Black Bean Quesedillas
Tacos, Frijoles and Refried Beans, Guacamole, Pico de Gallo
Garlic Swiss Potatoes
Pad Thai Fried Noodles
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos
Sweet Potato Casserole
Potatoes: Braising, Garlic-Parmesan Mashed, Mashed Sweet, Baked, Crisp Roast, Home Fries
Eggs: Poached, Omelettes, Fried, dBoiled
BLACK BEAN QUESEDILLAS
Combine in bowl: 1-14 oz can black beans rinsed, 1 tomato ch, 1 roasted red pepper ch, 1 jalopeno pepper minced, 2 cloves garlic minced, ½ c cilantro, 2 green onion ch.
Assembly: spread layer on half a 10” wheat tortilla. Sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese (1½ c) and crumbled feta (½ c). Fold over.
Cook medium barbeque directly on grate or fry pan with small amount of olive oil – 2-3 minutes per side.
Slice all vegetables thinly using a mandolin, toss in ¼ c olive oil and 1 tbsp rosemary and roast in 350° oven: 1 eggplant, 2 zucchinis, 2 red peppers, 2 yellow peppers, 2 yams, 2 potatoes, 2 red onions. Use 2 sheets in 2 shifts.
Rest of ingredients: 1 c pesto, 8 oz goat cheese finely crumbled, 3 c mozzarella grated, package 10” flour tortillas (nicest is to alternate red and green).
Assembly: in 10” springform pan, assemble layers of tortilla alternating colors /pesto/one kind of vegetable/goat cheese/mozzarella. Rub top with olive oil, add grated mozzarella. Cover tin foil and bake 350° for 50-60 minutes.
Let rest for 5 minutes. Remove sides of pan. Slice like cheese cake. Serves 12.
Tomato Chipotle Sauce: 10 tomatoes quartered, 1 red onion large dice, 3 cloves garlic. Toss in ¼ c olive oil with 1 tbsp brown sugar. Roast oven 350° for 30 minutes. Add 1 tsp chipotle in adobo paste chopped + ¼ c cilantro ch and puree with hand blender or food processor.
Lemon Basil Aioli: Mix 1 c mayonnaise, juice 1 lemon, ½ c fresh basil chopped.
To Serve: Spoon warm tomato chipotle sauce onto plate. Place a slice of pie on top. Drizzle with basil aioli. Serve with salad.
#1. (makes 12 burgers) In large skillet, saute 1 onion diced, 1 clove garlic minced in 1 tbsp vegetable oil. Place in large bowl, cool and add: 1 tbsp cumin, 1 1/2 tbsp chili powder, 1 – 19 oz can black beans drained rinsed and roughly pureed, 1 tsp oregano, 1/4 c parsley or cilantro chopped, 2 tbsp sesame oil, 1/2 c almonds roasted and chopped, 1 c sunflower seeds roasted and chopped, 3 c fine bread crumbs, 1/2 c soy sauce, 5 eggs, 2 c carrots grated and 2 cups oats. Mix well and shape into patties. Dredge lightly in flour. Heat vegetable oil in large pan to brown the burgers on both sides. Serve with whole wheat burger buns topped with Daikon sprouts and roasted garlic aioli or tzatziki.
#2. Moroccan Yam Burgers. Peel 6 cups (1.5 liters, 2 lbs) yams and grate them, place in large bowl. Use food processor for rest of prep. Finely chop 2tbsp garlic and 2 tbsp ginger peeled. Add half of 1 – 19 oz can chickpeas to garlic and ginger and process till smooth. Add to yams. Mash remaining chickpeas in bowl and add to main bowl. Coarsely chop 1 1/2 cups unsalted mixed nuts in FP and add to bowl. Add 1/2 c cilantro chopped, 2 tsp cumin, 1 tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp coriander, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp black pepper and mix well. Add 2 beaten eggs and 1/3 c dry breadcrumbs and mix well. Measure 1/2 cup portions and form into patties. Saute on medium low ~5 minutes on each side. Serve on whole wheat bun with lettuce, tomato, sliced red onions and tzatziki.
Crust: In food processor – 2 1/2 c all purpose flour + 1 c unsalted butter cut into small pieces, 1/2 tsp salt. Process until coarse meal. Add ice cold water slowly until dough forms a soft ball. Wrap in Saran and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. The dough is soft and moist.
Filling: In large saute pan, heat 4 tbsp oil. Add 2 c onions ch, 10 c 1/2″ cubed potatoes cooked. Saute few minutes. Add spices: 1 1/2 tbsp gnu cumin, 1 tbsp find coriander, 1 1/2 tbsp madras curry powder, 2 tsp turmeric, salt and pepper to taste, 1 tbsp crushed red chilli pepper flakes. Stir well to blend. Add 1/4 c packed fresh cilantro ch, 1/2 c fresh lemon juice, 1 c blanched or frozen peas.
Assembly: Leave 1/3 of dough for top crust. Roll out remaining dough ~1/8th inch thick. Line 10″ springform pan with the dough letting it hang over top ~1/2″. Brush with egg wash (large egg + 1 tbsp water whisked). Pour in filling and press down well. Roll out remaining crust and place over pan. Trim pastry, crimp the edges sealing well. Brush with remaining egg wash.
Bake preheated oven 375 for 1 hour till golden. Best made a day ahead and reheated @350 for 40-45 min.
Serve with mango chutney and raita.
TACOS – Meat, Vegetarian, Fish
I have visited Mexico on two long trips. The taco stand is ubiquitous. They would serve them on corn tortillas, spicy meat, thin piquante guacamole, salsa fresca and possibly some crema or lettuce.
I make 3 kinds: meat, vegetarian and fish.
Meat: sauté 1 lb hamburger or chicken with refried beans, break up all the chunks, 1 finely chopped onion, 2 cloves garlic minced. Add 1 package Old El Pas Taco Sauce and mix.
Vegetarian: Sauté in olive oil: ½ c onion ch, 2 clove garlic, add 1 can refried beans or 2 cans drained black beans/mashed, 2 tsp cumin, ¼ c diced red pepper, green Tabasco or black pepper. Heat thoroughly.
Fish: Fillet of fish of your choice (rinse, pat dry, salt and pepper), cut in thin strips 3-4” long. Beat 1 egg and mix with ¾ cup buttermilk. Soak fish in buttermilk for 30 minutes. Bread in: ¾ c white cornmeal seasoned with 1tsp salt, 1tsp pepper, 1tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper. Saute crispy on all sides.
Assembly: Flour tortilla, refried beans, main ingredient, guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream or crema, lettuce, thinly sliced cucumber.
2 c dried pinto beans covered water by 2″ and soak overnight. Rinse and drain, return to pot, add 1 onion halved and sliced, 1 clove garlic minced, 8 oz bacon diced, 1 guajillo child toasted, stemmed and seeded + 1 chile de arbol stemmed and seeded. Add water to cover by 1″. Boil then simmer 2-3 hours till beans tender and most liquid evaporated. Salt. Sprinkle grated cheese.
2. REFRIED BEANS
Melt 2 tbsp bacon drippings. Add 4 c frijoles, few at time mashing. Add 2-4 tsp cumin. Cook low until thick ~1 hour, stirring and adding water. Top with grated cheese and 1 tbsp chopped green onion.
Mash 2 medium ripe avocados. Add 1 small tomato finely chopped, 1 jalopeno or serrano pepper minced, ¼ cup finely diced onion, 2 tsp fresh cilantro, ¼ tsp salt, juice of 2 limes. Mix.
4. SALSA FRESCA or PICO DE GALL0
They are virtually identical but Pico de Gallo is roughly chopped while Sausa Fresca is finely chopped.
Pico de Gallo is always raw diced white onion, tomatoes, chile —usually jalapenos or serranos, and cilantro. Season with salt and lemon or lime juice to taste. Pico de Gallo translates literally to: rooster beak, but means: to coarse chop like using a beak to do the job (instead of a knife)
Salsa Fresca is always minced raw chile, usually chili guerrito (yellow) or another mild to medium chili, green onion, cilantro and cooled boiled water. Any other raw ingredients are to the cook’s fancy, such as tomato, white onion, multiple chili peppers, avocado, mango, bell pepper, etc. Season with salt to taste. Salsa Fresca translates and means fresh sauce (not cooked).
1 1/2 cups seeded, diced tomatoes
1/2 cup diced white or yellow onion
1-3 minced Serrano or jalapeno peppers
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Juice of 2 limes
2 tablespoons cilantro, plus extra for garnish
Salt and pepper
COUSCOUS (Jeff Krueger recipe)
2 c couscous + 2 1/2 c boiling water, cover and stand for 5 minutes. Stir in 3 tbsp cumin. Cover and cool 25 minutes.
Combine 1/2 c oil, 1/2 c lemon juice, 1 tbsp vinegar, 3 cloves garlic minced. Let stand.
Combine 1 red pepper ch, 1/2 c onion ch, 1 can corn kernels, 1 can black beans rinsed, 1/2-1 cup parsley chopped, 1 tsp salt.
Add oil to vegetables then couscous. Mix well. Refrigerate.
GARLIC SWISS POTATOES
Thinly slice 5-6 large potatoes with skins on (use mandolin @ ⅛”).
Mix 500 ml whipping cream, 3 large cloves minced garlic, 1 ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper.
Layer half of potato slices, pour over half cream mixture, then repeat.
Bake 450° for 45 minutes on upper shelf uncovered. Check at 40 minutes.
When cooked, sprinkle 1 ½ x 227 gm brick Swiss cheese shredded on top. Return to oven until bubbly. Remove. Let sit 5 minutes.
PAD THAI FRIED NOODLES Serves 6
Cook 16 oz rice noodles according to package
Large skillet: ½ c oil, sauté 5 cloves garlic till golden. Add 1 lb cooked shrimp, ¼ c pickled radish ch, 1 package tofu cut ½” cubes, cook 3-5 minutes. Set aside.
Reheat skillet: add ½ c white vinegar, ¼ c fish sauce, 2 tbsp ketchup, ¼ c sugar. Heat well. Add noodles. When completely coated, spread to sides of pan and scramble 2 eggs beaten in middle. Fold noodles over the eggs, add shrimp, tofu, radish, 3 green onions sliced, ¼ c bean sprouts.
SWEET POTATO AND BLACK BEAN BURRITO
Cook 5 cups peeled, cubed sweet potatoes in salted water until tender ~10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Saute 2 tsp olive oil, cook medium low 3 ½ c diced onion, 4 large cloves garlic minced, 1 tbsp minced green chilli tender ~7 minutes. Add 4 tsp cumin, 4 tsp coriander. Cook 3-4 minutes. Stir frequently. Remove from heat and set aside.
In food processor, combine 3 – 15 oz cans drained black beans, ⅔ c lightly packed cilantro, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp salt, and cooked sweet potato. Puree till smooth. Mix with onions and spices.
Preheat oven 350°. Oil large baking dish. Spoon ⅔-¾ c filling into 8” tortilla, roll and place seam side down in baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake 30 min. Serve with salsa.
The instructions are the same for all three recipes.
Soak navy beans overnight or up to 12 hours for even softer baked beans. Drain beans and rinse. Put beans into Crock Pot or slow cooker. Add all the ingredients from your preferred baked beans recipe. Stir. Cover and cook 6-7 hours on high, or 10-12 hours on low. Add water to the Crock Pot, if needed.
Serve on toast for breakfast, with scrambled eggs for lunch, or as a side dish with dinner. Enjoy!
1. Homemade Baked Beans
1.5 lbs (3 cups) dried small white beans, or navy beans
2.5 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon salt
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup molasses
2 tablespoons dried mustard
Optional: 2 garlic cloves, minced
Optional: sautéed chopped onion
2. Boston Baked Beans
1.5 lbs (3 cups) dried small white beans, or navy beans
1/4 pound bacon
2.5 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 cup molasses
2 tablespoons dried mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 sautéed chopped onion
3. Vegetarian Baked Beans
This one is similar to the homemade baked beans recipe, but is less sweet as it contains no honey and the salt has been cut. Feel free to add more molasses.
1.5 lbs (3 cups) dried small white beans, or navy beans
2.5 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1/2 cup molasses
2 tablespoons dried mustard
Optional: 2 garlic cloves, minced
Optional: sautéed chopped onion
4. Great Canadian Beans
In saucepan, medium 1 tbsp oil, sauté 1 small onion chopped fine x 5min. Add 28 oz can plum tomatoes undrained and chopped, pinch hot pepper flakes, 2 tbsp maple syrup, 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, 6 sun dried tomatoes chopped, 2 x 398 cans navy beans drained and rinsed. Salt and pepper. Simmer 15 minutes.
SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE
Pierce 5 medium sweet potatoes, place on paper towels and microwave high 15-18 minutes or till tender. Cool. Peel and mash to make 3 cups. Mix potatoes, 1/2 c butter or margarine, 1/4 c brown sugar, 2 large eggs, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 cup milk. Beat till smooth. Place in greased 2 liter casserole. Microwave medium for 3 minutes, then stir. Combine 2 tbsp maple syrup and 1/2 cup toasted chopped hazelnuts and sprinkle over. Microwave medium 5 minutes till heated through.
1 c Uncooked rice
5 T Butter
1 c Chopped onion
1 c Chopped carrots
2/3 c Chopped scallions
3 T Sesame seeds
5 T Soy sauce
Cook rice according to package directions.
In a large skillet melt butter. Add onions, carrots and scallions. Saute until carrots are translucent. Set aside. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Place sesame seeds in a shallow pan. Bake until golden brown (10 to 15 minutes), shaking pan occasionally for even colour.
Lightly grease another skillet. Beat eggs. Pour into hot skillet. Cook as you would scrambled eggs. Combine rice, vegetables,
sesame seeds and eggs. Add soy sauce. Stir. Salt and pepper to taste.
SPANAKOPITA Serves eight – Yields one 9x13x2-inch pie.
For the filling:
2 lb. fresh spinach, washed, dried, trimmed, and coarsely chopped OR 1 lb. frozen chopped spinach. Thaw the spinach overnight or in a colander under warm running water. Squeeze out the liquid and skip the pan-wilting step.
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch scallions (about 3 oz. or 10 small), white and light-green parts only, trimmed and finely chopped
1 onion chopped
2 cups crumbled feta cheese (10 oz.)
1/2 cup finely grated Greek kefalotyri cheese or Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh dill
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher or fine sea salt
?2-5 cloves garlic minced
For the assembly:
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil or melted butter or combination of both for brushing; more as needed
Eighteen 9×14-inch sheets frozen phyllo dough (I use Athens brand), thawed and at room temperature
2 tsp. whole milk
Tips for working with phyllo (phyllo dries out very fast and becomes brittle when exposed to air)
• Phyllo sheets thaw more evenly and are less likely to stick together if you let the unopened package thaw in the refrigerator overnight. You can keep unopened, thawed phyllo in the fridge for up to a month.
• Don’t open the phyllo package until you have all the other ingredients prepared and you’re ready to work.
• Unroll the phyllo sheets and lay them flat on a dry surface. Immediately cover with plastic wrap and then a damp towel. (Covering with just a damp towel will moisten the sheets and make them stick together.)
• Keep the phyllo covered when not working with it, and don’t leave it uncovered for more than a minute at a time.
• Work as fast as you can.
• Use a soft-bristle pastry brush to lightly coat the sheets with melted butter or oil. Start at the edges (to keep them from cracking) and work in toward the centre.
• Roll up any unused sheets, wrap well in plastic, and refrigerate for up to two weeks. Or, wrap in plastic and then foil to freeze for up to two months.
Position a rack in the centre of the oven and heat to 375°F.
Make the filling: Heat a 10-inch straight-sided saute pan over medium-high heat. Add a few large handfuls of the spinach and cook, tossing gently with tongs. As the spinach starts to wilt, add the rest a few handfuls at a time. Cook until all the spinach is wilted and bright green, about 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the spinach to a colander set in a sink. Let cool slightly and squeeze with your hands to extract as much of the remaining liquid as you can.
Wipe the pan dry with a paper towel. Heat the oil or butter in the pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and scallions and cook until soft and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Stir in the spinach, turn off the heat, and let cool for 5 minutes. Then stir in the cheeses, eggs, parsley, nutmeg, and 1/2 tsp. salt and mix thoroughly. Add dill at very end as fragile.
Assemble the pie: With a pastry brush, lightly coat the bottom and sides of a 9x13x2-inch baking pan with some of the oil. Working quickly, lightly oil one side of a phyllo sheet and lay it in the pan oiled side up and off centre so that it partially covers the bottom and reaches halfway up one long side of the pan (the edge on the bottom of the pan will be about 1 inch from the side). Lightly oil the top of another phyllo sheet and lay it oiled side up and off centre so it reaches halfway up the other long side of the pan. (If your pan has sloped sides, the sheets may be slightly longer than the bottom of the pan; if so, let the excess go up one short side of the pan and then alternate with subsequent sheets.) Repeat this pattern with 4 more phyllo sheets. Next, lightly oil the tops of 3 phyllo sheets and layer them oiled side up and centreed in the pan.
Spread the filling evenly over the last layer.
Repeat the oiling and layering of the remaining 9 phyllo sheets over the filling in the same way you layered the previous 9. With the oiled bristles of the pastry brush, push the edges of the phyllo down around the sides of the pan to enclose the filling completely.
With a sharp knife, score the top phyllo layer into 24 rectangles, being careful not to cut all the way through to the filling. Using the same pastry brush, brush the milk along all the score marks (this will keep the phyllo from flaking up along the edges of the squares). Bake the spanakopita until the top crust is golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes. When you take it out of the oven cover it with a damp cloth while it cools for a little bit to prevent top dough from drying out and crumbling. Let cool until just warm. Cut out the rectangles carefully along the score marks and serve.
Serve with pita and hummus and Greek salad. Let it cool for 10-15 minutes before eating to get the full flavour out of the dish. Greeks typically serve food at room temperature to enjoy the full taste.
1. Destem the spinach as the stems are bitter.
2. Excess moisture kills this dish: spin spinach dry thoroughly, squeeze the spinach between 2 plates to remove the liquid, use pre-washed baby spinach (simple and no need to wash or dry), squeeze and drain frozen spinach well (put in strainer and press down with a plate), saute the frozen spinach in a bit of olive oil until the moisture evaporates (about 5 minutes).
3. smooth and flatten the phyllo as much as possible, especially the top layer because it won’t puff up when you are baking it.
4. Also put the spanakopita in the fridge before baking so the butter/oil mix solidifies, easier to cut into squares, reduces the amount of moisture and bakes much better on the top
5. Use melted butter to brush the phyllo – better flavour and better browning. Don’t drench in oil or butter and use only enough to add flavour.
6. Extra phyllo? Put some in middle.
7. You can make the pie up to 4 hours ahead. Keep warm, if desired, or serve at room temperature. Can also make up to the baking point, freeze and cook an extra 20-30 minutes.
8. Bake covered with foil for first 30 minutes at 350 then remove foil, turn up heat to 375 for another 10 minutes or so until phyllo lightly browns.
9. Try adding plain cream cheese to the feta cheese for a creamier texture
10. One tip with phyllo. Before putting in the oven, cut the top into squares. Take 1/2 cup olive oil in a saucepan and heat until it is just starting to smoke white (before it burns black), pull off fire. Pour it on top of the layers of [phyllo dough, so it crisps. This will prevent any soggy phyllo dough. Then cook in the oven for the 40 or so minutes. (I am not sure how good an idea this is but give it a try and see if it works).
The rules for cooking potatoes are generally straight forward: undercook them and they stay intact, overcook and they’ll break down into crumbly bits. Overcooked starchy potatoes like russets break apart but overcooked waxy or new potatoes hold together. Why? They contain different amounts of two different starches: amylopectin and amylose. Waxy potatoes contain very little amylose and as they cook, the starch granules in waxy potatoes burst, releasing very sticky amylopectin, that in essence glues the potato structure together, giving the impression of creaminess.
In a russet or other starchy potato, there is a higher ratio of amylose that is made up of smaller, less sticky molecules. So although russets contain more starch than do waxy potatoes, russets simply fall apart once overcooked since most of the starch is the less sticky amylose.
The more starch a potato has, the more water from inside the potato can be absorbed during baking. As the starch granules swell with water within the spud’s cell walls, they eventually force the cells to separate into clumps that result in the texture we perceive as dry and fluffy.
Simmering in broth? flavor picked up from chicken broth barely discernable even if thin sliced, removes any browning. So skipped.
Heavily salted water? Salt would penetrate into potatoes much better than fat soluble parts of chicken broth.
Waxy potatoes (red and new potatoes): Low starch 16% – steaming turns them tender and creamy, good for tossing with butter and herbs. Red bliss. Benefits of overcooking
Yukon Gold: 16-18% starch.
Russets: The classic choice for baked potatoes as dry, floury with a high (20-22%) of starch.
To cook waxy potatoes, braise with water, butter, garlic, thyme and salt in a covered skillet until potatoes soften, then remove the lid to let the liquid evaporate and let the butter brown, coloring and enriching the flavor. This produces silky interiors and crispy crusts.
Halve 1½ lbs small red potatoes, unpeeled and arranged in single layer, cut sides down, in 12” nonstick skillet. Add 2 c water, 3 tbsp unsalted butter, 3 garlic cloves peeled, ¾ tsp salt, and 2 sprigs fresh thyme. Increase heat to medium-high and vigorously simmer, swirling pan occ. until water evaporates and butter starts to sizzle, 15-20 minutes.
When cool enough to handle, mince garlic to paste, transfer to bowl, and stir in 1 tsp lemon juice and ¼ tsp pepper.
Continue to cook potatoes swirling pan frequently until butter browns and cut sides of potatoes turn spotty brown, 4-6 minutes longer. Off heat, add garlic mixture and 2 tbsp minced fresh chives.
Braised Red Potatoes with Dijon and Tarragon
Substitute 2 tsp Dijon mustard for lemon juice and 1 tbsp minced fresh tarragon from chives.
2. GARLIC-PARMESAN MASHED POTATOES
Potato: Yukon Golds are great for mashing: buttery tasting, moderately starchy.
2 pounds, peeled and sliced ½” thick. Bring to simmer med-high heat and gently simmer till paring knife can be slipped into it and out with no resistance, 18-22 minutes. Drain.
Garlic Paste: use rasp-style grater to transform 2 garlic cloves into 1¼ tsp of a flavor packed, ultrafine paste. Combine ½ tsp garlic powder with ½ tsp water in small bowl. Melt 4 tbsp unsalted butter cut into 4 pieces in 8” skillet medium low heat. Saute 1 tsp of paste and garlic powder mixture, stirring constantly until fragrant and golden, about 1 minute. Transfer to medium bowl and thoroughly stir in 1½ oz Parmesan grated (¾ cup), 1¼ tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, and remaining ½ tsp garlic paste.
Set empty saucepan over low heat, set ricer of food mill over saucepan and process potato. Using rubber spatula, stir in butter-Parmesan mixture until incorporated. Stir in ⅔ c warm milk until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
3. MASHED SWEET POTATOES
Combine 2 lbs. sweet potatoes peeled, quartered lengthwise and sliced crosswise ½” thick, 4 tbsp butter, 2 tbsp heavy cream, 1 tsp sugar and ½ tsp salt in large saucepan and cook, covered,, over low heat, stirring occasionally, until potatoes fall apart when poked with a fork, 35-45 minutes.
Off heat, mash potatoes in saucepan with potato masher. Stir in pepper and serve immediately.
Maple-Orange Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Use 100% maple syrup; stir in 2 tbsp syrup and ½ tsp grated orange zest with pepper just before serving.
4. BAKED POTATOES
Russets are the classic choice for baked potatoes. Soak the potatoes in salty water when cleaning. Pricking probably doesn’t matter as exploding potatoes very rare. Bake on a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet to allow the hot air to circulate evenly around the potatoes. Cook the interiors to 205-212° for perfect fluffy, light results. 450° for 45 minutes is the sweet spot. Crucial to cut the potatoes open immediately after baking to let steam escape. Without will turn dense and gummy. Apply a light coating of vegetable oil after they are cooked and return to oven for 10 minutes to make skins deep brown and crisp (the skin dehydrates during cooking; the extra time increases the interior temperature 2-3°).
Recipe: 4 (7-9oz russet potatoes, unpeeled, each lightly pricked with fork in 6 place. Adjust oven rack to middle, heat 450°. Dissolve 2 tbsp salt in ½ c. water in large bowl. Toss potatoes so exteriors moistened. Transfer wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet and bake till center of largest potato registers 205°, 45-60 minutes.
Remove potatoes from oven and brush tops and sides with oil. Return and bake 10 minutes more.
Remove and using paring knife make 2 slits forming X in each potato. Using clean dishtowel, hold ends and squeeze slightly to push flesh up and out. Season salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Creamy Egg Topping (makes 1 c). Stir together in bowl and season with salt and pepper: 4 hard-boiled eggs chopped, 4 tbsp sour cream, 1 tbsp minced fresh parsley, 1½ tbsp. minced cornichons, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 tbsp capers rinsed and minced, 1 tbsp minced shallot.
Herbed Goat Cheese Topping (makes ½ c). Mash 4 oz goat cheese softened with fork. Stir in 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp minced parsley, 1 tbsp minced shallot, ½ tsp lemon zest, salt and pepper.
5. CRISP ROAST POTATOES
Theory: Desire a well-browned, crispy, exterior and a creamy interior. For a potato to brown and crisp, two things need to happen, and both depend on moisture. First, starch granules must absorb water and swell, releasing some of their amylose (a water-soluble starch). Second, some of the amylose must break down into glucose (sugar). Once the moisture evaporates on the surface of the potatoes, the amylose hardens into a shell, yielding crispness, and the glucose darkens, yielding an appealing brown color. In the dry heat to the oven , this is a lengthy process because the starch granules swell slowly, releasing little amylase. Parboiled potatoes are swimming in the required moist heat, releasing lost of amylose on the surface of the a potato.
The Potato: Yukon Golds with medium starch and medium moisture, crisp best and produce the creamiest interiors. Precooked spuds begin browning and crisping almost immediately when in the oven. Cut into ½” rounds. Rough up the surface (allows more escape routes for moisture, speeds up evaporation as crisping can’t begin unit all the moisture on the surface is boiled off -212°) by tossing with olive oil and salt.
Parboil for 5 minutes: bring to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat so that vigorous boiling does not wash away produce too much starch.
Recipe: Oven lowest rack, preheat rimmed baking sheet 450°.
2½ pounds Yukon Gold, unpeeled, sliced ½” thick. Bring to boil starting in cold water and immediately reduce the heat, cooking for 5 minutes. Drain, drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil and sprinkle ½ tsp salt. Using rubber spatula, toss to combine and repeat with more oil and salt and toss till coated with starchy paste, 1-2 minutes.
Working quickly, remove baking sheet from oven, drizzle remaining 1 tbsp oil over, transfer to sheet. Bake till bottoms golden brown 15-25 minutes, rotating sheets every 10 minutes. Using spatula and tongs, loosen potatoes from sheet and flip. Roast 10-20 minutes, rotating once. Season salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
6. HOME FRIES
Recipe: Adjust oven rack to lowest and place rimmed baking sheet 500°.
3½ lbs russet potatoes peeled and cut into ¾” cubes.
Boil 2½ quarts water, add potatoes and ½ tsp baking soda, return to boil and cook for 1 minute. Drain, return potatoes to pot, place over low heat, cook, shaking occ., until any surface moisture has evaporated, about 2 minutes.
Off heat, add 3 tbsp unsalted butter cut into 12 pieces, 1½ tsp kosher salt, pinch cayenne pepper. Using rubber spatula, mix till coated with thick, starchy paste, about 30 seconds.
Remove preheated sheet from oven, drizzle with 2 tbsp oil, transfer potatoes and spread evenly. Roast 15 minutes.
Remove sheet and turn potatoes. Combine 2 onions cut into ½-inch pieces, 1 tbsp oil, ½ tsp salt in bowl and add to 8×5 inch space in middle of potatoes. Roast 15 minutes.
Scrape and turn again, mixing onions into potatoes. Roast till potatoes browned and onions beginning to brown, 5-10 minutes loner. Stir in 2 tbsp minced chives and season salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
PERFECT BOILED CORN
Theory: the liquid inside the kernels (the milk) is chalky thanks to the presence of raw starches. As corn heats, those starches absorb water, swell and gelatinize, and the starchy liquid becomes seemingly smoother, silkier and more translucent. Simultaneously, the pectin (essentially the glue holding the cell wall inside the kernel together) dissolves, the walls no longer stick together and the corn softens (the more pectin that dissolves, the more mushy the corn becomes).
To cook the corn perfectly, the water temperature with corn in it should equalize at 150-170°, the sweet spot where starches gelatinize but little pectin breaks down so remain snappy. The best formula is to boil 4 quarts of water for 6 ears of corn, immediately remove from the heat and let sit for 10-30 minutes (it never overcooks).
Recipe: Boil 4 quarts water, turn off heat, remove silk and husks from 6 ears corn, add to water, cover and let stand at least 10 minutes or up to 30 minutes.
Transfer to large platter and serve immediately with:
Chili-Lime Salt: Combine 2 tbsp kosher salt, 4 tsp chili powder, ¾ tsp lime zest.
How much and what kind of flavor to develop. Garlic cells do not develop the flavorful, aromatic compound called allicin until they are ruptured by cutting or smashing. The intensity depends on the size of the cut. The finer the cut (more broken cells and thus greater allicin production), the sharper the taste – slices or slivers will pack less of a punch than minced.
Cooking: The fiery punch of raw garlic is tamed by heat that converts allicin into mellower-tasting compounds. If cook whole, uncut cloves, allicin is never produced and only a sweet, mild taste emerges.
1. PERFECT POACHED EGGS
Theory: A fully set white and a yolk that’s fluid but thickened, almost saucy. The white must not be raggedy or wisp at the edges and must have a plump, ovoid flying-saucer shape ideal for sitting atop an English muffin.
Eggs: Must be the freshest possible as a greater percentage of the white is not watery.
Recipe: Bring 6 cups water to boil. Crack 1-4 eggs into a colander to rid any watery, loose whites – let stand 20-30 seconds. Gently transfer eggs to 2-cup liquid measuring cup.
Add 1 tbsp white vinegar and salt to boiled, gently tip eggs into water, one at a time, leaving space between them. Cover pot, remove from heat, and let stand until whites closest to yolk are just set and opaque, about 3 minutes. If not set, let stand at 30 second increments. Using slotted spoon, carefully remove and drain eggs. Season with salt and pepper.
2. PERFECT OMELETS
Theory: Ideally, unblemished golden yellow, ultracreamy texuture and minimal filling. Preheat pan completely – 10 minutes on low – to make sure pan completely evenly heated. Use fork to mix eggs. Beat eggs to make lighter.
Recipe: Place oven rack in middle, 2 heat proof plates 200°.
Freeze 1 tbsp butter cut into several small pieces, at least 10 minutes
Heat ½ tsp oil in 8” non stick skillet low heat 10 minutes. Crack 2 eggs + 1 yolk into bowl. Add ⅛ tsp salt and pinch pepper. Break yolks with fork and beat 80 strokes until yolks and whites well combined. Stir in half of frozen butter.
When skillet fully heated, use paper towels to wipe out oil, melt ½ tbsp. butter and add egg mixture. Increase heat to medium high. Use 2 chopsticks, wooden skewers, or wooden spoon to scramble eggs, using quick circular motion, scraping cooked egg from sides until eggs almost cooked but still slightly runny, 45-90 seconds. Remove heat and smooth into even layer with spatula. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp Gruyere cheese and 2 tsp minced chives. Cover and let sit 1-2 minutes depending on desired texture.
Heat low over 20 seconds. Use spatula to loosen edges. Place folded paper towel on warmed plate and slide onto it the omelet so that it overhangs paper towel by 1”. Using paper towel, roll omelet into neat cylinder and set aside.
3. PERFECT FRIED EGGS
Theory: sunny side up and crispy on its underside and edges with a tender an opaque white and perfectly runny yolk. But yolks and whites set at different temperatures – yolks at 158° and whites at 180°. Preheat pan (12-14” for 4 eggs and 8-9” for 2 eggs) fully – add 1 tsp of oil on low for 5 minutes. Cover to set equally.
Add 2 pats butter to pan just before pouring in eggs.
Recipe: Heat 2 tsps vegetable oil in 12 -14” skillet low 5 minutes. Crack 2 eggs each into 2 bowls. Increase heat medium-high until oil shimmering. Add 2 tsp chilled, unsalted butter cut into 4 pieces and swirl. Working quickly, pour 1 bowl of 2 eggs into one side and the other into the other side, cover and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and let stand, covered 15-45 seconds for runny yolks, 45-60 seconds for soft but set yolks and about 2 minutes for medium-set yolks. Serve.
4. EASY-PEEL HARD-COOKED EGGS
Theory: Fresh eggs are harder to peel. The white is slightly alkaline. As eggs age, the white becomes more alkaline as the dissolved carbon dioxide (a weak acid) it contains dissipates – and the more alkaline the white, the easier it is to peel when cooked. The higher alkalinity causes the egg white proteins to bond to each other not to the membrane directly under the shell.
Eggs: Use large eggs with no cracks and are cold from the refrigerator. If you don’t have a steamer basket, use a spoon or tongs to gently place the eggs in the water. It does not matter if the eggs are above the water or partially submerged. You can use this method for fewer than six or up to 12 eggs without altering the timing. The eggs can be peeled at any time. Eggs are still fit for consumption 3-5 weeks past the sell-by-date.
Recipe: Bring 1” water to rolling boil in medium saucepan over high heat. Place 6 eggs in steamer basket and transfer to sauce pan. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook eggs for 13 minutes.
When eggs almost finished, combine 2 cups ice cubes and 2 cups cold water in medium bowl. Using tongs or spoon, transfer eggs to ice bath, let sit for 15 minutes. Peel before using. An efficient way is to use a plastic box with a lid instead of a bowl for the ice bath. Once eggs chilled, pour off half the water and shake the container vigorously 40 times.