Tag Archives: Potatoes

Pulled Veggie Sliders

Pulled Veggie Sliders

I firmly believe that this is the worst time of year to be trying to lose weight. I know because I’ve been there. Not only is the most food-centric holiday of the year approaching in one short month, but before then you’ve got the barrage of Halloween candy, then after that more holidays largely featuring lots of feasting at family dinners, cookie exchanges, and holiday candy. And that’s not even mentioning that on top of all that decadence, this is football and tailgating season!

pulled veggie sliders

Game day grub is generally not all that figure-friendly. Lots of tortilla and potato chips, fattening dips, cheese and fatty meats feature prominently. It’s tough to stick to your calorie count during this time. I know – I’ve been there.

So I wanted to offer up something appropriate for game day that is pretty figure friendly, that won’t blow your calorie allotment for the day, but isn’t a consolation prize. This little slider is incredibly tasty – Matt remarked that it was better than many pulled pork sandwiches he’s eaten – full of familiar barbecue flavors and the pulled meat texture you’re looking for, but with huge amounts of fat cut out.

pulled veggie sliders

It comes together much more quickly than a pulled pork or short rib slider would, and these babies are FILLING! I guess it’s all that fiber from the veggies, but trust me, once you’ve eaten a serving of these sliders, you won’t have any room for the loaded nachos or creamy onion dip. Oh, and obviously a fantastic option for any vegetarians at your tailgating party. Enjoy!

Pulled Veggie Sliders

Source: Vegetarian Dinner Parties by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough

Ingredients:
1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
½ cup cider vinegar
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 tbs tomato paste
1 tbs mustard powder
1 tbs smoked sweet paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp celery seeds
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp hot sauce, such as Frank’s RedHot or Texas Pete’s
1 ½ cups shredded carrots (peel them first)
1 ½ cups shredded yellow potato (no need to peel)
4 cups shredded green cabbage
1 bottle (12 oz.) dark beer, divided
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
8 slider rolls
Coleslaw, for topping the sliders
Pickled jalapenos, for topping the sliders (optional)

Directions:
Combine the crushed tomatoes, vinegar, brown sugar, tomato paste, mustard powder, smoked paprika, oregano, celery seeds, cloves, and hot sauce in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring until the brown sugar dissolves. Stir in the carrots and potatoes, then bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer slowly for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the cabbage and ¼ cup beer. Cover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Add more beer as necessary to keep the vegetables from scorching. Your end goal is for the mixture to have the consistency of pulled barbecued meat – saucy but not at all soupy.
When the mixture is ready, mound some onto the bottoms of the slider rolls. Top with some coleslaw, the pickled jalapenos if using, then the top bun. Serve immediately.

Olive Oil and Feta Mashed Turnips

Olive Oil and Feta Mashed Turnips

Man. Does anyone else besides me seem to have so much trouble getting back into the swing of things in the New Year? Every year it’s the same. Every year I look forward to the holidays being over so I can resume my normal routine. And then, every year, it’s like my body is not ready for the whole thing! I find myself on January 2nd and days later still going to bed too late, feeling slow in the mornings, my workouts are sluggish…

olive oil and feta mashed turnips

I suppose there’s always next year to plan ahead and correct this, right? In the meantime, let’s keep with the spirit of cleaner and healthier New Year’s eating with a dish that was new to me – mashed turnips, sort of standing in for mashed potatoes, but also completely standing on their own.

Olive Oil and Feta Mashed Turnips

Instead of the usual suspects of gobs of butter and heavy cream, we’re adding olive oil and feta cheese, both decidedly better for us, to lighten up our creamy mash. And like I mentioned, this little side dish does stand on its own. Its texture will remind you of mashed potatoes more than its taste. Its taste is really all its own, and one I found very pleasing. The feta brings a nice, sharp, flavorful quality, and the olive oil lends a just slightly fruity note that I thought paired very well against the almost-sweet flavor of the turnips.

Olive Oil and Feta Mashed Turnips

I mashed my turnips with a potato masher, which of course left them a little chunky, but you could easily run them through a potato ricer if you’d prefer them to be smoother. I hope y’all enjoy this one, it’s a wonderful cold-weather comfort food that won’t weigh you down or break any new goals/resolutions!

Olive Oil and Feta Mashed Turnips

{One Year Ago: Bang Bang Broccoli}
{Two Years Ago: Caramelized Onion Gorgonzola Galette}

Source: slightly adapted from Homemade with Love by Jennifer Perillo

Ingredients:
3 large turnips, peeled and cubed
1 medium Yukon gold potato, peeled and cubed
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs unsalted butter
4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
Kosher salt and black pepper
Snipped scallions or chives, for garnish

Directions:
Add the turnips and potato to a medium stockpot. Fill with enough water to cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-high and cook until the turnips and potatoes are fork-tender, 7 to 9 minutes.
Drain the vegetables well then add them back to the pot. Let sit for about 1 minute – the residual heat will dry out the last vestiges of water. Add the olive oil, butter, and feta cheese. Use a potato masher to crush the vegetables until they are mostly smooth.
Note: if you want things smoother, place the vegetables through your potato ricer before adding the oil, butter and cheese.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the mash into a serving bowl and garnish with scallions. Serve immediately.

Potato Waffles with Bacon and Chives

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And today is Day 5 of, and the conclusion to, WAFFLE WEEK! It’s been a delicious week, and today’s offering is no exception. This is basically mashed potatoes in waffle form. Who wouldn’t love that? They are indescribably light and fluffy, with a distinct potato taste. There’s also the onion-y bite from the little flecks of chives and the salty, crunchy, smoky bite from the bacon running throughout, all of which serve to just take these waffles over the top.

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I guess these waffles are slightly more complicated than just throwing together a batter and dumping it in the waffle iron, but they really aren’t difficult to pull off. And so completely worth it!

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And now without further adieu, let’s recap WAFFLE WEEK!

First up we went Tex-Mex and savory with some Crispy Cornmeal Waffles that we drenched in a spinach queso sauce. There are no words…

Crispy Cornmeal Waffles with spinach queso sauce

 

 

 

 

 

On Day 2 I recounted a fun little trip visiting my mom in Cambridge, MA, where I dined at Flour Bakery (twice!) and made Joanne Chang’s Perfect Waffles with a Lemony Twist in honor of that. With the lemony twist being mine.

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On Day 3 I gave you a dessert waffle recipe – Fudge Chocolate Waffles no less. They were divine.

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Then yesterday, I couldn’t do a week of waffles without including the soul food classic, Chicken and Waffles. And if you’ll recall, this is seriously the best version of Chicken and Waffles I have ever tasted.

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And don’t miss these lovely waffle recipes running around the food blogosphere!

Recipe Round-Up:

Bacon Cheddar Cornmeal Waffles from Simply Scratch
Banana Buttermilk Waffles from The Texan New Yorker
Beer Waffles with Cinnamon Apples and Caramel Sauce from The Texan New Yorker
Black Pepper Bacon Waffles from The Texan New Yorker
Buttermilk Grits Waffles from Southern Souffle
Cheddar Dried Basil Waffles from in Jennie’s kitchen
Cranberry Orange Waffles from The Texan New Yorker
Malted Waffles from The Texan New Yorker
Seven Layer Nacho Waffles from Scarletta Bakes
Tangerine Waffles from Farm Fresh Feasts
Waffles with Southern Comfort Praline Sauce from Confections from a Foodie Bride

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{One Year Ago: Homemade Blackening Seasoning}

Source: The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion

Ingredients:
1 medium russet potato, about 12 oz.
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, separated
2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
3 tbs minced chives
4-6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Directions:
Peel the potato and cut into chunks. Place in a small saucepan and cover by about 1 inch with cold water. Place over medium-high heat and let it come up to a boil. Continue to boil for about 8-10 minutes, depending on the size of your potato chunks. They are done when a sharp paring knife can be inserted in the center of a chunk without resistance. Drain the potatoes, then place back in the pot.
Working in batches if necessary, press the potatoes through a potato ricer into a large bowl. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
To the bowl of potatoes, add the salt, butter, egg yolks, and buttermilk. Whisk immediately and quickly to combine (working quickly ensures your egg yolks won’t scramble). Whisk in the flour mixture, a little at a time, until just combined. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the chives and bacon crumbles.
Using a whisk or electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Dump the egg whites into the batter, and gently fold them in with the rubber spatula.
Pour the batter into the preheated waffle iron and cook according to manufacturer’s instructions. Serve warm.

Red Wine Beef and Swiss Chard Stew

Red Wine Beef and Chard Stew

Welcome to the second-ever Week Of… blog series here at The Texan New Yorker! This week we are feasting on WINTER STEW! Although it’s been freakishly, unseasonably warm the past few days up here in NYC, the past few weeks pretty much everyone in the continental US has been hearing about cold fronts, blizzards, snowstorms, and polar vortexes, pretty much ad nauseum. We get it. It’s cold.

red wine beef and swiss chard stew

So maybe some warmth from the kitchen is in order. I’m not sure anything can warm you up like a hearty stew. And when I think of stew, I think of a nice, chunky beef stew. While I’ll demonstrate this week that it may be a culinary crime to limit stew to just beef, I think it might also be a culinary crime to discount it.

Swiss chard in the salad spinner

Swiss chard, cleaned

And that’s why we’re starting our Winter Stew week with beef. This was everything you demand want from a beef stew: warms your bones, warms your soul, flavorful, tender beef chunks and lots of veggies. The original recipe called for green beans, but seeing as they’re currently out of season, and we’re all supposed to be eating more dark greens, I threw in some Swiss chard instead. It was quite welcome and fit with the stew’s flavor profile very nicely. Enjoy! And stay tuned for more winter stew ideas this week!

Red Wine Beef and Swiss Chard Stew

Source: adapted from Food Network Favorites: Recipes from Our All-Star Chefs

Ingredients:
2 lbs. beef chuck stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 tbs unsalted butter, divided
4 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large onion, chopped
2 tbs all-purpose flour
3 cups beef stock
2 cups dry red wine, such as cabernet sauvignon
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1 6-inch sprig of rosemary
2 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 medium bunch of Swiss chard, leaves stripped and torn
2 tbs chopped fresh parsley

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 300 F. Place your large Dutch oven, or other large oven-safe stock pot over medium-high heat. Season the beef cubes with salt and pepper. Melt 2 tbs butter in the Dutch oven, then add the beef cubes and brown on all sides. Do this in batches if necessary; do not crowd the pan as that will cause the beef to steam and not brown properly. Remove the beef with a slotted spoon to a plate or bowl.
When all the beef has been browned, lower the heat to medium and add the remaining tablespoon of butter. Add the carrots and onions and sauté until softened. Add the flour and stir until all traces of it disappear into the veggies. Now add the beef stock, wine, and tomatoes. Toss in the rosemary.
Slide the browned beef cubes back into the pot along with any juices collected on the plate. Bring the liquid to a boil. Once boiling, shut off the heat. Cover the top of the pot with aluminum foil, then cover with the pot’s lid. Place the pot of stew into the oven and cook for 50 minutes.
Remove the pot from the oven and stir in the potatoes and chard. Replace the foil and the pot’s lid, and slide the stew back into the oven. Cook for another 50 minutes.
Remove the pot from the oven and discard the foil. Place the pot on a burner and simmer on medium-low for 15-20 minutes with the lid ajar. Season to taste again with salt and pepper, and stir in the parsley. Fish out the rosemary stem and serve.

Chili Cheese Fries

chili cheese fries

Last week I promised you some good game day grub, and well, it just doesn’t get much more quintessential than a big platter of chili cheese fries. These were so good that I don’t even remember what game they accompanied. Or, maybe my team lost that game and I’ve blocked it. Who knows!

Chili Cheese Fries

I brought this beautiful platter to the coffee table, where Matt and I sat on the couch watching a college football game, and we scarfed them down in a much shorter amount of time than was probably couth or proper. It’s a good thing we’ve been together for more than 10 years.

Oh boy. Just looking through and editing the pictures makes me crave these fries again. So decadent and satisfying. Make them for your game this weekend!

Chili Cheese Fries

Recipe notes: I forgot to pick up scallions at the store when I bought the ingredients to make this. So I scattered some torn parsley because nothing looked really weird in the pictures. But I kept really wishing I hadn’t forgotten the scallions. Secondly, I love this method for making fries – half baked and half fried. Single frying instead of double frying cuts the calories in half, right? Hahaha! It is much less messy this way, and much more amenable to a small kitchen.

chili cheese fries

{One year ago: Shrimp and Grits}

Source: adapted, quite a bit, from The Book of Burger by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:
FRIES:
3 Russet potatoes
Olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper

CHILI:
Olive oil
½ lb. ground beef sirloin
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 serrano chile, seeded and minced
1 tbs ancho chile powder
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
Kosher salt and black pepper
½ cup beer

CHEESE SAUCE:
3 tbs butter
2 tbs all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups whole milk
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 ½ cups shredded sharp yellow cheddar cheese
1 generous tbs yellow mustard

Scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish

Directions:
FRIES:
Peel the potatoes. Slice each potato lengthwise, very thin. Then cut the slices into strips. Place in a large bowl and cover with water. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lift the potatoes out of the water and onto a clean kitchen towel and rub them very dry. Place 2 cooling racks on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Place the potato strips onto the cooling racks in as much of a single layer as possible. Drizzle with oil and lightly season with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from the oven.
Heat your deep fryer to 375 F. When it’s ready, drop in the fries, working in batches, and fry until crispy and golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon or a spider to a paper towel lined plate. Immediately season with kosher salt.
Meanwhile, make the chili first, then the cheese sauce. For the CHILI, drizzle a tad bit of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook 5 to 6 minutes, crumbling it with a wooden spoon as it browns. Add the onion, garlic, serrano, spices, and salt and pepper. Stir to combine and let it go for 2-3 minutes, until the onion softens. Add the beer and let it evaporate, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and set aside while you make the cheese sauce and finish the fries.
For the CHEESE SAUCE, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute, to cook out that raw flour taste. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking continuously to avoid lumps. Let it cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until thickened. Lower the heat to low, season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in the cheese. Let it melt completely, then stir in the mustard.
To assemble, lay the fries out on a large platter. Pour the cheese sauce over the fries, then top the cheese with the chili. Garnish with scallions. Dig in!

Duck Fat Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Duck Fat Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

I was first introduced to the wondrous, magical combination of potatoes and duck fat a few years ago. It was Christmas Eve, and Matt and I were enjoying a romantic dinner at Butter, Alex Guarnaschelli’s restaurant. We split the duck fat potatoes as a side dish – the first time for either of us to try such a thing – and both of us had a *food moment*.

roasting fingerling potatoes

I knew I’d be making them at home. I actually made these last spring, for a celebratory anniversary dinner, but summer crept up before I knew it, and I didn’t share them all summer because, well, they just seem kind of heavy and not so warm-weather friendly. They are actually not so heavy as they sound, but they are a fairly rich dish.

fingerling potatoes, roasted

Since fall is quickly approaching, I figured now was a great time for posting this recipe. It’s very seasonally appropriate, utterly delicious, and would be a fantastic addition to a holiday table spread or a fall dinner party. That will certainly be the case in my house in the coming months, and I hope these become a staple for you as well.

duck fat roasted fingerling potatoes

Just one recipe note: duck fat is becoming more widely available these days, and most regular grocery stores carry it. Whole Foods carries it all the time without a doubt, so if you have one local to you, check there. If you’re striking out all around, you can order some online here. Enjoy!

Duck Fat Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

{One year ago: Fried Summer Squash with a Horseradish Dipper}

Source: In My Kitchen by Ted Allen

Ingredients:
1 ½ lbs. fingerling potatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
3 tbs duck fat, melted
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbs fresh lemon juice

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 450 F.
In a mixing bowl, toss the fingerlings, duck fat, salt and pepper to coat thoroughly. Spread in an even layer on a lightly greased baking sheet and roast until the cut sides of the potatoes are golden and crispy, 25 to 30 minutes.
Transfer to a serving bowl or platter and mix in the parsley, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Serve hot.

Orecchiette with Heirloom Fingerlings and Asparagus Pesto

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If there is ever a meal that will scream SPRING to you, this would have to be it. Beautiful spring produce, light and healthful, yet still filling and even felt right to eat it during a rainstorm. I did have to overcome one of my quirks to make this meal though.

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For whatever reason, and I really couldn’t give you anything specific, I have always been somewhat adamantly against what I call a “carb on carb” recipe. Mostly those involved potatoes meeting a bread, like potato tacos, or potato pizza, or potato pasta, but also included things like pasta on pizza, or lentils on pasta, etc. The whole thing just didn’t really make sense to me, and almost felt greedy, like you were hoarding the amount of carbs allotted to you by the universe and therefore depriving someone else.

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Don’t worry, I did have a practical objection in addition to my weird abstract protestation; I was also concerned that it just plain wouldn’t taste good. I figured it would be too heavy, or that the textures would be too similar. But I keep seeing such “carb on carb” recipes on the web, over and over and over, so I started to think that maybe there was something not so terrible about them.

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Well. I was wrong and the internet was right. Carb on carb is delicious! The textures did not clash at all, and the asparagus pesto salved any conscientious objections I may have had to eating all those carbs in a single sitting. I have a good hunch this won’t be my last carb on carb experience.

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By the way, the asparagus pesto was fantastic, I would highly recommend doubling that portion of the recipe and keeping it around. It would work so nicely on grilled chicken or pork tenderloin.

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A few recipe notes: after you have boiled your potatoes, make sure they are very dry, otherwise they will not brown in the sauté pan. Don’t ask me how I know this. And speaking of potatoes, this recipe calls for heirloom fingerling potatoes, which I would recommend trying to find as they are beautiful and delicious. But really any small potato will do. Same with the pasta shape – as long as you stick to something small, the recipe will work just fine. Orechiette is pretty widely available these days, but elbow macaroni, mini penne, or small shells would sub in nicely too.

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Source: slightly adapted from Webicurean

Ingredients:
1 bunch asparagus, tough ends snapped off
½ cup chopped basil, packed
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste
¾ lb heirloom fingerling potatoes, rinsed
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt & Pepper
1 lb orecchiette pasta
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese + some for garnish

Directions:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it generously. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath by placing some ice cubes into a large bowl and filling with water. Salt it and mix the salt around with your fingers.
When the water is boiling, add the asparagus and blanch for about 1 minute. They should be bright green and still tender-crisp. Remove with a spider or other large slotted spoon and immediately plunge into the ice bath. This will stop the cooking and retain the lovely color. Leave the asparagus in there for a minute or two, then remove to a cutting board. Leave the water boiling, as you can use it for your potatoes and pasta!
Cut the asparagus into thirds, and add to a food processor bowl along with the basil, pine nuts, and garlic. Process until well chopped/blended, then drizzle in the olive oil while the food processor is still going.
Blend in the Parmesan using the pulse setting. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Resalt the boiling water. Halve the larger potatoes, and add to the boiling water. Cook for about 10 minutes or until tender. Remove with the spider to a bowl.
In a medium pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, and add the potatoes, cooking until brown and crispy on all sides. Salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, resalt the boiling water and add the pasta. Cook according to package directions. Reserve about ½ cup of the water before draining.
Add the drained pasta along with the crisped potatoes to a serving bowl and toss with about half the pesto and the remaining Parmesan cheese. Use the reserved pasta water to thin out the mixture if necessary. Add more pesto as desired (I used about three-quarters of it). Garnish with additional cheese and serve.

Happy Accident Mashed Potatoes

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These are some of the most luscious mashed potatoes I’ve ever tasted. And they almost didn’t ever happen.

When Matt and I were newlyweds, I was making a quick and thrown together dinner for us one weeknight. It had been a long day and we were both a little cranky. I had some potatoes, so mashed potatoes occurred to me. I knew we had some milk and butter, but what about sour cream? I asked Matt if we had any and he replied that we did. I took this to mean that we had enough sour cream for the dish. Um, no. We didn’t. We had about two ounces of it, which is not enough. I was about to throw out the whole thing when I looked back into the fridge and saw four ounces of cream cheese.

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I’d never had cream cheese in potatoes before, but figured why not try it. I was skeptical, but I also did not want to waste the potatoes. Can I just tell you that they were some of the best mashed potatoes ever?? That cream cheese trick really worked! I was so excited. Both of our crankiness instantly dissipated and we shared a very warm, happy dinner together.

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Now many of you are probably thinking that it’s really not revolutionary to put cream cheese in mashed potatoes. I know that now. I am very aware that tons of people do that, and probably have for zillions of years. But I was not exactly what you’d call a “good” or “innovative” cook at that time. So it really was an exciting discovery for me. But even if it’s not the most creative thing in the world, I still love it and this is how I almost always make my mashed potatoes. And if you’re one of the few who have never tried cream cheese in your mashed potatoes, I implore you to go out and quickly correct that!

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Ingredients:
4 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2-3 oz. sour cream
½ cup whole milk, or more as needed
2 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
Kosher salt and black pepper
½ a bunch of fresh chives, snipped

Directions:
Add the potatoes to a medium saucepan. Cover with cold water. Add a couple pinches of salt. Place over medium-high heat, cover and let come up to a boil. When boiling, set the lid ajar and let boil until the potatoes are tender enough to be easily pierced with a sharp paring knife. There should be no resistance at all.
Shut off the heat and drain your potatoes in a sieve or colander. Place them back in the hot pot. Working in batches, place all the potatoes through a potato ricer and into a clean bowl. When all the potatoes have been through the ricer, add the cream cheese, sour cream, milk, and butter. Stir to incorporate and let melt.
Season with salt and pepper, then fold in the chives. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. At this point also check the temperature of the potatoes. Potatoes can cool off extremely quickly. I’ve found the best way to quickly warm them back up is to just zap them in the microwave for a couple of minutes.
Note: if you do not own a potato ricer, just place them in a bowl after you have drained them and get to work with a potato masher. Then add the rest of the ingredients through the milk and mix with an electric mixer (hand or stand, doesn’t matter). Mix until they are smooth and creamy, then season to taste and fold in the chives.

Poutine

Today is the last day to enter my FIRST EVER GIVEAWAY!!!  Hurry and click here to enter!!  Wine one of 10 wonderful cookbooks, your choice! The giveaway ends at 11:59 tonight EST.

Earlier this month, Matt and I had planned to take a romantic weekend getaway to Montreal.  We didn’t.  Why, you ask?  Because of this little guy.

This is Hugo, our rescue kitten.  We found him a couple of months ago, outside on some city property across the street from our apartment. He had likely been abandoned, at six weeks old, no less. What is wrong with people?!?

Anyway, we took him to the vet to find him healthy, but, not surprisingly infested with tons of fleas.  He got a treatment and came home.  A week later, we found him lethargic and shaking, so back to the vet he went.  Three days later he came home from the vet, but not before they popped us with a $750 bill.  That was our Montreal money, which we knew we must kiss goodbye at that point.  Turns out he had gotten a blood parasite from a flea bite.  Thankfully, he made a full recovery.

I had been planning on consuming vast quantities of Poutine in Montreal, as it is their signature dish; however, since we were not there, I had to settle for making it in my kitchen at home.  Poutine is a simple dish of French fries smothered in gravy and Cheddar cheese curds.  Curds are very difficult to find in the US.  I couldn’t even locate them at a store called Cheese of the World!  Is Canada not part of the world?  Shredded cheddar makes a fine substitute.

We ended up keeping the little guy for over two months before we found him an adoptive home.  We said goodbye to him last night and handed him over to his new owners.  Instead of our three middle-aged cats, he’ll now live with a much younger sister cat and two friendly Beagles.  We think his sweet-natured, energetic spirit will fit right in.

We miss him.  We kept him for over two months, and that is plenty of time to become attached.  Even though we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he’s going to a wonderful home with new owners who will love him, we’re still a little sad.  I don’t think it’s sunk in yet that he’s gone.  We won’t soon forget Hugo, and we’re so happy to have rescued him and given him a good life and good health.

Source: The Book of Burger, by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:
6 medium russet potatoes
Olive oil, for drizzling
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 tbs unsalted butter
1 large shallot, minced
3 tbs flour
2 ½ cups beef or chicken stock
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 rounded tbs Dijon mustard
Black pepper
8 oz. white cheddar cheese, grated

Directions:
Peel the potatoes, leaving a patch of the skin at each end, if you prefer. Cut each potato lengthwise into very thin (1/8 – ¼ inch) slices. Cut those slices into strips that are just as thin.
Fill a bowl with lukewarm water and submerge the potato sticks.  Leave for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Set a cooling rack over two baking sheets.
Remove potatoes from the water and dry very well on clean kitchen towels. Place in a large, clean, mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss the fries to coat them evenly with the oil, salt, and pepper.
Arrange the fries on the racks in as much of a single layer as possible.
Roast 30 minutes. Remove the fries from the oven and increase the temperature to 425 F. Return the fries to the oven and bake until very crispy and browned, 15 to 20 minutes.
While the fries are in the oven, make the gravy. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the shallot, stir for 2 minutes, then sprinkle in the flour. Stir 1 to 2 minutes, then whisk in the stock. Bring to a bubble and cook until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce and Dijon. Season liberally with pepper. Keep warm over low heat until your fries are ready.
To assemble: place 6 servings of fries into parchment cones or large bowls. Top with the cheese and let melt a little. Top with a ladle of gravy. Use a fork to eat.