Archive | April 2015

Grab Your Girlfriends and GO!

beaches turksThe best memories are made with best friends!  Experience a BFF Girls Getaway at Beaches Turks and Caicos September 24-28, 2015. Enjoy a Beach Bonfire Pajama Party, Private Catamaran Cruise, Jewelry and Wine Soiree, Seaside Yoga and Meditation, $200 Red Lane Spa Credit and MORE!  Contact me to learn more.

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My Favorite Easter Side Dish

With Easter coming this weekend, I wanted to share one of my favorite Easter Side dish recipes.  For larger groups, I use more potatoes, more of the cheeses,  increased the milk and reserved cooking liquid.

Two-Potato Gratin Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 3 cups)
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 4 cups)
  • 2 quarts no-salt-added chicken stock (such as Swanson)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 ounces aged Gruyère cheese, shredded (about 3/4 cup)
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 ounce fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Place potatoes in a large stockpot; cover with stock. Bring mixture to a boil; cook 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Carefully remove potatoes from pot using a slotted spoon, reserving cooking liquid. Arrange potato slices in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan; set aside. Strain cooking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl; reserve 1 cup cooking liquid. Discard solids and remaining cooking liquid.

3. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add oil to pan. Sprinkle flour over oil; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Combine milk and reserved 1 cup cooking liquid. Gradually pour milk mixture into flour mixture in pan, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add thyme sprigs to pan. Bring mixture to a boil; cook 4 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl, reserving sauce; discard solids. Stir 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, and Gruyère cheese into sauce.

4. Spread 1/2 cup sauce in bottom of a broiler-safe 2-quart ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange a single, flat layer of sweet potato and then baking potato slices over sauce. Over flat layer, alternate baking potato and sweet potato slices, in shingle-like fashion. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon chives, and chopped thyme; pour remaining sauce over potato mixture. Sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife.

5. Remove gratin from oven. Preheat broiler to high.

6. Place gratin in oven. Broil gratin 3 minutes or until browned. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon chives.

The Best River Cruises of 2015

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River Cruising is becoming very popular and all river cruise lines are adding more ships and more itineraries.  Most river cruises are all-inclusive and you are basically on a floating hotel.  You can see cities and landscapes that cannot be viewed on ocean cruises.  The Best River Cruise Itineraries for 2015 are highlighted on Fodor’s.com.

Contact me if I can help you plan your river cruise for 2015!