hand cut fries – at home…

Hand cut fries are something you can make at home. Seriously.

Want to know why making them at home is not only possible, but better than out?

1. If your like me and live 25 minutes from the nearest restaurant, well, it just makes sense to know how to make them. And if your a city/town dweller, well, what’s the harm in knowing how?

2. You can choose to go organic, plus your oil will be super fresh (unlike most restaurant deep fryers which cook up all sorts of foods, sometimes for days, with the same oil…).

3. They will cost you a fraction of the cost of going out.

4. They will be made with love.

…revel in the simplicity of homemade hand-cut fries…you’ll wonder why you don’t make them more often…

Here’s what you’ll need;

Print this recipe!

Russet potatoes (I actually used yukon golds and they worked just fine and were delicious!) – quantity depends on how many you’d like to make. I used about 12 smallish potatoes – russets are larger, so less would be needed.

1.potatoes

My suggestion, cut up 3 russets and see how much you end up with – if you need more, cut up another, if its enough, perfect. If it’s too much, store cut potatoes, covered with water, in the fridge for up to two days. Who says you can’t have fries (homemade) twice in one week?

Coarse salt or sea salt

High heat oil – I use sunflower oil. Peanut oil works well too.

A pot for frying. I use my wok or cast iron frying pan. Any heavy bottomed or deep heavy bottomed pot will do.

You’ll also need a slotted spoon, some brown paper (think paper bags), a tea towel (or two), a candy/frying thermometer (if you don’t have one, don’t fret), and (if making a few batches) a cooling rack (with baking sheet placed underneath) to store cooked fries on while keeping warm in the oven…

Here’s what you’ll need to do;

Fill a large glass or ceramic bowl, half-way, with cold water.

Slice potatoes into the thickness and length you like – here’s yet another added bonus – you choose how thick or thin to make them!

2.hand cut potatoes

As your chopping away, place the cut pieces into water, in bowl. This helps release their starch as well as prevent browning. Add more water as necessary…

Once all potatoes have been cut and covered with water, pour cut potatoes into a colander and drain cloudy water. Refill bowl with fresh cold water. Add potatoes again. Continue this until water is no longer cloudy. Two or three times should do…

Drain water again, though now, place cut potatoes onto a tea towel and thoroughly dry. Remember, water and oil do not mix. So, if you need to use a second tea towel to ensure their super dryness, do so.

While your drying the potatoes, get the oil heating up. You’ll want to use enough oil to cover the potatoes, yet not so much that the oil would bubble over once heated up with potatoes in…trouble for sure…

*be sure to leave enough space at the top of the pot for the bubbling hot oil and the potatoes – do not overfill your pot.

If you have a candy or frying thermometer, great, use it. The oil should be between 350 degrees F and 375 degrees F. If you don’t have such equipment – don’t fret. If you drop a 1″ cube of white bread into the oil and it browns in 60 seconds or less, your up to temperature. You can also try tossing a cut potato slice into the oil, if it starts to sizzle, a lot, well, it’s probably up to temperature… if it doesn’t, let it heat up some more…

The key is to not overcrowd the pan.

Too many and the oil will cool and the fries will absorb too much oil and become soggy. Too few and they fry up super fast – almost to the point of burning…so best to cook in smaller batches, leaving enough room around each piece to allow for proper cooking.

Once potatoes have been added to the hot oil, increase heat, slightly, to compensate for the heat absorption from the fries…Keep an eye on them as they cook. Stirring occasionally and regulating the heat as necessary.

4.sizzeling and crispin'

Once the fries look nice and browned, remove with slotted spoon and place on paper bags/paper. Salt generously.

Turn heat slightly down while removing. Once all fries have been removed, increase heat again to bring back up to temperature and repeat the process all over again…

I place the salted and cooked fries onto my cooling rack (seems to prevent them from getting soggy) which is also placed over a cookie tray (to catch the ones which fall through the ‘cracks’) and then tuck them into the warmed oven (200 degree F) until all fries have been cooked or all food is ready to be served…

5.fried and salted

This recipe can also be used with sweet potatoes – sweet potato fries – YUM!

What do you like your fries with?

I like mine with fried fish – fish ‘n chips – dipped in organic ketchup and malt vinegar. Super deliciousness – at home…

Enjoy!

blueberry muffins

Looking for something to do on a rainy day?

Why don’t you bake muffins? Blueberry muffins!

They are super easy, yummy and perfect for breakfast or as a snack. They can be frozen for another day or enjoyed immediately, still warm, and slathered with butter… or given as gifts…what friend wouldn’t just love a dozen of freshly baked muffins?

So why don’t you get out your muffin tins and get going!

Blueberry Muffins

baked muffins:browned

Print this recipe From the Joy of Cooking – All About Breakfast & Brunch

makes 12 muffins

Assemble Ingredients;

assemble your ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder (aluminum free)

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs (don’t fret if you don’t have ‘large’ eggs – use what you have)

1 cup milk (or cream – you decide the richness)

2/3 cup cane sugar or light brown sugar (try not using white sugar)

4 tablespoons warm, melted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1.5 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Here’s what you need to do;

Grease or line with paper/silicone muffin cups for 12-cup muffin, standard muffin pan…

get your tins ready

Whisk together in a large bowl;

flour (2 cups)

baking powder (1 tablespoon)

salt (1/2 teaspoon salt)

Whisk together in a seperate bowl;

eggs (2 eggs)

milk (1 cup milk)

sugar (2/3 cup light brown/cane, white if necessary)

butter (4 tablespoons warm, melted butter)

vanilla (1 teaspoon)

wet:dry - sort of

Add ‘wet’ mixture to the ‘dry’ mixture, until just blended, moistened. Don’t over mix – batter should not be smooth…add the blueberries (1.5 cups), gently…

blueberry thief

add blueberries to batter

Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Careful not to overfill or underfill – nearly to the top, without going to the top…Sprinkle brown/cane sugar on top.

in tins - topped with sugar sprinkle

Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in a few muffins, comes out clean…

muffins cooling

Let cool 15 minutes on cooling rack before removing.

close-up scrumptiousness

Serve warm, with butter or as is…

muffin thief

enjoy the weekend!

(and the muffins!)

PS. The cooling rack and the cook book were picked up, for free, from my local transfer station…I just love that place!
(:

white bean cutlets save the day

Thankfully, the official last frost date has passed…though, only two days prior to ‘the’ date, we had a frost warning – what? – it’s May, practically June, what’s with this frost advisory?

I couldn’t believe my ears.

Frost advisory?

‘Are you serious?’, I said, out loud, to no one…but the radio…

My immediate next thought was, ‘Well, if this is true, I better go cover the greens in the garden and get cooking – something to not only warm our tummies, but our sprit as well’, so that’s just what I did.

I decided to make white bean cutlets.

They are a lovely blend of warming herbs, fresh bread (crumbs) and sublime white beans…add to this loveliness, chopped carrots, celery and chives and well, you’ve got cutlet love…

Top it all with mushroom gravy and serve alongside freshly steamed, buttered green beans and you’ve got the perfect solution to the ups and downs of spring in New England.

This dish is both for warming and soothing…just what the body (and mind) needs when facing the reality that in the morning there just may be frost on the ground – despite the fact that June is only 12 days away (well, it was when this was written)!

White Bean Cutlets

adapted from savvyvegetarian

Print this recipe!

Ingredients

1

2 cups white beans rinsed and drained (try preparing yourself from dried)

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 good pinch freshly chopped chives (or two scallions, chopped)

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

2

1 carrot, finely chopped

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. fresh thyme

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

parsely

2 Tbsp. parsley, chopped

1/4 cup flour – not all may be needed – any flour will work

1 cup finely chopped fresh breadcrumbs*

* no breadcrumbs?  No problem, chop and whiz bread pieces/slices with crusts in food processor. No processor? Simply rip and finely chop bread and crusts. No bread? Try this yeast free recipe. 

I’m all about being resourceful… (: One has to be when living milessssss from town

Here’s what you’ll do

1. Heat oil on medium/low in heavy bottomed fry pan.

2. Saute carrot and celery until soft, about 5-8 minutes.

3. Add all herbs and spices, except parsley, to fry pan and saute another 2-4 minutes. Constantly stirring…

4

4. Place cooked and rinsed beans in food processor, add sauteed veggies and spices, parsley, salt, pepper and bread crumbs into processor and combine just until mixed.

5

6

5. Add flour, 1 Tbsp. at a time until mixture is thick enough to form patties. aka, cutlets.

7

6. Form into patties and let chill one hour in fridge.

8

7. Heat oil in fry pan and fry each 6-8 minutes each side, until nicely browned.

10

8. Top with Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy.

9

11

Vegetarian deliciousness served up in a cutlet…feeds not only the body, but the soul as well…

Enjoy

PS. If you omit the milk and butter in the gravy, you’ll have a delicious vegan recipe too!

loveliness in a loaf pan

Meatloaf. I love meatloaf. Not meat meatloaf, but meat(less)loaf.

I love slicing into it, topping it with extra sauce and then serving it alongside mashed potatoes with freshly snipped chives…

I love its texture and hardiness. Its down home simplicity. Its common ingredients…

Especially on fog enshrouded evenings…comfort food in spring I say, and healthy at that!

Meatloaf without the meat.

Try it.

You’ll never know ’till you do…

Mushroom meat(less)loaf

adapted from the silver palette

Print this recipe!

2 cups white beans

1/2 cup walnuts, ground

generous pinch of coarse salt

generous pinch of ground pepper

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 cup organic ketchup (no high fructose corn syrup here)

1/2 tsp. basil (dried or fresh)

1 cup old fashioned oats (not instant)

2 eggs

2 tbsp. parsley, chopped

4-6 ounces fresh mushrooms, sauteed till browned

1/2 tsp. oregano

1

Cook beans and drain. If using canned, drain and rinse. Mash beans with fork.

2

Slice and saute mushrooms until browned (saute in butter or olive oil)

3.eggsjpg

Add oatmeal, nuts, and eggs, to mashed beans, mix well.

4

5

Blend mixture with herbs, ketchup, mushrooms, onions, salt + pepper

6

Place mixture in a greased 9″ X 5″ X 2″  (or thereabouts…)loaf pan.

7

Top with red sauce. (recipe below)

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

8

Red Sauce

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 tbsp.olive oil for sauteing

1 cup crushed tomatoes or diced

1 handful fresh spinach, kale or swiss chard, chopped

Saute onion in olive oil until browned.

Add chopped greens, saute until softened.

Add tomatoes.

Stir.

9

10

enjoy!

lunch is served

Now I don’t need to tell you how to make egg salad, I’m sure you already know how…but just in case, here’s a friendly reminder for a lunch or brunch idea that can be as fancy (think bread, crusts removed, finger sized) or simple (rolled in a tortilla) as you like…

Add a little decadence – serve champagne with your finger sandwiches…or any sandwich for that fact!

Not only is egg salad good for just about any day, but it’s also perfect for picnics (keep chilled of course – sandwiches and champagne) and meals on the go. It’s inexpensive (even with organic eggs), requires little time and the ingredients are common to most.

Get the kids involved. Peel, smash, enjoy.

Simple Egg Salad

Print this recipe!

1.hard boiled eggs

7-8 eggs, hard boiled and peeled.

2.peeling eggs(I wasn’t too worried about the state of the eggs once peeled, they’re just going to get smashed up anyway!)

2 heaped spoonfuls mayonnaise (or however much you prefer)

1 teaspoon english mustard

course salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

3.mashing eggs

Smash eggs with masher (this makes them super fluffy).

4.blended

Add mayonnaise, mustard.

Mix until blended.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

5.egg salad roll-ups

Serve on sliced bread, rolled in a tortilla or on a Portuguese roll.

Don’t forget to include fresh greens too!

Lunch is served!

Now, where is that champagne?

Enjoy!

noodle broth

I’d been yearning for something different.

Something light.

Something fresh.

Something new. And I found it.

Noodle broth and spring rolls.

noodle broth + rolls

My inspiration (and Noodle broth recipe) came from the fabulous food blog, Frugal Feeding. As the name suggests, it’s a blog about eating well without spending a fortune – great recipe collection there, to say the least. The photos were so enticing and beautiful I knew right away, this was what I was looking for.

Try them for yourself and see what you think. I think both dishes are divine…especially served in this beautiful dish set from China…can you believe I found the whole set? Still in the package? At my local transfer station. Amazing…

Noodle Broth 

recipe from Frugal Feeding:

print this

100g rice noodles

4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)

small bunch of thyme

2-3 bay leaves

2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger

smidgen dark soy sauce

1-2 small red chilies (depending on your likes)

a few leaves of fresh basil

2 tbsp. sesame oil

broth herbs

stock added - broth

Fry garlic and ginger in a large cooking pot, using the sesame oil. Add thyme, bay leaves and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and allow spices to infuse, with lid on, for 15-20 minutes.

straining

Sieve the stock.

noodles

Remove all the contents. Return to pot and add uncooked noodles. Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes, at which time, noodles should be cooked.

noodle broth

Serve in bowls and top with finely chopped red chilies, a sprinkling of soy sauce and a few freshly torn basil leaves…deliciousness indeed!

Side note – I forgot to buy basil, so I substituted with fresh cilantro (maybe you can tell in the photos?). While it didn’t take away from the dish, I do look forward to trying this dish with the sweetness of basil added…if only my little plants were bigger!

enjoy

P.S.  Stay tuned for the spring rolls…

comfort food

Spring may be here, but warmer temperatures (and sunshine) are still fleeting…so what is one to do when wanting/needing warmth?

Cook.

Cook and eat.

Eat comfort food.

So that’s what I did. I prepared (and enjoyed) the fabulous fish pie from Jamie Oliver’s cookbook, The Naked Chef Takes Off. 

Be sure to gather and prep all ingredients first; a few are cooked at the same time, in the same pot…best to be organized, but don’t let this intimidate you – it’s so worth the effort!

Fabulous Fish Pie

print this recipe 

Recipe taken from The Naked Chef Takes Off, Jamie Oliver

ingrediants

5 large potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch squares

2 large eggs

2 large handfuls of fresh spinach

1 onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, halved and finely chopped

approximately 1 1/3 cups heavy cream

2 good handfuls of grated sharp cheddar or parmesan cheese (I used cheddar, haven’t tried it with parmesan)

juice of 1 lemon

1 heaped teaspoon of English mustard

1 large handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

1 lb. haddock, skin removed and sliced into strips

fresh nutmeg (optional)

lemon juice, spinach, parsley

Preheat oven to 450 F. Put the potatoes into salted boiling water and bring back to a boil for 2 minutes. Carefully add the eggs to the pot and cook for a further 8 – 10 minutes, until hard boiled, by which time the potatoes should also be cooked. At the same time, steam the spinach in a colander above the pan. This will only take a minute. When the spinach is done, remove from the colander and gently squeeze out any excess moisture. Then drain the potatoes in the colander. Remove the eggs, cool under cold water, then peel and quarter them. Place to one side.

onion + carrot

In a separate pan slowly fry the onion and carrot in a little olive oil for about 5 minutes,

pouring cream

then add the cream and bring just to a boil.

cheese, parsely, mustard

Remove from heat and add the cheese, lemon juice, mustard and parsley.

ingredients with fish

Put the spinach, fish and eggs into an appropriately sized earthenware dish and mix together, pouring over the creamy vegetable sauce.

potatoes over fish mix

The cooked potatoes should be drained and mashed. Mash with just a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and even a dash of nutmeg, if you wish. Spread on top of the fish. Don’t bother piping it to make it look pretty – it’s a homely hearty thing.

baked

Place in the oven for about 25-30 minutes until the potatoes are golden.

serving

Serve with some nice greens or side salad.

enjoy

enjoy!

fish cakes – yum

I like cakes. Potato cakes, fish cakes, risotto cakes, pancakes, sweet cakes…cakes. Yum. Here’s a recipe for some savory cakes – fish cakes to be exact.

Serve ’em with a bit of aioli (mayo. + fresh lemon juice + a bit of garlic), a side salad and dinner is served. Hosting a party? Size them smaller and enjoy as an appetizer…

Fish Cakes

Fish Cakes PDF (printable version)

fish cake ingrediants

a bit of olive oil for sauteing

1 cup finely chopped celery

1 small onion finely chopped

2 tablespoons goat cheese (or cream cheese)

3 teaspoons lemon juice

2/3 cup fresh (or dry) bread crumbs

1 teaspoon dill or fresh parsley

2-3 canned tuna or salmon

1 egg white lightly beaten

1/3 cupful per cake

Saute onion until lightly browned, add celery.

saute celery + onion

In a large bowl combine fish, celery and onion. Add goat cheese, lemon juice, herbs and bread crumbs – mix with hands. Add egg white. Blend.

fish mixed with celery, etc.

Scoop 1/3 cupful per cake. Mix in palm then form into thick pattie.

Fry 3-5 minutes (or until golden) each side.

fish cakes frying

fish cakes

 

Keep warm in oven.

Serve with tarter, aioli and/or fresh chives – top with freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Canned fish never tasted so good!

Enjoy.

green deliciousness

Avocados. Love them. Sliced, chopped, cubed, or pureed. I eat them on toast, with eggs, black beans, pizza, quesadillas, soup, sandwiches…but when I’m in the mood for guacamole, I smash ’em up. I had a few ripe avocados and thought, why not? So while Finn napped, that’s what I did. Guacamole can be simple or complex – I went for simple.

1.guacomole ingrediants

2.scooped avocado

Cut avocados in half, remove pit/seed, scoop out deliciousness – I used an ice cream scooper (I usually just use a spoon) and realized, this is, the perfect tool for this job….

3.smashed avocado

Smash avocado (with a masher) with the fresh lime juice, and then add a bit of salt (to taste), cumin, chopped cilantro and and that’s it.

4.deliciousness

We enjoyed dipping organic blue corn chips into it, then into chipotle salsa…enjoy it as you wish…

Guacamole

3-4 ripe avocados

1 teaspoon cumin (or more, if you like)

a good pinch (or two) of coarse salt

freshly squeezed lime juice from 2-3 limes

1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro

Variations to add…

a bit of chipotle powder

dice fresh tomato

a dollop of sour cream

finely minced red onion

The great thing about guacamole is it can be as simple or complex as you like. Its only drawback is that it needs to be eaten fairly quickly – it doesn’t keep too long – but, is that really a drawback? (:

And below you’ll find a printable version – yeah, I figured it out (well, mostly…)!

How do you like your guacamole?

avocado PDF

Happy smashing!

vegetarian honey and vegetable winter soup

Great information. Great recipe! Enjoy…

Romancing the Bee

vegetarian winter veg soup

Reprinted from Salon.com

There’s never been a better time to be a half-assed vegetarian. Five years ago, the American Dialect Society honored the word flexitarian for its utility in describing a growing demographic—the “vegetarian who occasionally eats meat.” Now there’s evidence that going flexi is good for the environment and good for your health. A study released last October found that a plant-based diet, augmented with a small amount of dairy and meat, maximizes land-use efficiency. In January, Michael Pollan distilled the entire field of nutritional science into three rules for a healthy diet: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” According to a poll released last week, Americans seem to be listening: Thirteen percent of U.S. adults are “semivegetarian,” meaning they eat meat with fewer than half of all their meals. In comparison, true vegetarians—those who never, ever consume animal flesh—compose just 1 percent.

Yield:  10-12 servings

Ingredients

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