Friday, October 16, 2009

Roasted Potatoes with Garlic. And More Garlic. And Some Other Things.

I've posted about these potatoes before, but let me sing their praises one more time.  Easy.  Healthy.  Garlicky.  They are everything you've every wanted in a potato.  And then some.  These potatoes complete you.

If you're thinking about your Thanksgiving menu already (and I am) these might be a nice replacement for the mashed potatoes.  Thanksgiving purists, no hate mail, please.

(Also, see those chives in the picture?  I grew them!  Oh, and my peppers say hello.)

New Potatoes with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
From Cooking Light
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 7 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 3 pounds small red potatoes, quartered
  • 3 tablespoons minced chives
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, garlic, and potatoes in a roasting pan or jelly-roll pan; toss well to coat. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until tender, stirring after 35 minutes.

When cool enough to handle (10 to 15 minutes) squeeze the pulp from the garlic cloves into a large bowl.  (Toss the garlic skins.)  Combine pulp, remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, chives, vinegar and mustard in a large bowl.  Whisk, then add potatoes and toss to coat.

Serves eight.  Approximately 170 calories per serving.

The food: Mustardy, garlicky potatoes
The verdict: Garlic breath is a small price to pay for such deliciousness

Monday, October 12, 2009

Welcome Fall with Root Veggie Soup

I once knew someone who liked to use the word "rutabaga" as an insult.  Like: "Shut the door, you rutabaga, you're letting in all the cold air."  Or, "Smooth move, rutabaga."

Never having eaten a rutabaga, what I took from all of these exchanges was that rutabagas must be really bad.

But then Lynne Rossetto Kasper sent me a recipe (she sends me one at least once a week — we're like this) for root vegetable soup, featuring the lowly, lowly rutabaga.

I couldn't let Lynne down, so I made a batch.  If you'd like the recipe, you can read it below, along with Lynne's description.  No one talks food like Lynne.

Overall, I'd say this was a pretty satisfying soup.

Fall Roots Soup
From The Splendid Table's Weeknight Kitchen e-newsletter

A trio of fall root vegetables — carrots, leeks, and a rutabaga — forms the savory foundation of this soup. Puréed and enriched with crème fraîche, this potage, with its velvety, smooth texture and glorious orange hue, is always a hit — whether it's a first course or the main attraction.
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2-1/2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only (3 to 4 medium leeks)
  • 1-1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium rutabaga (1 to 1-1/2 pounds), peeled and diced
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • Kosher salt
  • 1-1/4 cups crème fraîche
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Heat butter in a large, heavy pot (with a lid) over medium-high heat. When melted and hot, add leeks, carrots, and rutabaga. Sauté vegetables until softened, for 10 minutes or longer. Add stock and bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until vegetables are very tender, for about 30 minutes.

Purée the soup in batches in a food processor, blender, or food mill, and return soup to the pot. (Or use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pot.) Whisk in 3/4 cup of the crème fraîche. Taste soup and season with salt, as needed. (The soup can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cool, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat over medium heat.)

To serve, ladle soup into shallow soup bowls. Garnish each serving with a generous dollop of the remaining 1/2 cup crème fraîche and a sprinkling of parsley.

Lynne also suggested including a yam or roasting the veggies before sautéing and pureeing.  And I used sour cream in place of the crème fraîche and topped with chives and ground pepper.

The food: Fall root veggie soup
The verdict:Rutabaga, thou has redeemed thyself

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hammy Sammies. On Biscuits.

Sue and Peter came to visit us from Maine this weekend.  In addition to a little Old North State down-home cooking at Raleigh's The Pit, we wanted to treat them to some North Carolina-inspired fare at our place.  Given the popularity of pork here, I decided on deviled ham sandwiches (made in Maine favorite Bakewell biscuits for a reminder of home as they're on the road).

The deviled ham recipe is from a recent issue of Gourmet magazine (RIP).  One-and-a-half cups of cooked, chopped ham, one-third of a cup of mayo, a tablespoon or so of grainy mustard, a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce and a little bit of Tabasco.  Mix and serve.

The biscuits were good, but overpowered the ham a little.  Next time, I think good old white bread will be in order.

The food: Deviled ham biscuit sandwiches
The verdict: The ham stole the show