Oven Roasted Red Potatoes with Peppers, Cilantro and Thyme

Quick to make, Oven Roasted Potatoes are simple to make.  The usual recipe – garlic & Rosemary is nice, but gets a bit old.  This is one I’ve been using for quite a long time, and is full of interesting flavors, as well as texture and color.  Not only tastes great, but plates nicely.

Cilntro (aka Coriander)

Cilantro (aka Coriander)

Oven Roasted Red Potatoes with Peppers, Cilantro and Thyme

1 1/2 pounds small new red potatoes (about 15), washed well
1/4 cup vegetable oil (or olive oil, if you have it)
4 to 6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup diced red bell peppers
1/4 cup diced green bell peppers
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Wash well, and then dice the potatoes into bite sized pieces – about 1 inch.  I hardly ever peel the potatoes.  I like to leave it intact, as it gives good flavor, and texture.

In a large bowl mix the oil, garlic, and cilantro and thyme.  Add the potatoes and peppers and toss well.

Transfer the potatoes to a shallow baking pan, and arrange into a single layer.  Roast until potatoes are tender when tested with the tip of a knife, which should be between 25-30 minutes.

Serve hot, or cold, as these are great leftover.

Note:

I have sometimes made a ‘potato’ salad with the leftovers, adding in mayo, and eggs, with a bit of spicy mustard.

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Twice Baked Mashed Potatoes with Onion, Peppers and Bacon

This recipe is a good one to use for the holidays — it can be made a day or two in advance.

A strange, but interesting variation, is to use shredded potatoes, instead of mashed, either homemade or the type you can get at your local market.

Enjoy :)

Twice Baked Mashed Potatoes with Onion, Green Peppers and Bacon

5-6 pieces of bacon to equal about 1/2 cup when cooked, and crumbled.
1 tablespoon of leftover bacon fat/grease
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
5-6 cups of mashed potatoes (prepared with butter & milk)(leftover or made previous day is fine)
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (divided)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Cook the bacon — about 5-6 pieces, depending on the size, until nicely crispy. Set aside to drain, and then crumble.

Take about 1 tablespoon of the leftover bacon fat and saute scallions and green pepper until peppers are tender.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the scallion/green pepper mixture, mashed potatoes, 1/2 cup of the cheese, 1/4 cup of the bacon, salt and pepper.  Pour into a lightly greased baking dish – about 2 quart size.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese and the bacon over top.

Bake uncovered at 350F for 20-25 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and golden.

Notes:

  • I’ve mixed this up totally the day before, put it in the refrigerator and, the next day, about 1 hour before I want to put it in the oven, I take it out, and let it come to room temp.  Bake then as usual.
  • If you don’t want to cook the onion and pepper in the bacon fat, just use vegetable oil
  • Don’t have mashed potatoes?? Just bake 7-8 red potatoes in your oven for about 50 minutes at 400F.  Once done, allow to cool a bit, and then mash the potatoes (leave the skins on if you like, or remove them)(I like them left on — looks good and tastes great), mash with butter, and milk.  Continue the recipe as above.  The baking time may need to be adjusted as the potatoes will still be hot from baking.
  • Add things you like:
  • Sour cream — add 1/2 cup sour cream
  • a clove of garlic added when you saute the scallions and green peppers
  • instead of cheddar, use a mix of feta and Parmesan or Romano — yummy when combined with the addition of garlic, as above.  Use 1/2 cup feta, and 1/2 cup Parmesan.
  • mix the peppers up — use yellow, red and orange bell peppers
  • use a medium yellow or white onion, instead of scallions
  • use chives, instead of scallions

Potato Salad

I’ve said this often on my blog, and to people when discussing recipes: There are many variations to any recipe. I really believe that recipes, in all their variations, are as personal as fingerprints. And, in essence, a recipe really *is* a fingerprint to an individual. The same ingredients of a recipe can be arranged in such a way, that from one person to the next, the change can be drastic. Our inherent need for change, our intrinsic need for a singular or individualistic expression, can sometimes be articulated best through food.

However, because of the vast amount of recipes, and their variations, I sometimes hold back and don’t bother to post a recipe — why, when there are 308,000 search results, should there be 308,001? Well, my own take on a recipe is what makes this blog work, I suppose. So, I’ll start to post a bit more.. even though you might find 308,000 other recipes of the same title, none of them will be exactly what I post here.

To that end…

Potato Salad..

From about mid-May, to the end of September, potato salad was made often by my mother — served with almost any meal — from the lowly hot-dog, to a nice pork roast, as well as fried chicken, a good steak, or just beer brats.

Every summer get-together had some version or other of potato salad, and, even within my own family — my grandmothers, my aunts, my mother — all the versions of potato salad were slightly different — one put in onion, one didn’t. One put in sour cream, one didn’t.

My own version of this recipe is akin to both my Gram, and my mothers version — it contains a lot of egg – my favorite part of this salad. I hope you enjoy it as much as I always have, and as my family always does.

One quick note here — I do not have measurements for this recipe. It’s one of those recipes you never actually use a recipe for. I just do it by eye. I will try and give some bit of guidance, however. This recipe assumes you will use between 10-12 medium sized red potatoes.

redpotato

Potato Salad

Red potatoes
1 egg to each potato – (e.g. if you are using 14 potatoes, use 14 eggs).
Mayo – about 1-1.5 cups up to 2 cups if necessary
Mustard – anywhere from about 1/2 to 2/3 cup
Celery — usually 2 stalks, diced
Onion – a medium onion, diced
Kosher pickles (the more sour, the better), one large, minced
1 medium red pepper, diced
Salt and Pepper, to taste

The key to this potato salad is to have lots of boiled egg — one egg for each potato you use. Boil the eggs.

Wash the potatoes well, and then boil until soft, but not mushy. They need body to stand up to the mayo – you don’t want mushy potatoes here. If you overcook them, make mashed potatoes and try again ;).

Allow the potatoes and eggs to be completely cooled. I usually cook both the eggs, and the potatoes the day before, and then refrigerate overnight.

Dice both the eggs and potatoes. The eggs should be a small-medium dice, whereas the potatoes should be bite sized.

Prep the celery, onion, pickles and red pepper as above – diced. Have the mayo and mustard ready to go in.

Add the vegetables, eggs and potatoes to a large mixing bowl, and gently mix together. Now, add at least one cup of the mayo, and 1/2 cup of mustard. The best way to mix this is without a spoon — use your hands. Cover the mixture with the mayo & mustard, adding more to taste as necessary. I always over-add both the mayo and mustard as the potatoes will absorb a bit before serving.

Once you’ve mixed it well, add salt and pepper to taste, and chill for a few hours (or overnight) to allow the flavors to meld.

Simple Hash Browns

My Grandmother (known as “Gram” on this blog from now on) makes these hash browns that are just.. amazingly good. They are light and crispy and were a total freaking mystery to me until about 2 years ago. There is a secret to hash browns. It’s not just the potatoes, salt, oil.. it’s the moisture.

I did not ever actually watch my Gram make hash browns. As I think back about the times I stayed at her house, it seems I never actually saw my Gram waking up. She is an early riser (as am I as an adult, for the most part). She wakes between 4 and 5 every morning, as she has done for the past 60+ years. As a child, when I would stay at her house, I was almost always awakened by the scent of food cooking..bacon, muffins, eggs, doughnuts, fritters, baked apples and the like. I would stumble, along with the rest of the kids, into the kitchen, plop down at the table as close to the heating stove as I could get, and wait until breakfast was actually ready. You know it’s never actually ready when you first are awakened by the scent.. you always have to wait.

Gram would set the hash browns, still in the cast iron skillet she cooked them in, right on the table. If you were unlucky, and didn’t get up when you first smelled food cooking, you were out of luck. Her hash browns didn’t last 2 minutes in the pan.

After I moved away, and out of Nebraska, my trips to my Grams house were very infrequent. 1 visit every year at first, then every few years, and then, as now, even less that that. So I experimented with making hash browns. She gave me step by step instructions.. how many potatoes, how much salt, oil, the kind of pan, how much heat, and they never once came out like hers. Mine were greasy, mushy, and heavy. No matter what I did, they were always that way.

A few years ago, Gram came out to visit. And one morning, as I was finishing making tea, she started to shred some potatoes for breakfast. I stood watching her, and when she spread the potatoes out on a tea-towel, and then pressed the moisture out, my jaw fell open. Ahhhaaaaa! Gram had told me what to use, how much to use, what pan to use, what oil to use, the kind of salt she used, but she had never, ever mentioned that the potatoes should be pressed to reduce the moisture. When I asked her about it, she said she never thought about it. It was just something you do when making shredded potatoes.

I’ve read since then a few articles here and there that suggest the same thing — something to press the moisture out of the potatoes. A potato ricer, leaving them overnight uncovered in a refrigerator, or putting them in the oven for a few minutes.

I just do what Gram did — a towel-paper-towel-shredded potato-paper-towel-towel sandwich. Place a thick kitchen towel on your counter top, place a thick layer of paper towel on top, add the shredded potatoes, another thick layer of paper towels, and another towel. Roll with a pastry roller, or press down hard. You just need to do this a couple of times, and it’s all good to go.

Now.. onto the incredibly easy recipe…

Simple Hash Browns

2 tablespoons oil
2 baking potatoes, shredded
1/2 small onion, diced fine
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

imageWash the potatoes, and using a grater such as the one pictured, shred the potatoes.

In a heavy medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute until softened and caramelized. Remove onions from skillet. Add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet and heat. Add shredded potatoes in an even layer in the skillet, season with salt and pepper and cook until the potatoes begin to brown on the bottom, 6 to 7 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent sticking. Add onions back to skillet, press into a pancake. Season with salt and pepper

Using a heavy skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until they are caramelized. Remove the onions from the pan, and mix together with the shredded potatoes. Heat the remaining oil, and then add the potatoes to the skillet, in an even layer – -no more than 1/2 an inch. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the potatoes begin to brown on the bottom — about 7-8 minutes. Carefully flip over, or cut in half and flip one part at time over.

Season again with salt and pepper and allow to finish cooking — until golden brown on the bottom, another 7-8 minutes.

Serve immediately.

Notes:

You do not have to peel the potatoes.

Add green or red peppers as a variation.