New Recipe-Hasselback Potatoes Gratin à la Serious Eat’s J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

I intended to look up a scalloped potato recipe for tonight’s dinner with the whole fam-bamily, but got sidetracked by Facebook… Uh oh? No! The first things I came across was a New York Times Food link to one of one of my favorite food site people- J. Kenji Lopez-Alt from SeriousEats.com.

Hasselback Potato Gratin (“These Might Be the Best Potatoes Ever”)
Look at this glorious photo and click on it to link to theSeriousEats.com recipe (or click here: SeriousEats.comHasselbackPotatoGratin)

These were easy to put together with the cheese grating delegated to The Girl and potato peeling to The Husband. All I needed was my super-sharp chef’s knife (recently sharpened by my dad, thanks, dad!) to get super thin slices from my russets. Then I tossed them in the cream, salt, pepper, thyme, and garlic.

Here they are, half cooked at 400 degrees for thirty minutes, before they got shoved in a box and carted up to one of the in-law’s house:

(pretend that this is a picture of the half baked potatoes, use your imagination)

And here’s the nearly gone and mostly empty dish, the only pic I could snap of the potatoes that could net the least amount of ridicule from extended family:


These were DELICIOUS! These were unbelievably easy to prepare, travelled well half-cooked (unlike my extended family, LOLOLOL!!) and were gluten-free for the family members with Celiac to whom we wanted to show some kitchen love.

Put this recipe for Hasselback Potato Gratin on you list of new things to try next year.

Dat Tree -or- If Mamma Ain’t Happy…

Last year’s Christmas Tree was too small, I decided. So were the previous trees we have brought into our living room. As a matter of fact, we’ve never had a really big tree in the house before. I arrived at this decision based on only one fact: the trees are too small because I’ve not been able to put up even half of the ornaments the family has made or collected.

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The tree is in the middle of this pic… see? Doesn’t look that huge, right?

The Husband and The Boy were helplessly dragged into doing my bidding, and I bid the purchase of a Twelve Foot Tall Christmas Tree. I swear it didn’t look as big at the tree farm, growing next to a couple other big ‘uns.

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Has The Boy gotten smaller or The Tree gotten bigger?

Aaaannd here it is:

The amount of profanity that was uttered in my living room in the course of getting this tree erect is matched only by the amount of times we laughed at the ridiculousness of its size. Another frequently sworn oath was “Never again!”

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The Roomba has quit.

Happy, the Valentine’s Day Roomba (don’t be jealous of the depths of romantic gifting in our home), has put in his official 48 hour notice.

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Dat Tree!

Let the ornamentation begin! I hear that today is National Cocoa Day, someone bring me a mug of hot chocolate as we decorate this bad boy. It’s not too much to ask, is it?

 

On Holiday Movies and Generosity…

I don’t know anyone who can top my mom-in-law’s love of shopping for other people. No home can match the bounty you will find under her Christmas Tree. If you know her, you are remembered. As a goofy 18-year-old, I remember how surprised I was to be included in on her generosity- I had only known her son for a few months it seemed.

She has watched those made-for-TV Christmas movies for years, and has asked if I have seen this one or that one over the years. I have always had to respond with “No, that sounds sweet- so what was it about?” She will watch these while finishing the ironing or when wrapping Christmas presents. Lots of presents.

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click here to be taken to the IMDB.com link where I found this image and show info

I finally remembered to DVR a bunch of these shows, and got around to watching one as I took down the last of the Fall and Thanksgiving decorations earlier this week (yes, later than most people, I know… I don’t like cramming one holiday into the next. Holidays need room to breath like a red wine… now I want some wine, where’s my corkscrew??). “Christmas at Cartwright’s was the first one I watched- how sweet! Interested in watching? These movies are often found on Hallmark, Lifetime, and ABC Family channels.

There is even a blog to list and rate each of these shows- TVMovieChristmas.tumbler.com

Give generously this season, people, remember your stylist, the postal worker you see every day, your paper carrier if you are as old fashioned as we are and still get the newspaper delivered. Drop an unwrapped present in the Toys for Tots bins that dot your city, and maybe put in some hours at a charity that speaks to your heart. Show your love for any and all of Mankind, our world could use our love.

And enjoy sweet, sappy, happy movies instead of the ones that scare, thrill, or terrify you. Take a break for some happy. ‘Tis the Season.

“Catchy Marketing Win,” (said in my BEST bad French accent)

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Image from AdWeek.com and if you click the link you’ll be taken to Ad Week’s article about the music and marketing behind these ads. You know… if that’s your thing.

Ever see that goofy “Got Milk” commercial with all the tempting, delicious looking sweet treats swirling around on the screen? Are you, like me, then stuck with the equally goofy music banging about the inside of your skull? Especially niggling is the blip of lyric that sounds like French: “maintenant bla bla bla bla…”

Fourteen seconds of seraching, and the Power of the Almighty Google turned up this (click through to the You Tube link that will appear in the middle of the viewing window to view):

This video is hilarious. Now I’m going to have to search for New Zealand’s comedy/music group “Flight of the Conchords” on iTunes and buy some of their stuff. And, after my music downloading is finished, I will need to go pour me a tall, cold one of milk to go with the cinnamon roll I am suddenly craving… you win, California Milk Processor Board, THIS time.

 

On Jealousy, Campus Exploration, and Good Entertainment

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts…
Shakespeare, As You Like It

I’m pretty jealous of my friend. Her daughters attend the relatively local and highly desirable San Diego State University. They have joined a performance club that meets once a week, and tonight we were treated to their Showtunes Showcase. From torch songs to comedy, these fabulously talented students dished out some great entertainment.

The Husband and I ditched the two high school boys and went off looking for the Experimental Theater on campus… getting lost… twice. We’ve never visited anywhere on the campus except the basketball stadium (Go Aztecs!). When we finally arrived at the right building we had missed the first of a dozen songs, but immensely enjoyed about a dozen more show tunes. Wow! What an amazing group of students! Seriously, if you have a university or community theater near you, get out and get viewing! I can’t believe we haven’t done something like this sooner.

Seeing these girls, friends of my girl, reminded me how close she came to attending SDSU and it makes me sad… I miss The Girl. But, as The Husband reminded me, I’ll probably be sick of her malarkey after only three days this Christmas break.

I’m looking forward to her malarkey.

Oven Bacon, Fried Bacon- (I don’t care how the bacon is cooked, as long as it isn’t boiled bacon, I’m in!)

I had a couple pounds of bacon to make this morning for the extended family and thought I’d try cooking it in the oven like I’ve heard about… “Less Mess! Cooks more evenly!” the cooking sites all swear. I’m dubious.

So, here’s the set-up:

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Half the bacon on the baking sheet, half in the cast iron skillet…

Here is all that bacon again, just because. Y’know. Bacon!

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The Salt Ewok knows when you’ve overcooked the bacon. For shame.
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About 15- 20 minutes later, and it’s looking good (as bacon always does).

All done! Looks pretty good… but when has bacon not looked good, amiright?

OK- seriously… 

We did like the super ease of cooking the bacon in the oven- no turning, no hovering. But the clean up is just as bad- a messy baking pan and a rack to clean.

However (bottom line)-

It was great, either way. Because it’s BACON.

The oven baked bacon was less crisp than the pan fried. This would be great for BLT sandwiches, no?

If you prefer crispy, rendered strips, stick with the pan. Don’t have time to fuss with babysitting your fatty, smoky, favorite strips of yumminess? Use the oven.

Want the recipe? As per The All-Knowing Alton Brown, click here for his directions (start the pan in a cold oven, 400 for 15-20 minutes).

All this bacon did go into breakfast burritos… I did share it. Grudgingly.

 

 

 

What to Do When the Turkey Baster is Basted…

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Pan left from this view and you can see how many empty growlers are on the kitchen table…

How do you get your Thanksgiving Turkey safely from the roasting pan to the carving board? Your crispy, tender, perfectly cooked bird is at risk of taking a spectacular dive onto the kitchen floor- it’s probably twenty pounds of hot, slippery yumminess.

And what if the head Turkey Chef is cooked? And all the other family Sous Chefs are probably equally toasted by this time in the family’s day, too.

You think ahead and equip your kitchen with the equivalent of a Turkey Gaff, that’s what you do!

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This bird was perfect, by the way… way to go, Chef!

This Good Grips Poultry Lifter is a good idea, way better than the two wooden spoons that we have traditionally shoved unceremoniously into either end of the bird… ouch! We hardly knew him, after all, how rude! But seriously, anyone with grip issues (arthritis, strength, etc…) will appreciate the big, rubber, ball-shaped grip at one end and the fork-y hooks,  general physics, and gravity proved that this design is way better than two flimsy spoons.

I should thank the family for letting me throw them under the bus in the name of humor (“Artistic License,” is just another way of exaggerating for the sake of a good laugh, really).