I wrote a much longer, more eloquent post about these potatoes earlier today. WordPress proceeded to stall out while uploading a picture and send my hard work into a void of digital nothingness. grrrrr
This time around, I’m keeping it simple.
I’ve been getting bags of delicious new potatoes in my CSA box all summer long. While they aren’t up there among my favorite foods, I don’t dislike potatoes. Until last weeks batch, I don’t think I ever really appreciated them.
This simple recipe for roasting an assortment of tiny “Potatoes Détente” came from chef Jonathan Miller, who contributes recipes to Mariquita Farm‘s weekly newsletters. The medley of French Fingerling, Russian Banana, German Butterball, and Red Norland potatoes roasted up beautifully with a few springs of rosemary (also from my box), some olive oil, salt, and pepper. When I pulled them out of the oven their skins were perfectly crinkled, holding flavor I never imagined in a potato. The crunchy bits of rosemary only made things better. Every bite really did melt in my mouth! I could go on and on and on…but I won’t.
These were the smallest potatoes I’ve ever seen. Described as “sort-outs” in the farm newsletter, I don’t know where you would ever get potatoes like this except directly from a farm. Now that I think about it, part of what made me love these so much is the potato skin to pulp(?) ratio: skins are my favorite part of any potato and with tons of tiny spuds you get more crackly, crispy skin!
Roasted potatoes, tempeh (also roasted), and a salad.
Potatoes Détente (or any tiny, roasted potatoes)
- About 2 lbs tiny potatoes, washed and dried
- olive oil
- 1-2 rosemary sprigs, if you have it
- salt and pepper (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Spread potatoes and rosemary on a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan (you can put slightly larger potatoes on their own pan. I just cut the handful of larger ones in half). Be sure they are not crowded.
- Sprinkled olive oil over the potatoes and stir them around until they are evenly coated.
- Add salt and pepper if desired.
- Place potatoes in the oven and roast until they are just cooked though. This will take about 30 minutes but start checking them at 20 to 25 minutes. Mine were perfect at 25.
From Jonathan Miller via The Ladybug Postcard Vol. 81
I am one of those people who never intentionally order french fries in a restaurant but almost always grabs a couple off of my dining companion’s plate. That’s only if I’m dining with someone like my husband or mother. I don’t take fries from strangers or mere acquaintances. Are you a fry snatcher?
It’s not that I don’t love a good french fry. Who doesn’t? When they’re crisp but not dry and not too greasy with a little bit of salt and pepper….ah, yum. I hate to turn them down. Hand over the ketchup and nobody gets hurt. The problem with fries is that, in my experience, they are rarely the picture of perfection I just described. They’re soggy, greasey, overly salty, and cold. Presented with a mountain of such fries, will I still eat them? Yes. I’m afraid that if I order fries with my sandwich I’ll eat the whole pile whether or not they’re really good and feel horrible about it afterwards. That’s just what fries do to me.
So, I snatch a few off of Lee’s plates, sampling the goods. If they’re tasty, then I’m content with my nibble. If not, then I’m more than happy that I have salad next to my (veggie)burger rather than fried potatoes.
There does come a time when every girl needs a plate of french fries, or rather, french fry-shaped things that are in fact rather good for you and safe to consume by the plateful. Enter the yucca fry.
A balanced plate: fries+salad+tofu Lima bean sauce
Baked, not fried, these babies entered my dinner repertoire while we were sailing in the Bahamas. I think I ran across the idea of baking yucca (aka cassava) “fries” on Meals and Miles. The funky looking root was everywhere in the Bahamian markets and was undoubtedly the cheapest produce around. It’s naturally high in fiber and other good stuff like vitamin C.
While peeling and slicing yucca can be somewhat tricky (the outer skin has a waxy coating and the inside is alternately crumbly and hard), the result is worth it. Rather than becoming limp during baking, as baked potato “fries” sometimes do, yucca holds it’s shape well and gets crispy/chewy in the oven. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!
- 2 medium-sized yucca/cassava roots (easier to handle than the big guys)
- Olive oil
- Seasonings (whatever you want! This time around I used a little chili powder and garlic powder)
- Your favorite french fry dips and sauces
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Get out a large, rimmed baking sheet
- Peel the yucca using a paring knife or vegetable peeler
- Cut eat root in half and then slices the halves into sticks of about the same width (1/4-1/2 inch)
- Toss yucca into a plastic bag with the olive oil and spices.
- Shake and massage the bag until the fries are evenly coated.
- Arrange yucca in a single layer on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until fries are gold-brown. You can stir them around part way through but this isn't necessary.
This is what the light looks like in my dining room at dinner time. That is, this is what it looks like since I broke the cheap plastic blinds and can no longer open them. Little slits of light come through the west-facing window and cast magical shadows on dinner plates. I photograph dinner so rarely (What’s the point when it’s usually a not-so-pretty meal eaten in the half-light?) but I couldn’t let this one go.
At first I was disappointed in my pictures of this glorious meal. Who wants to drool over shadowy potatoes and dimly-lit avocado? I guess I do because when I uploaded my pictures the day after taking them I really, really wanted there to be more potatoes and lima beans in my fridge. The memory of how they tasted was still vivid and I could taste the fresh parsley and melty goat cheese just looking at the photographs.
Sometimes things we throw together on a Sunday night just work. Often they don’t but it’s those bullseye dishes that make cooking a worthwhile endeavor for me. Okay, that’s not entirely true. I love the plain, “boring” comfort foods that I make all the time with whatever is lying around too.
Back to the potatoes. I would like to thank Mariquita Farm for including little, red, new potatoes and a grocery bag full of fresh lima beans in my veggie box last week. I’ve never been much of a potato person but when I eat them I prefer the crisp, new potatoes or sweet potatoes baked to the point of caramalization. Yum.
The potatoes and lima beans worked so well with the fresh herbs in this dish and something about this combination of foods roasting in the oven is the perfect transitional spring meal. I served it for dinner but it would make a perfect bed for eggs at breakfast. When I’m combining a lot of different elements for one meal, it’s nice to have at least one of them in the oven. That makes for fewer pans to manage on the stove.
- All your potatoes (I had about 10 small, red ones), cut into halves or quarters so that all pieces are about the same size.
- 1 cup shelled lima beans
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Lightly oil a roasting pan or baking sheet, or use a Silpat
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl or plastic bag and toss to evenly coat everything with oil+herbs
- Spread mixture on baking sheet and place in the oven.
- Cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring 1-2 times part way though.
- Remove from oven and stir in parsley. You can serve the hash now or place is back in the turned-off oven to wilt the parsley a bit more.
- Serve with goat cheese (or another creamy, flavorful cheese) and maybe an egg or two.
We have a home – four walls around us and a roof over our heads – a brick fireplace and rooms filled with musty old house smell. Moving, like so many big, exciting things in life, is hard work. Backs hurt at the end of the day a empty living room floor looks like a great place to collapse. We’re mostly moved in now, at least as much as we can be without things like dressers and bookshelves in which to put things away.
Persimmons from a friend were the star of Thanksgiving weekend.
Thanksgiving was the perfect break from schlepping stuff and swabbing floors. Lee and I spent the holiday with my aunt, mom, brother, and brother’s girlfriend at my aunt’s house in Carmel Valley. It was beeeeeautiful, needless to say, and the food was the kind of food you look forward to eating leftover meal after meal. We ate. We talked – caught up on old times and made plans for the future. We ran, hiked, swam, played with dogs, played cribbage, and watched wildlife.
There was a lot of this.
The table was lovely and the food didn’t even make it in front of the camera. There was turkey, lentil loaf for the vegetarians, roasted root vegetables, endive + persimmon + pomegranate seed salad, mashed potatoes, tabasco + asparagus quinoa, pumpkin cheesecake bars, and apple-pumpkin delight.
In short, I’ve been busy and blogging time has been just out of reach. This week, though, I’ll be back. I can’t miss out on writing about my favorite food season!