Sunday, January 27, 2013

Hasselback Potatoes

Yes, I said hasselback. And no, not Hasselhoff (although if I were German, I'd likely worship the ground he walks on too). Word on the street is that they originated from a Stockholm restaurant, although I'd almost as likely guess they were named after Mr. Hasselhoff himself (I think I just want that to be true). To me, they are beautiful glorified potatoes. Just look at how pretty they are!
Like many of us, I love me some spuds but am always searching for an easy way to jazz them up a bit. Hasselback potatoes are the key! Scrub and wash each potato, slice like an accordion, and season or spice to your liking. This time around I used a number of seasoning blends from my spice cabinet after I had oiled these little babies up, then I stuffed them with sliced garlic and good salted butter. The end result was amazing!
I paired these sliced golden wonders with a delicious boneless pork chop (recipe to follow soon-ish) and some gently steamed broccoli drizzled in Braggs.
And of course a wonderful Oregon pinot noir wine as accompaniment. Silvan Ridge, a personal favorite. If you haven't ever had a bottle from their coffers, I encourage you to go to your local wine shop and purchase one for your next meal. But for now, I suggest everyone visit the FoodGawker page for hasselback potatoes and find the recipe most suitable for your dinner (or binge eating) needs. Mmmm, starchy comfort food!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Chicken Potpie Casserole & Oven Woes

Well, my oven has decided it doesn't want to work properly. It overheats, not cooking dishes properly, which is likely due to having one of the heating elements fail. I have to give it credit as it is ancient, as in it was likely put in sometime around the 1970s. Who even knew that GM made ovens? I certainly didn't until I moved into this house. And this is my first go around with a wall unit style oven (makes for keeping the house warm).
Check out these old appliances; the photo about seven pics down is a spitting image of my (failing) kitchen gem. As I am currently in a rental, there is little hope of having it replaced before I move. So I make due by altering my baking and roasting times, usually turning the dial down by about 25 or more degrees. I also rotate everything once every five or so minutes. Even with the extra care and attention, one in four baking attempts result in charred bottoms. Le sigh...
One of the recent dishes which successfully made it out of my needy oven was a Chicken Potpie Casserole. If you are anywhere near my neck of the woods, you have likely survived the insane amount of rain we've had (it feels like Oregon weather around here). And what goes great with rain? Casserole and biscuits!
Over the weekend I had made a baked chicken, seasoned with rosemary and oranges (based loosely on this recipe), and had a need to use up the leftovers. I usually make Chicken Potpie using some sort of pastry dough/pie shell I have in the freezer, in a more traditional fashion. After some online exploring, I came across this recipe for Chicken Potpie Casserole from Taste of Home which suited my needs perfectly. As I already had a heaping portion of chicken gravy leftover from the chicken dinner, plus some mashed potatoes, I modified this recipe a bit. I also am not a lover of peas, so I replaced them with chopped celery. And the pimentos from the original recipe just didn't scream down home cooking to me, so I omitted them.
The end result was simply amazing. This just may be the best Chicken Potpie recipe I have ever come across and made. Part of that may be due to how awesome the original baked chicken was, but I am also giving some credit where it is due - the recipe. Next time you have leftover chicken and have a hankering for some comfort food, give this one a try. Enjoy!

Chicken Potpie Casserole
Adapted from: Taste of Home

  • 1 ½ cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 2/3 cup sliced fresh carrots
  • 2/3 cup sliced celery
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1-2 cups chicken gravy (see original recipe if you don’t have gravy on hand)
  • 2-4 cups cubed cooked chicken (any meat works as it’s a casserole)
  • Seasonings to taste (salt, pepper, onion powder, etc.)
  • Leftover mashed potatoes (optional) 

Biscuit Topping
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. cream of tartar
  • ½ cup cold butter, cubed
  • 2/3 cup milk

In a large saucepan, sauté the mushrooms, carrots, and onion in butter until tender. If you don’t have gravy on hand, revert to the original recipe and follow the step by sprinkling flour into the pan. If you do have gravy on hand, add the chicken and heat through. Next add the celery and seasonings. Follow with adding the gravy to the pan and stir until well combined. If you have leftover mashed potatoes, scoop little spoonfuls of it into the prepped casserole dish, and then pour the mixture over the top. If you don't have pre-made gravy, you will have already made some in cooking the mixture and can go straight to pouring the mixture into a greased 2 to 2 ½ quart baking dish, then set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.

In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and cream of tartar. Cut in the cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbles. Stir in the milk until just moistened. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead 8-10 times. Pat or roll out the dough to about a ½” thickness. Cut with a floured 2 ½” biscuit cutter or use the rim of a glass.

Place the biscuits over chicken mixture. Bake uncovered at 400 F degrees for 15-20 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown. Serve warm and eat lots. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Welcome 2013!

The new year is here, just like every year that came before it. And with it comes a slightly too long list of goals, wishes, and ambitions for spending 2013 the best way possible. Or at least for me it does. Since this is the baking corner of my world, I figured I'd share my 2013 wishlist with all of you fabulous folks.

  • Learn to use my spiffy new, upgraded KitchenAid properly. 
  • Become better with working with flaky dough. 
  • Improve my tart making skills.
  • Go on a foodie vacation to somewhere amazing (yes, please feel free to join me).
  • Take a skill-improving class. 
  • Develop my idea for a B&B/patisserie experience. 
  • Donate some of my baking time to a local non-profit or for a good cause.
  • Network with my local foodies, hello NC!
  • Improve this foodie corner of the world.   
  • Return to my beloved biking for as many reasons as possible (transportation, socializing, moving around baked goods, and plain ol' fun).
Happy new year & may all of your 2013 baking & biking endeavors be splendid!