Thursday, August 27, 2009

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

2 lb. peeled and diced potatoes (I like to use traditional Idaho russets, but just about any variety of potato will do).
1/2 to 1 head garlic cloves, peeled and mashed
6 T. butter
1/2 to 3/4 C. milk, warmed
1 T. salt (or to taste)
½ t. freshly cracked pepper (or to taste)
¼ cup fresh chives, chopped, for garnish (optional)

Place potatoes in a large heavy-bottomed pan. Add water sufficient to cover them. Put lid on pan and bring to a boil over medium heat, watching to be sure pan doesn’t boil over. Once the water is boiling, reduce heat slightly and simmer until potatoes are fork-tender.

Drain cooked potatoes and set aside. Return empty pan to heat and add butter. When butter melts, add garlic. Cook until tender. Return cooked potatoes to pan. Mash or whip with immersion blender until nearly smooth, gradually adding warm milk until potatoes are the desired consistency. Add salt and pepper. Place in warmed serving dish, top with chives if desired. Serve.

Note—some people salt the water the potatoes are boiling in, which raises the temperature of the boiling water and lets the potatoes cook faster. I prefer to add salt at the last, when I have more control over the amount the dish has—I think it leaves the potatoes more tender, too. But either method works.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Cinnamon Bread

Cinnamon Bread

1 package yeast
1/4 C. water
2 C. milk (any kind will do nicely—the richness of the dough will increase as you add fat)
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. butter
2 t. salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 ½ T. cinnamon
6-7 C. flour, divided use
Cinnamon sugar to garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°
Grease two standard loaf pans.

Mix the yeast and water in a medium bowl.
Gently heat the milk, sugar, and butter in a saucepan over low to medium heat until the butter melts; do not boil. Remove from heat and set aside.
Sift salt, cinnamon, and 3 cups of flour together into a large bowl.
Add the frothy yeast and milk mixture and 2 beaten eggs to the dry ingredients.
Mix until a soft doughy ball forms. Turn dough out on floured board.
Knead until dough is smooth and has the soft and rubbery texture of your earlobe. In the course of this process you could add up to 4 more cups of flour to get a nice, springy dough.
Knead for 10 minutes.
Cover dough and leave to rise for 1 hour.
Knock back and then divide into two balls of dough. Form into loaves, place into loaf pans, and then leave to rise about 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Dust the tops with the cinnamon sugar if desired and bake for 35-40 minutes.
If the loaves start to brown too quickly, cover with foil for the remaining cooking time.

Excellent served buttered for breakfast, or as a base for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Back in business here...

Okay, trying again...
Looks like there are a lot of folks out there who would prefer to see Ollie's White House Chef recipes all in one place, so I'm resurrecting this blog.

Mystery Lovers' Kitchen is a great place for recipes from me and from 5 other mystery writers. Please come visit - and bookmark both sites!

Keep in touch!


Baklava stuffed with almonds, pecans, and pine nuts

1 package fillo dough (Even chefs buy it rather than making it by hand)
1 pound butter, melted.
8 ounces almonds, roughly chopped
4 ounces pecans, roughly chopped
3 ounces pine nuts, roughly chopped
1 cup sugar (for nuts)
2 cups sugar (for syrup)
1 cup water
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Ground cinnamon and powdered sugar to garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 350° F

Mix the chopped nuts with I cup of sugar. Set aside.

Remove fillo sheets from package to work surface and unfold. When not handling, keep covered by a damp paper towel or cloth dishtowel. Fillo dries out and becomes unworkable fast.

Cut the sheets in half to fit a 9 X 13 backing dish. Cover the fillo with damp towel again. Working quickly, using a basting brush, paint the bottom of the 9 X 13 pan with melted butter. Remove a sheet of fillo, place it on the bottom of the buttered pan, brush the fillo sheet well with melted butter. Repeat six times.

Sprinkle with a thin layer of chopped nuts and sugar.

Place six more sheets of buttered fillo in the pan, top with chopped nuts and sugar.

Repeat these layers until out of nuts and fillo, finishing with six layers of buttered fillo.

With the sharpest knife possible, cut the layers of fillo and nuts into four to six long rows. (Piece size is a personal preference.) Turn pan and slice the fillo into diamonds by cutting diagonally across the long rows.

Place in oven and cook until golden brown and toasty (about 35-45 minutes).

Remove from oven, cool pan on a rack.

While the pan is cooling, place 2 cups of sugar and a cup of water, plus cloves and cinnamon in a large and heavy saucepan over medium to medium high heat. Bring to a boil. Turn heat down slightly and simmer for 20 minutes.

Pour boiling syrup gently over fillo and nuts in pan.

Cool completely. To serve, place a doily or paper cutout over a dessert plate. Dust with cinnamon. Move the pattern carefully a half inch to the right and lightly dust with powdered sugar. Remove the pattern. Serve the individual diamonds of baklava on cinnamon and sugar-dusted dessert plates.