Category Archives: Potato

My (Sticky) Date with Dates

Every month Bon Appetit does an At the Market section highlighting a particular piece of produce or food item, in this case dates, that are at the peak of its season. One recipe that jumped off the page was the Braised Chicken with Dates and Moroccan Spices. Isn’t she a beaut?

Braised Chicken with Dates and Moroccan Spices (Photograph by Kiyoshi Togashi)

LOVE is the first word that comes to mind when I think about this dish. Holy smokes, I’m like Celine Dion pounding my chest saying “lurrrrvvee” loud and proud. This was quite simple to put together and the spices, oh my the spices, made this sauce absolutely incredible. The chicken was fall off the bone perfection. I loved the shallots, dates, cilantro and crunchy almonds. This was my first time actually cooking with dates and let me tell you those are sticky little suckers when I was pitting and cutting them but well worth it because it was an awesome addition to the dish.

I served this with mashed sweet potatoes and shazam, dinner was served. For the lurve people do not pass go, do not collect $200 just go to the store, get the ingredients and get home ASAP to make this. Hands down one of my favorites I’ve made on this blog.

Ma Vie en Vin!

Ahhh, picture it poodles. The Madeleine Peyroux Pandora station playing through the house over the Sonos. A bottle of French wine. Flickering candles. Sunset over Zilker park on a lazy, gentle Sunday evening.  Coq Au Vin. Potatoes Gratin. Could you ask for a better set-up for a FANTASTIQUE French meal? Non!

My bestie, Apron Adventures, mentioned making the Coq Au Vin from Bon Appetit, but I thought she said she made the one from Cooking Light. She raved and raved and I decided to give the Cooking Light version a try…trust me, I’ll try the Bon App one next for sure. If Apron loves it, I know I will.  Zut alors lambs this was absolutely amazing and has definitely made my list as one of my favorites. I don’t think I’ve “mmmmmed” and “ahhhhhhed” over a meal in quite sometime.

Easy Coq Au Vin (Photo by: Johnny Valiant)

This was so earthy, delicious and had that je ne sais quoi-ness to it. Plus the chicken just fell off the bone and there’s bacon. We all know how I feel about glorious bacon – see my food categories to the right of this post if you need further confirmation.  I couldn’t find pearl onions but we did just fine without them. I served this with these awesome Muffin-Pan Potato Gratins from Everyday Food. I followed the recipe pretty much to the letter except decided to add freshly chopped rosemary every time I seasoned with salt and pepper and since there are only two of us, I served in greased ramekins for easier clean-up. This is such a simple and delicious side, you have no excuse not to give them a try.

There you have it mes amis, a beautiful, easy dinner that I’m for sure going to make for a dinner party when the time is right. C’est si bon!

Pork Tenderloin Agrodolce

I think Agrodolce sauce might be the new chimichurri of 2010. I’ve seen this sauce three times in three separate magazines and when I saw Cooking Light had a Pork Tenderloin Agrodolce I was like, “FINE I WILL TRY IT.” Well, good for us that I gave in because this rocked.

Pork Tenderloin Agrodolce (Photo by Johnny Valiant)

I did some light digging and Agrodolce is a traditional sour and sweet (agro and dolce) Italian sauce. This one uses the salty bite of green olives, mixed with balsamic vinegar, dried sweet cherries, thyme, chicken broth, garlic, and one of my all-time favorites, the sweet-tasting cippolini onion.

Wow lambs, wow. This recipe was easy – besides the waiting time because your house smells insane while the sauce cooks – and very elegant when served. This recipe is in their holiday cookbook section and I could see this being a super hit and something quite different to bring to the table.

I served with these Italian Smashed Potatoes from Every Day with Rachael Ray and voila! an Italian-inspired meal that had us saying “molto buona!”

No-Cook Meal Week!

I’m not going to lie, it is HOT here in Austin. Yeah, I know it’s August in Texas so I should not be surprised, but it has registered more than 100 degrees since last week and it doesn’t look like it is letting up anytime soon. Is this why I chose a week of no-cook meals? I must admit the timing is perfect because it is so stinking hot outside, but actually, we are remodeling the kitchen and are in limbo until we get it done. Well you know me lambs, nothing was going to stop me from cooking, er, preparing a healthy meal for dinner so I set out to find recipes to suit our needs. Tah dah! Of course Cooking Light came through with a library of options. This week I’ve chosen:

Now, we do have a new Wolf brand microwave convection oven that makes me look like a kid at an aquarium; I literally stand there and go “ooooooooooohh, ahhhhhhhhhh” while it’s on. Last night for the refried beans (yes in a can!) I put the bacon in the oven and turned it on its “bacon” setting. You know this oven and I are going to be fast friends if it has a bacon setting. Minutes later the bacon came out perfect. Love, love it. I then dropped the bacon in the refried beans, heated up and served with the awesome Chicken and Guacamole Tostadas. The guacamole on this is so flavorful and delicious it truly made the smokey chicken sing with the cilantro, onions and tomatoes. David added some crumbled cotija cheese on top which was a fantastic, no-cook addition. For the cheese win!

I’ll let you know how the rest of our almost no-cook week goes. I have to say I’m kind of digging having a meal on the table in no-time flat with very limited dishes after the fact!

Bacon-Tomato Butter. The End.

By now it’s no secret that I’ve got a crush on Cooking Light. Their recipes are innovative, full of flavor and best of all they are healthy or at least attempt to reduce not-so-good for you items like calories, fat and sodium. Now, Bacon-Tomato Butter does not seem like it would be the healthiest option in the history of Cooking Light but goodness I’m a glad that someone put these ingredients together.

Originally, this bacon-licious recipe goes with Mahi Mahi but I wanted it on top of a medium rare, coffee and spice rubbed steak, like the Chile-Espresso Rubbed Steaks they have featured here. To make this a total steak and potatoes night, I made the Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Dijon recipe, except I used baby reds instead of fingerlings because HEB hates me and didn’t have any.

The Bacon-Tomato Butter was simply delicious and super, super easy to put together. Bacon, garlic, smoked paprika and butter? Who knew?! I’m also a sucker for coffee-rubbed anything and the spice blend they use on the steaks with coffee or espresso, oregano, cumin, garlic salt and chile powder was spicy and delicious. Combine the steaks with the bacon-tomato butter and yep, you’ve got to give me a minute to pull myself together.

The ingredient list for the potatoes is short and simple but these turned out fantastic. One thing we decided to do was add in a smidge of honey to bring out a sweet note in the sauce before coating entirely. Sounds odd, tasted delicious – trust us. If you’ve got a meat-and-potatoes person in your home this is definitely the dish to try tonight. We now have a crush on you too Bacon-Tomato Butter Coffee Rubbed Steak goodness.

Dulce de Leche. That’s All I Have to Say!

The new Bon Appetit created a schuper mix-and-match section called The Ultimate Summer Menu Grilling Guide for all of the delicious grilling that’s bound to happen this summer. For a gentle get together of a few friends this past Memorial Day, I selected a few recipes from the sides and desserts sections including the Roasted Fingerling Potato Salad, Roasted Mix Peppers with Capers and Marjoram and Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars. For the protein choice we decided to do one of our friend Adam’s agave-glazed pork tenderloin recipe that is to die for. Keep reading poodles.

First, the Bon Appetit recipes…rockstars, all of them. Both the salads were easy to assemble and the flavors were amazing. If I had to choose one over the other to make again I would go with the roasted pepper salad. Something about the blend of roasted peppers, capers and marjoram, which has such a delicate floral note, really hit the spot. For leftovers you could easily use this on top of a pork chop or grilled fish for a super quick weeknight meal.

The Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars have to be one of my favorite new dessert recipes. I’m usually not the world’s biggest caramel fan but when mixed with salt, especially fleur de sel, I’m hooked. I really enjoyed making these bars and they were quite simple to make, especially since I don’t bake/make desserts too, too often. These were an instant hit with my friends and random new friends we made by the pool who were snarfing them up too. They were also still great a few days later, late at night on the couch. Yes, total fat kids.

For David’s birthday one of our friends made an amazing pork tenderloin recipe that we decided to recreate for our get together. We simply brined four (about a pound each) tenderloins in kosher salt for a few hours, then created a rub of chili powder, garlic, cumin and cinnamon and then poured agave syrup on each loin. We then grilled until it was slightly pink, let it rest and then did a final glaze of agave syrup to finish. Simple. Awesome. Delicious. Since we had leftover pork, the next night we placed them in a dutch oven with two cans of mild Ro-Tel tomatoes and chiles to give it a little different flavor. We let it sit for about 45 minutes and then shredded to make soft tacos. Combined with my favorite salsa and some avocado we had a great little weeknight meal.I’m on cooking fire eh?

Bananas, Wheat Germ and Canned Tuna, Oh My!

Well it’s my first post of 2010 and I hope this finds you having a gentle start to the New Year. Personally I’m ready to get back to work but am really enjoying just one more lazy day before everything gets started again.
All of the January/February issues are out and I’m literally swimming in magazines from Cooking Light, Bon Appétit, Food and Wine, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Saveur, Prevention, EatingWell and Food Network Magazine and I have recipes selected for weeks and weeks. One fun recipe testing idea I’m starting in the New Year was created by my friend Ivette who walked in my office one day with this flash of fun brilliance – “Battle of the Cover Recipes.” Like the name states, each month I’m going to test and taste the covers recipes of cooking magazines and announce a winner by the end of the month. Thank you Ivette! I’m testing Bon Appétit’s delicious-looking Spaghetti and Meatballs All’amatriciana this week and have also chosen Cooking Light’s comfort-in-a-bowl Beef and Pinto Bean Chili and Food and Wine’s dripping with ooey goeey goodness Butterscotch Sticky Buns…let the battle begin!

Now where were we? Oh food, cooking and recipes yes! I have had a nice easy day of cooking this morning with two awesome recipes from the new Cooking Light. One is this Banana, Wheat Germ and Oats breakfast dish that was quick, super delicious and reminded me of a grown-up version of the oatmeal my mom would make for me when I was kid. I am a big believer in breakfast and never, ever skip it so I love having quick and easy new recipe ideas for the day’s most important meal. I saved the remainder of the cooked oats for tomorrow and then will just add the brown sugar, butter and bananas for a super fast breakfast in the morning.

For lunch, I came across this Spanish-Style Tuna and Potato Salad in their Easy Cooking section that focuses on a slew of recipes all based on one convenience staple, in this case, canned tuna. Did you know that you get more healthy omega-3 fatty acids from drained tuna packed in water instead of oil? Hmm, good to know. I tested this recipe to its full capacity so I am going to have this salad around for days to munch on and am I glad because this was delicious! The crunchy romaine lettuce worked perfectly with all of the smoky flavors of smoked paprika and red pepper and tangy dressing, plus I loved the mixture of shallots, tomatoes, red potatoes, green beans and of course canned tuna. This was a fast, easy and fresh salad that I think you will love. I’ve got some more cooking to do tonight and I’ll keep you posted of any further success.

Cooking Light’s Breakfast Tortilla

Here in Austin the go-to for breakfast is typically the breakfast taco filled with eggs and cheese and then your choice of sausage/chorizo, bacon, potatoes, jalapenos and so on and so forth. Now in Miami, according to Cooking Light, this Breakfast Tortilla – an open-faced omelet with potatoes inside (instead of on the side) – is their go-to breakfast dish. After giving this a try for breakfast this morning I’m saying move over breakfast tacos! Kidding, kidding but seriously this was super easy to assemble and such a great alternative for breakfast than the usual eggs, bacon, toast…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

The creamy Yukon gold potatoes with the delicious Manchego and spicy chives really made this dish sing. One switch up, I roasted the tomatoes in a little bit of olive oil instead of just serving them fresh. The nutrition analysis on this is none too shabby either, one wedge (from four servings) with two tablespoons of tomatoes is 190 calories, 10.7 grams of fat with 2.7 in saturated fat. What I also like about this dish is that I have enough for breakfast tomorrow which gives me a little more time in the morning…bonus!

Eating Rainbow…Eating Rainbow!

As I was eating my meal tonight, I had the theme song to Reading Rainbow in my mind the entire time. How much is this a flashback for some of you? This was one of my favorite TV shows growing up and I can still remember how excited I would get when the show started with this catchy tune. Ha, I love the dog that turns into a little star.

So why did I have this song in my head? Well, you guessed it, I was eating the colors of the rainbow for my dinner. If you’ve read food and nutrition literature over the past few years, you know that this is a very good thing. My delicious, nutritious and colorful meal was this Halibut with Spicy-Mint Chutney over a bed of fresh spinach and a baked sweet potato with a little bit of butter, maple syrup, cinnamon and a few chopped walnuts. For dessert, I had a mix of fresh pomegranate seeds and raspberries. Let’s see, I definitely got my green, orange, red and yellow from the little bit of lemon juice. Awesome.

I loved every aspect of this meal and that chutney is spicy, creamy and perfect. Gosh I just love sauces, chutney and relishes. To me, anything you can drizzle, dip, glop, gloop or pour over something else is ideal , and Cooking Light has a thing for nailing delicious, low fat/low-cal sauces. Love, love this dish!

An Oldie But a Goodie

I’ve mentioned a few times that out of all of the cooking magazine issues I keep, it is usually the holiday issues. Not only am I a 5-year old trapped in a 29-year old body when it comes to Thanksgiving and Christmas, I love the food so much it is almost painful for me when the holidays are over. (You should see me when I have to take down my holiday decorations, there might be tears involved).
I was thumbing through my old Cooking Light 2007 and 2008 December issues last week and as if I was looking through an old photo album of loved ones, I kept sighing and pointing to certain recipes saying internally, “I remember the time I made that, how delicious and I need to retest and see if it is Cooking Inside the Lines worthy!” Now, you can imagine the grumblings that occurred internally too when I found three delicious looking recipes from the 2008 issue that I had not tried. Quel horreur!

I have to say I planned the timing out pretty well and everything came together very easily, even towards the end of cooking which can sometimes get pretty insane. The Pork Chops were pretty darn awesome. I really liked the Colonial Corn Pudding a lot. Instead of oyster crackers I used multi-grain saltine crackers and they tasted great in the dish. The baked potatoes were good but I think I used too much chipotle that overpowered the other flavors a bit.

Finally, the cobbler. I found some quince at Whole Foods Market the other day and because when cooked it can lend an apple flavor to dishes, I decided to use these instead. This was my first time working with quince and I have to say me likey. Quince is a tough little bugger so it’s best to poach or cook for long periods of time to bring the full flavors out and soften it up. I poached the cut-up quince for 45 minutes before placing in my cast-iron Dutch oven to finish the cobbler recipe. It was delicious! I loved this topping and the quince did take on an apple flavor but had a more firm texture than an apple would have.

I think this meal was a perfect comfort dinner for a rainy night here in Austin. Give them a try!