Misty Bleu Farm Blog

About Misty Bleu Farm

Misty Bleu Farm is located in beautiful Washington County, New York at the head of the Black Creek ValleyMisty Bleu Farm produces hops for the R.S. Taylor & Sons Brewery.

Located on 50 acres in the heart of the Hebron Hills, Misty Bleu Farm is the home of R.S. Taylor & Sons Brewery.  The Brewery and Taproom are open to the public Wednesday through Friday from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday 12 noon to 9:00 pm.  Come experience true field to glass farm-brewed beer at our farm, nestled among green hills and stunning natural beauty.  Our farm boasts over 600 feet of frontage on the West Branch of the Black Creek, with waterfalls and rushing cascades.  Tours of the brewery and grounds are available.  The Farm and Brewery are also available to be rented out for special events.  Please visit the brewery website, www.rstaylorbrewing.com for more details and directions.

Follow our journey as we create the Most Beautiful Farm Brewery in America!


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The Summer of 1979 in a Can: Ode to Grandma Brown's Baked Beans

Misty Bleu Farm - Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Some food is so evocative of a specific time, place or person it's hard to disconnect the two.   There weren't too many major holidays or family get-togethers that didn't include my mother making Grandma Brown's baked beans.  Not just straight up out of the can, of course.  That wasn't Bev's style.  They had to be doctored up, with ketchup and brown sugar and a bit of onion and then baked in the oven covered in bacon, just the way Ivan liked them.  They were a cheap and easy side dish to feed the crowd of family members that inevitably showed up every weekend at Wells or Caroga Lake when we used to go camping in the summertime.  Sometimes, my mother would bake them in a baking dish over the campfire.  That woman would cook anything over a campfire, including a lasagna. 

Other campers would walk by our campsite and stare at us as we sat down to a full Sunday dinner with all the trimmings, while they shlumped back to their site to eat their hot dogs and hamburgers on paper plates.  My mother was on to this idea of "glamping" before it was a twinkle in some marketer's eye.

 

Grandma Brown's Baked Beans are still sold today - the exact same label on the can - and I mean the exact same label.  Made in Mexico, NY.  There's no toll free number on the can, nor is there a website address.  Just an address in Mexico where you can send your "correspondence".  Does anyone out there still write actual paper letters to companies anymore?  I don't know if they sell their products outside of upstate New York even.  While baked beans in general are not exactly a regional specialty here, Grandma Brown's baked beans certainly are. 

So, sure I can make Tyler Florence's awesome baked beans recipe using canned beans, chipotle peppers and rosemary, but that wouldn't bring us back to the summer of 1979, now would it? 

So here's to summer food before the advent of cell phones, the internet and goat cheese pizza, for chrissakes:

Beverly's Secret Grandma Brown's Baked Bean recipe (modified by me):

Take a couple smaller cans of Grandma Brown's Baked Beans or 1 or 2 large cans for a crowd and empty the contents of the can into an ovenproof baking dish.  Finely chop 1 small onion (or more to taste) and 5 oz of cooked bacon and add them to the beans.  Squirt about 1 cup of ketchup or more over the top of the beans.  Then squirt some French's yellow mustard over the top, too (as much or as little as you want.  Squirt some nice designs while you're at it).  Then pour on some molasses - again as much or as little as you want.  I would use about a cup.  About half a cup of worstershire sauce over the top finishes it off.  Mix it all up in the baking dish until mixed thoroughly; smooth out the top, cover with tin foil (as my mother would call it - that's aluminum foil to you and me), and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes until hot and bubbly.  If you like your beans crusty, take off the foil halfway through baking. 

Next time I'll see if I can re-create Cousin Martha's famous (and I do mean famous) taco salad recipe with Kraft Catalina dressing.  Oh, the memories.....

Easy as Cornbread

Misty Bleu Farm - Thursday, March 26, 2015

For all of you looking forward to the brewery and tap room opening, here's a sample of one of the recipes we'll be cooking up pre-packaged for take out and serving at the tap room.  I have a slew of original recipes I've been developing over the last 10 to 15 years, and we can't wait to offer them at the farm.  I worked summers as a caterer and private chef in Saratoga Springs for several years for many exclusive and celebrity clients.  Shhhh!  I can't tell you who, but I can tell you they all went nuts over this cornbread at their spectacular summer parties:

Northern Cornbread (as opposed to Southern Cornbread)

2 1/2 cups flour                                              1/ 1/2 cups cornmeal

1/2 cup sugar                                               2 tbsp. baking powder

         1 tbsp. kosher salt                                         2 sticks butter (unsalted)

3 extra large eggs                                         2 cups buttermilk   

Method:  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Melt the 2 sticks of butter in a small saucepan.  Set aside to cool to room temperature. 

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt.  In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the 3 extra large eggs and the cooled butter.  Then pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of the dry ingredients.  Whisk everything together vigorously until all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.  Set the bowl aside and allow the batter to rest for a few minutes or up to 15 minutes. 

Grease with butter or Pam a 9x13 non-stick pan and pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Smooth out the batter and bake for 30-35 minutes until the edges and top are browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan on a rack.  Cut into squares to serve warm or room temperature.

Now here's the evil part:  We're going to add 3/4 of a cup shredded cheddar cheese to the batter and top it off like this:  a 1/2 cup additional of shredded cheese, cooked bacon bits (love Locust Grove's bacon from Argyle), chopped jalapeno pepper and then a drizzle with maple syrup.  But not just any maple syrup:  I recommend using Bunker Hill bourbon barrel aged maple syrup.  Bunker Hill is just up the hill from us and they use the bourbon barrels from Lake George Distilling in Fort Ann.  The stuff is amazing!  You can buy it at Lake George Distilling.  Get some now - it sells out quick!

 

The Lard Epiphany

Misty Bleu Farm - Friday, January 02, 2015

 

Yes, that's right, lard.  In between all the other details in the construction process, I have been working on formulating a menu of foods that we can legally sell at the Taproom.  We are applying for a 20-C license from the NYS Department of Ag and Markets so that we may be able to offer a nice selection of foods to our beer drinking customers.  Going the route of actual food service is JUST.  TOO.  DAMN.  HARD.  Hear that, health department.  Don't even get me started on all the crazy health department rules.

And that brings us back to lard.  Yep, lard.  I have been trying to perfect pie crust for 20 years.  (True, I have no life.)  I have tried everything to get a delicious and flaky pastry dough - vinegar, vodka, yogurt, you name it.  Never tried lard, though.  While I was shopping for holiday food at the Honest Weight Co-Op, I picked up a small tub of baking lard from The Piggery in Ithaca, NY.  What the hey, I say.  I had a recipe at home, just plucked from the pages of the New York Times food section, that was calling for it. 

Well, that lard was nothing short of a revelation.  The sausage roll recipe, based on similar rolls sold at pubs all across Britain, was a success.  The pastry was light, flaky and shatteringly crisp.  It even had flavor!  It held up and remained flaky and crisp even the next day.  Wow!

Next I used the same dough recipe and made an apple galette.  Bingo!  Now, you'd think that lard would impart some sort of off flavor in the dough, but it does not.  It does smell a little weird right out of the tub.  It's not exactly a pleasant smell, but once the pastry is baked, the smell is no longer there.  Even with the sweet version, the crust was flaky and delicious.  Of course, we can't say how it would have held up the next day as my family ate the entire thing for dessert with our New Years' Day dinner. 

Here's my version of that flaky crust recipe to use for a galette:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup cake flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup water

1 stick butter, cubed

4 tablespoons baking lard, in small chunks

Put the cubed butter, baking lard, and water, each individually in the freezer for 15-20 mins.  Measure out the flour and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Using the paddle attachment, mix the flours and salt for a few seconds.  With the paddle attachment going at low speed, add the chilled butter cubes and baking lard.  Continue to mix until butter is the size of peas.  Add the 1/2 cup of chilled water slowly and continue mixing until the dough just begins to hold together.

Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead slightly to get a cohesive ball.  Flatten the ball into a disc, wrap with plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour. 

Place the chilled dough disc on a floured board or countertop.  Flour your rolling pin and begin rolling out the dough just as you would any pie crust.  I found this recipe made enough dough for about a 12 inch diameter galette, after the edges had been folded over.  If you roll it thinner and divide the disc in two, you might get enough dough to make an 8 inch double crust pie.

BTW - This rolls out beautifully straight from the fridge, yes it does!  No cracking. 

Fill your galette or pie crust as you normally would, brush with egg wash or cream and bake in a 375 degree oven on a parchment lined cookie sheet for about an hour or so for the galette or until nicely browned and crispy.

Lard is my new best friend.  Make it yours, too.

 

 

Gracious Goodness Holiday Nut Mix

Misty Bleu Farm - Friday, December 20, 2013

 

Christmas is coming and well, there may not be time for all of that holiday baking you planned.  So now you're stuck for food gifts.  Or maybe not.  Every year around the holidays I whip up a batch of Holiday Nut Mix.  Perfect as a cocktail nibble at parties and perfect for giving away as a food gift, it requires, get this, ABSOLUTELY NO COOKING OR BAKING.

Yes, you read that right. It's not cheap, but it goes a long way and people absolutely love it.  It's got that whole salty, sweet thing going on.  And the packaged nuts keep fresh for at least two weeks.   Just buy the highest quality nuts you can afford, pack them into food-safe bags or tins, tie with a pretty ribbon or bow and away you go!  I like to add little kitchen labels with my name printed on them from Felix Doolittle, but a pretty gift tag would also do the trick. 

My first batch this Christmas has already been distributed as gifts, so we'll need to make another batch to have on hand for cocktails and entertaining.  When holiday guests arrive unexpectedly, I just grab a pretty bowl, fill it with this mix, whip up a few cocktails, and voila! we have a party.

So, here's the Gracious Goodness secret nut mix recipe:

one 10oz. package of Craisins, two 6 oz. packages Wonderful roasted and salted shelled pistachio nuts (or other brand of shelled pistachios), one 10 oz. jar roasted and lightly salted almonds, one 10 oz. jar smokehouse almonds, two 10 oz. jars praline pecans or glazed pecans or walnuts (I used Praline Pecans from Price Chopper locally but "Killer Pecans" would do the trick, too), one 8.25 oz. jar of lightly salted whole cashews, and one 8.25 oz. jar honey roasted whole cashews.

Put all the nuts and the Craisins into a large mixing bowl.  Toss carefully to mix well.  Store the nuts at room temperature in a Ziploc storage bag or in individual food-safe bags for gift giving.  The mix will stay fresh and crunchy for about two weeks.  Enjoy!

This is an original Gracious Goodness recipe.

What To Serve At a Dinner Party - Misty Bleu Farm Style

Misty Bleu Farm - Wednesday, April 10, 2013

 

When I first started catering, I thought people wanted crazy-fancy food to eat at dinner and cocktail parties to impress their guests, so that is what I made.  And while that is true sometimes, I would say the vast majority of the time when people are entertaining or when they've been invited as a dinner guest, they want something familiar.  Delicious, to be sure, but familiar and comforting all the same.  I know it sounds a little crazy, but this really is true.  Artificial social situations like dinner and cocktail parties are really uncomfortable for a lot of people.  Offering guests unfamiliar foods just ups the anxiety. 

Having a hunch, I decided to test this theory out a couple of years ago when we had an opportunity to host a dinner for an important friend of the family.  He was visiting from Italy, having lived there for many years.  I would not consider insulting him by preparing anything remotely Italian.  He was in the United States only very infrequently, so I imagined what he would really miss would be good, American food!  So, that's exactly what I served.

The dinner happened to be in the fall, so I started out with a salad of endive, arugula, local McIntosh apple, crumbled local goat cheese, toasted pecans and my maple vinaigrette.  For dinner, we had creamy chicken stew with home made herb buscuits baked on top.  And for dessert, cranberry and apple upside down cake.  We threw in some good California Sauvignon Blanc and had a great time.

My gut instinct (pun intended) was correct.  Not only did our guest of honor have two helpings of chicken stew and biscuits, but he still raves about the meal years later!  I am convinced any attempt I would have made to make something fancy or trendy would have fallen flat that night.  Serving anything Italian tht night would have been a feeble effort.  Instead, twelve people left my house having had the best chicken and biscuits they'd ever eaten.  

There's no shame in serving simple, delicious American food even at the fanciest dinner parties and get-togethers.  I think that's the secret to all the best caterers.  There's only a few rules I insist on - keep it fresh, keep it seasonal and make it from scratch.  Otherwise, you can't go wrong.

The picture of the sign above is from the Lompoc Cafe in Lompoc, CA.  I try to keep its' simple message in my mind whenever I cook at home for my family or when I cook for my catering clients and their guests - hey, come on over, let's eat something really, really good, and have some fun.  Who could say no to that?

 

Gracious Goodness Recipe: Creme Fraiche and Smoked Trout Canapes

Misty Bleu Farm - Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Instead of a green salad as a starter, here's a delicious, easy and elegant appetizer for this time of year.  In the Northeast in the late winter, good looking and fresh produce to make a salad can be difficult to find.  If you're having a late winter dinner party, this can be a problem.  Who wants to serve wilted greens on a so-so salad to important guests?  So, skip the salad entirely and serve either a soup (like my simple potato leek soup from my February 8th posting) or an elegant canape such as these: 

 

Ingredients:  4 tbsps. creme fraiche, 4 tbsps. mascarpone cheese, 1 tbsp. dijon mustard, 1 tbsp. or more to taste of prepared horseradish, 4 large slices of dark brown pumpernickel bread (I used Pepperridge Farms), 4 oz. of smoked trout (I used Ducktrap which is widely available), and chives or scallions for garnish.

Method:  Whisk the creme fraiche, mascarpone cheese, dijon mustard and prepared horseradish together in a small bowl until smooth.  Mix in a few grinds of fresh black pepper and 1/4 tsp. of salt.  Taste test to see if it needs more horseradish or salt.  When it is to your liking, wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. 

Lightly toast the pumpernickel bread slices and let them cool completely on a wire rack.  Using a small sharp metal biscuit cutter or cookie cutter, stamp out squares, rectangles or circles from the toast pieces on a cutting board.  Depending upon the size of your cutters, you should get at least 4 - 5 cut pieces out of each toast slice.  The toast slices can sit uncovered for up to 1 hour.

Right before serving, snip 1 tablespoon of chives or minced scallions, set aside. Using a fork, flake off several pieces of the smoked trout. Take each toast piece, dab a bit of the creme fraiche mixture on it, top with a piece of the smoked trout and garnish with the chives or minced scallions.  Arrange on a plate and serve immediately.  Makes about 16 canapes, serves 4 as a light appetizer with cocktails or wine.  This recipe may be doubled or tripled with ease. 

I made these for Valentine's Day and they were a hit.

Note:  all recipes on this blog are my own original recipes unless otherwise noted.  Please feel free to copy, share and experiment with them.

Gracious Goodness Recipe: Potato Leek Soup

Misty Bleu Farm - Friday, February 08, 2013

We've had a cold snap in the Northeast, the kind that can last for days.  Even though it looks bright and sunny outside, it is frigid.  This kind of weather calls for soup - something hearty and filling.  I decided  potato leek soup would be just the ticket.  Sorry, Francophiles, but I like it hot, not cold like vischysoisse, and thick almost like melted mashed potatoes.  It fits in with my philosophy that food should taste like what it is. It is hearty enough for a weeknight family meal or you can garnish it elegantly for a winter dinner party starter. 

 

This is also a good "jumping off point" recipe.  Use this as a base for other variations.  You can experiment and add spinach or watercress, for example, or how about a bit of beer and some grated cheddar?  Maybe some crispy bacon bits, chives and a touch of sour cream?   Use more vegetable stock and eliminate the cream to make it vegan.  That's the amazing thing about simple recipes - they can be anything but boring. 

You will need  aproximately 1/2 gallon or a bit more (8-10) cups of good quality chicken stock or vegetable stock.  I prefer to use Kitchen Basics stocks, as they are easily found at most grocery stores and are good quality and reasonably inexpensive.  Homemade stocks are, of course, the best, but not a lot of us always have time to put up gallons and gallons of the stuff.  You will also need a 5 lb. bag of Idaho potatoes, three medium sized leeks (white and light green parts only), and 1 pint of heavy cream.  Also, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and perhaps some snipped chives for garnish.  I used watercress and a drizzle of good quality olive oil as a garnish for a little peppery bite.

You will need a pretty large stock pot as this makes enough for at least 8 servings.  If you don't have a large enough stock pot to hold all the potatoes and leeks, use two smaller pots.

Method:  Peel and chop the potatotoes into a medium dice.  Clean the leeks of all sand and slice the white and light green parts into rounds.  Then cut each round into fourths.  Add all this to the stockpot.  Add enough stock to fully cover the leeks and potatoes.  Bring the stock mixture to a boil on medium high heat.  Lower the heat and let the stock go at a low boil for about 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are very soft.  Take the pot off the heat.

For the smoothest texture, I whiz up the stock, soft potatoes and leeks in batches in a heavy duty blender or Vitamix.  Add a couple of ladles of potatoes and broth into the blender, add a 1/2 cup or so of the heavy cream to loosen up the mixture, a 1/2 tsp. of salt and a couple of grinds of fresh black pepper.   Whiz it up until all the potatoes and leeks are fully pureed.  Pour the pureed soup into a separate large bowl and continue with the remaining batches.  If you find that the pureed soup is too thick for your liking, add additional stock until it comes to the consistency you prefer.  You can also use an immersion blender to puree the soup right in the stockpot, just add some salt and the cream directly into the stockpot.  You will have a more rustic texture if you use an immersion blender.

When all the batches are pureed, pour the soup back into the stockpot and reheat gently on low heat.  Taste test for salt and adjust if necessary.  Garnish and serve immediately or refrigerate for later use.  The soup tends to thicken up after refrigeration, so you may want to keep some additional stock on hand to loosen it up if it is being reheated. 

Note:  all recipes on my blog are my own original recipes unless otherwise noted.  Please feel free to copy, share and experiment with them.

Gracious Goodness Recipe: The Meatball

Misty Bleu Farm - Monday, January 28, 2013

Okay - here it is.  I've been working on perfecting this recipe for quite some time.  These are not quick and easy meatballs.  I have a recipe for those, too, which I'll share later.  But these take a bit of time.  There's quite a few ingredients, and they are all necesary.  Think of this as more of a special occasion recipe, like lasagna bolognese from scratch.  Time consuming but worth it.

Everything But the Kitchen Sink Meatballs

Makes 24 golf-ball sized meatballs, enough to serve 6-8 with pasta or polenta and have leftovers

Meats:  1 lb. ground beef (90%) lean, 1 lb. ground pork or veal, 4 oz. uncooked pancetta diced small, 4 oz. prosciutto diced small

Herbs and Spices:  1 cup fresh flat leaf parsley minced, 2 tsp. dried oregano, 1 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, 1 tsp. crushed red pepper (more or less depending upon your preference), 1/2 tsp. ground cumin, 1/4 tsp. allspice, 1 tbsp. salt, 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Dry Ingredients:  3/4 cup pine nuts roughly chopped, 3/4 cup Sun Maid Zantes currants or 3/4 cup regular raisins roughly chopped, 7 slices plain white sandwich bread ground to fresh crumbs in a food processor, 1/2 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese

Wet Ingredients:  2/3 cup whole milk ricotta, 1/4 cup red wine, 3 eggs lightly beaten

Method: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  Line two sheet pans with non-stick foil or parchment paper and set aside. 

Let the ground meat warm up a bit on the counter so it is easier to mix.  Find the biggest mixing bowl you own and then add all the meats, herbs and spices and dry ingredients into the bowl.  Lightly mix the ingredients with your hands until they look evenly distributed. 

In a separate small bowl, whisk the ricotta cheese and red wine until the mixture is smooth and lump free.  Add the eggs and beat lightly until fully combined.  Pour the egg mixture over the meat mixture and mix until well combined. 

Let the mixture rest for about 15 minutes to give the wet ingredients a chance to be absorbed evenly.  Then form the meat mixture into twenty four evenly sized meatballs.  Place 12 meatballs on each sheet pan. 

 Both of the pans can go into the oven at the same time.  Roast the meatballs for 15 minutes.  Remove the pans from the oven and flip each of the meatballs.  Return the pans to the oven, rotating the positions of the pans.  Roast the meatballs for an additional 10-15 minutes more, until the meatballs are evenly browned and sizzling.  At this point I like to taste test one to make sure they are done all the way through. 

Remove the meatballs from the oven and let them cool slightly on the pans.  At this point, you can cool the meatballs and either refrigerate or freeze them for later use.  If you are using them immediately, they can be dropped into a big pot of red sauce and simmered for 20 to 30 minutes until fully tender.  Or you can do what I do, which is to place the meatballs in a shallow baking dish, cover them with 4 cups of marinara sauce, sprinkle them with parmesan cheese and bake in a 300 degree oven for 30-40 minutes.  I then serve them with polenta and Utica greens.

I'd tell  you how these taste as leftovers, but frankly, we never seem to have any! 

Gracious Goodness: On Recipe Development

Misty Bleu Farm - Sunday, January 27, 2013

For the last several years, I have been working on a small collection of my own original recipes that I would like to translate into a cookbook at some point.  The premise sounds easy enough - come up with a recipe, test it out a bit and there you go.  Well, not so much.

First of all, what sounds tasty to you today does not always sound delicious tomorrow.  Writing concise and easy to follow instructions is actually pretty hard.  And the more you cook something, the more likely you are to change up your recipe - you learn things like techniques along the way.  So, it has actually been a good thing that I have been working on this for, like, 8 years.  I'm weeding out the trendy recipes - the duds that will sound just weird in a decade - like an avocado jello mold from the 1970's.  I'm streamlining techniques, using only easy to find ingredients.

For the last couple of years, I've been scouring the better cooking blogs.  The internet has done interesting things to the world of cookbooks and recipes.  What's the sense in spending $35 on a printed cookbook if you can just look up the recipes online?  And there's just too many recipes online, in fact, too many.  Of course, most of them are worth what you are paying for them - nothing.  It's almost impossible to find the ones that work well.

Reading the better cooking blogs is fun and communal; and there are some really, really talented people who blog about their food and recipes - David Tanis, for one, and Rose Levy Berenbaum, another.  Some cooking bloggers have an amazing output - like one new recipe every day or so.  I consider this more of a stream of consciousness of cooking ideas than actual recipes.  And there is nothing wrong with this.  I happen to think "of the moment" ideas are terrific, and some of these blogs are great fun to read.   But the problem is, with so much volume of work, not all of these ideas and recipes are going to be good.  And that is a problem for me.  I am a very exacting cook.  I want details, I want to maste specific techniques, I want exactness.  So, I try to use the blogs as a jumping off point, a place to get ideas.  Rarely is it a place to copy a recipe word for word to go nail it in my own kitchen the first time out. 

But cooks are the greatest copycats in the world.  Any great chef will tell you this.  So, it pays to pay attention to what everyone else is doing out there.  My goal is to create recipes with some permanence - the kind of recipes that you will turn to again and again because they taste great, they are the kind of food people really want to eat and they work every single time.  My recipes are tested on family and friends first, then I beat the heck out of them and test them out for my catering and private chef business.  Then I tweak them some more. 

First up in one of my next posts - my meatball recipe.  Everyone needs one of those, right?  Especially those of us without a proverbial Italian grandmother.

Crispy Creamy Potatoes from Suvir Saran at Masala Farm

Misty Bleu Farm - Thursday, December 20, 2012

Last March, I joined the Battenkill Kitchen, Inc. - a local non-profit organization that supports small, local food businesses.  They also offer cooking classes, and when I saw that Michelin-starred chef, Suvir Saran, was hosting a cooking class in honor of his new cookbook - Masala Farm - I was hooked.  Chef Saran, along with his partner, owns Masala Farm in East Hebron, about 15 minutes from our farm.

The class was awesome and Suvir was a lot of fun.  He's very opinionated but also very charming.  At the end of the class, we each got a brand-spanking new copy of his cookbook, personally inscribed.

 

One of the best recipes out of the book was his recipe for Crispy, Creamy Potatoes.  They take forever to make, but the results are heavenly.  And the house ends up smelling amazing, too - all garlicky and herbal. Basically, the potatoes are steamed partially first:

   

The potatoes are then drained and added to melted butter, olive oil, garlic and herbs:

 

By the way - this mixture smells absolutely amazing!  The potatoes and oil are popped into a slow oven to poach for about an hour and a half.  They look something like this when they are done:

  

They are unbelievably light and fluffy inside, yet crisp on the outside and are redolent with roasted garlic, sage and thyme. Yum!

This was a trial run for our Christmas Day Dinner - they will be one of the sides to go along with our Christmas Roasted Beast.