Smashed Baby Taters

smashed baby potatoes with ketchup

Here’s a simple way to cook potatoes that everyone loves. Great on their own, or as a side with practically anything.  Excellent with breakfast too.

Smashed Baby Taters

makes about 4 servings

3 lbs baby white and red potatoes, cleaned and trimmed

1/4 cup butter

sea salt

Directions:

In a large saucepan,  place potatoes. Cover with water and a generous teaspoon of salt. Cook until just tender, about 8 minutes. Drain and cool for a few minutes until they are  easy to handle.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Between both palms, ‘smash’ potatoes gently until their skins break and the potatoes are flattened slightly. Place them in the pan without crowding them too much. Sprinkle very liberally with salt.  Let smashed potatoes cook until browned, then flip and repeat. Add more butter if necessary, bearing in mind that butter is good for you. Remove from pan when brown and crispy. Serve and enjoy.

Boil potatoes in salted water until fork tender, about 8 minutes.

when cool enough, gently smash those babies

Saute over medium heat, don't foget to be liberal with the salt. Potatoes need salt.

 

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Buttercup Squash Gnocchi

Buttercup Squash Gnocchi

If you looking for something different to do with all that squash you’ve been buying at the farmer’s market….and you like to play with your food, definitely give this recipe a try.   It’s very comforting and yummy on a gloomy, chilly fall day.  We enjoyed this as a side dish for a dinner party, but it could easily be served as a main dish with a salad for a ‘meatless’ meal.   It does take a bit of time, but it makes quite a bit of gnocchi – enough to freeze. I would say this recipe makes enough gnocchi to serve as a side dish for 2 meals for 4 people.   I made this recipe with butter/onion/sage leaves which goes really well with the squash. All those fall flavours and a little fresh nutmeg mixed into the dough…mmmm.  I was lucky enough to be able to pilfer some fresh sage from Cathy’s (of Dragonfly Herbs) garden – and at this time of year, fresh sage is available in the grocery stores.  *Also, the reason I chose buttercup squash over butternut is due to water content. I found  butternut squash too moist – you want the potato and squash as dry as possible so you aren’t adding tons of flour.*

Buttercup Squash Gnocchi

makes about 140 gnochhi, maybe more

1 2lb buttercup squash (not butternut)

1 medium potato

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour (approx)

1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

1 tsp salt

freshly ground pepper to taste

1 egg yolk

to finish:
1/4 cup of butter

1 small onion or shallot, finely diced

5-6 fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped

1/3 cup grated asiago or parmesan cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425F. Split squash in half and place cut side down on baking sheet. Wash and place potato on baking sheet. Bake  for 45 minutes until squash is aromatic and tender (fork will easily pierce). If the potato isn’t cooked through, continue cooking in oven, or finish cooking in microwave for a few minutes.

Turn squash right side up and let cool until you can handle it with your hands. Scrape out flesh into bowl, and mash. Peel potato and grate into squash, combine. Add salt and mix.

Combine flour, nutmeg and pepper. Place flour on clean countertop and form a well. Place squash/potato mixture in well and place egg yolk on top. Mix egg yolk into squash with clean hands, and then slowly start incorporating flour into squash….gradually mixing it in with your hands until you have a soft dough that is not too wet. Do this gently — all the flour doesn’t need to be incorporated. You want a dough that can be easily rolled into ‘ropes’ without falling apart, but also you want it to be tender, not tough and hard.

Cut dough into 6-8 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and cut into bite-size pieces. Use your own judgement. (see picture) Keep pieces separated on a lightly floured pan and cover with a clean tea towel.

*At this point you can freeze them, then once they are frozen solid, put them in portions in ziploc bags.

Bring large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.  Place gnocchi into pot. Stir gently. When gnocchi rises to the top, continue to cook for about 30 seconds or so more. Meanwhile, heat large non-stick pan to medium. Melt butter, add onion or shallot and saute, about 5 minutes. Add sage leaves and saute briefly. Using slotted spoon, drain gnocchi and add to butter/onion mixture. Toss to coat. Put into serving dish and top with cheese.

*you can also put some ridges on your gnocchi with a fork and boil, then serve with tomato sauce and cheese. Go crazy, the world is your oyster.

split and clean your squash (approx 2lb total) (1 kg)

mash cooked squash, grate potato (potato ricer is best)

make well in flour mixture, put squash mixture in middle, mix in yolk, then flour

divide your soft dough into portions

roll dough portions into ropes

cut ropes into bite size pieces "gnocchi"

add gnocchi to boiling salted water....wait until they float

saute onions...then add sage leaves, then saute gnocchi

Freakish delish

can also be done with a nice tomato sauce

 

New-fashioned Potato ‘Salad’

new potato salad

Everyone is probably getting tired of potato salad this late in the summer, but this isn’t really what I would consider traditional potato salad. Sure, it contains potatoes, and it’s served at room temperature, and it has a dressing on it, but that’s where the similarity ends. This recipe was inspired by my friend, Karin Reynolds, who knows how to make everything taste good.  I suspect this was an old family recipe, and I’ve modified it here and there to make it seem ‘new’.  Try it,  it really is very tasty and not boring at all, and it’s a delicious way to use those great new potatoes that the farmer’s markets are full of right now. Continue reading

Slow Cooker Risotto-Stuffed Peppers

I love stuffed peppers…so when I saw a recipe using aborio rice, I thought I’d try it.  That’s the same rice you would use to make risotto, so it’s a rounder grain, it produces a creamier finished product, and I found the entire stuffed pepper held together really well when you sliced the pepper in halves or quarters.  Recipes for stuffed peppers are a dime a dozen, and  I’ve adapted this version from the current (Aug/Sept 2011) edition of Cook’s Country magazine. There is no meat in my version, but you could easily reduce the rice and add in some sauteed ground beef, chicken or sausage.  Also, you could bake these in the oven, but it’s nice and easy to throw in the slow-cooker and walk away for a few hours. Continue reading

Roasted Yellow Pepper Soup with Smoked Paprika Oil

yellow pepper soup with smoked paprika oil

If you’ve been missing soup lately because of all the barbequing, this is just the soup to fill the void, make you happy and soothe your soul. The title makes it sound complicated, but it’s as easy as hell.  * Smoked paprika is a Spanish form of paprika (made from red peppers) which has a smoky flavour and is (widely) available in sweet or hot. Try a specialty store if your grocery store doesn’t carry it.

I was wondering what to do with a few big yellow peppers I had and am so glad I made this. The soup is a nice, bright, summery colour; the drizzle of smoked paprika oil makes it look gourmet — and you won’t believe how amazing it tastes!  The soup itself is mildly flavoured with a nice texture, but the smoked paprika oil (which takes about 4 seconds to make) totally blew me away with the intensity it added. A smoky and spicy ‘pop’ in your mouth with every bite.  I absolutely loved it and even the picky people in my life enjoyed it. We ate it in small bowls for lunch for a few days with a salad – perfect. Try it — I know you’ll love it. Then, at your next dinner party, serve this as an starter – I’m going to, it’s that good. (and super easy to make). Keeps well for 3-4 days in the fridge, and I thought it tasted even better the second day.

Roasted Yellow Pepper Soup with Smoked Paprika Oil

adapted from foodnetwork.ca

makes 6-8 servings

For the Smoked Paprika Oil

1 tsp smoked paprika (hot or sweet– I used hot and it was great)

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

For the Soup

3 large yellow peppers, halved and cored

1 large onion, diced

2 large potatoes, peeled and diced

1 tbsp olive oil

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

salt and pepper to taste

For the Smoked Paprika Oil

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the oil over low heat. Add the paprika, mix and remove from the heat. Set aside. Pour into a small bowl.

For the Soup

  1. With the rack in the top position, preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the peppers cut side down on the cookie sheet. Brush with oil and broil until the skin blisters and blackens, 8 to 10 minutes. Cover with foil. Let cool. Pull off the skin and cut the flesh into cubes.
  3. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook  the onion in oil until softened. Add the broth, peppers and potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
  4. In a blender or with an immersion blender, purée the soup until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Ladle the soup into bowls and drizzle with smoked paprika oil.

    roast, peel and chop peppers

    peppers, potatoes, onions and broth

    puree with immersion blender or use a traditional blender

    smoked paprika oil

Lemon Quinoa Salad with spinach, feta, caramelized onion

quinoa salad

I’ve been cooking quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) quite a lot lately and we really love it. It’s easy to prepare and similar to rice in it’s cooking method. I look at it as a high-protein carbohydrate that is ready to be flavoured however you like. This salad is a good example. It can be made ahead a day, is a great traveller for a picnic/bbq, and just tastes damn fine. So why not try it as a way to start using quinoa? Make sure you rinse the quinoa well before cooking and buy organic if you can.

Lemon Quinoa Salad with Spinach, Feta and Carmelized Onion

adapted from Dish Entertains

serves about 8

1 cup of quinoa (uncooked)

1/4 cup of butter or ghee

2 red onions (white onions are fine if you don’t have red, but red looks better in the salad), sliced thinly

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup diced feta cheese (1/2 inch (1 cm) cubes)

6 cups baby spinach, washed and chopped coarsely

salt and pepper to taste

Rinse and cook quinoa according to package directions. When done, remove from heat, fluff with a fork and cool.

Heat a large pan over medium heat, and melt butter or ghee.  Add onions, sprinkle with a good pinch of salt and cook slowly, stirring often, for about 10 minutes. Put in more butter if it gets dry.  Add minced garlic and continue to cook until onions are golden brown – about 15 more minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.

In a large bowl, combine quinoa, feta, lemon zest and spinach. Add 1/2 a cup of Simple Vinaigrette (recipe below) and  season with salt and pepper. Serve cool or at room temperature.

*I used preserved lemons in the recipe which work well also

Simple Vinaigrette

makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 cup olive oil

1/3 cup vinegar (your choice – I used balsamic)

juice of 2 lemons (that you already zested for salad)

2 tsp maple syrup or honey

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground pepper

2 tsp dijon mustard

Mix all ingredients.

carmelize the onions and garlic

assemble ingredients

carmelized onion, lemon, feta, spinach

Delish

Patio Dining – Delicious and Healthy

salad greens with homemade vinaigrette, beef tenderloin, roasted asparagus (dinner for 2 shown here)

Gotta love patio dining!

We get used to, over the years, baked potatoes, burgers and buns – traditional summer fare, however,  it is possible to easily create summer meals that are incredibly delicious while also being low-carb.  Personally, I find that keeping white carbs and sugar out of my diet is the only way I can prevent myself from gaining weight.  It is also a good way to keep your blood sugar low if you are diabetic, or if you are cooking for one.  This dinner has enough fat and  great flavours — you won’t miss those potatoes! Bon Apetit! And to your health!

For this dinner we had mixed organic greens with feta and red grapes, drizzled with a delicious vinaigrette. 

For  the protein component, we grilled 4 oz. beef tenderloin steaks, and topped those with a small pat (1/2 tsp) of a compound butter. (All I did was mix up a little smoked spanish paprika with butter, then roll in saran and refrigerate. When cold, slice a small disc to place on hot steak.) As well, we had some roasted asparagus with finely diced preserved lemon (or use lemon juice) and freshly grated parmesan. Delish!

Simple salad

grilled 4 oz beef tenderloin steaks with smoked paprika butter

roasted asparagus with preserved lemon and grated parmesan

no potatoes necessary