Category Archives: Potatoes

Free-for-All Friday: Blue-Cheese Crusted Steak with Crispy Smashed Potatoes

It’s rare that I crave meat, but lately, a really good steak with blue cheese has been on my mind — creeping into my thoughts, ruining my productivity. I can only take so much tofu before I need something with built-in flavor.

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And the notion that you need to go out to devour a decadent piece of beef is absurd. You can make it in your kitchen in about half an hour. Promise.

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Vegans and vegetarians, don’t look away just yet! There’s a side-dish recipe buried in this post just for you!

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Happy cooking, friends. Liven up your weekend with this dish. Indulge. Eat and be merry.

Blue Cheese-Crusted Steak

Serves 1, but easily doubled

Ingredients

  • Your favorite cut of steak (I went for the ribeye)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste (or your favorite steak seasoning)
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 2-oz blue cheese, crumbled and at room temp
  • 1 Tbsp. bread crumbs or panko
  • 1 tsp. chopped parsley
  • Leaves from 2 stems of fresh thyme

The How-To

  1. Set the oven to broil.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the blue cheese, bread crumbs, parsley and thyme. Set aside for later.IMG_6845
  3. In a cast-iron skillet, melt the butter over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes, or until pan is hot.
  4. Meanwhile, season the steak (and make sure the chill is off the meat. Take it out of the fridge 20 minutes or so before you want to cook it).
  5. Once the pan is hot (sprinkle some water on it if you’re not sure. The water should sizzle), add the steak and cook on one side for two minutes, or until nicely browned. Flip the steak and add the blue cheese crumble mixture on top, slightly pressing down.IMG_6852
  6. Transfer the skillet to the broiler, allowing the cheese on top to get brown and bubbly. This will help finish the steak to a nice medium doneness. It should take about 5 minutes under the broiler.
  7. Let it rest before digging in. It’s hard, I know, but it’s also worth it.IMG_6857

Crispy Smashed Roasted Potatoes

Serves 4 as a side dish

Ingredients

  • 12-15 red, yellow or purple potatoes (about 1-inch in length). Fingerlings work well.
  • 2 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup EVOO

The How-To

  1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Put the potatoes in a large saucepan (preferable in one layer) and cover with at least one inch of water. Add 2 teaspoons salt to the water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook the taters until they are tender, about 30 minutes. Test for doneness with a sharp knife or skewer. They should be cooked through, but not overdone.
  3. While potatoes are cooking, set up a double layer of clean dishtowels on the countertop. As the potatoes finish, remove them individually from the water and let them drain for a minute on the dishtowels.
  4. 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 to a thickness of about 1/2 an inch. Repeat with all the potatoes. Don’t worry if some break apart a bit; you can still use them.IMG_6841
  5. Cover a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil and line with a sheet of parchment paper. Transfer the flattened potatoes carefully to the baking sheet and let them cool completely at room temperature.
  6. Sprinkle the potatoes with 3/4 teaspoon salt and drizzle the olive oil over all of them. Lift the potatoes gently to make sure some of the oil goes underneath them and that they are well-coated on both sides.
  7. Roast potatoes until crispy and deep brown around the edges, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with freshly-chopped parsley. Serve hot and alongside your steak.IMG_6846

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Meatless Monday: Potato Tacos

I can’t remember my first run in with the potato taco, but it was sometimes last year (2011) and I haven’t looked back since.

What’s that? You’ve never eaten potato tacos? You will after this.

The great thing about these is they’re totally customizable. Serve them with whatever toppings and fixings your little vegetarian heart desires. I made a roasted corn salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole and sauteed onions and peppers. If you’re a dairy lover, you can add sour cream and cheese.

I used mostly purple potatoes because colorful food is just more fun.

This is what they looked like mashed up with a tiny bit of cream:

Delicious. We’ve got red, purple, green, yellow and white in these tacos. It’s like eating the rainbow, but without the chewy center and cavities that Skittles provide.

Enjoy.

Potato Tacos

  • 1 1/2 cup potatoes, cubed into inch pieces
  • 2 Tsp. cream
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Salt
  • Small corn tortillas
  • Pico de gallo (see recipe below)
  • Roasted corn salsa (see recipe below)
  • Guacamole (click here for recipe)
  • Sauteed onions and peppers, optional

Assemble

  1. In a steam bag (or in a steam pot), steam the potatoes until they’re soft and fork tender.
  2. Once the potatoes are steamed, mash in a bowl with salt, pepper and garlic salt to taste. Feel free to throw in some cumin or chili powder. Add the cream and mix well. They should still be somewhat dry.
  3. Pile the potatoes onto warm corn tortillas and layer on your toppings.
  4. That’s it! Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Pico de Gallo

  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 3 vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • Garlic salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and let sit for an hour in the fridge for the flavors to marry.
  2. Serve over potato tacos.

Roasted Corn Salsa

  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 lime, juiced and divided
  • 1/2 Tbsp. EVOO
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 jalapeno, minced (or whole if you like spice)
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper to taste

  1. Drizzle the olive oil and half of the lime juice over the thawed corn. Toss to coat.
  2. In a hot pan, toss in the corn and roast over medium heat until corn gets browned and roasted
  3. Toss the roasted corn with the onion, cilantro and jalapeno. Season with the rest of the lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  4. Cover and let sit in the fridge for an hour to let the flavors marry. Serve over potato tacos.

Do you like potato tacos?

Meatless Monday: Gnocchi with Crispy Garlic

I don’t know what it is about gnocchi that makes me swoon, but when I fell for the potato dumpling, I fell hard. (Yup, Sunday’s Sneak Peek was gnocchi!)

Unfortunately, I haven’t jumped on the “homemade gnocchi” train yet, but one day. For now, I use prepared gnocchi, which are pretty tasty if you find the right brand.

From Trader Joe's

I am a huge garlic fan and I love to make crispy garlic (think the garlic they serve you at restaurants in the bread dipping oils). For this dish, I only used one clove of garlic (it was just me eating it) but the clove was behemoth. I’m talking HUGE. Like, he-was-blasted-with-the-same-gamma-bomb-the-Hulk-was huge. I wish I would’ve snapped a pic before I chopped it up.

So tonight’s meatless dish is inspired by my love for two Italian staples. It’s ridiculously simple and can be made with on-hand ingredients. I definitely recommend the lemon juice as a finishing touch—it really brightens up the dish and makes it less heavy.

Gnocchi with Crispy Garlic

  • 1-2 servings of fresh (or frozen) gnocchi
  • about 3 Tbsp. EVOO
  • 1-2 large garlic cloves
  • Crushed red pepper, to taste (start with a teaspoon)
  • Freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 lemon, just the juice. Zest is optional
  • Parsley (optional)

What To Do With It All

  1. Cook the gnocchi according to package directions.

    Boiling the gnocchi

  2. In a non-stick skillet, heat the oil, garlic and crushed red pepper over medium heat while the gnocchi is cooking.
  3. The garlic should get toasted (light brown) before adding the cooked gnocchi to the pan, about 4 minutes.
  4. Toss the gnocchi in the oil and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, or until gnocchi turns golden brown on some sides. The garlic should be browned and crunchy at this point. Be careful not to burn the garlic!
  5. Pour the gnocchi and oil on a plate and sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and salt, squeeze the lemon juice over the gnocchi and add a sprinkling of Parmesan and parsley.

    Click on me to induce drool

Tasty Tip Tuesday: Liven Up Those Thanksgiving Side Dishes

This is my not-so-secret ploy to get you to read some of my articles over at Coronado Patch.

My recent farmers market article revolved around three classic Thanksgiving side dishes and how I switched them all up with one ingredient from the Coronado Farmers Market. My Tuesday tips are found inside the article.

Click here to read all about it.

Trust me, you want to check the story out before Thanksgiving—especially those green beans!

Fuyu Persimmons

disclaimer: the photo above is of persimmons from the Coronado Farmers Market. I really just needed some kind of media and it’s kinda relevant…forgive me?

Free For All Friday: Ask the Foodie

So I got this email early this week from a new subscriber—my best friend Pam‘s mom. She shares my love of food but has a lot more experience than I. And, she makes this amazing dish called firecracker shrimp that she got from an LA Times article a while back. You should be so lucky to try it. It’s a lot of work and she makes it perfectly. My mouth is watering just thinking about. Her husband is also rumored to make a mean creamed spinach. I’m going to get my hands on his recipe one of these days.

She says,

“I was checking out your food blog and was wondering if you have any unique ideas for sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving. I refuse to put marshmallows and brown sugar on them. I found a recipe for mashed that included blue cheese dressing that sounds sort of interesting. Let me know if you have any ideas!!”

What a challenge! Of course, I’m sure you’re all gasping “NO marshmallows or brown sugar?” I did, too. Then I recovered from my shock and went on a mission to find out some new twists on the sweet potato that didn’t add any extra sugar and instead made them a savory side dish for Thanksgiving.

Here’s what I found:

From Bon Appetit Nov. 2011 Issue

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes (about 6)
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1” cubes, room temperature
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup mild blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup store-bought candied pecans

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Roast sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet until tender, about 1 hour. Let cool slightly.
  • Remove skins and transfer sweet potatoes to a large heavy saucepan over low heat. Add cream cheese and butter. Mash until well blended and creamy. Season with salt and pepper. Stir over low heat until hot.
  • Spoon into a warm serving dish and garnish with cheese and pecans.

Courtesy BonAppetit.com

I didn’t have time to test out the recipe this week, but I’m considering using it next Thursday on Turkey Day. Seems different!

Anyone here every make sweet potatoes with savory ingredients instead of the usual marshmallows and brown sugar?? Roasted perhaps?

Meatless Monday: When Smoky Met Scalloped

I haven’t written a real post in quite a while. My days are busy and spent staring at the computer screen for hours on end and the last thing I want to do after I’m done making dinner is stare at the screen some more. And that’s assuming I take pictures of the food I make for dinner!

Anyway, I’m trying something new this week. Creating a theme for everyday posts just for you—my five readers! Today we’re back with Meatless Monday (remember when we had some adventures in tofu a while back?) Tonight’s recipe is for the potato and cheese lovers.

I stole this recipe from Food Network (I’ve bashed the magazine before for its inconsistency in recipes). Their recipes seem to be hit or miss and I’m happy to report that this one is a definite hit.

Smoky Scalloped Potatoes

It takes a while to make—almost two hours from start to finish—so plan accordingly. I recommend getting a mandoline to slice the taters on. I’ve done this by hand and by nifty slicer and the mandoline saves so much time and makes everything even.

Pair this cheesy dish with a big salad. Go the Greek route, the Caesar route, or make a sweet/savory salad with pears, gorgonzola, craisins, walnuts and a honey dressing.

Smoky Scalloped Potatoes from Food Network Magazine, November 2011 Issue.

What You Need

  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and ground pepper
  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 1-2 tsp. smoked paprika (I played it safe and used 1)
  • 2 1/2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan

What You Do

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with 1 Tbsp. butter.
  3. Melt the remaining 2 Tbsp. butter in a large saucepan. Once the butter foams, add the shallot and garlic and saute until softened–about 5 minutes.

    Does anything smell better than shallots and garlic cooking in butter? Me thinks not.

  4. Add the flour and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Add the half-and-half, smoked paprika and potatoes. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

    Simmer down!

  6. Carefully pour half the potato mixture into the buttered baking dish. Shake the pan to arrange the taters in a single layer.
  7. Sprinkle half of each cheese on top of the layer, then add the remaining potatoes and shake again to arrange in a layer. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on the top of that layer.
  8. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
  9. Remove the foil and place back in the oven for another 15 minutes*
  10. Let stand 15 minutes before serving**

*I broiled my potatoes for the last fifteen. They weren’t getting browned enough just by baking.

**As hard as it is, you should definitely let the potatoes sit. It’s a runny mess if you don’t let them cool, first.

Anyone here love scalloped potatoes? Anyone think of seafood when they hear the word scalloped? Check out tomorrow’s new theme: Tasty Tip Tuesday!

Twice Baked Potatoes with Greek Salad

I’m back with a recipe (Finally!!)

Following a nationwide trend, it’s Meatless Mondays at our house every Monday (dur).

A couple weeks ago I  pulled a souffle out of my hat and paired it with a Greek salad. Sometimes we’ll just do plain baked potatoes, there’s the spicy fried rice, and so many more options.

But this Monday, we did twice baked potatoes (is your tummy growling yet??)

Twice-Baked Potatoes

We don’t make these very often, as we might weigh 700 big ones if we did, but they’re so good and so simple and extremely filling.

We’ve also been on a Greek salad kick for a while and it doesn’t look like we’ll be off of it anytime soon. Those damn Greeks and their good food.

Here’s the recipe for the twice baked taters:

What you need (Serves 4; half a stuffed potato per person):

  • 2 large baking potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1 dollop of sour cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for topping
  • Chives, to taste, plus more for topping
  • 2 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne (optional)

Mix ‘Em All Together

  1. Bake the potatoes at 400 degrees for about 1 hour and 30 minutes (ovens vary, so check after an hour. Don’t wrap in tinfoil, just throw them on the rack and let em bake)
  2. Let the potatoes cool for about 5-10 minutes before cutting in half and scooping out the flesh (careful to leave a little inside the kin to help it maintain its shape!) into a mixing bowl.
  3. Add the butter, sour cream and whipping cream and mix on low in your stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer) until creamy.
  4. Add in the salt and pepper, cayenne, cheese and chives. Mix again on low until well combined.
  5. Scoop back onto the potato skins, or scoop into a plastic bag and cut off a bottom corner and squeeze into the skins. (Of course, for all you fancy and experienced chefs out there, you’ll use a pastry bag. hmph.)
  6. Top with shredded cheese and return to oven. Cook until filling is hot again and cheese has melted
  7. Once out of the oven, top with snipped chives and sprinkle with bacon (if using)
  8. Be gluttonous

Mixing them all together

Piping beauty

I stuffed turkey bacon in between layers of filling for my dad

Vegetarian Tater

Mmmmmm

And now for the salad:

Caught this picture AFTER we dug in

Greek Salad

  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, wash, rinse, dried, and ripped
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
  • Kalamata olives (I buy a mixed Greek blend at Vons at their little olive bar by the deli. It comes with kalamata and green olives marinated in spices and tossed with feta cheese, thus reducing my need to buy feta cheese separately)
  • Feta cheese, crumbled
  • Quartered tomato slices
  • Pepperoncinis (optional)

For the dressing:

  • 6 Tbsp. EVOO
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. Red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  1. Whisk together all ingredients for the salad dressing
  2. Toss together all the ingredients for the salad.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until evenly distributed
  4. Add croutons, if you fancy them. (Click here for a recipe for homemade croutons!)

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