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Lemon-Lime Basil Shortbread Cookies

Got plenty of extra citrus hanging around your kitchen,along with an abundance of fresh grown basil? Well combine lemon, limes and a hint of basil for a delicious cookie that taste like you bought them from a gourmet bakery! 

Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit Summer 2012


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Ingredients:

1 cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of powdered sugar plus more for pressing cookies
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
2 Tbsp of sliced fresh basil leaves
1 tsp of finely grated lemon zest
1 Tbsp of freshlemon juice
1/2 tsp of finely grated lime zest
1/4 tsp kosher salt
Sanding Sugar (optional)

Directions:

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees. Place flour, 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, butter, basil, both zest, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until large, moist clumps form. Measure level tablespoonfuls of dough; roll between your palms to form balls. Place on a large baking sheet spacing 2 inch rounds, dusting cup with powdered sugar and press cookies into 2 inch rounds, dusting cup bottom with powdered sugar as needed to prevent sticking. Sprinkle tops of cookies with standing sugar, if using.

Bake until edges are brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire wake; let cool.

 

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Heavenly Chocolate Angel Food Cake With Fresh Berries and Cream

There’s a reason angel food cake is a favorite dessert among many — it’s tender, light as air, and tastes, well, heavenly.

The Divine Angel food cake is known for being a delicious, light and fluffy cake, made with almost no fat or cholesterol.

Angel food cake is made with just six ingredients, and none of those six are butter, oil or egg yolks. which makes it low in cholesterol and fat-free. Now lets put a spin on this classic dessert, by adding just a little unsweetened cocoa powder and you really can satisfy your chocolate craving with no extra calories, grams of fat or guilt. 

This recipe calls for cake flour now before you go pick up a rather small box for around five bucks, I’ll tell you how to make your own and its as easy as 1-2-3

To make cake flour:

Simply take 1 cup all-purpose flour leveled, then remove 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and replace with 2 tablespoons corn starch. Sift both flour and corn starch through a sieve five to six times to make sure the two are well blended together. And that’s it!

INGREDIENTS

For the traditional Angel food cake.
1 cup cake flour (spooned and leveled)
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 large egg whites, room temperature
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Berries and Cream, for serving

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To satisfy your chocolate craving add the following steps the recipe above.
Take out 1/4 cup of cake flour and replace with 1/4 unsweetened cocoa powder, and put cake flour and cocoa powder through a sieve several times till it’s all blended together. Also reduce the vanilla extract from 2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon.

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DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl sift flour and salt in a sieve set and set aside. With a hand mixer, beat egg whites on medium-high until the whites get foamy, about 1 minute.

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Next Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. While mixing gradually add sugar and beat until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes.

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Add in vanilla and beat to combine.

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Transfer egg-white mixture gently into a large bowl. In batches, using the sieve again, sift flour mixture over egg-white mixture.

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Use a rubber spatula and while turning the bowl fold in the mixture. Do not stir quickly, use a whisk or hand mixer.

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Carefully spoon batter into an ungreased angel food cake pan with a removable bottom.

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Using a spatula smooth the top of the batter, then using a knife or small spatula push through the batter to release any air bubbles.

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Bake until cake is golden and springs back when lightly pressed, 35 to 40 minutes. Invert pan; let cool in pan, 1 hour. 

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Use knife to release cake from bottom of pan, and remove.

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Top with fresh berries and cream and enjoy!!!

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Triple Chocolate Layer Cake

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With cooler weather who doesn’t crave a rich chocolate cake with a glass of milk or hot cocoa. I adapted from Hershey’s a triple layer, double chocolate, with not one type of frosting, but two, and using both Hershey’s chocolate cocoa powder and Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder! Yes you will OD or go into a chocolate coma after indulging this super moist, triple layer cake with a chocolate butter cream filling and topped with a double chocolate ganache!

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Talk about going to “Chocolate Heaven”

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Ingredients:

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup HERSHEY’S special dark cocoa
1/2 cup Hershey’s cocoa powder

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1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

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2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

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1 cup boiling water

 

Directions:

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

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Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

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Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

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Chocolate Butter Creme Frosting-Filling

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

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Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency.

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Add small amount extra milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

Make a child smile by handing over the beaters to lick!!!

Make a child smile by handing over the beaters to lick!!!

Double Chocolate Ganache Topping

1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder
1/2 cup Hershey’s cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar

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Heat heavy cream in a small pot. Be careful to not let it boil over. Once it begins to boil, remove from the stove.
Pour heavy cream into bowl of cocoa powder. Stir and mix until chocolate is completely melted, add vanilla and sugar.

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Let ganache cool and set before frosting top of cake.

If top of cake is not even/flat use a serrated bread knife to trim the top of the cooled cake before frosting it.

If top of cake is not even/flat use a serrated bread knife to trim the top of the cooled cake before frosting it.

 

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Chocolate buttercream frosting for the layers.

Chocolate buttercream frosting for the layers.

Spread an even layer of frosting along the top of each layer. If frosting gets on the sides of the cake its okay. Once the buttercream frosting sets, you can add more frosting or top with the chocolate ganache.

Spread an even layer of frosting along the top of each layer. If frosting gets on the sides of the cake its okay. Once the buttercream frosting sets, you can add more frosting or top with the chocolate ganache.

 

Once the buttercream frosting sets, you can add more frosting or top with the chocolate ganache.

Once the buttercream frosting sets, you can add more frosting or top with the chocolate ganache.

 

Finished off with a double chocolate ganache!

Finished off with a double chocolate ganache!

 

Kid tested and approved!!!

Kid tested and approved!!!

YUM!!

YUM!

 

 

 

 

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Super Decadent Bacon Blondie’s And Maple Sauce

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Yes, I said BACON!!

Now not everything goes with bacon, but this dessert  most certainly does.

In some recipes bacon can pair well with desserts, especially for those, who do not care for desserts that are “too sweet”, the use of bacon can balance the sweetness out.

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A couple of years ago for my son’s birthday we ate at Slater 50/50, Now those who are unfamiliar with this restaurant, its known for serving burgers that are 50% beef and 50% ground bacon. My son had the turkey burger, but for dessert he chose the traditional brownie baked with chopped bacon inside, and that was DELICIOUS!

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At Apple bees they serve a blonde version of brownie with candied pecans and a maple sauce that is “out-of-bounds” fantastic. I’ve come across a few recipes for the maple sauce and none came as close to the sauce I adapted from Applebees. 

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The base recipe for a Blondie is pretty much made the same, but the maple sauce was challenging to replicate till now.

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Those with a die-hard sweet tooth know nothing is better than a home-baked warm Blondie with ice cream. This recipe takes it to a whole other level for the die-hard bacon fan. I posted pictures with Bacon and without.

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Ingredients:

1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour, sifted
1/2 cup chopped walnuts; toasted and divided in half for Blondie and half for topping
1/3 cup butter or margarine; melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Optional:
1/2 cup bacon or about 8 strips of thick cut apple-wood bacon cooked and chopped; divided in half for Blondie and half for topping

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Directions For Blondie’s:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, after the bacon and walnuts are done.

Using large skillet over medium-high heat cook bacon till its nice and crispy. Do not under cook the bacon, it needs to be crisp!

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Remove and place on paper towels to dry completely.

Using a medium size skillet heat on medium-high, then add shelled walnuts. Stir often to make sure all walnuts are toasting evenly and to prevent burning, about 5 minutes.
Walnuts should smell toasted and have started to brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

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In a medium size bowl add all dry ingredients, shift together and mix well.

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In a larger bowl add melted butter and bowl sugar and mix with a hand blender till mixture is smooth.

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Then add beaten egg and vanilla extract, blend again till smooth.

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Add flour mixture, a little at a time, either using hand blender on low-speed or use a wooden spoon and blend together by hand.

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Add chopped nuts and bacon and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon, set aside.

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Stir in white chocolate chips.

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Spread out dough in a 9-inch pan.

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Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Use a toothpick to test if the center of your Blondie is done. Toothpick should come out clean.

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Serve warm with ice cream, Maple Butter Sauce, and of course don’t forget to top off with more walnuts and bacon.

Maple Butter Sauce Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
3 Tbsp powdered sugar
1/4 brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4-1/2 tsp maple extract
Pinch of salt

 

Directions For Sauce:

Using a small sauce pan melt butter over medium-low heat.

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Add brown sugar and whisk together to combine.

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Pour heavy cream, and powder sugar in a saucepan and cook, constantly stirring on medium-low for 1-2 minutes or till sauce becomes bubbly and starts to thicken. Remove from heat.

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Be careful not to burn the sugary sauce.

Add maple flavoring to desired taste by starting with 1/4 tsp and stir until combined. Taste and add another 1/4 tsp if desired.

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I baked mine with toasted walnuts, thick cut apple-wood smoked bacon bits, served warm covered with a rich, sizzling maple butter sauce along with ice cream and its topped with more chopped walnuts, and bacon.

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Mana2eesh

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Manakeesh or Mana2eesh is a popular flatbread with a sultry flavor that makes for a unique appetizer or served in wedges to compliment a main course or can be topped with thyme, cheese, or ground meat. Similar to a pizza, it can be sliced or folded, and it can either be served for breakfast or lunch.

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Manakeesh is popular in most Levantine countries, as well as in many cities throughout the world where people of Levantine origin have settled. Traditionally, Levantine women would bake dough in a communal oven in the morning, to give their family with their daily bread needs, the most popular form of manakeesh uses za’atar as a topping. The zaatar is mixed with olive oil and spread onto the bread before baking it in the oven.

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Za’atar is popular in the Arab world as both a herb and condiment.. Za’atar is a traditional spice blend of dried herbs, sesame seeds, and sumac, and often salt, a centuries-old mixture dating back to the 13th century. In much of the Middle East, za’atar recipes are closely guarded secrets, there are also substantial regional variations.

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Za’atar is popular in Armenia, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey. Along with other spiced salts, za’atar has been used as a staple in Arab cuisine from medieval times to the present.

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Fresh za’atar, the herb itself, rather than the condiment, is also used in a number of dishes, it is used for seasoning for meats and vegetables or sprinkled onto humus. Za’atar is commonly eaten with pita, and when the dried herb is moistened with olive oil it becomes an aromatic delight that is spread on a dough base similar to pizza and then baked as a bread. In the Middle East it is sold in bakeries and by street vendors with za’atar to dip into or with a za’atar base filling.

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Its strangely addicting, I love putting it on popcorn as opposed to using salt. So try dusting some on eggs, oatmeal, or yogurt. Or add some to your next batch of lemon cookies. Lemon, thyme, and sesame are a trio with tomato, basil, and mozzarella. A perfect touch to add to sweet and savory foods.

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To make one 9×13-inch flatbread you will need the following ingredients.

Ingredients:

1 packet active dry yeast
3/4 c warm water  (must be 110 degrees F)
2 c flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 c olive oil, divided
1/4 c Za’atar
3/4 tsp kosher salt

Directions:

Mix yeast with warm water in a large mixing bowl and allow to stand until a creamy layer of foam appears, about 10 minutes.

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Whisk in 1/4 cup olive oil, then gradually stir in flour and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

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Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead until smooth and just a little bit sticky, 10 to 12 minutes.

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Place dough into an oiled bowl and turn dough around in bowl to coat surface with oil; cover bowl and refrigerate dough overnight.

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Coat baking sheet generously with about 2 Tbsp olive oil; place dough in the center of the baking sheet and flatten to spread out across baking sheet.

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Use your palms and fingers to gently press and stretch dough to the edges of the oiled baking sheet, making the flatbread as even in thickness as you can. With fingertips, make small indentations in the dough.

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Cover dough with plastic wrap and let double in size, about 1 1/2 hours at room temperature.

Brush dough with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Stir za’atar and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt together in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the flatbread.

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Let dough rest for 30 minutes uncovered.

Bake flatbread in the preheated oven until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

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Serve warm with some extra virgin olive oil.

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Loaded Up Baked Potato Soup

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What’s not to love about potatoes?

It’s a staple in the majority of kitchens across the globe, an everyday ingredient with no limit to what one could make. Lets see there are potato chips, mashed potato, potato galette, au gratin potato, potato pancakes, french fries, home fries hash browns and good old baked potato, just to name a few.

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It’s a no wonder the “spud” is considered the worlds most versatile vegetable, whose origins are both Peruvian and Chilean that date back to 500 B.C.

Archeologist have discovered The Incas grew, ate and also worshipped the potato. They buried potatoes with the dead, they’ve hid potatoes in bins for use in case of war or famine, they dried them, and carried them on long journeys to eat on the way. Ancient Inca potatoes had dark purplish skins and yellow flesh. The Incas called the potato “papas,” as they do today.

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The potato has become a symbol of Irish cuisine, by the 18th century, potatoes were an essential food in Ireland, they were cultivated throughout the country. Ireland’s rainy, cool climate was perfect for cultivating spuds by the thousands, the Irish people ate them almost as fast as they could grow them. This vegetable is so high in vitamins and minerals and was easy to grow, Irish farmers and workers could afford to feed their families on them, and their families grew healthier as a result. Mortality rates in infants went down, life expectancy went up, and the population boomed. Between the late 1700s and mid-1800s, the Irish population nearly doubled in size, due to the potato.

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Although potatoes are grown throughout the United States, no state is more associated with the potato than Idaho. The first potatoes in Idaho were planted by a  Presbyterian missionary, Henry Harmon Spalding in 1936. His first crop was a failure, but the second year was a success.

The potato is truly a marvel that continues to evolve in the culinary world today, with no limits in sight.

Personally I never get tired of potatoes, so much so that a few weeks back I was going through pictures of dishes for my blog, when I realized I use potatoes a lot.
When I started thinking about which dishes I would re-shoot minus potatoes, it was hard to pick because I loved them all, why reinvent the wheel?

So when I started thinking about what I would write about as a guest blogger for www.therestaurantzone.com  I decided to go with a seasonal dish that also wears a comfort food crown, a timeless classic “Potato Soup”, but loaded like a baked potato!

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My recipe is easy in spite of the seventeen ingredients, so if you’re a newbie to cooking don’t let that intimidate you, cause this recipe is easy peasy and the bonus?

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Ninety minutes from start to finish, so here is my
“Loaded Up Baked Potato Soup”

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Ingredients:

5 Tbsp Unsalted butter
5 Tbsp Flour
1 Medium yellow or brown onion, diced
6-8 large celery stalks, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces, include the celery heart.

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32 oz Low sodium chicken broth, or use your own.

Money Saving Tip $$$ Make your own stock from left over chicken bones and save money and reduce the amount of sodium! Try my recipe for making your own chicken stock.  https://dishingitoutwithclarissa.com/2014/01/30/easy-peasy-homemade-chicken-stock/

Money Saving Tip $$$ Make your own stock from left over chicken bones and save money and reduce the amount of sodium! Try my recipe for making your own chicken stock.
https://dishingitoutwithclarissa.com/2014/01/30/easy-peasy-homemade-chicken-stock/

32 Oz Heavy whipping cream
1/2 lb Applewood smoked bacon

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3 Cloves garlic, minced

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2 Tbsp Tabasco
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp dried or ground oregano
4-6 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 Tbsp Fresh chopped parsley

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Salt & Pepper to taste
8-18 Large russet potatoes
16 Oz cooked ham, diced into 1/2 inch chunks

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Optional Toppings: Chopped Green Onion, Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Bacon Bits, Sour Cream, Chives, Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Directions:

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

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In a large stock pot or dutch oven cook bacon on med-high heat, until crispy and fat is rendered off, remove and place bacon to the side.

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Drain all bacon fat leaving a thin layer, just covering the bottom of the pot and reduce heat to low-medium heat.

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Add celery, garlic and onions and over a low-med heat cover and sweat the veggies until onions just become transparent, remove cooked veggies and set aside

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For this next step grab a wire whisk

Next add butter into same pot and melt completely, then add flour and stir mixing the melted butter and flour cooking the roux on low heat for 5-7 minutes.

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This cooking technique is called a roux.

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A Roux is used to thicken sauces and soups. Pre-cooking the flour will allow the granules in the starches to enlarge and absorbs moisture and will thicken a sauce or soup base.

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Next add chicken stock and stir. Turn heat to medium and stir constantly until there are no lumps and there is a smooth consistency and sauce is now thickened.

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Add back to pot cooked veggies, and bay leaves, fresh cracked black pepper, oregano and sprigs of thyme.

Potatoes should be somewhat cool to touch, if not use a kitchen towel and you can leave the skin on or remove all skins and dice into bite size chunks.

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Add potatoes to pot as well.

If you want to add ham this is when you would add it.
Add heavy cream and adjust salt and pepper.

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Turn heat up to low, stirring constantly and cook for 15-20 minutes.

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Use a ladle and pour yourself a hearty bowl of homemade potato soup!

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Top with the following; Shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped green onion, and crumbled bacon.

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Don’t forget to grab a loaf of bread, dinner rolls or biscuits to sop the bottom of the bowl.

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Velvety Rich Red Velvet Layer Cake

What is the difference between these two cakes?

The difference that food coloring makes. Credit Rikki Snyder for The New York Times 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/14/dining/red-velvet-cake-from-gimmick-to-american-classic.html?_r=0 Read the rest of this entry

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