Showing posts with label potatoes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label potatoes. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Pretend your ass is glued to the desk chair. Decide you need some coffee. Talk yourself out of coffee.

Find a Post-It you wrote a few weeks back that says "I am my varicose veins. I am my thrashed breasts." Crumple it up. Throw it across the room.

Question your writing. Question your outfit. Question your parenting.

Talk yourself back into coffee. And back out. And back in.

Walk towards the kitchen. Glance at the unfolded pile of clean laundry on your bed. Yell out, fuck off.

Stop in front of your bookshelf. Grab a pile of books you haven't read since before you got married, before you had babies.

Enter the kitchen. Put the kettle on for coffee. Fly up into a handstand.

Breathe so deeply that your bones quiver. Breathe so deeply that you cry.

Sing that song from "Rent" about measuring a year in daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee.

Float down. Float up. Float down. Do 20 pushups. Wipe drips of sweat into your hairline.

Walk over to the russet potatoes that you need to bake for dinner. Wonder how it is that you're 43 years old and you still don't know how to bake a potato. Stab the potatoes all over with a paring knife because that just seems like the right thing to do. Throw them into a hot oven. Wish them luck.

Try to remember why you left your desk in the first place. Pull down a box of See's Nuts and Chews. Eat a dark chocolate almond caramel beauty. Crave coffee.

Right. Coffee. That's why you're here.

Refill the kettle because the water has boiled away.

Hunch over the kitchen counter and read an entire book of Sharon Olds's poetry.

Refill the kettle because the water has boiled away.

Hoist groan your body up onto the kitchen counter. Re-read the poems about first sex, first love.

Exhale your head down into your hands. Feel a first-sex first-love revisionist tidal wave flood your atmosphere. Ask yourself if it really was that dreamy that beautiful that drenched in shakiness that perfect.

Eat more chocolate.

Refill the kettle because all of the water has boiled away.

Take the potatoes out of the oven. Cut one open. Compliment yourself on accidentally cooking them perfectly. Scoop out their interiors. Whip the steamy mash with butter, creme fraiche, salt, and chives. Fill the emptied skins back up with the herby mixture. Top with white and orange cheddar. Drape with prosciutto. Bake.

Look at your reflection in the kitchen window. Trace a prominent vein from clavicle to pec to bicep to tricep, bumpity bump bumping your way down through moles, wrinkles, sun spots.

Say out loud what you never allow yourself to say in front of your children. I am so fucking old. I am so fucking old. I am so fucking old. I am so fucking old.

Hear your son and daughter arrive home from school as they slam the front door and stomp clomp crash bang up the stairs.

Give up on your cup of coffee and start making a gin and tonic.

Eat the crispy prosciutto off of a potato.


Yell out, dinner!
printable recipe
makes 6

4 russet potatoes
1/3 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
3 tablespoons salted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped herbs (any combination of parsley, chives, scallions; make sure to save a bit for the garnish)
2 cups grated cheddar (I used a combination of orange and white)
10 paper-thin slices of prosciutto

Preheat over to 375°F.

Scrub potatoes clean. Dry. Poke them a few times with a paring knife or fork. Place in oven. Bake until cooked through (about an hour). Test doneness by making sure a paring knife slides in easily. Remove from the oven. Cool for a few minutes before handling. Halve lengthwise. Scoop cooked potato into a mixing bowl, being careful not to break the skins. Add crème fraîche, butter, salt and herbs. Either mix by hand or in a standing mixer. Don't mix for more than few seconds because potatoes do funny scary wacko things when whipped too vigorously. Taste. Add more salt if necessary.

Turn oven up to 400°F.

Examine your emptied potato skin bowls. Discard the scrappiest two. Fill the remaining 6 potato skin bowls back up with the creamy buttery herby potato mixture. Top with grated cheddar. Tear the prosciutto slices apart into thin strips and drape several pieces over each potato. The heat makes them shrink up quite a bit so put on more than you think you need.

Bake until they're piping hot, the cheese is melted/browning and the prosciutto is crispy. This only takes about 15 minutes. If you want a bit more color, broil briefly. Garnish with chopped herbs. Eat as soon as possible. Don't eat the skin. Unless you're my daughter. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Wakes up every Monday morning and vows to stop drinking wine forever and ever and ever and ever.  Forgets to drop her son off at his best friend's birthday party. Can't remember how she got from point A to point B but knows a car was involved and that the kids were in it. Likes to eat caramel sauce on top of caramel ice cream for lunch. Slams the dishwasher door shut with such anger that it breaks. Feels guilty when she does anything for herself. Drowns out her newborn baby's screams with Eminem. Wears her nightgown underneath her coat during the Monday morning carpool drop off. Knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that she could lift a truck if her son were trapped under it. Takes forever cooking dinner so that she can be by herself in the kitchen.  Makes her son go without his morning milk because she needs it for her coffee. Kicks a hole in the kitchen wall. Desperately misses her pre-breastfeeding breasts. Drinks martinis while cutting her childrens' hair. Grounds herself by placing a hand on her son's head. Wants to run away once a month. Still believes that Prince Charming is coming. Yells what the fuck at her son. Parallel parks her car into a tree branch. Sneaks in while her children sleep and inhales their exhales. Has an abortion because she is scared her marriage won't survive a third child. Keeps pretending she's too tired to read "Charlotte's Web" to her son because she doesn't want to live through Charlotte dying again. Doesn't love her babies until they're no longer babies. Says to her son you are my beauty cakes my little goose my precious donut. Doesn't always use a car seat. Calls her son a jerk in front of his best friend. Listens to Kelly Clarkson even when the kids aren't in the car. Is always one poem away from bursting into tears. Climbs into bed with her son when he's sleeping because that's when it seems like he loves her the most. Is scared of her daughter's beauty. Forgets she has children. Wonders if the love she feels for her son is the same kind of love that other moms feel. Gets jealous when someone else's kid is amazing. Loves one of her children more than the other. Throws books at her husband. Feeds her son dinner in the bath. Yells at her kids a little bit every day. Calls her husband  motherfucker in front of her son. Still knows the dance moves from Pat Benatar's "Love is a Battlefield" video. Flirts with her daughter's teacher. Is one tantrum away from taking away Christmas.  Thinks white bean soup with potatoes and Brussels sprouts can fix anything. Wishes she had a large tribe of women picking her up, carrying her along, rooting her on. Says out loud I'm a mama I'm a mama I'm a mama I'm a mama I'm a mama I'm a mama and still doesn't quite believe itFeels like she's drowning. Feels like a superhero.

(Thank you to the six women who told me about mamahood and then oh so generously allowed me to intertwine their stories with mine. I owe them all truckloads of soup and ice cream.)
I've had a lot of Caramel Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce on hand for the past two years.  But I just started making this White Bean and Potato Soup with Brussels Sprouts. My newfound cracked out love for Brussels sprouts has sort of freaked me out (I used to hide them in my napkin or try to feed them to the dog). I coat them in pesto and crème fraîche. I sear the heck out of them in brown butter. I nibble on their crispy little caramelized leaves. I crave them as much as caramel ice cream. 

Make some crème fraîche and keep it festering on your counter for a few days. Confit some garlic and set it aside to cool. And then get busy making some soup. 
printable recipe
serves 4-6

for the soup:
2 tablespoons olive oil (or bacon fat)
3 stalks celery, diced
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 head fennel (tough outer layer peeled off), cored and diced
kosher salt
3 anchovies
3 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
1/2 cup white wine
10 medium-sized potatoes (my favorite are Yukon gold or butterball), peeled and cut into about 2" by 2" pieces
6 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
2 cups or more white beans (navy, cannellini, or butter; previously cooked or from a jar or can)
kosher salt/pepper to taste
lemon juice
white or sherry wine vinegar

for the Brussels sprouts:
24 Brussels sprouts
kosher salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
4 cloves garlic confit
1/4 cup chopped parsley
kosher salt/pepper to taste

optional toppings:
chopped parsley
olive oil
coarse salt
thick balsamic vinegar
parmesan cheese
pine nuts

Place large soup pot on the stove over medium heat. Add olive oil and heat until hot but not smoking. Add celery, onion, fennel, and big pinch salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and softened (about 10 minutes). Add anchovies and garlic, stir for a minute on medium heat until anchovies are dissolved (use back of wooden spoon to help them disintegrate). Add wine. Stir and cook down until liquid evaporates (about a minute). Add potatoes and chicken stock. Bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are tender (about 20 minutes). Add white beans and simmer for another 20 minutes. Remove and puree half of the soup (or use an immersion blender). Add puree back to chunky soup. Taste and adjust. Season with salt, pepper, and/or lemon juice/vinegar. If it's too thick, add more chicken stock. Cover and keep warm while you make Brussels sprouts.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Trim stems off of Brussels sprouts and remove any brown outer leaves. Grate off half of each Brussels sprout. Set grated slaw aside. Don't worry if the intact halves look scrappy and funky. Salt and pepper exposed grated sides. Heat butter in a cast iron pan on high heat until it just starts to brown. Place Brussels sprouts grated-edges down into the brown butter. Keep an eye on them. When they're nicely browned (a minute or so), add olive oil, toss them about, and then throw the pan into the oven. Cook until just tender (about 20-25 minutes). Remove from the oven and toss in grated Brussels sprouts slaw, lemon zest, garlic confit, parsley, salt, and pepper. Mush up the garlic confit so that it spreads throughout the slaw. Throw back in the oven for two minutes. Remove from oven, stir, and taste. Season as needed.

Serve soup piping hot. Garnish with cooked Brussels sprouts/slaw and any of the optional toppings above. The soup freezes beautifully.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


I'm not going to enter the to-brine or not-to-brine debate. I have no opinions about spatchcocking (though it's fun to say the word out loud ten times in row). I've basted with hefeweizen, IPA, sake, Chardonnay, Lillet Blanc, chicken stock, vegetable stock, and butter. They all work beautifully. And just for the record, deep-frying one of those motherfuckers looks pretty awesome but I wouldn't attempt it with a Dash-like creature anywhere near my house.

Lucky for you, everyone else out there this week is telling you how to cook turkeys. I'm way more comfortable discussing side dishes. Here are some thoughts about the vegetables we've been cooking and really enjoying. Yes. Even the kids. Well. Sort of. Amazing what bribing for those final pieces of Halloween candy will do.

If you're new to cooking fall vegetables, here's all you need to know: it's almost impossible to mess them up. Delicate spring and summer vegetables, like green beans and asparagus, can go from crispy perfect to airplane food in a matter of minutes. Not so with squash, eggplants, turnips, Brussels sprouts, and potatoes, which benefit from all kinds of time in the oven. You can even forget about them for a half an hour and nothing bad will happen. No need for a kitchen timer. Just keep peeking, poking, and tasting every 20 minutes or so.

Remove them from the oven when desired gooeyness (eggplant) or tenderness (squash) or caramelization (Brussels sprouts) or crispiness (potatoes) is reached. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs. Maybe some crème fraîche. Serve as a side dish.

Or savor throughout the week sliced on pizza, tossed with pasta, stirred into risotto, or smeared on toasted baguette with a sprinkle of salt and a splash of olive oil. And at the end of the week, gather up all of the remaining scraps and eat them warmed and scattered over a bowl of buttery polenta. That's what we did. And now we're so sick of vegetables that we're heading back into another run of breakfast food. Blintzes, to be precise.

Here are some specifics and variations.

The most important thing to know about eggplant is that it's nasty when it's undercooked.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

When your children aren't looking, make a paste out of six anchovy fillets and six cloves of garlic with a mortar and pestle.
Coat the bottom of a baking dish with a slick of olive oil.

Remove stems and cut eggplants lengthwise into eighths or so (if they're small, just cut them in half).

Score inner flesh with paring knife and place skin-side down in pan.

Use your hands to smear eggplant with the anchovy/garlic paste, tucking it deep down into the scored flesh.

Add salt (not too much, anchovies are already very salty) and pepper.

Scatter some unpeeled garlic cloves around the pan.

Add some more olive oil and maybe some sprigs of fresh thyme.

Place in preheated oven.

Keep an eye on it, be patient, it can take almost an hour and a half to cook. I know. Crazy. Trust me.

Cover with tin foil if it starts to get too brown.

It's done when it's sweet, soft, and gooey, without a trace of sponginess left.

Serve right away or reheat later.

Garnish with chopped mint and parsley.
The most exciting thing about delicata and kabocha squash is that you can eat the peel.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Remove the stems, cut the squash in half, scrape out the seeds and pulp.

Place halves skin-side down in a baking dish and sprinkle insides with salt and pepper.

Coat with generous amounts of olive oil and thick or reduced balsamic vinegar. Do not use thin balsamic because it will soak into the squash, creating a mealy texture and an ugly color.

Toss in some fresh sage and a handful of unpeeled garlic cloves.

Bake in preheated oven until squash is tender and scoopable. Serve right away or reheat later. 
Preheat your oven to 425 °F.

Use a large sheet pan or baking dish so that everything has room to get nice and crispy.

Here's what I threw onto my sheet pan: unpeeled garlic cloves, sage, rosemary, thyme, halved Brussels sprouts (funky outer leaves removed), quartered Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered turnips, thinly sliced leeks, and quartered lemons. Make sure potatoes and turnips are cut to about the same size.

Be really generous with the salt, pepper, and olive oil; use your hands to make sure everything is well coated.

Keep checking and tossing the vegetables about so that they cook evenly.

Bake until the leeks caramelize and the vegetables are just cooked through and golden brown.

It's even okay to let things burn a bit. 

Serve with Horseradish Crème Fraîche (freshly grated horseradish and chopped parsley mixed into crème fraîche). 

Thursday, June 21, 2012


You might want to sedate your children before making squid ink pasta with anchovies, potatoes, sliced lemon, and crème fraiche.

The moment those 24 little fish hit the hot pan, your daughter will sniff sniff the air and look concerned. She will jump to her feet as the light show of spattering anchovy oil glistens high above the stove in the evening sun. Hands to hips, she will look at you like you should be locked up for committing such a heinous crime. Your son will join in the protest because he loves his sister to distraction. And you'll have to put on your ninja-bitch-mom armor and start deflecting numerous requests for a different dinner.

Turn the music way up to drown out your little drama queens.

Be strong.

This dinner will not kill them.

Bring your attention back to the delectable umami mass and watch its magical disintegration. Slide in some sliced pre-cooked potatoes. Fry up paper-thin lemon slices in garlic oil and have your kids chop the parsley. If you've all made it this far without hurting each other, smear an anchovyfied potato on grilled bread, drape it with a garlicky lemon slice, and splash it with a teaspoon of crème fraiche. Offer this bite-sized preview to your kids but don't be disappointed when they turn you down. As you place it in your own mouth, you will moan out oh my god this dinner is going to be so fucking tasty.

At first, it will not be a relaxing or friendly dinner. Have red wine available. When you hit that wall of irritation and desperation, you will stand up, shake your hands in oh là là frustration, and yell out just cover it with crème fraiche and get it down!

As you sigh back down to the table, your kids will help themselves to so much of the thick and creamy white condiment that the mounds of black pasta will look like mountains covered in fresh snow.

And there will be peace across the land.
Crème fraiche recipe #5:

printable recipe
serve 4

6 medium-sized yukon gold potatoes
handful of kosher salt for potato water
1 lemon
3 tablespoons garlic confit oil (or plain olive oil)
at least 1jar or tin of anchovies packed in oil (20 or so fillets)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound squid ink spaghetti (or plain spaghetti)
handful of kosher salt for pasta water
1/2 cup chopped parsley

Peel potatoes and cut into bite-sized pieces. Fill a medium-sized pot with water. Add a handful of salt. Place cut potatoes directly into cold salty water. Place on high heat and bring to a boil. Turn down to low and cook potatoes until just cooked through. Gently strain in a colander. Don't overcook them or you will have mush! Set aside.

Thinly slice the lemon. Pick out the seeds. Add a few tablespoons garlic oil to a sauté pan. Once it's hot but not smoking, carefully slide in the lemon slices. Flip them over after a minute. Just make sure to get a bit of color on each side. With a slotted spoon, remove lemon slices from oil and set aside on a plate. Reserve lemon/garlic oil. Boil large pot of water for pasta. Add salt. Drain anchovies and save remaining oil for something else.

Place medium-sized pan on medium heat and add olive oil. Carefully place anchovies in the hot oil. They will spatter like crazy if the pan is too hot. Stir them for a minute. They will fall apart and come together into a mass of melted anchovy. Slide in cooked potatoes. Saute on medium heat for 30 seconds until potatoes are anchovy-laden. Turn heat down to low.

Place pasta in boiling water. Cook until al dente. Reserve a cup or so of pasta water in a pitcher. With tongs, pull out pasta, drip off some (but not all) of excess water, and place into potato/anchovy pan. Turn the heat up and stir for 30 seconds, boiling off a bit of the pasta water and integrating the sauce with the pasta. Be gentle. You don't want to squish the potatoes because they will look ugly on the black pasta (with white pasta this is not a concern). Slide pasta into a large warm bowl.

Top with chopped parsley, lemon slices, lemon/garlic oil, and lots of creme fraiche. Serve with pitcher of pasta water and extra creme fraiche. Most likely, you will not need to add any salt!

Friday, May 4, 2012


I agitate the custard and yell at my husband
though I don't even remember what I'm spazzing about
since it's the fight we've had for 23 years
so familiar it's built into our limbs and mouths
and then the custard fucking curdles and 
just so you know
my custard never fucking curdles
and I kick everyone out of the kitchen.

I put a hand on my belly
pinky on my belly button
thumb all the way up and under my front lower ribs
and I quietly blame everything on this abdominal split
(caused by the pressure of my in utero Dash)
because somehow someone something
must be interfering with my ability to
do good parenting and good partnering
and good handstands.

I chop the leeks and imagine
my sides growing back together
and I wonder what makes a frittata a frittata
and not a Spanish tortilla or an omelette
and I decide I don't care
and I just start busting them out
with creme fraiche and leeks and spring onions
and so much trendy kale
that my daughter will say she's going to puke
if she even has to LOOK at it
but i think I'm onto something
so I make one more
packed with purple potatoes and asparagus.

I tuck in my shirt and secure my hair
in what one of those magazines I no longer read
would call a sexy messy bun
place my hands on the floor
imagine my hands are feet
spread my fingers wide
but not too wide
empty my mind
exhale bend my knees
inhale float my legs up up up
until my toes point to the ceiling my two legs as one
and I focus
on weaving knitting soldering my abdominals back together
because that's what will make me a nicer
wife mother yogi cook friend lover person
and then I'm floating for the first time ever
on my hands
for more than one round of breath
with this crazy ass intention of bringing everything
back into my center
and crash
I'm down again.

I yell everyone back into the kitchen
away from Legos and wrestling and The Hunger Games
and a surprising amount of the crispy bubbling feta-topped egg cake
gets into their little bellies
so they earn their curdled custard ice cream
and then I set them free.

Glued to my seat and my wine
I manage to
look my husband in the eye and
I listen
roll my eyes
hold my breath
as he tells me 
yes you're hormonal yes you're insane yes
you make me want to move to Los Angeles
permanently away from you
and I will take the kids and oh yes
you have a nice ass
and yes that was the best frittata I've ever had.

serves 4-6

(My friend Erin and I have been chatting about frittatas. She can't stop making them either. She has been putting feta on top of hers. Genius. Now I am too. Check out her beautiful blog Yummy Supper. And she should have a frittata post up soon.)

You can pretty much throw anything into a frittata. Any cheese. Any (pre-cooked) vegetables or meat: peppers, cauliflower, sliced sausage, chopped crispy bacon, strips of cooked chicken breast. It's a great empty-out-the-fridge one-pot meal.  It can be beautiful to look at. It can also be funky and very green and super funny messy looking. In my opinion, it must have at least a few of the following toppings: sriracha, ketchup, chopped chives, avocado slices, lime, sour cream.

This recipe calls for potatoes and asparagus. But you can just as easily add finely chopped kale (or any combo of greens like chard, arugula, spinach) into the onions instead of the asparagus. Or add it along with the asparagus, though that would be a bit heavy on the greens (I love this, my kids do not).

It's best eaten right away. But you can also serve it room temperature. Or heat it up the next day.

for the vegetables:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon butter
1/2 yellow onion, peeled and diced
2 large leeks, cleaned, trimmed of tough green part, thinly sliced
big pinch salt
10 small potatoes cooked in salty water until tender and then halved (purple or yukon gold work well)
8 spears asparagus, trimmed, quickly cooked in salty water but still crisp, sliced into 1 inch pieces
1 clove garlic, grated, chopped, or pressed
2 teaspoons lemon zest.

for the eggs:
12 eggs
3/4 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream
3/4 grated firm or semi-firm cheese (any combination of parmesan, percorio, manchego, gruyere, cheddar)
big pinch salt 

for when it goes under the broiler:
1/2 cup feta cheese (or goat), crumbled
1/4 cup parmesan, grated
crunchy salt

for the toppings:
chopped parsley and chives
avocado slices
sour cream, creme fraiche, or yoghurt (another nice option is sour cream thinned with heavy cream)

Crank a 10 inch oven-safe pan (I use cast iron) to medium heat. Add olive oil and butter. When butter is melted, add onions, leeks, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until tender and starting to brown a bit (about 20 minutes). 

While onions are cooking, vigorously whisk together eggs, creme fraiche, cheese, salt, and pepper until well-combined and foamy. Set aside.

Preheat oven to a high broil.

Turn heat up to high under onions and toss in potatoes and asparagus. Add grated garlic and lemon zest. Cook, stirring entire time, for a minute.

Give the eggs one final whisk and then pour over the vegetables. Stir until all vegetables are coated with eggs. Turn down to medium heat. Then leave it alone to start to set. You can put a lid on it. Or not. Be aware of heat going onto bottom of pan and make sure it's not too hot. The eggs don't taste so good when they get too brown.

 Once the eggs are about halfway set, take off heat and sprinkle top with feta, parmesan, and some crunchy salt. Place under the broiler and don't walk away. If if browns too quickly, place on a lower shelf in the oven. Check for doneness after a minute by poking around in the middle of the frittata with a paring knife. An undercooked frittata is nasty. Try to find that perfect moment when the very center isn't quite set because it will continue to cook a bit after you take it out of the oven. 

While it's still piping hot, slide a knife around and dislodge the sides from the pan. Use a spatula and slowly slide it under the frittata. Do this all the way around, making sure you make it all the way to the center. You can serve it in the cast iron pan. Or you can flip it out on a plate. Just make sure you serve it crispy-feta side up.

Serve with toppings (see ingredients above for ideas).