keito potato


German Beet Salad
September 2, 2012, 6:50 am
Filed under: recipes, salads | Tags: , ,

A simple and refreshing beet salad.  This isn’t much of a recipe, since it’s so easy to pull together.

GERMAN BEET SALAD

red beets

sherry vinegar

olive oil

salt and pepper

mustard seeds

caraway seeds

METHOD

Leave the skins on the beets, and place in a heavy roasting pan.  Roast at 400F for about 40 minutes, depending on the size of the beets,  until cooked.  When cool enough to handle, peel the beets, and roughly quarter them.  Toss with sherry vinegar, then toss in some olive oil. Add some mustard seeds and caraway seeds, to taste.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve it in a pretty bowl that shows off the gorgeous color of the beets.

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Black Olives with Orange and Fennel
August 14, 2012, 2:26 pm
Filed under: recipes, starters | Tags: , ,

These marinated olives are mysterious and heavenly.  The fennel and orange peel complement the olives perfectly.  The flavor is soft and subtle, and the marinade seems to erase some of the saltiness of the olives.

 

 

BLACK OLIVES WITH ORANGE AND FENNEL

2 cups black olives — oil-cured, Nicoise, Kalamata, or a mixture

6 small bay leaves

1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

zest of 1/2 small orange, in large strips

extra virgin olive oil to moisten

METHOD

Combine everything in a bowl.  Let stand for 1 hour or more for the flavors to develop.  Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 to 3 weeks.



Marinated Mushrooms
August 14, 2012, 11:03 am
Filed under: recipes, starters | Tags: , , ,

Marinated mushrooms are a breeze to make and taste much better than store bought.  You can spice the marinade with a pinch of hot red pepper flakes and some balsamic vinegar, and sent it with just about any herbs growing in the garden.  The mushrooms are ready to eat when they have soaked up enough marinade to flavor them fully.  An hour is sufficient, but overnight is best.  This recipe comes from Viana La Place’s cookbook Panini, Bruschetta, Crostini:  Sandwiches, Italian Style.  These marinated mushrooms can be used as an appetizer or side dish, and sliced marinated mushrooms can be tucked into panini sandwiches.

MARINATED MUSHROOMS

1 pound button mushrooms, all about the same size, if possible

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

juice of 1 lemon, about 1/4 cup

1/3 cup water

2 large garlic cloves, peeled and cut into thick slices

4 fresh thyme sprigs

2 fresh sage leaves

1 bay leaf

small pinch hot red pepper flakes, about 1/8 teaspoon

a few black peppercorns

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, optional

METHOD

Wipe the mushrooms clean with damp paper towels.  Trim stems if necessary.  Cut any very large mushrooms in half.

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan.  Add mushrooms and saute over lower heat until just tender.  Transfer to a bowl.

Place the remaining olive oil, lemon, water, garlic, herbs, hot red pepper flakes, black peppercorns, and salt in saute pan.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Pour over the mushrooms in the bowl.  Stir in the optional balsamic vinegar.  Let mushrooms cool in marinade.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Bring to room temperature before serving.  To serve, lift out of marinade with a slotted spoon.

Makes 2 cups marinated mushrooms.



Roasted Zucchini and Mint Salad
August 5, 2012, 8:30 pm
Filed under: recipes, salads | Tags: , , , ,

This is a new favorite salad, and a fresh way to handle a profusion of zucchini during summer.  It’s light and refreshing with the crunch of almonds and croutons, and the brightness of mint and lemon.  What’s not to love?

This recipe calls for halving the zucchini lengthwise, and roasting it briefly at a high heat without any oil.  The technique works well to sear the zucchini without burning it, and the interior is perfectly tender.  The amount of lemon juice in the original recipe was a bit excessive (in my mind) because the extra lemon juice sat in a pool in the bottom of the serving bowl.  In the future I will reduce the amount from 3 lemons to 2 lemons.

The recipe comes from the Osteria cookbooks by Rick Tramonto and Mary Goodbody, which features rustic Italian food from Tramonto’s childhood.  This salad can be served as an antipasto, or as a side salad.

ROASTED ZUCCHINI AND MINT SALAD

8 zucchini, halved lengthwise

4 sprigs fresh mint

about 2/3 cup croutons (homemade, if possible)

about 1/2 cup toasted almonds

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

juice of 3 lemons (or 2 lemons)

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

fresh mint leaves for garnish

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 500F.

Lay the zucchini on a baking sheet, skin side up, and bake for about 8 minutes, or until the zucchini are golden brown on the flat, fleshy side.  

Let the zucchini cool slightly and then slice into half-moons.

In a bowl, mix the zucchini, mint sprigs, croutons, and toasted almonds.  Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, toss, and then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange on a serving platter and garnish with fresh mint leaves.



Congolese Romaine-Lettuce Stew with Peanut Sauce
July 28, 2012, 7:07 pm
Filed under: main dishes, recipes | Tags: , ,

I recently spent an afternoon cooking with some Congolese friends Florimond and Gisele, and this lettuce and peanut stew blew me away.  When I took the first bite, I almost got tears in my eyes because I was so overwhelmed by the fantastic flavor.

I had never heard of stewing romaine lettuce.  They explained to me that while spinach and other dark greens are often used in DR Congo, romaine lettuce is imported as a delicacy, and is revered for the delicate flavor and texture.

The recipe calls for cherry tomatoes, but you can substitute large tomatoes.

CONGOLESE ROMAINE-LETTUCE STEW WITH PEANUT SAUCE

3 heads of romaine lettuce

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 of a head of celery (several stalks)

1 onion

2 garlic cloves

1 bunch of scallions

10 cherry tomatoes (or 2 large tomatoes)

1 can of tomato paste

3/4 cup to 1 cup of natural peanut butter

garlic salt to taste

METHOD

Wash the romaine lettuce leaves.  Slice the leaves cross-wise, then wash them again.  Place the lettuce in a large pot with 3-4 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer.  Continue simmering for about 20 minutes. 

In the meantime, prepare the rest of the vegetables.  Slice the onion.  Mince the garlic cloves.  Chop the celery.  Slice the scallions in 1/2-inch pieces.  Chop the cherry tomatoes.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet.  When hot, add the onions, garlic, celery, scallions, and cherry tomatoes.  Let it sit a few minutes before stirring.  Then stir, and add the can of tomato paste.  

Add the peanut butter and stir again.  The peanut butter is stiff, so you will need to stir with some pressure.  

Add 1-can of water, using the tomato paste can to measure.  Cook a few minutes in the skillet, then add the sauce to the lettuce.  Stir, add a few shakes of garlic salt.  Don’t cover the pot, so that the lettuce will keep its color.  

Let it simmer about another 30 minutes.  Taste for salt at the end.  Serve with rice or fufu.



Greek Potatoes Stewed with Kalamata Olives
June 3, 2012, 11:21 am
Filed under: main dishes, recipes | Tags: , , , ,

When you slowly simmer good olives into a stew, they infuse the stew with a saltiness that is more complex than simple salt.  This dish is simple, delicious, and possibly addictive.  My vegetarian cooking group put together a huge Greek meal last night, and ate a long extended table in the backyard.  This was one of the favorite dishes, and the serving dish was practically licked clean.

The recipe comes from Diane Kochilas’ cookbook The Greek Vegetarian, which has become one of my most favorite and beat-up cookbooks.  Kochilas says that this dish is inspired by a classic dish from Zakintohos.  I’ve made this stew a few times over the years, and I plan to make it several times over the summer before I move to China, since olives will be harder to find there!

photo by Joyce Hiendarto

GREEK POTATOES STEWED WITH KALAMATA OLIVES

2  1/2 pounds medium-sized potatoes

1/3 cup olive oil

2 garlic cloves

1  1/2 cups kalamata olives

2-3 cups canned plum tomatoes, with their juices

1 teaspoon dried oregano

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

METHOD:

Peel and finely chop the garlic.  Peel and wash the potatoes.  Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise, and cut each half into four slices, each about 1/2-inch thick.  Drain the olives and pit them.

In a stewing pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the potatoes and stir to coat.  Toss in the garlic and stir. Add the olives, and stir and saute for 2-3 minutes.  The olives will break apart a little and the dish will change color and darken.

photo by Joyce Hiendarto

To break up the canned tomatoes, grate them with a large-tooth cheese grated.  Add the tomatoes to the pot and stir.

photo by Joyce Hiendarto

Lower the heat, cover the pot, and simmer the potatoes for 25-30 minutes, until they are very tender and the sauce is thick.  In my experience, it may take a little longer than this for the potatoes to become completely soft.  Add a little water during cooking if it seems as though the potatoes are in danger of burning.  

Just before removing the pot from the heat, add the oregano and season to taste with salt and pepper.  This stew would be good with some feta as a garnish.  Here you can see the potato and kalamata stew served at my vegetarian cooking group alongside a slice of spanakopita, or “Spartacus” as my friends were calling it, as well as an arugula, orange, and wrinkled olive salad.

photo by Joyce Hiendarto



Belgian Herbed Carrot Soup
May 5, 2012, 1:05 pm
Filed under: recipes, soups | Tags: , , ,

A lovely soup, flavored with the classic Belgian trio: leeks, thyme, and bay leaf.  This was the first course at the Belgian meal with my vegetarian cooking group last weekend.  We started by making a simple vegetable broth (the one I previously posted), and then built this soup following the recipe from Ruth Van Waerebeek’s Everybody Eats Well in Belgium Cookbook.

These days, it’s common to make pureed carrot soups with ginger and curry flavors, but I tend to prefer pairing carrots with fresh green herbs.  Apparently, traditional Belgian cuisine highlights the best of Medieval European cooking skills.  This means that they utilized fresh local European herbs before the spice trade.

photo by Joyce Hiendarto

BELGIAN HERBED CARROT SOUP

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 medium leeks, white and light green parts

1 large onion

6 cups vegetable broth (you can use my easy basic broth recipe, or used boxed broth)

1 – 1/2 pounds carrots

1 large baking potato

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, or 1 – 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 bay leaf

1 cup milk

salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons fresh parsley

METHOD

Wash and thinly slice the leeks into rings.  Slice the onion.  Peel and slice the carrots into 1-inch slices.  Peel and cube the potato.  You don’t need to be precise in your chopping, since you will puree the soup at the end.

photo by Joyce Hiendarto

Melt the butter in a heavy soup pot over medium heat.  Add the leeks and onion.  Cook, stirring until softened but not browned, about 10 minutes.

Add the vegetable broth, the carrots, potato, thyme, and bay leaf.  Simmer, covered, until the vegetables are very soft, 35-40 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let cool a little.  Discard the bay leaf.

photo by Joyce Hiendarto

Puree the soup with a stick immersion blender.  Stir in the milk.  Season with salt and pepper.  Reheat the soup and serve sprinkled with minced parsley.