Tag Archives: brunch

Easy Cobbler Bread Pudding – Gluten, Dairy and White-Sugar Free!

 

Easy Cobbler Bread Pudding

Life is delicious.  As a gluten-freer, I sometimes miss bread-heavy meals and spongy caked desserts.  I equally miss Belgian waffle breakfasts and stuffed French toast.

So last night when I got home from listening to some stellar bluegrass (high-fives to the Six Deadly Venoms) I decided to make myself the best of both for breakfast: bread pudding.  Gluten-free.  Dairy-free.  Easy to throw together.  With no white sugar (I rarely consume it). And celebrating end-of-the-summer fruits.  A toss between cobbler, baked pancakes (I’m obsessed) and bread pudding.

Success, people, success.

This recipe is an insane journey of color, texture and flavor.  I used ripe blueberries and summer peaches along with dried apricots to give the fruit some va-va-voom.  The gluten-free bread base was soaked overnight in eggs, almond milk, vanilla, cinnamon, lemon extract, hazelnut extract and just enough honey and maple syrup to sweeten the load slightly. And topped with slivered almonds, the texture was smooth with a tiny crunch.

The next day I quickly boiled some fruit, threw it together and baked it for 45 minutes.

You  can alter the recipe by doing what I did – playing with what you have in your pantry and adjusting to your allergy needs.  Omit the nuts completely if you want!  Add some fresh lemon zest (though I highly recommend having lemon oil on hand for recipes like this – it’s the Italian and Portuguese baker in me).  Play with extracts and spices to your heart’s content.  As long as you have the same basic proportions, you’ve got this delectable fruity, bready piece of heaven in the bag.

If you’ve got problems with sugar, though, I will confess that I’m a bit shaky as I’m typing this, having eaten my serving.  But I also just drank an entire pot of green tea.  So it’s anyone’s guess.

As a hearty breakfast this recipe will serve four.  But top it with your choice of ice cream after a long meal and it’ll satiate six.

If you’re going to put it into wine glasses like I did, make sure it’s cool, people.  Live and learn, right?

Chock full o fruity, bready, nutty goodness.

Ingredients:

  • Six slices of gluten-free bread at room temperature.
  • 4 large eggs.
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk.
  • Honey, maple syrup or both to make 1/4 cup.
  • 1 tsp cinnamon.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract.
  • 1/4 tsp lemon extract.
  • 1/4 tsp hazelnut extract (or almond).
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (I used slivered almonds).
  • 3 small peaches or plums.
  • 1 pint blueberries.
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried fruit (I used apricots).
  • 1 tsp fresh, chopped mint.

Directions:

  • Place bread in a square Pyrex pan, 8″ or 9″, overlapping bread as best as possible.
  • In a small bowl, beat all the ingredients from the eggs to the extracts, in that order, whisking continually.
  • Pour over the bread and flip bread so that all is soaked in egg mixture.
  • Leave overnight to absorb.
  • When ready to assemble and bake, preheat oven to 350°.
  • Rinse, peel, pit and dice the fruit.  Place in a small pot over medium heat and heat until the blueberries burst and the fruits soften.
  • Stir in the dried fruit and mint, and pour over bread mixture.
  • Bake for 45 minutes until the bread rises and the fruit starts to bubble.

Warm and bubbly and gorgeous.

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100th Post and My 30th Birthday Fig and Blueberry Pie!

100th Post 30s Fig and Blueberry Pie!

Today I celebrate two milestones – my 100th post as The Dusty Baker and my 30th birthday!

Such times invite reflection.  I’ve been told by many people that all the things you struggled to discover about yourself throughout your twenties come together in your thirties.  I don’t regret one second of my twenties.  For during that time I graduated college, dated a man for almost 9 years who is now my best friend, formed strong relationships with my parents and siblings, conquered 2 serious battles with my illness, moved to and fell in love with New York City, lived in 6 different apartments (one in Ohio!), discovered a serious relationship with food, performed in some incredible pieces of art, been loved by some very special people and, yes, struggled to figure out who I am, and who I want to be.

And I’m feeling pretty at peace with who I am, and what’s to come.

I started my first blog while I was going through the last stint of my illness.  After some trial and error, I rethought of my mission and rebranded myself as The Dusty Baker, and launched this blog in October of last year.  Sometimes it’s been a top priority, other times it’s taken a backseat to shows and other work.  But throughout I’ve discovered an incredible community and forged connections with some passionate people across the globe:

  • FoodBuzz and the hundreds of bloggers I get inspiration from.
  • The Burwell General Store Recipe Swap that makes me think outside of the box and connects me with some ridiculously talented chefs.
  • Bromography – a NYC foodie website where I contribute The Dusty Review and other food-related articles.
  • Frosting for The Cause, where bakers contribute recipes, baked goods and a small monetary contribution daily that are dedicated to someone who has suffered from cancer.  My date to post is September 11th, the 10-year anniversary of the event that shocked my city and changed the course of politics, economics and warfare in our country.
  • Intercaketuality, a book-inspired website where I can contribute recipes inspired by books and stories that have captured my fancy.

So right now I’m off to a morning at a spa, then picking up a dear friend who’s visiting me for the week, and tonight I’ll dinner and drinks at my favorite restaurant in New York City (Mundo in Queens – check it out!) with a few of my nearest and dearest.

Oh, and then there was pie.  For breakfast.  Yes.

For some reason a rustic fruit pie or tart is what I want to celebrate with on my birthday.  I don’t often celebrate this day too extremely; sometimes I pick peaches and make jam, or make dinner for my family, or order take-out. It’s usually just a good time for reflection and the company of a friend or two.  But when I think of “who am I, in a pie!?”, simple pleasures come to mind:

A gluten-free, simple crust of whole grains with a tiny bit of natural sweetness.  Fruit that’s ripe and luscious.  Figs are often in season this time of year, fitting because my first taste of fresh figs was with my father and grandfather at his home in Portugal, and they’ve held a special significance since then.  A little bit of attention and some heat and I’m happy.  Like this pie.

Pie! For breakfast!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp sweet white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot starch
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp date sugar + more to taste
  • 1 cup / two sticks unsalted butter, cubed small
  • 1 pint of blueberries, rinsed and stemmed
  • 160z container of green figs, cut into thirds length-wise

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Place the flours, starch, xanthan gum, salt and 2 Tbsp date sugar in a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a food processor.  Pulse to combine.
  • Add the cubed butter and mix on low / pulse until it starts to come together into a ball.  If too try, add ice-cold water a tablespoon at a time until it just pulls together.
  • Press into a pie plate (I use a spring-form tart pan for gluten-free crusts).
  • Blind-bake for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, toss stemmed and rinsed blueberries in 2 Tbsp sweet sticky rice and 1 Tbsp date sugar.
  • When done, remove crust from oven, fill with blueberries, and arrange figs artfully on top.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until the fruit is soft and the crust is lightly browned.

Figs!

Gluten-Free Ebelskivers

Gluten-free Ebelskivers!

For some reason listening to Nina Simone seemed appropriate when making Ebelskivers alone in my apartment last week.  Being that Nina is neither from Denmark nor filled with jam, I don’t know why this was so.  Maybe sweet cinnamon, sugar and molasses made me think both of the blues and pancakes??  Or strong coffee and whiskey?  Mine is not to reason why… just to bake and sway slowly and enjoy.  Which I did.

My friend Abigail loaned me her cast-iron pan for these little treats recently, and I had a feeling “waiting” for a brunch crowd was going to test my patience too far. So these got simply rolled in cinnamon and sugar and were served atop whipped cream with chocolate macaron shells, hazelnut cookies and cherry compote at a dinner party I attended later in the evening.  I should have taken pictures of the whole caboodle, but let’s just say a few bottles of Prosecco had made their way around the room by the time dessert was plated.

Abigail also gave me her recipe, which is a basic pancake recipe but where the smart (and culinary-school trained) lady specifies separating the egg whites and yolks and beats the whites to stiff peaks, giving the pancakes a lot more lift and chew.

I simply adapted by using my gluten-free cake flour blend and changed / added a bit here and there. And I learned from a few floppy results how to get the pancakes as round and fluffy as possible!

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup gluten-free flour (I used my standard cake flour blend)
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp soy sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp melter butter or cooking spray

Directions

  • Sift flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
  • Lightly whisk the milk and soy sour cream until smooth (this somewhat replicates buttermilk).
  • Add cinnamon and vanilla.
  • Lightly whisk the egg yolks and then whisk into milk mixture.
  • Combine wet with dry.
  • Beat egg whites into stiff peaks and then fold into batter.
  • Melt butter and wipe with a pastry brush into Ebelskiver pan, then set over medium/high heat.  If using cooking spray, spray liberally.
  • Bring to a medium/high heat and fill 3/4 way with batter, making sure to note where you’ve started and ended to make turning easier.
  • Using a miniature frosting spatula, tongs, a 2-pronged fork or miniature spatula, flip Ebelskivers when they are just starting to pull away from the pan and browning on the bottom.  I’ve found confidence and the grace of a ballerina help when turning them without the batter messing all over the pan.  Standing with one foot slightly raised and toes pointed somehow also contributes to success. As does giving yourself an extremely low curtsy afterwards in celebration.

Now, I simply tossed mine in cinnamon and sugar and they were divine.  On a more ambitious day (or when trying to impress an overnight guest who’s daring to stay for brunch) I might put a drop of jam or lemon curd into the center. Ooh, or dark chocolate (for them, not me).

I found the result to be a lovingly fluffy, chewy pancake, rather neutral in flavor as one must be.  Mixing some ground flax seed and diced ginger might be delightful.  Hmm… now I’m hungry.

Round and fluffy and delicious

 

Baked Potato Cakes – Gluten and Dairy Free Recipe Swap!

Baked Potato Cakes

This is my second contribution to the Burwell General Store Recipe Swap. And it’s a very, very dusty recipe.  Lately I’ve been busy baking for various things, doing shows, keeping sane, and visiting with friends from out of town.  So I put this recipe off to the last minute, and when it (obviously) didn’t come out perfectly the first time, I just sorta shrugged and went on with my day.  I’m definitely a very dusty person in general right now :)

Not the best way to start out a post on “check out my recipe!”.  Keep reading, it all works out in a way, promise.  And next month I’ll have more time in my own kitchen to contribute something stellar.

Quick fill-in: Every month CM sends a group of about 30 bloggers / bakers / chefs a recipe from a charming old cookbook and we have to change at least 3 things about it and post our creations on the same day.  It is incredible to see the variety that comes from this swap – sweet things made into savory (and vice versa), gluten-free, health-conscious, fully-fatted.  Please support the other bloggers (and check out their responses to this swap) by going to Burwell General Store.

Honestly, I wish I had a bit more time with this recipe!  The recipe itself is rather simple – mashed potatoes are blended with donut basics and then fried to perfection.  But I’ve (a) been extremely busy (b) wanted to keep the donut idea of the recipe intact (c) LOVE making donuts (d) didn’t want to have to fry anything and (e) didn’t want to buy a donut pan.

The original recipe

So I found a recipe for donuts baked in muffin tins from Mrs. Field’s Secrets and hoped for the best in the procedure.  Now, mine did not come out as beautifully as the ones in their picture, which were smooth and perfect on top and light enough that they could be filled with jam.  And these neither look nor really taste like donuts (though I could see the original recipe working quite well).

But that doesn’t mean these aren’t tasty.

And as they’re made with (primarily) potato flour and contain NO dairy or oil, they’re not half bad for you.

Served with lemon curd

Last year a cooking buddy thrust the term “rustic” on me, and I now place that on most of my creations that are scrumptious but make me laugh when I look at them.  These are one such recipe.

I’d suggest serving these as a dinner side as they’re rather savory (they sort of remind me of a cornbread).  They’re really dense and chewy, slightly sweet and with a light and crusty top.  I had made some peach jam to pipe inside of them but they were so dense I couldn’t pipe it in!  So I slathered a bit of lemon curd on and they were even more tasty.

And, these are gluten and dairy FREE!  So there.

Here you go.  Baked Potato Cakes.  Swapped.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup potato flour
  • 1/4 cup starch (I used tapioca, but arrowroot would work too)
  • 1 1/2 cup gluten free flour with xanthan gum
  • 1/2 extra tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1  cup unsweetened milk of choice (I used almond milk)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray 12 muffin tins with cooking spray.
  • Beat eggs in mixer with paddle attachment until slightly frothy.
  • Add sugar and beat until smooth.
  • Slowly add in milk and beat to combine.
  • Add all dry ingredients and beat to combine.
  • Fill 2/3 way up in 12 greased muffin tins.
  • Bake for 18 minutes or until lightly brown on top.

Insanely Healthy Sweet Potato Flax Muffins

Insanely yummy, healthy Sweet Potato Flax Muffins

Yesterday morning I awoke to Autumn, not Spring, dripping its way down my New York City windows.  It was chilly, much more so than I’d want for a May morning. And though I had very little time to get a bunch of stuff done before yet another commute east for rehearsal, I found myself craving something grainy and warm.

And luckily there’s always time for… muffins!I love making muffins because of how easy and versatile they are.  I obviously wasn’t going to go out to get any ingredients, and I didn’t have an apples or rotting bananas on hand.  So I scoured my pantry and found an old can of sweet potato puree left over from my waffle experimentation.

Voila!  Naturally gluten-free, these muffins are chock full of fiber with flax seed meal, have a little boost of protein with quinoa flour and contain no processed white sugar.  You can also easily make them dairy free (directions below).  They’re moist and dense, but not very sweet.  Because of this you can toast one up for breakfast or serve as a dinner “roll”.  If you need them sweeter, I suggest slathering with some jam or dunking in maple syrup or honey.  Butter is also delightful… mmmmmmm…

Yields 12 insanely delicious muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup ground flax meal (not flax seeds)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot or potato starch
  • 2 Tbsp tapioca starch
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup sweet potato puree
  • 4 Tbsp butter or Earth Balance, melted
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, soy or cow’s milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Line 12 muffin tins with liners or spray with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, whisk all dry ingredients until thoroughly incorporated.
  • In a smaller bowl, mix eggs, sweet potato puree, maple syrup, butter and milk thoroughly until smooth.
  • Fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just incorporated and a bit lumpy.
  • Fill evenly into tins and smooth with a spoon.
  • Bake for 22-25 minutes or until slightly browned on top.

Yields 12 muffins.

For nutritional info please go to this recipe on CookEatShare.

Yummy, moist and slightly sweet Sweet Potato Flax Muffins

Recipe is loosely based on one by Michelle at TasteAsYouGo.  Please support her blog!

Royal Wedding Pear and Coriander Scones

Royal Pear and Coriander Scones

Are you excited about the Royal Wedding?!?!I can’t particularly say I am.  Of course I do regress to my little nine year old self with the idea of tiaras and fancy dresses and a gal becoming a princess.  But that excitement quickly turns to nausea as Kate is continually snubbed for being a “commoner” and the haughty opinions of the aristocracy are tossed about.  I don’t believe in hierarchy between people, especially as we’re all thrust into a body somewhere on earth in a crazy lottery devised by that-I-know-not.

But I’m aware of this event through a grapevine situation – my roommate his hosting some friends to watch the wedding this weekend.   To neutralize the enjoyment factor between their differing desires to watch the wedding they’re making a drinking game of it – I think the repeated usage of the word “commoner” is a dangerous one to commit to drinking with in this case, but to each her own!

And, of course, any event makes me think about… food.

So today I found myself with a little time and a desire to make scones.

Continue reading

Gluten-free Easter Portuguese Masa

Gluten-Free Portuguese Masa Sovada

This morning I did a happy dance.  Of course I was in the kitchen.I successfully made 4 delicious loaves of gluten and milk free masa, “the bread of my people”!

With a joyful smile my boyfriend joked that I have now become a woman, which in any other circumstance would have sent me into a feminist tirade.  But it is a strange right of passage I am happy to embrace.  My mother, tias, and grandmother all have their recipes for masa, and now I have mine.

Masa is a Portuguese sweet bread made in my family every year around Easter.  For the holiday we wrap the risen dough around painted, hard-boiled eggs and eat them Easter morning.  Scented with lemon, anisette and (in my grandmother’s recipe!) whiskey, it’s eggy and sweet. Recipes all vary in their density; the kind you purchase in stores is usually very light and fluffy.  But my mother’s was always a bit denser, so that’s the kind I grew up appreciating and wanting to replicate.  And because gluten-free breads are generally denser anyway, this was also a matter of necessity.

I’m in possession of three recipes:  my Avo’s (grandmother), my Tia Albertina’s (great-aunt) and my Tia Vidalia’s (aunt).  I’ve made the recipe with my mother, but never attempted to make this bread both gluten and milk free.  And it came out deliciously!

Next week I’ll be trying a slightly different process and doubling the yeast to see if I can achieve a slightly lighter version of the bread, but I am extremely happy with this recipe and recommend it as a gluten-free replacement to this traditional holiday favorite.

Moist, sweet and eggy gluten-free Portuguese masa

Lots of Notes: I researched a decent blend of flours to estimate a bread flour – because of the proportions I was using, I made 8 cups of flour but only needed five.   I used almond milk but also regular butter, which doesn’t seem to affect my stomach in smaller doses due to the lack of milk protein that’s found in other forms.  If you need it completely dairy free substitute with butter flavored Earth Balance, not shortening.

This recipe is not completely gluten-free because of the whiskey.  Omit if you’re going completely GF.

Also, most recipes call for a lot of kneading because kneading helps to develop the gluten.  So with this just knead until smooth so that your loaves come out a bit prettier than my test loaves did!

Oh, one last thing!  I like to follow my grandmother’s lead and leave these overnight in a warm place.  So I turned my oven on just to 150° and as soon as it was warm turned it off.  I then wrapped my breads in tea towels, then the entire cutting board in a bath towel and put it in the oven overnight.  They rose perfectly and we ready for baking by breakfast!

One last thing, actually!  I didn’t put the eggs in this, but will next week when I make it for Easter.  Literally just prepare your hard-boiled eggs, make sure they’re dry and hide one in each loaf of bread right before baking!

Gluten-Free Masa Sovada

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cup sorghum flour
  • 2 cups brown rice flour
  • 1 cup quinoa flour
  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • 2 cups arrowroot starch
  • 1/2 cup millet flour
  • 8 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 package yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp whiskey (omit if extremely gluten-free, this has gluten in it)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • zest of 1 lemon

Directions

  • Blend flours, starch and xanthan gum in a large bowl, whisking or sifting thoroughly to incorporate.
  • In a small saucepan melt butter and slowly whisk in milk.  Turn off the heat but make sure this is slightly warm before adding to batter.
  • Dissolve yeast with about 1/4 cup warm water and set aside
  • In a standing mixer with the bread hook attachment, beat eggs and sugar until creamy.
  • Add salt, lemon zest, whiskey, extracts, 5 cups of flour blend and the milk/butter mixture.
  • Mix on low / medium to incorporate, then add yeast. Mix on low until all is incorporated, then bring speed up to medium and mix about 10 minutes or until air bubbles form around the sides.
  • Remove to an oiled bowl.  Cover in clean dishcloths and then a large bath towel or blanket, and remove to a warm place.  Let sit for two hours or so.  Note: Gluten-free breads don’t ‘double in size’ like most breads.  But it should be fluffier after this time.
  • Flour a wooden cutting board or line and flour a non-wooden board.  Shape the dough into four small loaves (or two larger ones if you prefer).  Wrap in towels and let sit overnight.
  • In the morning, remove to thick baking sheets and preheat oven to 300°.
  • Bake for 38 minutes or until only slightly springy on top.
  • Eat AS SOON AS POSSIBLE BECAUSE THEY’RE SO YUMMY!
  • Store remains in plastic wrap and eat within three days.

Curious George’s Banana Nut Bread (gluten-free)

Gluten-free Curious George Banana Bread

So, what if you started giving cool names to baked goods, like Hansel and Gretel Grown-Up Gingerbread or Little Red Velvet Riding Hood Cupcakes?  Maybe you could get a kid into the kitchen?  Enjoy a book with dessert?  I don’t know, I’m just throwing things out there.

This recipe is based on my mother’s Banana Bread recipe, which was one of my favorite things growing up and is still made by my mother and older sister regularly.  I’ve made it dozens of times, but never gluten-free!  So upon a trip home I grabbed (stole) some browning bananas and figured I’d whip up a loaf for my first rehearsal tomorrow.

It ended up being the perfect break in my day as the rain fell outside my windows, making the NYC gray that much more like silver.  The bread came out less dense than my mother’s version, almost spongy and less crumbly.  But boy is it delicious!  Moist and slightly crunchy on top, with nuts sprinkled throughout and a chewy mouth feel.  Next time I’m going to try a different flour blend to see if I can get it a bit denser – maybe some quinoa flour –  but this is one tasty sweet bread!

Yum

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar of choice (I used Sucanat – dried raw can juice)
  • 1 1/2 cup very browned bananas, mushed up
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour (I used my cake blend)
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup ground walnuts (optional)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease a loaf pan and set aside.
  • Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  • Cream the shortening, butter and sugar together.
  • Add the banana, lemon and eggs and beat to incorporate.
  • Slowly add flour mixture and beat to incorporate.
  • If using nuts, toss them loosely on a cookie sheet and toast for about 4 minutes, checking every minute, until slightly brown.  Toss them into batter and stir in.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and press down with a spatula to flatten.
  • Bake for 75 – 90 minutes or until the top is brown and the bread gives a little to the touch.

Lemon Scones with Genmaicha Green Tea

Lemon Scones with Genmaicha Green Tea Glaze

Years ago a dear friend in college introduced me to Japanese pearl jasmine tea, and we’d sit in her basement apartment drinking out of delicate cups that released an aroma I had never imagined could exist so closely available at my fingertips.  Over the next few years I started tasting and buying tea like some people buy wine.  I justified the expense because of how healthy this habit is: teas have been shown to provide and help in the absorption of antioxidants, as well as fight certain cancers, reduce blood pressure and help to regulate blood sugar.  And when you’ve been living with a chronic illness, healthy habits are what keep your worst symptoms in remission year after year.

I try, in humble thanks, to use my health in small ways to contribute to the healing of others.  So I jumped on this Online Bake Sale to Help Japan as soon as I got the tweet.  Driving back into NYC yesterday, on a miraculously empty highway, I looked down the Hudson River at the George Washington Bridge a few blocks from my apartment, and was so thankful.  As recent environmental and political events continue to show us, many of our current blessings can be taken away from us in mere minutes.

So my contribution to this online bake sale is inspired by those who have been displaced by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear threat in Japan, and the tea that has, over the years, contributed to my health. Continue reading

Ralph Macchio Dancing Potatoes (Perfect Roasted Potatoes)

Ralph Macchio Dancing Potatoes

Disclaimer:  I do not, actually, have a crush on my boyfriend’s friend, who we’ll call Ralph Macchio.  The real Ralph Macchio is on my mind because I want him to win the crap out of Dancing With the Stars next season – though I’ve never seen an episode.  But really.  The Karate Kid?! My Cousin Vinny?  Heck, he was even adorable on Ugly Betty!  Let’s go Macchio!

Anyway, the pseudo Ralph Macchio has excellent taste in colorful shirts.  And despite my incredible desire to be lazy on Sunday we enjoyed 90 minutes of YogaX together, where I melted into several Warrior series and cursed the phrase “Yoga Belly” before we went out in the rain for sake and sushi. Ralph can cook, and (possibly to appease my desire to have a partner in the kitchen) my boyfriend put us together a few weeks ago when he was visiting to make brunch for some friends.  And in single moment of delicious, crisp, buttery potato perfection, Ralph reminded me of the state of bliss potatoes reach when you’ve taken the time to par-boil them properly before roasting.

So I made them tonight to go along with Phat Tuesday dinner after a long day.  And my little sis wanted the recipe.  And so I reminded her that I have a blog for that purpose.  Then she remarked that my holiday header is gone… showing that she hasn’t actually been on this site since Christmas.

Family is awesome! Truly.  It was a delightful night of food and conversation, and sinfully crispy potatoes.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Yukon Gold or white potatoes per person
  • scarily delicious olive oil
  • freshly cracked sea salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • your combination of any of the following: garlic powder, onion powder, crushed red pepper flakes, dried basil, dried oregano, white pepper, dried lemon etc.

Directions

  • Peel and cut your potatoes into wedges about 1 – 1 1/2 inches big.  While doing so, place a large pot of water on to boil with a good amount of salt (I used about a tablespoon) and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • When the water is at a good boil, drop potatoes in and cook about 5 minutes, until a fork just pierces into them but they’re still very firm.  Immediately strain and allow all water to fall off.
  • Coat a medium baking dish (I used a classic Pyrex glass dish) with about 3 Tbsp Olive Oil (one that rocks your world) and toss potatoes in to coat.
  • Add freshly cracked salt, pepper and seasonings to taste.  If you’re not sure what to try, I recommend grabbing a premixed spice blend – they’re easily available now and usually mixed pretty classic-ly.
  • Roast in preheated oven for approximately 25 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  • Turn heat up to a broil and broil for 5-8 minutes until golden.

Eat the crap out of them.

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