Spicy Cilantro Hasselback Potatoes

I’ve always admired the beautiful specimen that is a Hasselback potato. It is both fancy and homey, both elegant and comforting, both something you may find at a top-notch restaurant or in your mother’s kitchen.

I admire it…for I don’t have the patience to make my own. Ha!

The gorgeous sliced effect of the Hasselbeck potato takes a bit of effort and patience, and though I try to stay calm, my mind always runs at about a mile a minute. Sometimes, it takes wicked amounts discipline for me to complete more ornate cooking and baking tasks. Pie crusts? I smush them down with my fingers, because I don’t care if it’s pretty! I just want it to taste good! However, when it comes to food styling, I flip on a dime and get more zen and careful. Go figure.

Well, I took the time to slice some taters, and the result was worth the care and time put into it. Pretty lil’ babies, aren’t they?

This recipe can certainly be adjusted if you want to add butter; since I’m still on my dairy-free diet, I’m going a strict oil route here. I’m not complaining, because I’m a gal that loves her olive oil! (Vengo dall’eredità italiana!) I recently discovered a new brand, The Blue Olive, and I got a bottle of their Baklouti Green Chili Fused Extra Virgin Olive Oil.It’s…got a kick, to say the least! My bland palate got an education. Ha! But when you mix it with some cilantro and bake it into the potatoes, the heat is slow and low, leaving a lovely little tingle in the back of your mouth. It’s an amazingly comforting winter dish, perfect for these brick winter days…or even for these milder winter days that are a complete 180° turn from last weekend! (Hello, 50°F! Goodbye 10°F!) Even better, The Blue Olive has their main store up in Pawling – perfect for those north of NYC! It’s literally across the street from that town’s MetroNorth station. Shop local, y’all!

– – – –

NOTE: Thank you to Bryce from The Blue Olive for providing me with this olive oil for testing purposes!

– – – –

Spicy Cilantro Hasselback Potatoes
(Makes two large potatoes; serves 2 – 4)

Ingredients:

– 2 large Ruseet potatoes, skins scrubbed
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 1/8 cup Baklouti Green Chili Fused Extra Virgin Olive Oil (See Before We Get Started…)
– 1/4 cup cilantro, cleaned and minced
– 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
– 1/4 teaspoon salt

Before We Get Started…

– If you do not have this specific brand of olive oil – substitute a spicy olive oil of your choice or add 1/4 teaspoon chili powder to 1/2 cup regular olive oil and thoroughly blend.

– The method I use to slice the potatoes is listed in Step #2. For other ways to slice potatoes, please look here!

– If desired, substitute regular olive oil with 1/4 cup melted butter; I am currently eating dairy-free as of the time of this recipe’s development, so please indulge, as I can not. Ha!

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 375°F.

2.) To slice potatoes, place potato on a firm surface and place two chopsticks on either side. Use a large sharp knife to slowly and carefully slice down into the potato until the knife’s blade reaches the chopstick. This insures that the potato is sliced but the bottom remains in tact, allowing for the “fan” effect of the hasselback potato. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet or roasting pan and set aside.

3.) Whisk together both types of olive oil, cilantro, garlic powder, and salt until thoroughly combined. Using a food brush, carefully dab between each potato slice with the oil mixture. If necessary, add more oil and / or cilantro if you start to run low. Drizzle any remaining oil mixture on top of potatoes.

4.) Bake for 60 minutes; at the 30 minute mark, check on potatoes and baste / brush with any extra oil in the bottom of the pan.

5.) Remove from oven, top with additional cilantro, if desired, and serve immediately! If there are leftovers, refrigerate; to reheat, drizzle with a glug of olive oil and place in a 350°F degree oven for 15 – 20 minutes until warmed through and slightly crispy on top.

Advertisements
Kale tomato white bean soup

Kale, Tomato, & White Bean Soup

Though I have little room in my freezer (due partly to roommates that have frozen vegetables and TV dinners…), I still love to cook pots of soup in the winter and freeze the leftovers for a rainy day (or, better, a snowy day). Soup is a comfort food to me; growing up, I ate bowls of my Nana Fracaro’s chicken soup with tubettini pasta, no matter if it was in the middle of winter or at 11:30 on a hot summer’s morning while we watched “The Price Is Right“. Whenever I go to a restaurant, if I see a good Soup Du Jour on the menu, I go for it. I’ll take my soups any way I can take them, though I tend to lean towards a good classic chicken noodle, gazpacho, vichyssoise, French Onion, or cream of tomato.

Over the years, I’ve been trying to lighten my recipes up where I can (such as with my plant-based Creamy Tomato Soup with Cashew Cream or my Tomato & Zucchini Noodle Soup with Veal Meatballs), and, well, here is another example! Trying to get back to my good veggie grind, I wanted a hearty vegetable-packed soup to last me a few work days.

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal

Between the tomatoes, kale, carrots, onions, garlic, and herbs, I felt as though I ate the entire garden. That is not a bad thing.

Kale tomato white bean soup

Kale, Tomato, & White Bean Soup
(Adapted from the New York Times recipe for Quick Tomato, White Bean, & Kale Soup)

Ingredients:

– 1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
– 1 large carrot, chopped
– 2 large garlic cloves, minced
– 1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes, with juice
– 1 medium Yukon Gold or Russet potato, peeled and diced
– 4 cups kale, stemmed, washed, and roughly chopped (roughly 1/4 pound of kale)
– 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
– 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
– 6 cups water
– 1 tablespoon tomato paste
– 1 teaspoon oregano
– 1 teaspoon dried thyme
– 1 teaspoon dried parsley
– 1 – 2 cups pre-cooked rice (optional)
– Salt and pepper, to taste

Before We Get Started…

– This soup tastes absolutely amazing on its own! That being said, after making and photographing my initial batch, I added some leftover rice I had from some Indian takeout I had a few nights prior. WOW. The soup was really enhanced by the rice. Though loaded with vegetables and beans, the broth is, well, brothy! It’s not creamy or fatty. The rice does add a tad of starch to the broth, as well an a little bit of bulk to the soup in general. It’s a lovely addition if you choose to go that direction!

Directions:

1.) Place a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or dutch oven on the stove. over medium heat. Add olive oil, allow to heat up slightly, then add add the onion, carrot, and a pinch of salt. Cook vegetables for approximately 6 to 8 minutes or until tender; be careful to not let vegetables brown. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for one minute.

2.) Stir in tomatoes and juice from the can and combine with vegetables. Continue to cook over medium heat for 8 – 10 minutes or until until the tomatoes have slightly reduced.

3.) Add water, tomato paste, oregano, thyme, parsley, and potato. Bring soup to boil, cover, and simmer until potato chunks are tender, roughly 10 minutes.

4.) Add the kale and simmer another 10 minutes, until the kale is wilted down but still holds some of its shape. Stir in the beans and heat through for 5 minutes; if adding pre-cooked rice, add and stir in with beans. Serve immediately or allow to cool slight before putting into storage containers for refrigeration or freezing.

blue potato and sweet corn hash

Blue Potato & Sweet Corn Hash

I’ve been on a sweet potato kick as of late, and when I say as of late, I mean the past year or so. I eat sweet potatoes at least three times a week. It’s just so easy to chop them up or spiralize them! I can have them for dinner one night and have enough leftovers for two or three lunches for the week! Frankly, I’m surprised that I don’t glow orange by now.

blue potato and sweet corn hash

Blue potatoes are an item I don’t get too often, and why I say they are an item I don’t get too often, I don’t think I’ve ever bought any before. Ha! The closest I’ve come is buying the occasional bag of of Terra blue potato chips over the years. I’ve had no real reason to buy them. Hell, I didn’t have a good reason when I bought them at the farmers’ market by Columbia University yesterday morning. ‘Twas mere impulse.

blue potato and sweet corn hash

There was still quite a bit of summer fare at both the Columbia and Inwood greenmarkets this weekend, though the tomatoes weren’t looking as hardy, and the cobs of corn were looking a little worse for wear. I picked up one last ear of corn along with my blue potatoes, not having a plan to combine them into a dish. Inspiration simply struck when I got home. I was going to make oatmeal with pumpkin and apples for breakfast, but a hearty craving hit me.

blue potato and sweet corn hash

This is, literally, a two ingredient dish, save for oil and salt. Once I started to dream up this combination, I though, “Onions! Peppers!” I looked in the fridge. I had neither. Was I going to go back outside to walk to the store? NOPE. Living on the 4th floor of a 5-story walk-up makes you incredibly lazy sometimes. Haaa.

img_8055

This makes a great side dish with a nice egg, but it works very well on its own, as well. I had two servings, and it powered me through my morning. It’d probably go lovely with a nice cut of meat and a salad too, if you are feeling omnivorous.

Blue Potato & Sweet Corn Hash
(Makes 4 servings as a side dish)

Ingredients:

– 3 small blue potatoes (equivocal to a potato roughly the size of your fist or smaller)
– 1 ear sweet corn, kernels cut off of cob or one 14 oz. can sweet corn, drained and rinsed
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 3 cups water
– Salt, to taste

Before We Get Started…

– In the directions, you’ll see that I’ve said to boil the potatoes. You may be tempted to say, “Screw it. I’m just going to cook the potatoes straight up!” Let me tell you: BOIL THE POTATOES! My first attempt at this recipe involved me cooking the potatoes raw in the pan, and I had a HELL of a time scraping all of the gunk out of the bottom of my frying pan afterwards. After boiling the potatoes on my second attempt, they still stuck a bit, but not nearly as badly as they did when I cooked them raw.

– Based on the preceding information, use a non-stick pan for this hash. Thank me later.

Directions:

1.) Place water into a medium saucepan and bring to a slow boil.

2.) If using fresh corn, husk ear, remove silk, and carefully cut off corn kernels. Set aside. If using canned corn, drain corn and set aside.

3.) Dice potatoes into bite-sized pieces. Place potatoes in a colander and rinse until cold water. Add to boiling water and turn down to medium heat. Cook for approximately 7 minutes or until potatoes are becoming fork tender but are still slightly resistant when trying to mash with a fork. (Does that make sense? Haha…) Place potatoes back in colander and allow to drain for at least five minutes. If potatoes retain too much surface moisture, blot with a paper towel or a clean dish towel.

4.) In a large non-stick pan, add olive oil. Turn heat to medium. Add potatoes when oil starts to shimmer. Stir and cook until potatoes begin to crisp up and slightly brown; cook potatoes to your liking! (I like crispier potatoes and cooked for 10 minutes.) Once potatoes are cook to your liking, add corn and salt (to taste) and cook for one more minute. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

blue potato and sweet corn hash

Potato Chips

Potato Chips

I’ve previously stated on this blog that my love for salt and all things savory far exceeds my love for sweets.

Just ask my mother. I have been oft scolded over the past few decades of my life for stealing chips from her bags of potato chips.

I still steal from her bags of chips when I’m visiting them in Connecticut, though she doesn’t eat chips the way she used to. *sigh*

Potato Chips

Recently, a new underground shopping mall opened in the Columbus Circle subway station. Turnstyle is full of hip bakeries, juiceries, and restaurants. I commute through this subway stop two to three times a week, and at the end of my work day, as I walk past artisan grilled cheese sandwiches, freshly-fried miniature donuts, and fair trade cold brewed coffee …I still will go to the magazine vendor on the platform and buy my 50¢ bag of Utz potato chips.

…I just love potato chips. For me, choosing my all time favorite comfort food is a hard battle between them and macaroni and cheese. Maybe I’ll start crumbling chips on top of my mac and cheese! Hmmmmm…tempting

Potato Chips

Note: I ate about 90% of this entire batch of chips after photographing them. Bless my roommate Sally for tackling the other 10%. She saved me from myself. Ha!

Potato Chips

Potato Chips
(Makes approximately 4 – 5 cups of chips)
(Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit’s recipe for Crispiest Potato Chips)

Ingredients:

– 2 Russet potatoes, scrubbed and left unpeeled
– 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
– 4 cups vegetable oil
– Salt, to taste

Before We Get Started…

Though seemingly simple, this recipe took me almost two hours to complete from start to finish. There are many steps, so get prepared first:

1.) Have a large bowl ready to soak potato slices in after they have been sliced.

2.) Have paper towels or clean dish towels placed on two baking sheets after potatoes have soaked, then have paper towels or a clean dish towel available to pat them dry before they are fried.

3.) Have two baking sheets lined with paper towels prepped so potatoes can immediately be drained when removed from the oil; in lieu of baking sheets, wire racks will work.

4.) Having a cooking thermometer is key and recommended.

Directions:

1.) Slice potatoes to approximately 1/8″ thick with a knife or a mandolin. Place slices in a bowl filled with cold water and gently agitate with hands to remove starch from potatoes. Drain, refill bowl, and gently agitate slices until water runs clear. (i.e.: Majority of starch has been removed.) In the same bowl, cover the potatoes with cold water and add vinegar. Allow to sit for 30 minutes. Drain and place slices on towels on baking sheets. (See #2 on Before We Get Started) Pat dry.

2.) In a medium to large heavy-bottomed pot, clip cooking thermometer to pot, add oil. and bring to a temperature of 300°F. Working in batches, gently add and fry slices until golden brown on both sides, about 4 – 5 minutes per batch. Carefully remove slices from oil with slotted spoon or spatula and place on baking sheets. (See #3 on Before We Get Started) Season with salt or preferred seasoning(s).

Breakfast Bake

Potato & Pepper Breakfast Bake for One

On my Instagram account a few days back, I posed a question to some of my followers in which I asked what I should put for my second blog post. A vast majority wanted me to post a recipe for Brown Butter Cinnamon Rice Krispie Treats. This guy I know pretty well, Adam*, makes some pretty spectacular ones, loved by my friends, roommates, family, and co-workers alike.

…then the perfectionist in me didn’t like any of the photos I had taken of them in prior weeks and will wait until I’m blessed with better natural lighting.

Still, would y’all really complain if I decided to put a shredded potato, red bell peppers, and a baked egg in a cast iron skillet, would ya?

breakfast bake

Didn’t think so.

A few weeks ago, I had some of my close foodie friends over for a small brunch at my apartment. Though my brunch preferences always lean towards the side of French toasts and pancakes, I knew I was baking for fans of savory brunch bites and connoisseurs of Yolk Porn. I am a big fan of cast iron skillets, if I may sound like a somewhat typical food blogger AND a Millennial female. *sigh* But really, who doesn’t love cooking ware that can go straight from stove top to the oven? It saves me time and dishes! I found a recipe online for a cast iron skillet-cooked breakfast bake, and it’s hard to go wrong with a carb, vegetable, and protein cooked together in one felt swoop. It was a hit among my friends, even if I did overcook the yolks.** I found myself craving it again in the weeks after this brunch, but didn’t want to whip out a 13″ skillet just for myself. Thank you, Lodge, for the creation of your 8″ cast iron skillet. You know how to make a girl happy.

breakfast bake

* – He’s been stalking me pretty consistently for almost three years now. I’ve just given up. After all, he loves washing my dishes after I cook.

** – I hope my friends have forgiven me. If they haven’t, they’ve done a great job hiding their deep-seated animosity.

Potato & Pepper Breakfast Bake for One

Ingredients:
– 1 Russet Potato, scrubbed and eyes removed
– 1 tablespoon butter
– 1 red bell pepper, diced
– 1 small white onion, diced
– 1 egg
– 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
– 2 garlic cloves, minced
– Salt and pepper, to taste
– Chopped cilantro or parsley for garnish (optional)
.

Before We Get Started…

– Preheat oven to 350 °F.
– This dish will work best as noted in an 8″ – 9″ cast iron skillet. Should you not have one, modify as follows: Complete Step #2 in a non-stick skillet. Add contents of the skillet to a lightly greased 8″ x 8″ baking pan. Continue with Step #3.

Directions:

1.) Shred potato and add to a large bowl; add enough cold water to cover. Let stand 5 minutes; drain and pat dry.

2.) Melt butter with oil over medium heat. Add pepper and onion, sautéing for 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and sauté for an additional two minutes. Stir in potatoes and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3.) Remove skillet from heat. Use the back of a spoon to make an indentation in the potato and pepper mixture; crack the egg into this indentation.

4.) Move skillet to oven and bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until eggs are set.* Serve immediately!

* – Baking for 20 minutes will get you a very hard yolk and delightfully crispy potatoes, if that’s your thing. For me, you’re damn straight it is!