Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Caramel Marshmallow Bites

This was a new addition to our Christmas treat plates this year. I got the idea from Lemons for Lulu, and thought it would be even better using caramels instead of butterscotch chips. The marshmallow takes on a different texture after being dipped in the warm caramel - super yummy!

Small square pretzels
Large marshmallows, cut in half
Kraft caramels, melted, with a little milk added to thin
Dipping chocolate

Dip marshmallows in caramel and place on pretzel. Cool, until caramel hardens, then dip in chocolate.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Hatch Chile Potato Casserole

Such a yummy way to use the Hatch chiles from our Bountiful Basket!
-Chowhound, modified
1 medium yellow onion diced
2 Hatch chiles, roasted, skinned and diced (Can use Anaheim chiles if Hatch chiles are unavailable)
2 tablespoons of butter
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
A pinch of Cayenne pepper
2 pounds of Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into small dice
1 cup heavy cream
Monterrey Jack Cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large cast-iron skillet set on medium-low heat, melt two tablespoons of butter and then cook onion and chiles until onions start to brown a bit, about fifteen minutes, stir in garlic. Turn off the heat.

Add spices and diced potatoes to the skillet and mix with the onions and peppers. 

Pour the cream over the potatoes and cover skillet with foil. Bake for one hour.

Remove foil and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Let cool for a couple minutes before serving. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Homemade Ricotta

A couple weeks back I went to make lasagna for dinner and realized I had forgotten to get cottage cheese at the store. Since I didn't want to drag 5 kids out again, I thought I'd try making some ricotta.  I tried this recipe (halving it just in case it didn't work out) and it was super easy and yummy! I didn't have any cheese cloth, so just used a clean tea towel and it worked great- I just had to squeeze the extra liquid out.  I usually don't care for ricotta, but this was great and tasted delicious in our sausage lasagna! The next day, the flavor seemed to have mellowed and improved, so I would recommend making this ahead of time.

-Ina Garten

4 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp. kosher salt
3 Tablespoons good white wine vinegar

Set a large sieve over a deep bowl. Dampen 2 layers of cheesecloth with water and line the sieve with the cheesecloth.

Pour the milk and cream into a stainless-steel or enameled pot such as Le Creuset. Stir in the salt. Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar. Allow the mixture to stand for 1 minute until it curdles. It will separate into thick parts (the curds) and milky parts (the whey).

Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and allow it to drain into the bowl at room temperature for 20 to 25 minutes, occasionally discarding the liquid that collects in the bowl. The longer you let the mixture drain, the thicker the ricotta. (I tend to like mine on the thicker side, but some prefer it moister.) Transfer the ricotta to a bowl, discarding the cheesecloth and any remaining whey. Use immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The ricotta will keep refrigerated for 4 to 5 days.