Monday, November 16, 2015

An Old-Fashioned Christmas - Blog Tour Review + Recipe

When I got the tour invitation for An Old Fashioned Christmas: Sweet Traditions for Hearth and Home by Ellen Stimson (Amazon link) there was no way I was passing it up.  A cookbook with a holiday theme?  A cook that considered herself "a bread and butter cook ... possibly more butter than bread"? That gorgeous Christmas-y cover?  Yes please!

The blurb did not oversell this book.  It's absolutely lovely.  Charming stories with a good dash of humor, beautiful home-y pictures, delicious looking recipes with photos and stories attached tom them.  I am not a snow fan and consider anything under 50 bundle up and stay inside weather but this book made me want to spend a Christmas in Vermont!

When it came to deciding what recipe to try out it was a tough decision - should I go savory with Citrus Soy Pork Loin?  More sweet with John's Grandmother's Roske Cookies or Maple Pecan Cookies?  Maybe some Salted Caramel Turtles?  Or back to savory with Cheddar Chive Biscuits?  There were tons more choices and finally after much thinking and deciding I decided to go with:

Luxurious Garlicky Scalloped Potatoes

2 1/2 pounds red potatoes
1 1/2 cups half and half
3 cups heavy cream
3/4 ounce minced fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
butter for the casserole dish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Wash and peel the potatoes.  Slice potatoes 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.
Combine potatoes, half and half, heavy cream, garlic and salt and pepper in a saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for 6 to 8 minutes.
Pour potatoes and sauce into a buttered casserole dish and bake for about 45 minutes.

My Changes:  I ended up using Russet potatoes instead of red because I have a weird aversion to red.  I made sure I sliced them really thin and they cooked well.  Also due to an unfortunate incident regarding my kitchen scale (life lesson - don't store your scale on top of the toaster oven) I didn't have a way to measure 3/4 of an ounce of garlic so I ended up using a heaping tablespoon and it was nice and garlicky without being like biting into a garlic bulb.

My Results: Seriously yum!  It was pretty simple to make and really the most time consuming task was slicing the potatoes.  The rest was dump, stir, dump in casserole dish and bake.  It was a little more liquidy than I expected but that wasn't really a bad thing and the flavor was amazing.  I had it with fried pork chops and the simple crispiness of that contrasted really nicely with the flavorful sauciness of the potatoes.  I'll definitely be making this dish again!

Bottom Line:  Not only is this book full of family friendly recipes that are just a touch unusual but the book itself is lovely!  I have a feeling it will be on my coffee table all during the Christmas holidays and I expect it will be well paged through by all who see it.  I also have a feeling that more than a few of these recipes will end up on my holiday table and in Christmas goody bags.

This book was received from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

21 comments:

  1. Sounds like a wonderful book... and I love the cover! Scalloped potatoes are a favorite, too.

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    1. This was such a lovely read! I definitely enjoyed reading it and am looking forward to trying more recipes from the book.

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  2. Hey I had those potatoes last night too! You might want to bake them longer. The cooking time is totally dependent on the oven. When I make them at my daughter's I bake them for a bit over an hour tll they are golden and crusty on top. Then I let them settle a little before serving to let any leftover liquid reabsorb. So glad you enjoyed the book!

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    1. I'm definitely planning on cooking it longer next time but even with the extra liquid it was SO good!

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  3. The potatoes sound delicious. I love just about every form of potato imaginable.

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    1. They're so good! I'm a potato fan too.

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  4. This is the kind of cookbook that I really enjoy. I just love reading about recipes and looking at the photos. The recipes that you mention sound like something that my family would actually eat. I always want to try new recipes but with picky eaters in the house it can be hard. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Exactly! It makes my picky eaters happy but still interesting enough to make me happy. It's definitely a fun book to flip through.

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  5. These sound delicious! Although I would probably be tempted to boil the potatoes for a little bit first beforehand. I love garlic anything! And I love that the recipes have stories attached to them, that's a nice touch and always adds a personal touch to a cookery book.

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    1. I was too because nothing's worse than hard potatoes. But I think because they're sliced so thin and then essentially boiled in cream that they're really soft.

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  6. Oh that sounds wonderful! Combing two of my favorites. Christmas and food. The biscuits would so have me making them :D

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  7. Yay on scoring a good cookbook with friendly recipes and ideas.

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    1. I'm really looking forward to cooking more from it.

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    1. I'm looking forward to trying more of the recipes!

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  9. You kept your scale on top of the toaster over? LOL

    I can see why the book appealed to you. But if you consider 50 to be bundle up weather, better stay in the south. :D I don't cook from scratch often but those potatoes sound amazing.

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    1. Yep! I didn't how hot the top of the toaster oven got until the bottom of the scale was warped. Whoops!
      I'm such a wimp when it comes to cold. I like sweaters and coats but I completely go to pieces when it gets really cold!

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  10. "Seriously yum!" Sounds like a perfect description for the recipes in this book. DELICIOUS!!!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

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