Mashed Potatoes

Anna & Sean’s favorite.

For one.  Multiply to serve more people.

1 russet potato
1-2 Tablespoons cream, half & half, whole milk, 2%, 1% or non-fat milk (in decending order of richness and deliciousness)
1-2 teaspoons of butter

Peel the potato and cut it into 1″ slices.  Cut the slices into 1″ chunks and put them in a sauce pan big enough for your potato masher to fit into.  Cover with filtered water by 1″, add a big pinch of salt, cover the pan, and set on the stove over medium heat.

Meanwhile, pour the cream into a glass measuring cup and add the butter.  Set it on the back of the stove to warm.

Put your colander in the sink.

When the potatoes are boiling, turn the heat down a bit and let them simmer until just tender – 15 minutes or so?  Poke the tip of a knife, or a fork, into a couple of the chunks:  they should give very little resistance.  You do not want them overly mushy or waterlogged, but you don’t want them hard in the middle either.

When they are done, pour the potatoes and cooking water into the colander, then turn the potatoes back in the pot, on the hot burner, with the lid off, to let them dry out for a minute or so.

Turn the heat to low.  Mash with the masher until pretty smooth.  Add the warm cream and butter and mash again.  Cover and hold ’til dinner time.  Stir again before serving – you may need to add a little more butter or cream to get the consistency you prefer.

Published in: on November 9, 2019 at 6:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Barefoot Contessa Orzo with Roasted Vegetables and Feta


Slightly modified from Barefoot Contessa Parties! by Ina Garten, Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2001

I significantly reduced the amount of olive oil in the dressing and it is still luxurious and delicious.

1 small eggplant, peeled and 3/4″ diced (I don’t care for eggplant so I left it out)
1 red bell pepper, 1″ diced (I used an orange bell pepper)
1 yellow bell pepper, 1″ diced
1 red onion, peeled and 1″ diced
1 jar whole small white onions, drained (optional)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound orzo

3 T freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
2 T good olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To assemble:
4 scallions, sliced thin (white & green parts)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 lb good feta, 1/2″ dice
15 fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade

Preheat the oven to 395 degrees. (Ina says 425 but my USA Pan baking sheets don’t want to go over 400, and this worked fine for me.) Toss the eggplant, bell peppers, red onion, whole onions, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes, turn with a spatula, then roast 20 more minutes, until browned.

Meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 7 to 9 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl.  (This can be done ahead.  The orzo can be used cold from the fridge – the hot vegetables warm it up just fine.)

Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.

For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and pour onto the pasta and vegetables. Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, pine nuts, feta, and basil. Check the seasonings, and serve at room temperature.

Published in: on November 9, 2019 at 1:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Lentil Quinoa Salad

Slightly modified from a recipe on Noshtastic

Vegan and gluten-free.  Great for a potluck.

1/2 cup green lentils , rinsed
3/4 cup quinoa , rinsed
1 cup cherry tomatoes , quartered
1/3 cup golden raisins, chopped if large
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
1/3 cup finely chopped seeded cucumber
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 tsp grated lemon rind
5 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Pick over the lentils and rinse with cold water.  Cook according to the instructions on the package, adding 1 bay leaf, 1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar and 1 teaspoon ground pepper. Once they are cooked, drain and allow to cool.
  2. Rinse the quinoa in a sieve and cook in a separate pan according to the instructions on the package. Once cooked, remove from the heat and fluff with a fork.
  3. Combine the lentils, quinoa, tomatoes, raisins, onion, cucumber, parsley and mint in a large bowl.
  4. Make the dressing:  Mix together the lemon rind, lemon juice, olive oil and salt.  Pour over the salad and toss well.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Refrigerate.
  6. Let sit at room temperature for a half-hour or so before serving.  Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
Published in: on September 22, 2019 at 4:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Smitten Kitchen’s Corn, Cheddar & Scallion Strata

Corn, Cheddar and Scallion Strata
Adapted from Gourmet’s 2003 spinach strata

Whole wheat sourdough is a great choice for this dish.  Or do half sourdough and half whole wheat.  A baguette or country bread will also work here. You could deliciously replace the parmesan with a crumbly salted cheese such as feta, ricotta salata or queso fresco; use just 1/2 to 2/3 cup instead

Serves 6 to 8

1 tablespoon butter
3 cups fresh corn (cut from 3 small-to-average cobs)
1 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions (both white and green parts from a 4-ounce bundle)
8 cups whole wheat, country or French bread in 1-inch cubes (weight will vary from 10 to 14 ounces, depending on bread type)
2 cups (6 ounces) coarsely grated sharp cheddar
1 cup (2 ounces) finely grated parmesan
9 large eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (optional)
2 3/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon table salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Generously butter a 3-quart baking dish (a lasagna or 9×13-inch pan works well here too). Toss corn and scallions together in a medium bowl. Combine cheeses in another bowl. In a large bowl, gently beat eggs and mayo together, then whisk in milk, salt and lots (or, if measuring, 1/2 teaspoon) of freshly ground black pepper. Spread one-third of bread cubes in prepared baking dish — it will not fully cover bottom of dish; this is fine. Add one-third of corn, then cheese mixture. Repeat layering twice with remaining bread, corn and cheese. Pour egg mixture evenly over strata. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 1 day.

When ready to bake, heat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake strata, uncovered, until puffed, golden brown and cooked through, about 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Do ahead: Strata keeps baked in the fridge for 4 days or longer in the freezer, wrapped well. It reheats wonderfully, either from the fridge or freezer and holds up well in lunch boxes.

Published in: on August 26, 2019 at 9:04 am  Leave a Comment  

Potato Salad with Sour Cream and Dill

For Swedish Christmas Eve Smorgasbord

3 pounds white rose or Yukon Gold potatoes

3/4 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup tightly packed chopped fresh dill
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt

Place the potatoes in a big pot with enough water to cover by 1 inch.  Season with salt and bring to boil.  Cook until tender when pierced with a knife, about 25 minutes.  Drain and return to the uncovered pot, off the heat, to remove excess water.  Let them sit until almost room temperature.  In a large bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients.  Taste and adjust as needed.  When the potatoes are cool enough to handle easily, peel them and cut into 1/2″ dice, adding them to the bowl as you go.  Stir gently with a large rubber spatula to combine.

Published in: on December 24, 2018 at 7:07 am  Comments (3)  

Warm Potato & Scallion Salad

slightly adapted from Alex Guarnaschelli’s The Home Cook

serves 4-6

2 pounds small Red Bliss potatoes
6 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
6 cornichons (or dill pickle chips) cut into 1/4-inch pieces, plus 1 tablespoon cornichon liquid
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 scallions (green and white parts), thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast them in the oven until tender when pierced with a knife, 30-45 minutes, depending upon their size.

In a bowl that is large enough to hold potatoes, whisk together the sherry vinegar, both mustards, the cornichons and their liquid. Whisk in olive and canola oils. Season with salt and pepper. Stir the scallions into the dressing.

Remove the potatoes from the oven and allow them to cool for a few minutes.  Halve the potatoes and add them to the dressing and stir to break the potatoes up a little, but do not overmix. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.


I made an almost-Nicoise by adding quartered hard-cooked egg and oil-packed tuna for a fantastic lunch.

Published in: on November 25, 2017 at 1:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Brussels Sprout Salad with Apple, Cheddar, and Almonds

This recipe is from Cooks Country magazine.  They use hazelnuts, which would probably be good, but I always have almonds on hand.

Serves 8

3 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 small shallot, minced
salt & pepper
6 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 lbs Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, sliced in half through stem end, then sliced cross-wise as thinly as possible
4 oz (1 cup) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 Granny Smith Apple, cored and cut in 1/2″ pieces
1/2 cup dry toasted unsalted slivered almonds, or roasted unsalted sunflower seeds

Whisk lemon juice, mustard, shallot, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt together in large bowl. Slowly whisk in oil until incorporated. Add the sliced Brussels sprouts, toss, and let sit for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

Gently stir in cheddar, apple, and almonds. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Published in: on November 18, 2017 at 6:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

Zucchini with Grape Tomatoes

serves 2

1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise, then sliced 1/8″ thick
1/4 onion, finely diced
6 grape tomatoes, halved
olive oil
fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper
splash of white balsamic vinegar

Heat the olive oil in a small saute pan over medium heat.  Add the zucchini and onion and cook until the zucchini begins to soften and brown.  Add the cherry tomatoes, thyme, salt, pepper and vinegar and heat through.

Published in: on May 13, 2017 at 5:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

To Try: Jeanne Lemlin’s Asian Coleslaw

Serves 8 as a side dish

6 cups finely shredded Napa cabbage
2 cups finely shredded purple cabbage
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup finely diced white onion
3/4 cup minced cilantro
3 tablespoons Chinese seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine the vegetables and cilantro in a large bowl. Sprinkle on the remaining ingredients and toss well.   Let sit at least 20 minutes before serving so the flavors can meld. Cover and chill any leftovers. Pour off any accumulated liquid before serving again.

Published in: on February 25, 2017 at 4:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Barley Pilaf

From “Simply  Satisfying” by Jeanne Lemlin

Serves 4

1 cup barley
2 Tablespoons butter
2 cups (6 oz) quartered mushrooms
1 large onion, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme (omit for Sean)
1 2/3 cups Vegetable Stock
2 teaspoons tamari or other soy sauce1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper to taste

Rinse the barley in a strainer under cold running water, then put it in a medium saucepan and cover it with water.  Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes, then trun off the heat and cover the pan.  Let sit for 1 hour, then drain thoroughly.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Melt the butter in a medium flameproof baking dish over medium heat.  (I do this in a cast iron skillet.)  Add the mushrooms, onion, and thyme, and saute for 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms begin to brown.  (I give the onions about an 8-minute head start because onions have to be completely soft for Sean.)

Add the drained barley, stock, soy sauce, salt, and pepper, and toss to mix.  (I use my 10″ square covered Corningware casserole.)  Cover the baking dish and bake undisturbed for 1 hour, or until all of the liquid is absorbed.  Do not stir until just before serving.  Serve immediately or keep warm in the oven until you are ready. May be prepared up to 48 hours in advance and chilled.  To reheat, add a few Tablespoons of water or stock and place in a 350 degree F oven until hot, about 20 minutes.

Ma  yes
Da  yes
Anna  yes but without the mushrooms
Sam no

Published in: on May 15, 2016 at 5:53 pm  Leave a Comment