Posts tagged ‘Potato’

November 3, 2011

Sharing History | Pierogi

There is a vast expanse of Europe between the Black and Baltic Seas commonly known as “Eastern Europe.”  Millions of Americans can trace their ancestry from this region, but many of them don’t know exactly where.  They came through both the front and back doors of the East Coast in search of something more.  They came to mine coal, bend steel, crunch numbers, and maybe raise hell.  Many of them saw the horrors of the 20th century up close, and came here to escape.  They might not have brought much, but they brought their culture, their spirit, and their food.

At the center of this culinary tradition are Pierogi.  It’s the unofficial national dish of Poland, and they are eaten, with different names, from Ukraine to Latvia.  They are traditionally filled with potato, cheese, sauerkraut, or fruit preserves.

But most importantly to me, it’s Hades’s favorite food and the in-laws’ official celebratory dish.  Needless to say,

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May 30, 2011

Holiday Weekend | Greek Mezedes

This started with my current obsession, which is oddly and plainly, roasting potatoes.

From which rose a lovely collection of small plates that we passed and shared over a couple of glasses of wine. Well, Cherub didn’t have any wine.

It was all easily pulled together a Monday night on a long weekend, Memorial Day here in America and Bank Holiday for those across the pond.  It’s a leisurely way to enjoy a meal or entertain.   It’s basically the more familiar tapas only with Mediterranean flair.  In fact many a Greek meal begins and ends entirely with mezedes.

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March 20, 2011

Sunday Breakfast | Huevos, Persephone Style

There’s something about Mexican food lately.  I’m just loving the spices and the fats and the flavors and the family feel of the meals.  This morning, since we had so many ingredients of Mexican origin in the fridge, I decided to do a take on huevos rancheros.  It’s not really rancheros; it’s just a delicious breakfast with spicy Mexican ingredients on a crispy tortilla, topped with a huevo.

I realize that this morning’s recipe is going to look a bit too involved.  But it has a couple of different simple components (the chile paste, the avocado crema) that you might consider making at some point and stashing in the freezer or have a bit leftover for a breakfast like this.

Huevos Persephone, serves two

Small link of Mexican chorizo, casing removed and sausage crumbled

1/4 of a small onion, diced

1 potato peeled and cut into small cubes

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January 30, 2011

Hangover Cure | Migas

Do not get the wrong idea: Persephone is not hung over.  She doesn’t get hung over.  Let’s just get that straight first.  But I do know that this is a malady that occasionally affects those fashionable folks who enjoy a nice meal with a few (extra) glasses of wine.

A sturdy, spicy breakfast lunch the next morning midday with a good strong bit of coffee is just what Persephone thinks you need, if you’re one of those fashionable folks.  And the refreshing thing about this is that you can be as creative as you like (or as creative as your refrigerator allows). The only basics you need are pork, eggs and tortillas.

For the migas this morning, it was a mash-up between a Spanish version that’s heavy on the pork products and the Tex-Mex version that’s heavy on the tortillas.  Typically the Spanish version uses breadcrumbs, but we have nine zillion corn tortillas in the fridge so there you have it.

To get started, I fried up some chorizo that was sliced into thick chunks, and a few slices of bacon that had been chopped into five or six pieces.  While this was frying over slowish heat, I soaked some corn tortillas in water that was seasoned with salt, some slices of jalapeno, and smashed garlic.  I also chopped up a couple of tiny potatoes and some fennel tops that we had in the fridge.  I whisked a couple of eggs together and added in a handful of watercress that was feeling lonely.   When the bacon and chorizo was just about crisp, I drained the tortillas and dried them then sliced them into thin strips.  I tipped in the tortillas, potatoes and fennel and let it cook a few minutes until most had crisped a bit (not too much, mind you) then added in the eggs and cress.  Stir and cook until the eggs are the consistency you like then divide into bowls and top with a bit of chopped cilantro.

This is pretty seasonal right now, but certainly in the warmer months, you might add tomatoes or kernels of  summer corn instead of the fennel and potatoes.  There’s also a plethora of cheese choices you can add to this everything from cojita and queso fresco (my favorite) to the shredded four cheese blends you get at the store (not so much my favorite, but entirely do-able).

Make sure you set a bottle of sriracha on the table for those that need a bit more help waking up and facing the day.

Playlist included Help, I’m Alive, by Metric.

January 19, 2011

Globetrotter | Braised Brisket

Sometimes, the heavens align to make my cooking for the week a little easier.  Enter the brisket.  Such a great cut and so flexible.

Sidenote: I’m in serious trouble if Zeus is reading this post, because in the country I was raised, brisket can be prepared one way only.  Small exceptions are made one day out of the year – March 17th – when it is acceptable to consume corned beef.

A brisket is a great, inexpensive cut of meat that’s superbly tender if it’s been given some low and slow cooking (just like bbq, y’all).  And if you cook a really big piece of meat one day, you are left with the lovely proposition of leftovers.

Tonight, this simply-braised brisket was served in generous slabs lacquered with the cooking liquids.  Partnering it was a silken parsnip and potato puree and the world’s greatest (hyperbole, perhaps) spiced purple cabbage.  A bit like a dinner in Alsace.

The excess brisket will be the base of two more days of worldly deliciousness.  Look later this week for recipes in which the leftovers will be dressed up in tight Mexican Mariachi pants and a big hat and then subsequently looking demure in a separate Philippine dish.  Globetrotting indeed.

Simple Long-Braised Brisket

1 – 3 pound  brisket

1/2 onion, chopped

2 carrots, scrubbed and cut in thirds

6 cloves garlic (I used some garlic confit that was in the fridge – you don’t have to, of course)

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December 2, 2010

Chrismukkah Fare | Latkes and Bubbly

I know I’m biased, but food has always been, and remains, the keystone of every culture.  It brings people together, allowing families to share, to bond, and to pay homage those that came before them.  Many of the recipes I share here, from pub food, to Spanish stews, to Asian noodles or vegetarian Indian curries are designed to bring people together around the table. 

This effect is even more profound during times of celebration.  Today, I honored the Hanukkah holiday, and in traditional PK fashion, made it my own.  Dinner was a simple supper of really delicious (almost bordering on miraculous) potato latkes, given a twist with a coating of grated parsley root, carrot and onion, and a quick charred cinnamon applesauce, from one of the Kitchen’s chef crushes, Sam Mason.  Served with a crispy Cava from Spain, the meal was festive, without being too heavy.

Anthony Bourdain has said that American cooking is whatever food is being made in American kitchens.  I think if we embrace that variety in our own kitchens, food can help us learn.     

Parsley Root Latkes and Charred Cinnamon Applesauce

1 potato, peeled and cubed

2 T butter

splash of milk

2 parsley roots, peeled

1 carrot, peeled

1/2 onion

2 heaping tablespoons flour

1 egg

salt, pepper, olive oil (both for its symbolic importance and its flavor)

In a small pot, cover the potatoes with heavily salted water and boil until soft.  Drain, and mash with the butter and a bit of milk. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.  (This is a perfect time to use leftover mashed potatoes.)

While the potatoes are cooking, with a box grater or using the shredding blade of a food processor, shred the parsley roots, carrots and onion.  Place grated vegetables in a colander and sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt.  Mix with your hands to incorporate the salt.  Allow to sit for five or ten minutes.  In a clean kitchen towel, spread shredded vegetables evenly.  Roll up the towel and twist to squeeze out excess liquid.  Place vegetables in a small bowl, sprinkle with the flour, another generous pinch of salt, and add in the egg.  Mix to coat the vegetables evenly. 

In the palm of your hand, place a heaping tablespoon of the grated vegetable mixture and flatten to make a thin round.  On top of the round, place a heaping teaspoon of mashed potatoes, spreading to almost the edge of the vegetable round.  Place another heaping tablespoon of the grated vegetable mixture to cover the potato and finish the latke.

In a large nonstick pan, heat enough olive oil to thinly coat the bottom of the pan over medium low heat.  Add the latkes, taking care not to crowd the pan.  Allow to brown before turning, approximately 8 to 10 minutes on each side.  

Serve with sour cream and apple sauce.

Playlist included A Lack of Color, by Death Cab for Cutie.  Seth Cohen once attempted to write a Chrismukkah song to this tune with the lyrics “Moses and Jesus, they both had beards.”

November 2, 2010

Root Vegetable 101 | Turnip Soup

In the back, tiles of Hades and me on our wedding day.

Some of the most available (and storable) vegetables for the winter season are the root vegetables.  They’re versatile and relatively easy to find grown locally.  They’re really good for you and they’re really tasty.  Which brings me to the lowly, oft maligned turnip.   I think it’s kind of sad.  (Voice cracking just a little bit.)  It’s really tasty.  It has a pleasant sharpness to it, and you treat it practically like you treat a potato (roast it or boil it or mash it or put it in a soup).  But when was the last time you included a turnip in your dinner plans?  I thought as much. 

Have no fear!  For this Dia de los Muertos (a downright important holiday to us here in the underworld), Persephone is here to give you a quick, five ingredient(!!) dinner that is satisfying and easy on the budget, too.  Tonight’s recipe is a silky (+simple) soup with turnips and potato, topped with a garlicky toast piled with some vermouth-steamed shrimp and carmelized shallots.  

Sopa de Calaca: Turnip and Potato Soup with Shrimp and Shallots, serves 2 + a three-year old

Calavera festiva / Festive Skull (altura/heigh...

Image via Wikipedia

1 1/2 pounds of turnips, trimmed, lightly peeled and cut into small cubes

1 medium potato, peeled and cut into small cubes

2/3 pound large gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 large shallot, thinly sliced; 1 small shallot, minced

2 T butter, divided


2 or 3 slices of a good rustic bread, toasted and rubbed with a garlic clove

Optional ingredients (look, Persephone is being flexible!): Vermouth, ground sumac, dried savory, olive oil

For the soup:

In a large pot, melt one tablespoon of butter

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