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Showing posts with label potatoes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label potatoes. Show all posts
23 August 2014

Baked Sweet Potatoes With Black Beans

This month's Improv Challenge ingredients are beans and bacon. Coincidentally, August is Bacon Month in the United States (who decides these things?). Needless to say, I was full of grandiose bacony-plans. And then I thought it might be more healthful to focus on the beans and not the bacon. And then I developed a completely unseasonal craving for baked potatoes (seriously, let's not talk about the number of baked potatoes I've eaten recently) and I ended up with this:


Yes, that's a sweet potato filled with black beans, salsa, and bacon and topped with a dollop of 0% Greek yoghurt and more bacon. And, you know, it was good ... but ultimately not good enough for Improv Challenge. So here it is on Not Improv Challenge Saturday. There's something a little ... off ... with the seasonings and the Greek yoghurt would be better straight up. I've written it up as I made it so feel free to tweak it wherever or however you like.

I did (briefly) toy with the idea of wrapping the sweet potato in bacon before baking it -- I've seen pictures of bacon-wrapped sweet potatoes on Pinterest -- but I worried about what would happen when I split the baked potato to fill it with beany goodness. Would the bacon all fall off? Also, frankly, wrapping the potato in bacon seemed like too much fiddliness!

While the recipe only uses six strips of bacon, I freely admit I baked an entire package of bacon for it. It's just as easy to bake the whole package as half and, more importantly, the more bacon that was cooked, the more likely some would be left for the potatoes. I used lower-sodium bacon, because ... I can't taste the difference. Use whatever bacon you like, obviously.
Black Bean Salsa Bacon Sweet Potatoes
Serves 4

Ingredients
4 sweet potatoes
6 strips bacon
[Oscar Mayer Lower Sodium]
14½ oz can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed [Goya]
½ cup diced red onion
¾ cup black bean and corn salsa [Desert Pepper Trading Company]
2 tsp salt-free Southwest-style seasoning blend, divided [Penzeys Salt-Free Arizona Dreaming]
5 oz cup 0% plain Greek yoghurt
Cilantro or chives for garnish, if desired
Additional bacon for garnish, if desired

Directions
Whisk together the yogurt and 1 tsp seasoning blend. Refrigerate until needed.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange bacon slices on a small jelly roll pan lined with foil. Set aside.

Jab each sweet potato several times with a fork (this can be very therapeutic). Place the sweet potatoes on another jelly roll pan lined with foil.

Put the pans in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until the bacon is crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels. Reserve one tablespoon of drippings from bacon pan.

Leave sweet potatoes to bake for 45 minutes longer or until the potatoes are tender when you squeeze them.

Meanwhile, heat the bacon drippings in a skillet. Add onion and cook until onion is translucent. Add beans, salsa, and remaining 1 tsp seasoning blend and cook until bubbly.

Crumble four strips of bacon into beans. Reduce heat to lowest setting ("warm" on mine) and set aside until potatoes are done.

Cut a slit down the length of each potato. Gently squeeze each potato until it pops open. Divide bean mixture between the potatoes, topping them with yoghurt. Crumble remaining two strips of bacon and sprinkle over potatoes.
Since I'm the only one eating these (The Husband loathes both bacon and sweet potatoes), I've been taking the potatoes to work and they reheat fine in the toaster oven.
08 February 2014

Comfort Me With Sweet Potatoes

It's a good thing I did a big cook at the beginning of the week, because my body decided to come down with the most tragic-sounding of chesty coughs and there's simply no way I would have been up to cooking for myself. As it is, I've run out of precooked food and am down to a diet of scrambled eggs, yogurt, and baked sweet potatoes ... and that's fine, really, because all I want are comforting, easy-to-swallow foods.

Baked Sweet Potato
Very orange sweet potato. Jab with fork and bake in 425F oven for 50 minutes or until a bit squishy.

It's really not fun being sick when there are no other human beings on hand to lend sympathy. The cats just stare at me malevolently, wishing I'd stop making horrible goose honks and flailing about when I cough.
03 December 2013

Egg-Stuffed Potatoes

This is definitely one of the odder dishes I've made, but I figured since stuffing a tomato with egg worked out okay, so would stuffing a potato with an egg. There are different versions of this dish all over Pinterest, too, which must mean it works ... right?

And, if it didn't, I still had two dozen eggs in the fridge to make something else with.  No, I don't know how we ended up with so many eggs. Probably multiple cases of listless grocery shopping.

Egg-Stuffed Potato

And, you know, it actually does work pretty well. Hot, starchy, buttery potato wet with rich, runny, yolk and melty cheeeeze. A little bacon wouldn't go amiss, though ...
Egg-Stuffed Potatoes

Ingredients
2 potatoes, baked your favorite way
2 large eggs
1 tbsp unsalted butter
4 Tbsp shredded "Italian" cheese blend or your favorite cheese
3 Tbsp freeze-dried chives
salt and pepper, as desired

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350F°. Slice a thin layer off the top of each potato. Gently scoop out insides, being careful not to poke holes in the potatoes (save scooped potato for another recipe). Place potatoes on a baking sheet. If potatoes roll a little, just smoosh them flat against the bottom of the sheet.

Divide butter between potatoes. Sprinkle with half the chives, salt, and pepper. Crack an egg into each potato. Divide cheese between the potatoes. Sprinkle with remaining chives and more salt and pepper, if desired.

Bake for 15 minutes and then check egg. Egg whites should be set and yolks soft. If whites are not set, bake another 5 minutes.
15 October 2013

Eating the Alphabet: S is for Sorrel

I tend to think of sorrel as a spring green as it usually dies back at the onset of hot weather and does not return again until the following spring. However, this year my sorrel came back with a burst of green in early September and has been going strong ever since.

While sorrel (also known spinach dock) looks a bit like young spinach, it tastes very bright and sharp and green -- the long lost love child of spinach plant and a lemon tree? While sorrel can be eaten raw in salads or just on its on, I prefer it cooked with other ingredients to balance out its distinctive tang.

Unfortunately, cooked sorrel tends to turn a singularly unattractive shade of gray-green. I've no idea how to keep this from happening -- I think lemon juice usually keeps cooked greens from changing color, but sorrel's so tart already that adding lemon seems inadvisable. The color is not such a big deal in a brothy soup where the sorrel is mixed with chunks of potatoes and other vegetables, but it is a bit off-putting by itself.

So making a sorrel sauce for September's Eating the Alphabet Challenge? A delicious idea, certainly, but the results were not aesthetically pleasing.

Tilapia w/ Sorrel Sauce & Sorrel-Smashed Potatoes

Yes, that sauce is baby poop green. But it's yummy -- bright, tart, creamy -- and went surprisingly well with the baked tilapia. I'd half expected the sauce would overwhelm the mild tilapia, but the fish held its own. Still, I think the sauce would be awesome with something like baked salmon. Or with steak, as a substitute for chimichurri sauce!

(Of course, supper might have looked a smidge more attractive if I hadn't left the plates in our warm oven for two hours while a salesman successfully sold us a bridge).
Sorrel Sauce
Serves 2 plus leftovers

Ingredients
4 oz sorrel leaves, stemmed and washed
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp half and half
1 tsp dried thyme, crushed
½ tsp garlic powder
Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions
Roll the wet sorrel leaves up like a cigar and slice into thin ribbons (chiffonade).

Chopped Sorrel

Add to a saucepan with olive oil, thyme, and garlic powder.


Chopped Sorrel

Cook, covered on medium, for about 5 minutes or until sorrel is greatly reduced and gone an unattractive baby-gak green.


Wilted Sorrel

Remove from heat, add a splash of half and half, and puree until smooth. Add a little more half and half until desired thickness is reached. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Try not to dwell on the color.


Sorrel Sauce

Serve over fish or meat.

Because I had chopped more sorrel than I needed, I decided to make sorrel-smashed potatoes to go with the fish! The sorrel's flavor was, obviously, much more subtle than in the sauce, but still gave the potatoes a slight lemony tang that was really quite nice.

Sorrel-Smashed Potatoes
Serves 2

Ingredients
12 oz small unpeeled red potatoes
1½ oz sorrel leaves
2 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter, melted
⅓ cup half and half, warmed
Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions
Cook your potatoes however you like (I steamed mine whole in the microwave).

Meanwhile, roll the sorrel leaves up like a cigar and slice into thin ribbons (chiffonade, again). Place sorrel in a small saucepan with the oil. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until sorrel is completely wilted.

Add sorrel, butter, and half-and-half to potatoes. Mash until desired texture is reached, adding more half and half if necessary. Season with salt and pepper.
(Another way to do this would be to stir any extra sorrel sauce into your already mashed potatoes).



08 April 2013

Steak, Tomatoes, and Potatoes

I was in the mood for steak and potatoes late last week and, happily, had a nice piece of organic grass fed steak in the freezer. I seared the steak in a very hot pan then popped it in a 400F° oven for 10 minutes. Came out perfect!

Steak, Tomatoes, & Potatoes

We ate the steak with sautéed cherry tomatoes and my mom's oven-fried potatoes. They're not really fried, but that's what she called them on the recipe card. They're really awesome potatoes and taste even better then next day with a runny egg.
Mom's Oven-Fried Potatoes

Ingredients
6 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large onion, chopped into thumbnail-sized pieces
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed
Salt & pepper to taste
Smoked paprika
Dried parsley

Directions
Preheat oven to 450°F. Spray 13x9 baking dish. Put potatoes and onions in dish. Liberally season with salt, pepper, and paprika. Toss. Dot with butter. Cover and bake 50 minutes. Uncover and broil 10 minutes longer or until browned and a little crunchy on top.
If you want to use fewer potatoes, that's fine. Just remember the rule of thumb is one tablespoon butter per potato. Also, be very liberal with the seasonings. I'm fond of Bourbon Barrel Foods' Bourbon Smoked Paprika, but Penzeys Smoked Spanish Paprika is also pretty fine.

Mom's Oven Fries
15 November 2012

Improv Challenge: Sweet Potatoes & Honey

I love sweet potatoes so I was very happy to find November's Improv Challenge ingredients were sweet potatoes and honey. I considered many dishes -- including these beautiful tzimmes from the Boston Globe -- but eventually settled on soup, because it's soup weather here. Too many grey, dreary days that cry out for a beautiful bowl of rich, spicy-sweet, orange goodness.

Making Curried Cauliflower & Sweet Potato Soup

I've made Sue Bee Honey's recipe for "Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Curry Soup" twice now -- the first time I used thawed frozen organic cauliflower instead of fresh and just added them to the pot during the potatoes' last ten minutes of cooking time. The second time I used fresh organic cauliflower. While the flavor was better with fresh -- richer and deeper -- it was still good either way and frozen vegetables are certainly a time saver, so don't be afraid to go frozen.

Both times, I omitted the sour cream and cilantro as I don't like cilantro and simply thought the soup was delicious enough without sour cream. And I couldn't find my cinnamon (!) so I substituted Penzeys Baking Spice -- a blend of cinnamon, mace, anise, and cardamom which made the soup even more aromatic and flavorful. Aaaand I used vegetable stock, making this a vegetarian soup perfect for Meatless Monday or whathaveyou.

Making Curried Cauliflower & Sweet Potato Soup

Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Curry Soup

Ingredients

2 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped red onion
4 garlic gloves, minced
3½ cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cups chicken stock [Emeril's Organic Vegetable Stock]
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon [Penzeys Baking Spice]
2 tsp curry powder [Penzeys Maharajah]
1½ Tbsp honey [local]
16 oz fresh cauliflower florets

Directions
Coat bottom of a large French/Dutch oven with cooking spray. Add the oil and heat until fragrant. Add garlic and onion and sauté until softened and fragrant.

Add the curry powder and cinnamon to the hot pot and cook, stirring, until spices are very fragrant. Add in salt, pepper, sweet potatoes, fresh cauliflower (if using), stock, and honey and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add in the frozen cauliflower (if using) and cook 10 minutes more or until potatoes are tender/easily pierced with a knife. Remove pot from heat and let sit until soup is cool enough to blend without scalding yourself.

Transfer to a food processor or use an immersion blender and puree until soup is creamy and smooth. Return to the pot and thin with more stock, if desired.
An excellent soup full of fabulous flavors! Velvety smooth with the perfect balance of sweet and spicy. It's impossible to just eat one bowl.



Eating the Alphabet: W is for Watercress & Walnuts

November's Eating the Alphabet Challenge was to use U, V, and/or W ingredients. I knew I wanted to use peppery watercress when I saw beautiful green bunches of it piled in with the mint and dill at Shoprite. Not only is watercress delicious, it's full of nutrients like iron, calcium, and Vitamin A and C. I like to eat it in cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, but that's not really exciting and the Alphabet Challenge is all about excitement and pushing boundaries, you know.

So needed a new spin on watercress. Why not salad? Something light and filling and green? I was first tempted by Patti LaBelle's recipe for "Out-of-This-World Watercress Salad," but tomatoes aren't in season, anymore, and I didn't want to ruin what sounded like a perfectly lovely recipe with questionable tomatoes. So I turned to Martha Stewart and she did not disappoint. Her recipe for "Watercress Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes" is delightfully simple and seasonable. If my family was comprised of more adventurous eaters, it's the kind of dish I might start Thanksgiving dinner with. It's very clean-tasting and just looks, to me, like autumn on a plate.

DSC_0028
From all this ...
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... to this!
Watercress Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Slightly Adapted From Martha Stewart
Serves 4

Ingredients
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch-long sticks
3 Tbsp + ½ tsp olive oil
Sea salt and ground pepper
½ cup walnuts
¼ tsp sriracha
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp honey
12 oz watercress, stems trimmed
4 oz fat free feta crumbles

Directions
Preheat oven to 450 °F, with racks on upper and lower thirds. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss sweet potatoes with 1 Tbsp oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast on upper rack, until tender, 20 to 30 minutes, stirring frequently. [Stewart's recipe cooks them longer with less stirring, but mine started to burn so ...]


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Remove potatoes from oven and set aside. On another rimmed baking sheet, toss walnuts with sriracha and ½ tsp oil. Bake on lower rack, stirring occasionally, until golden (about 5 minutes).

DSC_0029

In a bowl, whisk together lemon juice, honey, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper. [Or put it all in an old jar and shakeshakeshake your dressing]. Toss watercress and dressing together. Serve topped with sweet potatoes, walnuts, and feta. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

DSC_0034

This salad best served while the sweet potatoes are still warm -- otherwise they just go kind of cold and chewy and that's not a good thing!

Overall, I really liked this salad.  It was easy, elegant, and completely yum! I'd definitely make it again, but I'll keep a close eye on the oven as some of my sweet potato sticks charred a bit!

If you can't find watercress, I'm sure baby spinach would work fine. Ohhh, baby spinach and blue cheese and sweet potatoes and pecans ...



30 June 2012

Supper, Assemble!

Clearing out our fridge at the end of the work week, I turned up thawed chicken breasts, wrinkly green beans and cherry tomatoes, and half an improperly stored red onion. I also found a baking potato that had been left in the bread bin for who-knows-how-long but was starting to sprout eyes. From these questionable ingredients, supper just seemed to assemble itself.

Tomato Chicken & Oven Fries

Tomato "Jam" Chicken

Ingredients
2 3 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp olive oil
2 tsp Penzeys Sunny Spain salt-free seasoning blend
1 shallot, minced
½ cup chopped red onion
4 garlic cloves, pressed
2 cups quartered cherry tomatoes

Directions
Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet. Season chicken with seasoning blend. Sauté in hot pan until cooked through. Remove from pan, cover with foil, and let sit.

To hot pan, add shallots, onions, and garlic. Cook until onions and shallots are tender. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occassionally, until tomatoes have cooked down to a "jammy" consistency. Stir in any juices released by the resting chicken.

Plate chicken and top with sauce. Serve with garlicky green beans and oven fries.
Oh, the chicken was good but the oven fries stole the show. I'd never made oven fries before so I was really impressed with how easy they were to make and how well they turned out -- crispy-crunchy outside with tender, pillowy potato inside and just the right amount of seasoning.
Easy Oven Fries

Ingredients
1 large baking potato
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp Penzeys Sunny Spain salt-free seasoning blend
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Grease jellyroll pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Cut potato in half lengthwise, then widthwise. Quarter each piece.

Toss potatoes with olive oil and seasoning blend to coat. Spread potatoes out across jellyroll pan (be careful not to crowd) and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove potatoes from oven; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Flip potatoes and repeat.

Return pan to oven; bake until potatoes are golden and crispy along the edges (about 15 minutes).
(I don't usually store potatoes in my bread bin -- too warm -- but I'd stuffed it there in a mad dash of tidying before company came and then forgotten about it)
03 April 2012

Cooking The Books: And Yet More From The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook

I was full of plans to make "Survival of the Fittest: Quinoa and Black Bean Salad For Bonnie and Twill" from The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook this weekend but I was a bit sick of quinoa after eating "Fresh From the Careers' Packs: Super Healthy Dried Fruit Quinoa Salad," delicious as it was, all last week. I had some mushrooms and one benighted leek in the fridge so I made "Raging Wild Mushroom Ragout," instead. While it is neither raging nor wild, it was dead easy and turned out quite well.

Mushroom-y Jacket Potato & Salad

Ingredients: shiitake and cremini mushrooms, leek, lemon juice, garlic, butter, heavy cream, kosher salt, black pepper.

The recipe doesn't call for it, but I ended up cooking the cream down quite a lot as, otherwise, the ragout was very soupy. I also didn't know how to serve the ragout, so I dumped it over Alton Brown's baked potatoes and that worked out quite well -- it made for a tasty and very filling meal. Thank god for the lemon, really, which gave the ragout a bit of brightness and kept it from being food coma-inducingly heavy.

In some ways, it reminded me of a dish I used to make many years ago when The Husband was only The Boyfriend. I'd saute garlic, red onion, and as many mushrooms as I could possibly fit in a pan in a combination of olive oil and butter, season them liberally with salt and pepper, and serve them on hot, buttered toast with big mugs of tea. It wasn't fancy, but it was filling, homey stuff ... and ohmygod I need to make that again, soon.
15 March 2012

Improv Challenge: Potatoes & Cheese

I knew I had to sign on for March’s Improv Challenge (hosted by the wonderful Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker) when I saw the ingredients where potatoes and cheese. Potatoes and cheese! Is there any combination of potatoes and cheese I wouldn’t like? Methinks not.

Anyway, despite days spent pinning hearty cheesy potato soup recipes and casseroles, I ended up making "Healthy Sweet Potato Skins" from Pinch of Yum, because it used three ingredients I like a lot -- sweet potatoes, spinach, and chickpeas. Also, lots of dairy. Mmm, dairy!
Stuffed Sweet Potatoes Ingredients 
Healthy Sweet Potato Skins
Reproduced with permission by the author: Pinch of Yum
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 60 mins
Total time: 1 hour 20 mins
Serves: 2-3

Ingredients
2 medium or large sweet potatoes
1 ½ tablespoons butter
1 shallot, minced
1 bag fresh baby spinach
¼ cup light sour cream
2 ounces light cream cheese
1 cup chickpeas
¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
Bake sweet potatoes at 350 for 45-60 minutes, or until fork tender.

Cut sweet potatoes in half and let cool for 5-10 minutes. While sweet potatoes are cooling, saute the shallots with the butter over medium heat until translucent. Add fresh spinach and heat for 2-3 minutes, until spinach has cooked down. Set aside. [I dumped the chickpeas into the hot pan and gave them a stir 'round until they were lightly toasted]

Sauteed Spinach w/ Chickpeas

Scrape the sweet potato out of the peel, leaving a thin layer inside with the peel so that it can stand up on its own. Mash the sweet potato with the cream cheese and sour cream. Stir in chickpeas, spinach, and salt and pepper.

Sweet Potato Filling

Coat potato skins with a drizzle of oil and bake for about 5 minutes to get a crispier outside. Remove from oven and fill each skin with the sweet potato mixture and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake again for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and filling is heated through.

Twice-baked Stuffed Sweet Potato
I love these potatoes -- they're pretty, portable, and perfectly delicious. I baked two large sweet potatoes and took a potato half to work each day for lunch. They reheated really well using the staff room toaster oven and a little foil and, paired with a small salad, they kept me going all afternoon. No three o'clock slump for me! No sirree, Bob. Not with these potatoes.

When I make these again, because I will be making them again, I might season the chickpeas and spinach with sweet curry powder and swap the mozzarella out for some fresh goat cheese crumbles.



21 February 2012

Moderately Good Potato Soup

March's Improv Challenge features one of my favorite food combinations -- potatoes and cheese. The internetz are full of potatoes and cheese recipes and I've starting pinning some of them, building up a collection of Improv possibilities. This weekend, I thought I would give Betty Crocker's "Rustic Potato Soup with Cheddar and Green Onions" a whirl as I had an embarrassment of scallions on hand.

Potato Soup w/ Cheese & Scallions

This recipe turned out okay, but I won't make it again. The Husband enjoyed it very much, but I thought it was a bit bland and tasted too much like eating a big bowl of runny mashed potatoes. And this is after I tarted the soup up quite a bit! (It's likely my expectations were too high -- that, full of enthusiasm for the Improv Challenge, I simply expected too much from the recipe).
Moderately Good Potato Soup

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 pounds unpeeled russet potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 cups 2% milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon thyme
16 medium green onions, finely chopped
4 oz Cabot Seriously Sharp cheddar, shredded

Bring broth to boil in French/Dutch oven. Add potatoes to broth and return to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until tender. Drain potatoes well, retaining 1 cup of hot broth. Puree 3 cups potatoes in blender with 1 cup of hot broth until smooth. Set aside.

Melt butter in Dutch oven and saute green onions under wilted. Add pureed potatoes, remaining potato chunks, milk, salt, pepper, thyme, most of the green onions, and cheese. Cook over medium, stirring, until soup is hot and cheese is melted. Taste. Adjust seasonings as necessary. Serve sprinkled with leftover shredded cheese, green onions, and black pepper.

I think the flavor of this soup would have been much improved if I had cooked 6-8 large garlic cloves with the potatoes and pureed them with the 3 cups of boiled potatoes. Also, I should have peeled the potatoes, because the bits of skin just didn't do anything for me.

(I can't share my "real" Improv Challenge recipe with you yet, but I am more that happy to share the ones that didn't make the cut).
29 December 2011

Vegan Casserole Love

It's that most wonderful time of year -- that time of year when one's place of work puts on its party shoes and busts out the punch bowl. Or is it only my place of work still clinging to the godawful sherbet punch tradition? Please tell me other worker bees in other hives suffer similarly.

Anyway, we had a holiday party last week and my department was charged with procuring the main dish. We voted on rotisserie chickens all carved up and prettily plated by the local market, but I felt I should bring something extra for all the vegetarians among us. Also, I'd seen a great recipe in Faith Durand's Not Your Mother's Casseroles (Harvard Common Press, 2011) for "Sweet Potato, Chard, and Coconut Milk Casserole" and I desperately wanted to try it out. I love sweet potatoes and have developed a real liking for Swiss chard since I tried to out in our vegetable patch this summer.

Swiss Chard Stems, Sliced

I used a beautiful bunch of rainbow-colored chard in this casserole. Seriously, the colors of the stems were just phenomenal -- the yellow so bright it nearly glowed neon. Alas, the red stems bled when cooking and changed the yellow and white chard to muddy pinks. It all ended up soaked in coconut milk and covered with sweet potatoes, anyway.

Swiss Chard Sweet Potato Casserole

And did the casserole meet my expectations? It exceeded them! The flavors worked so well together -- the coconut milk was creamy, but not unctuous, and the slight bitterness of the chard paired well with the starchy, sweet taste of the potatoes. Everyone else seemed to like it, too. The casserole dish was scraped clean well before the end of the party and three of my coworkers asked for copies of Durand's recipe.

(And this year's punch was 100% sherbet-free!)
17 December 2011

Easy-Peasy Peas & Potatoes

Threw this side dish together one night after work, when I realized I didn't have quite enough frozen peas to go 'round. So simple and tasty that I wonder why I didn't think of it sooner!

30 Minute Supper

Place potatoes in a small saucepan, barely cover with water, and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat until just tender. Add frozen peas, cover, and cook until tender. Drain, add unsalted butter, black pepper, dehydrated chives, and parsley flakes. Return saucepan to warm burner and toss vegetables gently until butter melts and vegetables are evenly coated.
17 November 2011

Deliciously Simple Sweet Potatoes

We had supper at the Texas Roadhouse last weekend and I had a sweet potato with my delicious mooing steak, because I love sweet potatoes and just cannot get enough of them. However, it was a good thing I was paying attention when I ordered because I almost ended up with a sweet potato covered in caramel sauce, marshmallow, brown sugar, and butter!

What the flippin' fish sticks?! Isn't a sweet potato pretty much delicious vegetable candy to begin with? Why tart it up with marshmallow, caramel, and brown sugar? That is just wrong.

Now, if you really need to tart up a sweet potato, why not try Barbara Kafka's recipe for "Maple-Glazed Roasted Sweet Potatoes" from Vegetable Love (Artisan, 2005)? A little butter and maple syrup (use the real kind, mind you) enhance rather than overwhelm the sweet potato, creating a side dish which I'd be just as happy eating as a main.

But, then, I'm pretty sure I could happily survive the winter on nothing but roasted root vegetables and greens. And Greek yoghurt.

To make Kafka's dish, cut up peeled sweet potatoes, toss with melted unsalted butter, and roast in preheated 500°F oven for 15 minutes, then toss with maple syrup and roast until potatoes are easily pierced with a knife (about 5 minutes in my oven). Season with salt and pepper, as desired.

Sweet Potatoes, Chopped
This is may not be the shape Kafka had in mind, but I was a little confused.

Maple-Glazed Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Delicious, simple, and much better for you.
13 November 2011

Yummy Vegetables for Work

I had a bunch of vegetables that needed eating up, but I wasn't sure what to do with them so I turned to Barbara Kafka's Vegetable Love (Artisan, 2005) for inspiration and found many good recipes. I've borrowed Vegetable Love from my library so many times that I don't know why I haven't bought my own copy yet!

Thanks to Vegetable Love, I made some really great, easy dishes this weekend using Swiss Chard, kale, cabbage, and sweet potatoes. Making all four dishes took about three hours altogether and yielded enough food to keep me feed at work all week.

Vegetable Love

I made:
  • Maple-Glazed Roasted Sweet Potatoes
  • Curried Cabbage
  • Braised Kale
  • Braised Chard
I liberally sampled these dishes as I cooked them and they tasted so good that I almost looking forward to going back to work tomorrow!

08 September 2011

Proper Jacket Potato

Jacket potato with tuna, sweetcorn, and mayonnaise! Also, a little salad and "English" coleslaw on the side (it's the Heinz salad cream that makes the difference).

Jacket Potato
18 May 2011

Homemade Spudulike: Baked Beanz

Baked beans on a baked potato? Trust me, it's better than it sounds.

Homemade Spudulike: Beanz

You need:
1 can Heinz (tomato-based) baked beans
2 large baking potatoes
2 pats lightly salted butter (I used Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery's cultured butter)

Stab potatoes with a fork a few times, rub with a little olive oil, roll in coarse salt, and bake at 425° for about 50 minutes.

Open baked potatoes, top with butter, and allow to melt (I popped mine back in the still hot oven for a few minutes to speed the melting process), top with baked beans, season with black pepper, and eat.

It's a tremendously simple, cheap, and filling supper. I expect we'll be eating this again in a few weeks -- especially if spring remains as dank and dreary as it's been.
13 May 2011

Homemade Spudulike: Tuna & Sweetcorn Mayonnaise

Another week, another spudulike. And, as promised, I went with classic tuna and sweetcorn spudulike. How was it? Pretty darn good!

Homemade Spudulike: Tuna Sweetcorn Mayonnaise

Tuna Sweetcorn Mayonnaise

Ingredients
12 oz solid white albacore tuna, well drained
7 oz low sodium corn, drained
Mayonnaise, to taste
Parsley, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Portion out onto baked potatoes, use as a sandwich filling, spread on crispbread, or serve on a bed of mixed salad greens.
Tuna Sweetcorn Mayonnaise

(This recipe makes enough to fill two large potatoes and spread liberally across six crispbread).
07 May 2011

Homemade Spudulike: Olé

There's a fast food chain in the the UK called spudulike. They sell baked potatoes stuffed with things like tuna and sweetcorn, baked beans (the proper British kind), coleslaw, egg mayonnaise (egg salad), and chili con carne. As far as I know, there's nothing like it in the US ... which is a bit sad as spudulike is cheap, filling, reasonably wholesome, and makes my tummy happy.

Until I saw the recipe for "Olé Salsa Potatoes" in Pillsbury Fast & Healthy, it never occurred to me I could make spudulike at home. I mean, it's not a complicated food! Everyone knows how to bake a potato. Just need to figure out what flavor of stuff you want on top.


Potatoes, Olé

(sadly, cell phone photo does not do it justice)

I microwaved the potatoes and, while they microwaved, prepared the beef filling -- just cooked very lean ground beef until browned, then stirred in garlicky salsa and Penzeys salt free Arizona Dreaming. When the potatoes were done and rested, I rolled them around on the counter as the recipe suggested and it really did loosen the potatoes' flesh quite nicely. Then I cut each potato in half and topped the halves with beef mixture, sour cream, and salsa. Next time I might also had a little shredded lettuce and some sliced olives for increased taco-ness.

Anyway, these were very good potatoes, The Husband was amused to eat spudulike off our best china, and I enjoyed the whole experience enough to want to make them again next week ... with tuna and sweetcorn, I think, as that is the best topping ever.
07 December 2010

Lazilicious Potato Pancakes

For Sunday dinner, I whipped up a batch of latkes using King Arthur Flour's potato pancake mix. Oh, they were delicious. But I knew they would be, because I've made them before! Shh! Don't tell my mother!

Latkes (Potato Pancakes)

It's a good thing my mother doesn't read this or she'd be shaking her head in sorrow for having been given a daughter who is too lazy to grate potatoes ... or, maybe, she'd be sick with envy? No more shredded, bloody knuckles! Have to grate the onion and potato together by hand, she says. Can't use a food processor, she says, as the texture is all wrong. And, you know, her latkes are truly excellent ... but I just don't have the time.

Making this mix is dead easy -- just add water to the mix and let it sit for twenty minutes. Then drop three-tablespoon dollops into a pan of hot oil and fry until golden brown.

I added two tablespoons of dehydrated chives to the water/mix combination, because chives and potatoes are too good a pairing to pass up. And topped with sour cream? They become the perfect comfort food.

Since I my skillet wasn't very big, I could only do two pancakes at a time so I turned my oven on warm and lined a platter with a thick layer of papertowels. As the pancakes came out of the oil, I transferred them to the platter in the oven where they staid all toasty-warm.

As the mix can be refrigerated, I made eight pancakes for the two of us and then refrigerated the rest. In the end, I managed to get thirteen pancakes from the mix which is not bad considering the package said "18-20 full-size pancakes."

Conventiently, KAF is offering free shipping on all orders over forty dollars through Thursday. Time to buy more pancake mix?
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