water skiing with all of our friends and their children. Our small cottage was full most summer weekends. Because we had only two small bedrooms, each morning the living room floor and the screened in porch were full of sleeping bags containing exhausted kids. The trip to the coffee pot in the kitchen was a delicate dance, bobbing and weaving between the outstretched arms and far flung legs of deeply sleeping children. The trip to the top of the boathouse with freshly brewed coffee was much easier and the view was enough to quell any doubts about our decision to invest our modest savings in this most beautiful of places.

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Feeding the crowd was sometimes a challenge, but one that I enjoyed. That’s why finding my old recipe box was such a treat. There were recipes in it for things I haven’t made in years; Frogmore Stew, Quick Breakfast Rolls, Paella Salad, Quick Coconut-Pecan Upside-Down Cake and this recipe for Almond Puff Coffee Cake. I remember liking this recipe very much, but it was more suited to the adults than the children because of the distinct almond flavor. While they were munching cereal we would dig into this luscious coffee cake and plan another sunny day on the lake.

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Now another generation of children are enjoying the cottage and the lake. We have a lot more room now. But you know what? I miss the close quarters and stepping over sleeping kids. Shhh. Don’t tell my husband I said that or he will think all of our hard work was not necessary.

The coffee cake is really very simple. It is just a pastry crust base with a pate a choux topping that is baked and then drizzled with a confectioners sugar glaze.

ALMOND PUFF COFFEE CAKE

For the pastry base:
1/4 cup cold butter cut into small pieces
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbls water (May need a little more)

Mix flour and salt and pulse in food processor to combine. Add butter cubes and pulse until butter is size of small peas. Add water and pulse until dough comes together. Form into ball and place on ungreased baking sheet. Pat into a 12″x 3″ strip.

For Pate a Choux:
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp almond extract (I now use 1/4 tsp. almond extract and 1/4 tsp vanilla extract)
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 eggs, beaten

Melt butter in a sauce pan. Add water and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and quickly stir in almond extract and flour. Return to low heat and stir until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat again and add eggs. Stir until mixture is smooth. Spread over pastry strip. Bake for about 1 hour at 350 degrees until top is crisp and brown. Cool.

For Glaze:
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 Tbls soft butter
3/4 tsp almond extract (I use 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp almond extract)
3/4 tsp warm water (You may need a little more to make a spreadable glaze)
2 oz. sliced almonds, toasted

Mix ingredients except almonds until smooth and spread over top of cake when cool. Sprinkle with sliced almonds. Serves 6.

Printable Recipe

Boston Cream Pancakes

April 26th, 2019

As part of a nostalgia trip, I have decided to share some of my oldie but goodies posts.  I have been at this blogging business for many years and have even surprised myself with some of the recipes I have posted.  I need to make these delicious Boston Cream Pancakes again!  Enjoy.


Do any of you remember Long Johns?  No, not the underwear version.  I am talking about the doughnuts. When I was young, my Father would always go to the local bakery on Sunday mornings and come home with a bag of doughnuts.  There would be cinnamon twists, elephant ears, round jelly filled doughnuts and, my favorite, long johns.

Long Johns are a cake-like doughnut with a pastry cream filling and chocolate ganache smeared on top.  I adored them.  Recently I got a request from a family member who was going to be here for the Labor Day Weekend.  He asked if I would please, please make a recipe for Boston Cream Pancakes that he had seen online on the Country Cleaver website.  The pancakes are based on the Boston cream pie which was created by Armenian-French chef M. Sanzian at Boston’s Parker House Hotel in 1856.

I made them for breakfast one morning during the Labor Day weekend but never got a picture because they were devoured so quickly.  All I could think of when I ate them were those wonderful long johns that I had eaten as a child.  The fluffy pancakes, the smooth pastry cream and the decadent chocolate ganache all conspired to bring the flood of memories back.  I tucked the leftover ganache and pastry cream in the freezer because I knew that they would be making a repeat performance in my kitchen.

We had them for breakfast again on this beautiful Saturday morning, a day after my birthday. They were a welcome indulgence.  Sometimes you just have to eat like you are a kid again and stop worrying about calories, fat and sugar and how old you really are.  The pancakes themselves are an easy combination of yellow cake mix and Bisquick.  They are light and fluffy.  The pastry cream can be made way in advance and the chocolate ganache is easy.  I would recommend these pancakes to you for any special occasion, whether it be for a birthday or just because  it is a sunny day.  Indulge!

BOSTON CREAM PANCAKES (Country Cleaver Website)

ingredients:

Pancakes: Makes about 12 pancakes
1 cup Yellow Cake Mix
1 cup Dry Pancake Mix such as Bisquick
1 cup Milk
1 tsp Vanilla
2 whole Eggs

Pastry Cream:
1/3 cup Sugar
5 Egg Yolks
1 1/2 Tbsp Cornstarch
1 cup Milk
1 cup Half-n-Half
1 Vanilla Bean, split and seeds scraped (or 2 1/2 Tbsp Vanilla Extract)
1 Tbsp Butter

Chocolate Ganache:
8 oz. Chocolate
1 cup Heavy Cream

directions:

Directions:

Pastry Cream: Make up to 24 hours in advance and refrigerate until 1 hour prior to use.

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, heavy cream and vanilla bean to a boil over medium heat. Immediately turn off the heat and set aside to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Temper the eggs by whisking in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated. Whisk in the remaining hot milk slowly.

Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Let cool slightly. Press through a fine mesh strainer to remove any curdled bits and remove husk of vanilla bean. Cover strained pastry cream with plastic wrap, and press the plastic wrap on top of the pastry cream to make sure it doesn’t form a skin. Chill at least 2 hours or until ready to serve

Chocolate Ganache:

In small saucepan, heat heavy cream. Stir in chocolate and whisk until melted and the two are completely combined. Remove from heat and set aside.

Pancakes:

In large bowl, whisk together pancake mix and cake mix. Stir in milk, eggs and vanilla until the mixture is smooth. Heat a large griddle or large pan over medium high heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Pour 1/3 cup of batter into pan or griddle and allow to cook until golden brown on the bottom, 2-3 minutes. Gingerly flip pancake over and continue to cook until the other side has turned golden brown – about 1 ½ minutes. Remove from griddle/pan and allow to cool.

To assemble – stack pancakes and layer with prepared pastry cream between each pancake. Pour chocolate ganache over the top and promptly devour.

 

Carol

February 25th, 2019

Carol Lane

I should not be the one to write this tribute to Carol.  She had so many friends who would have been the ones to do her life honors. But I feel a need to express my admiration.  I’m sure her friends will have much more to say in their own words.

For a very short time (2 weeks recently) we finally got to know Carol and Larry here in New Smyrna Beach where we all stay for the Winter.  We live in Lake Lure and Carol and Larry owned a Bed and Breakfast in our adjoining town of Chimney Rock. Because they were so busy with their very successful business, they had little time to make friends in our community.  Carol was a breakfast genius cook for the bed and breakfast and a marketing maven for their shop.  In spite of her busy schedule, she made friends with a close group of women.  I wish I had been one of them.

When we came to New Smyrna Beach for the winter, Larry and Carol invited us for a boat ride on the Indian River with them.  It was a warm day and a lovely time.  Carol was fighting cancer, but feeling strong. I was immediately drawn to her sweet personality. Unfortunately cancer took her quickly.

My mind is full of regrets. So many times we keep to ourselves instead of reaching out to friends and neighbors. We have so much to lose by not getting to know those around us.  I missed getting to know a genuine angel.

The last time I saw her in the hospital she said “I love you”. Her spirit was inclusive and kind.  My heart goes out to you Larry. Carol cannot be replaced.

 

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.