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Welcome to my collection of recipes and cooking related ramblings. Please don't expect culinary perfection during your time here... for I am a frustrated foodie with very little patience and more than a tendency for often unnecessary creativity in the kitchen. I have a hard time following instructions (Never fear, I can read, I just don't like being told what to do), so cooking is a good exercise in discipline for me. Luckily I have a willing husband to taste test these creations, good and bad, so I don't have to suffer alone in my experimentations.  

If you dare - learn along with me as I try out recipes, tweak them to my liking, learn what NOT to do and share all the mundane details with you! Let's do this... 

Entries in Greek Yogurt (2)

Friday
Apr132012

Twice baked potatoes = twice the gooey goodness

How do you like this really bad photo or the most delicious potatoes ever?

So, a gabillion years ago, I worked in a restaurant that was well known among those in the lunch-hour-know for it's twice baked potatoes. They were a significant part of my employment, those potatoes. Most of the time I worked the morning shift, where we prepped food for the day. Each morning a few people would work potato duty and get busy washing, steaming, slicing, scooping, mixing, stuffing and topping several hundred potatoes. It was a ritual I grew to look forward to - and whose efforts I enjoyed nearly every day or two for three years. Those damn potatoes were delicious. I know, I ate them for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner. I've actually dreamt about dipping those potatoes in ranch dressing.... good times....

This story has nothing to do with the recipe - but since I have your attention - I'm gonna tell it to you anyway. One morning while I was scooping the aforementioned potatoes, I discovered exactly how small the world really is... it was truly an early morning epiphany, it was, I swear.  I was scooping potatoes with two girls, we'll call them Ellen & Debbie, because those are their names (lol). We were talking about places we had lived before our meeting in Aggieland. I had lived in three places - Bartlesville (OK), London, and Houston. Ellen chimed in and shared that she spent her childhood in B'ville and lived one street behind me. We were backyard-diagonal-neighbors. Our dads played on the same company softball team. We were one grade apart and attended the same elementary school - yet we'd never met. 

I mentioned we lived in London for a couple of years and I went to American Community School. Debbie did too. In 1976, just like me. She lived right next to St. John's Wood (where we lived) and shopped at Panser's grocery and played at the King's Church playground and cemetery. I played in that cemetery almost every day. We bought popsicles at the same stand on High Street, half a world away. Again, she was one year older than me, we attended the same school and we had never met. Uh, spooky. 

I couldn't believe the coincidence that the three of us would be connected in such a random way. Surely there had to be a reason we were all standing there, right? I suppose ultimately it made me realize you can't escape crossing paths again and again with certain people in life... if you run, they will haunt you. If you hide, they will hunt you down. If they catch you, you'll end up scooping potatoes together at 8am on a Tuesday.

Anyway, back to business - here's my take on the old Grapevine Bistro's twice baked potatoes. We made those potatoes with an industrial butter substitute called Whirl. I have no idea what exactly it was (and I don't really want to) so I did my best to recreate it's mystery creamy goodness. Of course you can/should adjust the filling ingredients to your own tastes - these measurements are just a guideline to get you started. 

INGREDIENTS: Serves 4

  • 4 potatoes, medium 
  • 4 Tbsp. sour cream
  • 4 Tbsp. greek yogurt
  • 8 Tbsp. butter
  • 4 Tbsp. bacon bits
  • 4 oz. muenster cheese, cubed
  • 8 oz. swiss cheese, cubed
  • 2 Tbsp. minced onions
  • salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

First, let's bake those potatoes. Preheat the oven to 400F. Wash each potato and generously rub each potato with olive oil. It's okay to get them all oily - that will make the skin crisp up. Shake kosher salt all over potato skin. Set potatoes directly on rack inside the oven. Cook for one hour. Remove potatoes when they "give" when you squeeze them. 

Let potatoes cool for about 5 minutes. Hold a potato with an oven mitt while it's still warm and slice a sliver off of one side. Gently scoop the potato pulp into a bowl leaving about 1/4" of potato attached to the skin. Scoop out each potato and combine potato filling with butter, sour cream, yogurt, bacon bits, minced onions, and salt and pepper until creamy. Mix in half of the cubed swiss cheese to the potato mixture. Spoon mixture back into each of the potato skins and line up in an oven-proof dish. Top each potato with remaining swiss cheese and muenster cheese cubes. (The potatoes can be refrigerated for later use at this point.) For the second baking - just reheat in a 400F oven for approximately 20 minutes until cheese is all bubbly and browning. 

Sunday
Feb052012

A strawberry yogurt cake by any other name will taste as sweet. 

So... it's winter and dreary and that time of year when I get bored and restless and start cooking to keep myself busy. The weather's been 80 degrees in the middle of winter which just makes me want to get moving right on into spring. That might explain my obsession with all things fruity and specifically strawberry. This obsession has made a culinary collision with my quest to find a cake my husband will eat. Yup, the man doesn't like cake... freak.

Good news! I have finally found a cake recipe that he will not only eat, but eat all of it if I'm not looking!... yay, me! I've been granted permission to make this confection as often as I want as long as I don't call it "cake." So folks, I'd like to introduce you to my new favorite cake-like recipe - Strawberry Tartenkuchen.

I thought this cake couldn't get any better until I gave it a fake German name. I picture Heidi Klum asking for another slice of Tartenkuchen at Sunday brunch, her kids begging for the Strawberry Tartenkupkuchens before we all head out to a day of BFFery. The lemony glaze adds a tart compliment to the moist berries in this simple dessert adapted from this Strawberry Yogurt cake recipe at A Spicy Perspective. The hardest part of making this cake is waiting for it to cool. Oh, who am I kidding, I didn't let it cool. 

I'm including instructions to make this in a Bundt pan or as cupcakes - the cake is the same, with slightly different icings. I recommend it both ways... the cake makes a delicious breakfast while the cupcakes are perfect fruity party fare.

Strawberry Tartenkuchen or Tartenkupkuchens

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cups diced strawberries

Cake glaze:

  • 4 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Cupcake frosting:

  • 4 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. strawberry jam 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Lightly grease a Bundt cake pan or line 24 cupcake tins with paper liners. 

Sift together the flour, setting aside 1/4 cup first, baking soda, salt and lemon zest. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and the lemon juice. Lastly, mix in 1/2 the flour mixture, then the yogurt, then the remaining flour mixture until just incorporated. 

Coat your strawberries with the remaining 1/4 cup flour and add to the batter. Pour the batter into the Bundt pan or divide among the muffin tins. Bake in a preheated oven for 60 minutes if making a Bundt cake and 30 minutes if making cupcakes. The cakes are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 

Cool for approximately 20 minutes then turn cake onto a plate to cool completely. Allow cake or cupcakes to cool completely before topping with glaze or frosting. To make the cake glaze, simply whisk together the lemon juice and powdered sugar and drizzle over the top of the cake. To make the glaze for the  cupcakes, melt the butter and combine all ingredients until smooth. Frost each cupcake and top with sprinkles or a slice of strawberry.