May 31 2011

oven baked garlic fries with garlic aioli

Oven Baked Fries with Garlic Aioli

Whew, this has been one crazy long weekend! When we weren’t busy seeing friends and family, running errands (including multiple visits to grocery and liquor stores), we were in the kitchen cooking. Trust me, you’ve got lots to look forward to in the coming days!

Joseph e-mailed me at work earlier last week telling me that he wanted to make some oven baked fries and a ligher, healthier aioli. I wasn’t going to argue with him. And let me tell you, he was a man obsessed. He picked up some potatoes before he picked me up at work on Friday and was ready to go home and make them right then and there as an appetizer to the pizza that we were going to make. These may be healthier fries and our homemade pizza may be healthier than a the pizza joint down the street, but I don’t know if the two of these things together is so healthy. I told Joseph he was welcome to make the fries, but I was heading to the back porch with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. And you know what? He decided to wait another day and joined me on the porch. And then another day became another day, and then another day, but today Joseph finally got to make his fries. And I have to admit, they were definitely worth obsessing over!

perfect fries courtesy of the mandoline

When we did finally get to the fries, I suggested that Joseph try the nice OXO mandoline that we got for Christmas but still hadn’t used. He sort of shrugged it off, but then came back to look at it and then decided against it once again. I told him he could go ahead and cut up all the potatoes by hand if he wanted, but what did he have against the mandoline?  Turns out he just didn’t want to learn how to assemble and use it. He later admitted that the 5 minutes that it took him to figure it out was definitely worth the 10 minutes it saved not having to cut up the potatoes by hand. The mandoline is frankly nothing short of magical. It comes with a little handle thing to spear your food so you don’t have to hold it as you glide it over the razor sharp edge (I rather like having all my fingers) and just a few swipes and your potato goes from spud to beautiful pile of perfectly shaped fries! I’m just sad we’re just now using it. It was the winner in America’s Test Kitchen’s mandoline equipment test (and doesn’t cost $200 like the other one they loved), so we should have realized how easy it would be to use and enjoy.

Oven Fries before going in the oven

Oven baked fries are often kind of soggy and less fun than fries from the deep frier. Joseph went to Cook’s Illustrated to find out how to make the perfect oven baked fries. (I know, here I go again. I promise, I don’t get any kickbacks from Cook’s Illustrated or America’s Test Kitchen, I’m just obsessed with them because they are right about everything). First, soaking the potatoes in hot water before cooking them removes some of the starch. Next, Cook’s Illustrated recommends letting the fries cook covered in the oven for five minutes so they can steam, and then letting them cook 20 – 35 minutes uncovered in the oven till they’re crispy and golden. Continue reading

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Feb 3 2011

spicy sweet potato “fries”

spicy sweet potato fries

Who doesn’t love a good sweet potato fry?  I know that given the choice at a restaurant, I will never pick regular ol’ fries over sweet potatoes fries. They’re just so irresistible!  They’re sweet, salty, and oh so addictive.

chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne, cumin, salt, black pepper

This recipe takes sweet potato fries to the next level.  Now, I have to warn you, they are spicy.  I have a relatively high tolerance for heat and these had me sweating a little bit!  But sweet, salty, and spicy?  These are way too good to pass up!

cut sweet potatoes

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Jan 17 2011

spicy garlicky cashew chicken and chilled sesame spinach

There are some recipes that you know you’re going to love just by a quick glance at the ingredients.  This is one of those recipes.  Cashews, with their rich, creamy, salty nuttiness are one of my favorite nuts, I love cilantro and I love, love, love garlic.  And if you ask me, almost any dish can be improved with a kick from jalapeños.  So when Joseph asked if I would be interested in trying the recipe, I ran to get my coat so we could hop in the car to get to the grocery.

essential new york times cookbook

Joseph found the recipe in The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century, which he got  for Christmas.  And it was, just as I had predicted, an awesome recipe. You start off by blending the cilantro, lime, cashews, garlic, brown sugar and oil and then marinate the chicken in that heavenly mixture.  What’s not to love?

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Oct 4 2010

quick and easy cornbread

Growing up I loved corn bread, but rarely actually got the good stuff.  You see my mom, as wonderful as she is, is convinced that the best corn bread is just cornmeal mixed with water.  She may have put some other stuff in there, but that’s pretty much what it tasted like.  Her early years were spent in Arkansas and she’s convinced that cornbread should never have any sweetner and should be as gritty as possible.  My sister and I eventually gave up on trying to convince her that sweet cornbread was infinitely better and learned to stop asking for cornbread altogether.

A couple years ago I was searching online for a cornbread recipe (because no way was I going to ask my mom for her recipe!) and found a very highly rated recipe called “Golden Sweet Cornbread” with the tagline, “If you like sweet cornbread, this is the recipe for you!”  When I saw how simple the ingredients were, I was completely sold.  These are things that we always have on hand and it’s so easy to make that I can throw it together almost faster than you can Joseph can say, “Let’s make chili tonight.” And some recipes have a stick or two of butter, and as good as I’m sure it is, I like to have a couple of pieces of cornbread with my meal without having to worry about artery overload.  Continue reading

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