Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
If I am baking potatoes for another meal, I might throw in a couple extra to have for twice-baked.
And you can pretty much add anything you want to them as far as the cheese and herbs and add-ons go.
This time around I had some pancetta in the fridge, so I decided to give that a try in there with the other goodies.
I like pancetta, which is an Italian type of bacon.
Cheesy twice-baked potatoes with pancetta and roasted garlic
8 cloves garlic, roasted in oil (click here for method)
3 oz pancetta (bacon will work if you can't get pancetta)
1 tbsp olive oil
4 large potatoes, BAKED (I work with them warm, but not hot)
1 stick butter, cut into cubes
1 1/2 cup cheese, shredded (I used a 4-cheese blend: Parmesan, asiago, fontina and provolone)
2 tbsp dried oregano
cook pancetta in olive oil (if using bacon, omit oil)
drain on paper towels and set aside
cut potatoes in half lengthwise
scoop out potato filling into large mixing bowl
set aside empty potato skins
mix butter, cheese, oregano, crumbled pancetta and chopped roasted garlic into potato mixture
season with salt and pepper
spoon potato mixture back into skins
bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until hot and a little crispy on top
I make extras of these and don't bake them.
I freeze them in pairs to bake later.
They make great freezer food!
And they are easy enough to make more vegetarian friendly. Just skip the pancetta.
I like to use roasted garlic in a lot of things.
It is great in pasta dishes and potato dishes.
It's also great on the side with baked brie and bread.
Or just with the bread.
Once at an Italian restaurant in San Francisco's North Beach, they put out a little bowl of what they called "Italian candy."
It was just plump cloves of garlic roasted in olive oil.
Roasting garlic turns the sharp taste into a mild, nutty flavor.
This is quite a simple method.
Garlic roasted in olive oil
garlic cloves, as many as you want or need
preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Peel the garlic cloves, but leave them whole.
Put garlic cloves in a small, oven safe dish. I like to use glass or ceramic. I worry metal might react with the garlic and change the flavor. Who knows? I just play it safe.
Pour just enough olive oil over garlic to cover it about half way.
Season lightly with sea salt.
Place dish of garlic in oven and cook for 30 minutes. Stir and cook for no more than 30 minutes more, keeping an eye on it.
You want the garlic to get soft and a little bit golden brown. You don't want it to get too dark and brown. If you cook it too long, it turns from nutty to bitter.
If it looks done before the full hour is up, take it out.
Remove garlic from oil, setting oil aside.
The garlic can now be used in any number of ways.
Oh, and the oil is now infused with roasted garlic. It's great as a bread dipper.
Stuff like this goes well with most meats, roasted or grilled.
Sometimes I make mushrooms sauteed with wine and garlic.
Sometimes I make the easy roasted roma tomatoes.
They both have good, bold flavors to stand up to the meat.
Another thing that works well?
Balsamic-glazed cipollini onions
I usually buy the whole onions with the peels on. But Trader Joe's (oh how I love that place) recently started selling them already peeled.
I just opened the bag, washed them and sorted them to make sure there were no duds. I found only two in the whole bag that were mushy, so I tossed them.
1 lb cipollini onions
3 tbsp olive oil
3 rosemary sprigs
3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup red wine
2 tbsp sugar
peel and clean onions
heat oil in large sautee pan
add rosemary sprigs and sautee
when fragrant, add butter
melt butter over medium heat, but do not let it brown
add onions and cook until golden over medium-high heat, turning to cook evenly, about 8 minutes
add vinegar, red wine and sugar
stir to mix
simmer on low-medium for 10 minutes until onions are soft and liquid has caramelized into a sticky glaze, stirring occasionally
be gentle with the stirring to keep onions from breaking apart
serve on the side of your meat dish or spoon some over the top
Friday, October 10, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
to have a few! I cook them in a foil pan that I can
toss in the recycling. I've done this on cookie sheets
and in glass dishes, but it can turn into a
hard to clean, sticky mess. So this is easier.
I know some people are not fans of tomatoes.
Me? Love 'em.
I will eat them like apples.
I like them sliced with cottage cheese.
I put them in sauces, in salads, on sandwiches and in stews.
And if I see an unripe, green tomato at the market, which is a rare thing, I buy it to make fried green tomatoes.
But one of my favorite ways to prepare them is to roast them.
It's very easy and the result is soft, yummy tomatoes with a super concentrated flavor.
So, if you are not a tomato fan, this is not for you.
But if you like tomatoes as much as I do, give this a try.
I eat these roasted tomatoes as a snack, as a garnish for roasted meats, on burgers, on sandwiches, on salads, with bread and a good sharp cheese as an appetizer, tossed in pasta... really, I just eat them.
I made some Monday to go with dinner and they were gone in a flash.
So tonight I made some more.
The serrated edge is also good if you cook artichokes
and need to scoop that fuzzy stuff out to get to the heart.
and seasoned with pepper, sea salt and dried oregano.
Easy roasted roma tomatoes
10 roma tomatoes
dried basil or oregano or your favorite herb blend
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out and discard the seeds and juice.
Place in baking dish.
Coat tomatoes with olive oil.
Season with salt, pepper and herbs.
Roast at 425 degrees for an hour or until as roasty-toasty as you like them.
I like mine when they are just starting to get crisp around the edges but are still soft and juicy in the middle.
They are good hot or at room temperature.
Tonight I just ate a few of them straight out of the oven as a snack.
I will put the leftovers in the fridge to add to a salad for dinner tomorrow.