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Posts Tagged ‘potatoes’

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for the past month.  Lately I’m loving the following things: (1) one-pot meals with tons of veggies; (2) frozen fish fillets from Costco; (3) dinners that come together quickly.  This dinner fills all three categories.  It pulls together without a lot of work (just a little chopping, but I like a little chopping at the end of the day – it helps me wind down from work and get into the evening frame of mind), and it’s a great way to use a few fish fillets without roasting or sauteeing them – my go-tos, but it’s good to mix things up.  We’ve been eating a lot of stew lately – lentil-vegetable; chicken and herb; or fish.  It’s nice healthy comfort food that I can whip up quickly so that the adults in the house can all eat a home-cooked meal before we begin the bedtime dance with Peanut.

Ingredients

1 tbsp cocnut oil
1 onion, large dice
1 sweet potato, large dice
kosher salt
1 bunch broccoli, large dice
1 can coconut milk
1 can diced tomatoes in juice
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
dash crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
2 tilapia filets, large dice

Method

  • In a Dutch oven or heavy saucepan, heat coconut oil over medium-high burner until oil has liquified.
  • Add diced onion and sweet potato to oil, season generously with kosher salt and saute until vegetables are beginning to brown, then add coconut milk and diced tomatoes.
  • Add spices and season again with another pinch of kosher salt.  Stir to combine well.  Replace lid and turn heat down to medium.  Allow to simmer for approximately 10 minutes, until sweet potatoes are half cooked.
  • Add corn, broccoli and tilapia, replace lid and simmer for another 10 minutes until fish is cooked through and all vegetables are done.  Serve immediately or turn heat to low and simmer for another 10 minutes (not necessary, but will help the flavors to marry).

Yield: Serves 4.

Source: Covered In Flour

(Nota Baker: You don’t have to precisely follow this recipe.  Use the veggies and the protein you happen to have lying around.  If you have chicken instead of tilapia, or zucchini instead of broccoli, that’s totally cool.  This is more of a formula than a recipe that you must follow to the letter.  And if you’re not interested in the coconut-curry flavor, use olive oil and broth, and herbs instead of the curry and spices.  It’s all about what sounds good to you in the moment.  Low-maintenance cooking win!)

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I was going to spend yesterday evening creating a snack station and post about that today… but instead I spent the evening crying over videos of kittens on YouTube. Pregnancy – it’s not for the faint of heart! So instead I’m reblogging one more recipe from my archives – and this one is timed pretty well, if I do say so myself, since Memorial Day is coming up this weekend. If you have a picnic to attend, do consider this fresh, healthy alternative to the traditional mayo-laden potato salad. Enjoy!

At last, at last, it’s summer.  You can feel free to break out the white jeans, the linen skirts, whatever blows your hair back.  But more interesting – at least to me – is that summer is Picnic Season.

I LOVE picnics.  Cookouts, too.  Food just tastes better outside, if you ask me.  I think it has something to do with memories.  I have a lot of great memories, already in my twenty-something years, and many of them involve eating outside.  There were many, many barbeques at my parents’ lake house… including plenty of servings of my favorite marinated chicken, and the infamous day when my mom dumped citronella wax over our family friend’s fabulous peach upside-down cake.  (We ate the cake anyway, just picked off the wax.  If you’d met our friend, you’d understand.  It would be a crime to waste her cake over something as minor as a little wax… or even a lot of wax.) There were snacks on the beach, where the sand blew into the food and added that certain crunchy je-ne-sais-quoi.  Even in the winter, we ate outside, on days when the sun was beating down despite the snow and we were warm from skiing.

I still eat outside whenever possible.  My picnics nowadays consist of anything from a few coworkers eating Cosi sandwiches on the National Mall, to fruit and cheese at one of my favorite Virginia wineries, to lounging beside the Potomac, watching the tour boats go by on Memorial Day or the Fourth of July.  I’ve been known to carry a cherry pie on my lap in the car and plunk it down in the grass.  Why not?

If you ask me, the quintessential picnic food would have to be potato salad.  Whether it’s my grandma’s decadent potato salad with eggs – mandatory every Easter – or room-temperature boiled potatoes glazed with a salt water reduction and chives, or this wonderful, slightly more healthy, tangy and fresh yogurt potato salad, I’m more likely than not going to be toting some version of chilled potatoes in dressing along on my outdoor gustatory adventures.  Potato salad can be anything from outrageously rich to light and refreshing.  Who wouldn’t want some in their cooler?

Yogurt Potato Salad with Dill

2 cups chopped potatoes (red or Idaho)
1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt (regular or Greek-style)
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 scallions, finely sliced
fresh black pepper

  • Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender.  Drain and allow to cool.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine remaining ingredients and mix well.
  • Add potatoes and toss to coat with yogurt mixture.  If necessary, add more yogurt a little at a time until proportions reach your preference.
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  Serve chilled.

Source: Covered In Flour

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Well, it’s December.  Month of card-writing, gift-wrapping, cookie-baking and party-attending.  Not to mention all those loose ends you’re probably trying to tie up at work before the end of the year.  Are you completely overwhelmed yet?  Ready to throw in the towel?  Or still trucking along with some holiday spirit?

If you’re feeling a little bit under the gun, you’re not alone.  I know the feeling.  I know it well.  I’ve had some dark moments where I’m pretty sure that my to-do list is longer than my driveway.  And I’ve learned from experience – there’s only one way to get through the month with sanity intact, and that’s to make a priority of taking care of myself.  Just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean that I stop mattering.  I still deserve yummy, healthy, nutrient-rich meals and time to exercise.  I still deserve to practice basic self-care, and dangit, I WILL practice basic self-care.  The cards will get written, the gifts bought, and the house cleaned and decorated.  But at the end of the month, I’ll still be smiling.  Because that’s what I deserve.  And so do you!

Here’s a good place to start: a light and delicious soup packed full of nutritious fresh vegetables.  You can follow my recipe or adapt it to whatever happens to be knocking around your crisper drawer.  The more veg, the merrier!  So go to town on those beans and veggies… and I promise you’ll feel nourished, loved, and ready to take on those holiday-shopper crowds.  Veggie power!

Veggie-Full Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 white onion, diced
~1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 celery ribs, washed and diced
2 medium red potatoes, scrubbed and diced
1 cup diced haricots verts
1 1/2 cup frozen yellow corn
1 can chickpeas or cannellini beans, drained
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth

  • Heat olive oil until shimmering in a large saucepan or stock pot.  Add onions and salt, and saute until translucent.
  • Add carrots and celery and saute with onions until slightly softened.
  • Add remaining vegetables, chickpeas and dried thyme, and saute until thyme is fragrant.
  • Add tomatoes and broth and stir to combine (and deglaze pot, if necessary).  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer 25-30 minutes until flavors are melded.  Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.

Source: Covered In Flour

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Spring Green Soup

Spring is the most glorious season of the year in DC.  There are flowers, literally, everywhere.  For a few weeks, it seems like there isn’t a tree in the mid-Atlantic region that’s not in bloom.  Dogwood, cherry trees, and my favorite redbuds are on every street corner.  And then there are the fields of daffodils, the flowers blooming up and down every street in the city, and you should see my neighborhood – gardens in bloom everywhere.  It’s gorgeous.  I love it.

Unfortunately for me, spring in DC also brings epic amounts of pollen – obviously – and every year my body completely revolts.  I usually spend several weeks of the spring holed up indoors and even that isn’t enough to keep me from coming down with a miserable case of spring allergies.  In the worst years, I’m virtually unintelligable.  This year I thought I was getting off easy and I got cocky and went out for a run on Sunday morning.  I waited until the worst pollen time (5:00-10:00 a.m.) was over, but I was out the door at about 10:05 and apparently I didn’t wait long enough, because I am a mess now.  Yesterday I spent the entire day sneezing and rubbing my eyes.  Fortunately, my office is well acquainted with my allergy woes and they know I’m not contagious!  Still, by the end of the day I was a pretty unhappy girl and desperately in need of something soothing and nourishing.  I knew exactly what I wanted – green soup.  Between the leeks, potatoes and spinach, I enjoyed each and every nutrient.  Now, I’m not delusional – I know that green soup isn’t going to cure my allergies.  But it’s a nice way to celebrate the season while I stare wistfully at the gardens outside my window.  Here’s to a few days of low pollen counts…

Spring Green Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 leeks, white and light green parts only, cleaned
3 potatoes, large-diced
kosher salt
5 cups water
1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon vegetable base
4 large handfuls baby spinach
freshly ground pepper to taste

  • In a large cast iron pot, heat olive oil over medium-high.  Chop leeks and add to oil.  Season with a pinch of kosher salt and stir to coat with oil.  Allow leeks to cook down for about 5 minutes.
  • Add potatoes and season with another good pinch of kosher salt.  Stir potatoes and leeks together.
  • Add water and Better Than Bouillon and bring to a boil.  Cook for 20-25 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender.
  • Add spinach and stir into soup until spinach is wilted down.  Blend soup in a high speed blender or in the pot with an immersion blender until it reaches the consistency desired.  Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.  Garnish with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and serve immediately.

Source: Covered In Flour

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Lighter Twice-Baked Potatoes

Would you believe that I had never made twice-baked potatoes before?  Shoot, I’ve barely ever even eaten them.  I don’t know why… the few times I’ve had twice-baked potatoes, I liked them.  I liked them very much indeed.  I always make sure to grab the little bite-sized TBPs from buffets when they’re there, but for some reason it never really occurred to me to bake them at home.

Then last spring, hubby and I visited our friends in Texas, and they fed us twice-baked potatoes.  Holy home cookin’ revelation, Batman!  They’re not hard, and they’re always appreciated.  Why not whip some up at home?  Well, time got away from me, as it often does.  But the other night, I found myself looking for a quick side dish to whip up, with a bag of Yukon Golds languishing in the bottom of my freakishly organized pantry.  So I thought I would lighten up the traditional twice-baked potato by mixing it with nonfat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, mayonnaise, or Ranch dressing.  It’s not a complete health food, of course… there’s a bit of cheese in there, if you hadn’t noticed.  Hey, protein, right?  Anyway, the flavor is spot on and the guilt isn’t quite as debilitating.  Go ahead, have one.

Lighter Twice-Baked Potatoes

5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 + 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar-Jack cheese mix
~1 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • Scrub Yukon Gold potatoes and wrap in two paper towels (one large packet is fine; no need to individually wrap the potatoes).  Place on a microwave-safe plate and microwave 8 minutes, until potatoes are soft.  Remove from microwave and allow to rest a few minutes until potatoes are soft enough to handle.
  • Meanwhile, position a rack a few inches below the top of your oven and preheat the broiler to high.
  • Halve the potatoes.  Using a teaspoon, scoop out the insides of each potato half, making sure to leave enough potato flesh so that the shells retain their structural integrity.  (How’s that for words?  I’m a lawyer!)
  • Place potato flesh in a bowl and combine with yogurt, 1/2 cup cheese, salt and pepper.  Using a fork (or potato masher, if you are fancy like that), mash together the potatoes, yogurt and cheese until they are combined and fluffy, but don’t be too precious about lumps.  We’re going for rustic here.
  • Scoop potato filling back into shells.  Press a pinch of reserved cheese on each potato half.
  • Broil approximately 5 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly and filling is warmed through.

Makes 10 potato halves.

Source: Covered In Flour

Also, just because I can…

This is Ezra.  He’s my new nephew.  He’s part beagle, part rat terrier, part Doberman, ALL cuteness.  Hi, Ezra!

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Last month, I took a brief jaunt to Miami to visit my fabulous friend Rebecca.  Rebecca and I met in college and discovered that we shared an affinity for good food, good wine, and good dinner conversation.  Once we discovered these mutual interests, Rebecca and I were practically inseparable.  By senior year, when we each had apartments of our own (Rebecca took the plunge earlier – I was harder to pry away from the sorority house) we made a habit of cooking and eating dinner together every night.  Since we did everything together anyway – meeting in the morning to walk to class, sitting together in every class that we could (and we made a point to sign up for as many of the same classes as possible – including wine tasting, of course), meeting after class to walk home together, going to the grocery store and farmers market together, cooking together, eating together, and watching bad reality TV together – it was only natural that we would absorb some of each other’s recipes.  Today, we’ve been friends for nine years; Rebecca makes my poached eggs, and I follow her method for cooking eggplant.

So anyway, where am I going with this?  Well, here you have an adaptation of one of talented Rebecca’s recipes – roasted blue potatoes with with vegan aioli.  She whipped up the original on the Sunday night before I flew home to the hubby, while I laid on her couch complaining about having eaten too much caviar at brunch that morning (and afternoon) at the Biltmore Hotel.  When Rebecca suggested these potatoes, I reacted strongly, I admit – in fact, I may have screamed “NOOOOOOO!”  But when they came out of the oven, Rebecca presented them in a spiral on a plate and proceeded to make “yummy” noises until I relented and tried them.  Needless to say, I was whipping up my own version of Rebecca’s aioli and serving it alongside adorable steamed purple fingerling potatoes for the hubs less than a week later.  I know a good thing when I see it.  And taste it.  And so does Rebecca.

Steamed Purple Fingerlings with Lemon Aioli

1 pound purple fingerling potatoes (substitute Russian Banana or other fingerlings)
1/4 cup mayonnaise (or vegannaise)
zest and juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon chopped chives, parsley or dill (cook’s choice!)

  • Scrub the fingerling potatoes clean, but don’t peel them.  Slice the potatoes lengthwise and cook in a steamer set over simmering water for approximately 15 minutes, until tender.
  • Meanwhile, make the aioli: combine the mayo, lemon zest, juice and chopped herbs in a small bowl.  Transfer to serving dish and garnish with additional chopped herbs if desired.
  • That’s it!  Easy, right?

Source: adapted from Messybaker’s BFF Rebecca

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Classic Mashed Potatoes

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Is there anyone alive who doesn’t like mashed potatoes?  If so, I’d like to meet them.  I would have a lot of questions.  No, I’ve never encountered anyone who actively dislikes mashed potatoes.  I’ve encountered many diverse, and all equally passionately held, opinions about mashed potatoes, though… it seems that everyone holds strong preferences on this topic.  Do you like them lumpy or smooth? Skins on or off?  With cheese, buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream?  Do you add mix-ins?  What about herbs?  Do you process them in the mixer, or with a food mill, or with a potato ricer, or with a potato masher?

Here are my strongly-held opinions about mashed potatoes: I like them smooth, but with skins on (c’mon, you need some nutrients).  I don’t believe lumps have any place in a bowl of mashed potatoes.  For that reason, I use a stand mixer.  I just can’t commit to the time it takes to make potatoes as smooth as I like them with a potato masher, and hubby hates my potato ricer for some reason.  (If you do make smooth mashed potatoes with a masher, God bless you.  I have so much respect for you!)  I like mine with buttermilk or yogurt, and I like to add chives.  That’s my classic formula, but I’m not afraid to mix it up, either… mashed potatoes can handle it.

Do you disagree with my opinions about mashed potatoes?  Good!  There’s nothing like a potato debate.  Bottom line, the thing about mashed potatoes is this: every cook should know how to make them.  Every cook should have a preferred recipe.  And every cook should deviate from that recipe routinely.  It’s the only way to give the humble potato the respect it deserves, but will never ask for.

Classic Mashed Potatoes

1 pound potatoes (Yukon Gold or red new potatoes are great), scrubbed and large-diced
1/4 cup buttermilk (or regular milk, or milk and yogurt…)
1 heaping tablespoon light sour cream
kosher salt
fresh black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped chives (or scallions)

  • Bring a large pot of water to a hard boil and salt generously with kosher salt.  Add large-diced potatoes and boil hard for approximately 20 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender.
  • Drain potatoes and add them to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment.  Begin beating at a low speed, gradually bringing the speed up (every 10-15 seconds or so) to the maximum.  Beat on maximum speed for approximately one minute – but keep an eye on the potatoes.  You don’t want them to get gluey!  If necessary, stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides. (Or, alternatively, process through a food mill or potato ricer into a heat-resistant bowl, or return them to the pot and take out your frustrations on them with a potato masher.)
  • With the mixer running on low (or with your trusty wooden spoon) stir in the liquid(s) and the chives.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  (Remember, you salted the cooking water, so the potatoes are somewhat seasoned already.  It’s important to taste before adding any additional salt, to make sure you don’t over-do it.)  If desired, mix in any additional herbs, sliced scallions, bacon bits, cheese… whatever your little heart desires!  Go nuts!

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Source: Mixer method adapted from KitchenAid mixer instructions; recipe Covered In Flour

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