Archive for the ‘potatoes’ Category

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

Top Ten Vegetables for Grilling

Yes, I know, things have been a little quiet around here. I hope to get back to it soon. In the mean time, check out the guest blog I wrote for Full Circle Farm: Top Ten Vegetables for Grilling



Friday, May 27th, 2011

Loaded Potato Salad

Though the weather here in Seattle has yet to show it, Memorial Day generally signifies the start of summer. And of course the start of summer means the start of summer parties.

Next time you need a side dish to take to your friends barbecue try this easy potato salad. It’s all the good stuff about a loaded baked potato without the time (and hot oven use) involved in baking the potatoes.

Make this in the morning (or the day before) so the flavors can marry. It’ll be tastier.

Here’s the ingredients.

You’ll also need a dog (who is flirting the bounds of the “out of the kitchen” rule) in case you drop any cheese.

Okay, you don’t really need the dog, but he is nice to have around.


Boil the potatoes in salted water until they are cooked through (this will take about 10 minutes).

Once the potatoes are cooked drain them and then return them to the hot pan. Immediately pour the vinegar over hot potatoes and stir.

After a minute or so, pour the potatoes into a large dish so that they are more or less in a single layer (this will help the potatoes cool faster).

Then step away. Step away from the potatoes. Seriously, let them cool completely before proceeding or else you will end up with a cheesy, melty mess.

While the potatoes are cooking and cooling saute the diced bacon until it is cooked through and crisp.

Then set it aside to cool.

Once the potatoes are cool place them along with the remaining ingredients in a bowl (reserve a little of the bacon and chives to sprinkle on the top).

Gently stir to combine. Stash this in the fridge until party time.

When it’s time to serve, move the potato salad to a serving bowl and then sprinkle on the reserved bacon and chives.

A seriously tasty side dish that would be great served with grilled steak (you know, a place where a baked potato might be traditional) or even burgers and hot dogs.


serves 6

I used fingerling potatoes because that is what I happened to have on hand, but any potato would work. However, if you do not use a thick-skinned potato (such as a russet) you will want to peel them before proceeding.

1 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
2 tablespoon white wine or cider vinegar
4 ounces bacon, diced
2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
2 Tablespoons chopped chives
1/2 cup sour cream

Boil the potatoes in salted water until they are cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the hot pan. Pour the vinegar over hot potatoes and stir gently. After a minute, pour the potatoes into a large dish so that they in a single layer and allow them to cool to room temperature.

While the potatoes are cooking saute the diced bacon until it is cooked through and crisp. Then set it aside to cool.

Reserving some of the bacon and chives for topping, combine the cooled potatoes with the remaining ingredients in a bowl and stir gently to combine completely. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

When it’s time to serve, move the potato salad to a serving bowl and then sprinkle on the reserved bacon and chives.

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

Chorizo and Potato Tacos

I haven’t cooked in days.

No. Actually, I haven’t cooked in weeks.

Sure, I’ve kept us fed. Sandwiches, scrambled eggs and the like. But I’ve done more reheating then cooking lately.

My drought of cooking started at the beginning of April. A glorious week in Hawaii. And while we were staying in a condo with a full kitchen, the last thing I want to do while on vacation is cook. When we returned home the fridge was barren and I was hesitant to shop because we would be heading to Portland in just a few more days. So, we had a few days of take-out and frozen meals.

Then I got sick. Yes, before we went on vacation to Portland I got sick. I suffered through a respiratory infection the entire time we were away . My hopes of eating my way through all the awesome restaurants in Portland were smashed. I rallied in time for a busy week of catering, cooking for clients, two foraging classes and a full evening of volunteering at the Art of Dining event in Seattle. I was so busy there wasn’t time for cooking. So a few more days of take-out.

Then I got sick. Yes, again. In fact, I’m still sick. For the last nine days it has felt like I’m swallowing glass and I’ve been completely wiped out. Thankfully the husband has been awesome at keeping me fed and watered.

However, with the Charcutepalooza deadline looming I decided I better suck it up and cook.

The challenge this month was to make either Mexican Chorizo (a pork sausage) or Merguez (a lamb sausage). Since Chorizo is one of my very favorite things, that is the direction I decided to take.

I followed the recipe for Mexican Chorizo in Charcuterie. I’ve made sausage before, so I found the recipe easy to follow. The whole process took less than an hour (and I was lollygagging). The only ingredient that I didn’t have was hot paprika so I substituted regular paprika instead. Since I knew this would affect the heat level of the sausage a bit I decided to add just a bit more of the ancho chile powder.

Upon frying up a test patty I declared the Chorizo delicious, portioned it into 1-pound packages (four of which I stashed in the freezer). Then decided to take a break (being sick is exhausting).

Once I had worked up some new energy I decided to tackle dinner. I wanted to make tacos, and I wanted to keep them simple so that I could really show off the Chorizo. I settled on a play on tacos de papa (potato tacos) but instead of cooking the potatoes with onion and spices, I would use the chorizo to season them. Here’s the ingredients.

I started by browning the Chorizo over high heat. Meanwhile, I cooked the sliced poatoes in the microwave for two minutes so that they were just about cooked through.

When the Chorizo was just about cooked through, I added the potatoes to the pan and continued cooking until the potatoes were browned and cooked through completely.

While the Chorizo and potatoes were cooking I heated the tortillas so that they were flexible. I like to just throw them directly onto the gas burner on our stove (using tongs of course), but they can also be done in a pan or in the oven.

Once they were all warmed I laid them out on my counter so that I could fill them all at once. I added a couple of tablespoons of the meat and potato mixture to one side of each tortilla.

Then sprinkled each one with some Cojita Cheese. It’s important not too overfill the tacos or the filling leaks out while they are frying and it’s a big mess. Plus any leftover filling is totally delicious scrambled with eggs the next day, so it won’t go to waste.

Time to fry. I put about 1/4 inch of vegetable oil in a skillet and added the tacos, three at a time to the oil. When the first side was crispy, I carefully flipped them with my trusty tongs so the second side could fry.

As the tacos were finished I moved them to paper towels to suck up any extra oil and then started a second batch of three.

I served the tacos with some quick-pickled radish slices (slice radishes, squeeze lime juice over the top, sprinkle with salt, let sit for 15 minutes), fresh lime and my favorite hot sauce.

Muy delicioso. The potatoes got kind of creamy which was an awesome contrast to the crispness of the tortilla shell. And the home made Chorizo was just spicy enough. I ended up slipping my radish slices into the tacos but the husband didn’t care for that idea.

I’m looking forward to making these again when it isn’t excruciating to swallow. I imagine they’ll be even tastier.


makes 6-8 tacos (enough for 2 people)

Sometimes Cotija cheese can be hard to find, so if you can’t, Parmesan makes a good substitute (but really, most any cheese will work). If you don’t want to take the time to make your own Chorizo feel free to substitute one from a reputable butcher.

8 oz Chorizo
6 fingerling potatoes, sliced 1/8″ thick
3-4 ounces Cotija cheese
6-8 corn tortillas
vegetable oil for frying

Cook the potatoes for 2 minutes, or until they are just tender, in a microwave, set aside. In a medium-size skillet, brown the chorizo, breaking it into pieces as it cooks. Just before the Chorizo is completely browned, add the potatoes and continue to cook the mixture until the potatoes are cooked through and browned.

Warm the tortillas until they are soft and pliable. Place 1-2 tablespoons of the chorizo-potato mixture on each of the tortillas, sprinkle each one with cheese then fold each in half.

Pour about 1/4 inch of vegetable oil in a large skillet. Heat oil until it is shimmering then carefully add the 3-4 tacos to the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the pan. Fry until tortilla is golden brown then flip each taco and brown on the second side. Move the finished tacos to a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat until all tacos are cooked.

Serve with fresh lime, taco sauce, sliced radishes, sliced cabbage, sour cream…


Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Breakfast Potatoes

I like to get potatoes in my CSA box because if you don’t get to them right away, they don’t go bad and turn into a pile of green goo in the bottom of the crisper drawer (not that that ever happens to me). They can sit for weeks and some would say that they even improve with age, growing sweeter as they wait for their chance to shine.

Plus, always having a stash of potatoes in the crisper means that an easy breakfast is right around the corner.

I’ll use just about any kind of fingerling or new potato in this recipe. Russets are okay, but I’d rather eat them baked or mashed. If you have some greens like kale or chard, you can throw them in too. Just add them at the end, a bit before the potatoes are cooked through.

Here’s the ingredients.

To start, put the potatoes in a microwaveable bowl and cover them. Cook them for about 3 minutes, or until they are just starting to get tender. If you don’t like to use the microwave, you could boil them for just a few minutes (but I am lazy and the microwave is easy).

While the potatoes are in the microwave, cook the bacon over medium heat until it is just about crispy.

At this point, you can spoon out a bit of the bacon fat (or not, I’m not your mother), then add the onion, par-cooked potatoes, thyme and sage and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.

Turn the heat up to high let the whole mix saute, stirring every so often until everything is golden brown and delicious (and the potatoes are cooked through), then sprinkle in the chives.

To really make it a meal. Fry up an egg and slip it down over the top of the potatoes. The runny yolk will combine with the potatoes and make a bit of a sauce.

Good, simple, tasty food. Serve with toast and some juice and you’ve got breakfast perfection.


serves 2-3

I used my own home-cured bacon but commercial bacon will work just fine. Just be sure that it is thick cut or the bacon might burn while the potatoes cook through. I used red onion (because that’s what I had laying around) but any type onion will work.

1 pound fingerling or red potatoes
4 oz thick cut bacon, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fresh sage, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh chives, chopped

Place the potatoes in a microwaveable bowl and cover. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until they are just starting to get tender.

While the potatoes are in the microwave, cook the bacon over medium heat until it is just about crispy. If desired, use a spoon to remove some of the bacon fat from the pan.

Add the onion, par-cooked potatoes, thyme and sage and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.

Turn the heat to high and saute, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are cooked through and golden brown. Sprinkle with chives and serve.

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Corned Beef

I have a confession to make. Up until last week, I’d never had corned beef.

I just never really understood celebrating St. Patrick’s Day if you are not Irish. The food never looked that appetizing to me, so , seemingly, the only other thing to do is drink way too much cheap green beer. Also not appealing.

When I told my husband that I had never had corned beef, he was shocked. “That can’t be possible, you’ve never even had a reuben?” “Well,” I replied “I’ve never been a fan of sauerkraut, or 1000 Island dressing for that matter, so why would I order a reuben?”

I asked my mom about the lack of corned beef in my life and she said that she could remember serving corned beef hash for breakfast. Thing is, I don’t think this happened until after my brother was adopted. I was 17 when that happened so sitting down for breakfast before school probably didn’t happen. Plus, I seem to remember that the corned beef hash she made was out of a can, and our family dog was, at the time, being fed soft dog food and the two things looked remarkably similar. That kinda put me off the whole corned beef hash thing.

When this month’s Charcutepalooza Challenge was revealed to be brining I knew what I had to do. Since I had already accomplished the Apprentice Challenge of brining either a whole chicken or pork chops, I settled on the Charcutiere Challenge, brining, then corning a piece a beef brisket to create my first corned beef.

I followed the recipe found in the cookbook Charcuterie (the bible of Charcutepalooza) pretty much to a tee. I decided to half the recipe (because 5 pounds of brisket sounded like a lot for two people). I added an onion and a couple of carrots to the water that I was going to simmer the brisket in, then, with about 30 minutes of cooking time left I added some peeled new potatoes then, with 15 minutes left, some cabbage. I also made some traditional Irish Soda bread (read that as no caraway seeds, no raisins, just plain white bread) to complete the meal.

So, just how was my first corned beef experience? Meh. It’s certainly not the worst thing I’ve eaten, but it really didn’t live up to the hype. It smelled promising as it simmered away, but it just didn’t do it for me.


The thing is, even though I split the recipe in half, I still had leftovers (quite a bit of leftovers) the next day. I decided to try my hand at corned beef hash. I figured at the very least, mine wouldn’t look like dog food. Here are the ingredients.

I chopped some of the corned beef, along with the potatoes and a little bit of the cabbage (the husband was not a fan of the cabbage) plus an onion and set to work.

I melted a knob of butter in a saute pan and added the onion. Cooked it until is was soft and translucent, then threw in some fresh thyme.

I let that cook for just a few seconds and then added the potatoes, corned beef and cabbage to the pan.

Now here’s the hard part. I had to let it sit. Trying hard not to stir the mixture very often, so that every thing would get golden brown and delicious.

Once it was nicely browned (finally). I cooked up an egg to put on top. I had a little problem with my over easy egg flip, so it’s not the prettiest, but it’s still tasty (try not to judge me).

Now we’re talking. Turns out what I needed to like corned beef was tasty bits of crunchiness on every piece of it. This was a meal I could get behind.


Even after two meals, I still had more leftover corned beef. I also had some cold rice from dinner earlier in the week so I decided to make my standby quick meal, fried rice. This was probably my favorite meal of the bunch. The corned beef almost tasted like Lup Cheong, a Chinese sweet sausage (and one of my favorites). It was so good, in fact, that the husband and I ate it all without taking a picture.


So, my first corned beef experience has led me to these conclusions:

1. I’m not a fan of corned beef straight out of the pot, Irish style.

2. Corned beef that has been cooked again so that it has crusty edges is delicious.

3. Corned beef may be too much effort to put into my life regularly, but once a year it might be worth it, for the leftovers.

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

Potato Skins

Back in the day (I can say “back in the day” now that I am officially over 40) I bussed tables at Sea Galley. If you don’t know what Sea Galley is, picture Red Lobster with a 40 item salad bar (which sounds great in theory, but actually sucked because it was up to the bus people to fill).

They had a little song on their commercials with the lyrics “we’ve got crab legs” – and they actually had crab legs. I mean, they actually had foam rubber crab legs that the hostess would have to put on and venture out to the street to drum up business when the restaurant was slow (there was also a slightly inappropriate Christmas party that involved half a santa suit and said crab legs.

They were one of those “would you like rice, french fries or baked potato with your entree” kind of places. I noticed they did something kind of ingenious. At the end of the night, any left over baked potatoes (the ones that had been cooked but not served) were split open and prepped to be used for potato skins. The inards that had been scooped out were then used in the clam chowder. Thus, no potato waste.

This story really has nothing to do with my recipe, other than the fact that my love of potato skins was developed, and perfected, during my tenure at Sea Galley. Really, it’s hard to find a bad potato skin, I mean, what’s not to like? You’ve got potato, cheese and bacon, it’s really hard to go wrong. However, there are levels of “good” and I think these potato skins are exceptional. Mine have, of course, bacon (I happen to have used my own home-cured bacon but any good bacon will do), and really sharp cheddar. But they also have a layer of sauteed red onion to amp up the deliciousness.

Here’s the ingredients.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter in a small sauce pan then add the garlic and smoked paprika.

Give it a stir and leave it on the stove so that it stays warm.

I like to cook the onion in a bit of bacon fat, so once the bacon has been cooked crisp, remove it from the pan, reserving a bit of the fat, then toss in the onion. Let it cook at medium heat until is is soft and translucent.

While the butter is melting and the onions are cooking, prep the potatoes. Cut each in half (if they are really thick you may want to cut a little out of the center of each one so that each half is about 3/4 inch thick). Then, using a spoon, scoop out most of the potato from each half.


Leave enough potato so that each half will keep it’s shape when you pick it up.

Put the potato halves on a baking sheet (I like to line mine with foil) then brush the skin sides with the butter mixture.

Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes. Take them out and flip the potatoes over and brush with more butter (don’t get to carried away, if lots of butter pools in the potato half the potato skins will be greasy). Bake for another 8 minutes. This helps to make the potato skin crispy before the toppings are layered on.

Once baked, spoon about a tablespoon of cooked onion into each half.

Then layer on the cheese and the bacon (I seemed to have got excited about the prospect of potato skins at the point because I forgot to take a picture).

Return the baking sheet to the oven and cook for another 5 minutes to melt the cheese, then sprinkle on a few chives.

Um. Yum.

The smoky paprika and garlic add a nice flavor to what might be a rather bland skin. The onions add a lovely sweetness that is a great contrast to the tang of the sharp cheddar. I like to leave the sour cream on the side so it doesn’t get melty on the warm skins.


Of course, now you’ve got a bunch of potato guts on your hand. You could do what they did at Sea Galley and use them in soup. Or, you could combine the potato, along with any leftover onion, a little of the extra cheese, maybe a teaspoon of the butter mixture and a dollop of sour cream…

…and put it in a little baking dish (and top with a little more cheese).

Then bake it at 350 degrees, covered for 40 minutes, then uncovered for 15 more to make a delicious potato casserole for lunch the next day.

Almost as good as the potato skins themselves.


serves 2-4

Russet potatoes work exceptionally well in this recipe, however, if you would like smaller, two bite, potato skins, feel free to substitute small red potatoes. You will need two or three red potatoes for every russet potato called for.

4 russet potatoes, baked
1 Tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 clove garlic, minced
4 ounces bacon, chopped and cooked crisp, fat reserved
1 red onion, chopped
6-8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
1 Tablespoon chives

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a small saucepan, melt butter and stir in garlic and paprika. Heat for 15 seconds to cook the garlic, then turn off the burner.

In a skillet, heat the reserved bacon fat. Add the onion and saute over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent. Set aside.

While the onion cooks, prep the potatoes. Cut each potato in half to approximately 3/4 inch thick. Using a spoon, scoop out the cooked potato, leaving about 1/4 inch of potato in the skin.

Place potato halves skin side up on a baking sheet and brush with the butter mixture. Bake for 8 minutes then remove from oven. Using a spatula, turn each of the potato halves over and brush lightly with more of the butter mixture. Return pan to oven and cook for an additional 8 minutes.

Into each potato half, layer about a tablespoon of sauteed onion followed by cheese and bacon. Bake for 5 minutes until the cheese is melted. Sprinkle potato skins with chives and serve with sour cream.

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs with Olives and Onions

So um, yeah, 2011 can still suck it. Two days after my last post, when I thought perhaps the suck that is 2011 might be over, I rolled my ankle while leaving a client’s house after a night of catering. It was sooo dark and I just couldn’t see the edge of the driveway.

After three days of pain, I finally went to the doctor yesterday. After an exam, and a few x-rays, it was determined that no severe damage had been done (no broken bones, no torn ligaments) but it was definitely sprained. Gotta say, this is going to put a hamper on my triathlon training. Swimming is okay, biking is a maybe, but walking is a no go for at least two (but likely four) weeks.

As I am generally a glass is half-full person, I am grateful that the ankle that I rolled was my right ankle and not the left since it has not even been a year since my ankle surgery. The x-rays also showed a pretty awesome bone spur which is the likely cause of heel pain that I have been suffering through for years. So, once this triathlon is over, I can deal with that and hopefully rid myself of some pain.

So, because I have a sprained ankle and can’t really stand for long periods of time, there is not much cooking going on in my house. This makes it kind of hard create a new recipe. However, my cousin Mariah asked me to post the recipe for the short ribs that I posted pictures of in December so this seemed like the perfect chance.

Here’s the line-up:

In a heavy pot, cook the bacon until it is nice and crispy. Now honestly, you could totally skip the bacon and just warm a couple tablespoons of oil in the pan instead. How do I know? Well because I completely forgot to add the crispy bacon to the finished dish and I didn’t miss it at all (the dish ends up plenty rich on it’s own).

While the bacon renders (or the oil heats), combine the flour with salt, pepper and fresh thyme.

Dredge each of the short ribs in the mixture.

Once the bacon is crispy remove it from the pan then brown the short ribs on all side in the bacon fat (or the oil that you have been warming if you are skipping the bacon).

Do the browning in batches so that the pan isn’t too crowded (they’ll brown better that way) and once they are brown remove them from the pan.

Mmmmm, fond.

Add the chopped onions and the garlic to the now empty pan and cook until they have softened a bit.

You may ask, why use both chopped onion and pearl onions in the dish. Well, over the long cooking time, the chopped onions kind of just melt into the sauce while the pearl onions stay whole and provide a yummy bite all on their own.

Add the wine to the pan and scrape with a spoon to get all the tasty bits off the bottom.

Add the pearl onions and olives to the pan.

Then nestle in the browned short ribs and the fresh thyme. Don’t add any salt to the pot at this point because the olives are going to give a lot of salt to the dish.

Add a lid (or aluminum foil if your pot doesn’t have a lid) and pop the pot into a 350 degree oven.

After two hours take the pan out of the oven (mmm, looking good so far).

And stir in the potatoes. Adding the potatoes later in the process keeps them from getting too soft.

Put the lid back on the pot and pop it back into the oven for another hour.

With the cooking now done, if you have opted to use the bacon, stir it into the dish. But if, like me, you forget, you still get this delicious looking concoction.

Remove the thyme sprig then test for seasoning and add some salt and pepper if you want. On each plate place a rib (or two if you are hungry) and a few potatoes along with some of the olive and onion mixture. A little sprinkle of parsley wouldn’t hurt either.

Unctuous, delicious meat, falling off the bone. Perfectly tender potatoes. And did I mention the aroma in the house? Oh my.


serves 3-6 depending on your appetite

This is a bit of a “project” meal with it’s long cooking time, but it is, for the most part, untended cooking. Start it after lunch on a lazy Sunday and by dinner (or supper for those in the midwest) time your meal will be ready.

3-4 strips bacon, cut into 1″ lengths (optional, if not using substitute 2 tablespoons vegetable oil)
3/4 cup flour
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cup red wine
3/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted
1 bag frozen pearl onions, thawed
6 meaty short ribs
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 1/2 pound small waxy potatoes (yukon golds, reds or fingerling potatoes work well)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large, heavy pot, cook the bacon over medium high heat until it is brown and crisp. If not using bacon, heat oil in the pan instead.

Meanwhile, combine the flour with salt, pepper and fresh thyme and stir to combine. Dredge each of the short ribs in the mixture.

Once the bacon is crisp, use a slotted spoon to remove it from the pan then brown the short ribs, in batches, on all sides in the remaining bacon fat or the heated oil. As they brown remove them from the pan. Add the chopped onions and the garlic to the now empty pan and cook until they have softened a bit. Add the wine to the pan and scrape with a spoon to release the fond from the bottom of the pan. Add the pearl onions and olives to the pan, then nestle in the browned short ribs and the fresh thyme.

Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid or aluminum foil and place in oven. After 2 hours, add the potatoes to the pot, stirring to combine. Re-cover the pot and return it to the oven for an additional hour.

If using the bacon, stir it into the dish. Remove the thyme sprig then test for seasoning and add some salt and pepper if needed. On each plate place a rib or two and a few potatoes along with some of the olive and onion mixture.

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Potato and Carrot Casserole (In the Style of Pommes Anna)


Pommes Anna has just three ingredients (counting salt) but yet it is one of the most delectable potato dishes on the planet. Delightfully crispy on the outside, smooth and creamy on the inside.

I decided to create a take on this classic French dish. Pommes Anna is usually made with peeled russet potatoes. I used red potatoes (and didn’t bother to peel them). I also decided that adding carrots might be a good idea, a little sweetness added to the mix. The last change I made was to add a couple of cloves of garlic to the butter while it was melting, just to add an extra bit of flavor.

Here’s the ingredients. And yes, that is a whole stick of butter and although it probably won’t all get used, this is not a low-fat dish and is definitely best eaten in moderation.

Using a mandoline I sliced the potatoes and carrots very thin (to about the thickness of a quarter). I discarded the first and last slice off of each potatoes because the skin on those outer edges prevents the potatoes from sucking up butter. I cut the carrots on an angle so that the slices were just a little larger. This step could probably be done by hand if you have a very sharp knife, but it would be very tedious (and hard to get all the slices the same thickness).

While I was slicing I melted the butter, along the the garlic in a small pot on the stove top.

Traditionally pommes anna would be made in a round dish, often a cast iron pan, but my cast iron pan is way two big (I would only get maybe three layers in my giant pan) and this square pan was the first baking dish I came across, so I used it. I used my fancy new silicone basting brush and buttered the dish with the melted butter.

Then I started the layering, potatoes, brush with butter, carrots, brush with butter, sprinkle with a wee bit of salt, repeat. The potatoes should overlap just a little bit. You don’t want to salt every layer or the dish can end up too salty, every other layer seems to work best. And if you are using salted butter you should go really easy on the salt additions.

I ran out of carrots before I ran out of potatoes, so the last few layers of mine were just potatoes. One final brush of butter and into the oven (and see, I didn’t use all the butter, it’s not so bad after all).

I baked the dish at 400 degrees for an hour until the top was browned and the potatoes and carrots were soft.

You’ll often see finished pommes anna inverted onto a serving plate, but I decided to forgo that step, instead just cutting it into quarters and carefully moving each slice to a plate.

I served the potatoes as a complement to pork chops with plum sauce and some roasted then sauteed beets (that I sauteed in that leftover butter, cause that’s how I roll).

The carrots definitely added a nice sweetness to this classic dish. I suppose you could say that the carrots add a little but of healthiness to the dish, but really, there is no making this dish healthy, just tasty.


serves 4

This makes an excellent side dish for pork, beef or chicken.

1 stick (8 Tablespoons) butter
2 clove garlic
8-10 red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed clean
6-8 small carrots (about 6″ long) scrubbed clean

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small saucepan, melt the butter along with the garlic over medium heat on the stove top. While the better melts, use a mandoline to cut the potatoes and carrots very thin (about the thickness of a quarter). Butter the bottom and sides of a small casserole dish. Starting with potatoes, alternate layers of potatoes and carrots, brushing each layer with the garlic butter and seasoning every other layer with salt. Bake in preheated oven for an hour until the top is browned and the potatoes and carrots are soft.

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Potluck Salads

Over the last few weeks I have been invited to a couple of potlucks. The guests at the first were mostly fellow food bloggers and the guests at the second were fellow personal chefs (with a couple of pastry chefs thrown in). When you’ve been invited to a gathering where everybody in attendance is a food enthusiast you kind of want to make sure that the dish you bring will impress.

For the first gathering I decided to go with a Garlic-Chive Potato Salad that I had made before. Luckily I had all the necessary ingredients in my fridge (with a little help from my herb garden). All that is needed is fingerling (or other waxy) potatoes, a lemon or two, a couple of cloves of garlic, mayonnaise and chives.

There are two keys to this salad. The first to to make sure all of the potatoes are cut to the same size. I like to use fingerling potatoes cut into 1/4 rounds (and I also like to discard the ends of the potatoes) this shape allows for maximum dressing suckage once the potatoes are cooked.

Which brings me to key number two. You must dress the potatoes while they are hot, just out of the boiling water (again, this makes for maximum dressing suckage).

So the basic steps are: make the dressing (mince a clove or two of garlic and pop it into a large bowl, whisk in lemon juice, mayonnaise and a tablespoon or two of water), cut and cook the potatoes, pour hot drained potatoes into the bowl with the dressing, add chopped chives, stir to combine and let cool.

I garnished mine with a few chive blossoms, but they are completely optional (I just thought they looked pretty)



The second potluck really snuck up on me. All of a sudden it was the day of the potluck and I was left with a mostly empty fridge and no car to go to the store. Time to make something up. I remembered a raw vegetable salad that I had eaten over the holidays and decided to do a riff on that idea. I found beets, carrots, kale, scallions and snap peas in the crisper, perfect.

I chopped up the snap peas, kale and scallions then used the mandolin to cut the peeled carrots and beets.

Now all I needed was a dressing. I thought a citrus vinaigrette would be nice with the raw veggies but then I remembered the orange and meyer lemon marmalade that I made a few months back. I combined that with the juice of a lemon, a minced clove of garlic, some local raw honey, olive oil, a pinch or salt and some fresh mint from my herb garden.

I tossed it all together and was extremely pleased with the results. I received many complements on it from my fellow chefs, so I think the recipe will be a keeper. It was also really nice to have this crunchy salad as part of the food offerings since the pastry chefs brought some crazy good, delicious  (and not low-calorie) treats. Yum.




G A R L I C – C H I V E   P O T A T O   S A L A D
Serves 6-8

This salad can be prepared one day in advance. If the dressing becomes too thick stir in 1-2 Tablespoons of water to thin.

2 pounds fingerling (or other waxy) potatoes
2 clove garlic, minced
juice of one lemon
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1-2 Tablespoon hot water
1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped

Cut potatoes into 1/4 inch thick rounds. In a large pan cook potatoes in salted water until tender, 8-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together minced garlic, lemon juice, mayonnaise, and hot water. The dressing will be quite thin.
When potatoes are cooked drain them then immediately add the potatoes and the chives to the dressing. Stir well and season with salt and pepper. Let cool to room temperature than store in refrigerator until ready to serve.


R A W   V E G G I E   S A L A D
Serves 6-8

I used home made marmalade, but any good quality canned marmalade would work. Feel free to experiment with the amounts and types of veggies you use. If this salad sits for too long it will release quite a bit of liquid and the veggies will become very soft so it is best eaten the day that it is prepared.

1/3 cup orange marmalade
1-2 Tablespoons honey
juice of one lemon
1 clove of garlic, minced
20 or so fresh mint leaves, minced
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste

1 pound snap peas, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 bunch scallions, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 bunch kale, chopped
5 small or 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/8 inch thick slices
3 medium beets, peeled and cut into 1/8 inch thick slices, then cut into halves or quarters if larger than bite size

Whisk together all dressing ingredients. Taste for seasoning and add more honey if desired. Stir in the chopped veggies and serve.

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Briny Pork Chops with Caramelized Pears and Sage-Roasted Potatoes

Other than one meal when my mom visited during December I cannot recall having cooked at home in almost a month. First I was sick (really, really sick) and the little that I did eat was made (read warmed up) by my husband. Then I got busy with work (which, since I am a chef, involved lots of cooking) so I really wasn’t up to cooking when I got home (so lots of take-out). Then we went out of town (which is exhausting under the best of cases). I even canceled delivery of one of my boxes because I knew I would get to it.

I woke up this morning determined to cook. I picked up our box yesterday so I knew I would have lots of delicious new produce to choose from (plus, I still have lots of root veggies, which take much longer to go bad, stashed away too).

After a delicious “ladies lunch” out with one of my best friends and my Goddaughter I stopped by the QFC to pick up some sort of protein. Torn between chicken, pork or lamb I texted the husband for advice. Pork (with applesauce) was the reply (although I knew applesauce was not to be in the husband’s future). I considered a pork roast, then a pork loin before spying some thick-cut pork chops in the butcher’s case. Alas, they were boneless (and meat cooked on the bone is just better) so I asked the butcher to cut some special for me, bone-in, about 1 1/2 inch thick.

So, pork decided as the protein, I took a look in the fridge and pantry for potential counterparts. I turned up some garnet yams, and some pears (as a stand-in to the applesauce the husband wanted). I snipped a little sage from the herb garden and I was on my way.

Here’s the ingredients:

For the briny pork chops:

2 Tablespoon kosher salt
2 Tablespoon sugar
6 leaves sage
3/4 cup water
2 thick-cut bone-in pork chops

For the sage-roasted yams:

1/2 pound yams (garnet or otherwise)
2 Tablespoons or so olive oil
10 leaves sage
3 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
salt and pepper
a cast-iron pan (trust me, this is important)

For the caramelized pears:

2 Tablespoon butter
2 pears, peeled and chopped
2 Tablespoons sugar
juice and zest from 1/2 Meyer lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Now, I was cooking everything at once, so these instructions are gonna jump around a bit.

I started by making a brine for the pork chops. I combined the sugar and the sage leaves in a mortar and used a pestle to crush and bruise the sage a bit.

I then put this into a Ziploc bag, added the sugar and the water and shook the mixture until the sugar and salt had dissolved. Then I added the pork chops and tossed the bag in the fridge for a couple of hours (turning it once).

A half hour before I was set to cook, I removed the pork chops from the brine, dried them off, then set them aside for a bout a half hour so the middles of them wouldn’t be too cold when I cooked them.

Next I put the potatoes in the oven. Here they are all sliced up and ready to go.

The potatoes were inspired by a blog entry from the Food52 Website. I followed the method just about verbatim so I won’t repeat it here (but they took about 45 minutes total). I haven’t tried it with regular potatoes (as it is written) but that will be up very soon.

As soon as I put the potatoes in the oven, I heated up a grill pan, then brushed the outsides of the chops with a little olive oil and some salt and pepper. I seared the chops on one side, then flipped them and put them in the oven (alongside the potatoes) until they reached an internal temperature of 150 degrees (yeah, I know, USDA says 160 degrees, but that’s just gonna result in dry pork chops). They took about 25 minutes to cook through and they were done before the potatoes, so I just took them out of the oven and covered them with some foil until the potatoes were done too (at least five minutes of resting is important anyway).

Once everything was in the oven I started on the caramelized pears. I started by melting the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. I added the chopped pears and sauteed for about 5 minutes. Then I added the lemon zest and juice, the sugar and the salt and continued to cook the pears until they were golden brown and delicious.

To serve, I plated a few of the potatoes alongside a ginourmous pork chop then topped the pork with some of the caramelized pears, a bit of the tasty caramelizing sauce and a few of the crispy sage leaves.

How was it? Well, basically the whole time I was eating I was saying “nom, nom, nom this is so good”. The husband agreed and said that the caramelized pears were way better than any applesauce would be.

This is definitely a case where really simple ingredients, cooked well, resulted in something fantastic.

About Me

I'm a personal chef living happily with her picky-eater (but willing to try anything) husband, neurotic black lab and a red heeler puppy.

I watch way too much TV and enjoy hip-hop more than any reasonable grown-up should.

I'm an avid swimmer and sometime triathlete (whenever I'm not nursing an injury).

Find out more about me here.

About This Blog

I started this blog at a time when my personal chef business was quite slow and I needed to keep my mind busy and my skills sharp. But now, business is booming so I've had to put the blog on the back burner. So, no new recipes for now, but please enjoy my archives.

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