Horseradish Potato Salad

Are you ready for my first food post from my Nova Scotia kitchen? The Jimmy Carter smoothy, delicious as it was, was actually made back in Vermont during the move (when the blender was the only appliance left unpacked) and so doesn’t count. My new kitchen here will take some getting used to, being about an eighth of the size of my old one and tucked in the back corner by the door – no windows! – but I’m thankful to have one at all. I figure if Deb can produce gorgeous dishes from her mini-stove there’s hope for me.

Speaking of the lovely lady behind Smitten Kitchen, this potato salad recipe is right from her collection. Brad and I were invited to a welcome BBQ thrown by other grad students in my department soon after we arrived and I didn’t have much time to prepare anything all that impressive (not to mention most of our kitchen supplies were still in boxes). When time is short and I need a foolproof recipe, I always turn to Deb. She hasn’t let me down yet and I think you’ll agree this potato salad lives up to her reputation. It was also a winner for me as soon as I read the title: I loooove horseradish and dill. Put the two together and the party’s already started! 🙂

Horseradish Potato Salad (from Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients:

3   lbs   small (~2″) potatoes

¼   C   red onion, chopped

1   T   white-wine vinegar

½   C   sour cream

½   C   yogurt*

2   T   fresh dill, finely chopped

¼   C   chopped fresh chives

1   T   Dijon mustard

3   T   prepared horseradish (you can see how to make your own here)

1   t   salt

½   t   black pepper

*Note: you can also use one full cup of sour cream alone if you’re going for the creamiest texture. I used half sour cream, half plain non-fat yogurt and really liked the blend.

Procedure:

  1. Boil potatoes until fork-tender. Cool them to room temperature and quarter them (depending on size – some of mine were so small I just halved them).

2. In a large bowl, mix the remaining ingredients and do a taste-test. Adjust seasoning as needed (I followed Deb’s suggestion and added an additional Tablespoon of vinegar) before folding the mix over the potatoes.

3. Serve immediately or keep in fridge for up to 24 hours (the onion begins to bleed its color after 6 though, just a warning). If chilling, leave out to thaw a bit before serving as the dressing becomes quite thick.

 

 

oops! some of my potatoes were a little naked. i was in a hurry, please excuse.

Beezer’s Notes:

As I said above, Deb’s recipes have never failed me (well…there was the Coconut Milk Fudge fail from over a year ago, but let’s forget about that shall we? I take full responsibility for getting over my head with that one…) and this salad received lots of compliments at the BBQ. The flavor balance was a bit different from what I had imagined – I tasted dill first and foremost with the horseradish as a pleasant after-burn – but I’m chalking that up to using brands I’m not yet familiar with here. I would have added an additional Tablespoon of horseradish to my mix if I really wanted to highlight its flavor, but loving dill as equally as I do the spicy root I decided to let the flavors stay as they were. Still, you might want to start with 1 Tablespoon of dill and taste before continuing with the second.

Overall Enjoyment:   ♥   ♥   ♥

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Tuna, Artichoke, and Basil Stuffed Potatoes

I woke up to a cool, drizzly Sunday morning and decided the best thing to do after having had a fantastic birthday yesterday was to relax today and finally post this recipe on my neglected blog. This spring has been one of the busiest I’ve had in years, rivaling my undergraduate days only with less exam stress and more long-distance driving. It was great to unwind a bit, have fun with family, and do what I do best: climb and eat! haha 🙂

I began the day by grabbing coffee and negotiating crowds at Burlington’s newly-reopened Farmer’s Market with my mom and  my brother’s girlfriend. It’s already obvious it will be a busy season for the park: only the second day the market has opened and nearly half the grounds were occupied with white tents and a variety of tables. Food vendors seem to be staking their turf early this year and after drooling over vegan baked goods, Tibetan lunches, African samosas, maple desserts, and a good old-fashioned American grill we nabbed a few grapefruit-sized stuffed dumplings from the Tibetan vendor, plopped ourselves down on the grass, and ate breakfast.

Then, threading our way out of the market and onto the cobbled Church Street strip, we did some celebratory shopping before meeting up with my two brothers for an afternoon of climbing at the gym. The only thing that would make the day more perfect would have been climbing some actual rock, but with record rains this season that wasn’t an option. Still, I was able to stick a previously-failed 5.8+ route, so my muscles are slooowly but surely starting to come back and I’m hoping to regularly climb a respectable 5.9 by summer. I can’t decide what’s harder about returning to a sport you love after years of absence: the actual physical rehabilitation or the mental teasing that comes with what you know how to do but physically can’t anymore.

Finally, to round out a perfect day with a perfect evening, the rest of the family joined us for dinner at Asiana House for some excellent food. We took turns swapping maki rolls for bites of tempura, a slurp of udon, or a spoonful of bibimbap (our favorite dish name of all time). My grandmother’s taste for Asian food has grown over the years since my return from Japan – and multiple birthdays at such restaurants – and she can now add green soba to her list of enjoyable meals. My aunt learned the best way to eat edemame and, while I still have to convince her to use chopsticks, she was the only one to order sashimi so I forgave for her for the fork, haha.

I suppose my real single regret of yesterday was leaving my camera at home. I would have loved to share the photos of both family and food with you, but it says something when an amateur photographer is having so much fun she forgets the camera. It was a great birthday.

Tuna, Artichoke, and Basil Stuffed Potatoes

(from Eating Well‘s April ’11 Edition)

Ingredients:

4   medium russet potatoes, scrubbed

2   5 – 6 oz. cans of chunk light tuna, drained*

¾   C   nonfat plain Greek yogurt

½   C   plus 2 T chopped fresh basil, divided

1   6 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped (~ ½ C)

2   scallions, chopped

1   T   capers, rinsed (optional)

¼   t   salt

½   t   freshly ground pepper

¾   C   shredded provolone cheese

1   plum tomato, finely chopped

* Note: Please see the Seafood Watch program by Monterey Bay Aquarium for how to buy sustainable tuna. Along with sustainability, you can look here to find cans that are BPA-free. I took Eating Well‘s suggestion and used the brand Wild Planet. Finally, if you may become pregnant, are pregnant, or are feeding young children you should limit your consumption of tuna to 12-oz. a week for light tuna or no more than 6-oz. for albacore tuna due to the risk of mercury contamination. Yellowfin tuna is considered a “light” tuna but has higher mercury levels similar to albacore so please take note. More seafood safety information here.

Procedure:

  1. Pierce potatoes all over with a fork. Microwave on Medium, turning once or twice, until soft – about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, combine tuna, yogurt, ½ Cup basil, artichoke, scallions, capers (if using), salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
  2. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, carefully cut off the top third lengthwise. Scoop out the insides and add to the bowl with the tuna mix. Place the potato shells in a microwave-safe dish. Mash the potato and tuna mixture together with a fork or a potato masher until well blended.
  3. Evenly divide the tuna filling among the potato shells – they will be very well stuffed. Top with cheese and microwave on High for a few minutes until filling is hot and the cheese has melted. To serve, top each potato with some tomato and a little of the remaining 2 Tablespoons basil. They will keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days, just reheat thoroughly before serving.

Beezer’s Notes:

I don’t eat seafood as often as I’d like, but for some reason I find myself posting two seafood recipes in row. My body is probably trying to tell me something… Anyway, these stuffed potatoes are really great. They’re incredibly easy to put together, quick to cook, and very filling! They should please children and adults alike with their mild but flavorful stuffing and adaptability (scratch the capers for bacon, add some chili powder, or do a 3-cheese blend with some diced pickles instead of herbs for tuna-melt twist). Their only weakness is also their strength: they are huge. With a salad as a side, I could only eat half a potato at once. I want to work on a mini-boat version of this recipe using fingerling potatoes for an appetizer spin.

Overall Enjoyment:   ♥    ♥    ♥    ♥


Potato Sage Pizza with Green Fries

Happy Saint Patty’s Day! I sincerely apologize for not having an appropriately-themed dish to share with you this year. I’m experimenting with no fewer than three recipes at the moment and this wonderful holiday caught me by surprise. I’m an embarrassment to food bloggers everywhere, I’m sure. Still, I do have a tried and true recipe for Irish Cream Pound Cake on file for you that I highly recommend. For Irish cream lovers, this cake is sin on a plate. If you aren’t as fond of liquor as I am, you can also whip up a batch of bright green Mint Chocolate Candy Cookies. Yum yum. Finally, considering how strongly potatoes are tied to Irish history, you might even consider today’s post to be acceptable. Right? Of course. It’s what I intended all along…mmhm…

Growing up, I seemed to have weird tastes even for a kid. Maybe even especially for a kid. See, instead of slathering ketchup or ranch dressing on anything and everything I really liked bland things. Boring things. My favorite snacks included white bread with butter and peas eaten out of the can (eww!). Don’t get me wrong, I definitely had a sweet tooth (and was a chubber until I discovered roller blading at 15), but I would always choose the cheese and crackers over pizza bites. Over the years I have of course grown to love more complex and unusual tastes…until it comes to pizza. For some reason, I am still a pizza minimalist. Give me a little EVOO, parm, and herbs and I’m good. No sauce required, no deep-dish, no stuffed-crust. There are some killer veggie-lover’s pies out there and I had a kickass gluten-free ground turkey pizza and my best bud’s house, but if I make a pizza for myself I won’t need much.

This recipe is a continuation of my love affair with sage. I also learned that I really like the potato-pizza combo in Japan where they like to put potato salad (among other things) on their pies. While the pizza recipe itself was simple enough, being the klutz that I am I happened to smash my hand into a metal door frame at work the day I made this and had a constantly oozing cut the rest of the day. Not wanting to risk kneading the dough, I cheated and bought a pre-made organic blob at my local Coop but included the original dough recipe here for you. Since simply topping the pizza was a little boring even for me, I included a batch of “green fries”. Pizza and fries for dinner, only tastier and healthier!

Potato Sage Pizza with Green Fries

(adapted from Joy of Cooking: All About Vegetarian by Becker et. al., and Clean Start by Terry Walters)

Ingredients:

For the Pizza Dough*…

2   t   active dry yeast

1  1/3   C   warm water

3 ½ – 4   C   flour

2   T   EVOO

1   T   salt

* Note: According to source recipe, this makes two 12″ pizzas. Save half the dough for later.

For the Pizza Toppings…

¼   C   EVOO

6   oz.   red potatoes, boiled and sliced thinly

2   T   coarsely chopped fresh sage (or 2 t dried sage)

salt and pepper to taste

For Green Fries…

1   lb.   fresh green beans

1   C   canola or other neutral oil, or enough to fill a medium sauce pan ~2″ deep

1   t   salt

1   t   wasabi powder

Procedure:

  1. For the dough (which can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge overnight): sprinkle yeast over the top of warm water and let sit for about 5 minutes or until mostly dissolved. Then, add oil, salt, and flour and knead or mix with an electric mixer with dough attachment on low speed for about 1 minute until the ingredients are incorporated. Continue kneading or mix on medium for another 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  2. Cut dough in half and save one ball in the refrigerator for future use (will keep for 3 days). Place the other ball in a floured bowl covered in plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in height – about 1 hour depending on temperature (in my 65°F living room it takes about 3 hrs for my dough to rise). Once risen, punch dough down and reroll into a ball, letting it rest covered in a cloth for another 15 minutes or so to proof. Move a rack to the bottom of the oven and preheat to 475°F.
  3. After dough has proofed roll it out onto a floured work surface and shape into a 12″ flat disk. Place dough on a pizza stone or greased baking sheet. Use your fingertips to push dents in the surface of the dough to prevent bubbles (I forgot this step and got some monster bubbles!) and brush liberally with EVOO, ~ ¼ Cup.
  4. Top pizza with potato slices and sage. Dribble an additional 2 Tablespoons EVOO on top of the potatoes/sage and add salt and pepper to taste. Bake pizza on bottom rack until the crust is golden brown – about 12 minutes.
  5. While pizza is baking fill a heavy-bottomed saucepan 2″ deep with canola or neutral oil for frying. Heat oil to 350°F – be careful to keep it from smoking – and drop beans very carefully into the oil in handfuls, cooking for 30 seconds at a time or until beans are bright green and just soft. Remove from oil and place on paper towel-lined plate and repeat until all beans are cooked. Pat beans with paper towel to remove excess oil.
  6. In a separate bowl, combine salt and wasabi powder. Sprinkle seasoning over beans, toss evenly to coat, and serve alongside pizza or as an appetizer if pizza is still cooking. If left to sit, the “green fries” become mushy.


Beezer’s Notes:

I devoured this pizza. It is almost embarrassing to admit just how much of it I ate in a single sitting, especially since – even without sauce or meat – it is pretty filling with all the potatoes. I just loved the light taste and crispy sage spirals. I do wish the sage flavor had been a bit stronger so I’m thinking I may brush the dough with sage butter instead of EVOO the next time I make this. Not as healthy, granted, but even more delicious!

As for the “green fries”, they were better than I expected. I’ll admit, not dipping the fries in some breading before frying had me a little skeptical, but they turned out really flavorful and with a great kick thanks to the wasabi – the perfect compliment to a mild pizza. Unlike true fries though they were quite soft and, as tasty as they were, I really missed the crunch. I’m thinking I will pan fry them in the future to try to give them a bit more texture. Has anyone pan fried green beans before? Am I crazy? Haha, probably. 😛

Overall Preference: ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

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