Posts Tagged ‘olive oil

02
Sep
08

Roast Potatoes and Baby Shoes

I just wrapped up a beautiful evening with my family.

My daughter spent the afternoon in her jolly jumper, stomping in her new shoes.

Its hard to take a clear shot of fast-moving munchkin feet.

It's hard to take a clear shot of fast-moving munchkin feet.

We also had my parents and in-laws over for dinner on the deck.

My Mom brought two salads and a rhubarb cake, my Father-in-law brought honey garlic spareribs he’d done in the slow cooker. We made some homemade bread and roasted potatoes with tomatoes picked fresh from the garden.

The deck hangs out over the river, and we’re surrounded by trees. While we ate a Heron landed out in the water. It slowly walked up the river, stalking fish.

I love eating outside when the sky starts to go from late afternoon to dusk. I think it makes things taste better. Especially if you’re eating with friends and loved ones.

Wine also helps.

We had a red wine from California (Robert Mondavi, Pinot Noir, 2006) , and a white from South Africa (Two Oceans, Sauvignon Blanc, 2007). The Mondavi worked wonderfully with the starchiness of the potatoes and the meatiness of the ribs. I honestly didn’t get a chance to try the white, but was assured that it was good. 

My daughter, who is teething, even got in on the action. We let her gum a clean rib bone. It kept her entertained while the rest of us ate.

My Roasted Potatoes

This recipe doesn’t require any exactness. Do it to suit your own taste (then it won’t be “My roasted potatoes”, it’ll be your own creation and you can name it what ever you want.

Small, multicoloured potatoes

Ripe tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, the fresher the better

Extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt

Fresh ground black pepper

Feta cheese

     This is one of those recipes where the quality of the ingredients really affects the outcome, but it’s super easy to whip up a batch in under an hour with minimal effort.

     Preheat oven to 400F (200C).

     Rinse the potatoes, then cut them, skin on, into quarters. I use baby sized red, yellow, and blue potatoes to enhance the wow factor.

     Place them in a shallow baking dish. Splash on some olive oil. You don’t want to have them floating in it, but a nice coating allows the other ingredients to stick to the potato, and keeps the potato from burning to the dish.

     Add salt and pepper to taste. Slide the baking dish into the oven and cook for 20min. before adding the tomatoes. If using cherry tomatoes, just halve or quarter them, depending on size. Whole tomatoes can be diced and added. Try to get tomatoes that are compact and just ripened. You don’t want to deal with a lot of juice while cutting.

     Put the dish back in for an additional 20 minutes or so. Test the potatoes by tasting to see if they are fully cooked and if they need additional salt and pepper.

     Serve with the crumbled feta added at the last minute, or as a condiment (my Mom doesn’t like feta, so we had a small dish of it set aside as an accompaniment). 

     You can modify this dish any way you want. Increase or decrease any ingredient to suit your taste and feel free to add herbs or other ingredients. If you come up with a tasty variation, I’d love to hear about it.

23
Feb
08

Improvisation is key

So the other night I tried out a recipe for an onion and egg calzone. I had never tried it before, and had no clue as to how it would turn out. I figured best case scenario, it’d be really good. Worst case scenario, it would end up in the garbage, but I’d be wiser for having made an attempt.

As I followed the recipe, I realized that I would have way more filling than I needed. I improvised by putting the leftover mixture into some tart shells I keep in the freezer.

The result? The calzone pastry worked out very well. The inside, not so much. The mini-quiche made with the extra, however, didn’t have time to cool before they had vanished. What can you take away from this? There were several points during this recipe where things could have gone horribly wrong. By taking a relaxed attitude in the kitchen, and being able to improvise on the fly, disaster can be averted.

Here’s the recipe for the Calzone pastry; I’ll let you be creative and come up with a filling of your own.

pastry

400g plain flour, plus extra to dust

100ml olive oil, plus extra to oil

1 egg, beaten

100ml dry white wine

salt

Put the flour in a bowl and make a well in the center. Add a pinch of salt, the oil, egg and wine. Slowly mix together with the flour to make the dough. Add water if necessary. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and put in the fridge while you preheat the oven to 200c and prepare the filling. After about half an hour, roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface. You want to end up with a large flat(3mm) circle. Place this on an oiled baking tray and dump the filling into the center. Fold the pastry over to enclose the filling. press the edges together to seal, and brush with egg. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.