Thursday, September 29, 2011

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

There's something about the family of new potatoes that takes me right to my roots of English cooking and my dad's delightfully crisp yet tender roasted potatoes.

So when a lovely bag of The Little Potato Company's Terrific Trio tri- colored baby potatoes came to my door I knew just what I wanted to do, with a little twist... fresh rosemary.

For busy moms there is something so helpful about fresh pre-washed and bagged veggies that makes the world seem doable. Because of their size (ranging from 1"-1 1/2") I was able to achieve my roasted wish in short time.

Here's what I did for deliciously tender and flavorful taters:

Cut the whole bag of potatoes into eighths.
From the garden, mince a spring of Rosemary.
In a glass baking dish, drizzle olive oil liberally along the bottom of the pan coating it.
Add the potatoes and rosemary to the baking dish along with one minced garlic and salt and pepper to your taste.
Toss all ingredients to coat.
Bake at 375 for 35 minutes, tossing occasionally. I went for a lightly roasted skin (roasting tip: the longer you bake, the crispier the skin).

That's it!

I coupled them with breaded chicken tenders and a green salad. The dinner was good but my kids thought the potatoes were great!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Delightful Little Potatoes

These little guys found their way into my kitchen and I'm so glad they did.

These Piccolo potatoes are from The Little Potato Company. And they are all they promise to be.
-  Quick to cook
-  No need to peel
-  I wash 'em anyway, but you don't have to.

I remember the first Yukon Gold potato I ever tasted. It brought to mind Grandma Edith's point of view. All a perfectly boiled potato needs is a little butter, salt and pepper. Yukon's took that idea to a new level and so do these delightful babies. They are full of flavor. So in preparing I didn't want to so so far as oven roasting with rosemary. Just wanted to see how they stood on their own - with just a little delicate enhancement. They are stars!

As dinner, right next to some tasty sliced sirloin, they performed brilliantly.
I started with about 1 Tablespoon of good olive oil in a pan and let it warm to high and popped in the potatoes whole.

Once in the pan, I reduced the heat to medium high and watched them for a bit and then covered them.

At about the 10 minute mark, I tossed in a handful of garden cherry-sized tomatoes.

Then, just before serving, I finished with a spot of butter.

And some fresh chopped tarragon - and salt and freshly ground pepper.

The flavor is delightful -- the tomatoes (I mixed cherry toms and some baby heirlooms) little sweet with a hint of tang. I suggest you try them soon. With the cherry tomatoes, they make a nice bridge from summer to fall.

A couple of tips? After piercing with a fork to test a couple of the bigger ones, I simply cut them in half (to fit in with their friends).

The potatoes can be found at Ralph's Fresh Fare. I say, go get 'em.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Dinner on a Bread Slice

With fall advancing, here's an easy one with great results and it comes right out of Mom's 1960's kitchen.

Dinner on a Bread Slice
  • One wide loaf French Bread (usually sold in the market bakery, no skinny baguettes) one or two days old cut horizontally
  • 2 pounds ground beef 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 package Lipton Onion Soup Mix
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Set your conventional oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the bread horizontally and place them on aluminum foil wide enough to completely cover them for cooking. (We never seem to have the wide aluminum foil, so I cut two lengths for each half and fold it together to produce a big enough piece.) Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, egg and soup mix.

Top the bread with equal parts of the beef mixture.
Sprinkle with equal parts cheese.

Cover with foil.

Place both on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes.

My mom always froze the second cooked loaf for reheating later. You can also freeze the second loaf before cooking, but please allow defrosting time before you bake it if you choose this route.

It's rather perfect for Sunday supper with soup too.

Try it. And tell us what you think!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A last word on Hatch Chilis

Just like the summer slow and busy life is over, the Hatch Chilis are just about gone. 

When last we met we were talking about tasty Hatch Chilis, weren't we?  Before we break out the pumpkin soup and the chai lattes, here are a few things we learned on our Hatch Chili adventure first: they are chilis. I've learned to think of Hatch Chili season as the season of Chili opportunity, not the harvest season for one species of chili pepper. Here we go:
  • These long green chilis are all grown in one place, Hatch New Mexico. Hatch is not really the name of a specific variety of chili, more a range within a type of chili  (that would be long green)
  • When I talked to one of my friends, she shared that she buys and roasts four pounds of Hatch Chilis each year, freezes them and uses them in all the recipes that call for chili
  • Then I talked to another friend and: well, ditto
  • Because they aren't all from the same chili variety, they're going to range in heat level - taste and divide as appropriate if you're using now or freezing
  • And apparently, the variation in heat is just part of being a chili (my brilliant fruits and veggies officiando friend tells me the variation has much to do with the stress a plant endures as the chilis are forming. Hmmmm. The become hotheads when they're stressed? I love these chilis all the more.)
  • When you roast, you can freeze them with skin on. The skin slides off more easily from the frozen state
  • You'll never have to buy a can of Ortega Chili again. (Fresh is my favorite! And Fresh/Frozen is the next best.) This should bring me to a great recipe for chili rice and it very likely will in the week to come. 
Now I'm waiting for August like it's Chili Christmas!