Breakfast Casserole with Ham, Cheese and Hashbrowns

by Hilary Gauntt on November 19, 2017

Some of our family’s best Thanksgivings were at Casey’s beloved Aunt Joan and Uncle Stan’s ranch in Templeton, California. Hordes of cousins and their children, an annual football match with the Dad’s dressed in their college colors, deer and wild turkeys on the 40 acres. There was wood to be chopped, hikes to be taken and a feast to prepare. The definition of the perfect Thanksgiving.

I asked for this recipe from the lady who ran the bed and breakfast that we stayed in nearby, and I ran across it lately just in time for a holiday morning meal. This is especially easy to make, as you basically layer the ingredients in a dish and bake it . I prepared the hash brown, cheese and ham layers the night before and poured on the egg and milk mixture in the morning. (You probably could do the whole thing the night before actually.) The cheese melts and the eggs soak into the potatoes and its a filling, wonderful dish. And frozen hash browns are available everywhere. I served this at Mah Jongg and they all took a copy of the recipe home, not waiting for me to post it. Thanks to the Gilly Archer Inn of Paso Robles for this recipe!

There are no amounts listed of the ingredients…I really think it would be hard to get this wrong. I did use 1 lb. of hashbrowns (no need to defrost), about 8 ounces of each cheese and 8 ounces of the ham, 6 jumbo eggs and 1 1/4 cup milk. My casserole dish was 8″ by 11″. Whatever you’ve got will be fine.

On the bottom of a long flat dish, layer Southern style frozen hash browns (or any kind) about 3/4 inch thick. Cook at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool. Grate Jalepeno Jack Cheese over the potatoes. Then scatter a layer of chopped smoked turkey or ham. Then a layer of grated Swiss cheese. Beat 4-8 eggs with 1 to 1/2 cups milk, salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the casserole and bake at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes. This will stay warm for quite a while and serve 8 or more.


Salmon Baked in Wine and Herbs

by Hilary Gauntt on November 10, 2017

Here is a very easy and delicious recipe for that healthy fish we are all supposed to eat more of. It called for dried tarragon, but I had some fresh dill and used that instead. So perfect to prepare ahead of time and pop in the oven when you’re ready. I would check it earlier than the recommended 10 minutes, as the salmon will continue to cook a bit after removing it from the oven. The recipe came from “Very Virginia”, the Junior League cook book from Newport News, Virginia.

4 salmon steaks

2 Tbs. butter, softened

1/8 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

2 Tbs. lemon juice

1/4 cup white wine

1/2 tsp. dried tarragon ( I used about 1 Tbs. fresh dill)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Coat a baking dish with vegetable oil cooking spray.

Arrange the salmon in the prepared dish and rub with butter. Mix the salt, pepper, lemon juice, wine, and herbs and pour over the fish. Bake uncovered until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, about 10 minutes of cooking time per inch of thickness. Serve hot. Serves 4..


Julienne’s Roasted Corn and Cilantro Chowder

by Hilary Gauntt on November 1, 2017

Remember Steve Martin’s charming house in “Father of the Bride”? That’s pretty much how all the other homes in San Marino, Cailfornia look. And “Julienne”, the beloved neighborhood bistro in that town, is just as lovely. Susan Campoy is the founder and was chef for many years in addition to running a catering business and gourmet market next door. Her cookbook, which I received as a gift, is a treasure.

I love corn chowder, and this recipe is unique in that they add chiles and cilantro for a little kick. I adapted it as I was using fresh sweet corn instead of frozen, and wanted to skip the roasting step. I also stirred in some grated cheddar at serving time along with some bacon for garnish; as Ina Garten does with her chowder. Best of both worlds I think! The following is my adaptation.

About 6 cups (6 ears) fresh sweet corn, kernels cut from the cob

5 Tbs. unsalted butter

4 leeks (white and green parts only) minced

1 onion, minced

3 celery ribs, minced

6 cups chicken stock

1 cup half and half

1/2 cup canned diced green chiles (mild)

1/4 tsp. dried hot red pepper flakes, plus more to taste

2 pounds red new potatoes, unpeeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

6 oz. sharp white cheddar cheese, grated

Crisp cooked bacon pieces for garnish

Melt the butter in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the leeks, onion and celery and saute until the vegetables are soft and the onions are translucent; about 15 minutes. Add chicken stock, chiles, red pepper flakes, 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. black pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat, add the potatoes and cilantro simmer uncovered over medium low heat about 10 minutes. Add the corn and simmer another 10 minutes or so until the potatoes are tender. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add the half and half and the cheddar cheese and cook for 5 more minutes or until the cheese is melted. Serve hot with a garnish of crisp bacon. Serves 6-8.
Note: Can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. Rewarm, covered, over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Freezes well.


Spaghetti with Tilapia and Greek Olives

by Hilary Gauntt on October 27, 2017

I always have an eye out for ways to use readily available and inexpensive tilapia, and this recipe is both easy to prepare and so tasty! A can of whole tomatoes is simmered with garlic and herbs, then add the fish which cooks in minutes along with the olives. Toss with wholegrain spaghetti and you have a healthy and appealing dinner.

10 oz. wholegrain spaghetti

2 T. extra virgin olive oil + more for tossing

2 cloves garlic, thin sliced

Kosher salt

pinch crushed red pepper

28 oz. can whole plum tomatoes, crushed by hand

1/2 t. dried oregano

1 large 8 oz. tilapia filet, cut into 3/4 inch pieces

10 Kalamata olives, quartered

1/2 cup loose packed chopped parsley

Boil water, and cook pasta to package directions. Drain and reserve one cup pasta water. Toss spaghetti with some oil and set aside.

Add oil, garlic, salt and red pepper to large skillet over high medium heat. Add tomatoes with juices, pasta water and oregano.(Be careful of spattering.) Bring to a high simmer and cook until it thickens, 12-15 minutes. Add the fish and olives and cook, stirring occasionally until fish is cooked through and flaky, 3 to 4 minutes. Add pasta and parsley. Toss and divide into 4 bowls.
Note: I used a heavier hand with the red pepper, oregano, and parsley; and doubled the tilapia. Leftovers were great in the microwave!


Warm Candied Corn Salad from Alex Guarnaschelli

October 21, 2017

Quick before the fresh corn is gone; make this! Food Network star Alex Guarnaschelli’s culinary interest began as a child, watching her cook book editor Mother test countless recipes at home. Fast forward to today, she’s executive chef at NYC’s Butter restaurant and a constant presence on television. She has a new cook book out […]

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Garlic-Herb Shoestring Fries in the Oven

October 12, 2017

April Bloomfield’s Spotted Pig restaurant in the West Village of New York City doesn’t take reservations, and it’s packed from 5:30 on daily. One must-have order for every table is the chargrilled burger made from a combo of minced brisket, chuck, and rump (aka sirloin); with a dressing of Roquefort cheese, creme fraiche, garlic, vinegar […]

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Risotto with Sole and Champagne

October 6, 2017

My favorite cooking classes have been taught by Nadia Frigeri, amazing Italian chef and tourguide. I remember her saying she is happiest when stirring a pot of risotto; it calms and relaxes her. So when I was needing a little comfort food and had just brought home a lovely piece of filet of sole, I […]

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Tortilla Soup from Food and Wine Magazine

September 29, 2017

Lovely Pat was recovering from back surgery, and when I offered her a choice of soup deliveries, she pounced on this one. (Food a bit bland in the hospital?) I like this spicy and hearty version, full of chicken and avocado; but with the tortilla strips giving it a thickness and extra flavor. Living here […]

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Myra’s Maple-Almond Granola

September 21, 2017

Myra Goodman and her husband Drew founded Earthbound Farm in Northern California’s Carmel Valley in 1984. 30 years and 3 cookbooks later they are still living and working on their large organic farm, and this granola is a family favorite. Myra’s college years were spent in Vermont, where she fell in love with the local […]

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Nigel Slater’s Baked Fish with Parmesan Crumbs

September 15, 2017

This couldn’t be easier or more delicious. For people who are unsure about cooking fish, this is a perfect recipe! Chef Slater tops his flaky white fish with breadcrumbs mixed with butter and Parmesan cheese, and bakes for about 15 minutes. Viola! Restaurant quality fish dinner. 4 flounder fillets (2 pounds total) salt and freshly […]

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