Blanched Vegetable Salad with Basil Parsley Vinaigrette

parsley basil vinaigeretteGreen beans, new potatoes, fava beans, and basil are all ingredients that delight me when they begin to show up at the market. Living in the midwest, I used to feel that it was finally summer when I saw corn and tomatoes. Here in Washington, it’s the green beans that I wait for. And this year, at the beginning of this season, I discovered a new delight. Have you tried the parsley from Tani Creek? It’s like none other. You’ll want to add it to dishes as a main ingredient, not just a garnish, as it is often relegated. Adapted to our climate, this “awesome tasty” heirloom variety has a pedigree which you can read about on the farm’s website while you peruse their seeds for sale.

Here’s a spunky salad that features parsley prominently. (Feel free to substitute it for the basil entirely.) It does take a bit of time to prepare. Think of it as a potluck show off dish. Or, make a big bowl of it on Sunday and smugly take it for a hearty lunch all week.

Salad:
1 pound new potatoes
1 pound green beans
1/2 pound fava beans (That’s the weight for the beans after being removed from pod.)
6 slices crispy ham, optional (See note.)

  1. Put a medium sized pot of water on to boil. Fill a large bowl with ice and water. Set aside.
  2. Wash and slice potatoes into about 1 1/2 inch pieces. (If very small, you may not need to cut the potatoes. Yum!)
  3. Add potatoes to boiling water. Salt. Cook for 25 minutes.
  4. While your potatoes are cooking, attend to your green beans. Take the ends off the green beans and cut into large bites, about 2 inches long.
  5. Prepare fava beans by removing large beans from pods.
  6. Use a skimmer or slotted spoon to remove potatoes to ice water bath. When cold, remove potatoes and place on a dishtowel. Pat dry.
  7. In the same water, boil green beans for 2-3 minutes, tasting to see if they are the consistency you might like. Follow the same procedure as the potatoes – ice water, then towel.
  8. For this dish, boil fava beans for 2 minutes. After chilling, remove the skins.
  9. Place all the vegetables in a large bowl and pour vinaigrette over. Add crispy ham, if using.

Vinaigrette:parsley basil vinaigerette
1/4 c. fresh parsley leaves, packed
1/4 c. fresh basil leaves, packed
3 tbls. champagne vinegar (or other gentle, white vinegar)
2 tsp. mustard
2 garlic scapes (or one large clove of garlic)
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
a few grinds of pepper

Add all ingredients to food processor and process until smooth.

Notes:

  • We always pick up a ration of Hitchcock Deli meat for the week – turkey, beef, ham, bacon. Occasionally we might be overzealous in our order and have a little leftover at the end of the week. Crispy ham is a remedy to this problem. Take ham that’s been in your fridge for awhile, crisp it up at 450F for 5-6 minutes and voila – a yummy crunch for pasta, eggs, or salad.
  • Feel free to play and add other seasonal veggies that you might prefer, of course.

 

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Dairy-Free Pommes Anna

photo 2

Once, a long time ago when I was just beginning to learn to cook, I got a book from the library that contained something like a mind-blowing 150 recipes just made with potatoes. A few of those dishes that I learned then are still with me today. This dish, pommes anna, is a very classic french preparation and usually only uses two ingredients: butter and potatoes. I worked up an alternative version for a dairy-free friend. It was easy and yummy and served another important purpose. Our csa has been giving us handfuls of different potatoes each week. Varying sizes and types challenged me to think of a way to make them all into a cohesive dish. I scrubbed them up with our new favorite kitchen tool and then un-artfully stuffed them all in the top of the food processor. And there you have it – a quick potato side without any butter.

Makes 1 potato cake, serving about 4-6

about 3 handfuls of mixed potatoes
olive oil
salt and pepper

  1. Prepare your pan. Use a 10 1/2 (or similarly sized) springform pan. Drizzle a little oil in it and smear it on the bottom and sides. Wrap the bottom in a piece of foil. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Slice your potatoes with the 2 mm. slicing blade of your food processor.photo 1
  3. Fill a large bowl with water and add potato slices. Swirl and rinse the extra starch off. Dry the potatoes with a dishtowel.
  4. Begin to layer them in your oiled pan. When you have a complete layer, drizzle a little more oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. (It will cook up fine even if your layers are just approximated – no need for perfect overlapping circles.) Layer until you have about an inch of potatoes in the pan. Press down with your hand.photo 4
  5. Cover your pan tightly with foil. Place the pan on a baking sheet in the oven. Bake at 375F for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until the top is brown (about 15 minutes more.)
  6. Unhinge your springform pan and slide the cake off the bottom. Slice and serve.

Scalloped Potatoes

Last weekend, there was a lot of sausage making going on. This year, the event included more hungry friends, a new venue (thanks, C and A!), and many different types of sausages. While some would argue that one could live on homemade sausage alone, I believe in side dishes. Scalloped potatoes can be made ahead of time and easily reheated when your crew is ready to eat. This dish is simple and, as one person stated, “Tastes like potatoes.” (I’ll take this compliment to mean that it is a casserole that doesn’t have any competing flavors, like cheese or onion. Just delicious potatoes!)

Serves 6-8

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9X13 pan (or comparably sized baking dishes.)
  2. In a bowl, mix:
    2 tbls. flour
    1 1/2 tsp. salt
    1/8 tsp ground pepper
  3. Set aside a measuring cup, filled with 2 cups whole milk.
  4. With a mandolin or box grater, slice about 2 pounds of washed potatoes into 1/8 inch thick slices.
  5. Create layers in your baking dish by slightly overlapping the potatoes. Every few layers, sprinkle with a little of the flour and dot with butter. (You will use a total of 2 tbls. of butter for the layers. Pour the milk over the top.
  6. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Then, remove the foil and reduce the heat to 325F. Bake for an additional 45 minutes.

Rosti: A quick breakfast potato

You may have noticed that our posts have been a little sporadic lately. Thanks to everyone who keeps checking back in! We have a new little guy in our house and things have been busy.

We’re still cooking – one has to eat, of course – but our experimentation has slowed down a bit. We’re cooking a lot of recipes that are already familiar to us (check out our seasonal recipe tab). Lately, a lot of our other cooking is basically just meals that don’t really require a recipe, but instead, just rely on eating up some of summer’s great produce.

Here’s one that I love. It’s so simple that it’s almost a non-recipe, but I wanted to share because everyone deserves to take a break and have a good breakfast now and then. Serve with your favorite, fresh egg, toast, and fruit.

Rosti, for one

one potato
salt, pepper
about 1/2 tbls. butter
one happy baby in a bouncy seat

  1. On the large side of a box grater, grate one potato onto a towel. Bundle up the towel and squeeze out the potato’s liquid over the sink.
  2. Melt butter in a skillet over medium-low heat.
  3. Spread the grated potato out over the skillet and press down. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add a lid and continue to cook for 6-10 minutes. During the cooking time, lift the lid at least twice and wipe the moisture off of it.
  5. Slide the pancake onto a plate and then flip it back into the pan, uncooked side down. Season. Cover. Cook for 6-10 minutes more, wiping the lid.

Potato Bagel Recipe

I’m in love. It’s not a phase. This is the real thing.

The potato bagel and I go way back. When I used to live in Pittsburgh, about the only food experience I could afford was the potato bagel. I was living in Squirrel Hill very close to an Einstein Brothers and it was too tempting to pass by without going in for one. I’ve been dreaming about them ever since. Simply, no other bagel compares.

Taking what I’ve learned from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice and this recipe, I think I’ve found a way to replicate that nostalgic potato bagel at home.

For plain bagels, see this previously posted recipe.

Makes 2 dozen bagels (easily halved, if you want only one dozen)

Day 1:

Make the potatoes:
Peel and rinse about 6 potatoes (enough to result in 1 1/3 c. mashed potatoes).
In a medium saucepan, cover the potatoes with about 6 cups of water.
Simmer for a half hour.
With a slotted spoon, remove potatoes to a bowl. Reserve potato water.
Mash the potatoes, adding in a little potato water, to create a smooth consistency. Set aside for the dough step.

Mix together the sponge:
1/2 tsp. instant yeast
6 cups bread flour
4 cups warm potato water

Mix the yeast into the flour and then gradually mix in the water. Your mixture should be very sticky (like pancake batter.) Cover with plastic wrap and a dry towel. Ferment the sponge at room temperature for about 2 hours.

Prepare the dough:
2 tbls. honey
1 tbls. malt syrup
6 tbls. olive oil
1 1/3 mashed potatoes, room temperature
5 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. yeast
about 8 cups bread flour

With an electric mixer and dough hook, add the liquid ingredients (honey, malt, oil) to the sponge. Add mashed potatoes, salt, and yeast.  Add the flour 2 cups at a time. Continue to knead for about ten minutes until you’ve got an elastic, satiny ball. (The resulting dough will be somewhat wetter than a plain bagel dough.)

Divide the dough into 4 1/2 ounce pieces and roll into smooth balls. Roll each ball in a light coating of flour. Cover the balls with a damp towel and let them rest for 30 minutes.

Line 3 sheet pans with parchment and mist lightly with olive oil.

After the dough has rested, shape by poking a hole in the center of the ball with your thumb and gently stretching out into a bagel that is even on all sides. Make the holes slightly bigger than you think they should be.

Place the bagel on the pan, mist with oil and cover with plastic wrap. Let the pans sit for 20 minutes. Now, it’s time for the float test! Slip one bagel out from under the plastic wrap and test to see if it will float within 10 seconds in a bowl of water. Pat it dry, return to pan, and place your bagels in the fridge overnight. (If your bagel does not pass the float test, do not despair, just wait a little bit longer and try again.)

Day 2:

Boil and bake:

Fill a stock pot with water and bring to a boil. Preheat the oven to 500F. Add 1 tbls. baking soda to the boiling water. Stir.

Take your bagels from fridge and drop, in batches of four, into the boiling water. Cook for one and a half minutes per side – flip your bagels over with a skimmer, slotted spoon, or tongs. While your bagels boil, sprinkle your parchment with semolina flour or cornmeal.  Place boiled bagels on the prepared sheet.

Dust the tops with flour and slash three times. (This looks appealing and lets some of the moisture out as it cooks.)

Bake at 500F for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 450F and bake for another 5 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove to racks to cool.

Notes:

  • Any potato will do, but I’d recommend a drier, brown potato (Russet). This will give a stronger potato flavor.
  • I tried the beautiful star bagels shown in this recipe, but it was a disaster. They were hard to get off the parchment, fell apart in the water, and came out of the oven unevenly cooked and gooey. What a shame.
  • Try a potato bagel with herbs. Yum!

Thrice Baked Potatoes with Green Garlic

Green garlic and goat cheese put some ‘spring’ in this spud. Baking the potatoes twice (and the shells once) result in the perfect combo of crispy shells and soft potatoes.

Serves 2

3 medium potatoes
2 stalks green garlic, chopped finely
1 -2 oz. goat cheese (depending on your preference)
sprig of marjoram, chopped finely
2-4 tbls. whole milk
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbls. butter

  1. Wash and poke a few holes in your potatoes. Bake for 1 hour at 400F.
  2. Prepare your garlic, herbs, and other ingredients.
  3. When potatoes are baked, slice a small lid in two of them. The third potato will be solely used as filling.
  4. With a spoon, carefully scrape out the potato into a bowl. Mash with the rest of your ingredients until smooth.
  5. Melt 1 tbls. of butter. Paint the inside of the potato shell with butter. In a small baking dish, bake at 400F for 10 minutes.
  6. Stuff the shells. Paint the remaining butter over the top and sides.
    At this point, this dish can be held for later. If you’re going to refrigerate, let them first come to room temperature or add a few minutes onto the final baking time.
  7. Place back in the 400F oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Potato Cabbage Gratin

We took a field trip over to the Ballard farmers’ market last weekend and got, among other delicious things, some beautiful cabbages. This recipe, a filling main dish, is almost straight out of Local Flavors.

1 pound yellow potatoes (about 3-4)
about 1 pound green cabbage
4 tbls. butter, plus more for dish
1 garlic clove
1 1/3 cups milk
3 eggs
1/2 cup grated cheese (Parmesan or other hard, white cheese)
1/3 cup AP flour
salt and pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Butter a 2 quart baking dish. Put a large pot of water on to boil.
  2. Peel and slice potatoes to 1/4 inch thick.
  3. Slice the cabbage roughly into ribbons.
  4. Add potatoes and 1 tbls. salt to water.  Boil for 5 minutes. Remove potatoes to a bowl.
  5. Drop cabbage into water and cook for 5 minutes. Remove cabbage from water and place on an old dish cloth. Squeeze out as much excess water as you can.
  6. Melt butter in small skillet and toss garlic in for one minute.
  7. Gently toss cabbage, potatoes, butter and garlic,  and salt and pepper (to taste) together.  (Your potatoes may break up a little, but no worries, it will all bake up nicely.) Pour into baking dish.
  8. Whisk milk, eggs, cheese, and flour together. Pour over potato mixture. (Reserve a little cheese to sprinkle on top.)
  9. Bake  for 50 minutes and cool slightly before serving.

4 to 6 servings
We served it with crusty bread and sausage, but this could easily be a vegetarian main.