Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hasselback Potatoes

I've been seeing a lot of hasselback potatoes on the food blogs recently: potatoes sliced almost all the way through, and then baked with slices of butter, garlic, and/or cheese wedged between the slices. Add salt and pepper, maybe pour cream or sprinkle more cheese on top, and serve with sour cream, pesto, or your favorite baked potato accouterments. (Ten ways to top. And don't limit yourself to potatoes: hasselback sweet potatoes and beets.)

Revisiting the photos, I can see that that pros are doing much thinner slices than I managed. I also broke a couple of the potatoes while stuffing them -- frozen butter is a big help -- so the presentation was not exactly as envisioned.

Here's the recipe I used; here's another on Orangette.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes II

When the weather takes a sudden turn for the snowy and/or single digits, what better than a recipe that has the oven on for three hours?

Last week's Roma tomatoes needed some sexing up (ours also wound up in the fridge, to add injury to not-very-good-winter-tomatoes).

We've made these slow-roasted tomatoes (from Dorie Greenspan's book) before: slice; sprinkle with salt, pepper, rosemary, and olive oil; 225 degree oven for three hours.

This time we served them over pasta with greens and cream sauce.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Turnips Anna

Last week we got a whole bag of turnips in our share. Turnips!

Pommes Anna is a French dish of thinly sliced potatoes, baked in a cocotte à pommes Anna (or, you know, a skillet) with lots of butter to form a cake. (The Epicurious recipe has exactly two ingredients: potatoes and butter).

Martha extends the dish to include rutabaga in her "roots Anna," and her somewhat more complicated recipe was the one I happened on first. I substituted turnips for the rutabaga, used our whole bag of turnips instead of a mere two pounds, and felt extremely dubious that a turnip dish was going to be an appealing centerpiece at dinner.

An hour later ... I was impressed. I wasn't daring enough to try to turn the cake out of the pan, but the slices were tender and buttery, and purply and deeply caramelized on the bottom, and probably the best turnips I've ever cooked (no, that's not a high bar). Not a leftover turnip to be seen this morning.

I'm pretty sure you could use any combination of roots and tubers you have on hand (potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, rutabaga, celeriac, parsnips). Slice them as thinly as possible, and arrange the slices in concentric circles in the bottom of a buttered ovenproof skillet. Add salt, pepper, and more butter between each layer. Cover the top layer with foil, weigh it down (Martha suggests putting a cast iron pan on top), and bake for an hour at 450 degrees. If you're brave, try to turn it out of the skillet.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Apple Cake

This is not a story about a brilliant idea for using up unloved farm share produce that went exactly as imagined.

The recipe is basically Marie-Helene's Apple Cake from Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table. (Here's David Lebovitz's appreciation of it. I do not fault the recipe; all errors are my own.)

I got slightly carried away with the apples. We had part of a four-pound bag of bruisy, mushy Macintosh apples from last week's CSA I wanted to finish off. Because the recipe called for an assortment of apples, I also threw in one of the enormous crispy delicious Empire apples from the week before.

My cake was shaping up to be a more-apples-less-cake kind of cake.

Other substitutions: I couldn't find our vanilla, so I used lemon extract (because, you know, the bottle is the same shape), and I substituted yogurt for half the melted butter (because I sort of had a French yogurt cake in mind).

It was delicious (particularly topped with a jar of salted caramel sauce Sara brought us). But what I made could not in any sense be called a cake. It was more like baked apples stuck together with little bits of cake, or, charitably, something like an apple cobbler or buckle. 

I put it on the kitchen counter and it was demolished within hours.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Day Traditions

After a Christmas of bacon, salmon, and hollandaise, and an unplanned low-key New Year's Eve (ninjabread, pickup ultimate Frisbee, and late-night jam session), we were ready to start 2012 with appropriated ethnic traditions and, of course, vegetables.

Thought to bring prosperity ("since they swell when cooked"), black-eyed peas are traditional food for New Year's Day. Eating black-eyed peas for luck on the Jewish new year has been noted since around 500 AD; Southerners appropriated the tradition (adding pork) around the Civil War. Anna cooked our peas in fine Southern fashion, making hoppin' John with bacon, onion, garlic, tomatoes, and farm share collard greens (which are "the color of money").

It's not the Chinese new year yet, but as an additional New Year's Day course, we had long Chinese noodles (for longevity, especially if you manage not to break them) stir-fried with onion, garlic, ginger, tofu, and farm share bok choy.

Wishing you wealth, long life, and lots of vegetables in 2012!