Crispy Seasoned Potato Skins

November 10, 2009

DSC05469

As I was about to throw away a bunch of potato skins (sadly, I still haven’t started a compost bin here in Mississippi), I thought, “I’d bet these would bake well.” Turns out, I was right.

Note: Potato skins have a lot of phytonutrients, a natural source of antioxidants that help detoxify the body. However, pesticdes are easily absorbed into potato skins, so make sure that you buy organic.

I improvised on this recipe, which also sounds awesome but requires intact potato skin shells and a few other delicious ingredients.

Ingredients:

Peelings of 2 potatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Optional: 1/2 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese

Grease a baking sheet lightly and place peelings on it. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and brush all over potato skins. I recommend using a spatula to toss the peelings around in the pan.

Bake at 475° for 6-8 minutes and flip peelings over with a spatula as best you can. Bake for another 6-8 minutes or so and then turn right side up. Watch to make sure the skins aren’t burning.

Serves 2 as a light side dish (pictured above with two chunks of hearty bread).

Advertisements

Gill & Kat’s Gourmet Three Cheese Bacon Mac-n-Cheese

August 21, 2009

Prepare yourself. Just reading this makes my mouth water.  Gill and I experimented with magic while I was in Hawaii, and we hit the jackpot.  Seriously. Don’t even try to calculate the calories, just know that your soul will be happy after eating this.

Ingredients:

½ onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 stick butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 pint heavy cream
Gorgonzola, coarsely chopped
Gruyere, coarsely grated
Parmesan, shaved
Pepper
Bacon
Tony Chachere’s
Shells
Italian Breadcrumb
Olive Oil

First step is making a béchamel sauce.  This starts by making a roux, which I know you know how to do.  Melt butter in sauté pan.  Add onions and garlic and sauté until clear.  Add flour one tablespoon at a time and let the flour cook through and thicken the butter.  Then slowly add the cream.  Continue stirring over low heat until the sauce is thick and creamy.  If needed, feel free to pour in a little milk.  We did.  It’s all a matter of making it the consistency of cream. You know how to do it. And then generously pepper.

In a separate pot, cook one pound of shells until just before al dente.  Drain and set aside. They’ll cook a bit more in the cheese.

Take a full pack of bacon, and microwave it, bake it, however you want to do it, but make sure it’s extra crunchy.  Then chop it up to make it nice and crumbly. Drop into large casserole dish.

Take the full wedge of gorgonzola and chop coarsely.  For the gruyere, we grated about half of the wedge. And the shredded parmesan was about half the 4 oz tub.  Add all that wonderful cheese to the dish.

Then dump the shells into the casserole dish.  Stir it all together and then pour in the béchamel sauce. Stir again.  Generously sprinkle Tony’s to cover the top, stir.  Do that one more time and stir again.  Cover the top with Italian breadcrumb and drizzle with olive oil.  Cover and bake at 350 until golden and crispy on top.

Finally, enjoy because this is seriously a heart attack happiness on a plate.


Tuna Salad with Chopped Veggies

June 21, 2009

tuna-salad

I’ve always liked tuna salad, but I didn’t love it until I added sweet pickle relish. When I began adding other things for texture (water chestnuts), flavor (onion), and color (tomato), I really, really loved it. It’s perfect for a summer lunch and falls into my favorite “10-minute gourmet meals” category. This recipe serves two, but it’s easy to double.

1 can tuna (make sure it’s dolphin safe)
Nearly 1/4 cup mayo (replace with hummus if you’re not a mayo fan, ahem, Gill)
3 1/2 heaping tablespoons of sweet pickle relish
1/2 can water chestnuts, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 green onion, chopped finely
Freshly ground black pepper
Optional: A bit of chopped white onion
Optional: Baby spinach, fresh whole wheat bread
Serves 2.

1. Drain the tuna and spoon into a small mixing bowl.

2. Add all ingredients and mix well with a fork, breaking up the tuna chunks and creating a whipped texture.

3. Serve on a bed of baby spinach with whole wheat toast on the side, or on bread to make a sandwich.


Mac and Cheese, Vol. 1

April 8, 2009

As with many things in life, I’m incredibly fickle about my mac and cheese, but it’s only because I care. Mac is one of my favorite foods, and I want it to live up to its potential. Besides, if I’m going to eat something that decadent it had better be delicious.

I detest all forms of boxed and pre-prepared mac and cheese (except Trader Joe’s, which has saved my life on more than one occasion), and the recipes I test never turn out perfect. They’re always either too oily, or too cheesy, or too mushy, or you know. Just plain wrong.

I decided to play around on the stove tonight to see if I could invent a creamy, cheesy sauce that’s rich without being over the top. I got really close with this baked mac.

A couple notes: I used whole-wheat noodles because they hold up better in the oven. Any kind of milk will work for this sauce (I used 1 percent), but I imagine that the higher the fat content, the quicker the sauce thickens. I used a combination of shredded Mexican blend cheese and shredded gouda, but any kind of cheese will do; I could see a combination of Swiss and cheddar being really tasty.

Just don’t use Velveeta. I like it just as much as the next red-blooded American (*cough, cough*), but seeing as how it isn’t actually cheese, it probably doesn’t belong in this recipe. It isn’t macaroni and “processed cheese product,” after all.

pan-o-mac1

Ingredients:

1/2 pound of macaroni
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
3 cups cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
Salt and pepper
Cooking spray

Cook the pasta to just slightly chewier than al dente and drain. Put the noodles in a mixing bowl and set aside.

Melt the butter over low heat in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the flour a tablespoonful at a time, forming a paste. Add about 1/4 cup of milk, whisking to combine it with the flour and butter. Add the rest of the milk slowly, whisking the entire time. Turn up the heat to medium and cook the sauce, whisking constantly, until it thickens. Do not stop stirring and do not let the milk boil. If that happens, the sauce is toast. It’ll probably still taste OK, but will get grainy and weird. The sauce needs to be thick enough to stick to the sides of the pot; this could take 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the milk’s fat content.

Drop the heat down to low. Add two cups of cheese to the thickened sauce, whisking constantly. Add the ground mustard, then salt and pepper to taste. Stir it all together, then taste the sauce. If it’s not cheesy enough, add more cheese about 1/4 cup at a time until it tastes just right. I ended up using a total of about 2 1/2 cups of cheese in the sauce.

Pour the sauce over the cooked noodles and mix. Spray a metal or glass baking dish with cooking spray and pour the mac into the pan. Sprinkle the top with a bit more cheese and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes, or until brown and slightly crusty on top.

Eat. Enjoy. Marvel at your genius.

plate-o-mac