Smashed Potatoes with Jalapenos

Hello friends! Long time no see! I’ve missed this space and really hope to get back to my regular posting soon!

I just had to tell you about this fabulously simple side dish which Ron told me was the best thing I’ve made recently (don’t worry- he did preface that comment with, “you make a lot of delicious things, but…)  When he says that, I know a recipe’s good. This comes from the most recent issue of Bon Appetit, and was in a recipe spread inspired by Austin, TX (where we just spent a long weekend visiting Ron’s brother and wife, coincidentally). This recipe is so simple (my favorite kind), and just required a few ingredients. I foresee this becoming a staple in our household!

Smashed potatoes with Jalapenos

Smashed Potatoes with Jalapenos

Serves 6

Ingredients:

2 lbs fingerlings or small potatoes

1/2 cup olive oil, divided

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/4 cup sherry or red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp whole grain mustard

1 jalapeno, sliced thinly into rounds (seeds removed, if desired)

1/4 cup flat leaf parsley (thinly packed), chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil (for easy cleanup). Toss potatoes with 1/4 cup of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 35 minutes, turning once. Potatoes should be done when they can be pierced easily with a fork.

2. Let potatoes cool slightly, and then gently flatten them so that they still hold together, but are slightly smashed. ( I used a fork to do this.)

3. In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, and whole grain mustard. Slowly whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil, until emolsified. Season with salt and pepper. Add in the potatoes, jalapenos, and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Source: Bon Appetit, July 2014

 

 

Bacon-Wrapped Potato Bites with Chipotle-Sour Cream Dipping Sauce

My boyfriend and I have an annual Halloween tradition in which we eat lots of junk and watch horror movies all night on Halloween. It’s one of the days I allow myself to indulge (okay-one of many). This year we decided to watch Cabin in the Woods (my favorite movie from last year), The Ruins, and The Exorcist (because you need a great classic horror film in the mix!). Other movies that have made appearances in the past: Halloween (of course), Trick ‘R Treat and Hocus Pocus (maybe one of the greatest movies known to man!). Our menu always includes our favorite nachos along with some other goodies. This year we went with pizza, mozzarella sticks, and these fabulous bacon-wrapped potato bites. They were super tasty and very easy to make- the hardest part was assembling them- which really wasn’t hard at all, just took a little time, but they are definitely worth it!

Bacon-Wrapped Potato Bites with Chipotle Dipping Sauce

Bacon-Wrapped Potato Bites with Chipotle-Sour Cream Dipping Sauce

Makes about 36 potato bites

Ingredients:

1 lb small red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 1/2 tsp salt, divided

Freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 lb thick-cut bacon, cut into thirds

1/2 cup sour cream

1-2 tsp adobo sauce (more if desired)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil, and place a wire rack on top (this will help the bites cook evenly and the bacon crisp without the need to flip during cooking).

2. Place potatoes in a medium pot, cover with cold water, add 2 tsp salt and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, and once boiling cook for 3-4 minutes until potatoes can be pierced easily with a fork, but not totally cooked- you don’t want them super soft or falling apart- they will finish cooking in the oven.

3. Meanwhile, as the potatoes are cooking, mix together the olive oil, remaining 1/2 tsp of salt, a pinch of pepper, and rosemary in a medium bowl. When the potatoes are cooked, drain and add them to the bowl and toss.

4. Wrap the bites in the bacon strips (cut into thirds), and secure with a toothpick. Place on rack on baking sheet. If you need to you can use 2 baking sheets, as you don’t want to crowd the bites. Cook for 30-40 minutes until bacon in cooked though and crispy.

5. While the bites are cooking, stir together the sour cream and adobo sauce, adding more or less to achieve your desired spice level. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You can double the sauce if you’d like, but I found this to be more than enough.

6. Serve the bites with the dipping sauce!

Source: The Kitchn via Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

 

Summer Vegetable Soup

Every week I try to make a healthy lunch that will last me for the week. I love not having to put something together every single night… and I feel much better about taking something homemade rather than store-bought (although sometimes in a pinch that stuff is awesome!). Soups make a great lunch. Usually they taste even better after sitting for a couple of days as it allows the flavors to meld together. This vegetable soup is a delicious, healthy, and very customizable recipe that made for an awesome lunch. You can use pretty much any vegetable you have on hand, mix and match depending on your own personal preferences, use up frozen vegetables from the freezer, and little bits of leftover pasta. This was a great recipe to use in my quest to clean out my fridge/freezer/pantry. I had an open bag of frozen peas that I threw into this, a bit of Israeli couscous, some red potatoes that were on their last hurrah, a can of cannellini beans that has been in my pantry forever, and all I had to buy was some zucchini, vegetable stock and green beans. You can throw in some diced sweet potatoes, fresh tomatoes instead of canned, yellow squash, spinach, leeks instead of onions… the sky’s the limit.

Summer Vegetable Soup

Summer Vegetable Soup

Serves 6

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, quartered and sliced thin

6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (or more, if desired to make the soup broth-ier)

1-2 small zucchinis, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1/4-inch pieces

1 (15-oz) can cannellini beans (or Navy beans)

5 small red potatoes, diced

1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)

1 cup corn (fresh or frozen)- I omitted this because I didn’t have any

1 cup green beans (fresh or frozen), cut into 1-inch pieces

1 (14-oz) can diced tomatoes, with juice

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

3/4 tsp Kosher salt

1/8 tsp tumeric

2-4 ounces Israeli couscous (or other small pasta shape), optional

2 Tbsp tomato paste

Directions:

1. Place a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 3-4 minutes, until softened.

2. Add the vegetable broth, zucchini, beans, potatoes, peas, corn, green beans, diced tomatoes and juice, salt, pepper, and tumeric. Bring to a boil, and then lower heat to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 25-30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. If you are using pasta, add when there is about 10-15 minutes left of cooking time.

3. Remove from the heat, and stir in the tomato paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Source: barely adapted from Prevention RD (originally adapted from food.com)

Perfect Roasted Potatoes

Happy Friday everyone! I am so excited for the weekend and I plan on doing a lot of relaxing! Tomorrow it is supposed to be a chilly, rainy day here in Connecticut so I am just going to take that as I sign that I am not meant to go out , and am supposed to spend the day on the couch watching movies. Every once in a while these dreary days are welcome… especially since after tomorrow it looks like we’ll have a stretch of nice weather. It seems to be time to assess my summer clothes situation, and see what I have and what I need. I already know that I NEED these lobster-print shorts from Old Navy… so cute! I am loving all the printed shorts this year. They are having a summer sale this weekend, so I might have to go out and buy them. They also have really cute bathing suits, which reminds me I need to buy a couple soon, rather than waiting until August as I did last year- I always seem to wait until the last minute, and then am digging through racks of the leftovers, rather than buying a swimsuit I actually like.

Anyway… these potatoes were so good, and such a simple side. This is adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe (I love Jamie Oliver!). They are parboiled to soften them up, then roughed up a little to expose more surface area to increase crispiness, and then roasted with some herbs and garlic until crispy. These would make a great side to so many things- I served them on the side of this lemon-thyme chicken, and they accompanied it perfectly, alongside a side of roasted broccoli.

Perfect Roast Potatoes

Perfect Roasted Potatoes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 lb russet potatoes, peeled, and sliced into 1-inch disks

Olive oil, enough to grease baking sheet and to toss potatoes with

3 sprigs of rosemary or thyme (or a combination of both)

4 garlic cloves, unpeeled but lightly smashed

1 Tbsp salt, or to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Add potatoes to a large pot, and add enough water to cover potatoes by one inch. Lightly season water with salt. Bring to a boil, and boil about 5 minutes (they will not be cooked at this point, they’ll finish cooking in the oven).

3. Drain in a colander, and toss around a bit to scuff up the potatoes a bit. Allow to dry in the colander.

4. Line a baking sheet with foil, and add enough oil to grease the baking sheet with. Add the rosemary and/or thyme sprigs. Add salt to the baking sheet. Dump out the potatoes on the baking sheet and toss with the salt/oil/herbs. Scatter the garlic cloves on the pan.

5 Place in oven, and cook about 40-50 minutes, flipping once, until the potatoes are crispy and golden brown.

Source: www.smokywok.com (who adapted it from Jamie Oliver)

San Francisco Garlic Fries

So I really would have loved to make the Good Stuff Eatery‘s village fries to go with my Good Stuff Melts, but as I’ve mentioned before, I am very intimated by the act of frying food- not to mention the smell that is left lingering afterwards. I will absolutely be making them someday, as they are up there in my list of best fries I’ve eaten, but for now, baked fries will have to do. Luckily, there are some really tasty recipes for baked French fries out there. The best I’ve made are the Italian Fries from Lucinda Scala Quinn’s Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys… they actually remind me of the village fries a bit as they are sprinkled with a bunch of herbs… and they also have cheese on them which makes them even more awesome.  Don’t worry, I’ll be making them again and sharing the recipe soon! In the meantime, these baked garlic fries are also great! I love anything garlickly, so that was already a plus for these fries, and I loved the sprinkling of fresh parsley as well. They are not as crispy as fried fries, but as a healthier alternative, and a far less messy alternative, they are definitely a winner of a recipe.

San Francisco Garlic Fries

San Francisco Garlic Fries

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Nonstick cooking spray

2 1/4 lb russet potatoes, sliced into 1/4-1/3 inch batons

3 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided

Kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray. In a large, toss potatoes with 2 1/2 Tbsp oil, and then season with salt and pepper. Put potatoes onto baking sheet in a single layer.

2. Roast for about 30 minutes, turning every once and a while, until tender and browned. Increase heat to 500 degrees, and roast about 5 more minutes, until very brown in spots.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/2 Tbsp oil, garlic, and parsley. Add the hot fries, season to taste with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.

Source: Tracey’s Culinary Adventures (originally from Bon Appetit, August 2011)

Potato Frittata with Feta and Scallions

Whelp, remember when I said that I was hoping for a snowy winter?  Looks like I got my wish, plus some!  As I’m sure everybody know, Connecticut got a gigantic storm over the weekend, starting Friday morning, and ending Saturday morning.  We got about 3 feet of snow! That’s the most I’ve ever seen in one shot. I couldn’t even see my car when the storm was done, and we were stranded in our apartment for a few days. Luckily we never lost power, and so we were able to stay inside all warm and cozy, with an excuse to be totally lazy. We did get outside and shovel, which was extremely exhausting, and my arms feel dead now because of it, but other than that, this was the perfect time to just relax. As I am a hoarder of food, we had no problem keeping ourselves well-fed. We even decided to risk salmonella poisoning, and made a batch of cookie dough and no cookies. Here’s to snow!

So this is something I cooked last week before the blizzard hit. It’s the second recipe I’ve made from Deb Perelman’s wonderful cookbook, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. (The other was her flat-roasted chicken with tiny potatoes- something I will be making again and I will make sure I share it with you were when I do.) Her blog is one of the best out there, and I urge you to check it out! Ron got me her cookbook for Christmas, and over vacation I read the entire thing, front to back. I am now slowly working my way through the archives of her blog. I love her writing, and reading both the cookbook and her blog make me feel like I’m sitting right there with her in her tiny kitchen listening to a good friend tell me a story.

I made this frittata for dinner and Ron and I devoured it! I busted out my cast-iron skillet to cook this, and as I did, I resolved to not fear this skillet. I don’t know why, but cooking with cast-iron really intimidates me. I decided that I have to get over this once and for all, especially since this frittata turned out so beautifully in it. This frittata reminds me of another dish I love, Ina Garten’s Omelet for Two, from her cookbook Barefoot Contessa at Home. I love that recipe and that cookbook. I don’t think I’ve ever made an Ina Garten recipe that I’ve disliked! While that omelet (which really is more of a fritatta also), uses cheddar cheese and diced potatoes, this one uses feta cheese and sliced potatoes. Other than that they are very similar and are both awesome! I’ll post that recipe soon.

Potato Frittata with Feta and Scallions
Serves 4 (as a dinner) or 6-8 as a breakfast

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp olive or vegetable oil
1 3/4 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/4-1/2-inch slices, and then into half-circles
1/2 tsp table salt, plus more for roasting potatoes
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 pound bacon, thick-cut, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 bunch (3-4) scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
2/3 cup (3 oz) crumbled feta cheese
6 large eggs
2 Tbsp milk or cream

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Oil a baking sheet or roasting pan with 1-2 Tbsp of oil. Place the potatoes, on the pan, and season with salt and pepper. (They do not all have to be in one layer). Roast about 30 minutes until the potatoes are mostly cooked through, tossing halfway. Remove from oven, and let cool down a bit.
2. Place a cast-iron or other 9-inch oven-proof skillet over medium heat, and cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels. Add the remainder of the oil to the skillet with the bacon drippings (1 Tbsp), and reheat on medium. Make sure you swirl the oil and drippings around in the skillet to coat the sides of the pan.
3. Place the potatoes in the skillet, browned side up. Then sprinkle on the bacon, scallions and feta.
4. Whisk together your eggs and milk, adding 1/2 tsp salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour over the potatoes.
5. Cover your skillet with aluminum foil, and bake for 20 minutes. Then remove the foil, and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until the eggs are set in the center, and the edges have puffed up.

Source: The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

Potato and Leek Soup

For about a week now I’ve been sick with a energy-sapping, tastebud destroying, cold.  One of the worst things to someone who loves food is not being able to taste fully, and so I’ve desperately been trying to make myself well.  I’m thinking some old-fashioned chicken soup might be just the thing I need to make so look for that post soon (I have a quick chicken and wild rice soup that is delicious).  But before I lost my sense of taste completely I decided that since I was in need of a comforting, soul-warming soup, I’d try Julia Child’s recipe for Potage Parmentier.  Since fall began I’ve been in the mood to delve deeper into Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and so lately it’s been my nightly reading.  The first chapter is on soups, and the very first soup in the book is this potato and leek soup, and it sounded like it couldn’t be easier.  Simmer some potatoes and leeks in water, then blend and add a little butter or cream for richness? That’s pretty much the easiest recipe ever, and easy sounded especially good to me this week in the midst of my cold.

Potato and Leek Soup
Potage Parmentier
from Mastering the Art of French Cooking
Makes about 2 quarts (6 to 8 servings)

Ingredients:
1 lb (3 to 4 cups) peeled potatoes, sliced or diced (3 to 4 cups)
1 lb leeks (3 cups), thinly sliced including the tender green; or 3 cups yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 quarts water
1 tbsp salt
4 to 6 tbsp whipping cream; or 2 to 3 tbsp softened butter
2 to 3 tbsp parsley or chives, minced
Directions:
1. Place a 3 to 4 quart saucepan, or dutch oven over medium heat and add potatoes, leeks, water, and salt. Simmer together for 40 to 50 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
2. Mash the vegetables together with a fork, transfer to a food processor, blend (in small batches) in a blender, pass through a food mill, or blend together with a stick blender until the soup is smooth.
3. Season to taste with salt (and pepper if desired)
4. Remove the soup from the heat, and add the cream or butter just before serving. Pour into a soup tureen, or individual bowls, and garnish with the fresh herbs.
Notes:
  • I used my stick blender to blend the soup and it worked perfectly to give it a beautiful, smooth consistency.  Julia Child says that she is partial to a food mill for this soup, but since I don’t have a food mill, I couldn’t try it her way.  
  • I was right in my assessment that this would be an easy recipe- it came together extremely quickly (other than the longish simmering time), and would be a great starter for an elegant meal, when you want it to look fancy, but don’t want to cook something extremely involved.