Roasted Cheesy Potatoes

17 04 2011

One of my favorite things about breakfast is the tasty, savory, potato-y side dish! This particular version is inspired by the roasted potatoes with cheese from a crepe place I used to frequent in Pittsford, NY. It works just as well as a dinner or lunch side as well.

roasted cheesy potatoes


Ingredients:

• 1 lb baby red potatoes, quartered
• extra virgin olive oil
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 Tbsp chili powder
• salt and pepper to taste
• 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (or more!)
• dried basil


Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400º F.
2. Toss the potatoes, garlic and olive oil in a glass baking dish, and season with chili powder and a small pinch of both salt and pepper.
3. Place dish in the oven on the middle rack and bake until potatoes are soft and edges have browned (roughly 40 minutes). While roasting, toss the potatoes with a spatula every 15 minutes or so, being sure to scrape any sticking spuds from the bottom.
4. When the potatoes look almost done, turn the oven up to 500º F and remove the potatoes.
5. While the oven heats up, season the potatoes with a generous pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper and sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top.
6. Return to the oven (this time on the top rack) and roast another 5 to 10 minutes, until the cheese is fully melted and bubbly.
7. Smoosh a large pinch of dried basil in the palm of your hand with your thumb, and sprinkle over the top.


Recommended Serving Instructions:

Serve alongside your favorite breakfast main dish (omelet, scramble, etc.). However, the great thing about these potatoes is that they are so flavorful and filling, they could go with just simple eggs and toast – it takes the pressure off of doing a whole, elaborate meal.


Tips:

•To cut down on the baking time and to ensure a more evenly cooked set of potatoes, you can boil the potatoes for 5-10 minutes before preparing and roasting.






Cucumber Finger Sandwiches

23 11 2010

Perfect for any afternoon tea party or as an appetizer to your Sunday summer soiree, these little sandwiches are refreshingly good and easy to make.

cucumber sandwich


Ingredients:

•pumpernickel bread, sliced very thin
•cream cheese
•cucumber, sliced thinly
•red onion, sliced thinly (optional)
•lemon pepper


Directions:

cucumber sandwich 11. Toast the bread until browned.
2. Spread cream cheese onto two pieces of bread. You want it to be just thick enough so that you cannot see the bread through the cream cheese, but not much thicker.
3. Layer a single layer of onion and then cucumber.
4. Sprinkle the cucumber generously with lemon pepper.
cucumber sandwich 25. Cover with the other piece of bread with cream cheese and press the sandwich together firmly.
6. Wrap the sandwich tightly in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes (or up to 1 day before serving).
7. Unwrap the sandwich and cut into small squares. Serve immediately.


Tips:

•The bread part is easiest if you can find the shrink-wrapped bread made for this very dish. I find mine at Whole Foods, although I’m sure you can find it elsewhere. You can also ask your local baker to cut a loaf of bread as thinly as possible. Either way, it saves the frustration of doing it yourself at home!






Baba Ghanoush

27 10 2010

baba ghanoush 1I have always been a big fan of this creamy, smoky dip. As I was walking through the farmer’s market the other day, I saw some beautiful eggplant and was instantly inspired to attempt making some from scratch. It turned out to be surprisingly simple and incredibly tasty.


Ingredients:

baba ghanoush•2 1-pound eggplants
•1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
•1/4 cup tahini
•3 Tbs lemon juice
•1 garlic clove, chopped
•pinch of salt
•freshly ground black pepper


baba ghanoush 2Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 375º F and generously oil a baking sheet.
2. Slice eggplants in half, lengthwise, and place cut side down onto the pan. Bake for about 50 minutes, until the flesh is very soft.
3. Scoop out the flesh into a strainer and place over a bowl. Let the eggplant drain excess liquid for 30 minutes.
4. Place all of the ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until almost smooth.
5. Chill until use, allow to rest at least 1 hour.
6. Serve at room temperature.


Recommended Serving Instructions:

Serve at room temperature as a dip with pita bread or pita chips.






Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache

17 10 2010

Ganache is surprisingly easy and, in my opinion, a much richer, classier alternative to frosting. I used this to make and decorate my beetnik cake. It was easy to work with, looks great, and tastes even better!

ganache

This recipe is from the June 2009 issue of Bon Appetit.


Ingredients:

•5 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
•1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
•1/ tsp vanilla extract
•3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
•3/4 cup sugar


Directions:

ganache 11. Place chopped chocolate, butter and vanilla in medium bowl.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine cream and sugar and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.
ganache 33. Pour hot cream mixture into bowl with chocolate and let stand 1 minute.
4. Whisk until melted and smooth.
5. Chill ganache until thickened and spreadable (about 1 hour).






Beetnik Cake

17 10 2010

beetnik cakeI decided to finally make and share this recipe for beetnik cake: a chocolate and beet cake with subtle flavor and beautiful color. It goes well with raspberries (the batter even smells like raspberries) and chocolate ganache.

While the name of this blog has nothing to do with the cake with the same name, the two undeniably share a name. Plus, beetnik cakes are made with real beets, so this should be of interest to most veg cooks.

Thanks to Vegalicious for providing the inspiration and recipe!


Ingredients:

•3 large beets (to make 1 & 1/2 cups pureed beets)
•3 eggs *egg substitute to make vegan
•3/4 and 2 Tbs cup vegetable oil
•1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
•1 tsp vanilla extract
•2 cups all purpose flour
•1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
•1 1/2 tsp baking powder
•pinch of salt


Directions:

beetnik cake 11. Preheat the oven to 425º F.
2. Wash the beets, trim the ends off and cut in half. Place in a large baking dish and add a little water to steam them.
3. Cover in foil and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until the beets are easily pierced with a knife.
4. After letting the beets cool some, slip off the skins under running water.
5. Puree the beets in a medium bowl.
6. Add eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla and mix well.
7. In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
beetnik cake 28. Add the beet mixture to the flour mixture and stir until thoroughly combined – thickness should be similar to a brownie batter. You can add up to 1/4 cup water if too thick.
9. Pour the batter into a prepared (oiled and dusted with flour) 8 x 9 baking dish and place in the preheated oven to bake for 30-40 minutes. The cake is done when the center of the cake springs back.
10. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes before removing and transferring to a cooling rack. Let the cake fully cool before preparing (cutting, forming, frosting, etc.).


beetnik cake 3Serving Suggestion:

This cake has been layered with a raspberry filling in the middle and slathered with a bittersweet chocolate ganache. Of course, the decorative aspects are completely up to you! But, whatever you decide, get creative and ambitious! I NEVER bake and I managed to do this, which, in my humble opinion, looks AND tastes pretty great!


Tips:

•The beet puree can be made in advance. So if you want to spread out the cake prep, that’s a great project to do ahead of time.
•This cake works great if you cut into thin layers and layer with a rich and sweet filling (such as raspberry filling or ganache). It also goes well with walnuts which you could just add to the batter before baking.
•Use cake scraps to mold 3-D design, using ganache as both glue and primer. Then mix butter cream or another white frosting with food coloring to serve as paint.






Homemade Stromboli

16 10 2010

This is my favorite quick end-of-a-LONNGGG-day-at-work-and-I-want-something-tasty-and-filling-but-have-very-little-energy-or-motivation recipes. With premade dough for sale at most local supermarkets (or if you have the foresight to make your own pizza dough and have it at the ready in your fridge at all times), strombolis take a surprisingly little amount of time.

stromboli


Ingredients:stromboli 1

•pizza dough
•1/3 cup tomato sauce
•1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
•large pinch romano cheese
•your favorite pizza toppings
•extra virgin olive oil

Toppings included in picture above:

•Italian style Smart Sausages
•green bell pepper
•red onion
•black olives


Directions:

stromboli 21. Pre-heat oven to 450º F.
2. After letting the dough sit out to get to room temperature, divide into two equal parts and form 1 section into a ball. Stretch out to a 10-12” circle, using a plate or cutting board to help hold its form.
3. Spread the sauce in a rectangle shape along the middle and then add the toppings and cheese on top. The amounts listed above are for 1 stromboli and are only recommendations – I like mine pretty saucy and cheesy.
stromboli 44. Wrap the longer sides around the ingredients to connect in the middle. Fold the smaller ends up to close off the ends.
5. Lightly spread olive oil over the outside of the stromboli.
6. Place the stromboli on a baking sheet and bake 15 minutes, or until it is thoroughly cooked and the outside is golden brown.


Tips:

•While jarred sauce is quick and easy, this is still a great opportunity to use your homemade sauce (including my tomato sauce and basil walnut pesto). Also, if you like white pizza, try just using some melted butter, olive oil and tons of minced garlic.
•To zest up your stromboli, you can sprinkle various ingredients on the outside before you bake it. Think of it like a bagel – sesame seeds, poppy seeds, romano or asiago cheese, fresh cracked black pepper, garlic powder, dried onion, even mimic an everything bagel…
•This dish is definitely ideal for your pizza stone, if you have one. But if not, a nice dark cookie sheet works fine. It needs to cook fairly quickly on a high heat.






Vegetarian Garbage Plate (oh, yes I did!)

9 10 2010

I went to college in Rochester, NY, and if you are from upstate New York you are likely all too familiar with this unique regional dish. It usually involves a heap of mac salad, a heap of home fries, topped with 2 cheeseburgers, a hot chili meat sauce and then mustard and chopped onions. Since I realized I’ll never be able to go back and relive my college days with this dish (it’s pretty much meat and fat, through and through), I decided to create my own veg-friendly garbage plate. If you ever feel adventurous, give it a try!

garbage plate


Ingredients

Alexia Foods Yukon Gold frozen french fries
•homemade mac salad (wheat macaroni, organic canola mayonnaise, red onion, green bell pepper, salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley)
•2 homemade veggie burgers
•2 sandwich slices of cheddar cheese
•vegetarian chorizo hot sauce (see recipe below)
•red onion, finely chopped
•brown mustard


Directions:

garbage plate 11. Bake french fries according to directions.
2. Heat veggie burgers and top with cheese so it starts to melt.
3. Pile french fries and mac salad so they each take up half a large plate or bowl.
4. Top with the veggie cheeseburgers, spoon a hefty portion of the chorizo sauce on top, and then garnish with mustard and onions.


Sauce Ingredients:

•2 Tbs butter
•1 Tbs vegetable oil
•4 cloves garlic
•1/2 red onion, finely chopped
•12 oz chorizo style Smart Sausages, diced
•1 Tbs chili powder
•a pinch of kosher salt
•2 tsp fresh ground pepper
•cayenne pepper to taste
•15 oz can chopped tomatoes


Sauce Directions:

1. Heat butter and oil in a medium saucepan. Add garlic and onion and sauté until they become soft.
garbage plate 22. Add chorizo and cook over medium-high heat until thoroughly browned (about 5 minutes). The sausage will start to fall apart – this is a good thing considering original garbage plate sauce is made with ground beef. In the end, you want a chili-like consistency.
3. Add seasoning and brown another 2 minutes.
4. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes over medium heat. Adjust seasoning to taste, as needed.


Tips:

•A traditional garbage plate has lots of options. Instead of french fries and mac salad, you can replace one or both with home fries or baked beans. And instead of cheeseburgers, you can serve with hotdogs, Italian sausage, chicken tenders, grilled cheese or eggs. Try your own combinations!
•This meal is scientifically proven to cure hangovers.
•Most importantly, DO NOT EAT THIS OFTEN!









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