Patatas Bravas

January 28th, 2012

This is a popular tapa in Spain that is as easy to make as it is delicious. Patatas Bravas is Spanish for “fierce potato”. In my head, I hear Alec Balwin as Jack Donaghy saying it in an ominous tone with his low gravelly voice. Fierce potato.  Possibly a nickname for a Frito-Lays CEO/notorious shark and personal achievement rival.

Ingredients:
3 russet potatoes aka regular baking potatoes
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, diced
1/2 cup of tomato sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp tabasco sauce
paprika
mayonnaise

Directions:

1.  On medium heat, cook onions and garlic in 1-2 tbsp of olive oil until slighly brown (roughly 5 minutes). Take off heat and add a few dashes of paprika. Put back on the stove add tomato sauce, ketchup, and tabasco sauce. Stir, then turn to lowest heat, stirring when the mixture bubbles.

2. Depending on what your willing to do (and how long you’re willing to wait once you smell the saucy greatness) you can cook the potatoes one of two ways: let sit in boiling in water for 15-20 minutes and drain or poke a bunch of holes into the potatoes with a fork and cook in the microwave on medium heat for 6-8 minutes, flipping them over half-way through. They are equally effective, so I often choose the latter because it’s faster and less dishes.

3.  Let potatoes cook for 5 minutes. Cut the potatoes up into 1/2 inch coins, then cut the coins in halves or quarters.  On medium-high heat, cook the potatoes in 3 tbsp of olive oil, flipping them over constantly until both sides are golden brown.

4.  Pour the bravas sauce on the potatoes, put a dollop of mayo on top, serve!

Original recipe here

There is little to say here other than this is great. Sweet, tart, buttery, slightly spicy, gooey, crunchy greatness. Just make it. It’s so worth it.  It’s a nice spin on the classic apple crisp.  And like apple crisp, I eat it for dessert and breakfast with ice cream.  Because I’m an adult and I can do whatever I WANT.

This wasn’t as difficult to make as I imagined it would be.  It was almost the same as makng any other crisp and the weirdest thing I had to buy were the pears itself.  I don’t usually buy them, but pears are in season so they’re actually cheap!

While making this, I realized several annoying parallels to pears and avocados:

  • Finicky and difficult to keep: You buy them a few days in advance and then wait for them to ripen. Once they’re ripe, there is 48-hour window before they go to hell
  • When fresh, the insides start to brown almost immediately when they’re exposed to the atmosphere
  • Awkward shape
  • Weak stems that do nothing to help you when you’re slicing or peeling their awkward shapes
  •  They both have a very faint, mild taste, but somehow they make anything you eat 523,948 times better (salad, sandwiches, etc) when you add it. What gives?

In the end, I love the two so much that I’m willing to overlook all of those things and eat them whenever I can.

Ingredients:

Crumble
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup  sugar
3 tablespoons dark or light brown sugar
1 cup gingersnap crumbs (about 16 storebought cookies)
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled

Filling
2 pounds (about 4 to 5) large ripe pears peeled, halved, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 1/2 cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
1 tablespoon  lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Crush gingersnap cookies using whatever you have available. for some it’s a food processor, for others it’s a hammer and a strong plastic bag:

    Surprisingly effective!
  3. Stir together the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, gingersnap crumbs. Stir in the melted butter until large crumbs form.
  4. In a 2 quart baking dish, mix the pears, cranberries, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk the sugar and cornstarch together then toss it with the fruit mixture in the pan.
  5. Sprinkle the gingersnap crumble over the fruit. Bake it for about 45 minutes, until the crumble is a shade darker and you see juices bubbling through the crumbs. mmmmhm.
original recipe from SmittenKitchen

Frozen Bananagrams

January 12th, 2012

My friend Jenny sent me this creation and it is nothing short of health food trickery. Your taste receptors are is telling your brain you’re eating an ice cream sandwich. You look down, and your eyes are sending a conflicting message that it is actually fruit slice on a graham cracker in your hand!  Saboteur!  It’s rare that a healthier alternative can be so far removed from what you’re replacing, yet still bring the house down in the taste department.  Bananagrams really surprised me.  This is great for kiddies too as long as you don’t ruin it by saying something stupid like this:

Jenny has become my motivator for being healthier this year.  We were always terrible influences on each other during our college years. Nights of heavy boozing followed by sedentary days of bagel sandwiches and Law and Order SVU marathons.  Obviously that will happen from time to time but for the most part, strides for healthy living are starting to happen…more often!

We did yoga recently in her living room and it was hilarious.  There are many advantages to yoga dvd instead of taking a class:
- You can yell and swear at the instructor (SO much fun by the way)
- $$$. Significantly cheaper
- You can be clumsy and inflexible in the privacy of your own living room
- You can PAUSE it.  Jenny had to let the dogs in every 20 minutes so even they did some yoga too:


“hey buddy I need to use th-…alright I guess we can take five”

You tell that face to move.  I’m not made of stone! I’m also not made of muscle so I couldn’t actually move him anyway.  That is a big dog.

Okay here we go:

1 ripe banana sliced diagonally
Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread
Graham crackers

Break up graham crackers, spread 1/2 tablespoon of nutella on each square, place banana slice on top.  Set bananagrams on a plate, lightly cover with plastic wrap, and put in the freezer.  Freeze for at least 1 hour. Enjoy!

First photo: Delish (they sprinkled coconut on top, which you are welcome to try)

Obligatory:

Grilled Cheese is magic. It’s universally loved by all- even that finicky 5 year old, who refuses to eat 80% of food, goes bonkers when you put a grilled cheese sandwich in front of him.  It’s a very therapeutic food.  It’s crispy, golden and gives you an instant case of the warm and fuzzies.

Because they are so fantastically simple, there is plenty of room to be creative and mess around with the classic American cheese on white….if you want to. My roommate Chelsea sent me a grilled cheese recipe from Framed Cooks that I had to try.  Apple butter and XX sharp cheddar. Holy shit. yes. And rosemary? Whatever, that could be interesting. Let’s do this:

Ingredients:

2 slices of your favorite bread
Butter, softened
1-2 tablespoon apple butter
One teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves
Thinly sliced extra-sharp Cheddar cheese

Directions:

(I copy/pasted the directions from Framed Cooks. I can bring myself to explain how to make grilled cheese. You should know this)

Smooth butter over one side of each bread slice; top other sides evenly with apple butter. Sprinkle rosemary over the side of the bread that is coated with apple butter. Top with sliced cheese and remaining bread slice, buttered side up.

Heat nonstick griddle over medium-high heat. When hot, turn down heat to medium and grill sandwich 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Enjoy (:

I like New Year’s Eve.  It’s everyone’s favorite holiday to trash and complain about the hype surrounding it, but what does everyone expect anyway? This is what you sound like: mehhh mehh NYE is overrated blah blah always soo disappointing wahh. Just get dressed up, drink champagne, and hug and kiss your buddies at midnight.  Then go to McDonalds and get a double cheeseburger for breakfast on New Year’s Day.  It’s greasy, delicious, and a revelation for your hungover palate. Plus, by eating this as your first meal, the only way you can go from there is up!

If you choose to stay in and watch The Walking Dead marathon (that is on right now), these sweet potato rounds are perfection and go very well with champagne (:

Ingredients:

2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, unpeeled and cut into 1+1/2 inch coins
1/4 cup of olive oil

1 cup celery, diced
1/3 cup onions, diced
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/3 cup candied pecans, crumbled
2 tbsp cranberry sauce with whole berries, or dried cranberries
4 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat baking sheet with olive oil. Place sweet potatoes on the baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes. Take out of the oven and carefully flip each piece and put back in the oven for another 15 minutes until both sides are slightly brown. Test with a fork. If it’s marshmallow-y and soft, it’s done.

2.While the rounds are baking, start preparing your salad. Mix everything together and set aside.

3. Let sweet potatoes cool for a few minutes, then scoop a heaping spoonful of salad and place on top of each round. Serve!

Original recipe from SmittenKitchen

Happy New Year!!