Monday, January 25, 2010

Bubble and Kraut

Bubble and Squeak is an English dish made with leftover mashed potatoes and cooked cabbage. We like cabbage fine, but we like kraut a whole lot better, so we made the substitution and were thrilled with the results. Phoebe meant to take a picture of the full turnout, but she accidentally ate the first batch while the second was frying. It's that good.

The egg is not traditional or necessary, but we like how it helps the potatoes hold together. If you're vegan, just skip it and enjoy the softer texture. We served ours on a bed of sauerkraut with a dollop of sour cream. They're also good plain!

2 cups mashed potatoes*
3/4 cup sauerkraut (we use the fermented kind)
1 egg
Butter for frying

Stir together the egg, potatoes, and sauerkraut. Melt about 1 tablespoon butter in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter is hot, but not smoking, add heaping tablespoons of batter, smashed down with the back of the spoon. When the bottoms are golden brown and crisp, flip and cook the other side.

*Simple mashed potato recipe:
Peel and dice 3 small Yukon gold potatoes and boil until soft. Drain all but 1/2 cup of cooking water. Add butter, salt and pepper, and mash. For extra fluffiness, whisk vigorously for several minutes.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Black Pepper Vinaigrette

The vinaigrette recipe in the September issue of Cook's Illustrated (thanks for the gift subscription, Sarah!) has totally revolutionized our home salad dressing preparation. Having discovered the optimal balance of oil and vinegar, we took advantage of our stash from Kerala and, instead of grinding in a few shakes of black pepper, used a whole tablespoon. One of the major lessons we picked up in India is that black pepper doesn't have to be the afterthought it often becomes in Western cooking--it's an amazing spice that deserves to occasionally be celebrated on its own. For maximum impact, your pepper should be freshly and coarsely ground. Here, we served it with a baby spinach and arugula mix topped with cubed Parmesan and pepitas.

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mustard

Combine all ingredients in a squeeze bottle. Shake well to emulsify and pour over your salad of choice!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Warm Beet Salad with Potatoes and Sauerkraut

We'd hate to call this a potato salad because of the slimy mayonnaise memories "potato salad" evokes. So let's just call this Russian dish, inspired by a version we devoured at Sadko, a beet salad with potatoes. You can still serve it cold in situations that normally call for potato salad, like summertime picnics, but when served warm, it can keep your blood from freezing during those long Siberian winters.

3 large waxy potatoes (with or without skin)
3 large beets
1 1/2 cups sauerkraut, chopped
3 tablespoons dill, minced
3 scallion, chopped
1 tablespoon white vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for roasting)

Peel the beets and chop them into 1/2 inch cubes. Toss with a little olive oil and salt on a baking tray. Roast at 350 until fork-tender (about 40-50 minutes).

Meanwhile, chop the potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes. Boil in water until tender, then drain and rinse in cold water.

Toss together all of the ingredients and taste for salt. Serve slightly warm or cold.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Crispy, Buttery, Smoky Potatoes and Cauliflower

These potatoes and cauliflower are absolutely addictive. Our secret? A whole stick of butter. Okay, it's not much of a secret, but you'll still impress your friends when you serve this dish. Make sure to use unsalted butter or else you could end up with a very salty final product. If you're on a diet, you could cut it down to maybe 4 tablespoons of butter, but any less and it won't crisp.

1 head of cauliflower, broken into bite-sized florettes
3 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/8" slices
1 stick unsalted butter (yep, 8 tablespoons)
black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked Spanish paprika
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Toss cauliflower, potatoes, melted butter, salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon smoked paprika. Bake in a cast-iron skillet, loosely covered with foil, for 30 minutes. Remove the cover, turn heat up to 375, and roast for another 35-45 minutes, until potatoes are browned and crispy in places. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top, shake on a little more paprika, and return to oven for a few more minutes, until the cheese is melted. Let sit for a few minutes, then hold the potatoes in place with a lid and pour off the excess melted butter.