April – Smashed Potatoes

April – Smashed Potatoes

What do you do when you are completely out of Tater Tots? I call it a disaster! Some of you may be in the same predicament. Tater Tots are a private (not so secret now) indulgence in our household. I buy the HUGE packages, but we were out…not a tot to be found even at the very the bottom of the freezer.

I did find one lone bag of baby yellow Finns in the pantry, the only potatoes to be found in the house. The result is these smashed potatoes.

Both the NY Times and another blog I follow (Pinch of Yum) had highlighted this method of cooking potatoes in the past week. Very timely. Could they be a stand in for those missing Tater Tots?

Smashed Potatoes

Smashed Potatoes

They were delicious, not quite the same as a tot, but still very good. The consensus was that a repeat performance would be welcome.

These potatoes are creamy on the inside and crisp on the outside, delicious and a complete success. Same as with tots, it’s impossible to only eat one. They would be wonderful as is, without any adornment except some ketchup. But I live in a crazy household of anchovy lovers. In the NY Times article the smashed potatoes (they called them roasted) had a sauce of butter, anchovies, garlic and capers. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. And again, the potatoes are fantastic as is. But, family members have been known to steal anchovies plain out of the fridge as a snack. I had to make the sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds of baby or fingerling potatoes (or whatever you have on hand)
  • Kosher Salt
  • Olive oil for roasting

I am going to put the sauce below

Method:

  1. Scrub the potatoes and place them in a pot, cover with at least an inch of water and heavily salt it.
  2. Bring the water to a boil, turn down the heat, and cook until the potatoes are very soft, 25-30 minutes. You want to over-cook them a little so the insides stay creamy.
  3. Drain the potatoes, and let them cool until you can handle them.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  5. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
  6. Use your hands to smash the potatoes to about 3/4 inch thick.
  7. Transfer them to the baking sheet, toss with a generous amount of oil and a little salt. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer.
  8. Roast until dark golden brown and crisp, 40-50 minutes, flipping them once half way through.
Smashed Potatoes

Smashed Potatoes

If there are any more anchovy lovers out there, here goes:

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 10-12 anchovies, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced or grated
  • 1 cup of chopped herbs for garnish – parsley or celery leaves

Method:

  1. Melt the butter in a small skillet
  2. Add the anchovies and capers. Cook until the butter is browned and anchovies melted into the sauce.
  3. Add the garlic and remove from the heat.
  4. Pour over the cooked potatoes.
  5. Garnish with herbs.

This sauce would also be good on steak, roast chicken or fish.

Smashed Potatoes with Anchovy Sauce

Smashed Potatoes with Anchovy Sauce

February – Quick and Easy Stir Fried Vegetables

February – Quick and Easy Stir Fried Vegetables

Sometimes you need instant food and this fits the bill. The title is boring, but it exactly describes this no carb dish and vegetable stir fry. You could always add some leftover rotisserie chicken or baked tofu to make it a one dish meal. Wrap it in a tortilla or serve it over rice if your current diet allows it.

I used some time saving ingredients; a package of riced broccoli and cauliflower, and a package of angel hair cabbage. All that is needed in addition is a large onion, a knob of fresh ginger, a clove of garlic, some tamari or soy sauce, plus a little oil to start the stir fry. This is very quick, maybe 10 minutes in all.

Stir Fry Veggies

Stir Fry Veggies

Ingredients:

  • I large onion, cut in half top to bottom and cut into half moons
  • 1 package of riced cauliflower or riced broccoli or one with a combination – I used Earthbound Farm organic Cauliflower and Broccoli riced veggies (16 oz package)
  • 1 package of finely shredded green cabbage (mine was 10 oz)
  • 1 inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 large clove of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • about 2 – 3 tablespoons of tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, I used coconut

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a large fry pan on medium heat
  2. When shimmering, add the ginger and fry until light brown on each side
  3. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or so, you want a golden brown
  4. Add the onion and stir to mix, cook (stirring every so often) until wilted and starting to brown.
  5. Add the riced vegetables, cook for 2 – 3 minutes
  6. Add the cabbage and continue to cook until it is softened, a couple of minutes
  7. Add the soy sauce to taste

It’s almost embarrassingly easy.

If you have some mushrooms laying around you could add them. Slice them thinly and add them with the sliced cabbage.

Vegetable Stir Fry

Vegetable Stir Fry

I served it with a few slices of medium rare steak cooked on the grill.

Steak with Stir Fried Veggies

A perfect no or low carb quick meal.

Do you think the folks at Fiesta Friday would like this? This week it is Fiesta Friday #314 hosted by Angie and co-hosted by me. Drop on by to read the great recipes and craft ideas.

November – Roast Brussels Sprouts with Pickled Carrots and Citrus Dressing

November – Roast Brussels Sprouts with Pickled Carrots and Citrus Dressing

Roasted Brussels sprouts, sliced pickled carrots, walnuts, cilantro and a citrus vinaigrette. Is it a salad? Or a side? In fact, it is both as it can be served warm or at room temperature but not cold. If you make it ahead, pull it out of the fridge at least 20 minutes before serving. It might qualify as the perfect side for your holiday dinner, make it a few hours ahead to free up your oven. Add roasted cooked farro or another grain for a vegetarian main meal. It’s pretty as well with the fall colors of orange carrots and bright green sprouts, roasted to dark caramelized perfection.

This recipe came from Six Seasons, A New Way with Vegetables by Joshua McFadden. I love the inventiveness of his recipes and am slowly cooking my way through the book. The premise is that there are actually six seasons, not just four…spring, early summer, midsummer, late summer, fall and winter. I think farmer’s markets and our own gardens would support that idea.

Brussels Sprouts with Pickled Carrots, Walnuts, Cilantro and Citrus Vinaigrette

Brussels Sprouts with Pickled Carrots, Walnuts, Cilantro and Citrus Vinaigrette

Brussels Sprouts with Pickled Carrots, Walnuts, Cilantro and Citrus Vinaigrette

(serves 2-3 but can be easily doubled)

Ingredients:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and peeled
  • 3/4 pound of Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • About 1/3 cup roughly chopped or sliced pickled carrots, either store-bought or home made
  • 1/2 cup of chopped toasted nuts, walnuts or pecans or hazelnuts
  • 1 bunch of scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced (white and light green parts)
  • 1/4 cup of citrus vinaigrette
  • 1/2 cup of lightly packed and chopped cilantro leaves (I was able to find baby leaves)
  • 1/2 cup of lightly packed and chopped flat leaf parsley leaves
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat Add 1/4 cup of olive oil and the garlic, cook until the garlic is soft and golden brown, watch carefully and reduce the heat if it is browning too quickly. Garlic turns bitter if allowed to burn.
  2. Scoop out the garlic and set it aside.
  3. Increase the heat and add the Brussels sprouts, cut side down. Season well with salt and pepper and cook until the sprouts are cooked all the way through, browned but not mushy. This will take about 8-10 minutes.
  4. Return the garlic to the pan, crushing it to break it up and mix with the sprouts.
  5. When the sprouts are cooked to your liking, remove the pan from the heat and add the pickled carrots, half the nuts, and all the scallions. Toss to mix and warm the new ingredients.
  6. Spoon the vinaigrette over the sprouts and toss again. Add half the cilantro and parsley.
  7. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  8. Right before serving, add more vinaigrette if needed, along with the rest of the nuts, parsley and cilantro.

Citrus Vinaigrette:

  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon Champagne or white wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  1. Zest all the citrus with a microplane or small rasp style grater into a bowl.
  2. Halve the fruit and squeeze all the juice into the same bowl, removing any seeds.
  3. Whisk in the honey, vinegar, 1 teaspoon of salt and several turns of your pepper mill.
  4. Taste and adjust, if needed.
  5. Whisk in the olive oil, a few drops at a time. For a more emulsified and creamy vinaigrette do this in a blender, drizzling in the olive oil as the machine is running.
  6. Store in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Brussels Sprouts with Pickled Carrots, Walnuts, Cilantro and Citrus Vinaigrette

Brussels Sprouts with Pickled Carrots, Walnuts, Cilantro and Citrus Vinaigrette

I am taking this one to Fiesta Friday #305 over at Angie’s place. Please come join the party with lots of ideas about crafts, food, and travel. This week is is co-hosted by myself.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, hard to believe the Christmas holiday is only a few weeks away. Whew!

November – Palm Tree Leeks

November – Palm Tree Leeks

I’ve never been impressed by leeks unless they are in a potato leek soup. Generally, give me onions or scallions or shallots. That is until I saw this unusual recipe in Nothing Fancy: Unfussy Food for Having People Over by Alison Roman. Alison is a regular contributor to the NT Times food section and this is her first cookbook. She shared my opinion, having ignored them for years.

She says “Here, leeks sizzle in a spicy olive oil mixture, the wild tendrilly ends crisping up like they have been deep fried, looking like an extremely festive and delicious party decoration. The pale green centers become creamy and tender.”

This is preparing leeks in an entirely different way! In a way it’s like roasting kale, who would have believed you could take this vegetable and turn it into delicious chips even the youngest child would love. Even better, they look like palm trees which is really a hoot.

Spicy Caramelized Leeks with Fresh Lemon

Spicy Caramelized Leeks with Fresh Lemon

Ingredients:

  • 4 large leeks, dark green parts removed, washed and halved lengthwise with roots still intact
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons harissa paste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 fresh lemon, seeds removed and finely chopped (I used a preserved lemon, white center removed and rind scraped, then the rind finely chopped)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F
  2. Pace the leeks cut side down and, without cutting through to the root, slice them lengthwise into 1/4 inch strips. They will look like a palm fan. Place the leeks on a parchment lined half sheet pan or baking dish.
  3. Whisk the olive oil and harissa paste together, then massage into the leeks, getting into all their layers. Season with salt and pepper and lay them straight-ish.
  4. Roast, without disturbing too much until they start to fry and sizzle and brown at the ends about 20-25 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving platter. Top with the lemon and flaky salt before serving.
Leeks

Palm Frond Leeks

Roasted Leeks

Roasted Leeks

You can roast these several hours ahead of time, they won’t loose their crispness. Cover them at room temperature. There is no need to reheat them unless you want to.

Crispy Leeks

Crispy Leeks

This is such an interesting twist on preparing an often ignored vegetable that I think the folks over at Fiesta Friday #302 will enjoy it. Fiesta Friday is a virtual blogging party hosted each week by Angie, this week it is co-hosted by none other than myself. Please do click on the link to read blogs from around the world of food, crafts, and travel.

 

May – Broccoli Salad to Bridge the Seasons

May – Broccoli Salad to Bridge the Seasons

It’s spring, but the weather here does not exactly match the season. It’s cool and overcast most days. But it’s impossible to resist the call of the BBQ and eating outside. The question is what to serve, do you have some favorite BBQ sides? Fresh summer tomatoes are still months away. A salad that bridges the seasons is needed. This broccoli salad is perfect. Roasted riced broccoli, crisped on the edges, is the main component. Add in pine nuts, garlic, lemon, dates, red onion, and sheep’s milk feta for additional flavor and deliciousness. It’s briny, crunchy, sweet, and tart. All in a single bite! I find raw broccoli a chore to chew, roasting softens it a little. I found that roasting also adds an additional toasty element. The broccoli chars slightly and crisps at the edges of the sheet pan.

Broccoli Salad

Many groceries carry riced broccoli but I don’t recommend it for this recipe. The commercially available riced mixes contain a large percentage of stem. You want the florets only for this recipe. It only takes a minute to rice the heads in a food processor. Purchase a large head and save the stems for another recipe. Try this garbanzo bean free recipe for broccoli stem hummus. Doesn’t that sound interesting? And a wonderful alternative for anyone watching their carbs.

Riced Broccoli Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head of broccoli, florets only, very finely chopped in the food processor
  • 1 cup raw pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive or avocado oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Zest of 1 lemon, organic if possible
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or shredded on microplane
  • 4 dates – pitted and chopped into raisin sized pieces
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 ox of feta cheese, crumbled or cut into small cubes
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 additional tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, 220 degrees C
  2. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper
  3. In a large bowl combine the broccoli, pine nuts, olive or avocado oil, zest of 1 lemon, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix well with your hands and spread on the parchment lined sheet pan.
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes until the broccoli and pine nuts are starting to brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.
  5. Add the broccoli to a large salad bowl. Toss with the lemon juice, wine vinegar and olive oil. Taste for salt and add as needed.
  6. Add the red onion, dates and feta. Mix again.

You can either serve this salad immediately or chill for up to 2 days. It’s a great do-ahead salad that won’t wilt once the weather warms. Also, without mayonnaise, it’s good for picnics.

Riced Broccoli Salad