Not(!) Potato Salad

 

I'm back (how long has it been?) oy.

The family's been fed, albeit in an undocumented fashion as the flower and event planning side of the biz consumed the better part of the last few months.

But Not (!) Potato Salad deserves a gold star. It (I?) got my husband to eat it even though he not a lover of the genre. Hint: serve it warm first. See, it's a side, not a salad.

Try this German fave when you have bacon and want to skip the mayo. I didn't have mustard seeds and it didn't make a difference. You can always throw a bit of Dijon in for extra tang.

Click here for the recipe.

Enjoy,

B

 

 

Weeknight Steak

Since the charcoal takes time and the new dogs take watching (when outside with the existing dog), I have no time for prepping dinner. But that's fine. This steak is big on flavor and low on effort. Ditto for grilled asparagus and chived potatoes.

Btw I used to be an “I only use fresh garlic” snot. So glad the world's top BBQ chefs educated me about powdered garlic!

Steak ingredients

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 tablespoon olive oil

1–2 lb flank steak

Get coals going, or heat grill to medium. Rub steak with olive oil. Mix salt & spices. Rub into steak, both sides. Let set 10-5 minutes. Swipe grill with olive oil. Cook about 5-6 minutes per side depending on thickness for medium. Also, it's an uneven cut, some will be more rare. Watch for flames against he spice rub.

Potatoes

Peel and steam russets or Yukon gold, any amount. Add a glug of olive oil, salt and as much chopped chive as you like. Lemon juice is nice too.

Asparagus

Add olive oil, salt & grill.

Eat, enjoy – B

 

Mash Up

Swing…and… miss! It happens at dinner from time to time, especially if you cook often and take a few chances while you're at it. I'm not talking inedible dinner or anything, but let's just say I could live without a repeat of last night's soy ginger chicken. Ditto the “sweet potato fries”. How many times have I made these?! A crowd pleaser if you're looking for the junior set to eat orange veggies, but I'm as over it as I am winter story's that are named.

But even in the bleak late winter vegetable aisle I spotted a ray of white!

Cauliflower!

I will not roast you (again!), but I will make you look like a fam fave in the form of mash. So easy you don't need a recipe!

Cut up and steam 1 head of cauliflower with one russet potato. When soft, put in food processor with a dollop of olive oil and a splash of milk. Use just enough dairy to make a smooth purée. Salt to taste, adding white pepper if you have (I didn't).

It's delicious – B

Stand by for cauliflower fritters!

 

Let’s Get Stewed

Someone's britches got a little too big for her Le Creuset this week. Absorbed in the Top Chef finale and the premise that someone eliminated (!) earlier, could come back and claim the title, I missed all the classic signs of a braise running out of liquid. Rather I was congratulating myself that the next night's dinner was already in the oven before the current night's dishes were done dish washing. Idiot! To shorten the story and end the irony, I pulled said stew from the oven, added beef stock and rescued the son of a gun. Kicked myself in my over-confident pants while I was at it.

Two lessons learned – one, I should have run my oven no higher than 325 to simmer. Two, if making a small scale stew (2 lbs of meat) it is possible to cook thoroughly and almost reduce the liquid to nothing in two hours. For the life of me I have no idea why I didn't make 3 pounds of meat to double down and get two meals for the effort of one!

This week's beef stew, patterned after my mom's, was supposed to be the piece de resistance of hosting my son's friend for the week.

Start with beef chuck. If you buy lean stew meat the deck's already stacked against you. And stew is supposed to be the lazy man's (gal's) great dinner. Plus this is not a fish, it's red meat, anti-vegetarian, vegan-offensive. If you're going to have meat, enjoy it, once in a while, as guilt free as possible. I'm Jewish and from the birthplace of the lean brisket, I feel your pain. Get over it.

Ingredients

2 lbs. beef chuck, cubed about an inch/inch and a half

2 large or 3 medium onions, half chopped, half sliced

2 chopped carrots, 2 sliced carrots

or half a bag whittled carrots, chopped and half a bag left whole

2-3 cloves of garlic if desired, chopped

4-5 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed about an inch, inch and half

1 tablespoon veg oil (maybe more)

2 tablespoon tomato paste

2 cups wine

1- 2 cups beef stock (or water)

1 bay leaf

Salt

Pepper

Preheat oven to 325. Heat Dutch oven or heavy pot on medium heat. You will need a lid. Add oil, heat! Season beef with salt & pepper. Sear in 2-3 batches to get deep color on as many sides as you can. Color = flavor!

Lower heat when meat comes out. Add oil if necessary, adding chopped onions carrots. Soften, than add garlic if desired. Salt/pepper. Add tomato paste, stir and cook a minute. Add wine, bring to modest boil and scrape up the bits in the pan. Return meat and all the juices and enough stock to cover. Add bay leaf. Pop in oven for 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours, check for liquid. Add potatoes and big carrots for last 45 minutes of cooking.

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Alternatively, cook all but the potatoes and extra carrots the day before serving. Reheat and add potatoes and carrots day of. May require extra stock.

Alternatively again, skip the potatoes – make polenta or mashed potatoes.

Last alternative, shred the meat, toss with pasta like cavatelli. Parmesan. OMG, it's good!

Btw – stew is about benchmarks, like soup. No one cares what size the beef cubes are, or the size of the veggies, or what type of onion. It helps for even cooking if veggies are uniform. Same goes for proteins.

Good with fork or spoon – B

 

No Hassle Hasslebacks

 

Hey there, I'll keep it short and sweet. These potatoes are called Hasselback after their origination in a Swedish hotel.

You can get more elaborate, but olive oil, salt and russets are perfect just like this. Part of our roast chicken Sunday night dinner…and not a potato was left over.

Peel and cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Use chopsticks to avoid cutting through the potatoes when you're making the “fans”.

I roasted in a 375 convection oven.

More delicious crunch per bite – B

Btw – There's a difference between potatoes & fries…potatoes are good for you, even better with the skin.

 

Roast Chicken & Potatoes

I knew it! I knew if eating depended on a child, and the child was hungry enough, food would get into the oven!

Tonight we (we!) bring you…roast chicken & potatoes. I prepped the chicken, and left out the ingredients for the potatoes. The 14 year old did the rest, proving if you want to reach that generation, text the instructions!

Also I tried something new with the chicken. From Zuni Cafe's Judy Rodgers I learned to kosher salt a smallish bird the night before roasting, maybe even longer. But from my brining friends I've also learned to experiment with extra seasoning.

Roast Chicken

Sprigs of fresh rosemary

Tracings of fresh thyme

1 orange, sliced

1 tablespoon salt & pepper mixed

**garlic cloves would be great too

Bathe the chicken with some fresh OJ, stuff the rest of the slices in and around, herbs, salt and pepper. Fridge overnight. Bring to room temp 30 minutes before roasting. Preheat oven to 375. Bake until breast hits 165 on meat thermometer. After resting, both of us, I also check thigh temp.

Potatoes

1 quart fingerlings

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped rosemary – no stems

6 cloves garlic in skin

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Pepper if desired

Toss all ingredients together. Roast at 375 for at least 45 minutes. Squeeze garlic over pototoes.

Dine, enjoy-B