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

Hasselback Potato Gratin (“These Might Be the Best Potatoes Ever”)
Look at this glorious photo and click on it to link to 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.

Homemade Ricotta? Sounds too Good to be True… Take #1 is one of my go-to web sites for anything in the food and cooking world. I love, Love, LOVE their test recipes, food tourism articles, product reviews… love it all.

Photo from, and links to, Fresh Ricotta Recipe
Photo from, and links to, Fresh Ricotta Recipe

One of my favorite contributors is J. Kenji López-Alt and his “Food Lab” articles are kitchen chemistry at its best… my favorite type of food reading. Tonight I tried a recipe he worked on in detail five years ago- “Fresh Ricotta in 5 minutes or Less.”

Maybe doubling the recipe put things out of whack? Might the larger volume of milk thrown off how long the milk should have been brought up to the specified 165 degrees? All I know is, more than double the microwaving time wasn’t the only issue. The milk initially started coagulating just fine, but then the mass of curds just fell apart.

From four cups of whole milk I netted about half a cup of ricotta curds. And a kitchen that smelled distinctly of baby barf. You fellow parents know exactly what I mean.


One big, stinky mess.
One big, stinky mess.
Here's the haul! About a half cup of ricotta after about an hour of fussing with micro-curds
Here’s the haul! 1/2 c. ricotta from 1 hour of fussing with micro-curds

I am not finished with you, oh Great Stinky Experiment, if Kenji says I can do this, then, by gosh, I CAN! I will repeat this soon… very soon.

Classic Cocktails: The Sazerac

I like my wines. I know wine, have enjoyed wine in France and local wine from every area of the country that we have inhabited. Red or white, call me a… what’s the word for a wine-lover? An oenophile. Yep, that’s me.

I thought I didn’t like beer, until I realized that it is the hops that I don’t care for… lucky me, hop-happy San Diego will help me avoid swilling too many beer calories, or so I thought until I discovered Ballast Point Oatmeal Stout on nitrogen. Mamacita, is that a fabulous quaff!

Croce's Park West on 5th Ave San Diego
Croce’s Park West on 5th Ave San Diego

IMG_6292Now I want to try classic mixed drinks. Last Friday I tried a Gimlet, and loved it. This Friday I tried a drink that I had never even heard of- the Sazerac. And wouldn’t you know it, the couple sitting in the booth next to us knew all about this drink and its origins. The Sazerac company has a pretty good summary, too, click to read if you are so inclined. It’s birthday celebration time for me, so, off we went to what we have decided is our favorite restaurant and bar- Croce’s Park West.

Croce's bar menu...
Croce’s bar menu…

A classic modern Sazerac has rye whiskey, bitters and absinthe. The drink was SMOOOOOOTH! “The Guthrie,” Croce’s version of a Sazerac, was so nice that I went from complete ignorance to complete fan after one serving.

photo from
photo from (click to link)

Here’s a great post on “25 Cocktails Everyone Should Know”

This is going to be the list from which I will be choosing new drinks to try!

I don’t know what is worse: I haven’t even heard of half of them, or I have only tried about 7 of the 25.

Time to get drinking.