Leftovers? Make Mash Potato Bombs!  

Baked or fried these are a fun way to use up any left-over mash potatoes… or, a good excuse to make more!

You’ll Need:

Filling:

3 cups chilled mashed potatoes

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

½ cup bacon, chopped small dice

1 bunch chives, chopped

Pepper to taste

Breading Station:

1 cup flour or GF flour

2 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs or GF breadcrumbs

3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated fine

Xtra virgin coconut oil, Ghee or Organic Canola Oil for pan frying

Here’s How: 

Preheat the oven to 425°F degrees, unless pan frying.

Cook the bacon until crisp. Drain on a paper towel and set aside.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the leftover mashed potatoes with the eggs, cheese, chives and bacon bits. Mix to combine, cover and set aside in the refrigerator.

Prepare 3 breading stations. One bowl of flour, one bowl of beaten eggs and one bowl of panko bread crumbs mixed with the Parmesan cheese.

Dust your hands with flour and use an 1/2 ounce portion control scoop to measure the balls. Or a Tablespoon.

Pat them gently to form them into balls and roll them in the palm of your hands to get them perfectly round.

Immediately dust them with flour again and set aside. Repeat until you have 24 flour-dusted balls.

Drop a ball into the egg mixture and use a spoon to turn the potato ball over until fully coated.

Lift the potato ball out of the egg mixture with a fork. Drain off any excess. Immediately drop the potato ball into the panko and cheese mixture and use another spoon to dredge it fully.

Pat in any excess bread crumbs that might be falling off the ball.

Set aside on a parchment lined cookie sheet and repeat with remaining balls.

Fry in batches in hot oil over medium high heat until golden brown on all sides, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Or, bake at 400’F degrees for 5-10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with my homemade ketchup! 

 

 

Yum! Makes approximately 2 dozen potato bombs!

Decadent Creamed Corn Casserole!

Trust me when I say– someone at your dinner table will ask you for this recipe! 

You’ll Need:

8-10 ears of fresh shucked corn off the cob, or 1 pound frozen white kernels and 1 pound frozen yellow kernels. Or, all yellow.

1/2 onion, peeled halved and studded with 3-4 cloves

1 large russet pototo peeled and cut in large 1/2 inch dice

1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed

1 pint unsweetened whipping cream

1 cup chicken stock

1/4 cup cane sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2  teaspoon white pepper

1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper

2 Tablespoons very cold butter

2 Tablespoons flour

Chopped parsley for serving

Paprika for garnish

1/2 cup grated Parmesean cheese, divided

Fresh homemade crutons

Here’s How:

Preheat the oven to 350′ F Degrees. Generiously butter an 4 quart casserole dish, and dust with grated parmesean cheese. Set aside on a foil lined sheet pan.

In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, combine all the ingredients except for the butter and flour bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

In a small dish combine the flour and butter to form a paste. Mix into the corn mixture and continue to cook until thicken.

Adjust seasoning with salt, white pepper and cayenne. Add additional sugar if your prefer your recipe a bit sweeter. Remove smashed garlic and studded onion. Discard.

Add diced potato and parmeseasn cheese and mix to combine,

Place in prepared casserol dish and cover. Bake for 10-20 minutes until flavors are incorporated and potatos are cooked.

Serve piping hot. Garnish with warm homemade crutons with a sprinkling of paprika and chopped parsley.

Makes approximately 8 to 10 servings

Variations:

Add chopped fresh pimento for a little kick .

Hassleback Potato Casserole

Acclaimed food science writer, J. Kenji López-Alt has developed this sort of “mash-up ” ( if you will ) of a classic French gratin, and a beautiful Hassleback potato recipe. The idea is to stand the slices of potato vertically, rather than laying them flat. This ensures each serving receives both a creamy potato serving and a crispy edge in each bite.

This is my adaption.

You’ll Need:

4 to 4 ½ pounds russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick slices with a sharp knife of on a mandoline 

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup chicken stock

3 medium cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, leaves removed for the stem

Kosher salt and black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes

2 cups finely grated Gruyère cheese

1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 bunch chives, chopped for garnish

Here’s How:

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400’F degrees. Combine cheeses in a large bowl. Transfer 1/3 of cheese mixture to a separate bowl and set aside for garnish.

Add cream, stock, garlic and thyme to the cheese mixture, and mix well. Season with salt and pepper, add white pepper, and red chili flakes– stir to combine.

Add potato slices and toss with your hands until every slice is coated with cream mixture, making sure to separate any slices that are sticking together to get the cream mixture in between them.

Prepare a 2-quart casserole dish with butter. Place on a high sided baking sheet.

Pick up a handful of potatoes, organizing them into a neat deck stack, lay them in the casserole dish with their edges aligned vertically. Continue placing potatoes in the dish, working around the perimeter and into the center until all the potatoes have been added. The potatoes should be very tightly packed. If necessary, slice an additional potato, coat with cream mixture, and add to casserole. It is important the potatoes are very tight.

Pour the excess cheese mixture evenly over the top of the potatoes in the casserole dish until the mixture comes halfway up the sides. You may not need all the excess liquid.

Cover dish tightly with foil– sprayed on the inside with non-stick cooking spray. Transfer to the oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until the top is golden brown, about 45 minutes longer.

Carefully remove from oven, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and return to oven. Bake until deep golden brown and crisp on top, about 30 minutes longer. Remove from oven, let rest for a few minutes,  garnish with chopped chives and serve.

Enjoy!

Make-Ahead Feast Worthy Cranberry Pear Compote! 


This recipe has been in my culinary repertoire for over two decades. It’s my absolute favorite! Loose the canned cranberry sauce- trust me on this one.

Just like everything Thanksgiving– it’s better the next day; especially smothered all over your leftover turkey sammy! There is quite a bit of sugar in the recipe because the natural flavor of cranberry is very, very tart so it’s ok to substitute with honey or your favorite sweetener.

Oh, sure to call your order in using discount code : “Chef Gigi” when ordering the wine from RiverStar Vineyards and secure 20% off you entire holiday purchase!

You’ll Need:

2 pounds fresh or frozen whole cranberries 

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, or your choice of alternitive

3 tablespoons brown sugar, packed

3 Bosch pears, peeled, cored and chopped in large one inch chunks 

2 wide strips of lemon zest

1 lemon juiced, seeds removed

1 orange zested and juiced

1 bottle RiverStar Vineyards Sauvagnon Blanc

1-2 small cinnamon sticks

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg 

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 large sprig fresh thyme

1/4 teaspoon salt 

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper 

Fresh red forest cranberries

Here’s How:

In a medium high-sided saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, lemon zest, wine and spices including salt and pepper. 

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce to a simmer. Cook until you begin to hear the cranberries begin to pop open. Add the pears cook an additional 8-10 minutes until the pears are soft but still holding shape. Once the cranberries pop the sauce will begin to thicken. Continue to cook until a knife will gently slide through the pears. Taste, and adjust seasoning.

Remove from heat, cool and store air tight in glass jars. Can be made up to a week in advance. 

Makes a great hostess gift when packed in a fancy glass container with a fresh sprig of thyme and orange peel! 


Yields approximately 20 -25 servings 

Green Beans with Brown Buttered Walnuts and Caramelized Shallots

I love to cook green beans, especially Haricots Verts, pronounced { herəkō ˈver } they are delicious and so tender. They are the French variety typically slimmer and longer than the common green bean we see here in America. You can use any fresh green bean for this recipe. 

You’ll Need:

1- 2 pounds fresh haricots verts, root ends trimmed

4-6 ounces unsalted butter or 3-4 teaspoons good quality olive oil

4-6 gloves of garlic, peeled and smashed

6-8  large shallots, cleaned and sliced thin

1/4-1/2 cup good quality chicken, vegetable stock, or white wine 

Salt and fresh ground pepper 

2 springs fresh thyme

Squeeze of fresh lemon juice 

1 cup browned buttered walnuts, see recipe below 

1 orange zested 

Here’s How

Bring a small saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the haricots verts and cook until just tender, about 1 minute. Transfer with a slotted spoon to an ice bath. Drain. Pat dry.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and sauté until they are browning and nicely caramelized about 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook an additional minute. 

Add the haricots verts and salt and pepper to taste, and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, or until just heated through and crisp-tender.

Deglaze the pan very quickly with the chicken stock, add the fresh thyme and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice toss. Add toasted walnuts and toss.

Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper one last time, top with orange zest. Serve warm.

Approximately 4-6 serving


Variations: Add cooked bacon bits, panchetta, lemon zest, almonds or a splash of cream 

 

Browned Butter Walnuts


You’ll Need

1 – pound halved fresh walnuts

1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter

1 teaspoon brown sugar

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

In a large sauté over medium heat melt the butter. Add the sliced almonds and sauté storing constantly until golden and fragrant. About 3- 5 minutes toss in the sugar lst minute toss till melted and remove from heat to a sigle layered sheet pan to cool. 

The walnuts will brown fast in the butter so be sure to remove them from the hot pan and cool quickly, or you will risk over browning.

Dust with salt and pepper while warm. 

Carrot Salad with Roasted Cashew & Spicy Honey Vinaigrette

You’ll Need

1 cup unsalted cashews, roasted
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
1/8 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1/4 cup local honey
1/2 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1 pound carrots, peeled, julienned

Here’s How
Preheat oven to 350’F Degrees. Toast cashews on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing occasionally until golden brown, about 8–10 minutes. Set aside.


To the bowl of your food processor or standing blender, add the garlic, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, 1/2 cup of the cashews, honey, salt and pepper. Process and slowly add the oil by drizzling through your processors feeder tube.

Continue until mixture is emulsified into a creamy vinaigrette.

Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking with salt, pepper, honey or lemon.

Add carrots, toss and let stand at least 30 minutes to blend flavors .

Toss with additional cashews and chopped basil just before serving.


Do Ahead:

Salad can be made 1 day ahead without the nuts and basil. Cover; chill. Toss with 1/2 cup remaining nuts and basil just before serving.

Fresh Summer Cherry Vinaigrette

It’s easy to speed through the Central Valley of California or roll along the farm-bounded country roads less traveled, and find some great fresh fruits, nuts and delicious vegetables, especially during summer.  

If you find yourself in the heart of some of the world’s most productive farmland, grab yourself  some fresh delicious cherries,– season is closing – ( although some might argue- you can find cherries year round here ) Touring California you can see some familiar classics, like garnet-colored, ultra-juicy California Bings & others types less well known, like Coral Champagne cherries, a sweet and firm cherry that ripens a little earlier in the year.

I “can” a bushel of cherries every June. I love to made cherries in brandy for holiday gift giving– and now– I’m focused on making delicious, sweet, yet tart cherry vinaigrette.

So scrumcious on crisp summer salads and spectacular with grilled foods. Enjoy!

You’ll Need

1 cup dark red ripe cherries, pitted and de-stemmed

2 Tablespoons local organic honey

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 cup good quality aged balsamic vinegar

1 shallot, peeled and rough chopped

1 clove fresh garlic, peeled and root trimmed

1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil

Scant cinnamon ( optional )

Kosher salt to taste

Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Heres How: 

In a stand blender or the bowl of your food processor— add the cherries, honey, lemon juice, vinegar, shallot and garlic clove. Cover and process until the cherries look like a smooth puree.

With the mixer running, gradually add the oil in a slow steady stream until the combination has become emulsified and creamy.

Season with salt and pepper as needed. Immediately dress a salad, or something fun like smokey grilled pork chops. The dressing thickens over time, so add a touch of warm water to reconstitute. Keep up to a week refrigerated air-tight.

photo credit: chefs resource

Spring has Sprung in California! Try my Recipe for Oven Roasted Asparagus with Garlic Lemon & Crunchy Toasted Almonds

aspargus

LOVE.. LOVE… LOVE…. Asparagus. Spring time is right around the corner, and asparagus season is closer than we think. Best measure is to always source  young fresh stalks of asparagus but if  you are using very thick stalks of asparagus, peel away the tough outer layers.

The easiest way is to grasp the base of the asparagus in one hand and use a vegetable peeler in the other, carefully peeling toward while stopping short of  your hand and rotating the asparagus as you peel. You’ll wind up with a short piece of stalk with the peelings attached; you can easily snap it off at the point where the peeling stops.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus spears, cleaned and tough ends snapped off

2 – 3 cloves garlic, cleaned and smashed to puree

2 – 3 Tablespoons good quality olive oil

1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

1 Meyer lemon zested and juiced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 -2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves

Method:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Prepare a sheet pan sprayed with good quality cooking spray or, for easy clean up– line your baking sheet with foil and spray foil. Set aside.

Snap off and discard woody bases from asparagus or peel if necessary. Place asparagus and garlic in a 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan. Drizzle with oil, lemon juice and thyme leaves. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Remove from casserole dish and lay single layer on prepared baking sheet.

Roast for 10 to 15 minutes or until asparagus is crispy and tender, rolling once halfway through roasting. Remove from oven and toss with toasted almond slivers and lemon zest. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately with my home made mayonnaise recipe at 30 second mom.

Makes approximately 6 servings.

Skinny Garlic Pommes Frites

unspecified

In the production of a really good ‘French Fry” the type of fat used to fry with can make all the difference. Not to mention the type of potato and the potatoes sugar content will make a difference as well. Seriously, this subject for scholarly debate! Many establishments that place “Pommes Frites” on the menu are doing the potato justice because they are correctly frying them in animal fat (tallow, lard, duck or goose fat). I think there might be one thing we all agree on– we are all looking for the same great flavor and texture in a skinny pommes frites. If so, this recipe is for you!

Ingredients:
1/8 cup good quality olive oil
4-6 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and cut and smashed to paste
Grapeseed cooking spray, or your favorite high smoke point oil
3 russet potatoes, washed and dried
Kosher salt
fresh cracked black pepper
1/4-1/2 cup fresh grated, good quality Parmesan cheese ( optional)
1 bunch fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped

 

Method:

Combine the oil and crushed garlic in a large mixing small bowl. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 425 F- 450°F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. If you use Aluminum, lay a sheet of foil inside baking sheet and spray foil with non-stick cooking spray. This will ensure easy cleanup. Set aside.

Cut the potato lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices; cut each slice into 1/4-inch thin strips. Once cut, pat dry with a paper towel.

Toss cut potatoes in the bowl containing the oil and smashed garlic. Use your hands to evenly coat. Season with salt and black pepper after they have been coated with the oil and garlic mixture. Place oil coated cut potatoes onto the prepared baking sheet.

Bake uncovered in the center of the oven until tender crisp and golden brown, about 10 minutes on each side. Remove from oven and toss with cheese and fresh chopped parsley. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately. if you like, serve with my HomeMade Ketchup Recipe at 30 Second Mom

Variations: You can use other root vegetables like sweet potatoes or parsnips.  Or try Yukon gold, or other variety of potato. Increase bake time for sweeter content root vegetables.

Tzatziki Dipping Sauce     

English pronunciation ( Taet-Zeek -Key) 

Tzatziki is a sauce, or a dip. Made up of a combination of cucumber, fresh yogurt, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice or vinegar- and fresh herbs. So delicious and refreshing. I like to use it on everything. I especially love to dip raw vegetables in it, and sometimes use it for salad dressing.

My kids love it and it’s a great source of protein on its own. I love Tzatziki on grilled meats, on Falafel and in Gyros too. I grew up with a portion of a Greek family, and this was a highly coveted culinary staple at most family gatherings. 

Ingredients:

1/2 large seedless cucumber, unpeeled, grated and set to drain- or rush the process by tossing in 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups plain full-fat Greek yogurt

2 large garlic cloves, finely minced

2 Tablespoons extra virgin good quality olive oil

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice 

1/2 teaspoon Kosher or Himalayan salt

1/4-1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1 -2 Tablespoons minced fresh dill

Method

Grate the cucumber, gently salt and toss – set to drain through a fine mesh sieve overnight in the refrigerator or allow to sit for 10-20 minutes and squeeze and excess liquid from cucumber wash off salt residue and squeeze dry using a clean kitchen towel. 

Add prepared cucumber to a small bowl and combine with the yogurt, garlic, oil, lemon juice and white pepper. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or as long as you can. 

Remove from refrigerator and add chopped fresh dill to the mixture and stir to combine. Check and adjust seasoning. 

Serve chilled with pita bread, fresh cut veggies for dipping or use as a side for grilled meats. 

Chef Notes

Cucumbers inherently release an abundance of water when cut. Make sure your grated cucumber is well-drained before adding to the remaining ingredients or your recipe will become watery and flavorless. If you have time, can drain it in cheesecloth or a fine mesh sieve overnight. If you’re in a rush, you can salt the cucumbers let sit about ten minutes, rinse and use your hands to squeeze the remaining liquid out of the cucumber.

The longer the garlic rests in the yogurt, the less bitter it will become and the better it will taste. For best results, combine all of the ingredients except the cucumber and allow it rest overnight in the refrigerator overnight- while your cucumber is draining.

Add the fresh dill at the last minute so it doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the flavors.