Archive for the 'vegetables' Category

Samosa Stuffed Potatoes

samosa stuffed baked potatoes

There are few kitchen techniques as basic as baking a potato – yet I’ve been asked a handful of times over the past couple of weeks how to do it. What’s the best variety? Does it require a foil jacket?

A good baked potato can be a beautiful thing – as basic (yet infinitely more satisfying) as a bowl of popcorn with butter and salt. I dig out the fluffy innards, then butter the crispy skin and eat it like a thin, floppy piece of toast.

And sweet potatoes. I roast them when the oven is on, and keep them in the fridge to reheat for lunch. (If you happen to have a jar of bacon jam in the fridge? Ridiculous.)

Trio of baked potatoes

There’s nothing like a good traditional russet – which also happens to be the cheapest of the potatoes. To bake, give it a wash, dry it off and rub it down with whatever cooking oil you generally use in your kitchen (canola, olive, sunflower) and sprinkle with salt, then roast directly on the oven rack at 350F or so for about an hour. A sweet potato will take less time to cook and wind up deliciously caramelized inside, with thin skin that separates itself from the flesh, making it easy to peel off with your fingers if you’re after mashed potatoes or something to add to soup. Bonus: you can roast potatoes while the oven is on for other things, and have a head start on lunch or dinner.

Chili baked potatoes were a staple of my teenagehood, and these days I’m discovering how well suited they are as a vehicle for leftovers – imagine the last of the butter chicken, spooned over a baked potato? I was also imagining how much I love the inside of a potato-pea samosa, and how seldom I actually make the real thing, and it occurred to me how well that combination of ingredients would do reassembled and piled back into a baked potato shell.

Samosa Stuffed Potatoes

Stuffed potatoes don’t require a recipe per se – it’s just a matter of unstuffing a baked potato, mashing the insides along with other tasty ingredients, then piling it back into the potato shell. I winged it when I made these samosa potatoes, but this is essentially what I did. (The recipe can be multiplied to feed however many you like.)

2 baked russet potatoes
canola or olive oil, for cooking
a dab of butter
1/2 small purple onion, chopped
some chopped cilantro stems (optional)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2-1 tsp. curry powder or paste (or to taste)
1/2 cup frozen peas, straight from the freezer
a few cherry tomatoes, halved
salt and pepper

In a medium skillet, heat a drizzle of oil and dab (about a tablespoon?) of butter over medium-high heat. Saute the onion for a few minutes, until soft; add the garlic and curry powder and cook for another minute. Add the frozen peas, cherry tomatoes and the insides of the potatoes, scooped out into the pan; cook for a few minutes, until the peas are heated through, tomatoes have wilted and everything is coated with curry and browned bits. Season with salt and pepper.

Pile back into the baked potato shell and serve immediately, topped with a dollop of plain yogurt and/or extra cilantro if you like. Serves 2.

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February 03 2015 | vegetables and vegetarian | 10 Comments »

Cauliflower Fritters with Lemony Mayo

Cauliflower Fritters 1

I know, it (kind of) defeats the purpose of eating cauliflower to deep fry it and serve it with lemony mayo. (Then again, if you’re going to eat fried food, you may as well get a cauliflower out of it.)

cauliflower 1

Parka season = beer batter season, right? And when everyone has planted themselves on the couch for a hockey game or movie or rousing game of Munchkin, they inevitably want to eat something. And I like it when that something can fall simultaneously into multiple categories: 1) salty, 2) dippy, and 3) edible with fingers. (And truly, a platter of crudites and dip never gets a welcome response on a snowy Saturday night.) Cauliflower florets have a lovely creamy texture and mellow flavour, but if you’re like me, once you have a bowl of batter and a pot of oil at your disposal, you may go a little nuts, deep-frying anything you can find in your fridge. (I imagine a zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced, would also make a great candidate.)

cauliflower fritters

I got this recipe (more or less – it did require some finessing for home use) from my pal Paul from the much-loved Rouge and Bistro Rouge, where apparently the majority of tables down an order of these before dinner. I’ve made them a few times since, because a) they’re awesome, and b) don’t require you to get dressed and shovel off the car.

In other news, I have a meeting tomorrow afternoon with a new web designer! For real! It’s my resolution (new year or not) to say no to all extra things until I give this place an overhaul. I’m sorry the design is so dated, and that the Index hasn’t been updated since 2009. Is there anything you’d like to see, in terms of design, content or functionality? And on the home front, the kitchen is almost ALMOST done – it’s functional, but still needs a backsplash, which is being cut and painted now, and is scheduled to be installed on Friday. I’ll keep you posted and do a proper update… likely on Monday, when a photographer is coming to shoot it for the cover story of the spring issue of Flavours Magazine! It’s a good thing my life revolves around deadlines, or I’d never get anything done.

Cauliflower Fritters with Lemony Mayo

With thanks to Bistro Rouge, where they serve these babies with Hollandaise for dipping.

1 small cauliflower, cut into florets
1 1/2 cups beer (I used Wild Rose Velvet Fog)
2 cups all-purpose flour

Lemony Mayo:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
finely grated zest and juice of a lemon (or to taste)
1 garlic clove, finely crushed
1 tsp. grainy mustard
salt and pepper, to taste

Steam cauliflower florets until tender; cool and refrigerate until needed. In a deep bowl, whisk flour with beer and a big pinch of salt until smooth, dip cooked cauliflower florets in the batter and carefully place one at a time in a deep-fryer, preheated to 360?F; cook until golden brown. (Alternatively, heat a couple inches of canola oil in a pot until it’s hot but not smoking – a scrap of bread should sizzle when dipped in. Cook a few at a time, without crowding the pot.) Remove with a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt.

To make the mayo, stir all the ingredients together in a bowl, adding enough juice to keep it thick, yet tangy, and seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the fritters immediately, with the mayo for dipping.

Serves 4-6.

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January 14 2015 | appetizers and vegetables and vegetarian | 21 Comments »

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