Showing posts with label A Cheese Shop. Show all posts
Showing posts with label A Cheese Shop. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Perfect Mashed Potatoes, #recipe from author @DarylWoodGerber

From Daryl aka Avery:

Mashed potatoes. That's what I love on Thanksgiving with my turkey.  I know everyone loves stuffing, and I make a mean stuffing, but because I have to eat gluten-free, I prefer mashed potatoes. Oh, I make a mean GF stuffing, too, but I don't do that every year.  If you'd like that recipe, here it is, shared way back in 2010 when I was only Avery, not Daryl / Avery. [My photos back then left something to be desired.]  GLUTEN-FREE STUFFING

Anyway, back to mashed potatoes. Yum! I love the texture, and there's so much you can do to mashed potatoes if you want. You can add all the items you'd add to a baked potato, like chives and bacon and cheese. You can simply add garlic. Or you can add...see below!

And you can use leftover mashed potatoes (I know, I'm dreaming) to make quickie potato "hash browns" the next morning for breakfast!

But potatoes with butter are my favorite and so easy to get right.

Here's my no-fail recipe.



(serves 6)

Pot of water (8-12 cups of water)
1 teaspoon salt


3 russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
½ cup milk
3-4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon salt
(extra butter for topping) *(see below)


Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add one teaspoon of salt. 

Peel and quarter (or eighth) the potatoes.

Put on potholders!  Set the potatoes in the hot water – be careful. The water will spit out as the potatoes go in!  Boil for 18-22 minutes, or until you prick a potato with a fork, and the potato slides off the fork.

Drain off the water.  Keeping the potatoes in the pot, add the milk, butter, white pepper and salt. The white pepper, for me, is a big deal. It has a zing that black ground pepper doesn’t have.

Using a masher, mash the potatoes. These are creamy potatoes. If you like your potatoes creamier, add more milk, a tablespoon at a time.

Serve with butter and enjoy.

To doll up your potatoes, consider adding:
¼ cup green onions, chopped, or
¼ cup cheddar cheese, grated, or
¼ cup bacon bits or…

The sky is the limit!

If you let these cool and want to reheat, you might need to add milk. Heat slowly over simmer and stir often. Add milk if necessary.

To reheat using a microwave, set potatoes in a microwaveable bowl, cover with saran, and zap in the microwave for about 2 minutes on medium temperature.  You will definitely want to add extra milk to these, as the microwave sucks out the moisture.

Savor the mystery!

Daryl Wood Gerber aka Avery Aames
Tasty ~ Zesty ~ Dangerous!

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Irish Lamb Stew + Irish Soda Bread (gluten-free), #recipe from author @DarylWoodGerber

Happy almost St. Patrick's Day. The Irish side of me, Traynor (or Trainor), comes from County Cork.  My grandmother was raised there and often spoke of her home country, even though she and her brother made their way on a steamer in the late 1800s to America. Okay, yes, her family was with her, but to hear her tell it, she and her brother crossed alone. They were both scrappers.

She survived the 1906 quake in San Francisco. She travelled the world. She married a man. They had a son. She lost her husband tragically, so she married my grandfather, a man 30 years her senior. They had a son, my father. Grandmother Irene was a stalwart woman. She had rules. She liked things done in a certain way. Very Downton Abbey, come to think of it. But she loved the arts. She took me to the symphony and musicals. She loved to golf. She wasn't a cook. At least I never saw her cook. But she had a cook.  I remember some grand dinners at her house. I still make Christmas dinner the way it was served at her house: roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, crisp green beans. Incredible sugar cookies for dessert.

One thing she never served was Irish lamb stew. I couldn't figure it out. Was it to peasant for her tastes? I remember having corned beef and cabbage but not stew. 

I simply had to make one for myself. I browsed my cookbook shelves for a recipe but couldn't find one. I found Irish Soda Bread in my very first cookbook, The Gourmet Cookbook, Volume I. That recipe will follow.

So I went online and searched for recipes. There were lots of choices, but none fit the bill, so I tweaked a recipe I found in a Southern Living site, of all things. And the result is tasty!  Also, gluten-free for those, like me, who need to eat that way.

So happy St. Patrick's Day. If you are Irish. If you wish to be Irish. If you simply like to eat, drink, and laugh heartily!

By the way, while cooking this stew, I came across a term in a recipe that always stumps me: salt and pepper to taste. Honestly, salt and pepper "mature" in a stew over time, so how much is too much and how little too little? Personally, I'd rather err on the side of "too little" and add more of each spice when served. So in this recipe, I give you exact amounts. If you want more, be my guest.

Irish Lamb Stew


Serves 4-6

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ pounds lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1” cubes
2 large sweet onions, quartered and sliced
4-5 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2-3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon white or black pepper
3 cups beef broth (gluten-free)
10-12 small white potatoes
½ cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons water


Peel and dice the carrots and onions. Set to one side. Trim and cube the lamb. *Note: I found this easier to do with kitchen shears. Lamb is slippery!

In a large, deep sauté pan, over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Sauté the lamb in the oil for 2 minutes. Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring, until the lamb is browned and onion tender, about 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle with thyme and add the chopped carrots, the bay leaf (I like more than most), parsley, salt, and pepper, and the beef broth.

Simmer for about 1 hour.

Add the potatoes, sliced in half if preferred, and cover. Continue cooking for 25 more minutes.

Add more salt and pepper if desired.

Add peas. Stir.

In a small bowl, stir the cornstarch and water together until smooth and no lumps. Add the mixture to the stew and stir well. Raise heat to medium low and cook for 3-4 minutes until the broth thickens.

This can be served immediately or made a day or two ahead and reheated. Flavors will meld deliciously! My husband says it's one of the best stews he's ever had, and he can be picky about stew!  So enjoy!

Serve with soda bread or crusty loaf.

Irish Soda Bread
(tweaked from a recipe out of The Gourmet  Cookbook Volume 1)

Serves 6

2 cups gluten-free flour  (I used tapioca starch and potato starch)
1/8 cup sugar (2 tablespoons)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk
1 egg

Preheat oven to 375 °F. In a small bowl, mix together the gluten-free flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, salt and xanthan gum. Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Add the buttermilk and egg. Combine until incorporated.  [Note: if you don't have buttermilk on hand, use 3/4 cup regular milk plus 1 tablespoon vinegar.]

Turn the dough out on a board and knead it for 2 to 3 minutes until it is smooth. [Note: mine didn’t get “smooth” but was fully incorporated.]

Shape the dough into a round loaf. Put the loaf in an 8-inch cake pan. Press down [you might need to moisten your fingers] until it fills the pan. Using sharp scissors, cut a diagonal slit in the center of the loaf.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.

My notes: I think I would have used a ½ teaspoon more of baking powder to make this fluffier. I’m not sure I needed the xanthan gum in a recipe that baked so fast. And my pan was a 9-inch cake pan. The bread came out rather flat. It cooked faster than the recipe called for. Therefore, it might have been puffier in an 8-inch cake pan.

No matter what, the flavor was lovely!

Savor the mystery!


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Check out our website.

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Sunday, October 30, 2011


Please welcome our almost Halloween guest, 
Linda O. Johnston!!!

* * *

Hi, Mystery Lovers Kitchen, and most especially Avery Aames.  Thanks for inviting me to blog here today.

I’m Linda O. Johnston, and the mysteries I’m currently writing are part of the Pet Rescue Mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime.  The second one, THE MORE THE TERRIER, is an October 2011 release.  The first one, BEAGLEMANIA, was published in March of this year.  This series is a spinoff from my Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mystery series.
I have to admit that it’s a special delight to be here among such wonderful writers who also create delicious dishes to eat.  Neither my protagonist Lauren Vancouver nor I are great cooks.  Both of us are empty nesters, although I’m still happily married and Lauren isn’t.  Having no kids at home these days is one of my excuses for not cooking much that’s exciting, particularly since I have a kind and patient husband.

Lauren is much more inclined to do all she can to feed the animals in her special no-kill animal shelter, HotRescues, located in LA’s San Fernando Valley, than to cook something special for herself.  Her kids are both away at college.  Of course she does have a love interest, Captain Matt Kingston of Los Angeles Animal Services.  Maybe she’ll start trying new recipes out on him one of these days.

When I first launched BEAGLEMANIA, I wanted some special treats for people who came to my signings.  I prevailed on my friend and neighbor Ian Grimbaldeston, who’s an excellent chef, caterer, party thrower, artist and more, and he baked some delicious people-biscuit cookies using the recipe below.  For my events, he used some dog biscuit shaped cookie cutters that I had picked up at a pet boutique.  I needed to be very clear with people that, notwithstanding the shapes, the cookies were for people and not dogs--particularly because of the chocolate chips.
If you bake these you can use other kinds of cookie cutters where it says to cut the dough into rectangles.  If they’re Halloween cookies, you can use appropriate pumpkin-shaped cookie cutters, and I’d imagine a bit of orange food coloring would help with that theme.

Me?  Well, I prefer people biscuits.  They really turned out cute--and, yes, tasty.

I’m always interested in cooking things that are quick and easy, so feel free to chew me out about that--or to offer suggestions. 

You can find me at my website:  Or, you can friend me on Facebook.  I also blog weekly at  My fellow Killer Hobbyists also write mysteries, and theirs are themed around their hobbies such as scrapbooking, needlework, quilting, rubber stamping and crocheting.  I was invited long ago to join and I love being part of their group, even though my invitation was the result of my mysteries centering around pets--and pets aren’t hobbies, they’re family!

Chocolate Chip and Rosemary Shortbread

• 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened to room temperature
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Cream the butter with sugar. Mix in the rosemary, salt, and flour, 1/4 cup at a time. Sprinkle in the chocolate chips, and stir by hand until well-distributed.

Gather the dough into a ball. Cook's Note: If the dough begins to soften or feel greasy, chill the dough for 15 minutes.

Roll the dough out into a rectangle of 1/2-inch thickness and cut into rectangles about 1/2-inch by 2-inch. Place the dough on a cold ungreased baking sheet. Prick the top with a fork. Bake the shortbread for 25 minutes, or until the dough starts to turn a golden color. Remove the shortbread from the baking sheet and let cool completely on a rack.

To win a copy of Linda's THE MORE THE TERRIER, post a comment today. One of you will be selected to win. The winner's name will be posted here right before midnight, EST.