Month: April 2016

Bubbling, Cheesy, Potatoey Mess

I made this delicious mess to go with this year’s Easter dinner which also included spareribs, asparagus, & beets. I was aiming for something creamy & cheesy, & I added in a little black garlic for good measure.


  • 2 1/2 pounds red potatoes
  • 2 cloves black garlic, smashed
  • 1 1/2 C heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt & ground pepper (to taste)
  • 1 C smoked Gouda cheese, grated
  • 1 C Colby cheese, grated
  • 1/2 C sharp Cheddar cheese, grated


  1. Preheat oven  to 375F.

  2. Peel potatoes, and place in a bowl of water to prevent discoloring.

  3. Spray inside of a 2 qt casserole dish with cooking spray.

  4. Heat cream, milk, nutmeg, black garlic, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat until bubbles form around edge. Season with pepper, if desired. Remove from heat.

  5. Using a mandolin, slice potatoes 1/8 inch thick. Watch your fingers with the mandolin! They are a great invention, but dangerous!

  6. Layer potato slices into your casserole dish artfully. I got excellent results by layering some potatoes, then some grated cheese, then potatoes again. Save some cheese to sprinkle over the top.

  7. Pour warm cream mixture over top. Gently push potatoes down, to make sure they are all covered with the cream mixture.

  8. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake (with a baking sheet placed on the rack below to catch drips) until potatoes are fork tender and top is bubbling and brown, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cover with foil if cheese begins to brown too much.

  9. Serve while hot & bubbly!

Creamed Corn Chowder: REBLOG: #sevendaysofsoup


This recipe has been brewing in the old noggin for quite some time. In fact, it was several months ago that I had a conversation with The Bestie about the fine nuances of creamed corn and corn pudding. Being a Yankee, I know not of corn pudding and had to research it. The goal here was to come up with a soup that captured the flavors and textures of creamed corn; velvety but with a nice corny crunch. I settled on a chowder style and it was met with enthusiasm by my offspring (the one that will eat corn anyway).

Makes 4-6 servings

Takes 30-40 minutes


4 slices bacon, chopped

1/2 a medium onion, chopped

1 small carrot, chopped

1 rib celery, chopped

2 tbsp butter, unsalted

1/2 log (about 4oz) cream cheese, full fat, room temperature

1C heavy whipping cream

2 lbs fresh or frozen sweet corn (no canned)

4C chicken stock or broth (low sodium)

black pepper, to taste

1) In a Dutch oven heat bacon over medium high heat until fat is rendered and bacon is cooked and brown. Remove bacon from pan and set aside.

2) Add butter, onion, carrot, and celery and cook in butter/bacon fat mixture until translucent.

3) Lower heat to medium and add about 1# of the corn. Toss with and veggies until well coated with butter/bacon fat. Season to taste with black pepper, and kosher salt if desired.

4) Slowly work in the cream cheese until melty; then add the cream and broth.

This is what the cream cheese looks like when it gets all melty.

5) Slowly heat to just below boiling. As mixture is heating, carefully purée the mixture with a hand blender until somewhat smooth.

6) Add the other 1# of corn and cook on low until heated through.

7) Top with cooked chopped bacon before serving.

Note: I think this soup would also be amazing with some lobster tail meat on top, or a bit of lump crab.

Lentil Soup with Spicy Italian Sausage #sevendaysofsoup

You can make lentil soup similarly to the way you would make a pea soup, flavored with a ham hock and it’s simple and delicious. This soup is a fun & delicious spin. Lentils are legumes, but have a heartiness that is filling almost like meat.

Lentil Soup with Spicy Italian Sausage


  • 15-16oz bag of lentils
  • 1 package spicy Italian sausage (bulk, not links)
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 large white onion, diced small
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 2-3 celery stalks, peeled and diced small
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 C chicken/veggie broth
  • 2 C water


  1. Brown and crumble sausage over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or large pot until cooked through Using a slotted spoon, remove sausage from pot and set aside.
  2. Add olive oil, carrots, onion and celery to pot and sauté 4-5 mins until onions become translucent. Add garlic & cook for another 2 mins.
  3. Add broth, water, lentils & sausage to pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 40 minutes or until lentils are tender. Turn off heat and let soup rest, covered, for 20 minutes before serving.
  4. Delicious served with crusty bread for dunking.

Creamy Black Garlic Potato Soup #sevendaysofsoups


  • 4-6 medium potatoes, peeled & diced
  • 6 pearl onions, peeled & halved
  • 4 cloves black garlic, crushed
  • 8 oz heavy cream
  • 1 qt vegetable or chicken stock
  • EVOO
  • up to 1C dry instant potatoes (optional)


  1. In a large pot heat a few tsp EVOO over medium-high heat.
  2. Sweat pearl onions until translucent.
  3. Toss in the black garlic & toss until onions are coated & mixture is fragrant.
  4. Add potatoes and toss to combine.
  5. Pour in stock. If it doesn’t cover the potatoes, add enough hot water to cover.
  6. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover & lower to medium heat.
  7. Simmer over medium heat until potatoes are tender, 10-15 mins.
  8. Lower heat & purée mixture with a hand blender until smooth.
  9. Whisk in the cream. *Hint: If at this point you feel that the soup isn’t reaching your desired thickness, you can sprinkle in the dry instant potatoes, a little at a time, whisking constantly until you reach the desired thickness.*
  10. Heat soup gently, over medium-low heat until heated through. Serve with crusty bread.

Need some black garlic? Order 40 day aged Black Garlic from my Etsy shop, Mise en Place Gourmet

Teen-Pleasing Crockpot Chicken & Dumplings #sevendaysofsoup

Holy crap. It’s COLD in my neck of the woods!! So cold, that my teens requested canned Chicken & Dumplings for dinner the other night. They agreed on a dinner. Just so you know, that’s a very big deal. I complied because 1) when your teens agree on a dinner you must comply and 2) chicken & dumplings are freaking delicious.

Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.


But deep down, I didn’t feel good about feeding them C&D from a can. Not because I’m any kind of anti-canned-food fanatic, obvs. But because I felt like C&D would probably be a relatively easy thing to make if I had a jumping off point.

As I guiltily stirred the canned goodness, I text my Bestie, a bonafide Southern gal, betting it was something she would know how to make. After all, she taught this Yankee how to make real Sweet Tea. Of course she did. She then text me a recipe, apologizing for it’s housewifey-ness but promised it would be delicious. I’ve made it twice in less than a month. In my crockpot. Who am I??

Bone-Warming, Teen-Pleasing, Crockpot Chicken & Dumplings

For me, this recipe makes one dinner & one lunch for me & 2 teens. 


  • 4 good-sized boneless, skinless frozen chicken breasts (or the equivalent amount in tenderloins)
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 qt chicken broth or stock (I used my own homemade stock)
  • medium white onion, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced (optional)
  • 2 carrots, diced (optional)
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 can of 8 Grands flaky biscuits (traditional or buttermilk)
  • Kosher salt & black pepper to taste


  1. Place chicken in the crock pot.
  2. Cut up the butter and put on top of the chicken.
  3. Sprinkle diced onions & veggies over top of chicken & butter.
  4. Add the soups & broth/stock. It’s going to look very moist right now. Don’t fret, the gravy will form. Stir them in a little, but don’t worry if there are still chunks of soup. As it cooks they will blend together.
  5. Sprinkle your parsley over the top and give it a stir.
  6. Cook on low/slow cook setting 4-6 hours until chicken is no longer pink.
  7. Pull out the chicken & shred it up. I was able to use 4 forks to do the job. Throw the shredded chicken back into the crockpot.
  8. Open your can of biscuits. Cut each biscuit into eighths. The first time I made this recipe & bought 2 cans of biscuits because in biscuit-form there’s no way 1 can would cut it for my kids. But once I cut up 1 can I realized that was a lot of dumplings & 1 can would suffice.
  9. Drop the dough into the crock pot and mix it in so it’s coated in the gravy. Cook 30-40 mins for doughy dumplings, an hour for firmer ones.
  10. Stir before serving. Season to taste with salt & pepper, if desired. I found that the salt level was fine & I didn’t need any more.

Frank’s Old-School Dumplings (Knedliky) #sevendaysofsoup

With colder temperatures & hearty soups comes talk of dumplings. In the same week that I first made Chicken & Dumplings, I got some texts from my childhood friend, as her dad was making some dumplings to go with a roast. He wanted to make him the way his mom did & was using several old cookbooks & reportedly some old chicken-scratch notes he had made. Why do I feel like this is going to be me when I get older? They were Czech dumplings, AKA knedlicky. I know many ethnic foods, but was unfamiliar with knedlicky. I inquired about the books being used, & received several pix starting with this one of a cookbook from the 1920s.

 And several dumpling recipes. I made this one, specifically because it was labeled knedlicky.  

  I love vintage cookbooks. Someday I’ll write a post featuring all my favorites. But vintage recipes are sometimes confusing. They are often written in a conversational tone, like this one, and sometimes the measurements can be a little sketchy. “Enough flour to make a thick dough…” would definitely not fly as instructions in a modern recipe. Here’s my analysis & translation.

Frank’s Old-School Dumplings (Knedlicky)

I’m told that these dumplings are “bread dumplings” and that Frank’s dumplings are not; but I’m keeping this title to pay homage to Frank & his manic dumpling-making. 


  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 C whole milk
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter (this is adjusted from the original recipe’s 1 tsp which didn’t seem to be nearly enough)
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2-2C all-purpose flour
  • 2 slices of white bread
  • butter or margarine for frying (I used plain old Blue Bonnet to keep things Old School)


  1. Beat 2 large eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
  2. Add milk, butter (at room temp), & salt.
  3. Slowly add the flour 1/4 C at a time until a thick, slightly sticky dough is formed.
  4. Beat at medium speed for about 5 mins, until the dough comes together and starts to make a slapping noise on the bowl as it is kneaded.
  5. While your dough is being kneaded in the mixer, butter & fry 2 slices of bread & tear them into small pieces.
  6. Add your fried bread pieces to the dough and beat until combined. This seemed to be an odd thing to do, and scientifically I’m not really sure why you would add bread crumbs to a dumpling dough but in the spirit of making a vintage recipe, I went along with it.  
  7. The recipe calls for making your dumplings the size of a small apple. I’m thinking apples must have been much smaller in the olden days, because my dumplings came out HUGE. Not that that’s a bad thing, but you may want to go a bit smaller.
  8. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. When you drop the dumplings in they will probably sink to the bottom, and will probably need to be scraped from the bottom of the pot with a knife.
  9. Cover and cook 10 mins at medium-high.
  10. Serve with soups, roasts, and gravies.

Classic French Onion Soup #sevendaysofsoup

Based on Julia Child’s classic recipe…

Classic French Onion Soup


  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 8 C white onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 8 C homemade beef stock, or good quality store bought stock
  • 1/4 C brandy or sherry
  • 1 C dry white wine


  1. Heat butter & EVOO in a Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. When the butter has melted, stir in the onions, cover, and cook slowly until tender and translucent, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add in salt and sprinkle over the sugar, increase the heat to medium-high, and brown the onions, stirring frequently until they are a dark brown color, at least 25 to 30 minutes. Arguably, browning the onions is the most important part of the recipe, and not to be rushed.


    Carmelized goodness!!

  4. Sprinkle the flour over the browned onions and cook slowly, stirring, for another 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat, let cool a moment, then whisk in 2 C hot beef stock. Bring to a simmer, adding the rest of the stock, brandy or sherry, and wine. IMG_1876
  6. Put the lid on your Dutch oven, venting slightly, and simmer slowly 1 1/2 hrs, adding a little water if the liquid reduces too much. Season to taste with Kosher salt & black pepper.
  7. If desired, serve soup the classic way: with a large crouton of French bread & broiled Gruyere over the top. Still delicious with any type of bread or cheese though.