Cooking With Honey – Sausage And Potato Gratin

sausage and potato gratin

It’s so cold and snowy in Cincinnati! I want something rich and soothing like this Sausage and Potato Gratin. This is an adaptation of one of Julia Child’s recipes. Make sure to slice the potatoes and sausage extra thin. I use a mandoline!

Serves:  4-6 people

Ingredients:

2/3 cup minced yellow onions

2 tablespoons butter

1 lb. Russet potatoes, sliced very thin

2-3 uncooked mild Italian sausages, cut into thin slices (put them into the freezer for 10 minutes or so before slicing.)

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 teaspoon honey

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 cup grated Gruyère cheese  (you may substitute Swiss cheese.)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter an 8×8 baking dish.

In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, until tender but not browned.

In the prepared baking dish, spread half of the sliced potatoes on the bottom. Spread half of the cooked onions over the potatoes. Place all of the uncooked sausage slices over the onions. Top the sausages with the rest of the onions, and then the rest of the potatoes.

Crack the three eggs into a medium bowl, and beat with a whisk just to break them up, about 5 seconds. While still whisking the eggs, pour in the cream. Add the 1 teaspoon honey, the 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the 1/8 teaspoon of pepper, and whisk to combine. Pour the egg and cream mixture into the filled baking dish, and shake to distribute the liquid, if necessary.

Sprinkle the Gruyère over the casserole.  Bake for 55 minutes in the upper third of the preheated oven until the top is nicely browned. Enjoy!

New Year’s Eve – Potato, Leek and Honey Gratin

This gratin is the perfect accompaniment to roasted rack of lamb. Add a simple salad of greens with a vinaigrette dressing and a luscious dessert for an especially festive New Year’s Eve dinner!

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:

Salt

1/1/2 pounds small potatoes (such as red or Yukon gold), sliced 1/8 inch thick

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for buttering dish

1  tablespoon honey

5 medium leeks, washed thoroughly, white and light-green parts only, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup milk

1/8 cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large pot of salted boiling water, parboil potatoes for 5 minutes. Drain potatoes well and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Sauté leeks and garlic until leeks are tender, about 7 minutes. Set aside.

In a buttered gratin dish, round souffle dish, or lasagna pan arrange half of reserved potatoes in an overlapping pattern. Pour 1/2 cup cream and 1/4 cup milk over top and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 tablespoon honey. Top with reserved leeks and arrange remaining potatoes. Pour remaining cream and milk over potatoes and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining honey.

Bake until potatoes are tender, top of gratin is golden brown, and most of cream and milk have been absorbed, about 45 minutes. Garnish with parsley.

Potage Parmentier (Potato Leek Soup)

potage parmentier

Another soothing recipe for the eating impaired. I may never eat chocolate again…

It was this time of year that my beloved mother L.J. served Potato Leek Soup. Now I know why.

Yield:  For about 2 ½ quarts, serving 6 or 8

Ingredients

4 cups sliced leeks – the white part and a bit of the tender green

4 cups diced potatoes – old or baking potatoes recommended

6 or 7 cups of water

1 teaspoon honey

1½ to 2 teaspoons of salt, to taste

Optional: ½ cup of more sour cream, heavy cream or crème fraiche

Directions

In a heavy-bottomed, three-quart saucepan, bring the leeks, potatoes and water to a boil, uncovered. Salt lightly, cover partially, and simmer 20 or 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Add honey. Taste and correct seasoning.

Serving au Naturel – Ladle out the soup and top each serving with a dollop of sour cream, if you wish.

Pureed Leek and Potato Soup – Puree the soup through a vegetable mill or in a blender or food processor. Serve with optional cream.

Cream of Leek and Potato Soup – Use a cup less liquid when simmering the soup. After pureeing, whisk 2/3 cup or more of sour cream, heavy cream or crème fraiche into the soup, simmering a moment to blend.

Holidays With Honey – Cincinnati Opera Creams

opera creams

For about a hundred years, Cincinnati has had a love affair with candy filled with opera cream — a simple, but sweet and rich fondant.

Opera cream candies are usually covered in dark chocolate.  According to legend, the opera cream recipe was brought to Cincinnati from France before the turn of the century.

One explanation for the origin of the name “opera cream” is that the candy is sweet and very rich and so are a lot of operas.

Another explanation (more likely!) is that for many years, the Cincinnati Opera treated patrons to opera cream candy before performances.

Yield:  3-1/2  pounds

Ingredients:

4 cups granulated sugar

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 lb dipping chocolate

Directions:

Combine sugar, cream, honey, and cream of tartar in a 3-qt. heavy saucepan.

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves.

Cook to 236°F.

Watch carefully to avoid boiling over.

If sugar crystals form on the side of pan, wipe them off.

(To prevent this problem, place the lid on just as candies start to boil, for 1 minute. This washes the crystals down automatically.) Pour out onto marble slab (do not scrape pan).

Let stand until lukewarm, about 5-10 min.

Work like fondant, until creamy& light in color.

Add vanilla and work into mix.

Shape in pieces as desired.

Dip in melted chocolate.

Holidays With Honey – Honey Eggnog

egg nog

It wouldn’t be the holidays without eggnog. I love it on Christmas Eve while watching old movies with my family.

Come to think of it, I may just have an eggnog cupcake recipe around here somewhere…

Yield:  12-14 servings

Ingredients

1 cup honey

1 cup warm water

1 cup light rum

1 cup brandy

12 egg yolks

1 1/2 cups milk

1 1/2 cups cream

Garnish: grated allspice or ginger

Preparation

In the bowl of an electric mixer, dissolve the honey in the water. Stir in thoroughly the light rum and brandy. Beat the mixture, gradually beating in the egg yolks, the milk, and the cream. Beat the eggnog until it is foamy and serve it in individual stemmed glasses with a dusting of grated allspice or ginger.

Holidays With Honey – Honey Peppermint Truffles

peppermint truffles

This always happens. I think I have days and days before Christmas and all of a sudden there it is, staring me in the face. I hope I get the chance to post all of the recipes, Winter Solstice lore, and ghost stories I have planned before the Big Day. If not, there’s always next year…

Ingredients

9 ounces dark chocolate

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup honey

Pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

1 cup crushed red and white mint candies or candy canes

Directions

Place dark chocolate in a medium sized mixing bowl.

Heat cream, honey and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Pour hot cream over the chocolate and allow it to sit for 5 minutes. Then, whisk until smooth. Add in peppermint extract and stir to fully incorporate.

Cover mixture with foil or plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until truffle mixture becomes firm (about 6 hours or overnight).

Place a piece of parchment paper onto a large plate or cookie sheet and set aside.

Place the crushed peppermints on a plate or a cutting board.

Remove truffle mixture from the refrigerator. Using a teaspoon, or a melon baller, scoop out small balls of chocolate. Roll each carefully in your hand until it resembles a misshapen little ball (these should not be perfectly round, they are supposed to resemble real truffles).

Immediately roll each truffle in the crushed peppermint and place on prepared baking sheet. Cover truffles and place them in the refrigerator until firm. Place in fluted paper cases and serve.

Truffles can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Makes about 30 truffles