Heather's Florida Kitchen

Seasonally inspired easy recipes for the home cook.
Flank Steak Roulade

Flank Steak Roulade

Flank Steak Roulade (photo courtesy Certified Angus Beef)

Flank Steak Roulade (photo courtesy Certified Angus Beef)

Flank Steak Roulade was created by chef Michael Ollier for Certified Angus Beef. This recipe is great for holiday tables or entertaining anytime of the year. Flank is an economical choice that goes upscale with a stuffing mixture of walnuts, fresh Parmesan cheese, garlic and fragrant herbs, sun-dried tomatoes and arugula. Each slice makes for an impressive presentation. Add seasonal salad (torn romaine with Florida tomatoes and goat cheese) and a mix of roasted sweet and white potatoes (cube the potatoes, brush with olive oil and season lightly with garlic and rosemary to accent the flavor profile of the main dish and dinner is ready .

Flank Steak Roulade
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

2 to 2 1/2 pound Certified Angus Beef flank steak
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
8 ounces chopped walnuts, about 1 3/4 cups
5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 cloves)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt, divided
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups loosely packed baby arugula
8 ounce jar sun-dried tomatoes, packed in olive oil
2 teaspoons dried rosemary, hand crushed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Butcher’s twine

1. Butterfly flank with the grain to 1/4-inch thick, yielding about an eleven by fourteen inch rectangle. Place in a shallow baking dish with balsamic vinegar. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
2. In a food processor, pulse together walnuts, 3 tablespoons parmesan, garlic, red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon salt to the consistency of coarse cornmeal. Add olive oil while blending to make a paste; set aside.
3. Preheat oven to 450F. Remove flank, pat dry & lay flat on a cutting board. Layer with walnut paste, arugula and sun dried tomatoes. Roll and tie roast to the 11-inch length. Season the exterior evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons parmesan, 1 teaspoon salt, rosemary and pepper. Set in roasting pan with rack, uncovered. Roast for 10 minutes.
4. Reduce heat to 325F and roast an additional ­­sixty minutes for medium rare.
5. Allow to rest 10 minutes before slicing, two slices per person.
SOURCE: Certified Angus Beef

Spiced Holiday Sugar Cookies

Spiced Holiday Sugar Cookies

Spiced Holiday Sugar Cookies (Photo courtesy McCormick & Co.)

Spiced Holiday Sugar Cookies (Photo courtesy McCormick & Co.)

Spiced Holiday Sugar Cookies offer a twist on traditional sugar cookies. This recipe has a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg in the dough for an aromatic note. Whether they are buttery-rich elegant rounds or sugary cutouts decorated with a child’s touch, cookies are a welcome treat throughout the season. Here are three baking tips to the upcoming bake-a-thons:
1. To keep cookies from spreading while baking, work with only 1 cup of dough at a time. Leave the rest in the refrigerator until you need it.
2. Cool pans to room temperature between baking batches.
3. Shiny, heavy-gauge cookie sheets with low or no sides are recommended. Avoid dark sheets because they might cause cookie bottoms to bake faster and over-brown. Insulated sheets tend to yield pale cookies with soft centers — if you bake cookies on them until brown on the bottom, the rest of the cookie could become dry

Spiced Holiday Sugar Cookies
Yield: 6 dozen or 24 (3 cookie) servings.

Sugar Cookies:
2 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Icing:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 to 4 teaspoons milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 to 4 drops McCormick assorted food colors and egg dye

1. Mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
2. Beat granulated sugar and butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Refrigerate dough 2 hours or overnight until firm.
3. Preheat oven to 375F. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into shapes with favorite cookie cutters. Place on greased baking sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.
4. For the icing, mix all ingredients except food colors. (Stir in additional milk as needed to thin icing or more confectioners’ sugar to thicken, if needed.) Place small amount of icing into small shallow bowls, using one bowl for each color desired. Stir drops of food color into icing until desired shade is reached.
5. To ice cookies, hold cookie by its edge and dip top of cookie into icing. (Or spoon the icing onto cookie using a teaspoon.) Place iced cookies on wire rack set over foil-covered baking sheet to dry. (The foil-covered baking sheet will catch drips.) To add decorative details to cookies, spoon tinted icing into sealable plastic bag. Snip off a tiny piece of the corner. Squeeze icing through hole in plastic bag to decorate cookies. If desired, colored sugar may be sprinkled onto freshly iced cookies.
Recipe tip: Mix 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar for dusting the work surface.
Variations: For the variations below, omit the cinnamon and the nutmeg. Use the following extract in place of the vanilla extract in the cookies:
Almond Holiday Sugar Cookies: Use 1 teaspoon pure almond flavor.
Orange Holiday Sugar Cookies: Use 1 teaspoon pure orange extract.
Lemon Holiday Sugar Cookies: Use 1 teaspoon pure lemon extract.
SOURCE: MCCORMICK & CO.

Five Thanksgiving hacks to get you through today’s meal

Five Thanksgiving hacks to get you through today’s meal

Jazz up ready to serve cranberry sauce with citrus, strawberries and rum. (Photo courtesy: Ocean Spray)

Jazz up ready to serve cranberry sauce with citrus, strawberries and rum. (Photo courtesy: Ocean Spray)

Good morning! Do you know where your giblets are? For any of you who might have overslept on this fine Thanksgiving morning, fear not. Here are my 5 favorite hacks for getting the food on the table when life doesn’t work out like a food magazine photo shoot:
1. There is way to speed cook the turkey. Behold the spatchcock method of squashing the breast cavity to speed up cooking time of small birds (15 pounds or less). The technique is similar to butterflying meat, but spatchcock is much more fun to say and your noncook friends will be impressed by your fancy-pants culinary vocabulary. Here’s how:
Turn a bird breast side down, then use kitchen shears or a chef’s knife to cut along the sides of the backbone. Once the backbone has been removed, turn the bird cut side down. (Bonus tip: Freeze the backbone and save to make chicken stock later.) Put on food-handling gloves and apply pressure to flatten the turkey. Consider it a controlled aggression exercise to keep holiday stress in check. Season the flattened turkey with salt and pepper on both sides. The bird will be lumpy. A 12-pound turkey should roast in 75-90 minutes. Heat oven to 425F. Rub turkey on all exposed surfaces with butter or olive oil. Tuck onion slices, garlic cloves and herbs of choice under the turkey on a heavy, rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, then rotate pan and cook another half-hour. Reduce heat to 325F and roast 20 minutes more for a 12-pound turkey. It’s key to use a thermometer to determine doneness. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh should register 165F. Remove turkey from oven, tent with foil and let stand 20 minutes before carving.
2. Turn store-bought gravy into something better with a splash or two of Spanish sherry or vermouth. Add thyme leaves and let simmer to meld flavors.
3. Potato rescues: Heat and serve mashed potatoes seriously need a flavor boost. Stir in chopped garlic (just a bit, you don’t want to overpower) and fresh chives. Or, start a new tradition of roasted cubes of sweet and white potatoes. Glam them up with fresh herbs and olive oil and they cook quickly on a sheet pan.
4. Whole berry cranberry sauce from a can will look like you made from scratch with the addition of fresh orange zest and chopped Florida strawberries. Just a smidge of jalapeno is nice too. For an adults only gatherings, splash in a little spiced rum.
5. Stuffing — eegads — from a box or bag. Get over yourself and add in chopped carrots, celery and pecans. Moisten with flavor, such as pan drippings if you are roasting a turkey or good quality poultry stock. Real butter always.
I be back to check on you later in the day. In the meantime, be nice to the cook.

Ina Garten’s Balsamic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Ina Garten’s Balsamic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Ina Garten's Balsamic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts (Photo courtesy Food Network, copyright Ina Garten)

Ina Garten’s Balsamic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts (Photo courtesy Food Network, copyright Ina Garten)

Ina Garten’s Balsamic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts is a great holiday side dish for Thanksgiving tables. The pancetta is not as salty as bacon (another great foil for tiny cabbages), but you still get the richness of the pork flavor. Garten is my go-to for entertaining and party advice. The recipes in her cookbooks are like a good friend: Dependable, patient and always offers up just what you need. Use a good quality balsamic syrup. To make my own, I follow the suggestion from Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s The Splendid Table (my fave food radio show): In a small skillet, mix 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar with 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally with a wood spatula, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until glossy bubbles cover the surface. The syrup is ready when the spatula leaves a path as you run it along the bottom of the skillet. It should be quite thickened and syrupy. Take off the heat and cool before using. Keeps in a sealed jar in refrigerator for a month or more. (Syrup recipe copyright © 2012 by Lynne Rossetto Kasper).

Ina Garten’s Balsamic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Yield: 6 servings

1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half through the core
4 ounces pancetta, shredded or diced into 1/4-inch pieces
1/4 cup good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon syrupy balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
2. Place the brussels sprouts on a sheet pan, including some of the loose leaves, which get crispy when they’re roasted. Add the pancetta, olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, toss with your hands, and spread out in a single layer. Roast the Brussels sprouts for 20 to 30 minutes, until they’re tender and nicely browned and the pancetta is cooked. Toss once during roasting.
3. Remove from the oven, drizzle immediately with the balsamic vinegar, and toss again. Taste for seasonings, and serve hot.
SOURCE: 2012, Ina Garten, All Rights Reserved. Garten included this recipe in the “Game Plan” episode of Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network

Tempting Pumpkin Pie

Tempting Pumpkin Pie

Tempting Pumpkin Pie (Photo courtesy: Bettycrocker.com)

Tempting Pumpkin Pie (Photo courtesy: Bettycrocker.com)

Tempting Pumpkin Pie is a great example of why details matter. The pie is terrific but it’s the decorative touch that gives it the “wow” factor. If you want your dessert to stand out at the Thanksgiving holiday buffet, try a glam makeover with dough cut outs. Gourmet stores have lots of fancy cookie cutters that will make you look like a pro. A little egg wash for golden shine and light dusting of sugar and an ordinary pie becomes the centerpiece of the sweets table. I keep a package of ready-to-use pie crust in my freezer for details such as this, making quick empanadas or pot pies with leftovers.
One more tip: You can freeze spoonfuls of whipped cream to use later (holiday hot cocoa perhaps?). Just drop whipped cream onto a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet. Freeze uncovered at least 2 hours. Then, place frozen mounds of whipped cream in a freezer container. Cover tightly and freeze no longer than 2 months.

Tempting Pumpkin Pie
Yield: 8 servings

Pastry:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons cold water
Decorative topping:
1 package ready-to-use pie crust dough, thawed but still chilled
1 large egg
1 tablespoon whole milk or cream
1 tablespoon extra-fine sugar
Filling:
2 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
Sweetened whipped cream:
3/4 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons extra-fine sugar

1. Heat oven to 425F. Make a heat shield for the rim of the pie with heavy duty aluminum foil.
2. In medium bowl, mix flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the oil with fork until all flour is moistened. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all water is absorbed. Shape pastry into a ball. Press in bottom and up side of 9-inch glass pie plate.
3. Cut tiny leaf-shapes out of packaged pie crust dough with a cookie cutter; press on pastry edge. Make a few leaves to place on top of pie when baked. Place these cut outs on a small baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Beat egg and cream and brush the edge of the pie crust and the extra leaves. Dust all cut outs with extra-fine sugar.
4. In large bowl, beat eggs slightly with wire whisk or hand beater. Beat in 1/2 cup sugar, the cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, ginger, cloves, pumpkin and milk.
5. To prevent spilling, place pastry-lined pie plate on oven rack before adding filling. Carefully pour pumpkin filling into pie plate. Bake 15 minutes along with extra pie décor cut outs.
6. Remove extra pie décor cut outs from oven and set aside to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 350F. Bake pie about 45 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. When rim of pie becomes light golden brown cover with the foil shield. Place pie on cooling rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours.
7. In chilled bowl, beat whipping cream and 2 tablespoons sugar with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Serve pie with whipped cream on the side. Store in refrigerator.
SOURCE: bettycrocker.com

Sage-Orange Turkey & White Wine Gravy

Sage-Orange Turkey & White Wine Gravy

Sage-Orange Turkey & White Wine Gravy (Photo courtesy

Sage-Orange Turkey & White Wine Gravy (Photo courtesy Good Housekeeping – Hearst Communications)

Sage-Orange Turkey & White Wine Gravy is fragrant and moist with nice citrus and herb notes. Turkeys are a fairly easy main dish. Following package directions is fine, but you can enhance the flavor with garden-fresh herbs and seasonal produce. Important holiday reminder: Did you forget to send your frozen turkey to refrigerator camp? To safely cook Thursday’s big meal, check the label to see how long that bird needs to thaw (generally 24 hours for every 5 pounds).

Sage-Orange Turkey & White Wine Gravy
Yield: 20 Servings

1 (20- to 22-pound) turkey
2 large sweet onions
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 large navel orange
3 cloves garlic
1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
6 sprigs fresh sage
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for rubbing turkey
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
8 cups unsalted chicken broth
3 1/4 cups dry white wine
1/4 cup cornstarch
Sage sprigs for garnish
Grapes for garnish
Orange wedges for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Drain juices from turkey. Place giblets and neck in large roasting pan. Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Place turkey, breast side up, on wire rack in pan; fold wing tips under back of turkey. Scatter half of onion, half of thyme, and 2 cloves garlic in pan around turkey. Pour 1 cup water into pan.
2. From orange, grate to get 1 tablespoon zest. Transfer peel to food processor along with 3 cloves garlic; pulse until garlic is finely chopped. Cut whole orange into 2-inch chunks and reserve. From parsley and sage, transfer 1 1/2 cups parsley leaves and 1/4 cup tablespoons sage leaves to processor; pulse until very finely chopped. Reserve herb stems. Add 1/4 cup oil and some salt to processor; pulse until well mixed.
3. Working from large-cavity end of turkey, gently run fingers between skin and meat to loosen skin from flesh on breast and legs. With hands, place herb mixture under skin on both sides of breastbone and on legs. Gently massage skin to evenly distribute mixture.
4. Rub salt and pepper inside body cavity. Place reserved orange and herb stems and remaining onion and thyme in body and neck cavities. Fold neck skin under back of turkey; secure drumsticks together with kitchen string, band of skin, or stuffing clamp. Rub remaining olive oil over body.
5. Cover turkey with loose tent of foil; roast, covered, 2 hours, then uncovered 2 1/4 hours. (Or follow cooking instruction on the turkey wrapper.) If pan becomes dry, add 1 cup water. Roast about 1 hour longer. Turkey is done when temperature on meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh next to body (not touching bone) reaches 175F and breast temperature reaches 165F.
6. When turkey is done, carefully lift from roasting rack and tilt slightly to allow juices to run into pan. Place turkey on large platter and let rest while making gravy.
7. Remove rack from roasting pan. Strain pan drippings into 8-cup liquid measuring cup or bowl, leaving solids in pan. Let stand to allow fat to separate from meat juices; discard fat. Add broth to drippings, then add enough water to equal 10 cups total.
8. Discard thyme stems. Transfer onion, garlic, and giblets to cutting board and finely chop. When cool enough to handle, pull meat from neck; discard bones. Finely chop meat.
9. Place roasting pan over 2 burners on top of range; add wine and heat to boiling on medium-high. Boil 15 minutes or until wine is reduced by half, stirring until browned bits are loosened from bottom of pan. Stir broth and drippings mixture into roasting pan. Heat to boiling; boil 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in small bowl, stir cornstarch and 1/2 cup water to dissolve cornstarch; stir into broth mixture. Heat to boiling; simmer 6 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir in chopped onion, garlic, giblets and neck meat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour into gravy boat. Makes 10 cups gravy.
10. Garnish platter with sage and fruit.
SOURCE: Adapted from Good Housekeeping (Hearst Communications); goodhousekeeping.com

Sweet Corn Pudding with Macerated Strawberries

Sweet Corn Pudding with Macerated Strawberries

Sweet Corn Pudding with Macerated Strawberries (Photo courtesy Fresh Sunshine Sweet Corn Council)

Sweet Corn Pudding with Macerated Strawberries (Photo courtesy Fresh Sunshine Sweet Corn Council)

Sweet Corn Pudding with Macerated Strawberries is pure Florida for the Thanksgiving table. The recipe combines two crops in season and readily available: Sweet corn and strawberries. Serve this dish as a side or add some color to a dessert table dominated by pecan and pumpkin pies. Sweet corn pudding can be made to be sweeter or more salty by simply adjusting the recipe to your taste. Many people prefer sweet corn pudding to be served hot, but it is good either hot or cold.

Sweet Corn Pudding with Macerated Strawberries
Yield: 10-12 servings

1 pound of strawberries, sliced
1 to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 ears Florida sweet corn, for about 4 cups fresh kernels
4 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons melted butter
4tablespoons all purpose flour
3 tablespoons mascarpone or sour cream
2 teaspoons baking powder
Salt to taste

1. Place the berries in a bowl. Sprinkle with 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar; cover and set aside for 30 minutes or refrigerate, covered, overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking pan.
3. Cut the kernels from cobs to make about 4 cups; set aside 1 cup.
4. In the work bowl of a food processor combine 3 cups of the corn kernels, eggs, cream, sugar, butter, flour, mascarpone, baking powder and salt. Process in short pulses until smooth. You want to mix the ingredients not grind them up. Stir in the remaining 1 cup corn kernels. Pour into the prepared baking dish.
5. Bake until the top turns golden brown, about 45-50 minutes. Let pan stand on a rack for 15 minutes to set and cool slightly. Serve warm, topped with strawberries.
SOURCE: Fresh Sunshine Sweet Corn Council

Morning Mix recipe: Cornbread, Sausage, Wild Rice & Cranberry Dressing

Morning Mix recipe: Cornbread, Sausage, Wild Rice & Cranberry Dressing

Cornbread, Sausage, Wild Rice & Cranberry Dressing (Photo courtesy Butterball)

Cornbread, Sausage, Wild Rice & Cranberry Dressing (Photo courtesy Butterball)

The more the merrier in Heather’s Florida Kitchen! That’s why I have teamed with the fabulous folks over at Orlando’s WOMX Mix 105.1 to offer the morning show’s Recipe of the Week. Today’s recipe is Cornbread, Sausage, Wild Rice & Cranberry Dressing. In different regions of the country, bread-based holiday side dishes are called either dressing or stuffing. If you call it dressing, odds are it’s cooked separately from the turkey – and you live here in the South. Stuffing is cooked in the turkey. Every Thursday, you can find more recipes exclusively for Mix 105.1’s Morning Mix here and at the radio station’s website.

Cornbread, Sausage, Wild Rice & Cranberry Dressing
Yield 8 servings

1/2 cup uncooked wild rice
3/4 pound bulk pork sausage
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
1 ounce low-sodium chicken broth
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup cornbread stuffing mix
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Bring 2 cups salted water to a boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add rice; cook 45 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside.
2. Brown sausage in Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring to break up meat. Drain; transfer to large bowl.
3. Add oil to Dutch oven; heat over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery and fennel seeds; cook and stir 6 to 8 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Transfer to bowl with sausage.
4. Add broth and butter to Dutch oven; heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat. Add stuffing mix; mix well.
5. Add wild rice, sausage mixture, cranberries, parsley, sage, pepper and salt to stuffing mix; mix well. Transfer to prepared dish. Bake, covered, 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 30 minutes or until top is browned.
SOURCE: BUTTERBALL

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Baked Sweet Potato Fries (Photo courtesy sweetpotato.org)

Baked Sweet Potato Fries (Photo courtesy sweetpotato.org)

I am all for tradition on Thanksgiving day but it’s fine to tweak the menu a bit. For example, I am not a huge fan of sweet potato casseroles topped with marshmallows. But I love roasted or baked vegetables. These easy Baked Sweet Potato Fries are from Holly Clegg and the Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission. I think they are excellent holiday table addition and have a kid-friendly appeal as well. Clegg is fab a culinary expert on healthful recipes through her best-selling Eating Well cookbook series. You can learn more about her work here.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Yield: 6-8 servings

4 sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Freshly chopped parsley for garnish
Fresh orange zest to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Coat baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray or line with foil.
3. Cut sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch thick lengthwise strips and toss with olive oil. Arrange in single layer on baking sheet; bake 15-20 minutes. Turn potatoes over, bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown all over. Season to taste with orange zest and garnish with freshly chopped parsley.
Source: Adapted from Holly Clegg

Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Mashed Potatoes

Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Mashed Potatoes

potatogoodness.com)

Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Mashed Potatoes (Photo courtesy potatogoodness.com)

Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Mashed Potatoes is a great way to change up the Thanksgiving menu without creating panic among the traditionalists at the holiday table. The sautéed onions and nutty-flavored cheese add interest the iconic side without overwhelming the spuds. The original recipe called for cooking the onion in a lower-fat, butter-flavored spread. Regular butter with a little olive oil works much better.  Also I chose fresh dill over dried. Thyme would work well. When preparing the dish, be careful not to overmix or overcook potatoes because they can quickly become sticky and too starchy. Florida grows many different types of potatoes, from russets to red creamers. Fresh from Florida potatoes are available from January through June, with peak season months in March, April and May, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Mashed Potatoes
Yield: 4 servings

1 1/4 pounds russet potatoes (see note)
1 medium chopped sweet onion
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon fresh dill
1/2 cup each: nonfat plain yogurt and fat-free milk
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic or seasoned salt)
Freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Place whole potatoes (do not poke) into microwave-safe dish. Cover dish. (If covering dish with plastic wrap, poke small hole in plastic.) Microwave on high 10-12 minutes depending on strength of microwave.
2. While potatoes are cooking, sauté the onion in butter and olive oit 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently.
3. Use oven mitts to remove dish from microwave; carefully remove cover and mash well.
4. Stir in Gruyere cheese, Dijon mustard, dried dill, yogurt, milk and seasonings. Cook for a minute or 2 more to heat if necessary
Recipe note: Yukon gold, yellow or white potatoes can be substituted for russets.
SOURCE: potatogoodness.com