Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Rescue: Cheesy Potatoes and Ice Cream with a Side of Steak

On the Fourth of July my brother and sister-in-law spent the day with us. I had one more meal I was saving from The Rescue, and decided that Independence Day would be a perfect time for steak and ice cream.

Taylor's best friend is Mitch, a fellow firefighter. (For more about Taylor and Denise, click here.) Mitch and his wife Melissa invite Taylor and Denise to their home for a grilled steak dinner with cheddar cheese potatoes and salad.

I had a thick London Broil I had picked up at the farmers' market; so thick, in fact, that I decided to cut it into individual chunks for grilling. I sprinkled them with some of this seasoning that Joe had received as a gift from a former co-worker;

and since it was raining, Joe and Bro were in charge of the grill. We womenfolk stayed inside and made the corn chowder (I'll get back to that one).

But it's not about the steak. It's really the potatoes and the ice cream.

I decided to break out a couple of cookbooks that I've had on my shelf for about two years collecting dust, and in here

I found this delicious-looking recipe for cheddar cheese potatoes.


2 pounds potatoes

1 (10.75-ounce) can cream of chicken soup

1 (8-ounce) carton sour cream

6 tablespoons margarine, melted

1 small onion, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (8 ounces)

1/2 cup dry herb-seasoned stuffing mix*

Cook potatoes in boiling water for 30 minutes, or until tender. Drain and cool. Peel and cut into 1/4-inch slices; set aside. Lightly butter a 13x9x2-inch baking dish; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine soup, sour cream, and 3 tablespoons melted margarine. Stir in onion, salt, and pepper. Gently stir in potatoes and cheese. spoon into pre-prepared dish. (If desired, casserole may be prepared to this point and held in the refrigerator util time to bake.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine remaining 3 tablespoons melted margarine with stuffing mix. Sprinkle over potato mixture. Bake, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes. Makes 8 servings.

(From The Best of Virginia Farms, Cookbook & Tour Book by CiCi Williamson, p. 107)

This looks good enough to eat right now! I used white cheddar; hence the light color.

*I took some scraps of gluten-free bread from my freezer that I had been saving for such a time as this (the other such time was when I made a FABULOUS gluten-free bread pudding--oh my, I'll need to share that one with you too), toasted them up a little bit, and ground them in the food processor for the topping. The only thing I would do differently next time would be not to toast them--it made the topping a little bit too crunchy for most of our tastes. Otherwise, the potato casserole was a HUGE hit!!

A real meat-and-potatoes meal.

I'm still waiting for Aunt J. to give me her pasta salad recipe... *smile*


Growing, up we had a tradition of the Fourth of July to make ice cream. My dad would break out the hand-cranked ice cream freezer and the rock salt, and my mom would bring home a bag of ice ('cuz our little ice trays in our freezer couldn't possibly supply as much as we would need) and mix up a batch of the sweet stuff, and my brother and I would take turns sitting on top of the ice cream freezer under a tree in our backyard while my dad cranked. It seemed to take forever. I can remember sticking my finger through the hole in the side of the bucket and touching the barrel as it turned. (Then I'd lick the salt off my fingers, of course!)

In The Rescue, Denise comes home one day to find Taylor sitting in the yard with a hand-crank ice cream maker, whipping up a frozen treat for her and her son Kyle. I just knew homemade ice cream would be in our future! We have (well, had) an electric one in our garage, and when I got it out I realized that the mixing paddle was so old and brittle that little pieces were breaking off the edge of it as the bucket turned. We would have little pieces of plastic all through the ice cream if I'd decided to use it--not good. I took a trip to Bed, Bath, & Beyond and found this one.

And guess what? It only takes 20 minutes. We made vanilla ice cream using the recipe from the owner's manual:

Simple Vanilla Ice Cream

Makes about 5 cups

1 cup whole milk

3/4 cup granulated sugar

pinch salt

2 cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed or whisk to combine the milk, sugar, and salt until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours, or overnight.

2. Turn the Cuisinart ice cream maker on; pour the mixture into the frozen freezer bowl and let mix until thickened, about 15 to 20 minutes. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours. Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving.

I know my new ice cream machine will be used a lot. The very next weekend we made the chocolate:

Simple Chocolate Ice Cream

Makes about 5 cups

3/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

pinch salt

1 cup whole milk

2 cups heavy cream

1/2 tablespoon vanilla

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugars, and salt. Add the milk, and using a hand mixer on low speed or a whisk, beat to combine until the cocoa, sugars, and salt are dissolved. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours, or overnight.

(Repeat Step 2 of vanilla ice cream recipe)

Next on the agenda? Peppermint and peach.

Oh, and about that corn chowder?

That's a whole post in itself. It's to die for.

I hope you all are enjoying your summer as much as we are!

Coming up: It's on to At First Sight, with grilled tuna and gluten free hush puppies. Right after the corn chowder.

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