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Month: July 2016

Lemon Mustard Roasted Potatoes

Lemon Mustard Roasted Potatoes

I like to watch cooking shows while I’m doing other things. I put them on in the kitchen while I’m cleaning up or cooking, and sometimes I have them on while I’m working. The result is, I miss a lot. Sometimes I notice that I missed the one thing I wanted to see and I rewind and play that part again. And, very often I still miss it and have to repeat the process several times before I finally catch it. This recipe was inspired by one of those episodes.

I was watching Giada at Home. The episode was My Grandfather’s Favorites. So, Giada and her Aunt Raffy are recreating some of Dino De Laurentis’ favorite recipes. Giada has revamped the recipes in her own style, and it irritates Raffy to no end. They bicker. Giada grins at the camera a lot. And it feels a little weird that she’s the one in charge, instead of her aunt, given the theme of the episode. But hey! It’s her show. I think it would be interesting to see them make both versions, side by side. And, much more interesting to actually taste test both versions!

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My lemon mustard roasted potatoes are inspired by her lemon-mustard potato salad. Hers sound really yummy, but I was after roasted potatoes that could be reheated, rather than a salad dish with greens and other fresh stuff. Plus, it was important that I could use ingredients that I had on-hand. That is often a major factor in my adaptations and I hope that you will follow suit and take my recipes as an inspiration and a guideline to be adapted to the ingredients that you have, can easily get or just prefer!

Lemon Mustard Roasted Potatoes – Ingredients

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1 ½ pounds potatoes

Zest of one large lemon

Juice of 1 large lemon

3 tablespoons extra light tasting olive oil

2 tablespoons stone ground mustard

1 tablespoon fresh chives

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt

½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Shredded parmesan

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Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375

Chop chives or cut with kitchen scissors

In a bowl large enough for tossing the potatoes, whisk together all ingredients except the parmesan and potatoes

Scrub potatoes and cut into large bite-sized chunks

Dump the potatoes into the bowl with the dressing and toss until thoroughly coated

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Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper (you don’t have to, but it will make your life much easier)

Spread the potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheet

Spoon any dressing remaining in the bowl over the potatoes

Bake for 20 minutes

Top with shredded Parmesan

Baked for another 20 to 30 minutes, until golden and tender

Transfer back into the bowl and toss with remaining chive fragments

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I served this with baked chicken breast and Ranch on the side. Some kind of vegetable, like steamed Brussels sprouts, broccoli florets or artichoke hearts would go great with the meal, since they are all easy to make and great for dipping.

What will you serve your lemon mustard roasted potatoes with?

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Beautiful and Tasty: Fresh Herbs Instead of Flower Arrangements

Beautiful and Tasty: Fresh Herbs Instead of Flower Arrangements

Fresh cut flowers brighten up the room, but they are expensive and then they wilt and die. Fresh herbs, on the other hand, are both useful and beautiful.

Mint in champagne flute
Mint in champagne flute

Storing fresh herbs used to be a challenge for me. They don’t do so great in the fridge. They get slimy. Or I forget I have them and then they get really slimy! And I don’t use them nearly as much as I could.

When I discovered that I could keep them in water like flowers, I was thrilled! When I started doing this I used little jars and things I had around. This year, when my mom brought me some mint, I had an even better idea – a champagne flute! The shape is perfect for mint. The narrow stem and wide mouth accommodates the leaves and the stems, keeping the leaves from getting in the water without having to trim a bunch off.

For chives, I use a stemmed glass with straight sides.

To keep the herbs fresh, I change the water regularly, trim off any parts that are starting to go wilty or brown, and rinse them stems. Oh, and clean the glass, too. It doesn’t take long and they keep much longer.

If you have herbs that are already starting to wilt, putting them water can perk them up. You may need to trim the bottoms off the stems so they can take up water.

For the glasses, I like to use fancy ones that don’t get used often enough for drinking glasses. It gets them out of the china cabinet and out where they can be enjoyed. I have a hard time passing up interesting glasses, and an even harder time finding places to put them. I get most of mine at thrift stores and garage sales.

Whether you grow your own herbs or buy them at the farmer’s market, there are so many things to love about this!

You can put them herbs right on the counter where you do your prep work so they’re handy and you remember to use them.

For me, it’s great when I’m really making a quick salad because I got busy and waited too long to eat. Or if I’m loading up a baked potato to go with a steak for dinner, in the middle of watching a movie!

Plus, they’re pretty, and they smell good.

And the gift opportunities are amazing. The next time you’re thinking of buying cut flowers for someone, consider finding a unique glass at your local thrift store and filling it with your friend’s favorite herb, or an assortment of herbs. Even if you ordered a glass or a set of glasses, it would be cheaper than going to the florist, and much more personal. And it’s something they can use, not just something to sit there and look pretty.

If it’s too difficult to transport, you can put the fresh herbs in a baggie with a damp paper towel wrapped around the stems. If you want to present it all put together, take a bottle of water with you and put it together in the car right before you go to the door.

 

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You Can Make Your Own Cultured Buttermilk

You Can Make Your Own Cultured Buttermilk

Why Am I Making Buttermilk?

I’ve had a buttermilk issue for a few years now, and from what I hear I’m not alone. The problem is that I can’t find it in small amounts, and I almost never use up the whole container before it’s out of date. I have many uses for it, and I need it all the time, but I only use small amounts for all the uses.

I have been told that you can freeze it. I have tried that, but it didn’t work out for me at the time, and I wasn’t sure if the cultures would survive. Turns out, they do, but they don’t last a long time in the freezer and you really need to freeze the buttermilk when it is as fresh as possible because that helps the cultures survive longer.

You can read a cool Instructable about it by a scientist.

Waste wasn’t the only issue. Store-bought buttermilk has too many ingredients. When I say, “too many,” I mean unnecessary things that shouldn’t be in it. The easiest way to make your own buttermilk is to start with store-bought buttermilk for your cultures. That doesn’t entirely eliminate the extraneous ingredients, but it reduces them. Since you make each subsequent batch using some of the last batch you made, you will eventually get to the point where those ingredients are practically non-existent.

The alternative to using store-bought buttermilk is to use buttermilk starter. Then, again, you use your buttermilk moving forward. That would eliminate the extra ingredients entirely. I haven’t tried doing it that way. If you have tried both methods, let me know which one you like better and why.

Why Buttermilk?

I use buttermilk to make Ranch dressing and homemade sour cream on a regular basis. I will be posting an updated version of the sour cream recipe soon. Less frequently, I use it to soak chicken before cooking, make fried chicken, and in other recipes like homemade tortillas and other breads.

It’s also good for your skin. You can use it alone to clean your face or mix it with raw honey to make a nice mask.

Cultured vs Traditional Buttermilk

I don’t know about you, but I used to be confused about buttermilk. What I always knew of as buttermilk was the liquid that is left over from churning butter. That’s traditional buttermilk and totally different to what you can buy in stores today or what recipes call for.

Traditional buttermilk doesn’t have cultures, so it can’t be used to make more buttermilk or sour cream. It is not acidic like cultured buttermilk, so doesn’t have the same flavor or chemical effect when used in recipes.

What About Adding Lemon Juice to Regular Milk?

When you mention “making” buttermilk to most people, they think you’re talking about the old trick of adding lemon juice to regular milk when you don’t have or can’t find buttermilk for a recipe.

That will work for some recipes. It gives it the acidity and tangy flavor, so it will activate baking soda and generally achieve the flavor you want. But again, no cultures. It won’t make more buttermilk or sour cream. And, you get none of the health benefits of the live active cultures.

How to Make Buttermilk

This is insanely simple!Find a glass jar with a lid. Boil some water to sterilize the jar and lid. I just set them in the sink, pour the boiling water in them and dump it back out.

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Fill the jar with ¾ milk and ¼ buttermilk.

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Put the lid on tightly and shake it up to mix well.

Put it in a warm dark place. If you don’t have a dark place, cover it with a towel to protect it from the light.

Wait 12 to 24 hours.

Taste and refrigerate.

The end result should be thicker than the milk you used. It will turn into buttermilk faster in warmer temperatures, so keep that in mind when planning ahead. If you want to be sure it stays warm in a chilly house, you can put it in a cooler along with a jar of very hot water.

For the jar, I have started using freezer-safe canning jars. They are better for pouring and easier to clean than regular jars with a shoulder.I used to use Jars I had saved from Spaghetti sauce, but now I use those for fly-proof drinking glasses.

Have you tried making your own buttermilk? If so, tell me about it in the comments!

 

 

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