Rosemary Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes

Rosemary Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes

Rosemary Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes

The current temperature is 8°F with a frigid windchill of -11°F. Not to get all weather-person on you, but it’s freaking cold here, the type of cold you feel in your bones even indoors with the heat on, wrapped in a blanket, wearing heavy-duty socks you may or may not have had for 11 years.

The point being, tonight I needed to warm up from the inside out. While a bottle of wine would’ve been an easier solution, what I really wanted was a hearty, filling dinner, one that wouldn’t require too much fuss because, let’s face it, I wasn’t giving up the blanket.

Yukon Gold Mashed Yukon Gold Mashed02

And that’s why I love making mashed potatoes out of yukon golds. They’re a very rich, yellow-colored potato that I’ve always felt was more forgiving than the typical russet, at least where mashing is concerned. For starters, yukon golds don’t dry out as easily and therefore don’t need as much butter or cream (yay for being a little healthier). Also, the texture is so silky that I prefer using a hand-held potato masher rather than a ricer (a MUST in my book for russet mashed potatoes) and leaving the potatoes just slightly chunky.

Originally I’d planned on adding roasted garlic to the rosemary, butter, sour cream and potatoes, but somehow didn’t realize I’d run out. I was kicking myself until I tasted the result without the roasted garlic which is when it hit me that these potatoes didn’t need it.

Yukon Gold Mashed05

In fact, I later found some garlic, roasted it in the oven and mixed it into the leftovers and still felt the dish was better without. Who knew? (Of course this didn’t stop me from eating half the head of roasted garlic on it’s own — you saw that coming, right?)

And the rest of the meal was just as good. I served the yukon gold mashed potatoes with roasted turkey and broccolini. The turkey was actually a leg/thigh piece I found for a great price at the grocery store. I roasted it very simply with salt and pepper at 400°F for about 50 minutes (until an over thermometer read 165°F), and added the broccolini to the pan for the last 15 minutes.

Yukon Gold Mashed03 Yukon Gold Mashed04

Oh, that broccolini, I could go on about it for days. Just like the fingerling potatoes I roast in the same pan as a whole chicken, the broccolini was amazingly crisp and salty from the turkey fat and so addictive that I ate all of it. Sometimes it just doesn’t get any better than a vegetable roasted in poultry fat…

Here’s the recipe for rosemary yukon gold mashed potatoes: Read more of this >>

Share

Healthy Travel Food: Spinach & Apricot Bulgur

Bulgur with Spinach & Apricots

Bulgur with Spinach & Apricots

The best part of my sorta-vacation in Florida this past week was spending a lot – and I mean A LOT – of quality time with my family. Luckily it also included a few mini sessions in an unequipped kitchen with my sister.

And when I say this kitchen had nothing, I pretty much mean it. Okay, sure it had a hand mixer, a mini cutting board, paring knife and a few bowls and pots and pans. But there were no ingredients outside a small shaker of salt. And this time I really mean none. No vegetable oil, olive oil, pepper, flour, baking soda, sugar… you name it, the kitchen didn’t have it.

IMG_1536

The impetus for my sister wanting to learn a few things came from our flight to Florida where I prepared small containers of quinoa with roasted broccoli (an adaptation of roasted broccoli couscous) for a travel snack. Not only did we save a lot of money in airport food, but it was also tastier and healthier than anything we could have found at O’Hare.

So, while I was thrilled my sister wanted to learn how to make a few healthy side-dishes using ingredients like quinoa and bulgur, we literally had to start from scratch. In designing the recipes I focused on produce and basic ingredients that had long shelf lives and were relatively inexpensive. After all, this was just a lesson to show her how these nutritious grains worked so that when she returned home she would feel comfortable using them in the same versatile ways she uses pasta.

IMG_1537

This recipe for bulgur with spinach and apricots was very simple, using just one pot and minimal chopping. Plus, it was filling and nutritious, essentially an ideal side-dish for a busy professional like my sister who is trying to stock her refrigerator with healthy foods for herself and her husband.

The bulgur is hearty and nutty, the spinach slightly bitter which is offset by the sweetness of the dried apricots and squeeze of lemon juice. Finally, the whole dish is topped with a smattering of toasted pecans for added flavor and crunch making a wonderful one-pot dish.

I packed a small container of the bulgur for the plane ride home. No more airport food for me!

Here’s the recipe:

Read more of this >>

Share

Spinach, Cannellini Beans & Chicken Thighs in White Wine Sauce

Spinach, Cannellini Beans & Chicken Thighs in White Wine Sauce

Spinach, Cannellini Beans & Chicken Thighs in White Wine Sauce

I’m happy to announce my bout with foodblock seems to be letting up a bit. Granted, it’s not as severe as swine flu or something like that, but it has been a bit debilitating for me this past week. Luckily, I’m seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

Again, I turned to Twitter to help conceptualize the ingredients I wanted to work with. I was almost there on my own but needed to verbalize it, which is why I’m grateful for social media sites like Twitter: they give communicative and sometimes indecisive people like myself an audience to bounce ideas off of.

Chicken thighs02 Chicken thighs01 Chicken thighs03

Chicken thighs04 Chicken thighs05 Chicken thighs06

Even better, the final dish turned out wonderfully. Basically, I made a one-pot meal of braised chicken thighs with caramelized onions, a lot of garlic, spinach and cannellini beans in a white wine sauce. It was easy, inexpensive and healthy, loaded with protein, fiber and all sorts of good nutrients.

Here’s the recipe:

Read more of this >>

Share

Twitter My World: Caramelized Corn

Caramelized Corn

Caramelized Corn

Twitter is changing the world. Okay, that may be a bit extreme but it is making an impact in many ways, not the least of which is with my cooking repertoire.

People tweet all sorts of things: breaking news, shopping tips, when they last showered, and sometimes recipes. It takes skill to tweet a recipe, or “twecipe” as it’s called, because there’s a lot of detail to convey in just 140 characters, but count on Martha Stewart to have mastered that talent.

On July 27th @MarthaStewart tweeted the recipe for caramelized corn: “into pan 1T butter + 3C corn kernels + 4 sliced shallots + 1/4t sugar s+p ~ cook + stir until corn light brown + 2T fresh thyme.”

Martha Stewart Caramelized Corn Tweet

The recipe seemed simple enough to follow and, quite frankly, the ingredients made my mouth water. I was so excited about the caramelized corn that I made it a few days later and it was fabulous! The only problem was that this happened to be at the height of my camera crisis and the photos were ridiculously blurry.

Well, I figured I’d just have to make it again. And trust me, no tears were shed over this hardship.

Render bacon Saute shallots and fingerling potatoes

A week later I was set to make caramelized corn again, but by now I’d had plenty of time to analyze the recipe and decided to make a few additions. The main change was to add bacon, just one piece which would be enough to add a subtle smokey flavor without completely changing the flavor profile of the dish. The other addition was fingerling potatoes, mainly because I’d just bought a bag of them at the farmer’s market and I thought they’d add a nice texture contrast.

Cooked shallots and fingerling potatoes Cooked corn

Happily enough the second try of caramelized corn was even better than the first, although this version was a bit more challenging in a Tweet: “Caramelized corn: 1pc dcd bacon render. 3 slcd shallots+1C slcd taters bacon fat+1T butter. +kernels 4 ears+1 1/2t dr thyme+3/4t sugar +s&p.”

In case that was a bit too confusing, here’s the full recipe:

Read more of this >>

Share

Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa

Black Bean & Tomato Quinao

Black Bean & Tomato Quinao

I like quinoa but can find it difficult to work with. It’s easy to cook, that’s for sure, but sometimes the flavor’s I pair it with just don’t seem to meld quite right.

But I tried it again recently after stumbling upon this recipe on Epicurious.com for black bean and tomato quinoa (Gourmet, July 2007), a peaceful melding of central American flavors that reminds me of the food I ate in Costa Rica.

Black Bean & Tomato Quinao: beans, cilantro, tomatoes Black Bean & Tomato Quinao: fluffy cooked quinoa

It sounded perfect: not only would I get to use super-healthy quinoa, but I could pair it with black beans, my new best friend! Yes, remember those from black bean brownies welcome to my world? I’m still appalled with myself for ignoring such a delicious bean for so many years. Shame on me, and shame on you if you don’t try this earthy and fragrant warm salad!

Oh, and did I mention my favorite part aside from it tasting great and being healthy? Black bean and tomato quinoa is quick and easy to make because all the ingredients can be prepped and mixed while the quinoa cooks.

I served this salad warm as a side dish to salmon seasoned with salt and fresh lime juice. Ah, yes, life is good.

Here’s the recipe:

Read more of this >>

Share

Blog Widget by LinkWithin