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Sous Vide Turkey Breast (or Thanksgiving…Round Two!)


We had a wonderful thanksgiving…including our four cranberry sauces…with 15 friends at 3 different houses.  The evening was wonderful and the food delectable including two different turkeys (one smoked) and incredible sides and of course dessert!  Apparently, that just wasn’t enough for us.  Since we had quite a bit of cranberry sauce left…we decided to do Round Two (downsized a bit!) on Sunday.

First…let’s give credit where credit is due…

This is our official Thanksgiving feast.  Complete with turkey, brussels sprouts, beets, green beans, salad, two gravies, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams, four cranberry sauces and of course, stuffing.  My plate looked like this…

I may have overdone it…but that is what thanksgiving is for!

Now for round two!

We purchased a (fairly) reasonably sized bone-in, skin-on turkey breast to sous vide.

We dried it off, seasoned it well with salt and pepper, placed it in a vacuum bag, added a few pats of butter and a bunch of fresh thyme, and sealed it up.

Before getting started, we turned on our thermal-immersion circulator to get it up to the temperature that we wanted – 149º F.  Once it was ready, we dropped the turkey in and set a timer for 2 hours and 30 minutes.

We were so taken by the stuffing that our friend Paul made…we just had to remake it.  I may have mentioned in the past my issue with soggy foods – and stuffing generally falls into this category…however, I had trouble resisting this one…it has green olives!  Let me repeat…it has GREEN OLIVES!  What’s not to love!  We had  no trouble finding the recipe since it was in one of the recent Bon Appétit and is all over the internet!  Since we followed the recipe exactly (making only a half batch), I won’t write out the entire recipe here…all you need to know is that it’s called Italian Mother-in-Law Dressing and is very good!

I cooked up some chard, then onions, dried out some bread, chopped some olives, toasted some pine nuts and tossed it altogether with some rosemary and thyme!

We had one lonely sweet potato on hand, so I diced it up, steamed it a bit and then added some butter and fresh thyme.

The stuffing went into a buttered casserole dish and had the final broth and egg mixture drizzled over the top before getting covered and placed into the oven.

Cleo tends to be very interested in what we’re doing in the kitchen and has become quite bold as of late and thinks this perch on the couch is just perfect for her.  I’m not sure I agree!

Apparently I did not take any photos…but we also had some mashed potatoes cooking.  Rather than mashing, we used a food mill that was handed down from my parents.  I’ll be honest, it has been a while since I have made mashed potatoes that good!  They were so smooth and of course, it doesn’t hurt that they are really just a vessel for butter, cream and salt!

Two and a half hours later, we pulled the turkey out of the water bath.

Once you open the bag, discard the thyme and remove the skin (we saved this and cooked it up a day or two later…it crisped up nicely!).  Once the breast was removed from the bone, I cut slices and drooled a bit.

We set the table and opened a lovely rosé from Frog’s Leap that we purchased on a visit in April to Napa.

And then it was time to plate it up…oh, we also had gravy…and don’t worry…all four cranberry sauces were on the table ready to be enjoyed!

The turkey was very moist, tender and flavorful.  Until we are serving more than just two of us at our house…the sous vide option is just too easy and dependable to not do.  This is definitely just the first of many sous vided turkey options!

Oh…I almost forgot.  Let’s discuss cranberry sauces!  I personally loved the chutney.  I think it has found a way into my recipe box for future thanksgivings…it is savory and a little different while still maintaining that tart flavor that you want from your cranberry sauce.

At our feast, the chutney and the raw orange relish (a Connelly family recipe) were the favorites.  The standard cranberry sauce (another Connelly family recipe – Thanks Dad!) also had its followers.   But I have to say, I know the Mama Stamberg’s recipe is beloved by many an NPR listener, but it was just not a hit.  Perhaps there were too many options!

I hope you all enjoyed an abundant Thanksgiving and were surrounded by friends and family.  Anyone else have more than one thanksgiving?

 

 

 

 

 

2011 Meals in Review | part two


as promised…

2011 Meals in Review | part two

July

Gorgonzola Chicken Pasta Salad (a la D’Amico & Sons)

German Potato Salad

Summer Tomato Caprese Stacks

Bastille Day & a Little Liberté with Scallion and Chive Smoked Salmon Spread

 

August

Sour Cream Verde Enchiladas

 

September

Heirloom Tomatoes Bread Salad with Burratta

Zucchini, Summer Squash and Brown Rice Casserole

 

October

Tomato and Gruyere Tart

served with a little salad

Fresh Linguine with Mizithra Cheese and Lightly Dressed Arugula

Traditional Beef Empanadas (made mini!)

A little sampling of delicious items…cheese, olives, toasts, etc.

Niçoise Salad

 

November

Pumpkin Pecan Biscotti

Brioche French Toast

No-Knead Bread

Gougeres

Red Tea, Beef & Sweet Potato Stew

Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good

Excuse the phone photo…but that’s what’s left of a scrumptious braised rabbit with pappardelle from this place.

Chestnut Pancetta Stuffing for Thanksgiving

My Thanksgiving plate…and no I didn’t overdo it!

Couldn’t be complete without a slice of pecan pie!

The morning after was no let-down with Pheasant and Waffles topped with a Fried Egg and Mushroom Thyme Gravy!!!

 

December

A weekend trip up north found us eating at the Culinary Institute of America’s restaurant in St. Helena.  The Tasting included 5 delectable bites to whet our appetites.

The polenta sitting under the magnificently cooked piece of beef was quite possibly the best thing on the table.

Duck Confit with a Poached Egg and Frisee

Krumkake Christmas Cookies

Christmas Eve bites including Cremenelli Salami – a little hometown pride!

Christmas Dinner – Tenderloin of Beef, Creamy Dill Carrots and Brussel Sprouts with Bacon

Turkey Tetrazzini

The BEST use of leftover beef ever…sliced beef tenderloin topped with a cold Bernaise sauce

And last but not least, Short Ribs Italiano served over Pappardelle!

 

We’re making some artichoke dip and about to head over to friends to ring in the new year!  Tonight is for looking back and tomorrow, we start fresh.

A Whole New Year!

Happy New Year!

2011 Meals in Review | part one


As I’m a bit behind these days, I noticed while perusing my photos from the past year in search of a couple photos for a new year’s card to send out, how many delicious moments we had in 2011.  What follows is not only what we made, but what we enjoyed! 

The delicious moments of 2011…


January

Rosemary Sea Salt Dinner Rolls (recipe credit: Pioneer Woman)

Creamy Pheasant and Wild Rice Soup

Orechiette with Pheasant, Bacon and Spinach

Butternut Squash, Shallot and Goat Cheese Pizza

Pot Roast…good the first time, better the second…

Cumin-scented Butternut Squash with Onions and Wild Rice

Pot Roast Ravioli

Homemade Fettuccini

Boboli’s done right…!  (yes, you are correct…that is an egg cracked on top peeking out from underneath the arugula and parm!

 

February

yummm…pancakes

Delicate Scrambled Eggs with Truffle Salt

A Birthday dinner at Bouchon

Cod Brandade with Tomato Confit and Fried Sage Leaves

Frisée aux Lardons et Oeuf Poché

Croque Madame

Back at home…Cheese Soufflé

Lump Crab Cakes

Valentine’s Day Cheese Fondue

Tempura and Cold Soba Noodles

Baby Artichoke Gratin (recipe credit: latimes.com)

 

March

Fancied-Up Burgers

Seared Scallops with Cream of Cauliflower Soup

Welsh Rarebit

 

April

April brought with it a trip to Vienna for Woody’s work…

Käsekrainer – near perfect street food

Beef Tartare with all the appropriate accoutrements

Veal Medallions

Finally in the homeland…a full plate of spätzle just for me!

A celebratory meal at Meinl am Graben began with a Veal Carpaccio for Woody

Tortellini with Consommé and Crisped Prosciutto

Honestly…I can hardly remember what exactly this course entailed…but I DO remember that it  was incredibly amazing!

The third course of our prix fixe…again…perfection!

Although I can’t say the name of the place…the fare was delicious

A trip to Vienna without Viennese coffee would be a crime!

Back at home…Pacific Spiny Lobster with Fava Beans and Meyer Lemon

Grilled Cheese Invitational…who says no to that…?

Burrata with Cherry Tomatoes…there were plenty more sandwiches and a lot more cheese, but most disappeared before I could get a shot!

And of course, an annual batch of Deviled Eggs for Easter!

 

May

Fried Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese

Onion & Bacon Tart

Minted English Pea & Lemony Feta Crostini

Another birthday was cause for a trip to the Los Olivos region, some wine tasting and of course a meal or two…

Bistro Burger

Spring Vegetable Pot Roast

Ebelskivers

Savory Lentil Salad

House guests meant a trip to the Original LA Farmer’s Market and an Oyster Po’ Boy

June

Chicken Garlic Sausage & Swiss Chard Flatbread

Potato Salad – Two Ways

Poppyseed Cake with Strawberries and Mascarpone Frosting

Part two coming soon…

Smoky Peppadew & Paprika Potato Salad


Jami Sorrento was our June Daring Cooks hostess and she chose to challenge us to celebrate the humble spud by making a delicious and healthy potato salad. The Daring Cooks Potato Salad Challenge was sponsored by the nice people at the United States Potato Board, who awarded prizes to the top 3 most creative and healthy potato salads. A medium-size (5.3 ounce) potato has 110 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium and includes nearly half your daily value of vitamin C and has more potassium than a banana!

What says summer more than potato salad?  School’s out, the days are long, the weather is delightful okay…actually…our weather is fine…but June Gloom is in full effect!  A quick look outside would make you think it was chilly and dreary…but by 4 o’clock the sun is usually burning through the clouds and making an appearance.  We felt like breaking out our barbecue for the first time this year, throwing some hot dogs on the grill and eating on the patio.  Woody insisted on straightforward sides – as in cheetos…but don’t worry…we bumped the level of sophistication by getting the Baked Cheetos (did you know they make these…and they are delicious…there is hardly any difference in taste from the real fried ones…makes me wonder why they fry them in the first place!…I digress).

I love a good ‘ole standard mayo-based potato salad…but the Daring Cooks challenge calls for a healthier version., and we switched up the flavor profile a bit to make it a little more interesting.  Never a dull day around here!

Smoky Peppadew & Paprika Potato Salad

Servings: 4
Ingredients:
1 pound small red creamer potatoes or any other baby reds
3 peppadew pickled peppers,diced small
3 green onions, sliced thin
1 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

Dressing Ingredients:
½ cup greek yogurt (we use Fage Greek yogurt)
½ tsp. smoked paprika
¼ to ½ tsp. harissa paste (to taste)
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp. of Pickapeppa sauce
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
½ tsp. of sea salt and a grind or two of pepper

Directions:
1. Scrub potatoes and leave on skins, cut into quarters
2. Boil potatoes till tender, about 15-20 minutes
3. Drain and cool
4. Dice peppadew peppers
5. Mix dressing, add peppadew peppers, taste for seasoning, and then toss in the cooled potatoes
6. Add in the sliced green onions and fresh cilantro and toss gently to mix
7. Chill and garnish with fresh cilantro and serve!

Yogurt.  Put it in the bowl.

Peppadew peppers are delicious…a mild and sweet pepper that is pickled and originates from South Africa.  Our favorite way to serve peppadews is whole, stuffed with goat cheese and topped with some fresh ground pepper and parsley.  These peppers have become very available in the last few years, you can find them in jars on the pickle or roasted pepper aisle in the grocery store, or more recently, they are pretty common in the olive bar area as well.

Slice and dice the peppers and set aside.  Harissa is hot chili paste used in many parts of North Africa and adds another complex flavor and a bit of heat to the dressing.

Add the peppadews, paprika and harissa to the yogurt along with a squeeze of lemon.  The peppadews add a bit of vinegar to the dressing, so not much lemon is needed.

Mix it all up.

Add in the potatoes and stir gently.

Add the green onions

Chill and serve.

BONUS!  I didn’t stop at one potato salad…nope…I made two.  ‘Cause I’m crazy like that!  This next one is a bit more traditional but still on the healthy side, recipe is a variation of Jami Sorrento’s Creamy Yogurt and Dill Potato Salad, our hostess for the June Daring Cooks Challenge.

Creamy Yogurt & Dill Potato Salad

Servings: 4
Ingredients:
1 pound small red creamer potatoes or any other baby reds
1-2 Celery stalks, sliced thinly

Dressing Ingredients:
3 tablespoons fresh dill
½ cup greek yogurt (we use Fage Greek yogurt)
1 teaspoon sea salt
Juice of ½ fresh lemon
Dash of Champagne Vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Dill for garnish

Directions:
1. Scrub potatoes and leave on skins, and cut into quarters
2. Boil potatoes till tender, about 15-20 minutes
3. Drain and cool
4. Slice celery
5. Mix dressing, taste for seasoning, then add cooled potatoes and celery
6. Chill and garnish with dill sprigs before serving.

Together at last…

Sit down and enjoy…hot dogs, baked cheetos, greens and of course – Potato Salads!

Pierogi with Chive Oil & Crisped Prosciutto


The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale.

As I’ve discussed previously, I have a love for mashed potatoes…pretty much in all forms.  So, who could say no when the Daring Cooks challenge for August was to make some Pierogi.  I opted for a traditional filling of potatoes, onions and cheese…topped with some crisped prosciutto and chive oil.

I read many a recipe, flipped through many a cookbook, and after much research, determined that cake flour is an important component of tender, non-rubbery pierogi. (No one likes a doughy, thick or rubbery pierogi!)

Many recipes were light on eggs…I doubled my recipe…which meant 4 eggs.

Now, here is when Woody will tell you, that I went wrong.  I’m fortunate to have a kitchenaid mixer…and I love it.  But every once in a while, I think that a recipe might benefit from a little hand mixing…or that I might reach a higher level of baking by doing it the old-fashioned way, that there is something to be gained from flour underneath my fingernails and the never-ending task of scraping off the amazingly cement-like glue that liquid mixed with flour makes off of your hands.  This is almost certainly not true…but I am certain that I will continue to make this mistake again and again.

The non-mechanical method involves making a well in the center of the flour mixture and adding the egg mixture.

Mix slowly with a fork and then with your fingers, slowly incorporating the flour along the edges of the well.  You’ll know it is working if your hand looks like this.  (This is when Woody said ‘why didn’t you use the kitchenaid’…and I had no answer.)

So…I stopped everything and used the kitchenaid and it was wonderful!  It did all the work for me!

And I ended up with a nice looking, if still a bit sticky, dough ready for resting.

While the dough is resting…it’s time to start making the filling.  Peel and boil your potatoes until tender in salted water.

While the potatoes are cooking, dice an onion.

Soften the onion over medium heat in a little butter and remember to season with salt.

While your onions are softening, drain the cottage cheese.  Or if you are lucky enough to find dry cottage cheese at the market, no draining is necessary.

Once the potatoes are cooked, mash them up…just crush, smush, maul, beat, and mangle them to your heart’s content.  Smoother is better so your filling does not rip open a hole in your dough.  Add into the smushed potatoes, onions, cottage cheese, chopped fresh chives and lots of salt and pepper.

I have only eaten pierogi’s from a restaurant once in my life, and it was in Juneau, Alaska at an ungodly hour in the middle of the night during the Juneau Folk Festival.  Apparently it is really the only place open in the middle of the night, in Juneau, where you can get sustenance to help the night keep chugging along…and it is really more of a food stand than a restaurant, as there is seating for 8 and you order through a window.  If this place were relocated to L.A., it’d be the newest trendy food truck.

The place – Pel’ meni. They serve one thing and one thing only…pierogi’s (pel’ meni in Russian) topped with curry powder, tabasco sauce, chopped cilantro and a dollop of sour cream.

(photo compliments of Yelp.com)

Alright, back to my cooking…I opted to add a little color to my dish while sticking to the same flavor profile…enter chive oil.  Herb oils are fantastic.  Not only infused with flavor but the color and texture can add layers of depth and appeal to a dish.  I simply warm up a little olive oil or grape seed oil over a medium flame, remove it from the heat and once it has cooled a bit, dump in the herb of choice.  Anything will do…just avoid deep-frying the herb in oil that has heated too long.  Let it sit and infuse and cool completely.  Once cooled, puree the mixture.  I use my hand blender, but a standard blender would work just as well.  You can leave as many chunks as you would like…I prefer to blend it as much as I can.

The color is amazing and it plates very well.  I love using it in any dish…all the time…for everything…not that I’m obsessed or anything!  (Woody might compare my love for herb oils to my love for small bowls…we’ll discuss later.)

The mixture was a bit crumbly and to help it hold together, I added a couple of tablespoons of melted butter and an egg…which worked smashingly!

Onto the dough…

Roll out the dough.  I needed quite a bit of flour in order to keep the dough from sticking to the counter, and my fingers, and the rolling pin, and the pierogi cutter.  It is important to roll the dough quite thinly – otherwise your pierogi’s will be thick and chewy and pasty.

Cut rounds using a cookie cutter, jar, drinking glass, or any round item you might have.

Now you have two options at this point, you can fill the dough with a teaspoon of filling and seal the dumpling with a fork using the tines to mesh the dough together.  Or, you can find yourself one of these inexpensive and multitasking tools.  I love this.  I love that I can use this for any stuffed dough endeavor, gyoza, potstickers, empanadas, hand pies, pasties…the list goes on.

It’s so simple.  Just add filling and fold and press.

And you get the added bonus of having the dumpling looking almost perfect!  Isn’t it pretty?

As you make them…set them on a tray…you will most likely have enough pierogi to feed an army.  Who knows, maybe the army is stopping by for dinner…it’s good to be prepared.  If they begin to dry out, place a tea towel over them to avoid cracking.

I told you chive oil was beautiful.

Now here is the clincher – oven-crisped prosciutto!  It’s like bacon, but better!  All that is needed is a little parchment, some thinly sliced prosciutto, and an oven set to 400º.  It can burn quite quickly so keep an eye on it.  Once it has cooled enough, place on paper towel to drain any excess grease.

My double recipe of dough and lack of measuring how much potato mixture I made…resulted in a significantly large batch of finished pierogi.  We had to freeze more than 2/3 of what we made…but they are a perfect freezer meal as there is no need to defrost.  Toss any and all pierogi you intend to eat that night…into some salted and boiling water for 3-5 minutes.

The pierogi will float when they are ready to be removed from the boil.  Each bath of 6 pierogi boiled for between 3 and 4 minutes.

Next plop them into a skillet with some melted and bubbling butter.  This will give them a little crust…of deliciousness!

Now it’s time to plate.  A smear of sour cream, a drizzle of chive oil, a spear of crisped prosciutto and a few fresh chives top it off.  Quite tasty.

I’m glad we’ve got a freezer full of pierogi’s, so come fall, on a weeknight, when we’ve worked late and the energy to plan dinner is nonexistent, all we’ll need to do is open the freezer and boil some water.

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