My family loves potatoes. Potatoes adorn our dinner place several times a week, which is why creating 99 flavors of potatoes is a good thing.
These Baby Potato & Mozzarella Stacks are a little extra work (I made them for a Sunday dinner), but well worth it. The potatoes are soft and creamy, the cheese is melty, and the butter sauce morphs into browned butter in the oven, resulting in a delicious side dish.
First the potatoes are boiled – no peeling required. Then the very top and bottom get sliced off of the potatoes to make flat surfaces for stacking. I made the mistake of cutting my string cheese too tall the first time, resulting in toppling stacks of baby potatoes. One quarter of an inch is about the right size.
The butter sauce is quick and easy to make – done in the microwave. Mmmm…butter…
A quick roast in the oven and voila! – you’ve got potatoes that are creamy on the inside, slightly crispy on the outside, with brown butter and cheese. What is better than that?
Baby Potato & Mozzarella Stacks
Creamy Yukon gold potatoes, stacked with mozzarella cheese and drizzled with butter sauce
- 1.5 lbs baby Yukon gold potatoes
- 2 Tb butter
- 1 ts olive oil
- 1 ts dried minced garlic
- 1 ts dried parsley
- 1/2 ts salt
- ¼ ts pepper
- 1 – 2 pieces string cheese
1. Boil potatoes in salted water until tender, but not falling apart, about 15 mins. Let cool for 5 minutes or until potatoes can be handled.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
3. Slice the very top and bottom off of the potatoes so that they are flat, then cut the potatoes in half. Cut string cheese into small, ¼ inch flat pieces (if the string cheese is too thick, your potato stacks will topple over). Sandwich a piece of string cheese between two potato halves and place on the sheet pan. Repeat with all of the potatoes.
4. Melt the butter in the microwave. Add the olive oil, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper. Microwave an additional 20 seconds. Drizzle the butter sauce over the potato stacks.
5. Carefully place the sheet pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Remove from the oven. If the potato tops have slid off, slide them back into place and serve.
I love hushpuppies. I mean, I really love them. Unfortunately, since I limit my intake of fried food, I don’t make or eat them very often. Since I’m not originally from the south, I had never had a wonderful hushpuppy until I moved here. And it took several experimentations to get the perfect consistency and method to produce actual spheres (rather than misshapen blobs). But finally I have done it! The perfect round hushpuppy, thanks to a cookie scoop!
I also had to thicken up the batter so that they properly fell into the hot oil, without leaving a long tail behind them. A little bit of sugar, buttermilk, and onions make these hushpuppies divine.
The oil must be really hot before you add the hushpuppies. A cookie scoop works miracles to make the perfect round hushpuppy!
Behold, sweet, golden fried perfection.
These have the perfect consistency and texture. I wish I could have more.
Classic southern cornmeal hushpuppies
- 3 cups vegetable or canola oil (for deep frying)
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 2 Tb vegetable or canola oil
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/4 ts baking soda
- 1/4 ts salt
- 1/3 cup onion, finely minced
1. Combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in the buttermilk (you can substitute 1/2 cup of milk with 1/2 Tb of vinegar added, let sit for 5 mins before adding to cornmeal), oil, and egg. Stir in the minced onions.
2. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep-fryer. When the oil is hot, use a cookie scoop to drop spoonfuls into the hot oil. Fry about half of the batter at a time, so that the fryer is not too crowded. Turn the hushpuppies after about 2 minutes. Fry until golden, 5-6 minutes total. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a paper towel lined bowl. Repeat with the remaining batter.
99-taste.com adapted from Allrecipes
Baked Mac & Cheese is a favorite side here in the south. Gooey and cheesy in the middle with a golden crunchy baked top – who wouldn’t like it? I bake the leftovers in a muffin tin with a little extra cheese on top to put in my daughter’s school lunches.
My recipe is adapted from the Mac & Cheese Cookbook by the Homeroom restaurant in San Francisco. I figure they know a little bit about making macaroni and cheese.
Using a high quality sharp cheddar and kosher salt are crucial to bring out the flavors in this mac & cheese. I use Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar since it is available at my local grocery store.
My family loves the crunchy baked topping.
Classic Baked Mac & Cheese
Credit: adapted from The Mac & Cheese Cookbook from the Homeroom
- 2 cups elbow macaroni
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 2 ½ cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 ts kosher salt
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 Tb butter
- ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a casserole dish.
2. Cook elbow macaroni in boiling water with 1 ts kosher salt according to manufacturer’s directions for al dente pasta. Drain and rinse in cold water (to stop the cooking process).
3. While the pasta is cooking, melt ¼ cup butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add ¼ cup flour and stir or whisk constantly until golden and bubbly. Slowly add milk ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly, until smooth, but thickened. Turn heat to low and add 1 ts kosher salt and 2 ½ cups shredded cheese. Continue stirring until smooth.
4. Pour macaroni and cheese sauce into greased casserole dish. Stir so pasta is covered in cheese sauce. Melt 1 Tb butter and mix with ½ cup panko breadcrumbs. Sprinkle all over the top of macaroni followed by ½ cup shredded cheddar. Bake in the oven for 15 mins.