Browsing articles in "Side Dishes"
Mar 15, 2012

Recipe for: Shoestring Onion Rings

From the kitchen of: Isabel   Total time: 10 min to prep, 20 min to fry   Makes: 4-6 servings

A colleague orders out for lunch every once in a while, and I always look forward to the days he gets onion rings with his sandwich because he never eats them all and shares them with the group. The onion rings he gets though are not my favorite. But hey, they’re free and I can’t pass up on free food. His onion rings are the thick kind. They’re fat slices with a thick coating of breading and deep fried. As you can imagine, that after some time, the onion and the breading do get a little soggy. Well, my version is the complete opposite. Mine are shoestring so they cook up super fast and stay crispy for a longer time. There is a good balance between the salty, thin, crispy exterior and the oniony flavor and texture. I used evaporated milk to bind the flour to the onion and it turned out freaking amazing! You absolutely can’t eat just a handful. Before you know it, the pan will be empty. Shoestring onion rings are definitely the way to go.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 can evaporated milk
2 sweet white onions, medium to large size
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
salt for seasoning
vegetable oil, for frying

1. Mix flour with seasonings.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, cayenne, chili powder and teaspoon of salt. Mix well and set aside.

2. Prep onions. Thinly slice the onions. The first onion, slice off the ends and remove outer layer. Slice the onion in half and thinly sliced the halves. The second onion, also remove the ends and outer layer, but keep it whole. Thinly slice the onion keeping onion in rings. This way you have a mix. Place slices in a bowl and pour the evaporated milk over the onion slices allowing to soak for 5-7 minutes. Meanwhile, turn on the oven to 170° and line a cookie sheet with 2 layers of paper towel.

Thin, thin, thin slices. Using a sharp knife is the key.

3. Fry the onions. While the onions are soaking, heat a dutch oven or large pot with an inch or so of vegetable oil over medium high temperature. Allow the oil to get hot. To test whether the oil ready, try frying one onion ring. It should take about 30 seconds or so for the onion ring to brown.

Once the oil is hot, take a handful of the soaked onion rings and dredge it in the flour mixture. Shake off any excess flour and gently place the onions in the hot oil. Using a strainer utensil, turn the rings over once or twice allowing them to turn golden brown It will only take 30 seconds to a minute for the onion rings to brown. Remove and place on the paper-lined tray and keep them in the heated oven to stay crispy while you continue to fry up the rest. Repeat process 4-6 times til all the rings are fried. Once all fried, season with salt and eat immediately.

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Mar 6, 2012

Recipe for: Garlic, Sage & Parmesan Creamy Mashed Potatoes

From the kitchen of: Isabel     Total time: 30 min     Makes: 6-8 servings

Potatoes are my thing. I just absolutely love them. However it’s prepared, I will eat it. French fried. Mashed. Croquette-style. Hashed. Scalloped. Roasted. Seriously, anyway. Just ask Jared how obsessed I am with potatoes. I’ve never met a style of potato I didn’t enjoy eating and I find it ironic that I don’t even have a mashed potato recipe on Pretty Tasty Things. Until now. I’ve eaten and made mashed potatoes a million times, and found that the best way to infuse flavor in mashed potatoes is in the cream. The cream is the base to any mashed potato and while the cream heats over the stove, add whatever flavors you enjoy. I decided to use garlic and sage, allowing these bold flavors to steep in the cream. With Gold potatoes rather than Russet, the end result is a creamy texture with wonderful hints of garlic, sage and Parmesan cheese.

7 gold potatoes
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 large garlic cloves, crushed
2 sage leaves
1/4 grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons salt

1. Boil potatoes.
Bring to a boil a large pot of water seasoned with one teaspoon of salt. While the water is heating, prep the potatoes. Peel, rinse and chop the potatoes to large chunks relatively all the same size. When the water reaches a boil, gently place the potatoes into the pot and allow to cook until fork tender. Roughly 20-25 minutes depending on size.

2. Infuse cream. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the milk, heavy cream, crushed garlic and sage over medium-low temperature. Allow the ingredients to infuse for 20 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Lower temperature if the milk begins to bubble up.

3. Make mashed potatoes. Once the potatoes are fork tender, drain the water and return the potatoes to the pot. Allow the potatoes to steam in the pot for 30 seconds over low temperature in order for the water to evaporate. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes thoroughly. Gradually add the garlic/sage cream mixture in several intervals mashing in between until you’ve reached a creamy consistency. You may not need to use all the milk. I had a little left over that I did not use. Afterwards, add the Parmesan cheese, and season with butter, salt and pepper. Mix well and serve hot sprinkled with a little more Parmesan cheese.

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Dec 6, 2011

Recipe for: No-Knead Homemade Bread

FROM THE KITCHEN OF: Adapted from New York Times
TOTAL TIME: about 20-24 hours
1 loaf

I made bread for the very first time exactly one month ago today with a recipe a good friend of mine recommended. Thanks to my friend, Laila, I am no longer a virgin to baking bread! The recipe she recommended is a no-knead homemade bread from New York Times. So far, I’ve made this bread exactly four times in one single month because it was that good. I needed a recipe that I couldn’t miss up since baking is not my forte, but every time, the bread bakes beautifully with a rich, crispy golden-brown exterior and airy, but filling interior. I followed the recipe fairly closely because I was a little nervous to change it up since baking tends to be an exact science. With my cast iron pot, also a wedding gift from Laila, I’ve made this bread to go alongside the Gambas al Ajillo and even more recently with a simple herb, garlic and olive oil dipping sauce. No-Knead homemade bread, it’s a good thing.

3 cups flour, all-purpose or bread
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water + 2 tablespoons
flour for dusting

1. Make the dough. In a medium-size bowl, combine the flour, yeast, salt and water until well blended. The dough will be a little shaggy and sticky. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let it rest in a relatively warm room for a recommended 14-18 hours. *I’ve let the dough rest overnight for 24-hours and it was fine too!

2. 15-minute rest. After the first long rest, little bubbles will form on top of the dough. Lightly flour a work surface. Using a spatula, scrape the dough from the bowl onto the floured surface. Flour the top of the dough lightly and fold the dough over itself 2-3 times forming a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 15 minutes.

3. 2-hour rest. Get a cotton cloth ready and heavily flour one side of the towel. Lightly flour your hands to pick up the dough and shape it quickly into a ball. Place the ball onto the floured cloth. Add a little more flour on top and fold the towel over to cover the dough. Allow it to rest for 2 hours.

4. Bake the dough. At least 30 minutes before the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 450°. As the oven heats, place a 6-8 quart cast iron covered pot in the oven for about 30 minutes. Remove the hot pot from the oven and place the dough in the pot. Cover the pot with the lid and place it in the oven for 30 minutes, and then remove the lid and cook for an additional 15 minutes to brown the top of the bread. Remove from oven and place the bread on a rack to cool.

Bread doesn’t stick to the pot at all. Just use a spatula to remove the dough and allow it to rest on a baking rack.

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Nov 15, 2011

Recipe for: Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

FROM THE KITCHEN OF: Isabel Canfield
TOTAL TIME: 10 min to prep, 30 min to roast
feeds 4

I am obsessed with all-things potato. I do think I have a serious addiction. You name it. French fries, mashed potatoes, potato chips, latkes, hash browns, pretty much anything. Oh, and let me not forget roasted potatoes. Even though I love roasted potatoes, I normally don’t make them at home mainly because it always seems too long to take. However, this recipe is a fool proof way to quickly roast potatoes. The trick is to use fingerling or small potatoes. They are petite and would only need about 30 minutes to brown to golden perfection. These not only taste good, but they are just so pretty with the herbs baked right underneath them. These roasted potatoes would be wonderful to serve for your next dinner party this season, which is what I did last Friday. Just serve them with your favorite sauce or condiment, and enjoy while crispy and hot.

fingerling potatoes (about 1 large bag, a medley of small potatoes will work)
fresh oregano leaves (or any fresh leafy herb)
olive oil
salt + pepper

1. Prep the ingredients. Rinse off the fingerling potatoes in water and pat completely dry. Remove the leaves from the fresh oregano stems.

2. Season the potatoes. Slice the potatoes lengthwise right down the middle. Place in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, about 2-3 tablespoons, and heavily with salt and pepper. Toss together to be sure all the potatoes are nicely coated. Cover a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat the foil with olive oil. Stick about two oregano leaves on the flat side of the seasoned potato and place flat on the sheet. Repeat for all the slices.

Gently press the leaves onto the potatoes.

3. Bake the potatoes. In a preheated 425° oven, bake the potatoes for 30 minutes until the bottom of the slices are golden brown. Serve immediately with your favorite sauce or condiment.

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Nov 4, 2011

Roasted Cauliflower and Sweet Potato

FROM THE KITCHEN OF: Isabel Canfield
TOTAL TIME: 10 min to prep, 45 min to roast
feeds 4

Ever since my co-worker told me that using my oven would increase the temperature of my house by a few degrees, I’ve been on a roasting and baking up a storm. She was totally right, too! The temperature went up in our house 2-3 degrees after roasting some vegetables in the oven last night. We have oil heat in our house and the price of just 100 gallons was $365 dollars! I know, ridiculous, huh? That won’t even last a month during the winter. SIGH. So, needless to say Jared and I are waiting til the last minute to turn on our heat. We’ve bundled ourselves in layers of clothing, socks and blankets. Now, we’re planning on using our oven even more now than ever. Anything to save us some money this winter season.

So my attempt to warm up the house was roasting cauliflower and sweet potato in the oven with a few seasonings, onion and garlic. Roasting vegetables is one of the easiest thing any one can do. The oven does the work, you’ll just have the dress the vegetables to your liking. If you’re not a fan of the seasonings I selected, feel free to make your own creation. I would say having the onion and garlic are a must. The onion gives some sweetness and the garlic gives the dish a bite. This is a dish that will warm your tummy and your home!

1 cauliflower
1 large sweet potato
1/4 white onion
3 garlic cloves
olive oil
chili powder

1. Prep the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 400°. Rinse the cauliflower and pat dry. Remove all the florets from the cauliflower using a sharp knife. Peel and dice the sweet potato into medium chunks. Thinly slice the white onion. Roughly chop the peeled garlic cloves. Combine all these ingredients in a oven-safe tray.

2. Season the vegetables. Coat the vegetables with a heavy drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt, cumin, chili powder and paprika to your liking. Personally, I just lightly dusted the veggies with the seasonings. Toss all together until all the veggies are nicely coated.

3. Bake the vegetables. Place the tray in the 400° oven for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure all the sides are roasted. After the veggies are roasted, remove from oven and drizzle a little more olive oil and salt. Serve when warm.

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