It’s-About-Thyme Scalloped Potatoes

Earthy and familiar, thyme smells like holiday parties, coming in from the cold, and knit sweaters. In this recipe, thyme transforms creamy scalloped potatoes into a comfort food you can’t resist. Serve these potatoes with roasted chicken for a show-stopping Sunday dinner, alongside the turkey and cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving, or, if you’re really celebrating, next to a thick cut of prime rib. A dish this decadent takes some time, so plan for about an hour and half from start to finish.

When you’re done in the kitchen, check out our article on how to grow an indoor herb garden and chose from popular varieties of thyme, basil, and rosemary.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter
3 pounds of russet potatoes (about 3 large potatoes), peeled and thinly sliced (about 1/8-inch thick)
3–4 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (about 10 sprigs)
2.5 cups of heavy cream
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
Fresh cracked black pepper
Pinch of salt
¼ cup Parmesan-Romano cheese (optional)

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 450°F. Brush a 9×13-inch baking dish with butter (you could also use cooking spray). To easily remove the thyme leaves, hold the stem in one hand and pull along the stem with the other hand in the opposite direction the leaves are facing.

Directions:
1. Layer 1/3 of the potatoes, slightly overlapping, in the bottom of the buttered dish. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the fresh garlic and thyme leaves. Repeat layers with remaining potatoes, garlic, and thyme, ending with the garlic and thyme on top.

2. Pour the cream into a saucepan on medium heat. Stir in garlic powder, pepper, and salt. Heat the cream to scalding, not boiling.

3. Pour the hot cream over the potatoes. Cover tightly with foil and place in the oven.

4. Bake for 35–40 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for another 30 minutes or until golden brown. If you like it a little cheesy and salty, sprinkle the Parmesan-Romano cheese over the top for the last 10 minutes of baking.

5. Let the potatoes rest out of the oven for 10 minutes before serving. Serves 6–8.

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The Easiest Pumpkin Ravioli You Will Ever Make

Seriously, they are. The secret is substituting fresh pasta with wonton wrappers.

1 cup pumpkin puree (homemade is best)
10 oz. goat cheese (or substitute with cream cheese)
2–3 cloves of garlic, chopped
pinch of salt
1 12 oz. package of wonton wrappers

Makes approximately 45 ravioli

Mix pumpkin, goat cheese, garlic, and salt in a large bowl (you may want to warm the goat cheese in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it for easier mixing). Position the wonton in front of you so it has a diamond shape. Drop 1 teaspoon of the pumpkin and goat cheese filling in the center of the wonton wrapper. Dip your finger in water and outline the edges of the wrapper. Fold edges over and seal by pressing edges together with a fork. Place ravioli into boiling water until they float, which should only be a minute or two. Remove ravioli from water with a hand strainer or slotted spoon. They are delicious drizzled with a high-quality olive oil or sautéd in butter, garlic, and fresh sage leaves. Mangia!

Posted in Holiday, Italian, Weekday dinners Tagged with: , , ,

3 Garlic Condiments to Steal from the Mediterranean

3 (1)

Few ingredients are as versatile and delicious as garlic. While it’s instantly recognized in dishes like cheesy lasagna or a spicy green chili, it’s often in the background notes of dishes you don’t expect, such as Thai papaya salad. But you don’t need to spend hours in the kitchen making roasts; garlic is the star of these quick condiments that make main dishes shine.

Pesto: While Pesto is the perfect go-to pasta mixer, try it in stuffed chicken or thinned to a vinaigrette for a green salad. Peppery and earthy, pesto brings a taste of summer to any dish.

Ingredients: 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves; 2 cloves garlic; 1/4 cup pine nuts; 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided; Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste; and 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese

Directions: Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and pulse until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper. If you are using the pesto immediately, add all the remaining oil and cheese and pulse until smooth. If freezing the pesto, transfer to an airtight container and drizzle the remaining oil over the top. Thaw and stir in cheese.

Aioli: Aioli is essentially a mayonnaise; an emulsifying process makes it creamy and smooth. Aioli is a more flavorful substitute for mayo on sandwiches, but it’s also a mouthwatering swap for tartar sauce on your next fish fry.

Ingredients: 3 garlic cloves, chopped; 1 large egg; 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice; 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley; 1/2 teaspoon salt; 2 turns freshly ground black pepper; and1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions: Combine the garlic, egg, lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender. Add the oil in a slow stream and continue to process until the mixture has formed a thick and creamy sauce.

Bruschetta Topping: Known mostly as an appetizer, bruschetta topping can also be used to dress warm or cold pasta. Add a little Parmesan cheese and some shredded chicken the pasta, and bruschetta topping goes from appetizer to main course.

Ingredients: 1/2 baguette or crusty long loaf bread, sliced (12 pieces); 2 large cloves garlic, cracked away from skin; Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling; 3 small plum tomatoes, halved and seeded; 20 fresh basil leaves; and
Coarse salt

Directions: Place bread slices on a broiler pan and char on each side under a high-temp broiler. Rub toasts with garlic cloves and drizzle with oil. Chop seeded tomatoes and place in a small bowl. Thinly slice basil into green confetti and mix with tomatoes. For added garlic flavor, mince garlic cloves and add to basil and tomato mixture. Add a drizzle of oil and a little coarse salt to the bowl and gently toss coat. Scoop topping onto to crunchy bread.

Posted in Condiments, Garlic Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Roasted Parsnip and Carrot “Fries”

Root vegetables are a winter staple in most of the country: nutritious, comforting, and an essential part of nearly every worthwhile stew. But by the time February arrives, they can seem rather, well, boring.  That certainly doesn’t have to be the case.

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Posted in Side dishes, Weekday dinners

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Short Ribs

Stuffed Cabbage

No question about it: Winter in Colorado is one of the many reasons people love living here. We get our fair share (and then some) of snow and cold, but we also have warm, blue-sky, sunny days to break up the winter blues. And for most of us, our hands are itching to get back in the dirt and plant our gardens, even though we know that the only wise thing is to wait for Mother’s Day weekend, when the threat of frost has passed.

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Posted in Weekend dinners

How to Peel Butternut Squash



Winter squash, with hundreds of splendid varieties, are deliciously nourishing, easy to grow, and store well for months into the winter season. But preparing them can be as daunting as cracking into a coconut— without the right tools and a little bit of know-how, the task is nearly impossible. Aside from the delightful Delicata (whose skin is just as tender and edible as its creamy interior), butternut squash is one of the easiest cold-season squashes to prepare. But, like other winter squash, it’s hard exterior can be intimidating, and dangerous if you don’t know the technique.

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Posted in How to

Spicy Coconut Butternut Squash Soup

Spicy Coconut Butternut Squash Soup

With crunchy, two-day-old snow 8 inches deep outside my back door, I am craving comfort foods. Winter brings with it a peaceful garden slumber, and a strong desire to savor warming foods and slow cooking. With a limited supply of locally grown fresh produce this time of year, I have a great appreciation for the variety and abundance of long-storing winter squashes. With knobbly, hardened exteriors, and enticing, poetic names like ‘Burgess Buttercup’, ‘Pink Banana’, and ‘Honeyboat’ Delicata, winter squash grow in shapes spherical or elongated, sometimes with scalloped ridges disguising their golden-yellow or brilliant orange interiors. Read more ›

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Giving thanks: Family, Friends, and Food

Colorado Thanksgiving ingredients

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Without the pretense of material gifts that most other holidays demand, this celebration feels more authentic, more genuine, and more heart-centered. Thanksgiving is about family, friends, and food, and the coming together of it all— and really, isn’t that what life is about? Couldn’t we mend a hundred fences and the scars of a thousand wars if we simply learned to share the gifts from our garden and come together to eat at the same table? Read more ›

Posted in Holiday

How to Peel Beets

Beets— sweet, seductive and full of earthy promise— are deceptively easy to peel.  There are no special tools, no complicated techniques, and anyone with a thumb and forefinger can properly peel a beet.

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Posted in How to

Five Color Chard and Cannellini Bean Soup

We’ve had some beautiful late Fall weather here in Colorado. Last week, on an unusually warm October evening, I found myself sitting outside in the back yard well after dusk, enjoying wine and talking with neighbors about the typical neighborly topics— travel, kids, other neighbors, and gardens. Having just moved to the neighborhood, with a barren back yard that is begging for a garden to be planted next Spring, the topic of gardening adventures came easily for us all. Read more ›

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