Look beyond the Irish Beef Stew and let’s talk about the potatoes. I’m Irish. I love potatoes. I’m basically a potato expert. While I have nothing against tried and true, plain mashed potatoes, sometimes you just need to spice things up a bit. I like horseradish quite a lot and horseradish is quite nice with beef dishes. I knew I was going to like these, but I was very pleasantly surprised about how well the horseradish went with the stew. The horseradish really brought out the best of the flavors on the stew. I think these potatoes would be the perfect side dish to any St. Patrick’s Day meal
Horseradish & Scallion Mashed Potatoes
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
1/2 stick softened butter or 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup milk
Freshly ground pepper
2+ tablespoons prepared horseradish (I think more is better)
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup chopped scallions
Put the potatoes in a saucepan; cover with cold water and add 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-low to medium heat and cook, uncovered, until tender, about 45 minutes. Drain the potatoes and let sit until just cool enough to handle, then peel and transfer to a bowl.
Add the butter/oil to the potatoes. Add the milk, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and pepper to taste; mash with a potato masher or large fork.
Fold in the horseradish and half the scallions. Spoon the mashed potatoes into a serving dish and sprinkle with the remaining scallions.
The second I saw this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, I knew I was going to make it. Every single ingredient in the original recipe sounded soup-er appealing. My end result ended up being a little different. It may be the sore throat, or the stuffy nose, or the general quasi-illness induced haze I am currently living in, but I set about making this soup and then promptly forgot to include half the ingredients. Oops…
I left out the ginger. I meant to put it in. I even put it out on the counter to peel, but promptly forgot about it until I was ladling it into the bowl. I even dug out my little bottle of toasted sesame oil to drizzle over the top. Neither the ginger, nor sesame oil ended up in the soup, but I was pretty okay with that. I like carrots. I love miso. Throw in some garlic and onions, and I really don’t see how you could go wrong.
One quick note about the Miso, I used Cold Mountain Miso . I can’t find the details on their website, but as far as I can remember all but one of their miso is gluten-free (one is made with barley). I had two different types of miso on hand (I might have a slight miso soup problem), one is Kyoto White Miso and the other is the Light Yellow Miso (Japanese White). I used the Kyoto White to begin with, but I have to say it was super mild, like you could barely taste the miso mild. I had to add the same amount of the yellow miso to get any miso flavor. If in doubt, go with the stronger miso.
4-6 garlic clove, minced (I used double that amount)
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup white miso paste, or more to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
5 scallions, very thinly sliced
Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add carrots, onion and garlic sauté until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add broth. Cover and simmer until carrots are tender when pierced, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
Puree soup in batches in blender, or all at once with an immersion blender. In a small bowl, whisk together the miso an a half-cup of the soup. Stir the mixture back into the pot of soup. Taste the soup and season with salt, pepper or additional miso to taste.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with a small mound of scallions.
Sometimes I get a bit indecisive when it comes to making certain meals. I try to make a rough meal plan every week mainly to make both shopping and blogging a bit easier on myself, but sometimes I just don’t stick to it. Despite my best efforts to plan ahead, sometimes I just don’t feel like what I had previously planned out. On this week’s plan I had both lentil soup and tomato soup. It’s been super cold here lately, so soup is in high demand. When it came time to make lentil soup for lunch one day, it just seemed kind of blah… I really wanted tomato soup, but it didn’t really seem filling enough. Then I got wonderful idea of putting the two together. I’m quite happy it did. The end result had everything I wanted. It was tomato-y and comforting and filling and hardy all at the same time.
If I had time (aka if I wasn’t starving for lunch at the time) I would have chopped up some more veggies to add to the soup. Carrots would be perfect in this soup. I did throw a couple large handfuls of spinach at the end to add some sort of vegetable and color (hard to see in the picture, but it’s in there). The green onions were a last-minute, impulsive addition and were amazing on top. The soup itself is completely vegan. I decided to add a couple spoonfuls of greek yogurt to stir in for a little extra creaminess, but it’s definitely not necessary.
Red Lentil Tomato Soup
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 large onions, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2-28 ounce cans whole (or diced) tomatoes
2 Tablespoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups red lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
2 large handfuls baby spinach
5 green onions, sliced
greek yogurt/sour cream, optional
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add onion to the pot and cook until soft, 6-7 minutes. Stir in garlic, paprika and cumin. Cook 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
Add in tomatoes, juices and all. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. If using whole tomatoes: With a handheld/stick blender, blend the tomatoes and onions until mixed, but still slightly chunky.
Bring heat back to medium-high and add in the broth and lentils. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Allow soup to simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until lentils are soft and have absorbed some of the liquid.
When lentils are soft, add in baby spinach and stir until slightly wilted.
Put soup in serving bowls, top with green onions and greek yogurt, if desired, and serve.
I went up to San Francisco over New Year’s to visit a few of my best friends. It was grand. One of the days, Nancy and I wandered down to the Ferry Building, which is one of my favorite places in SF. We grabbed a delicious lunch at Il Cane Rosso. We both had an amazing butternut squash soup. I also had an amazing caesar salad. Everything about the salad was perfect and to top it off there was roasted broccoli! I love caesar salad and I love roasted broccoli, so it was basically a match made in heaven. I was a little disappointed I hadn’t thought of the combination myself! This is my attempt to recreate that delicious dish. As I was grabbing the broccoli out of the fridge, I happened to spot some b. sprouts in there as well. It seemed rude not to use them, so I added them in as well. The flavors of the roasted vegetables go surprisingly well with the tangy dressing. I think the combination really brings out the best of both flavors.
Roasted Broccoli & Brussels Sprout Caesar Salad
For the Roasted Vegetables
2 medium heads broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, garlic powder, to taste
For the Salad
1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped
5 green onions, sliced
Your favorite Caesar dressing (I recommend this one.)
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste
Parmesan Cheese, grated
For the Roasted Vegetables:
Heat oven to 400. In a medium bowl or large plastic bag, toss broccoli and brussels sprouts with the olive oil and Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, garlic powder, to taste.
Put vegetables on rimmed baking dish and roast for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, stir vegetables and return to over for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.
Remove from baking sheet and place on a towel lined plate to drain the excess oil (you don’t want it in the salad).
For the Salad:
In a large bowl, toss the lettuce, green onions, and dressing. Divide between four bowls. Top with roasted vegetables. Sprinkle each bowl with parmesan cheese and serve.
Brussels sprouts and capers! I can’t think of anything finer. I love both brussels sprouts and capers. This dish is the stuff my dreams are made of. Roasting the sprouts is essential. Roasting gives them a nuttiness and subtle caramelized flavor that is amazing when combined with the salty, crispy capers. The red pepper flakes are a nice background note. You can adjust your red pepper usage to your own taste. I like spice, so I went a little heavy with it. With so many other wonderful flavors it remained a nice accompaniment to the dish, not overpowering and hot.
Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Capers Adapted from this recipe.
2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1/2 cup drained brined capers
4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2-6 garlic cloves, minced (more is better)
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon red chile flakes (adjust to your own heat preference)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Heat oven to 425F/220C. Toss brussels sprouts with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Place sprouts on rimmed baking sheet. Roast 15-20 minutes until crispy and golden.
While the sprouts are roasting, blot capers on a paper towel. Heat remaining oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add capers and cook, stirring carefully (mixture will splatter), until capers start to open and are brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and chile flakes to pan and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. With a slotted spoon, transfer capers and garlic to a paper towel to drain.
Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with capers and a squeeze of lemon.
This salad wasn’t really planned out. I set about making lunch one day, but was in one of those moods where nothing really sounded good. After hemming and hawing for a bit, I ended up grabbing several random ingredients. Anything I saw that seemed appealing at the time got put on the counter. Not surprisingly these basic ingredients are some of my favorites. Feeling accomplished about picking out items for lunch, I then realized I still had to figure out what to do with them. This salad is what ended up happening. Nothing too fancy, but delicious and filling nevertheless.
I don’t like overly oily salad dressing, so I just mixed lemon juice into the lentils instead of making an actual dressing. And olive oil lemon dressing or a light vinaigrette could definitely be used on the lettuce or lentils if you like. If you are looking for something a little warmer for this time of year, the lentils could also be served warm with all the ingredients mixed in. If serving warm, I would leave out the lettuce and substitute a bed of sautéed spinach.
Lentil, Olive & Goat Cheese Salad
For the Lentils
1 cup dried green, brown, or French lentils
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or water
1 bay leaf, 1 garlic clove, or other seasonings (optional)
1/4 – 3/4 teaspoon salt
For the Salad:
1 head butter lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 small red onion, diced
handful of kalamata olives, chopped
1 tomato, diced
juice of 1 lemon
olive oil (optional)
4 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
bacon or pancetta, cooked until crispy and crumbled
For the Lentils:
Wash Lentils in a strainer or colander. Pick over and remove any shriveled lentils, debris, or rocks. Thoroughly rinse under running water. Then transfer the rinsed lentils to a saucepan and pour in the broth/water. Add any seasonings being used, reserving the salt.
Bring the broth/water to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes. Add water as needed to make sure the lentils are just barely covered.
When lentils are done, remove from pot and allow to cool in a serving dish.
For the Salad:
While the lentils are cooking prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Divide lettuce onto individual serving dishes.
When lentils are cooled, add onion, tomato and olives and top with lemon juice (and olive oil if using). Mix ingredients together. Crumble goat cheese and sprinkle bacon over the top. Divide the lentils between the lettuce plates and serve.
I got the idea for this soup from Frugal Feeding. Cauliflower, broccoli and leeks are all among my favorite vegetables. I used to be fairly neutral towards cauliflower until I started roasting it. I am fairly certain roasting makes just about anything better. If the soup is looking a little more white than green, that might be due to the fact that some a lot of the broccoli disappeared somewhere after roasting and before entering the soup pot. Roasted broccoli is probably in my top 3 favorite vegetables. It would have been rude not to sample some, and like I said, roasting makes everything better.
I was tempted to try to make this with a melted cheese crouton on top, but since gluten-free bread is so incredibly temperamental, a piece of toast with some Boursin seemed like a much safer bet. Apart from the cheese on the bread, the soup is entirely vegan. I ended up having a lot of soup left over, so I ended up freezing the rest. I’ll report back on how it serves up after defrosting when I get around to eating it.
Roasted Cauliflower, Broccoli & Leek Soup
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
5+ garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 head (about 2 pounds) cauliflower, cut into florets
1 large (about 1 pound) bunch broccoli, cut into florets
3 large leeks, cleaned and light green/white part cut in half vertically
1 1/2 liters (6 cups) low-sodium vegetable broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400F/200C. In a large heavy pot heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion when oil is hot. Cook onion until soft and starting to brown. Reduce heat and add in garlic. Allow onion and garlic to continue to brown and caramelize over low heat, stirring occasionally (about every 10 minutes) while you prepare the rest of the soup.
In a large bowl or plastic bag toss cauliflower, broccoli and leeks with remaining olive oil. Place on large rimmed baking sheets (I had to use two) and place in oven for 25 minutes. Turn the vegetables after 15 minutes.
When vegetables are done roasting, transfer to the large pot with the onion. Increase heat to medium-high and add in 1 liter/4 cups of vegetable broth with salt and pepper to taste. Allow soup to come to a low boil and remove from heat. With either a blender or a hand blender, blend the soup until you reach the desired consistency. If the soup is too thick, add in more broth 1 cup at a time.
Um. This might be one of the best ways to serve potatoes I have stumbled across. I’m Irish, I am basically an expert on all things potato. So, if I say these are great potatoes, you can rest assured that these really great potatoes. And they are SO easy. So easy. They are also a great way to make multiple individual servings. These might even work for more of an appetizer orientated party.
For some reason we only have mini muffin pans or jumbo muffin pans… (Memo to self, get regular sized muffin pans.) I used the jumbo muffin tin, which worked out fine. The potatoes got super crispy where they were touching the edge of the pan. If I had a regular sized tin, they would have turned out super crispy and even more wonderful. The middle of the stack got super creamy and wonderful almost like a gratin, but without the effort.
Roasted Potato Stacks
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Russet potatoes, scrubbed clean
Salt and pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Brush 8 muffin tins with the garlic oil using a pastry brush or paper towel.
Peel the potatoes and thinly slice them with a mandolin or by hand.
Layer a potato slice in the bottom of a muffin tin and brush it with a thin layer of oil.
Layer another slice of potato and brush it with the oil.
Repeat until it stacks up to the top of the muffin tin.
An alternate method would be to put the slices in a large bowl and toss with the oil mixture until coated.
Repeat until you have a total of 8 potato stacks.
Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the potato stacks with the minced garlic.
Bake the potato stacks in the preheated oven for 35-45 minutes or until the potatoes are golden brown and cook through.
I used to always ignore those random stands of recipe cards in the produce section at the grocery store. I just assumed that the recipes would not be any good. I have since become a bit obsessed with them. Most of the ones I have attempted have turned out really well and they are free. Free is always nice. This recipe came from the grocery store and it is tasty enough to warrant sharing. It would be a great and easy side dish for a Thanksgiving or holiday dinner.
I had only used pearl onions once or twice before I made this. I like pretty much any onion in pretty much any form. The recipe calls for fresh pearl onions to be used. That’s all fine and well, but I have enough issues with peeling and chopping the fresh ones, so to make it easy on myself and maintain fully attached fingers, I used frozen. SO easy.
Parmesan Pearl Onions From a recipe card from Von’s/Safeway.
1-10 ounce/280g package of fresh or frozen pearl onions
1/2 cup/125 ml freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup/125 ml half-and-half
1 tablespoon/15 ml flour
1/2 teaspoon/2 ml salt
1/4 teaspoon/1 ml Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon/.5 ml pepper
1/8 teaspoon/.5 ml paprika
Cook onions in boiling water to cover, 1 minute; remove onions from water and plunge into ice water; peel if using fresh pearl onions.
Arrange onions in a lightly greased 1-quart (1-litre) baking dish and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Combine half-and-half, flour, salt, Worcestershire sauce and pepper; stir well and pour over onions. Sprinkle with paprika. Cover and bake 15 minutes or until tender.
This is the world’s most basic cranberry sauce. It is really more of a cranberry sauce base. You can do just about anything with it since it is just a ratio (1 cup water:1 cup sugar:4 cups cranberries). I generally add in substitute some orange juice instead of all water, but that’s just me. Throw in some nutmeg, maybe some orange zest and call it a day. I’ve heard of some folks adding chopped pecans or other fruit as well. Go wild.
Wash and pick over cranberries. In a saucepan bring the water and orange juice to a boil water and stir in the sugar until it is dissolves. Add cranberries, return to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 10 minutes or until cranberries burst. Stir in any and all optional ingredients you desire.
Remove from heat. Cool completely at room temperature and then chill in refrigerator. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.