Tag Archives: side dishes

Crispy Smashed Roasted Potatoes

I’ve been trying to make more interesting side dishes to accompany my entrees.  While I will spend hours perfecting the perfect main course, by the time I get to the side dishes, I seem to run out of momentum.  This recipe for a ridiculously easy potato dish is courtesy of Fine Cooking Magazine.  With only three ingredients and a little prior planning this dish comes together quickly.  (Plus smashing the potatoes is a lot of fun!). I served the potatoes with sour cream and chives to go along with grilled chicken.  I’m now thinking that I could easily dress the potatoes up for a more formal dinner or even serve them with a dipping sauce as a part of a buffet table.  Regardless of how I make them in the future, this dish is a keeper.

CRISPY SMASHED ROASTED POTATOES
 
 
12 to 15 baby red potatoes
2 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup olive oil
Boil the potatoes:
  • Put the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with at least one inch of water.  Add 2 teaspoons of salt to the water.  Bring the water to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook the potatoes until they are completely tender and can easily be pierced with a skewer.  Make sure they are cooked through but don’t over cook.  The total cooking time will be 30-35 minutes.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, set up a double layer of clean dish towels on the counter top.  As the potatoes finish cooking, remove them individually from the water, and let them drain and sit for just a minute or two on the dishtowels.
Flatten and cool the potatoes:
 
  • Fold another dishtowel into quarters, and using it as a cover, gently press down on one potato with the palm of your hand to flatten it a thickness of about 1/2 inch.  Repeat with all of the potatoes. Don’t worry if some break apart a bit; you can still use them.
  • Cover a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil; place a piece of parchment on top of the foil.  Transfer the flattened potatoes to the baking sheet and let them cool completely to room temperature.
Roast the potatoes:
 
  • Heat the oven to 450 degrees.  Sprinkle the potatoes with about 3/4 teaspoon of salt and pour the olive oil over them.  Lift the potatoes gently to make sure some of the oil goes underneath them and they are well coated on both sides.  Roast the potatoes until they are crispy and deep brown around the edges, about 30 to 40 minutes, turning over once gently with a spatula half way through cooking.
  • Serve hot.

Wine Sautéed Baby Artichokes

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Fresh artichokes are probably one of my favorite vegetables and baby artichokes are even better than the larger version of this funny looking vegetable. Tender and mild with a slightly nutty flavor, you can eat them whole without having to worry the prickly choke in their center. And fresh artichokes are nothing like the canned or pickled ones most people are more familiar with.

There are so many ways you can use fresh baby artichokes but my favorite way is a simple preparation with a few herbs, some lemon juice and a bit of white wine. This recipe is a classic that I adapted from Gourmet Magazine and it really doesn’t get much simpler than this. For the best flavor, choose fresh, firm and brightly colored artichokes. You can use whatever dried herbs you have on hand. The most important thing, however, is to go light on the herbs since you want to be able to enjoy the taste of the artichokes.

WINE SAUTEED BABY ARTICHOKES

8 baby artichokes

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled

1/4 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 cup dry white wine

1/8 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes

  • Bend the outer leaves of the artichokes back until they snap off close to the base and remove several more layers of leaves in the same manner until the white inner leaves are reached. Trim the tips and quarter the artichokes.
  • In a small bowl toss the artichokes with the flour and salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet set over moderate heat until it is hot but not smoking
  • Add the garlic and cook until it has softened.
  • Add the artichokes and sauté them over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, for 6 minutes.
  • Stir in the oregano, basil and the lemon juice and cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute.
  • Add the wine and the red pepper flake and simmer the mixture, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the artichokes are very tender.
  • Uncover and boil over high heat for 1 minute or until it is thickened slightly.

Serves 4

Butternut Squash & Sage Risotto

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Squash and sage are a perfect flavor combination.  When cut into small pieces, the squash cooks quickly and you can even reduce the preparation time if you buy pre-cut squash from your grocer’s fresh food case.  If you can’t find butternut squash you can easily substitute any firm fleshed winter squash or even pumpkin.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH & SAGE RISOTTO

1 cup butternut squash cut into 1/2 inch dice

3 cups vegetable broth

1 cup dry white wine

3 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, minced

1 ½ cups risotto rice

½ cup grated Asiago cheese

2 tablespoons fresh sage, minced

  • Place the squash in a small saucepan adding enough water to just barely cover the squash.  Bring to a boil and steam until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork.  Drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat the vegetable broth and white wine in a medium-sized saucepan set over medium-high heat.  Adjust the heat to keep the broth mixture at a low simmer.
  • In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent, approximately 5-6 minutes.
  • Add the rice to the onions and stir to combine.  Add one ladle of the broth to the pot and stir well.  Stirring occasionally, continue cooking the rice until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding additional broth.
  • Repeat this process until the rice is al dente.  You may not need to use all of the broth.
  • Add the reserved squash and gently fold to incorporate.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the grated Asiago cheese and minced sage.  Serve immediately.

Serves:  4 as an entree or 6 as a side dish

Crispy Smashed Roasted Potatoes

I’ve been trying to make more interesting side dishes to accompany my entrees.  While I will spend hours perfecting the perfect main course, by the time I get to the side dishes, I seem to run out of momentum.  This recipe for a ridiculously easy potato dish is courtesy of Fine Cooking Magazine.  With only three ingredients and a little prior planning this dish comes together quickly.  (Plus smashing the potatoes is a lot of fun!). I served the potatoes with sour cream and chives to go along with grilled chicken.  I’m now thinking that I could easily dress the potatoes up for a more formal dinner or even serve them with a dipping sauce as a part of a buffet table.  Regardless of how I make them in the future, this dish is a keeper.

CRISPY SMASHED ROASTED POTATOES
 
 
12 to 15 baby red potatoes
2 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup olive oil
Boil the potatoes:
 
  •  Put the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with at least one inch of water.  Add 2 teaspoons of salt to the water.
  • Bring the water to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook the potatoes until they are completely tender and can easily be pierced with a skewer.  Make sure they are cooked through but don’t over cook.  The total cooking time will be 30-35 minutes.
  •  While the potatoes are cooking, set up a double layer of clean dish towels on the counter top.
  •  As the potatoes finish cooking, remove them individually from the water, and let them drain and sit for just a minute or two on the dishtowels.
Flatten and cool the potatoes:
 
  •   Fold another dishtowel into quarters, and using it as a cover, gently press down on one potato with the palm of your hand to flatten it a thickness of about 1/2 inch.  Repeat with all of the potatoes. Don’t worry if some break apart a bit; you can still use them.
  •  Cover a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil; place a piece of parchment on top of the foil.  Transfer the flattened potatoes to the baking sheet and let them cool completely to room temperature.
Roast the potatoes:
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • Sprinkle the potatoes with about 3/4 teaspoon of salt and pour the olive oil over them.  Lift the potatoes gently to make sure some of the oil goes underneath them and they are well coated on both sides.
  • Roast the potatoes until they are crispy and deep brown around the edges, about 30 to 40 minutes, turning over once gently with a spatula half way through cooking.

Serves 4

Bacon & Sage Yorkshire Pudding

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Yorkshire pudding is essentially a giant popover that can turn even the simplest of meals into something special.  The ingredients are quite simple–flour, milk, and eggs–but the results are impressive.  And this version from Epicurious includes bacon and sage which makes it especially decadent.  So go ahead and impress your guests, or yourself, and make this tonight.  I’ve served it alongside everything from a herb crusted prime rib to simple grilled steaks.  Either way, the old adage of everything being better with bacon is true; you just can’t go wrong with this dish.

BACON & SAGE YORKSHIRE PUDDING

6 ounces bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons fresh minced sage, divided

1 tablespoon salt

1 1/2 cups whole milk

3 eggs

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • Saute the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp.  Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
  • Pour the bacon drippings and the butter into a 12 x 9 x 2 inch glass or ceramic baking dish.  Place the dish in the oven for 10 minutes in order to heat the drippings.
  • Whisk together the flour, 2 tablespoons of the sage, and the salt in a medium-sized bowl.
  • Whisk together the eggs and milk in a separate bowl then add the flour mixture.  Whisk until the batter is smooth.
  • Whisk in 2/3 of the bacon.
  • Remove the hot baking dish from the oven and quickly pour the batter into the hot dish.
  • Return the dish to the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Without opening the oven door, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for another 12 minutes or until the pudding is puffed and golden.
  • Remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining bacon and sage.

Serves 8

Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Pears

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In preparation for Thanksgiving, I’m showcasing some of my favorite holiday recipes this month.  Some of them are family recipes while others are my own creations but each of them always has a place on my dining room table.  This fall I had the opportunity to be profiled by Albanian Living magazine as a part of their “traditional American Thanksgiving” article.  All of the recipes I’m sharing were a part of that Thanksgiving table.

For me, sweet potatoes are a classic fall dish and are a must for any Thanksgiving dinner table.  Much to my horror fresh sweet potatoes were impossible to find in Albania when we first moved here two plus years ago.  (In my opinion, canned ones are simply not an acceptable substitute).  A trip to the U.S. Navy commissary in Naples, Italy solved my problem but two overnight ferries make for an inconvenient shopping trip.  Fortunately times have changed here and although expensive, sweet potatoes are now readily available in the larger grocery stores in Tirana.

This roasted dish is a sophisticated take on the classic sweet potato casserole that is ubiquitous with so many Thanksgiving dinners.  Pears add a sweet surprise while sage adds a savory touch.  The potatoes are good hot from the oven but taste even better when served at room temperature which makes this the perfect dish for those of us trying to make too many dishes with limited oven space.

ROASTED SWEET POTATOES & PEARS

1 pound sweet potatoes, scrubbed, peeled, and cut into 1-inch cubes

2 ripe pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 shallot, minced

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoons fresh minced sage

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place the potatoes,pears, and shallot in a large bowl.
  • Drizzle with the olive oil then add the sage, salt, and pepper.  Toss to coat.
  • Pour the mixture into a large rimmed baking sheet.
  • Roast in the oven for 40-45 minutes stirring the mixture once or twice.  Roast until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.

Serves 4

Grilled Tomatoes

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Sometimes you need to take your veggies to a whole new level and this is the way to do it.  Tomatoes are coming into season here in Albania and there is nothing better than fresh ripe tomatoes.  I can eat them as is but sometimes it is nice to dress them up a bit to make them a more complete side dish.  These tomatoes can be prepared in a matter of minutes and make a nice accompaniment to grilled steak or chicken.  If you don’t have a grill you can cook the tomatoes under a broiler in your oven.

GRILLED TOMATOES

4 large ripe tomatoes, cut into quarters

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar (optional)

  • Preheat a grill to medium-high heat.
  • Drizzle the tomatoes with the olive oil.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Place the tomatoes on the grill and cook for 1-2 minutes per side.  Cook until they are hot.
  • Drizzle with balsamic vinegar if desired.
  • Serve immediately.
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