Archive for the 'vegetarian' Category

Broccoli & Cheddar Twice-Baked Potatoes

Twice baked potatoes 2 Broccoli & Cheddar Twice Baked Potatoes

People often ask why we spend so much time in Tofino. It’s a good question – besides the fact that it’s stunningly beautiful, and totally zen, and has some of the best food (and drinks!) and beaches and rainforests in Canada, my parents were nice enough to build a house there. So really it’s like a second home – with a kitchen that’s far nicer than mine and looks out over the ocean. So far I haven’t managed to figure out how to live there – except maybe to just go out and not come back, and claim that possession is nine tenths of the law?

Tofino collage 1 Broccoli & Cheddar Twice Baked Potatoes

So it’s easy(ish) to settle in and stay for a few extra days when the rest of Canada is being pummeled with snow. And when it’s time to pack up and go, I rummage through the kitchen and use up whatever’s left – this time it meant finally doing something with that broccoli that seemed like a good idea when I saw it on sale on the day we were driving in, and a couple wrinkled potatoes that appeared to be forgotten about at the bottom of a drawer.

surfboard potato Collage Broccoli & Cheddar Twice Baked Potatoes

It’s hard not to just go for more fish & chips or burritos.

Tofino collage 2 Broccoli & Cheddar Twice Baked Potatoes

This not a recipe post so much as a reminder of what you can do if you have a couple wrinkled potatoes and some cheese. Beyond that, there’s most likely something in your kitchen that tastes good with potatoes. Bacon? Cold roasted veg? Mushrooms? Sausage? Onions to caramelize? Brussels sprout slaw? A half a container of leftover butter chicken? Chop it + mash it + stuff it.

Twice baked potatoes 71 Broccoli & Cheddar Twice Baked Potatoes

What I love – and keep forgetting – about twice baked potatoes is that they can take on bits of anything, and are particularly good at rejuvenating those bits that otherwise wouldn’t amount to much of a meal. But a stuffed potato is a meal in itself; when I was in high school, my mom went to art college. My dad worked long hours, and with three teenagers with homework and boyfriends and drama (and only one phone!), my mom’s go-to meal was a round of baked potatoes picked up at the Wendy’s drive-thru on the way home. Remember when they were a thing? You could get them plain, doused in chili or with broccoli and neon cheese sauce, which when you’re a teenager is practically required eating.

Twice baked potatoes 6 Broccoli & Cheddar Twice Baked Potatoes

I don’t think I’ve had the broccoli-cheese potato combo since – until this week. So what you do is you bake your potato (I always give them a head start for 5 minutes in the microwave first, to get them going on the insides while the oven heats up) and then scoop out the innards and mash them with all the things that make mashed potatoes delicious – butter, salt, pepper, cream. And then whatever else you like – the previous day I roasted my bunch of broccoli with olive oil and Parmesan, but we didn’t eat it all, so I hacked a bunch up and grated in some cheese. No measuring. This is a good, inexpensive thing to teach kids (teenagers!) how to make, I think. They can experiment and use their intuition rather than follow a recipe – and a twice-baked potato makes a fine meal whether you live alone or with roommates, especially when you don’t have a massive grocery budget. (Who does?)

Twice baked potatoes 5 Broccoli & Cheddar Twice Baked Potatoes

Scoop your embellished potatoes back into their shells, add some extra cheese for good measure and slide them back into the oven, cranking it up a bit (to 400F or so) until the cheese melts and the potatoes heat through. No particular timing required.

Twice baked potatoes 1 Broccoli & Cheddar Twice Baked Potatoes

Curl up on the couch with a stuffed potato and a fork and dream of spring.

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March 31 2014 | veg and vegetarian | 7 Comments »

Browned Butter Kale Salad with Hazelnuts and Pears

Browned butter brussels sprout salad 3 Browned Butter Kale Salad with Hazelnuts and Pears

Kale salad is more in keeping with the season, yes? For those sighing heavily at the suggestion of more kale, what if I imbue it with warm browned butter? You know, instead of the oil that you’d normally douse it with.

Browned butter brussels sprout salad 2 Browned Butter Kale Salad with Hazelnuts and Pears

Perhaps you already know the trick of massaging your raw kale leaves with olive oil, which loosens up the leaves a bit, mellowing them out and making them easier to eat. Drizzling them with warm, just-browned butter does the same – it tames the kale, dialing it down toward cooked, but still raw. It’s easier on the teeth, and to pile onto your fork. Which you’ll want to do.

Browned Butter Browned Butter Kale Salad with Hazelnuts and Pears

To brown butter, all you need to do is melt it, then leave it on the stove a little longer, swirling the pan occasionally, until the foam starts to turn nutty and brown. The result is like butter supreme – the milk solids toasty, the whole lot salty and amplified. A squeeze of lemon adds the acid it needs, making it more like a salad than buttered veg, but letting the browned butter be the hero.

Browned butter brussels sprout salad 1 Browned Butter Kale Salad with Hazelnuts and Pears

This would do well with apples or pears, goat cheese or blue cheese, toasted walnuts or almonds, but I had extra aged Gouda that had dried out almost to the point of Parmesan, and hazelnuts just seemed like a good idea.

Browned Butter Kale Salad with Hazelnuts and Pears

½ bunch kale, leaves removed and thinly sliced
4-5 Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced or shaved (discard stem ends) – optional
¼ cup butter
1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste
1 ripe but firm pear, chopped
½ cup roughly chopped hazelnuts, almonds or walnuts, toasted
¼-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese or aged Gouda

Put the kale and Brussels sprouts in a bowl. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat; continue cooking, swirling the pan occasionally, until the foam starts turning golden and nutty-smelling. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.

Pour over the kale, scraping out the bottom of the pan to get all those browned bits, and toss to coat well. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Add the pear, hazelnuts and Parmesan cheese, toss and serve. Serves 4.

pixel Browned Butter Kale Salad with Hazelnuts and Pears
button print gry20 Browned Butter Kale Salad with Hazelnuts and Pears

January 14 2014 | salads and vegetarian | 12 Comments »

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