Monday, December 27, 2010

Potatoes Two Ways

Here is our simple Christmas breakfast. I read somewhere about grating potatoes and putting them in a waffle maker and this is now my new favorite hash brown method. Next time I'm going to add in some grated sweet potatoes or winter squash. Also on the plate is a simple fruit salad of grapefruit, oranges, kiwi, and raisins and the wonderful Mini Crustless Tofu Quiches from Fatfree Vegan.


The last few weeks we've received red white and blue potatoes in our CSA box. I watched the Barefoot Contessa in London Christmas special and she made these gorgeous sliced potatoes. I didn't read her recipe before I made the potatoes the first time but I remembered her method for cutting the potatoes. After making the recipe the first time I went to look at her recipe. I used 2 Tbsp olive oil and she used 1/3 cup; I used 1/2 tsp. sea salt and she used 4 teaspoons for the same amount of potatoes. The first time I made them I used rosemary but this time I used a combo of fresh thyme and fresh savory which I preferred. I also was glad I used a cast iron frying pan to roast them instead of a cookie sheet because they do splatter. But this recipe is pretty versatile; the  neat thing is the way the potatoes are cut.

1 1/2 to 2 lbs. small red, white, and blue potatoes, well-scrubbed
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt or to taste
2 Tbsp. minced mixed fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, chives, or savory
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400.

Scrub potatoes well. Cut a slice on the bottom of each potato so they will stand up. Carefully cut a slice every 1/4" on the top of the potatoes as shown. In the original recipe she just cut a slice (and they will open a bit during roasting) but I actually cut out a sliver so you could better see the pretty blue interior of the blue potatoes and so the minced herbs will fall in the sliced sections. In her recipe she says use a spoon to cut the potatoes to ensure you don't cut all the way through but I didn't do that (and yes, I accidentally cut through one).

Put potatoes sliced side up in a cast iron skillet. Add olive oil and mix so that oil completely covers each potato. Bake for 15 minutes. Add herbs and salt to taste. Bake another 25-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender and bottoms of potatoes are golden brown.  

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Italian Christmas Menu

Holiday Organic Fruit Box from Los Poblanos Organics CSA

I'm still working on the menu for an Italian vegan Christmas feast. I'm still not sure if the main dish will be lasagna or stuffed shells (sometimes I have trouble finding large pasta shells here in New Mexico) but I do know that I'll do half with marinara sauce and half with pesto.


Pizza Hummus from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's brand new book with some breadsticks I received in an Italian pantry basket from Dean & Deluca


Mixed Vegetables in Vinegar/Giardinetto di sott'aceto from Paola Gavin's Italian Vegetarian Cooking

Stuffed Zucchini Florentine (also from the above book) w/ a non-dairy bechamel

Sardinian Artichoke Pie w/Daiya cheese from Cooking from an Italian Garden by Paola Scaravelli/Jon Cohen


Shells or Lasagna


My Rosemary-Garlic Pan Rolls


A big honking green salad w/homemade roasted red pepper dressing


Fruit salad using all the wonderful fruit we received this week from our CSA. 

I hope you have a lovely holiday - here is a shot from the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort on Santa Ana Pueblo where we go every year for DH's office Christmas party.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chocolate Chip Peppermint Cookie Bites

I'm a huge fan of the Frontier Coop baking extracts. I own most of them and use them all the time in everything from muffins to smoothies to hot drinks. They are so much tastier than the store-bought extracts I used to buy.

I've been craving the combination of chocolate and peppermint lately. I nearly told DH to bring home a box of Candy Cane Jo-Jos from Trader Joe's but managed to avoid temptation.
The craving continued and I realized I had some Frontier peppermint extract. I knew I had to make some cookies. Because of the whole wheat pastry flour they are a bit healthier than your average cookie plus I make them smaller to discourage overeating.

Chocolate Chip Peppermint Cookie Bites

Makes about 44 small cookies

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup unbleached flour
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (Trader Joe's version are dairy-free I think)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup soymilk or other non-dairy milk
1/3 cup agave nectar or brown rice syrup
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two baking sheets with vegetable cooking spray. Mix flours, chips, baking powder, soda and sea salt in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl mix soymilk, sweetener, oil and peppermint extract. Stir wet ingredients into dry.

Transfer heaping teaspoonfuls of dough onto prepared cookie sheet. (These cookies don't spread out while baking so you can put them an inch apart.) Bake 8-10 minutes or until tops of cookies are just browned. Cool on wire rack and try to resist.

Here's a photo of a birthday breakfast I made recently for DH. I made the vegan migas from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Suppers with more tortillas, green olives, and chiles, my Papas Con Chile Colorado from Fiesta Vegan, Isa's Best Pumpkin Muffins, my Easy Chipotle Salsa, and freshly squeezed orange juice.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Shepherd's Pie

Because I'm in a year-round CSA, I am always looking for good ways to use up stray vegetables. We eat a green salad daily and I make a lot of soups but I still end up with extra vegetables.

Shepherd's Pie is one of my favorite ways to clean out the refrigerator. Shepherd's Pie is traditionally a casserole of ground meat and veggies topped with mashed potatoes but it really works well with just veggies. I've tried Shepherd's Pie many ways - with veggie meatballs, veggie burgers, TVP, etc but my favorite recipe is pretty basic. In a 9 by 13" casserole dish I dump a can of pinto beans, a 14 oz can of diced tomatoes, some frozen peas and corn, and whatever else I can find. In this case I had some extra diced pumpkin and collard greens so I steamed them both lightly and added them to the dish.

Then I top the whole shebang with as much mashed potatoes as I can fit and bake in a 350 degree F oven for about 20 minutes. We don't buy non-dairy margarines a lot but when we do have it we put some on top before baking.  DH likes to eat his Shepherd's Pie with plenty of Valentina hot sauce.

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