Potato Gnocchi

January 22, 2009

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Potato dough is surprisingly easy to stir together … and gnocchi are the perfect cold weather comfort food. Serve these with everything from marinara sauce to pesto to fine olive oil and feta.

1 pound new potatoes
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup all-purpose flour (2 ounces/50 grams)
1 tablespoon corn meal
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup tomato-basil sauce
grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley for garnish

In a saucepan or stockpot, cover the potatoes with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain, cool, and peel the potatoes and put through a ricer on the smallest disk. Add the egg, flour, cornmeal, and oil and stir with a pastry fork until mixture forms a ball. Turn onto a floured surface and with a bench knife cut into quarters. Roll each quarter into a snake 1/2-inch in diameter. Cut into half-inch disks. In a large stockpot or chef’s pan, bring to a boil 3 quarts of salted water. One by one, drop the gnocchi into the water. When all rise to the top, skim them off and place in a warm bowl. Toss immediately with tomato sauce and serve sprinkled with Parmesan and parsley.
Makes 2 to 3 servings.

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Potato Cabbage Gratin

January 2, 2009

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Here’s a great way to warm your family on a cold winter’s night … It’s also easy to make. You can steam the cabbage while you simmer the potatoes. Buy a firm, fresh head and sprinkle it with lemon juice before you steam it to avoid the cabbage smell.

1 pound waxy potatoes (4 medium)
1 1/2 pounds cabbage (1 1/2 head)
juice of 1 lemon
1 pound onions (2 medium large)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 ounces log chèvre
4 ounces water
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unseasoned breadcrumbs, divided
grated whole nutmeg to taste
sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

In the bottom of a 3- or 4-quart steamer pan, cover the potatoes with cold water and bring to a boil. Slice the cabbage into 2-inch wedges, place in the steamer basket and sprinkle with the lemon juice. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until tender, 10 to 15 minutes for the cabbage, 20 to 25 minutes for the potatoes. Drain, cool, and roughly chop each and set aside.

Slice the onions, thinly. In a large chef’s pan over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and add the onions. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and sweat until translucent, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a shallow 1 1/2-quart gratin and set aside.

In a small saucier over extremely low heat, combine the chèvre, water, and bay leaf. Stir with a whisk until melted.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the potatoes, cabbage, and onions. Fold in the chèvre mixture and 1/2 cup breadcrumbs.  Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.  Turn into the prepared gratin and top with the remaining breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon oil.  Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until browned.
Makes 4 servings.


Sour Cream-Potato Casserole

March 22, 2008
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A particularly comforting twist on scalloped potatoes … SAM

6 medium waxy potatoes
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
1 1/4 cup milk, divided
1 (8-ounce) carton sour cream
3 eggs, hard-cooked and sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Butter

Boil the potatoes in their jackets until tender, about 25 minutes. Slice them thinly. Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 1 1/2-quart casserole dish and cover the bottom with breadcrumbs. In a medium bowl, mix 1/4 cup milk with the sour cream. Layer half the potatoes and eggs in the casserole dish and season with salt and pepper. Cover with half the sour cream mixture. Repeat the layers and top with breadcrumbs and dots of butter. Pour the remaining 1 cup milk around the sides and bake for 1 hour.
Makes 6 servings.

Adapted from Emily’s cookbook All-American Comfort Food.


Potato Salad with Green Olives and Pimientos

January 3, 2008
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Potato salad in winter is like a fresh taste of summer. SAM

1 1/2 pounds small new potatoes
1 medium sweet onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
2 medium center ribs celery, finely sliced (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or to taste
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 hard-cooked eggs, coarsely chopped
Paprika

In a large saucepan cover the potatoes with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain, cool, peel, and roughly chop. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the onion, celery, olives, parsley, salt, pepper flakes, lemon juice, and oil. Add the hot potatoes and toss gently to blend. Carefully fold in the eggs. Sprinkle with paprika, cover, and chill.
Makes 8 servings.


Pasta Baked with Potatoes and Leeks

October 31, 2007

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Leeks and potatoes are an almost magical combination. Bake them with pasta and cheese, and you have the ultimate comfort food. SAM

1 pound new potatoes (4 medium)
1 pound onions, thinly sliced (2 medium)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 medium leeks
1 teaspoon toasted, ground cumin seed
4 ounces small pasta [curls, oriechetti, macaroni]
2 tablespoons crème fraîche
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons unseasoned breadcrumbs, divided
2 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch gratin dish and set aside.

In a small saucepan, cover the potatoes with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain, cool, and roughly chop.

Trim away the heavy green ends of the leeks. Leaving the roots intact, slice the leeks into quarters from roots to tips. Rinse under running water and place upside-down in a sieve in a large bowl of cold water. Soak for 30 minutes or until free of sand and dirt. Chop into 1-inch pieces.

In a large chef’s pan over medium heat, sweat the onions in 1 tablespoon oil for 15 minutes. Add the leeks, raise the heat to medium, cover, and cook until tender, about 15 minutes more. Raise the heat to medium-high, add the cumin and sauté until fragrant, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes.

Boil the pasta in lightly salted water until al dente. Drain, toss with 1 tablespoon oil, and stir into the onions and leeks. Add the potatoes, crème fraîche, 1/3 cup breadcrumbs, cheese, salt, and pepper. Turn into the prepared casserole and top with the remaining 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon oil. Bake for 30 minutes or until browned.
Makes 2 main or 4 side servings.


Roasted Red Pepper-Potato Gratin

October 30, 2007

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A perfect casserole for cooler weather … Use whatever cheese you find in your market. Paneer would be fine or a nice hard sheep’s cheese. The goat’s cheese-water mixture functions as the sauce. You can substitute a béchamel or use heavy cream. Actually, heavy cream would be wonderful! SAM

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 pounds sweet onions, thinly sliced (4 medium)
1 pound new potatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
3 ounces log goat’s cheese
3 ounces water
6 ounces roasted red bell peppers, minced
2 tablespoons grated mild cheddar
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unseasoned breadcrumbs, divided
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8-inch gratin dish and set aside. in a large, covered chef’s pan over low heat, sweat the onions in 1 tablespoon oil, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic after 15 minutes and continue cooking another 15 minutes, until translucent. In a small stockpot, cover the potatoes with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. In a small saucepan over very low heat, combine the goat’s cheese, water, and bay leaf stirring until melted. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the onion mixture, potatoes, goat’s cheese mixture, roasted peppers, cheddar, and 1/3 cup breadcrumbs. Discard the bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Turn into the prepared gratin, sprinkle with the remaining breadcrumbs and remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Bake for 50 minutes or until browned.
Makes 4 servings.


Baked Potatoes with Cheesy Beer Topping

October 2, 2007

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Okay, what guy can’t bake a potato? Nuking is a no brainer. But potatoes taste a lot better—and I mean a lot!—if you bake them in a hot oven for an hour or so. The cool part of this recipe, though, is the topping. Cheese … beer … Hey! Who needs women when they have cheese and beer! Well, there’s Sam … HARRY

Buy baking potatoes all approximately the same size and shape. Scrub them with a stiff brush, dry them, and rub with olive oil. Cook them in a microwave according to the manufacturer’s instructions, or bake on the rack of a 400-degree F oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until tender when pricked with a fork. Remove to a plate and make a vertical cut in the top center from end to end, half the depth of the potato. Press in the ends to open for topping.

Cheesy-Beer Topping

8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, grated (2 cups)
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 clove garlic, pressed
2/3 cup beer
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the Cheddar cheese, cream cheese, garlic, beer, and sesame seeds. Cook, stirring frequently, until cheeses are melted. Remove from the heat and add the relish. Store in the refrigerator.
Makes 2 1/2 cups or enough for 6 baked potatoes.