POMMES MAXIM

POMMES MAXIM as seen on Ashley Brouwer adapted from the New York Times
Pommes maxim plate beautifully. Add a sprig of rosemary to the middle of each spiral, serve with a dollop of sour cream on top, or just eat them hot right out of the oven. 
POMMES MAXIM
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced paper thin
Sea salt
Fresh Ground Pepper
  • Heat oven to 300 degrees. Place butter in a saucepan over low heat. As the butter melts, skim the foam from the surface and discard. Slowly pour off the clear, golden, melted butter into a bowl, discarding any milky residue.
  • Toss the potato slices in a bowl with the clarified butter. Arrange the slices, overlapping, on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Keller recommends using a nonstick baking sheet, but I don’t own one and was still able to easily remove the pommes maxim from the pan with a metal spatula.
  • Bake the potatoes 45 to 50 minutes or until crisp and golden.
  • They can be set aside at room temperature for 1-2 hours until you are ready to serve. To reheat, place them in a 325-degree oven for 10 minutes or until warm.
  • Makes approximately six servings, although this number may vary depending on how large your potatoes are and how many slices you use per circle.
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CAPPUCCINO CRÈME CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE PIE

1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup Hershey’s cocoa
1/4 cup sugar
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
1 – cup semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
2 – eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups ground ginger snaps
1 1/2 cups ground vanilla wafers
4 tablespoons butter, melted
CAPPUCCINO CRÈME (recipe below)
Cherry cordial Hershey’s milk kisses

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a small saucepan melt thebutter over low heat.
  • Stir in cocoa and sugar.
  • Add the sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips and eggs.
  • Stir until smooth. Remove from heat. Pour into crust.
  • Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until center is almost set.
  • Cool completely.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • Just before serving, prepare and spread CAPPUCCINO CREME over top.
  • Garnish with chocolate pieces, if desired.
  • Cover and refrigerate leftover pie.

CAPPUCCINO CRÈME
1 cup (1/2 pint) whipping cream
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered espresso
2 teaspoons Hershey’s Cocoa
3 tablespoons powdered sugar

Directions:

In a mixing bowl, combine whipping cream, powdered espresso, Cocoa and powdered sugar. Beat until stiff. Makes about 2 cups.

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Homemade Triple Onion Dip

Homemade Triple Onion Dip

Yields 2 cups

Prep Time: 40 minutes; Total Time: 40 minutes
For a less sweet version of this dip, reduce the cooking time for the onions. I also suggest making a big batch of the caramelized onions ahead of time and freeze them. That way, you’ll be prepared to make dip immediately whenever the urge strikes! (Just thaw the onions and follow start at step 2.). For a vegetarian-friendly dip, look for Worcestershire that doesn’t contain anchovy. 

Ingredients

    • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
    • 1 Tablespoon Butter
    • 2 Yellow Onions, chopped
    • 1 Shallot, minced
    • 1/2 cup Vegetable Stock
    • 16 ounces Reduced Fat Sour Cream
    • 3-4 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
    • 4 Green Onions, white and light green parts chopped
    • 1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder, or to taste
    • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Preparation

  1. Add the oil and butter to a small sauté pan set over medium heat. Once melted, add the onion, shallot, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown – about 15 minutes. Add the stock. Cook another 15 minutes, or until the onions are deeply browned and all of the liquid has cooked off. Remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Add the sour cream to a medium mixing bowl. Stir in the caramel used onions, Worcestershire sauce, and green onions. Season to taste with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Chill until ready to serve.
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BAKED KRAB DIP SPREAD

BAKED KRAB DIP SPREAD
2 cups minced krab
1 bunch green onions, minced
1-8 oz. package Sargento grated Sun dried tomato cheese (if you can’t find this used pepper jack cheese)
1-14 oz. jar sundried tomatoes, drained and minced*
1 small jar roasted red peppers, drained and minced
1 heaping teaspoon Frank’s hot sauce
1 package Knorr Spring Vegetable Soup Mix**
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
·         Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
·         Spray 9 inch stoneware round with PURE.
·         Toss together the krab, onions, red peppers and artichoke hearts.
·         Stir soup mix into sour cream and mayonnaise. Stir in cheese and hot sauce into soup mixture.
·         Fold krab mixture into soup mixture.
·         Spread into stoneware.
·         Bake 30 minutes until top is just golden.
·         Serve hot or cold.
I serve it with wheat thins.
*I sometimes trade for 1-14 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
**Mrs. Grass works well too.
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OATMEAL FRUIT BARS

Even though this is triple layered there are only two components to make because the crust ‘dough’ is split in half and serves as the topping too. The bars go in the oven three times: first to cook the crust then to cook the crust with the filling then one last time with the crumbs on top to bring it all together. Three times a charm.
At first glance, this recipe didn’t look very promising. My expectations were low. When I’m wrong I admit it. I was wrong. I’m excited now over the possibilities and can’t wait to make them with cranberries, cherries or figs for a seasonal treat… and wonder how chocolate chips would work out. Reasons enough to make them and eat them again and again because. . .
I heart sour cream raisin oatmeal bars!
These unassuming bars become unforgettable after only one or two bites.
Just long enough to reel you in hook, line and sinker. Resistance is futile.

Sour Cream Raisin Oatmeal Bars

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Yield: 1 (9×13) pan
Sour Cream Raisin Oatmeal Bars
This old-fashioned favorite starts with an oatmeal crust followed by a cooked sour cream and raisin filling that ends with buttery crumbs gracing the top. Three-layers of irresistible decadence.
Ingredients

2 cups golden raisin

1 cup coconut rum

1 + 3/4 cups old-fashioned oats (not quick cooking)

1 + 3/4 cups flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup room temperature butter
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 + 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups sour cream (regular or light)

    • Put the raisins in a small bowl and cover them with the rum.
    • Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper.
    • In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the oats, flour, brown sugar, and baking soda. Blend the butter in with a pastry blender or fork until small crumbles form. Measure out 1 + 1/2 cups of the topping into small bowl and refrigerate. Pat the rest of the topping evenly over the bottom of the prepared baking dish and bake for 15 minutes.
    • Meanwhile in a sauce pan over medium heat combine yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and sour cream. Cook over medium heat about 15-20 minutes until slightly thickened, the mixture should simmer slowly, if needed turn heat down. Some of the mixture may stick to the bottom of the pan – don’t scrape it up. Remove from heat. Drain the raisins and stir them into the sour cream mixture.
    • Pour the raisin mixture over the baked crust and bake for another 15 minutes until the edges are set but the middle is still very jiggly.
    • Crumble the remaining oatmeal mixture evenly over top of the bars and bake for another 15 minutes. The bars may still wobble a bit in the middle but will set up when cooled.
    • Allow to cool completely then refrigerate until well chilled. Remove bars using parchment to a cutting board and slice into squares or triangles with a chef’s knife wiped clean after each cut. Store in refrigerator up to 1 week.
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      BACON RUM TOFFEE

      Bacon Rum Toffee adapted from Poet in the Pantry
      Prep time: 15 mins
      Cook time: 50 mins
      Total time: 1 hour 5 mins
      Serves: 24

      12 ounces (3/4 pound) Hormel Black Label Bacon
      4 1/2 ounces unsalted Kerrygold Butter
      1 cup granulated sugar
      5 tablespoons warm water
      2 tablespoons spiced rum
      1 1/2 cups Guittard milk chocolate chips

      • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, grease it, and set aside.
      • Line another baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange the slices of bacon evenly on it.
      • Bake for 20 minutes, or until nice and crispy.
      • Place bacon on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
      • Measure out bacon fat and add to it enough butter to equal 8 ounces all together (in my case, I had 3 1/2 ounces bacon fat, so I only needed 4 1/2 ounces of butter).
      • Crumble up bacon and set aside. (I used my kitchen shears to cut it up finely.)
      • In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, combine the bacon fat, butter, sugar, and warm water. Attach a calibrated candy thermometer and cook over medium heat until it reaches hard crack stage (about 30 minutes), stirring constantly with a silicone spatula. You can use a silicone brush dipped in water to try to wash down sugar crystals from the sides of the pan in the first few minutes of cooking, but try not to scrape too much after that to prevent crystallization.
      • Once the mixture has reached hard crack stage, remove from heat immediately.
      • Remove the candy thermometer and add to the mixture about half the bacon crumbles and the Frangelico. It will bubble up once the Frangelico is added–be careful!
      • Stir until the foaming mostly stops, then spread in the prepared baking sheet.
      • Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top and let sit for a few minutes.
      • Spread the melted chocolate chips over the top of the toffee and sprinkle over it the remaining bacon crumbles.
      • Let sit until chocolate is set, then break into pieces. (I was impatient and popped the sheet into the fridge to set.)
      • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
      Notes

      Be very careful about achieving the hard crack stage. It appears I fell a little short of that and now my toffee is a bit soft at room temperature. Either that or the addition of bacon and liquor made it go soft. Eating it straight from the refrigerator, however, it is just fine.

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      SPICY CHICKEN STEW

      2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken pieces
      3 tablespoons butter
      2 large onions, chopped
      3 garlic cloves, minced
      1 28 ounce can chopped tomatoes
      1 cup chicken stock or broth
      1 cup white wine
      2 teaspoon turmeric
      1 teaspoon red chili flakes
      1 teaspoon paprika
      1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
      sea salt and white pepper to taste
      Two generous cups of fresh herbs (a combination of cilantro, tarragon, basil AND parsley)

      • Bring the butter to a sizzle in a large skillet/saute’ pan.
      • Add chicken and fry on medium-hi heat until slightly browned all over. About 5 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate. Keep warm.
      • Add the onions to the pan, stir for a 3-4 minutes.
      • Add the garlic and saute, until onion has softened a little, another 1-2 minutes.
      • Add the chilli flakes and coriander, stir for a few seconds to release the aromas. 
      • Add the tomatoes, chicken stock and wine. 
      • Season with salt an pepper.
      • Bring to a simmer, cover the saucepan and cook for 45 minutes or so, occasionally stirring, until the sauce is reduced to a thick glossy sauce. I found it took about 1 hour and a half  to reduce the sauce. Alternatively, add a little cornstarch or flour mixed with water and stir into the pot as necessary.
      • Shred chicken and return to pan. 
      • Add the fresh herbs. Stir and cover for 10 minutes, so the flavors can infuse. Season again, if necessary.
      • Serve over rice or potatoes and garnish with lemon slices.
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      BACON RUM TOFFEE

      Bacon Rum Toffee adapted from Poet in the Pantry
      Prep time: 15 mins
      Cook time: 50 mins
      Total time: 1 hour 5 mins
      Serves: 24

      12 ounces (3/4 pound) Hormel Black Label Bacon
      4 1/2 ounces unsalted Kerrygold Butter
      1 cup granulated sugar
      5 tablespoons warm water
      2 tablespoons spiced rum
      1 1/2 cups Guittard milk chocolate chips

      • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, grease it, and set aside.
      • Line another baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange the slices of bacon evenly on it.
      • Bake for 20 minutes, or until nice and crispy.
      • Place bacon on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
      • Measure out bacon fat and add to it enough butter to equal 8 ounces all together (in my case, I had 3 1/2 ounces bacon fat, so I only needed 4 1/2 ounces of butter).
      • Crumble up bacon and set aside. (I used my kitchen shears to cut it up finely.)
      • In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, combine the bacon fat, butter, sugar, and warm water. Attach a calibrated candy thermometer and cook over medium heat until it reaches hard crack stage (about 30 minutes), stirring constantly with a silicone spatula. You can use a silicone brush dipped in water to try to wash down sugar crystals from the sides of the pan in the first few minutes of cooking, but try not to scrape too much after that to prevent crystallization.
      • Once the mixture has reached hard crack stage, remove from heat immediately.
      • Remove the candy thermometer and add to the mixture about half the bacon crumbles and the Frangelico. It will bubble up once the Frangelico is added–be careful!
      • Stir until the foaming mostly stops, then spread in the prepared baking sheet.
      • Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top and let sit for a few minutes.
      • Spread the melted chocolate chips over the top of the toffee and sprinkle over it the remaining bacon crumbles.
      • Let sit until chocolate is set, then break into pieces. (I was impatient and popped the sheet into the fridge to set.)
      • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
      Notes

      Be very careful about achieving the hard crack stage. It appears I fell a little short of that and now my toffee is a bit soft at room temperature. Either that or the addition of bacon and liquor made it go soft. Eating it straight from the refrigerator, however, it is just fine.

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      21st ANNIVERSARY of the NORTHRIDGE EARTHQUAKE

      I was going through some old boxes recently when I ran across these pictures.  While I’ve been through several major earthquakes, this was the worst! Thinking back to that horrible morning at 4:31 AM when I was sure a plane had crashed into our neighborhood, I realize now that we were very fortunate.  We lived near a DWP plant and what I thought was a plane was actually transformers blowing one by one down the line on a street behind our house.

      When it was all over less than a minute later, my feet were bruised so badly on the bottom I could barely stand, a freight train had gone through my hallway while a volcano had gone off in my house – at least that’s how it felt.  I was thrown from bed into a doorway, thank God.  When I was able to look into that same room all I saw was chaos and my bed was covered in shattered glass as well as several hundred pounds of books from the nearby bookcase.

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