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Posts Tagged ‘Potatoes’

As a senior medical student, I am learning the foundations of being a good doctor, spending anywhere between 40 and 90 hours each week in the hospital.  While I generally love my work, it often leaves me drained and pinched for time (especially after a 26 hour call shift!)  My meals have therefore become simpler (and make in abundant quantities to last a few days), but I haven’t stopped cooking.  I have been guilty of neglecting Gourm(eh)? over the past year, but hope I can make up for it with a few summer recipes over the next few months!

One of my favourite things is receiving my biweekly organic food boxes from Front Door Organics.  They deliver gorgeous fruits and veggies right to my front door – and in the summertime, I love choosing their local Ontario produce.  It’s always a treat finding veggies you just can’t get at the grocery store, such as sweet purple carrots, colourful watermelon radishes, and tangy micrograms.

I love potato salad all year round, but in the summer I try to avoid heavy mayonnaise dressings. The recipe in my most recent food box caught my eye.  Inspired by local veggies now in season, their potato salad has a light lemony vinaigrette.   Below is a modification of their suggested recipe of the week – Simple Summer Salad with Green Beans & New Potatoes.  Being an omnivore, I substituted their cubed smoked tofu with bacon, but it would be easy to return to their vegan recipe.

This summer salad was delicious.  I was too excited to chill this recipe for 30 minutes before trying it, but it was even better cold as leftovers the next day after the marinade had mellowed the salad.

Summer Potato Salad

Potato Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

(4-6 generous servings)

Ingredients:

SALAD MAKINGS

  • 1 pound new potatoes, halved
  • 1 zucchini, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup green beans, coarsely chopped
  • 2 green onions, minced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup olives, sliced
  • 2-3 tbsp capers
  • 5-6 slices of bacon, cut into bite size pieces (or 1 cup cubed smoked tofu)

VINAIGRETTE

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped herbs (such as basil, parsley, and tarragon)
  • Freshly ground pepper and salt

Directions:

To prep the salad ingredients, start by boiling the new potatoes in salted water until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Drain and immerse potatoes in an ice bath to cool. Blanch the zucchini and green beans in salted water for 1-2 mins, then drain and also immerse in an ice bath to cool.  Remove veggies from ice bath and allow to air dry (don’t keep them in the ice bath for longer than 2-3 minutes to avoid getting soggy).

Meanwhile, cook the bacon and prep the other veggies.  Place all the salad makings together in a large bowl. Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together, then pour over the salad.  Gently mix. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and serve.

Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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As February begins, I am still excited by wintery meals. I haven’t gotten sick of root veggies or stew yet, so I’m excited to share with you one of my most recent potato-based creations.

I had a spontaneous meal with a friend, so I had to make it interesting – and this is what came out! I’m both delighted by the simplicity and the rich flavour.

IMG_20150201_130223

Ingredients: 2 servings (plus some leftovers if eaten as part of a meal)

-2 large yellow-fleshed potatoes, washed
-1 Tbsp butter
-1 clove garlic, crushed or finely minced
-2 tsp dried fresh parsley
-1/4-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 cup milk

-1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
-2 tsp vegetable oil or butter or a mix
-pinch salt

Directions

Cover the potatoes and boil whole for 40 minutes, or until cooked through. You can use smaller potatoes, it will be faster.

While the potatoes are boiling, heat the 2 tsp oil or butter in a frying pan to make the corn over medium heat. Add corn and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring every 4-5 minutes, until corn becomes browned. Remove from heat and then heat up again just before serving.

Once the potatoes are cooked through, either mash them with their skins on or off depending on your preference (this recipe is not fussy).  Cover with a lid while you melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When it begins to bubble, add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and add salt and parsley. Add milk and return to heat until the milk is hot but doesn’t boil over (not fun to clean). Add to the potatoes and mix well.

Enjoy!

-Sitelle

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On our paddling trip, S&G brought along a magnificent cast iron camping pot.  We used it for everything from eggs and bacon to soups, cakes to stews.  Given we were carrying the majority of our food, our diet was heavy on the dried lentils, rice and beans.  We had planned a feast to celebrate Canada Day – aloo gobi with lemon cake.   While the day began promising with multiple sightings of loons and beavers, our dinner plans, however, were foiled by high winds and a thunderstorm prematurely pushing us off the lake.

Making our feast of Aloo Gobi and roasted Northern Pike.   It was a happy reunion for Sitelle and I - our first time cooking together in over a year!!

Making our feast of Aloo Gobi and roasted Northern Pike. It was a happy reunion for Sitelle and I – our first time cooking together in over a year!!

We ended up making the aloo gobi a few nights later.  We procured the cauliflower and potatoes from the bottom of our canoe barrel to make the curry. The curry is a perfect camp meal – relatively quick to make, filling, and tasty.   We feasted on the Aloo Gobi along with our roasted pike!

While we made this curry over a campfire, it is something both Sitelle and I have frequently made at home over a stove!

Aloo Gobi

Makes enough aloo gobi to serve 10
Aloo Gobi

Ingredients

Canola oil

2 onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, diced

Spoonful of cumin seeds

Spoonful of tumeric

Spoonful of vegetable bouillon

Cardamom pod

5-6 potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 cauliflower head, cut into florets

1 green pepper, cut into ½ inch squares

1 yellow pepper, cut into ½ inch squares

1 cup frozen green peas

1 cup coconut milk

½ cup dried coconut flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Over medium heat, saute onions and garlic in oil until lightly brown.  Add spices and cook until fragrant.  Stir in potatoes, cauliflower, peas and peppers.  Fill pot with water until all the veggies are barely covered.  Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes.  Stir occasionally while simmering.  Before serving, stir in the coconut milk and coconut flakes. Adjust seasoning to taste!

Delicious served on its own, with some naan bread,  or over a bowl of rice.

Bon appétit!
Catherine

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It’s been a very long time. I have been meaning to post some Gambian recipes, but it is not easy to get internet access. I am starting to get used to the african rhythm of life.

Steamed fish is something I have for breakfast here on the Smiling Coast. I think it would be appreciated for lunch or dinner in Canada though!

Here, access to electricity is never guaranteed, and most people don’t have refrigerators. That means instead that food is fresh fresh fresh because it is caught the day it is eaten, or picked the day it is sold. At the market, there are heaps of kani chilis, heaps of fish, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, squash, egg plant, bitter tomato, niambi, cassava, cabbage… and women greeting me everywhere in the hopes that the Toubab will be their customer. I greet them in wolof, and they laugh and say ‘this toubab understands wolof!’ And then the greetings begin.

Although this is a Gambian dish, it is definitely not one of the most common ones. I will post those recipes another time.

Ingredients – Serves 4
-4 lemons
-4 whole fish, fresh, gutted, scales removed, sides slit
-3 hot chili peppers (or more or less depending on your taste – here they use kani peppers)
-4 onions
-medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
-salt to taste
-2 Tbsp mustard
-2 tsp – black pepper
-1/2 cube vegetable stock
-1 head of lettuce, washed
-4 tomatoes, sliced
-1 1/2 cups water

Directions
Bring water to a boil. Add potatoes and boil until cooked through, 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, clean the fish and wash.

Pound the hot chili peppers in a mortar and pestle. Add to the fish in a bowl. Add the juice 3 of the lemons, the mustard, and black pepper to the fish as well as the cube of broth.

Slice the onions and add to the fish. Stir well to coat everything in seasoning.

Remove the potatoes from the water, and remove a few tablespoonfuls of water so there is less than one inch of water at the bottom of the pan. Add fish and cover. Cook for 10 or so minutes or until fish is fully cooked. Add potatoes at the end and stir to season.

Wash the lettuce, and add the juice of the remaining lemon and some salt to the lettuce. Arrange lettuce on a large platter. Place fish and everything from the pot on top of the lettuce. Serve with slices of tomatoes and fresh crusty bread!

-Sitelle (Alias Yandé Saar)

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Falls

Beulach Ban falls

A few weekends ago, I visited Cape Breton with my sister and my friend Alex.  The colours were just past their peak, although still vibrant.  We stopped a few places along the Cabot Trail to take in all her splendour.  The skyline trail led us through spruce groves before opening to a magnificent view of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  At MacIntosh Brook, we strolled through maple forests beside a babbling brook to a waterfall. We ventured down a small gravel road to the beautiful Beulach Ban Falls.  Ever searching for the perfect picnic spot, we lunched at the rocky headland on Green Cove, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.  At Franey, we climbed like mountain goats to a small look-out perched on a steep cliff, with lovely views of the Clyburn River Canyon and the coast.

Towards the Atlantic Ocean at Freney

We spent the night in Pleasant Bay, a lovely fishing village halfway around the Cabot Trail.  Having dallied to arrive, the only restaurant still open was the Pleasant Bay motel.  The dining room was modest, but the kitchen was a delight with delicious, yet simple Maritime fare.  We each started with a bowl of chowder – creamy with a generous serving of seafood.  La piece de resistance, however, was the fish and chips: crispy batter around succulent haddock, cooked to perfection served with tangy coleslaw and home fries.

Since visiting Pleasant Bay, I have tried to recreate my taste experience.  I’m still brainstorming on how best to create homemade fish and chips without a deep-fryer, but with winter descending, this has given me the perfect excuse to experiment with chowders.  Inspired by cans in the pantry, this corn and salmon chowder was hearty, yet refreshing with the added dill.

Salmon and corn chowder

Salmon and Corn Chowder

(serves 6 bowls)

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter

2 onions, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

4 potatoes, peeled and diced

2 cans kernel corn, drained and rinsed

4 cups chicken broth

2 bay leaves

1 1/2 cups milk

2 tablespoons flour

Generous dash of tobasco

2 cans of salmon, drained and finely mashed (I like my soup infused with salmon – if you wanted to let the corn shine through, one can would suffice)

1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped plus more for garnish

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Saute the onions and garlic in the butter.  Stir in the potatoes and saute for another five minutes, and then stir in the broth, corn, and bay leaves.  Simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Throughly mix the flour into the milk before adding it to the chowder base. Return the soup to a simmer and allow to thicken, about five minutes.  Add the tobasco, salmon, dill, and salt and pepper. Adjust the seasoning to your taste.  Serve, garnished with extra chopped dill.  Delicious served with a crusty piece of bread!

– Catherine

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I love leeks.  They have such a delicate flavour, with delicious nutty undertones.  Versatile, they are the perfect substitute for onions in any risotto or soup.  Leeks are often overpriced in the winter, but the Halifax market is currently overflowing with this vegetable, so I have been taking full advantage of their presence!

Vichysoisse is one of my go -to soups.  Ready in less than half an hour, this soup is lovely served either hot or cold. With a piece of crusty bread, it makes for a rusting meal. While purists may recommend serving it chilled, I also love this soup hot. Its flavour is subtle, but comforting.  The secret is to use flavourful broth (homemade is best – although if you buy yours in-store, I recommend spending the extra 50¢ to upgrade from a can to a box) and fresh leeks.

My largest recommendation?  Do not get impatient with your blender.  I may have tried to velouté too large a batch, only to end up with my blender and the hot soup exploding on me.  There are smudges of vichysoisse on my kitchen ceiling to prove it!

 

Vichysoisse

(serves 4-6)

Ingredients:

1 bunch leeks, dark green segments discarded and the rest coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons butter

2 potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 bay leaf

About ½ teaspoon salt

Broth (about 3 cups)

Pepper to taste

Cream (about ½ cup) – Both liquid or sour cream work well here

Chives or green onions for garnish, finely chopped (optional)

Directions:

Sauté the leeks and garlic in the butter until fragrant, about 5 minutes.  Add the potatoes, broth, bay leaf, and salt, and bring the soup to a boil.  Simmer for 20-25 minutes until the potatoes and leeks are cooked through.  Allow to cool slightly.

Blend the soup in batches in a food processor until smooth.  Return to the stove and season to taste with salt, pepper, and cream.  Serve either hot or chilled, garnished with chives or green onions.  Delicious with a crusty slice of bread.

Bon appétit!

–       Catherine

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Today, this soup basically created itself from a craving in my kitchen.  It was so good. After though, wanting to share the deliciousness, I had a lot of difficulty coming up with a name for it.  In the end I chose “Alphabet Soup” not because of the alphabet noodles I did include (they were the only soup-able noodles I had in my pantry), but because I’m pretty sure that aside from “D”, this soup includes all of the vitamins and minerals, carbohydrates, proteins and fats that are required for optimal nutrition.  The perfect meal. In retrospect, I could also call it “Rainbow Soup”.  My favorite nutritional rule of thumb: the more colours, the better.  I frequently get asked nutritional advice, given my undergrad in nutritional sciences.  That’s my best response.

The soup simmered all afternoon, the aromas teasing us all the while.  It was created from a craving I had, and was inspired by several recent experiences.

For the last 6-8 months I have been so fortunate as to be involved in launching a community kitchen in Toronto, Cuisine Partage, with a most lovely group of people at the Centre Francophone (I should probably install a translating widget onto the blog to make it more accessible…).   Every week at Cuisine Partage, we got together for 4 hours or so to shop, cook, and eat together, in an effort to increase food security (and dare I say nutritional security) for francophones living on social assistance in Toronto.  I am sad that the pilot project has already ended, and I hope that this wonderful program can continue long into the future.  This recipe is a testament to the deliciousness that can be created on-the-spot, with people from all the world over.  One of the participants had a favorite secret ingredient, and it is definitely included here: nutmeg. We got a Good Food Box from FoodShare one week, and ended up with kale, sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, and tomatoes, among others.  Stew it was!

The other inspiration for this recipe was my recent adventure in Belize – the importance of flavour, and lots of it!  This was achieved by cooking the meat (or beans, for vegetarians) with cilantro and parsley at the onset, and then adding entire bunches of it near the end as well.  I hope you will enjoy this soup as much as we did.

Ingredients – 1 large pot of soup

-4 cloves garlic, minced, and separated into two portions
-1 Tbsp olive oil
-1 onion (I like to use purple ones here, but any is fine)
-1 lb extra lean ground beef (meat option) or 1 can (or 1 cup soaked overnight) navy beans
-1 bunch flat leaf parsley
-1 bunch cilantro
-10 sprigs fresh thyme (or 2 tsp dried)
-2 bay leaves
-3 ripe tomatoes, diced (I used 1 can of diced tomatoes here instead as I don’t like winter/spring red mushy things in the grocery store)
-4 carrots, chopped into half-moons
-1 orange-fleshed sweet potato, peeled and diced
-1 potato (I like yukon gold), peeled and diced
-1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
-1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)
-1/4 of a purple cabbage, chopped dice-size pieces, and rinced (if you do it in a bowl the blue water ensuing is amazing!)
-1 bunch kale, washed and chopped
-2/3 cup alphabet noodles or 1 cup macaroni (uncooked)
-3 cups vegetable broth (or you can make it using bouillon)
-more water, depending on volume of pot
-salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat, and add 1/2 the garlic.  Stir for 1 minute, and then add the meat and a handful of chopped cilantro and parsley.  If you are making the vegetarian version, I like to do the same with the beans as it gives a really nice flavour.  Brown the meat/beans, and remove any fat once it is cooked (this is really important as you want the broth to be clear).  Add the onion once the excess fat has been removed, and stir.  Add the bay leaves, rest of the garlic, thyme sprigs and the tomato.  Cover everything with water (but no more than covering), and bring to a boil.  Add the carrots/potato/sweet potato, the nutmeg, cayenne and the bouillon.  Let simmer for at least 1 hour, skimming the bubbles and residues from the top using a large spoon.  The more you do this, the more delicious it will be.  Replenish any lost liquids so that the veggies are always covered.  Around 20 minutes before eating, add the noodles and cabbage.  Add more water if there is not enough to cover everything.  Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning.  About 5 minutes before eating, add the chopped kale and the remainder of the chopped parsley and cilantro.  Stir well to distribute the veggies evenly.  Enjoy with a few pieces of crusty bread, or alone, as this soup is a meal in and of itself!  Although I am usually a “puréed soup” person, this is absolutely one of my favorites.  I hope you will like it too.

-Sitelle

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