I made some garlic mashed potatoes to go with some meatloaf a couple of days ago. The meatloaf is all gone but I had about 2 cups of garlic mashed potatoes left over. I hate throwing food away so I decided to ‘re-purpose” the potatoes. I have made potato bread before but not usually with garlic mashed potatoes. I decided to fully commit and throw in a few dried herbs and see how the potato bread turned out. I was delighted. The bread was tender, yeasty, and the garlic along with the basil, thyme and dried onion gave it a wonderful flavor. It was great for sandwiches, just toasted with a little fresh butter, tremendous as a grilled cheese sandwich, in a savory bread pudding and I even made some croutons out of a few pieces. I think I have to make this bread again…really soon!
Garlic Herb Potato Bread
1 cup garlic mashed potatoes
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp dried onion flakes
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup warm milk
5 cups or a little more bread flour
2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
Heat milk in the microwave for about 30 seconds until warm. Stir in sugar and yeast into the milk and let it sit for a little bit until it’s foamy. In a large bowl mix together garlic mashed potatoes, dried onion, herbs, salt, eggs and butter mix well. Add the yeast mixture to the potato mixture and add in 4-5 cups flour until a dough forms. Knead on a floured surface until smooth and elastic. Put dough in a greased bowl. Flip dough over so that top is lightly greased. Cover and let rise for about 1-2 hours or until doubled in size. Punch down dough and shape into two loaves. Place loaves into two greased loaf pans and cover let it rise for another 40 minutes or until doubled in size again. Bake at 375°F for 40 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when top is tapped lightly. Remove from pans and let it cool on cooling rack before slicing. This bread freezes really well.
Remember the movie “field of dreams” and phrase “if you build it, they will come”? Our house is kind of like that only its “if you cook it, they will come”. Even now that we’re technically empty nesters, it is amazing how much volume of food is produced from my kitchen. I try to be as resourceful as possible and judge how much to cook to minimize leftovers but they still happen and sometimes they are thrust upon you! Earlier this week I inherited 10 baked potatoes. I teach a women’s bible study on Tuesdays and women attend from all different places (and countries) and since it starts at 6 p.m. and many of us are coming straight from work, the women take turns in groups to bring dinner. Since there over 50 of us, nobody has dinner responsibilities more than once. We end up enjoying food from different parts of the world. It’s a great way to feed our bodies and minds! This Tuesday some of the ladies created a baked potato bar and quite a few foil wrapped baked potatoes were left over. I somehow ended up with them. A couple of women even said, do something fun with it and post it on your blog.
Last night I stared at the baked potatoes and about 1/2 a cup of soaked Tapioca left over from another meal I’d recently made. Bengali people love to smash things and call it chops or boras. Smashing foods in the kitchen, I’m in! I also remembered The Great Leftover Challenge from Danny’s Kitchen, I went to the computer to see if I’d missed the deadline (it’s today) Here’s what I came up with:
Potato and Tapioca Bora
3 baked potatoes, shredded
1/2 cup or so of soaked Tapioca
handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp approximately of cumin seeds
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder
salt to taste
fresh ground pepper
3 green onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, I pressed it through a garlic press to make sure there were no big chunks
Oil for frying
Peel the potatoes and grate them. Add all the other ingredients and shape them into little patties and fry them in some vegetable oil. Make sure the oil is hot enough to fry quickly, should take about 4-5 minutes to fry a batch. I used a little pan with some oil so I didn’t end up with a ton of leftover oil. I thought about baking them but I knew that it would not have that crunch. I made some Cilantro chutney as well to use as a sauce.
One of the most vivid memories I have of visiting Greece as a teenager is the amazing food. Everything tasted wonderful and different from foods that I was used to at that time. I loved the pastries, the meats and the delicate flavors. It’s during that trip that I began a serious love affair with Spanakopita, a crispy, delicate and delicious Spinach Pie. I seriously could eat huge quantities of Spanakopita. Every year in September, my city has a big Greek Festival. I try to go annually to load up on Greek delicacies that I don’t have time to make. For years I used to pig out on Spanakopita at the festival, when finally a few years ago I got smart. I decided that I’d asked all of my Greek friends to give me their very best versions of Spanakopita recipes so I could try them all. My friends were very helpful and passed on several recipes and over the last several years I’ve combined the things I liked from all of them to come up with this current recipe. Some families like to make Spanakopita in a large pan and cut them into squares, while others prefer to make them into triangle shapes. I love the versatility of the triangle shape since it’s so portable and because I can freeze them and bake them up individually (or a whole bunch) whenever I have a craving!
Here’s the recipe:
Spanakopita ~ Greek Spinach Triangles
1 box Fillo Dough
2 pounds frozen chopped Spinach (you can use fresh but in this recipe there is very little difference)
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp basil (I like to use fresh basil)
1 tsp dill
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped (you can use dry thyme)
1 tsp kosher salt
5 stalks of Scallions
7 oz crumbled Feta
1/2 cup Ricotta
1/2 cup Cottage cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
3/4 lb (3 sticks) of unsalted butter
4 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Defrost Spinach and squeeze out all excess water and set aside. In a large skillet heat olive oil and saute onions, scallions, garlic, salt and herbs. After onions are tender, add Spinach to the mixture and stir fry for a few minutes. Take off heat and pour it into a large bowl. Add eggs, cheeses and lemon juice to the Spinach mixture. Stir to mix well.
Take out Fillo dough from package and put them on a cookie sheet and cover with a damp paper towel so they don’t dry out. Melt 3 sticks of butter in a microwave safe bowl and get a pastry brush. Place a piece of Fillo dough on a large cutting board and brush it with melted butter, working quickly so the fillo doesn’t dry out, place another sheet on top and brush that with butter as well. Repeat with three sheets of Fillo. Using a pizza cutter, cut three equal long strips on the Fillo. Place a large 1 1/2 tablespoon of spinach filling on the top of one of the strips and fold it at an angle so it forms a triangle. Keep folding the triangle onto itself until all the filling is enclosed in a triangular shape. Place it on a cookie sheet and brush the completed triangle with melted butter. Repeat the procedure withe the other two strips. Continue making triangles with three sheets of buttered Fillo at a time. Should yield about 42-46 individual Spanakopitas. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes. Serve warm.
When I was first introduced to Fry Bakes while visiting my husband’s side of the family in Barbados, I couldn’t figure out why it was called “Fry” Bakes. You either fry something or bake it, at least that is what I thought. But this is the local name in pretty much any English-speaking Caribbean island. They are also referred to simply as “Bakes”. It’s an easy way to make bread without using an oven. Usually it’s enjoyed right on the beach, cooked up fresh and hot and served with fresh fish Ceviche or salt fish stews or in Jamaica it’s served with Salt Fish and Achee (a small green, tart fruit). It’s delicious, it’s portable and it’s simple to make. I’ve learned that if I want to make the Caribbean side of my family happy, all I have to do is cook up some Fry Bakes and cut up some good quality aged English Cheddar and watch everyone go crazy eating it. Enjoy!
Caribbean Fry Bakes
7 cups All-Purpose flour
2 tablespoons of Kosher Salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 1/4 tsp of active dry yeast
1 tsp baking powder
3 cups warm water
Vegetable oil for frying
In a glass measuring cup add sugar to one cup of warm water, stir and add in yeast and let it proof by bubbling and foaming. In a large bowl, mix together flour salt and baking powder. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add oil and proofed yeast. Mix in with your hands and slowly add in remaining two cups of water. Knead until dough is soft and elastic. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for about 20-30 minutes. Dough will rise during that time. Make little dough balls, about 1 1/2 inch in diameter and roll out on a lightly floured surface into about 3″ circles. Heat oil in a small frying pan (medium heat) and gently place dough in oil and fry until golden brown. Serve hot with sharp cheddar cheese slices (we love Dubliner or aged English Cheddar) or with fresh Ceviche. Makes about 35 fry bakes.
This is one of my quick go to vegetable dishes. I love long green beans. In the summer when I can grow my own or pick up some from the local Farmer’s Market, they are delicious. I made these today from frozen long green beans. I think they turn out just as great as the fresh variety. It’s March and most Farmer’s Markets will not officially open in Utah until early June. Although I’m waiting anxiously for warmer weather and fresher foods, I’m okay with the frozen variety for a while!
Here’s the recipe:
Herbed Long Green Beans
1 16 oz package of frozen Long Green Beans
5 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tsp Kosher Salt
3 whole garlic cloves minced
1 tsp dried Thyme
1/2 tsp dried Oregano
1/2 tsp dried Basil
1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
In a large 6 quart pan bring water to a full rolling boil. Add about 4-5 tablespoons of salt to the water and add frozen beans. Cook about 5-6 minutes until beans are tender. In a separate skillet add olive oil, kosher salt, garlic, pepper and herbs. Stir for about 40 seconds to marry the flavors and add drained Long Green Beans and toss to coat well. Serve warm as a side dish. Goes great with Chicken Spinach Alfredo http://kolpona.com/2012/03/17/spinach-chicken-alfredo/
Tajine is a clay pot that is used in North African cooking. If you have a long clay pot make sure you use a heat diffuser so it doesn’t crack on the stove top. If you don’t have a Tajine, don’t worry a nice big skillet with a lid will work just fine. You will need about 8-10 Chicken Thighs with skin. Please use bone in chicken thighs or even a whole chicken instead of boneless, skinless chicken breasts because you need the extra flavor of bone in chicken. Wash and pat the chicken pieces dry. Rub each piece with the spice marinade and put in a ziplock bag overnight in the refrigerator.
Marinade for chicken (preferably overnight):
1 ½ tsp Cumin
1 ½ tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 tsp Paprika
4 chopped garlic cloves
Pulp from preserved lemon (recipe included)
1 tsp kosher salt
The next day, heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large heavy bottom skillet and place the chicken skin side down. Sear both sides of the chicken for about 5 minutes each to get a nice brown color. You’re not cooking it all the way through just locking in flavor and color.
Set the chicken aside. In the same pan add the following:
1 Spanish Onion, chopped
1 Preserved Lemon – rinse well and chop the lemon skin into small pieces
1 Red bell pepper chopped
Saute a few minutes and then add the following:
1 cup golden raisins
½ cup Kalamata and Moroccan Olives (use a combo)
Fresh garlic about 5 cloves chopped
1 tsp grated ginger
½ cup each chopped Cilantro and flat leaf Parsley
Sauté a few more minutes and add chicken back into pan. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes. Add 1 cup water and cook an additional 20-25 minutes, covered. Taste for salt and adjust. Because preserved lemons and olives are salty be careful with how much additional salt you add. Serve with couscous.