German Potato Salad

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Yukon Gold German Potato Salad

When we first moved to Pensacola, there was a restaurant in Gulf Breeze called The Creamery. You must understand that Gulf Breeze is only three miles across a bridge from Pensacola. The Creamery was a local mom and pop restaurant with great sandwiches, salads, German fare …. and they made their own ice cream – hence the name. The family that owned the place, the Schroeders, were always there and we really enjoyed going. At the time the Boy was young so ice cream was a draw, but he loved their club sandwich too. German food always has the MotH’s interest, so it was a win all the way around. My father-in-law loved the German food too. Miss that man. Damn it.

My favorite part of the visit was without a doubt, the German potato salad. It was amazing, and I hold it up as the paragon of German potato salad. I would inevitably bring home a pint or so each time.

I have tried and tried to find something that comes close, but have had no luck. Nothing has touched it and that makes me sad. This version is really good. Not quite “my Creamery German potato salad” but – yep – pretty damn good. Finally, a German potato salad that is worth the effort. Thanks to Nancy Fuller.

1 3/4 pounds Yukon gold, diced in 1/2 inch pieces
5 slices bacon
medium yellow onion, diced
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, + extra for splashing
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
1/4 cup minced chives

Put the potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Add salt and cook until potatoes will be easily pierced by a paring knife. Drain and put into a large bowl and sprinkle with rice wine vinegar. The potatoes will soak up the vinegar which is a very good thing.

While the potatoes cook, place bacon in sauté pan over medium low heat and cook till crisp. Remove bacon, but leave bacon drippings in pan. Drain bacon on paper towels, crumble, and set aside. Add the onion to bacon drippings, season with salt and cook until very soft. Add the chicken stock, vinegar, mustard, and bring to a boil and reduce a good bit – probably by half in my opinion. Pour dressing over potatoes and coat. Add chives and top with bacon crumbles. Serve warm or room temperature.

This is my modification of Nancy Fuller’s recipe of German Potato Salad. I think it is a great start to a German potato salad recipe and I did tweak it a bit.

14 August 2015

Right now, Yukon Golds are very inexpensive at the farmers’ markets, about .99 cents a pound and the potatoes are the size of somewhere between golf balls and baseballs. Very nice and cook up so well. These will always be my potato salad potatoes – I’ll leave the little red creamers for roasting – they are so like candy.

Recipes – making them my own

I like trying recipes and finding favorites that I make over and over again. And I almost always make some adjustments. I cannot help myself. I guess the only recipes I do not change too much are my mom’s recipes and a few other family recipes.

Some recipes I change so much that I claim them as mine. I think that is fair, in the grand scheme of thing.

I think now it is time to start making my own recipes. So I am going to start with a few things that I remember from childhood that I have not been able to quite get there. So research. Which was always my favorite part of my uni education. Research, at least to me, is fun. What do you expect from a historian? Research. Yep. I’m a total nerd that way, but it was always my favorite part, at least until I learned how to really write. A public school education, at least in my day, did not really teach you how to write. It was sad really. The one thing I learned working for my master’s degree was that I needed to learn how to write and understand the English language much better than a public school education had taught me. To bad it cost a crap-load of money to do that.

I am still a word nerd, but I do not think that is a bad thing. It is kind of funny, I think if I had to do it over again, I would be (a Secret Service agent – no … really!) or a linguist (much more likely).

So research it will be for the following things:

Peanut Butter Fudge – can not quite help myself.

My mom’s meatloaf – especially a meatloaf sandwich.

Chicken and Rice – really simple, but slightly amazing.

Cheese Crackers – did the Cracker Challenge a few years ago, but I feel like the only person that makes cheese crackers – is that possible?

Potato Salad – been struggling with this all summer – and not to my satisfaction.

Peach Cobbler – wow – this one is charged. I love my mom’s recipe, but I don’t really like the biscuits on top. How to fix that?

 

 

Ghirardelli Chocolate Chip Cookies

The Boy gave me a Ghirardelli Chocolate Cookbook for my birthday this year, along with a bunch of Ghirardelli squares, which I take in small doses since I am not a huge chocolate person. That said, the recipes are really good and Ghirardelli is my go-to chocolate for cookies and anything else chocolate. The Boy marked a bunch of recipes in the book that he wants. I think this one is interesting since the chips can be a wide variety of chocolate: milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, or bittersweet chocolate.
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Ghirardelli Chocolate Cookbook

I have never really like milk chocolate in cookies – kind of meh. It just does not work for me.  I am a semi-sweet or bittersweet kind of chocolate girl. If I am a chocolate girl at all. Can you call yourself a girl when you are in your 40s? I can, because I still feel pretty much 26.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

2 tsp vanilla

2 large eggs

2 cups Ghirardelli Chocolate Chips*

1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Stir together flour, baking soda, and salt.
In a large bowl, beat butter with both sugars at medium speed until creamy and lightened in color, about 4 minutes. Add the vanilla and eggs, one at a time, mixing on low until incorporated.
Gradually blend the flour mixture into butter mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by tablespoonful onto parchment lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart.
Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, until the cookies are golden brown. Transfer the cookies to wire rack to cool.
Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
* milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate or bittersweet chocolate – your choice.
These got a little thin, but that works if you like that kind of cookie. I think it was all the butter – seems a bit much. They were a hit with the Boy, and at the office, so that makes me feel better about them. I just think this is not my kind of chocolate chip cookies. Very glad the Boy really enjoyed it. Love this cookbook – even if I do not love chocolate. I will make anything he likes. Guess that is being a mom.

Blueberry Vinegar

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Blueberry Vinegar

Blueberry Vinegar – yep blueberries at their best. It is our summer.

1 pint blueberries, washed and dried
1 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tbs sugar
1 bay leaf – from Turkey, if possible
1 tsp black peppercorns

Place berries in small pot, mash with a potato masher. Add vinegar, sugar, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Bring to boil, and reduce to simmer. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 3 – 4 hours

Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a clean glass jar and refrigerate.

Then figure out ways to use said vinegar. I have this habit of buying local produce from some farm stand or farmers’ market and then going, hm …. What the hell am I going to do with this?

We have local blueberries all over the place right now, really beautiful, and cheap. I love supporting local growers and have toyed with growing blueberries myself, but my lovely next door neighbor has said, it is an exercise in feeding the birds. Totally get that.

Another cheeseball experiment …

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Pineapple Cheeseball Excellent photo – yep! That’s the MotH!

I think I have a cheeseball problem. But I don’t think that is a bad thing. Growing up, we had a cheeseball always at Christmas, but no other time. That seems a shame really because they are great year-round. Especially now in the awful heat of summer – easy dinner with crackers. Right? Yep.

Pineapple Cheese Ball
8 ozs cream cheese, softened
8 ozs onion & chive cream cheese, softened
8 ozs crushed pineapple, drained
1 tsp garlic powder
1 scallion, finely diced
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
2 cups extra sharp cheddar, shredded

Mix together cream cheese, onion & chive cream cheese, crushed pineapple, and garlic powder. Stir in the scallion, pecans, and 1/2 cup shredded cheddar. Shape into one or two balls and roll in remaining cheddar cheese.* Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.

*You may need extra cheddar if making two cheeseballs. You can also roll the cheeseball in pecans instead, but you will need more pecans.

I think I love these new Triscuit crackers – fire roasted tomatoes and olive oil – love them! Yep, I said love twice — so Triscuit you need to sponsor me because one of my favorite things is a Triscuit with cream cheese and hot pepper jelly – homemade hot pepper jelly, of course.

Is cheeseball one word or two? Me and spell check have differences on this and it is funny. Many thanks to Melissassouthernstylekitchen.com/2014/12/pineapple-cheeseball.html for the recipe. I think next time I will try pineapple tidbits – strange word – tidbits. But there it is. And a minced onion and chives instead of the flavored creamed cheese – I think it will work and will make my friends happy because I always share my cheese balls

Way easy simple and delicious … orzo and Gruyere

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Orzo with Gruyere

This will be breakfast tomorrow. I don’t have much experience with orzo, but this seemed pretty easy and thankfully for me, idiot proof. The biggest point is to be patient. That I can do, especially since I was trying something new. Well not really new to me to eat, just the first time I made it – more to come on that shortly, but butter was involved.

The fact that Gruyere is involved in this recipe made it a no brainier for me since I’ve had a nice bit of it in the fridge that I’d been wanting to do something with … besides just eat it. I still have nice big piece left so expect some kind of cheesy something. Maybe some kind of crackers. Gruyere has a similar dryness (not in a bad way) that cheddar does, but also has an amazing nuttiness as well. Oh, and this is the good stuff, the real stuff, imported from Switzerland. yep – I’m thinking some kind of crackers.  Sounds like a plan.

My thanks to the cutting edge of ordinary for sharing. Great name by the way. Maybe there is some truth in that name for all of us.

I made a half recipe and here are the proportions and method.

Everyday Orzo
2 Tbs butter
1 small onion, diced
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 cups chicken stock
8 ozs orzo
1/3 cup Gruyere, grated (no substitution per the original)

Melt butter in a sauce pan on medium heat, add onion and sauté until translucent. Don’t let it brown. Add garlic and sauté for a minute more. In a glass measuring cup, heat the chicken stock to boiling in the microwave.

Add orzo to onion mixture and stir to coat with butter. Add in hot chicken stock, cover and remove from heat. Let stand 25 minutes without lifting the lid – this is serious – do not uncover. While waiting patiently, grate Gruyere. After time, check orzo and make sure liquid is absorbed. Add cheese and stir to melt. Season with salt and pepper.

This is a creamy lovely thing. Sigh. And amazingly great for breakfast. It’s just a thing for me. I think next time some lemon will be involved.  Indeed.

6 August 2015

2015 Butter Usage (by month – July)

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Pecan Pie Muffins

6 July 2015 – 13 1/2 Tbs – Pecan Pie Muffins

14 July 2015 – 16 Tbs – Old-Fashioned Lemon Sugar Cookies

22 July 2015 – 2 Tbs – Creamed Corn

28 July 2015 – 12 Tbs – Lemon Icebox Cookies

43.5 Tbs = 21.75 ozs. = 1.359375 ibs.

Seems rather paltry to me. But there is always next month!

Lemon Icebox Cookies

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Lemon Icebox Cookies

It’s pretty obvious that I will try any lemon cookie (or cake for that matter) on the planet.  I think you will find that people that are not chocolate people (which is about <5% of the female population – my guess only, but I think I am correct), are lemon people. I can kind of take chocolate or leave it. I may want a little square of chocolate every once in a while, but … it’s kind of meh once I get it. But I love all things citrus.

Consequently,  I will slavishly try any citrus recipe. What I wonder is why are there so many lemon recipes, but not so many lime recipes? Limes are amazing. Although I think Meyer lemons are just the best. The combination of lemon and orange – so fragrant … well, now I’m just distracted. There we go again with me being … I’m not sure how to phrase it, but I think – lack of focus  – works best.

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 large eggs

2 Tbs honey

1 Tbs grated lemon zest

1 tsp lemon extract

2 all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

In a stand mixer, beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg, honey, zest and extract and beat until combined. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and baking soda. Mix into the butter mixture until just blended. The dough will be sticky. Divide in half and roll each half into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap tightly and refrigerate dough until firm 3 hours minimum and up to overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment Unwrap one log and slice the dough 5/8 inch thick. Place round on baking sheet 2 inches apart. Return remaining dough to the refrigerator. Bake until golden for 11 – 13 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and cool completely. Sprinkle with a thin layer of confectioners’ sugar. Store in an airtight container.

Notes: This is a sticky dough. These baked perfectly at. 12 minutes. Well received by all, but I thought the lemon extract was just a bit strong. I think it could use more lemon flavor some how.

Would I make them again, yes. With some modifications to add more lemon flavor without extract.

Peanut Butter Fudge

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Peanut Butter Fudge

This recipe is from my favorite student staff member … from her grandmother. So excellent.

2 cups sugar
3 Tbs butter
1 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup peanut butter

Prep an 8 x 8 glass pan with cooking spray.
Put sugar, butter, and milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to minimum and stir continuously until the mixture is caramel brown and the candy thermometer reaches 245 degrees (use the thermometer – no really, do it!)  Remove from heat, add vanilla and peanut butter. Stir until completely mixed. Place in a 8 x 8 glass pan and let firm up. Then cut into bite-sized pieces.

New refrain in my house: “No, you are not getting any fudge.” This, you must understand, is being said repeatedly to our dog Hood regarding peanut butter fudge. It is my fault, I stared by giving him a little, now I have created a monster.

My mom made us a great breakfast thing and it was based on the fact that her family was poor. How to extend peanut butter for a very large family? In this case you boil sugar and water and add vanilla extract. And then stir it into peanut butter. It makes a smooth spread, slightly sweeter than peanut butter and with a hint of vanilla flavor. We would spread it on toast for a great Saturday breakfast in front of the television watching cartoons. When I was a kid, that was the only time cartoons were on – oh, how things have changed. Sometimes when I’m in the mood for a late night snack, I still make this. But only if I give Hood some peanut butter too.