Garlic Thyme Potato Gratin

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I like to switch it up a little for Friendsgiving. Since I know most people will be having the usual dishes on Thanksgiving day. I don’t want people to get tired of turkey and mashed potatoes when Thanksgiving finally comes.

I made this dish for our recent Friendsgiving, which you may have seen on my Instastory last night. The casserole dish was completely empty by the end of the night! Question is, should I recreate it for Thanksgiving day this week?

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The potatoes soak up the garlic herb-infused cream, and it is gooey, melty and crispy with Gruyere and parmesan cheeses sprinkled on top.  I like to leave the skin on because it cuts down on an extra step, and I love the way the potato skin becomes a golden brown color. I also like to use Yukon Gold potatoes because they have a naturally buttery consistency.

This potato gratin recipe is a twist on mashed potatoes and is sure to be a hit with everyone. If you have the ingredients for mashed potatoes in your fridge and cheese, I highly encourage you to make this recipe instead.

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Garlic Thyme Potato Gratin

4 lbs of Yukon Gold potatoes
1 stick of butter
3 cloves of diced garlic
4 sprigs of thyme
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 pint of heavy cream
3oz Gruyere cheese
3oz parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Butter a large 13″x9″ casserole dish.
Using a mandoline, thinly slice the potatoes 1/8 of an inch. If you don’t have a mandoline you can use a knife, however, it will take longer and slices may not be as thin or even. Arrange slices in the casserole dish.

Grate the cheeses and set aside.

In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat, Add the garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the heavy cream and continue to whisk for a few minutes to incorporate the butter into the cream.

Pour the cream mixture over the potatoes. Sprinkle the cheeses over the potatoes. Are you drooling yet? Cover the casserole with foil and bake for 1 hour. 

The grand finale to get the perfect crispy, golden top. Drumroll, please! Take the foil off after 1 hour and set to broil for 5 minutes. Keep a close eye on it cause this browns quickly!

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Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce

simple cranberry sauceYes, it’s that time again. Planning for the holidays. This year, I’m planning 3 Thanksgiving feasts: Friendsgiving, Workgiving, and Thanksgiving. Phew! I’m already tired thinking about it. Really though, I love cooking for others so it’s something that I look forward to every year.

Breaking up Thanksgiving into three smaller meals is really not too bad when you think about it (or maybe I’m trying to make myself feel better). Instead of making 1 giant feast, I will have enough space in my oven and cooktop for each mini meal, and I can also turn leftovers into a new dish for the next event. Last year, I reworked leftover turkey, gravy and stuffing into individual turkey pot pies for Friendsgiving.

Here’s a recipe for cranberry sauce. I grew up eating the sauce that came out of the can (still in a can-shaped mold). When I found out how easy it was to make cranberry sauce I never looked back.

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All it is is simmered down fresh or frozen cranberries with sugar! I like adding extras like orange juice/rind, ginger, herbs or spices. This recipe can be made a week in advance and stored in the fridge. Enjoy!

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Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce

12oz of fresh cranberries
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup water or orange juice
1 stick of cinnamon
1 Tbs cinnamon powder

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 5-7 minutes until most of the cranberries have popped.  Stir occasionally.

You may want to add more sugar if the sauce is still too tart for your taste.

S’more Summer

Summer officially ends next week. Nooo! This time of the year always makes me a little solemn; the days get shorter, the sweet summer fruit disappears from grocery stores and we go back to school. Although I haven’t been in school for years, that feeling still stays with me. Maybe that feeling will change for the better when my kids start going back to school and I’ll have the house all to myself again.

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Hand toasting marshmallows using a small culinary torch

To celebrate the end of summer I made s’mores – the quintessential summer snack. But not just any s’mores, gourmet smores with various fillings and cookies. Oreo, lemon meringue, and fluffernutter s’mores! Yes! scroll down to see how.

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As simple as a marshmallow and an Oreo cookie. The creme filling creates its own melty filling. Open up the cookie and place the toasted marshmallow inside and press together

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Andrew loves lemon meringue anything, so I made this one for him. Spread a thin layer of jarred or fresh lemon curd inside two Meyer lemon cookies. Place toasted marshmallow inside and gently squish together.

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If there is any other pairing that comes close to marshmallow and chocolate, it’s marshmallow and peanut butter. I don’t know why it’s called fluffernutter but it’s really fun to say. Go ahead, try saying it! FLUFFERNUTTER!

For this version, I used almond butter. Feel free to use anything you have on hand. Nutella or Speculoos I imagine would taste amazing on this a well.

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What I like about these unique s’mores is that they don’t have chocolate. I always find it difficult to melt chocolate over a fire without the help of some sort of specific s’more making device or foil. The marshmallow is the only thing getting toasty here.

However you want to savor summer, these treats can definitely be made in the fall as well. So, what are your plans for this last week of summer? Let me know in the comments or tag my handle, @feedmysole, on your Instagram pic!

Berry Tart with Lemon Cookie Crust

Fourth of July is coming quickly and I always associate this summer holiday with barbecues and a fresh berry treat. This summer berry tart is perfect for the holiday. It carries all the patriotic colors and it’s fresh, cool, and delicious.

I’ve switched it up by using a Meyer lemon cookie crust. You can get some at on Amazon – I got mine at CostcoBut even a graham cracker or Nilla wafer crust will do. I think the lemon cookie crust adds a bit more sunshine to this summer dessert.

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Ingredients:
Crust:
10 oz Salem Baking Meyer Lemon Cookie Thins
1/4 cup white sugar
8 Tbs melted butter

Pastry Cream Filling:
2 cups whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbs cornstarch
2 large eggs
4 Tbs unsalted butter cut in 4 pieces
2 – 8oz carton raspberries
1 – 8oz carton blueberries
zest of 1 small lemon

Meyer Lemon Cookie Crust
In a food processor, slightly grind the cookies until course. Add sugar and melted butter and pulse until the ingredients come together to look like wet sand. Pour the crust into a spring-form pan or a tart pan and flatten out. If you’re using a spring-form pan (like me cause I don’t have a tart pan), bring the crust up the wall of the pan halfway to hold in the fillings. Bake at 350 degrees Farenheight for 15 mins. Cool in room temperature once it’s finished.

Filling
Cut the vanilla bean in half length-wise. Scrape out the glorious caviar inside each half of the bean. In a medium saucepan slowly heat the milk, vanilla bean, and sugar under low heat. Go ahead and throw in the empty vanilla pods in there too to get all the vanilla flavor out of the bean. Constantly stir the milk making sure it does not burn at the bottom. Once milk burns you have to start fresh, and that’s just a waste of vanilla beans! Do not let the milk boil. Turn it off once you begin to see little bubbles forming around the edges. Take out the vanilla pods.

In a medium mixing bowl, crack the eggs and whisk. Whisk in the salt and cornstarch. Temper the egg mixture. Meaning, pour about 1/3 of the warm milk into the eggs and stir. Then pour the egg mixture into the saucepan back with the milk. This prevents the eggs from getting shocked by the heat and scrambling. Turn the low heat back on. Now we want to slowly simmer this custard so the cornstarch activates and can thicken the mixture. Again constantly stir and keep an eye on the simmer. Once it comes to a simmer and begins to thicken you can turn it off and pour it in a mixing bowl as it will continue to cook. Take a tablespoon of butter and whisk it in until it melts. Repeat until you do all 4 tablespoons of butter. Place plastic wrap directly on top of the custard to prevent a film from forming and refrigerate for 2 hours.

After everything has cooled, it’s time to assemble! Pour the chilled custard into the tart crust. Spread out evenly with a spatula. Place fresh raspberries one at a time on top of the custard covering the entire surface. Sprinkle blueberries in the gaps. Zest a lemon over the entire tart. This is where I would tell you to chill the tart for another couple hours before cutting into it but I didn’t becuase I don’t have strong will power. So I’ll let you decide.

Herb Roasted Veggies

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and every year I make the feast, but this year I have a newborn and a toddler; getting busier every year with a growing family. So every year I try to think of ways to deliver the feast without all the work, like the year I made a Thanksgiving meal in 1 hour.
Herb roasted veggies is one of my quick side dishes, getting it done in 20 minutes or less. This time I used brussel sprouts and baby carrots both bagged and prewashed from the grocer. I pretty much buy most of my veggies bagged and prewashed. It makes all the difference in the world to a new mom. Ain’t nobody got time to wash and chop veggies!

 

Herb Roasted Carrots and Brussel Sprouts
Serves: 3-4
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 15 mins

Ingredients:
1 bag prewashed brussel sprouts
1/2 small bag baby carrots
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried herbs 
2 Tbs olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 F
Cut sprouts in half or in quarters for larger sprouts. 
Toss everything in a roasting pan ensuring all the veggies get good coverage of seasonings and oil. 
Roast in oven at 425 F for 15 minutes and flip veggies halfway through to cook evenly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s it! It’s really just 5 mins of work while the oven does the rest so you can work on the other sides while this is going.

Try usung different veggies if you like, just make sure they are all somewhat the same size so they all cook evenly. Some other good veggies to use or to add on are broccoli, cauliflower, thinly cut squash, bell peppers, and smaller cubes of potato so they all cook in just 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Coconut Coladas

Happy Summer! (insert emoticon of sun) I’ve been going kinda emoticon crazy on Instagram lately. I’m so excited for these warm nights, eating dinner outside, drinking cocktails with friends, and sharing some of my favorite summer recipes.
My friends at Veev sent me a bottle of their new Vita Frute cocktail to try out. This coconut colada flavor is made with coconut water and pineapple juice already mixed in with their Veev Acai spirit, and it’s under 125 calories per serving. Basically you can just add ice and enjoy! But you must know me by now. I like to “shake things up,” so I made a couple summer cocktails to pair with their coconut colada.
I love pina coladas so when I got this bottle I immediately started thinking of relaxing on the beach and cocktails that I would like to enjoy while on vacation. I created a Lime & Kiwi cocktail and a Lava Flow (which is pina colada with strawberry sauce). I also tried to keep the calories low by using real fruits and a coconut milk beverage instead of coconut cream which is typically used in pina coladas.  You can find the coconut milk beverage next to the soy milk and almond milk in your grocery store.
Lime & Kiwi Coconut Colada
4 oz Veev Coconut Colada
1 kiwi, scooped 
juice of 1 lime
3 Tbs simple syrup 
ice
 
Blend the lime juice, kiwi fruit and simple syrup in a blender. Pour into a glass filled with ice. Top off with Veev Coconut Colada and stir.
 
Strawberry & Coconut Colada (or Lava Flow Colada)
4 oz Veev Coconut Colada
4 oz coconut milk beverage
strawberries with tops removed
3 Tbs simple syrup
ice
 
Blend the strawberries with 4 oz of coconut milk beverage and simple syrup. Pour into a glass filled with ice. Top off with Veev Coconut Colada and stir.
 
Simple Syrup
4 Tbs white sugar
4 Tbs hot water
 
Dissolve the sugar in the hot water. There is a little extra so you can add more syrup to your drinks to taste.
 
How are you spending your summer? This was not a paid sponsorship so you can trust that all these ideas are my own =) Show me your coconut colada creations by tagging #crazy4coconutcolada

Building the Perfect Slider

I’d like to show you how to build the perfect slider (or burger) that highlights all the great ingredients within this amazing sandwich.
Too many times I get the patty on top of the vegetables or the condiments in the middle of the ingredients that it just becomes a sloppy mess halfway through the burger.
Allow me to share with you my OCD-ness into how to build a perfect slider. With summer BBQs fast approaching, you too can share your knowledge at the grill into how to stack your ingredients and why you shouldn’t put the mayo on top of the patty.
I like to add veggies into the ground meat of my burger patties: carrots, celery, and onions. They add more flavor as well as keep the patty moist while cooking. I toss the veggies into the food processor and chop them well. Then mix in the ground meat. Add an egg to keep your ground meat held together while it cooks. Season with salt and pepper. I always taste test my patties before I cook them by just making a small meatball and cooking that first. Tasting it and then adjusting my seasoning accordingly.
The Art of the Stack:
The patty should be at the bottom as it is the heaviest ingredient. You want your burger bottom heavy. The ketchup at the base sticks the patty to the bottom bun as well as seasons your burger. If you like melted cheese on your patty, that can also act like a glue to hold your veggies still.
The next ingredient to go directly on top of the hot patty is your tomato. This is heavier than the onions (remember, think bottom heavy). Onions should go on top of the tomato. Note, that if you decide to go with grilled onions, then that should be directly on top of your hot patty as it also is hot.
Think of your lettuce and mayo as the most temperamental ingredients. If you place the lettuce (or in this case I used spinach) directly on top of the burger they wilt. Same with the mayo as it doesn’t do well in warm temperatures. The onions and tomato make a good barrier against the heat of the patty. Finally, the mayo holds your lettuce leaves in place.