Batter Licker

December 29, 2011

bacon fat-roasted fingerling potatoes stuffed with beet horseradish ricotta

I realize stuffing fingerling potatoes sounds a little … crazy. And it totally is. I admit it. But don’t freak out and leave yet! I have a solution. Just because I’m nuts doesn’t mean you can’t maintain your sanity while still enjoying the delicious benefits of this recipe.

In other words, this would work equally well for stuffing a potato the size of your closed fist. Or even those mini potatoes that are bigger than fingerlings but not quite as big as your fist – you know, the ones that would still be appetizer friendly but also wouldn’t drive you mad trying to stuff them.

The only other fussy component is the beet horseradish, but there’s a way around that too if necessary. I’ve never seen the beet version in a store in real life, although I probably wasn’t looking because I didn’t even know it existed. But it was among the several gallons of pickled items my friend May shipped me from The Pickle Guys in New York as a wedding present. Aside from being slightly sweeter than regular horseradish, the beet horseradish had an incredibly bright pink fuchsia color, which I thought would be fun to punch up this otherwise brown and white dish. If you can’t find some, substitute regular horseradish, or make your own beet concoction.

Whatever you decide, procure some bacon fat. It makes a difference. (more…)

August 10, 2011

honey-drizzled strawberry ricotta-goat cheesecake with polenta crust

At the very beginning of strawberry season, I try to steer clear of that fruit, especially in overpriced restaurant desserts. Let’s just say I’ve had too many bad experiences spanning from too-tart and unripe to utterly juiceless and flavorless. I’d much rather wait a week or two until the farmers market berries are deep red, plump, and gushing with sweetness. Then it’s time.

This year, while visiting Boston in the pre-humid days of early June, I took a risk ordering a “first of the season” strawberry-topped ricotta tart at Mistral Bistro. And for once, it paid off.

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From the decadent filling of creamy ricotta, infused with what I originally thought was thyme but have now come to believe was lavender, to the juicy strawberry topping drizzled in local honey, the dessert was one to remember. And to recreate. (more…)

January 26, 2011

healthier overstuffed baked potato

Baked potatoes are frequently used as a vehicle for all sorts of unhealthy shenanigans, from butter and salt to sour cream and cheese. I would know because, as a kid, I simply could not get enough sour cream on my potato. Nowadays, I’m a little smarter about my obsession with piling creamy, tangy stuff on top of potatoes: I use Greek yogurt instead.

I also take advantage of my profound love of broccoli, artichokes, spinach, and most other stuffed potato-friendly green veggies, and either load them into the potato stuffing itself or serve them alongside the potato, periodically “dipping” the veggies into the starchy but creamy potato mixture. Call it my (much healthier and more delicious) version of dipping broccoli into cheese sauce. (more…)

December 14, 2010

baked ziti

Filed under: beef,cheese,meat,pasta,pork — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Kristen @ 9:08 pm

When I’m in the mood for tomato-based Italian pasta that’s a little more interesting (i.e. baked and cheesy) than spaghetti, I often turn to this classic baked ziti. This a great use for my 15-minute Simple Meat Marinara Sauce without requiring too much more effort, as most of the work is done by placing a baking dish in oven for a 35-minute sauna.

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The beauty of baked ziti is that each bite features a different flavor, from rich tomato and meat flavors to creamy ricotta and mozzarella, while also providing textural contrasts between the saucy underside and the Parmesan-crusted, slightly crunchy topping. (more…)

November 8, 2010

butternut squash and basil bechamel lasagna

File this under “best lasagna you almost never tried because there’s no meat in it, no ricotta, no tomato sauce, and the main veggie featured is … squash?!?!?” It sounds crazy, I know.

And I’m sure the meat lover in your life will balk just as fervently as Jay did … and Adam … and Joe (okay, Joe kept the balking internal, but eventually admitted to it). Heaven forbid you ever make lasagna without sausage or ground beef! Have you forgotten the most basic tenets of lasagna-making?!? Surely you’ve gone a little too far down foodie alley; you’re trying too hard to come up with innovative, blog-worthy recipes; you’re completely off your rocker.

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But then said meat lover will scoop up a slab of cheesy, squashy, creamy, basily baked noodles. And his carnivorous, quick-to-hate vegetarian food mouth will chew and gulp and chomp and swallow as he devours his portion (more…)

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