crispy roasted potatoes


potato wedges

You know a side dish is good when your family asks you to make it with every meal.  We could be having spaghetti and they want these potato wedges.    It’s actually my husband who is doing most of the asking, but the kids certainly agree that these little guys are addictive.  I also like that it has basically replaced the bag of frozen fries.  Just like my rant earlier in the year about over-indulging in snack stand french fries during baseball season (bacon-wrapped potatoes), I was beginning to feel reluctant to buy those bags of steak fries at the store to accompany a meal.    We went through that stint of buying the sweet potato fries – trying to pass them off as healthier in our minds, but in the end it is still a bag of frozen fries.  These wedges are so much better for you and so easy to make.  I found the recipe in Cook’s Illustrated,  and I have learned that it is pretty hard to mess up.  So easy in fact, that my husband, not so innocently, said that I should make them for Thanksgiving this year.  Now, I know he loves them, but he was just conjuring up past Thanksgivings, and all of our mashed potato mishaps.  Cheap ricers gone wrong, burners not bringing the water to boil, vegetable peelers breaking, over salting, you name it.  But I had an industrial ricer sitting on top of my fridge, waiting to step in and save the day.  Plus, once I told my husband that he would have to share the wedges with 10 people instead of just three, he quickly changed his mind.  Mashed potatoes came back onto the Thanksgiving menu real fast.

golden potatoes

sliced potatoes

crispy roasted potatoes  (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)

3  TB canola oil
cooking spray
2  (24 oz) bags small golden potatoes, each potato sliced into four wedges
4  TB cornstarch
1 1/2  tsp garlic powder
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
pinch crushed red pepper flakes

seasoned potatoes

get started on the crispy roasted potatoes:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Slice the potatoes.  On a large baking sheet lined with foil, coat with cooking spray.  Add oil to baking sheet and place in oven.  While pan is heating up, place potatoes in a large bowl and toss with cornstarch and remaining ingredients.  Carefully remove preheated baking sheet from the oven, and tilt sheet to evenly coat with oil.  Place potatoes, mostly cut side down in a single layer, and roast until browned on all edges, turning halfway through, for about 30 minutes.  Add kosher salt and pepper to taste if needed.

roasted potatoes

note:  potatoes feed 6-8 hungry people.  We like to add grated cheese to them when they come out of the oven.  Feel free to adjust the seasoning or add other spices to the cornstarch.  It’s all good.

roasted onions with gruyere


roasted onions with gruyere

It’s football day again.  We decided on flank steak sandwiches, but I needed something different from the usual coleslaw or potato salad to go with them.    In meal planning for football, it isn’t allowed to be fussy.  Fussy food is banned on football day which is understandable, but I was tired of the same old sides.  Maybe others didn’t care, but I was on the hunt to cook up something else.  Well, the ooh la la’s came out when I made this, because it looks fussy, but is actually super simple, and the FLAVOR is huge.  Duh – what goes on steak sandwiches?  Onions?  Check.  Cheese?  check.  Why didn’t I think to make this before?  Plus, you can easily use this as a component in a day-two dish.  This one is a keeper.  Oh, and our team won.  Win-win.

roasted onions with Gruyère cheese (believed to have been adapted from Food & Wine)

non-stick cooking spray
12  small boiling onions, peeled
8  large shallots, peeled, halved through the root end
6  large green onions, dark green tops trimmed
2  medium Vidalia onions, peeled, cut into 1″ wedges through the root end
1  large red onion, peeled, cut into 1″ wedges through the root end
1  large yellow onion, peeled, cut into 1″ wedges through the root end
3  TB extra virgin olive oil
1  TB fresh thyme leaves
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
crushed red pepper
1  cup low-salt chicken broth
6  oz Gruyère cheese, grated

shallots

get started on the onions:

Preheat oven to 450.  Combine all onions in a large rimmed baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with the thyme, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.  Toss gently to coat.  Shake pan to spread out onions into one layer.  Roast onions until tender and beginning to brown in spots, 25-30 minutes.  Spoon broth over onions to moisten.  Loosen any onions from the pan with a spatula.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Bake until heated through about 5 minutes.

onion medleyroasted onions

note:

This recipe called for croutons in the mixture but I just wanted the cheesy onions this time.  If you want this to be a more substantial side dish, bake about 3 cups of 1/2 inch pieces of a crusty bread until golden brown, 7-8 minutes and add to the roasted onion mixture and top with the cheese.

roasted eggplant hummus


eggplants

Quick post!  This dip is one of my favorites and after a whirl in the food processor, it’s done.  I know, you could just buy the hummus at the store, but what fun is that?  I made this one when I got three small Sicilian eggplants from the farmers market.  I like it because the roasted eggplant helps give the hummus a great thick consistency.  I’ll take eggplant however I can get it since I tend to shy away from the heavy breaded and cheesy eggplant parmesan (yummy goodness).  Don’t get me wrong though – I will indulge in that from time to time, but this is another use for eggplant, other than grilling it or using it as a vessel to stuff.  I know this recipe is from Cooking Light, but since it is ancient, I can’t get the exact link.  But since I don’t like recipes that call for partial cans, I adjusted it anyway, so that I can use the whole can.  I just know that if I would put a half can of garbanzo beans in my fridge, that they would end up in the back, behind my containers of sour cream and jars of salsa.  That’s just how this family rolls.  Happy dipping kids.

roasted eggplant hummus (inspired by Cooking Light)

3  small round Sicilian eggplants or 1 large (about 1 1/4 lbs.)
5  TB olive oil, divided
kosher salt and pepper
red chili flakes
non-stick spray
1  14 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2  TB fresh lemon juice
1  TB tahini (sesame paste)
1  large garlic clove, chopped
2  tsp. fresh parsley, chopped

scored eggplant

get started on the dip:

Preheat the oven to 350.  Cut eggplant(s) in half lengthwise and score the flesh in a crisscross pattern at 1 inch intervals and about 1/2 inch deep.  Rub cut sides with 3 tablespoons of olive oil.  Sprinkle with kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and depending on your heat preference – red chili flakes.  Place eggplant, cut side down, on a rimmed baking sheet covered in foil and sprayed with non-stick spray.  Bake until tender, about 1 1/2 hours.  Cool slightly, then scoop flesh into a food processor and discard the skins.  Add the garbanzo beans, remaining 2 TB olive oil, lemon juice, tahini and garlic.  Puree until mixture is almost smooth.  Season with salt and pepper and then transfer to a serving bowl and stir in parsley.  Serve with pita chips or raw vegetables.  Because I have a penchant for heat, I like to drizzle my portion with hot sauce.  Just sayin.

eggplant hummus

note:  This dip makes about 2 cups.