Sweet Potato Fries.

these sweet potato fries, originally found, originally found at the wittily named savoring the thyme site, have become something of a staple for carla and i when we want something quick and tasty that isn’t actually fried.

here’s the deal:
2-3 sweet potatoes
4-5 garlic cloves
teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil

preheat the oven to 425. chop those potatoes into whatever shape you want (and if you want to peel them, we won’t stop you). dice the garlic, and toss everything togther in a bowl. bake on a parchment paper’d baking sheet for 20-25 minutes, and you’ve got it.

simple but tasty, and great on the side of a lot of dishes.

Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup (December 23, 2010)

carla and i are reunited for the holidays, and that means we’re doing a little cooking in between all the parties and restaurant dining. since the holidays are busy, we wanted something that would last a few days and wouldn’t take too much time and energy to make, as it was already late in the day when we planned.

after vetoing rick bayless’s soups (too much time and energy), i found this recipe for sweet potato and sausage soup on carla’s favorite food blog, smitten kitchen. it seemed quite easy, and she already had many ingredients on hand, so we went for it.

from smitten kitchen
Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup
Bon Appetit, October 2007

Makes 8 servings

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 10- to 11-ounce fully cooked smoked Portuguese linguica sausage or chorizo sausage, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (Spanish chorizo can be substituted)
2 medium onions, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams; about 2 large), peeled, quartered lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 pound white-skinned potatoes, peeled, halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
6 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 9-ounce bag fresh spinach

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add sausage; cook until brown, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Transfer sausage to paper towels to drain. (I poured off some of the oil in the pot at this point, but the original recipe doesn’t think this is needed.) Add onions and garlic to pot and cook until translucent, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add all potatoes and cook until beginning to soften, stirring often, about 12 minutes. Add broth; bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until potatoes are soft, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Using potato masher, mash some of potatoes in pot. Add browned sausage to soup. Stir in spinach and simmer just until wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among bowls and serve.

we followed the recipe fairly closely, using a spanish chorizo – not as spicy as its mexican counterpart, but still distinct in its flavor.

i thought it was pretty excellent. i should’ve really diced the sausage into small pieces – the slices were just a bit too large as we made it, and they stayed rather firm, making them hard to break up with a spoon. but the wonderful flavor of sweet potatoes really came through nicely, and it was pretty painless to prepare. of course, it helps having two people to do all the prep work…i give it an A-.

CARLA: i thought it was very good; agree on the sausage comment above, they needed to be smaller pieces. i don’t know what else, david. oh, probably an A. i’d probably make it again.

Classic Shepherd’s Pie (March 17, 2010)

in honor of st. patrick’s day, carla and i wanted to do something festive. but she doesn’t eat red meat, and so corned beef and a number of traditional stews were out of the question. instead, she dug up this recipe for shepherd’s pie using ground turkey. it’s from weight watchers, and those recipes are often hit or miss.

Ingredients
2 large potato(es), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1/4 cup(s) fat-free sour cream
1 Tbsp reduced-calorie margarine
1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup(s) onion(s), chopped
2 medium carrot(s), diced
2 medium stalk(s) celery, diced
1 pound(s) uncooked ground turkey breast
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp rosemary, fresh, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 cup(s) canned chicken broth, or beef broth

Instructions

* Preheat oven to 400ºF.

* Place potatoes in a large saucepan and pour in enough water to cover potatoes. Set pan over high heat and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer 10 minutes, until potatoes are fork-tender. Drain potatoes, transfer to a large bowl and add sour cream and margarine; mash until smooth, season to taste with salt and set aside.

* Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots and celery; cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add turkey and cook until browned, breaking up the meat as it cooks, about 5 minutes. Add flour, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper; stir to coat. Add broth and bring to a simmer; simmer until mixture thickens, about 3 minutes.

* Transfer turkey mixture to a 9-inch, deep-dish pie plate. Spread mashed potatoes over top and using the back of a spoon, make decorative swirls over the top. Bake until potatoes are golden, about 30 minutes. Slice into 6 pieces and serve.

we stuck to the recipe pretty well, only skimping on some of the margarine in the mashed potatoes. i like that in encourages you to make decorative swirls in the top – i considered trying to draw a shamrock, but i felt like failure was imminent and backed out.

David – i thought this was pretty AWESOME. i think we hit it just right with the spices, and the texture of the filling was the right consistency – not too thin, not too thick. the spices worked well, though i feel like we probably could’ve done a touch more specifically on the turkey. but a really pleasant surprise. if winter wasn’t just ending, i’d want to make this again soon. i give it a big old A.

Carla – i liked it. i was afraid of it being bland, but it ended up being pretty good. i would eat it again. A.

Baked Eggs and Potatoes (November 22, 2009)

A great weekend breakfast is a continually search for David and me. Today we found that we had potatoes, eggs, and bacon and wanted to make a good breakfast. I searched around a bit online and found this on the Food Network.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds red-skinned potatoes diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
8 large eggs
1 cup extra-sharp farmhouse cheddar, shredded (about 4 ounces) (we used romano cheese)

We also used 6 strips of turkey bacon.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a large, well-seasoned cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally until tender and brown, about 15 minutes. Stir in the parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper, and remove from the heat.

Push the potatoes aside to make 4 evenly spaced shallow nests and break 2 eggs into each. Bake until the egg whites are cooked and the yolks are still runny, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the cheese over the eggs and continue baking until it just melts, about 1 minute more. Serve immediately.

We also added some cooked bacon to the potatoes before we added the eggs. We halved this recipe, partly because of the number of ingredients we had on hand.

Carla: This was a good breakfast. It might have cooked a bit too long, but it still turned out okay. I should have added a bit more salt and pepper to the eggs, but the recipe was good. A
David: I thought it was great. I feel like we could use more ingredients and different ingredients. I think we could have used more potatoes. I would give it an A.

German Potato Salad (July 13, 2009)

i got this recipe via allrecipes. it’s very straightforward, but i thought it turned out pretty good; i made it a couple times this summer. keys include not having too many potatoes (otherwise there’s not enough of the liquid to cover them) and making sure the bacon is fatty enough to give the delicious grease you need for the onions. anyways, i really love german potato salad, and so this worked really well for me.

* 9 potatoes, peeled
* 6 slices bacon
* 3/4 cup chopped onions
* 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 2 tablespoons white sugar
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
* 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 3/4 cup water
* 1/3 cup distilled white vinegar

DIRECTIONS

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 30 minutes. Drain, cool and slice thin.
2. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside, reserving drippings.
3. Saute onions in bacon drippings until they are golden-brown.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, celery seed, and pepper. Add to the sauteed onions and cook and stir until bubbly, then remove from heat. Stir in water and vinegar, then return to the stove and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for one minute. Carefully stir bacon and sliced potatoes into the vinegar/water mixture, stirring gently until potatoes are heated through.

Pasta with Potatoes (January 15, 2009)

Another recipe from Bitten.

All information taken directly from the recipe:

This dish is best when the pasta is cooked until it is fat, juice-laden and quite soft, so there’s no need to seize the ideal al dente moment. Nor is there any need to worry about the ”correct” pasta shape; pasta with potatoes is good with several different shapes, in varying quantities, preferably broken.

Ingredients

* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1/2 cup minced pancetta or bacon, optional (we used pancetta – although it wasn’t enough)
* 3 or 4 potatoes, about 1 1/2 pounds, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
* 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
* 3 or 4 small dried hot red chiles, or to taste (or substitute about 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes)
* 1 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes, not drained
* 1 1/2 pounds assorted dried pasta
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

1. Put several cups of water in a pot on stove, and keep it at a simmer. Place olive oil in a large saucepan, and turn heat to medium. If you’re using pancetta or bacon, add it to the oil and cook, stirring occasionally, until it becomes slightly crisp, about 10 minutes. (If you are omitting the meat, proceed to the next step.)

2. Add potatoes, garlic and chiles and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes begin to brown all over, about 10 minutes.

3. Add tomatoes and their juice, along with 2 cups of the simmering water, and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium-low, and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally to break up the tomatoes and prevent sticking.

4. While potato mixture is cooking, break long dried pasta, like spaghetti, into several lengths; place cut pasta, like ziti, in a bag, and break it up with the back of a pot or a hammer. After potato mixture has simmered for about 10 minutes, add pasta and plenty of salt and pepper to pot. Simmer, stirring and adding the simmering water as necessary; mixture should remain thick and stewy, never dry.

5. When potatoes are tender and pasta quite tender — this will take 20 minutes or more — the dish is done. (It may be covered and refrigerated for a day or two, or put in a closed container and frozen for several weeks; it’s likely that you will need to add more liquid when you reheat.) Check the seasoning, and add some crushed red pepper flakes, black pepper or salt if needed. Serve hot, in bowls.

David: I cooked this. I would give it, probably, a B. Um…it was good, but I feel like it was a little plain. We should have used more pancetta. I think it would have made a decent difference. If we make it again, we should do that.

Carla: It was nice to come home to a hot meal (thanks, David!). It was good and a bit spicy. I also thought was kind a plain and I am not sure I like the overdoneness of the pasta. B