Tag Archives: onion

Fingerling Potato and Pepper Hash

18 Dec

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The weekend is almost here! Sleep in and make something special for breakfast.

I’ve been on a hash kick ever since I started hashing leftover Thanksgiving stuffing. Heat oil, add chopped things (vegetables, bread, meat, leftovers of all kinds). Grill until browned and re-crisped. A fried or poached egg on top is optional, but highly recommended.

Here’s how I make a Fingerling Potato and Pepper Hash: Continue reading

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Home Fries

28 Jul

My friend and her family generously gave me some of their surplus potatoes and home-grown herbs and onions a few days ago. When I got home, I set to work steeping an ample bunch of lemon balm leaves with lemon verbena tea bags to make a pitcher of iced tea. Then, I graced my kitchen with cilantro-studded home fries.

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When I lived in the Bay Area, I used to be okay with battling the crowds and going out for a big weekend brunch complete with eggs, home fries, maybe a muffin, and always coffee.

Oh, New York. Why does it seem like every brunch place here serves french fries with eggs? There is the occasional potato pancake or limp hash-brown, but rarely, if ever, a home fry. Maybe I just live in the wrong part of town for home fries? If anyone out there has a good spot for New York City breakfast potatoes, let me know. Until then, you can find me in my kitchen on weekend mornings, creating what I feel is a proper weekend breakfast.

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The trick to making these home fries at home is to use the microwave (if you do not have a microwave, you can boil your potatoes first). Wash the potatoes, chop the potatoes, and place the potatoes covered in the microwave. This gets them par-cooked before they hit the pan to get crispy outside and remain soft inside.

The second trick is to cook the onion separately from the potatoes and to add the onion back in at the end. Since the potatoes cook much longer than the onion, taking the onion out and then adding the onion back at the end prevents the pieces from charring.

Naturally, home fries are excellent with eggs. If the season is right, I recommend slicing some baby tomatoes in half, salting them, and mixing them in with the eggs. I scrambled my eggs, but a poached or a flipped egg  with the runny yolk seeping into the potatoes is another option. If you are not into eggs, home fries + beans or home fries + fish or home fries + sausage or home fries + salad are a few of many ideas.

Sprinkle with a liberal amount of salt and pepper. Hot sauce optional.

Home Fries

recipe from the always reliable and lovely Smitten Kitchen

makes about 4 servings

You can use all butter, or you can use a mix of canola oil and butter. I dialed down the butter slightly compared to the original recipe. Like me, start with less, and add more if you like. 

1 1/2 pounds potatoes

1 onion, chopped

3 tablespoons butter, divided (or a mix of butter and canola oil)

salt and pepper, to taste

optional: fresh cilantro

Arrange potatoes in large microwave-safe bowl or large plate, top with 1/2 tablespoon butter, and cover with another plate. Microwave on high until edges of potatoes begin to soften, 5 to 7 minutes, shaking (without removing the cover plate) to redistribute potatoes halfway through cooking.

Meanwhile, melt 1/2 tablespoon butter in large skillet (I used non-stick) over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened and golden brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl.

Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter (or do half butter half canola oil) in the now empty skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes and pack down with spatula. Cook, without moving, until underside of potatoes is brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn potatoes, pack down again, and continue to cook until well browned and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring potatoes every few minutes, until crusty and golden on all sides, 9 to 12 minutes (at this point, if you are making eggs to go with your potatoes, start them now). Stir in onion and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with cilantro, if using.

Soft Polenta with Sautéed Spinach and Shrimp

30 Apr

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I like my quick vegetarian meals. I can turn out an easy dinner with very little preparation, and it always tastes good. Lately, though, I’ve been wanting some variety in my diet.

I’ve now checked sardines off the list of foods I’ve never eaten at home. They were excellent in pasta with broccoli rabe, pine nuts, and golden raisins. The other day I bought anchovy paste so that I could play around with flavor. I’m open to anchovy suggestions if anyone out there has some…

And now, I can check off shrimp. I order shrimp at restaurants occasionally, but I’m not a diehard fan. Nevertheless, shrimp is a quick-cooking protein and I figured I’d take it for a spin at home for a change. I found some decently sustainable frozen shrimp at Whole Foods. They defrost quickly either overnight in the fridge or under cold running water for about 6 minutes.

I sautéed some onion and garlic in a pan, added the shrimp, and a heaping few handfuls of spring spinach from the Columbia Greenmarket.

Served atop a bed of soft, Farmer Ground Flour polenta from my local butcher, Harlem Shambles ($5 for a big bag!). I like to cook polenta in mostly water with a little milk, and I finish it with a pat of butter, a few grates of Parmesan, and a few dabs of plain Greek yogurt. Creamy and dreamy. Don’t forget the black pepper!

Earlier in the week, I baked a bunch of sweet potatoes (fork them all around, bake in the oven for about an hour or until soft), so I added a half to this dinner.

Soft polenta, sautéed spinach and shrimp, with a little roasted sweet potato. A fine meal.

Soft Polenta

Adapted from an old post, originally from Joy the Baker

Makes 4-6 servings

1 cup polenta

4 cups water

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon salt

To finish:

1/3 cup grated Parmesan

1 tablespoon Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon butter

fresh ground black pepper

Place 1 cup of dried polenta in a medium sized bowl. Top with one cup cold water. Set aside.

In a medium sized sauce pan bring 1 cup of milk and remaining 3 cups of water to a boil. Once boiling, add salt. Slowly whisk the polenta/water mixture into the boiling milk mixture. Turn flame down to medium low. The time the polenta takes to cook will depend on weather you’re using fine grain or course polenta. However long it takes, stir occasionally until you’re reached a desired thickness.

Turn of flame and add grated parmesan cheese, Greek yogurt, and a pat of butter. Grind some black pepper over the top. Stir to incorporate.

 

Sautéed Spinach and Shrimp

makes about 4-5 servings

1 tablespoon oil (canola or olive work fine)

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound shrimp (defrosted if frozen), rinsed and patted dry

2-4 heaping handfuls of chopped spinach

salt

Heat oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the chopped onion and cook for about 3 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook one minute more. Add the shrimp and cook for about 2 minutes on each side or until lightly pink.

Add the spinach to the pan and stir until slightly wilted. Sprinkle with a few pinches of salt, to taste.

Serve atop a soft bed of polenta. 

“Creamy” Chicken Barley Soup

17 Jan

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You know that area right underneath your nostrils? Mine is red and dry because I have been blowing my nose for almost a week now. Yuck. Colds are the worst. I still have energy to go about my usual business, but I’m just a snotty, gross mess.

Alas, chicken soup.

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Funny enough, a few days into the snotty sickness that has been permeating my apartment, I received an email from my boyfriend’s mom with a recipe for a fantastic chicken barley soup. Must have been mother’s intuition that we needed comfort.

This “Creamy” Chicken Barley Soup is heartier than the typical clear-broth chicken soup. Blending some of the broth with cooked potato, onion, celery, and garlic lends a creamy texture without any cream. If your favorite kitchen tool is an immersion blender, raise your hand! Makes life so easy.

Adding a little barley to the soup offers a nice contrast, a bite of texture. Barley is a great source of whole grain, it is rich in fiber and protein, and it turns the soup into its own meal.

I used a homemade turkey stock for this soup. It is so easy to freeze a bunch of leftover odds and ends of vegetables and prepare a quick stock. After I made a vegetable stock, I strained it, and then added it back to a pot with the neck and giblets I had in the freezer from my Thanksgiving turkey. There’s some good dark meat on the neck of a turkey, so don’t throw the neck away! Prepare your stock the day before if you want to get ahead.

So I had turkey stock in my chicken soup. No big deal. If you are short on time, you could just use water instead of stock, and add salt. Or buy stock. Either way.

Note that you could buy pre-cooked chicken, but I found it very easy to just toss two breasts (save the bones for stock if you want!) in the oven while I was preparing the rest of my ingredients.

“Creamy” Chicken Barley Soup

Recipe from Lucy, by way of Jackie

This makes a LOT of soup, about 10 servings (you could freeze extras, bring some to a friend, or halve the recipe)

2 T butter or oil
2 onions, chopped
6-7 celery sticks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 C russet potatoes, diced
2 large carrots, diced
1/2 C pearl barley
8 -9 C stock (I made my vegetable stock, strained it, and added the neck and giblets that were in my freezer from Thanksgiving and simmered for ~1hour)
2 bay leaves
1/2 C white wine
2 bone-in chicken breasts (or slightly less than 2lbs), pre-cooked and shredded (see below for how to cook)
salt and pepper to taste

First, cook your chicken breasts. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until done (165 degrees F). When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones (save the bones in your freezer for stock), and shred the meat. Cover and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large stockpot melt butter (or oil) and saute onions, celery, garlic until soft.

Next, add potatoes, 6 – 7 C chicken stock, and thyme. Cook until potatoes are soft (15- 30 min), then use an immersion blender or transfer 3/4 of the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth.

Return this mixture to the pot, add the carrots, barley and bay leaves.  Cook partially covered for 30 minutes. Add more stock for a soupier soup. When barley is tender, add wine and chicken, salt and pepper to taste. Cook for a few more minutes to warm up the chicken.

Tomato Blue Cheese Tarte Tatin

24 Aug

I’ve been busy enjoying life on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest, in a petite rustic cabin with no running water and no electricity. For 4 days, I was peeing in the woods and not taking showers. I wore a headlamp and lit candles to see at night. The days were filled with hiking and bushwhacking up mountains and through meadows, and the evenings with melting marshmallows by a fire on the beach. It was totally dreamy to be out in nature, to be one with the biting bugs and scurrying animals and calm waves of the ocean’s tide coming in and out.

It’s amazing what one can miss with just a week absence of internet. The moment I had access to my computer again, I started plowing through, trying to catch up on all the blogs I read.

Heidi’s tomato tarte tatin immediately caught my eye, especially since I had a pie crust in my freezer just waiting to be used.

I made a big trip to the farmer’s market today, where I found heaps of gorgeous tomatoes, onions, green and yellow beans, cucumbers, melon, and white peaches. I even bought my lunch at the farmer’s market–whole wheat focaccia with eggplant, spinach, and goat cheese.

This tarte tatin is basically an upside down pie. Filling on the bottom, crust on top. I sautéed onions and combined them with fresh tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and salt. Into a pie plate and sprinkled with blue cheese. I think blue cheese and honey are a swoon-worthy combination, so I squeezed a bit of honey over everything for good measure. Pie crust on top. Egg wash. Salt. Oven.

The blue cheese melts right into the tomatoes, the juices so rich they give off hints of a beefy French onion soup.

Real talk: I used the cap of my canola oil to cut out the circles in the center of the pie crust.

Also, I like to place the pie plate onto a baking sheet. It just makes it easier to take in and out of the oven.

Tomato Blue Cheese Tarte Tatin

adapted from Heidi, of 101 cookbooks

serves 6-8

**NOTE: Use whatever pie crust you like. I think Heidi’s rye crust sounds great. I used David Lebovitz’s recipe (see below) that can go into a savory or sweet pie. 

1 extra large (or 2 medium) onion(s), chopped

1-2 tablespoons canola oil

1 1/2 pounds (24 oz.) small tomatoes

scant 1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1-2 tablespoons flour

2-3 tablespoons blue cheese

1 teaspoon honey, for drizzling

1 pie crust

1 egg (for egg wash), whisked

flaky salt, for sprinkling on top

Preheat the oven to 400F / 205C.

While the oven is warming, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium and saute the onions. Cook, stirring regularly, until the onions are deeply golden and caramelized, 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat.

While the onions are cooking, cut any larger tomatoes in half. You can leave the small cherry tomatoes whole. Add the tomatoes to the caramelized onions along with the sea salt and balsamic vinegar. Transfer to a deep pie dish. If you get the sense that your tomatoes are quite juicy, and might release a lot of liquid, you can toss the mixture with a tablespoon or two of flour at this point. Sprinkle mixture with crumbled blue cheese and drizzle with a touch of honey.

Roll out your pie dough, cut out 3 circles around the center, and cover the tomato mixture – tucking in the sides a bit. Brush the crust with the beaten egg wash and bake in the top third of the oven until the crust is deeply golden and the tomatoes are bubbling a bit at the sides, 25 – 30 minutes. Let it rest for a few minutes, then serve.

Prep time: 10 min – Cook time: 45 min

Pie Crust

from David Lebovtiz’s Ready for Dessert

makes 2 rounds

**NOTE: You only need 1 round for the Tomato Blue Cheese Tarte Tatin. You can keep the other round in the freezer.

2 1/2 cups (350 g) all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (8 ounces/225 g) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch (3-cm) cubes and chilled

6-8 tablespoons ice water

In a large bowl using a pastry blender, in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a food processor fitted with the metal blade, mix together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the chilled butter cubes and mix just until the butter is broken up into rough 1/4-inch pieces.

Add 6 tablespoons of the ice water all at once and continue mixing just until the dough begins to hold together. If necessary, mix in the additional 2 tablespoons ice water.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Divide the dough in half and form each half into a disk about 1 inch thick. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and firm, at least 1 hour.

STORAGE: The disks of dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months.