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Tag Archives: potatoes

Grill-Roasted Lemon Rosemary Potatoes

30 Aug

I seem to have started something I am currently unable to quit. Remember when I made this chicken? And then this dessert? And how, before that, my husband made this? And even farther before that, I made this? I know it’s summer and all, but, man, I just can’t seem to stop grilling everything in sight.

As I may have mentioned a million or more times in the past year or so, Portland is not known for its particularly hot weather. On the rare occasion the temperature rises towards the upper-90s, it seems as though everyone in the city leaves their kitchens and heads outdoors to do their cooking. I am guilty of the same, but now, having grilled my fair share of meals so far this summer, I can’t seem to walk away from the grill. It’s not even that hot outside anymore. I just like grilling.

As my summer of grilling rolls along, I am reminded of things that I have eaten over the years, all lovingly prepared on a grill. Untold numbers of grilled vegetables, a foray into beer can chicken, and this, a dish I seem to throw together several times a summer, yet never really bothered to write down, such is its simplicity and limitless propensity for adaptation and transformation. You start with a large piece of foil, add some sort of root vegetable—potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, what have you—then throw on some sliced onions or shallots, toss on some cloves of smashed garlic, nestle in some fresh herbs, then dab on a bit of butter or oil (or both), perhaps some lemon slices, maybe something spicy, sprinkle on salt and pepper, then wrap it up, leave it on the grill, and walk away. 30 or 40 minutes later, after doing virtually nothing, you’ve got this: a pouch of steaming, slightly crisp vegetables, caramelized onions and garlic, and a pool of juices meant to be poured over whatever else you’ve got going on your grill. It’s a dead simple dish, and one that I consider a summer standard. I invite you to make it one of yours as well.

Grill-Roasted Lemon Rosemary Potatoes Recipe

Like I said, this dish is great at being adapted. Sometimes I start with potatoes, onions, and garlic, then add turmeric, cumin, and coriander instead of fresh herbs. Sometimes I use fresh fennel instead of onions. Sometimes I use sweet potatoes, sometimes I use Yukon Gold potatoes. Whatever you can dream up, I swear this dish can only shine brighter.

1 pound red or Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into uniform size

1 large shallot, sliced into rings

4 or 5 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

1 rosemary stem, about 4 inches long

½ large lemon, sliced into thin rounds

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat an outdoor grill to medium high.

Lay out a large piece of heavy aluminum foil. Add potatoes, shallot slices, garlic, rosemary, and lemon slices. Pinch off pieces of the butter and place on top. Drizzle over the olive oil. Add salt and pepper.  Tightly fold and close the foil over the mixture, adding a second layer of foil if your first one does not quite close all the way.

Grill the potatoes, grill lid down, over direct, medium-high heat. Turn once or twice to aid in even cooking (although, to be perfectly honest, I have, on more than one occasion, forgotten to do this and the potatoes turned out just fine). Cook for 30 to 40 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through and the shallots are meltingly soft and sweet.

Be exceptionally careful when opening the foil pouch to check your potatoes, as the escaping steam is dangerously hot. Discard lemon slices and rosemary stem, then serve.

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Spicy Ginger Garlic Potatoes and My Favorite Raita

17 May

If it not entirely obvious by now, I tend to go on extended cooking benders that involve certain types of foods.  Sometimes the focus of my cooking will be a particular item, while other times I’ll becomes enamored with cooking food from a particular country or region.  Last week, perhaps inspired by the arrival of unseasonably hot weather, I could not stop making Indian food.

The best, and yet simultaneously worst, thing about making Indian food is the rather insistent habit I have of never, ever just making one Indian dish at a time.  If there is a main dish, there will be a side dish, and when there is a side dish, there will be an added starch, and when there is an added starch, there will be spicy pickles and cooling raitas and on and on and on.  On more than one occasion, I have taken to inviting people over at the last minute to help us devour the feast of food I just spent an afternoon preparing, because when I took a step back and really looked at the Thanksgiving-like spread of food I had just laid out, I actually got a little embarrassed.  When it comes to Indian food, I do not mess around.

So, though it might be a bit late to declare this week to be Indian Food Week on Savory Salty Sweet, I have a stockpile of lovely Indian recipes to share, and I will likely be spending the next few posts talking about just that.  I’ll start with this great staple of any Indian meal I make: gingery, garlicky potatoes topped off with a fresh, cooling raita.  If you’re looking for a simple place to start your journey into cooking Indian food, you can’t find anything easier than this.  This dry sauté of wonderfully seasoned potatoes comes together in a flash, and you can throw the raita together in the time it takes the potatoes to finish.  It’s the perfect gateway into Indian cooking, which is good if you are looking for a simple place to start, but perhaps not so good if you one day find yourself so smitten with cooking Indian food, you’re forced to throw an impromptu dinner party every time you break out a jar of cumin seeds.  You’ve been warned.

Last Year: Blueberry Biscuits

Spicy Ginger Garlic Potatoes and My Favorite Raita Recipe

Spicy Ginger Garlic Potatoes

1 pound small or medium potatoes, whole and unpeeled

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

¼ teaspoon whole cumin seeds

2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger

2 tablespoons finely grated or minced-and-smashed garlic

1 jalapeno pepper

salt to taste

In a small pan, cover the whole potatoes with water and bring to a boil over high heat.  When the water begins to boil, lower the heat and simmer the potatoes until they are tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork (this should take about 10 to 15 minutes).  Drain the potatoes and allow to cool enough to be handled.

When the potatoes have cooled enough to touch, peel the skins form the potatoes and then dice the potatoes into 1-inch chunks.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over low heat.  When the butter has melted and is just stating to foam a bit, add the cumin seeds.  Stir the cumin seeds, allowing them to sizzle and pop for about 20 seconds.  Add the grated ginger and garlic, and stir over low heat for 1 minute, until the ginger and garlic are very aromatic, but not browned.  If you see your ginger and garlic beginning to brown, remove the pan from the heat and keep stirring the ginger and garlic until their sizzling subsides a bit and the browning has stopped.

Turn the heat under the pan to high.  Add the diced potatoes to the pan, and stir to coat with the ginger and garlic mixture.  Allow the potatoes to develop a nice brown crust on one side, then stir, turn the heat to low, cover the pan, and leave to cook for another 3 minutes or so.

Slice the jalapeno pepper into thin strips, discarding the seeds and white ribs.  Add the jalapeno strips to the potatoes, stir to combine, then remove from heat.  The jalepenos should still retain some crispness (you don’t want them to turn totally limp).  Add salt to taste.

Cucumber Mint Raita

1 cup peeled, seeded, shredded cucumber (about 1 large cucumber)

1/3 cup finely minced fresh mint leaves

1 cup plain yogurt

pinch of salt

pinch of cayenne pepper

Using your hands, squeeze the shredded cucumber until you have removed as much moisture as possible.  Place squeezed cucumber in a medium bowl.  Add minced mint, yogurt, and salt.  Stir to combine.  Sprinkle a pinch of cayenne pepper over the top of the raita.

Smoked Salmon Canapés on Potato Crisps

27 Dec

It’s been a literal number of years since my husband and I have done anything at all to celebrate New Year’s Eve.  The last time we agreed to venture out on that particular evening, we were holed up at the house of some people we knew, constantly checking the clock to see how much time had passed since we got there, and if it would be terribly rude for us to bid a hasty retreat, let’s see…right now.

It’s not that we are averse to spending time with other people, and it’s not as though we hold any particular grudge against New Year’s Eve as a concept, but it’s just that, in a celebratory sense, I think New Year’s Eve is one of those holidays that sets people up to feel disappointed.  Much like Valentine’s Day, the only holiday I think should be actually stricken from existence (seriously—kids not getting Valentine’s Day cards, people thinking their significant other is duty-bound to shower them with trinkets, the horrible, terrible movies—intentionally or not, it’s just designed to make people feel bad about themselves), there seems to be an unnaturally high amount of expectation surrounding New Year’s Eve.  As the calendar year begins anew, people are led to believe that so go their lives, their opportunities, and their accomplishments.

It is understandable that some people may find it helpful to assign a specific day as the starting point for their goals, but why resign yourself to thinking that there is only one day a year that allows you to make decisions regarding how you’d like your life to change?  If you’re going to develop resolve to become a more invested parent, why wait until a particular day to begin that challenge?  If you want to become more involved in charity work, it seems wise to start offering your time sooner rather than later.  Do you want to save more money?  Start now.  Go back to school?  Okay, so you’ll have to wait until the start of a new term, but, still, if you want to go back to school, go back to school.

My feelings about certain foods fall very much in line with my feelings about holidays that are meant to boss people around.  I know that Thanksgiving is the holiday of eating turkey and giving thanks, but, really, can’t I have turkey and feel thankful year round?  I think I can.  And, being as though I hold a particularly strong affection for what my husband refers to as “little bites” (tiny sandwiches, tiny cookies, tiny pies, cracker bites, you get the idea), I think that, cocktail/holiday/New Year’s Eve party be damned, if I want to eat canapés for dinner and ponder the myriad of ways I’d like to help make the world a better place for my son, his son (or daughter) and all those who come before and after, I should go ahead and do so whenever I please.

So here’s to the start of not just a new year, but a new way of thinking about the new year and what it means.  Your new year can start any time you want it to.  And your dinner of smoked salmon on crisp discs of olive oil roasted potatoes, joined by a creamy dill spread that’s topped with an absolutely heavenly relish of shallots and rice vinegar?  Yeah, that can start at any time.

Smoked Salmon Canapés on Potato Crisps

Potato Crisps

1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, which generally works out to 2 large potatoes

4 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper

Shallot Relish

¼ cup finely chopped shallots

heaping ¼ teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons rice vinegar

Creamy Dill Spread

2 tablespoons cream cheese

3 tablespoons sour cream or crème freche

½ teaspoon dried dill

pinch of salt

Plus:

8 ounces smoked salmon (you can make your own!)

To make the potato crisps, preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Move one oven rack to the upper third position, and one rack to the lower third.

Slice potatoes into ¼-inch rounds.  You can use a mandoline slicer to do this, but I find that a very sharp knife works just fine.  Divide the olive oil between two baking sheets, drizzling the oil over as much of the surface as possible.  Arrange the potato slices on the oil baking sheets, turning the potato slices over and moving them along the surface of the baking sheet to make sure each slice is well oiled on each side.  Sprinkle the potatoes with salt and pepper.  Bake the potato slices for 25 minutes, flipping each potato slice halfway through, and also swapping the positions of the baking sheets (so the bottom one is now on top, and vice versa).

When the edges of the potatoes are crisp, browned, and sizzling, remove the potatoes to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside to cool.

To make the shallot relish, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl, mix thoroughly, then set aside for at least 15 minutes.

To make the dill spread, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl, and mix thoroughly.

To assemble a canapé, place a small amount of dill spread on top of a cooled potato crisp.  Top the dill spread with a small dollop of shallot relish.  Place a chunk of smoked salmon on top of the relish.

Makes about 24 canapés.

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