Oven Roasted Potatoes

Aside from coffee, potatoes are probably my biggest weakness in life.  Put a potato in front of me in any form and I have a hard time resisting.  I have a weakness for french fries and potato chips (especially salt & vinegar flavored!) but I would take these savory roasted potatoes over those any day!
The sweet onions compliment the potato perfectly and the garlic adds a nutty flavor that completes the dish.  The simple preparation and inexpensive ingredients make this a fantastic addition to your dinner repertoire.
This method is really delicious with sweet potatoes as well.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 lbs medium red potatoes OR white sweet potatoes
1 sweet onion, wedged
10 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, snipped into 1 inch pieces
1 tsp dried parsley
3 Tbs Olive Oil
1 Tbs Kosher Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper


Directions
:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Scrub and quarter potatoes, or if using sweets, chop into approx 2×2 in chunks.  Try to make the size as uniform as possible.

Place potatoes and all other ingredients in a bowl or a large seal-able bag and toss to combine.

Spread out in one layer on a baking sheet or roasting pan.  I recommend using a baking stone for this as it reduces the chances of burning.

Roast for about 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  Carefully remove rosemary stems.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

Advertisements

Green Beans n Shallots

I have never had a green bean casserole that I really enjoyed, it just reminds me of canned, lethargic green beans and gelatinous canned cream of mushroom soup…ick!!  The green bean casserole seems like somewhat of an afterthought, something that you throw into a dish at the last minute and pass off as a “healthy vegetable” so you feel less guilty about stuffing yourself silly with homemade dinner rolls, buttery stuffing and 5 varieties of pie a la mode.   Face it, nobody ever says “awe, too bad were out of green bean casserole!”  So here is my alternative.  It’s super easy to prepare, you can do most of it the day before, and it’s a whole lot  healthier than traditional green bean casserole.  I guarantee people will be asking to please pass the green beans at Thanksgiving this year!  ~Janna

DSC_0320Ingredients:

1lb fresh green beans or french beans (I actually prefer French beans, because they’re more tender and delicate).
2 Tbs olive oil
1 med shallot
salt to taste

Method
:

DSC_0311  DSC_0312

To begin, start by cutting the stem and tip off of the green beans.  You can leave the ends on and just cut the stem off but I think they look more uniform when cut on both ends.  Rinse green beans in cold water.

Next you will blanch the green beans.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil (about 8 cups), also prepare a large bowl full of ice water.  Once your water is boiling put in the green beans and boil for 2-4 minutes, depending on how soft you like them.

When done, immediately submerge the beans in the ice water.  This will stop the cooking process and the beans will keep their bright green color.  At this point you can refrigerate the beans to finish later or you can finish now.  If you are finishing the beans later I would not blanch more than 24 hours in advance (unless you are freezing them) to prevent the beans from getting too soggy and limp.  Store in a gallon zip top bag or in an air tight container.

Take the beans out of the ice water and blot dry.  Mince the shallot and set aside.

  DSC_0322

In a large skillet on med/high heat the olive oil, once hot, add the green beans and toss a few times.  Add the minced shallot and cook a few minutes until shallots are tender and beans are hot through.  Add salt to taste and enjoy!
GB&Shallots     GB&Shallots2

Sesame Soy Green Beans

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, fresh green beans are in abundance in the markets.  But we wanted to give you more options than just the typical American green bean casserole.  Although green bean casserole can be DELICIOUS when it’s made from scratch (no canned beans or soup here!), sometimes it’s nice to have an option that’s a little lighter.  Yes, this recipe has soy sauce which is high in sodium, but you are using fresh ingredients which makes a huge health and flavor difference.  And when you think about all the sodium and preservatives in canned green beans and condensed cream of mushroom soup, well, is it really an issue?  However, you can still cut down the sodium by using a low sodium soy sauce or liquid aminos.  Now, let’s get to it!
**Note:  Because of the chili paste, this recipe does have a little heat to it!**

Ingredients:

1 lb fresh green beans
2 Tbs sesame oil
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 onion, sliced or about ½ lb of      frozen  pearl onions
1 tsp chili paste
¼ cup soy sauce or liquid              aminos
¼ cup water
1 tsp sesame seeds (optional)


Directions
:

Blanching Green Beans:  Rinse green beans well and trim off the stem ends.  Fill a large stock pot with water, about 8 cups.  Add 1 tsp salt and bring water to a rolling boil.  Add the green beans to the water and allow to boil until tender and bright green, about 2-4 minutes (I like mine soft, so I go the full 4 minutes).  Remove beans from water and immediately rinse with cold water or plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process.  Set cooled beans aside.
**Note:  You can blanch the beans ahead of time (we recommend no more than a day ahead) and store them in the refrigerator until they’re ready for use.**

In a heavy bottomed saute pan, add the sesame oil and garlic.  Saute garlic on medium-high heat until golden brown, but be very careful not to burn as garlic cooks quickly.

Add the onions, saute them for about 1 minute, then turn the heat down to medium-low.

Add the soy sauce, chili paste and water and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid has reduced by about half.    

Add the green beans to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes or until beans are heated through.  Garnish with sesame seeds, if desired.  Enjoy!

Zucchini Latkas

Every August there is an abundance of zucchini in my father in law’s garden.  I get tired of the same ol sautéed or oven roasted zucchini so I thought I would try something different.  I came up with zucchini latkas.  Latkas are a traditional Jewish dish made from mashed or grated potatoes, flour and egg.  I substituted zucchini for potatoes and added some parmesan cheese and a few spices.  They turned out amazing and it’s basically a full meal in itself!  You won’t be able to eat just one!  Try your own variation!  ~Janna

DSC_0246

Ingredients:

4 cups shredded zucchini (about 4 medium zucchini)
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk (beaten)1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Cooking spray

Method:

In a large mixing bowl combine shredded zucchini, eggs, parmesan, garlic powder, salt and pepper, mix to combine.  Heat an electric skillet to 325 degrees and spray with cooking spray.  Using your hands measure out about 1/2 cup of the mixture and press it into a patty squeezing some of the liquid out.  Cook on skillet until golden brown, flip to brown other side (about 4-5 minutes on each side).  Be careful flipping because these are delicate and will break apart if your not careful.  After they are cooked sprinkle with a little more parmesan cheese if desired. Makes approx. 6 latkas.  Enjoy!!

*One variation I’ve tried and found amazing is topping the latka with a slice of fresh garden tomato and a pinch of sea salt from oldcitysalts.com

DSC_0247

Thai Jícama Salad

A few years ago I started on a mission to discover new fruits and vegetables.  Each week, I would peruse the unique displays of produce, selecting varieties that I had never before eaten or cooked with.  Eventually, I discovered the jícama and it is now on my list of favorites.

Jícama is a root vegetable of Mexican origin, also known as the Mexican Yam or Mexican Turnip.  It has a crunchy texture, much like an apple, but a very mild, earthy flavor.  This particular recipe is a spicy, savory one, but jícama effortlessly combines with fresh fruit as well.

This recipe is not entirely original.  After googling various recipes I found this recipe for Spicy Thai Jícama Salad.  Although that original recipe was delicious, I made a few alterations and substitutions to fit my own taste, and what I had in the cupboard at the time.

1 medium jícama, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
¼ cup red onion, rough chopped
½ cup fresh cilantro, rough chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded & rough chopped (optional)

Dressing:
3 TBS Chili Paste
1 TBS Hot Chinese Mustard
1 TBS Fish Sauce
2 TBS Peanut Butter
2 TBS coconut oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 TBS fresh ginger, peeled & minced
Juice of 2 Limes

Finish:
1 TBS sesame seeds
Sprinkle of Old City Salts Smoked Serrano, Ghost Pepper, or Thai Ginger Sea Salt (Optional)

In a large bowl, combine Jicama, onion, cilantro, jalapeno.  Toss together and set aside.

 

In another bowl whisk together the dressing ingredients until well incorporated.  If it looks too thick, add some olive oil until you reach desired consistency.  You should end up with about 1 cup of dressing.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.  Serve chilled, and finish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and a pinch of your favorite Old City Salt blend.  

*This salad keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days, just give it a toss before serving as the dressing tends to pool at the bottom.

Salsa de Sophia Roja

What’s in a name?  There’s a 2-part story as to how this recipe got its name.  Fresh, homemade salsa is one of the first foods that I started experimenting with.  I thought my original recipe was pretty good, using fresh (un-roasted) tomatoes.  Then my niece, Sophia, came back from almost a year in Guatemala and introduced me to their way of making salsa: roasting it.  Since then, I have roasted my salsa ingredients, both in the oven and on the grill, and it tastes amazing.

The second part of my story is this:  A couple years ago, Sophie and I were making salsa together.  Actually, I was making it, and she was hanging out.  =)  Once it was finished, we had about ½ gallon of red, spicy salsa.  It was beautiful.  After the salsa chilled for a bit, Sophie decided she wanted to have some with tortilla chips.  She pulled that big bowl out of the fridge….and dropped it on the floor.  NOOO!  All of that time, energy, and those beautiful tomatoes and peppers all over the floor!  Here’s the best part…I’m not sure if I’m allowed to tell you this, but she actually scooped a lot of it off the floor and ate it.  Don’t kill me, Sophie!

Since Sophie improved my salsa and provided me with a cringe-worthy story, she will be forever associated with this recipe, hence the name.

Ingredients:
(Think of these ingredients as more of a guideline and feel free to experiment.)

6 large Roma Tomatoes (or similar vine ripened tomato)
9 mini or about 2 regular bell peppers – Red, Orange, or Yellow
2 green chili peppers
2 jalapeños (optional)
2 cloves (pieces) garlic
2 stalks of green onion, chopped
1 cup cilantro, rough chopped
1 tbs lime juice
1 tbs white vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt + salt to taste

Directions:

Preheat your roasting appliance of choice:  Grill=low flame, Oven=400 degrees

Wash tomatoes and peppers.  If grilling, arrange them directly on the grill rack.  Oven users, arrange on a cookie sheet or other oven safe vessel.  Make sure they have plenty of room to roast and do not stack.

Allow to roast 15-30 minutes or until skin is blistered, TURNING THEM ABOUT EVERY 5 MINUTES.  The turning is especially imperative for grill users.  A little char is okay, but you don’t want blackened produce.  You may want to rotate them to get an even roast, but be careful not to squeeze any of the juice out of the tomatoes!  

Once roasting is finished, ALLOW PRODUCE TO COOL COMPLETELY before handling. When they are cool, carefully peel off the outer membrane.  For the peppers:  cut them open and scrape out all the seeds.  You may choose to use rubber gloves for this step. Cut into large chunks, toss them all into the blender with the garlic, and pulse until your desired consistency is reached.

Dump the tomato mixture into a bowl, add remaining ingredients, salt to taste, and devour.

Makes about 5 cups of salsa.

Thyme Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

I love fingerling potatoes and have had this simple recipe in my mind for the past couple of weeks.  They’re nothing fancy but very flavorful!   I served my potatoes with scrambled eggs with onion and green pepper, but they would go perfect with a roast, chicken, fish, steak or whatever your heart desires!  ~Janna

DSC_0172

Ingredients:

1/2lb fingerling potatoes, washed and patted dry
1 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp of fresh thyme
1/4 tsp kosher sea salt (more to taste)

Turn oven to 375 degrees.  Cut the potatoes in half length wise, toss with olive oil in a bowl, add thyme and toss again to coat evenly.  Add the salt and stir.

DSC_0173

Lay the potatoes skin side down on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until tender.

DSC_0174

Turn oven to broil and cook potatoes for an additional 2 minutes just to brown and crisp them.  Remove from oven and cool slightly.  Enjoy.

DSC_0175

Tomato Basil Bruschetta

Joanie:  This recipe is definitely one of my most requested!  I don’t know if this qualifies as a true bruschetta since there is no olive oil in the recipe, but it’s still delicious!  You could substitute olive oil in place of the butter, but I have yet to try that.  This would actually be a perfect recipe to use Janna’s Homemade Butter.

***********************

Ingredients:

1 narrow baguette, French or the like

2 cups fresh diced tomatoes

1/3 cup minced red onion

Fresh basil, approx 20 large leaves (dried will NOT do!)

1/2 cup butter

Fresh garlic cloves (I use 4 or 5 large cloves, I like a strong garlic flavor)

1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

***********************

Start with red, ripe tomatoes.  Finely dice yield approximately 2 cups.  Set aside in a bowl.

Mince red onion, add to tomatoes.

Chiffonade basil leaves by stacking them, rolling them lengthwise, and slicing them into thin ribbons.

Add basil to tomato mixture.  Salt to taste.  Set aside.

Heat oven to broil.

Slice baguette on the diagonal to desired thickness.  I like mine about 3/4 inch.   Arrange on a baking sheet and gently toast them on broil in your oven.  WATCH THEM CAREFULLY so they don’t burn.  You want these to be slightly golden and crusty.  They will go back into the oven for final step so don’t let them get too dark.  Remove when toasted.

In microwave safe bowl, add 1/2 cup of butter and minced garlic.  Microwave until melted and creamy.  Give butter mixture a stir, then add generously to each slice of toasted baguette.  I like to make sure the garlic pieces are evenly distributed on the bread.  Don’t go cheap on the butter!  This adds SO MUCH flavor to the recipe.  Next, use small slotted spoon to add tomato mixture to each slice of bread.  Top with shredded Parmesan cheese.

Place back in the oven and broil.  Again, WATCH CAREFULLY!  They are ready when cheese is melted and bruschetta is hot.

Most of this batch was eaten within minutes, so this is all I could get for a picture!

//