Pan Fried Curry Potatoes with Cauliflower

Potato Curry With Cauliflower

We interrupt your regular Jeopardy updates with a recipe. (Keep kicking butt, Morgan)

My mother almost never uses salt. She doesn’t think it’s necessary in a well prepared dish and practically swears against it, no matter the quantity. We often cook together when I visit and whenever we do you can guarantee that she’ll cut the salt from whatever recipe we’re working from (I must admit, often she’s right). I couldn’t help but think that she’d approve of this dish as I whipped it together, being very minimalist on not only salt, but spices in general. I did add salt while eating it, though. 😉

Yukon Gold Potatoes Sliced Onions

The weather has been amazing here lately and on top of climbing, grilling and just wearing less (bow chica bow wow), I’ve been thinking a lot about the upcoming bumper crop of vegetables and fruit. It’s going to rock! The roots are still kicking though, and after seeing cauliflower on sale at my local grocery store I decided it would be paired well with some yukon golds. Not a bad recipe, but I’d cut the potatoes smaller than shown in these photos.

Potatoes And Cauliflower

Pan Fried Curry Potatoes with Cauliflower

4 tablespoons olive oil
6 yukon gold potatoes; peeled and chopped (about half the size in photos!)
2 tablespoon butter
2 onions; cut into quarter slices
1 jalepeno; minced
3 cloves garlic; minced
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1/2 head cauliflower; cut into bite size florets (a wee bit smaller than in photos)
1 1/2-2 teaspoons curry; quantity and type of your choosing
1/2 cup water

Cook the potatoes with four tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick pan on medium-high heat (pan fry) for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Drain the potatoes on some paper towels and set aside. Reduce to medium heat, melt the butter and add the onions, cooking for 5 minutes until soft and lightly browned.

Add the pepper, garlic and ginger, cooking for another few minutes until the garlic is fragrant. Add the cauliflower, potatoes, curry and simmer covered (you may need to raise the heat briefly) until the the cauliflower is tender and the potatoes are easily pierced; approximately 15-20 minutes. Serve with salt and enjoy.

The first signs of Spring came out in style this past weekend with some excellent sun, a light breeze and warm temperatures that helped you forgot the horror that snowpacolypse. On Sunday a group of of us went on our first outdoor climb of the new year at Great Falls. Despite rather high water levels we had a blast and got some excellent climbs in.

Apples And Pears Pot Pouri

Inspired by the weather, I ventured out to the Falls Church Farmers Market on Saturday, which has actually been open since January. Props to that. There’s something calming about Farmers Markets; centering. Scores of people walking about just talking, sampling food; no rush, no place they have to be. It’s just a contrast from the usual everyday life in DC where actually forget about how much stress and urgency we’re practically swimming in.

Yukon Golds Yukon Golds - Quartered

With us being on the tale end of winter, I honed in on the root vegetables; beets, leeks, potatoes… and a few apples of course (huuuuge Fuji’s. yum!) The leeks ended up in a nice simple, but delicious potato leek soup and I have visions of a small batch of borscht for the beets. The potatoes, yukon golds to be exact, had their own destiny.

Oven Baked Yukon Golds

A very smart person once said that the secret to good food is to use fresh ingredients and do very little to them. While it’s easy to to consider the potato as nothing more than bland, there is an essence of flavor somewhere and simplicity is the best way to draw that out. Local fresh is key here. Potatoes start with a rather thin skin when just yanked out of the ground and this thing tends to get thicker as the months roll by (which I can promise you is happening with spuds at your local megamart). When looking for potatoes at your local market, look for paper thin and you won’t be disappointed. Then, toss with a bit of oil, some salt and pepper and then whatever herbs you may like (fresh if you got em but dried if you don’t).

Oven Baked Yukon Golds
Consider this a guideline. Throw out the cookbook (or, put it back on the shelf).

Yukon Gold potatoes
herbs (rosemary, thyme…)

Preheat your oven to 400°. Cut your potatoes into 1.5 piece cubes, most likely just in half unless there notably large; in which case quarter them. Toss with a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Start with one and add more if necessary for a light coating. Throw in a tablespoon of fresh herbs or a teaspoon of dried and set on a sheet pan. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper and bake for 30 minutes until the pieces are easily pierced but still firm. Let cool briefly, serve and enjoy.

I do, on occasion, try to eat a meatless dinner. Flipping through Giada De Laurentiis’s Giada’s Kitchen: New Italian Favorites always helps to make me feel good about veggies again. Italian cooking has a lot of great vegetables and healthy things about it, but in restaurants the food just seems to get so bogged down with cheeses and oil. Giada unearths the good food under all the excess.

Broiled Zucchini, Yellow Squash and Potatoes, Lightly Herbed & Sprinkled with Cheese1

I was drawn to her Broiled Zucchini and Potatoes with Pamesan Crust recipe… but with a few changes, of course!

I traded in the new potatoes for two small to medium sized Russet potatoes. I also added in two yellow squash in addition to the zucchini, and I used a bit of shredded Vermont White Cheddar cheese instead of Parmesan. Instead of buying fresh herbs (which are wonderful, but just not that accessible for a quick weeknight dinner) I used dried. I thought the result was pretty awesome.

Broiled Zucchini, Yellow Squash and Potatoes, Lightly Herbed & Sprinkled with Cheese2

Since I had more vegetables than the original recipe, I added in a little more unsalted butter to cook them in. So that I didn’t turn a relatively healthy meal into a butter fiesta, I used 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter + 2 tablespoons of Smart Balance butter. I would also recommend that you cook the veggies in batches in your skillet; I had a giant skillet to use and even with that things were just a little too crowded. The vegetables taste great, with a tiny bit of salt, cheese and butter giving it just enough zip to turn a veggiephobe into a new friend for life.

Broiled Zucchini, Yellow Squash and Potatoes, Lightly Herbed & Sprinkled with Cheese3

Broiled Zucchini, Yellow Squash and Potatoes, Lightly Herbed & Sprinkled with Cheese
adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

2 small/medium size Russet potatoes, cleaned and quartered
2 tablespoons unsalted butter + 2 tablespoons Smart Balance butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons rosemary
2 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and then cut into 1 inch pieces
2 small yellow squash, halved lengthwise and then cut into 1 inch pieces
Pinch of kosher salt and black pepper
1/3 cup freshly grated Vermont white cheddar

Boil a medium pot of water on high heat. Add quartered potatoes and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and let cool. Cut into 2 inch pieces when cooled.

Over medium heat, place a medium saute pan with butter, garlic, thyme and rosemary – heat until the butter melts. Meanwhile, lightly salt the cut surfaces of the zucchini, squash and potatoes. Place the cut side down in the melted butter and cook for about 15 minutes when golden brown.

Preheat the broiler and line a baking sheet with foil. Place the browned zucchini and potatoes on the sheet with the cut side facing up. Sprinkle with Vermont cheddar. Broil until cheese melts (about 4 minutes). Serve while hot!

Man, I love Halloween.  Georgetown was a blast as always and there were some really original cool costumes.  My inspector gadget was quite successful, with random strangers yelling “Inspector Gadget” as I walked by.  The extra hour was well spent, livin’ it up until it was time to pass out (not booze related).  Good times!  I’m already plotting next year’s costume (Mad Hatter, maybe?).

Fingerling Potatoes and Rosemary

I was walking the produce aisles of my local Trader Joe’s, which is conveniently located near the local library I go to on the weekends to actually get some work done, when I came across some fingerling potatoes.  The first thought that popped into my head was “fun size potatoes”.; followed quickly by my second thought “Man, these would make great fingers for a Halloween recipe”.  Next year.

Sliced Fingerling Pototoes

Potatoes can take a while to cook even when chopped, so the size of these is rather convenient for during-the-work-week cooking.  Pay heed to the instructions about the pot or pan used.   Stock takes a while to reduce (as does wine and just about anything else you’re going to reduce), so you really want something with a lot of surface area.  This will up the rate of reduction while still allowing all your potatoes to be immersed.

Overall, I liked this. I may experiment with some fresh thyme next time…

Rosemary and Garlic Fingerling Potatoes

Rosemary and Garlic Fingerling Potatoes

4-5 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion; chopped (I went with larger pieces than I normally go)
4 garlic cloves; minced
1 tablespoon butter
Leaves from one sprig of rosemary; coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
2.5-3 cups stock (vegetable or chicken)
1-1.5 lb fingerling potatoes; sliced lengthwise

Saute your onion in oil under medium-high until browned; approximately 5 minutes. Add all your remaining ingredients but the potatoes and cover to bring to a boil. Once boiling, add your potatoes, cover again and bring to a “strong simmer” or “weak boil” (I have no idea if these are valid culinary terms). Let it stay like this to reduce your stock; approximately 20-30 minutes.

When close to all the liquid being gone, raise your heat to medium/medium-high. What you’re going for is some light browning on one side of your potatoes. Be sure to watch it at this phase because it’s very easy to burn it if it sits too long! Once the one side has begun to brown, toss and cook it like you were sauteing it. When well browned all around (rhyme!), remove from heat and serve.

If you used a non-stick pot/pan and you have some burnt stuff on the bottom, never fear. Simply deglaze and add to your potatoes for an even richer taste. Enjoy.

Potato Skins

I was browsing the foodie blogosphere for some outside inspiration when I came across this delicious looking recipe from Kristin over at Picky Cook. I’m quite fond of broccoli so this was right up my alley.

I upped the veggies (of course. hey, broccoli was on sale) a bit and gave up a bit more of a broil for more of a burn; what I expect from a good bar potato skin. Other than not giving the potatoes enough of an initial bake (making it harder to hollow out and mash), they turned out great! If you’re looking for more potato skin ideas, check out Heather’s recipe with rutabaga.

Tandoori Inspired Chicken and Red Potatoes

On Saturday night I started not feeling very well, so Morgan and I spent most of Sunday just relaxing and watching episodes of our latest tv addiction – Mad Men.


If you haven’t seen Mad Men, it’s an AMC drama that begins in 1960 at an ad agency in New York City. If you can let yourself get past the exorbitant sexism of the 1960s which the show captures a little too well, it really is enjoyable to watch; however, I think I’m experiencing some unintended side effects from watching it.

I gave myself a french manicure as we watched on Sunday. I also painted my toe nails, straightened my hair and wore a skirt to work on a Monday. These things might be the normal routine for a lot of women, but for me, and all at the same time, made me wonder! My style is better described as “no muss no fuss,” or more colloquially known as “lame.”

tandoori spices

I also made a matching Indian style rice pudding to go with the Tandoori Chicken I planned. And I thought ahead enough to make a side dish. Usually all my efforts go into the main course and I skimp a little on the sides. Don’t worry, I’m sure all this primping and organization will quickly pass, but I may have done a bit of a 1960s skip when my husband started raving about how this dinner turned out.

red potatoes

As you might imagine I’m always trying new things in the kitchen, so when Morgan really gets excited about something it’s very encouraging! This is probably the closest to an authentic Indian style meal that I’ve gotten. It’s also, somehow, fairly easy to make. No painstaking prep work or hours of simmering spices – a great marinade does most of the work.


I adapted this from a David Lebovitz recipe to make it a little more accessible for every day cooking. I removed some of the more exotic ingredients, like saffron powder or saffron threads, used non-fat yogurt instead of whole milk yogurt, added in some yellow curry powder and replaced the chicken thighs and legs with simpler boneless chicken breasts. I also quartered some small red potatoes, coated them in a yogurt and curry dressing to compliment the chicken and roasted them until done.

The yogurt gives the chicken a lot of tang. It’s spicy, but not particularly hot. We really enjoyed this and hope you do, too!

tandoori chicken and potatoes

Tandoori Inspired Chicken and Potatoes
adapted from David Lebovitz

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder (use less for less heat)
8 turns fresh ground black pepper
1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon sweetened lime juice
1 tablespoon finely-minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon finely-minced garlic

Cut chicken breast in half lengthwise. Add all the remaining ingredients to a gallon ziploc bag, squeeze out the excess air and seal. Massage the bag to mix the marinade and coat chicken. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400F. Cover a large baking sheet with foil and place chicken with the thick marinade on sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cooked through.

For potatoes:
6 small red potatoes, washed and quartered
1/2 cup plain non-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon yellow curry powder

Add all ingredients to a large ziploc bag and massage to coat. Pour contents of bag onto baking sheet, setting some of the liquid aside. Roast potatoes for approximately 40 minutes, pouring the remaining liquid over the potatoes and turning at the halfway mark, or until a fork inserted into potato goes in easily.
*Note – potatoes do take a long time to cook, so you will want to begin this before the chicken. When potatoes are done, set in a bowl and cover with foil – they will keep hot.

If you’d like to make rice pudding for dessert, you may like to use your leftover rice from dinner with this recipe from Elise. I used this minus the raisins.

A Secluded Cabin In The Woods, A Good Book and Home Fries

You may have picked up (or not!) that I’ve been a wee bit quiet around here the last few days. My husband and I took the opportunity last week to abscond for a mini vacation.


It had been a while since we went anywhere for more than a long weekend. It’s just been a busy year, and it’s rare for all the stars to align so that we’re able to make plans in advance.


We rented a cabin in West Virginia at Lost River State Park. The park was recommended to me by a co-worker, and it sounded like just the kind of low on planning/high on relaxation trip that we needed.

halfway up the mountain

The mountains in West Virginia are truly gorgeous. Typically we do our mountain trips to Douthat State Park or Warm Springs, VA, which are excellent, but the mountains in West Virginia just seemed endless. Rain was really only intermittent, and the weather behaved at a perfect 70-75 degrees.

side of a mountain

If you like the mountains, cabins at state parks really are the way to go. If you’re a technophile you might go mad (no television, no cell phone reception, no internet), but the cabins are inexpensive, well-maintained and generally spacious. The cabins we’ve stayed at have fireplaces, bedding and towels and a fully functioning kitchen with a stove, fridge, microwave, pots and pans and utensils.

five counties

I’ll throw out another plug while I’m at it – if you’re looking for something a little less rustic, on our last night in West Virginia we ate at a nice restaurant attached to a gorgeous inn with great mountain views – The Guest House at Lost River. The owner encouraged us to walk around and explore the property after our meal. It was beautiful and the rates are pretty reasonable for how nice it is. There’s not much in vicinity, but I thought my husband broke it down nicely, “if you just want to chill in opulence, it’s your place.”


Getting back to cabins – because you’re in remote regions, cooking your own food is usually the only game in town. There was nearby no grocery store to run to for eggs and milk, but luckily we picked up a few things before we left. I was able to throw together some curried home fries for brunch one day.


I just don’t buy into the idea that meals need to be complicated or time consuming to be good. I have a great memory of enjoying brunch at a friend’s house a few years ago – omelets, home fries with rosemary and thyme and mimosas.

chopped potatoes

I tried to pack only a few spices so that I wasn’t carrying the entire kitchen with me, so we brought salt and pepper, curry powder, cayenne, Nature’s Seasoning and paprika. I cubed two russet potatoes into 1 inch pieces and seasoned them generously. I cooked them for about 20 minutes in the cabin’s heavy cast iron skillet; they probably would have cooked faster if I had covered them. Whether you’re vacationing in the mountains or enjoying brunch with mimosas, home fries are a delicious addition.

smoking potatoes

Lost River Home Fries

1 medium onion, diced
2 russet potatoes, washed and cubed
non-stick cooking spray
salt and pepper, curry powder, cayenne, Nature’s Seasoning and paprika as desired

Heat large skillet to medium temperature and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Dice onion and add to skillet. Wash potatoes well, cut into thin slices and cube. Add potatoes to skillet about 2 minutes after onion. Add seasonings and stir potatoes frequently so that they don’t burn or stick to the pan. I was most heavy handed with the curry powder and salt.

Cook for about 20 minutes, or shorter if your skillet has a cover (if you have a cover, cook for half the time covered and half the time uncovered). You should be able to pierce the potato with a fork without resistance. Season with a little extra curry powder and salt on top before serving, as some of the spices do get cooked away.

Heather and I tend to talk about food pretty often; so often in fact that we have rules. One of the more recent ones is no talking about food before noon. Why? Cravings. When you’ve got a craving for baked goods or something loaded with cheese at 10am in the morning, you’re in trouble. Wednesday’s craving (albeit not at 10 in the morning, thank god) was fries. Some cravings cannot be denied.

Adobo Seasoning

Maybe it’s the whole swine flu thing, but I felt like taking this cravings in the Mexican direction (bet you didn’t see THAT coming!). I’ve never actually heard of Mexican fries though so I decided to make up my own. Overall, I felt the seasoning was mild until I added a spritz of lime. Don’t ask me why, but that addition definitely made it a winning combination.

Mexican Potato Wedges

Mexican Potato Wedges
This recipe is is only for one potato, so be sure to scale it up when considering how many people you’re serving.

1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 garlic clove; minced
a pinch red pepper flakes
a pinch cayenne (optional, for a bit more kick)

1 tablespoon oil
1 russet potato
1 lime

Preheat the oven to 375. Mix all your spices and garlic together in a small bowl and set aside. Wash and dry your potato then cut it into eights wedge then cut each wedge in half. Throw your wedges, oil and spices together and mix until well combined.

Place your wedges on a baking sheet covered in foil and roast for 35 minutes; tossing halfway through. Your wedges should be browned. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes and serve with a spritz of lime juice. Enjoy.

Poor Man's Potato Cakes

Several readers lately have asked Edwin or myself about how they can use what they have on hand – either learning new ways to use a specific ingredient that they happen to have an abundance of, or ways to improvise with what’s available.

potato cakes_oven ready

Tonight was a bit of an improvising night for me and my husband. We had a great time on Saturday morning at the Arlington Farmer’s Market, which means we brought home various produce that looked good but that we didn’t know what we’d use it for. Among these items were two small to medium sized Russet potatoes.

I’d been eying a recipe for Potato Latkes lately; however when I started making them last night I quickly realized that I didn’t have Yukon potatoes or an onion (how could I not have an onion?). I decided instead of throwing in the towel that I’d, well, improvise!

The result of my improvisation should not be referred to as latkes. To anyone who has had latkes or knows what they are, I’m sure I’m not fooling you! Latkes are typically a Jewish tradition, and it’s really just a simple potato pancake fried until crispy with some grated onion and an egg.

potato cakes

Yeah… that’s not what I made!

I located a red pepper in the fridge that was almost past its prime – in the “latkes” it went! Joining the red pepper were my favorites – frozen spinach and a bit of garlic. And for my final insult, instead of using 6 tablespoons of olive oil and frying my little cakes, I axed the oil completely and simply broiled them!

In the end I was left with potato cakes that were crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, brimming with healthy veggies and a nice kick of salt and pepper. My adventure was a success, and I was able to use some quality produce that we didn’t want to go to waste. There are really endless combinations that you can create!

My husband and I ate these potato cakes on their own, but a side of baked beans would make a nice compliment. Enjoy!

potato cake halves

Poor Man’s Potato Cakes

2 small/medium sized potatoes, cut into 1 inch squares
1 small red pepper (or 1/2 large), diced
1 package frozen chopped spinach (10 oz.)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
1 square of matzah, crushed
1 tsp kosher salt
dash of black pepper and cayenne

Steam cubed potatoes in a colander, covered, over boiling water until tender, approximately 10 minutes. Cool and mash.

Cook spinach according to package instructions. Drain thoroughly and set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, combine mashed potatoes and diced red pepper. Add in spinach, garlic, egg, crushed matzah, 1/2 tsp of the salt and some black pepper. Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray. Form mixture into patties and place on the sheet. The mixture should stick together without sticking to you. Sprinkle remaining salt over the potato cakes along with some more pepper and a dash of cayenne on each.

Broil (remember to keep your oven door partially open) at the top of the oven for 9 minutes, then carefully turn patties over with a spatula (don’t burn yourself!) and broil for an additional 4 minutes.

Serve, sprinkling with more salt and/or pepper as needed.

Twice Baked

Twice baked potatoes are probably my favorite way to eat potatoes. I think I was first introduced to them by my father-in-law several years ago. If you’ve never had them before, twice baked potatoes are made by cooking a Russet potato, cutting it in half longways, scooping out the insides and mixing them with delicious things, and then spooning it all back the potato and cooking them just a few minutes longer.


Back in March I shared a recipe for mashed potatoes and rutabaga that several of you seemed interested in. I also enjoyed that one a lot, so I decided to work with rutabaga again – this time combining the mashed rutabaga into twice baked potatoes.

scoopingTwice baked

I know rutabagas are mostly a winter vegetable; I guess I’m having trouble letting go? I think I may even miss rutabagas during the summer! Please keep in mind for this recipe that I tend not to load up my potatoes with hefty amounts of sour cream, butter and cheese, so if you think you might want more of something feel free to add it!

Twice baked potato and rutabaga

Twice Baked Potatoes with Rutabaga
makes 4 twice baked potatoes

1 medium rutabaga
2 Russet potatoes
1/4 cup sour cream (I used fat free)
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, softened
1/4 – 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese (plus a little more to sprinkle at the end)
salt and pepper, to taste
paprika and chives for garnish

To bake the potato, preheat oven to 400°F. Wash potatoes and poke holes in each with a fork (to prevent exploding!). Lightly brush with a little bit of olive oil and place in the oven for about one hour, or until you can insert a fork into the potato without much pressure.

Alternately, you can cook the potatoes in a microwave for about 10 minutes on high. Remember to still poke holes and brush with olive oil.

While the potatoes are cooking you can cook the rutabaga. Wash and peel the rutabaga and cut into one inch pieces. I’ve cooked rutabaga either by boiling for approximately 30 minutes (again until you can insert a fork into them without much pressure) or steaming them. Feel free to use whatever works best for you.

When Russet potatoes are done, slightly cool and then cut in half longways. Scoop out the inside and mash using a potato masher in a medium sized bowl. When rutabaga is cooked, add to the bowl and mash with the Russet potato. Stir in sour cream, milk, butter, cheese and salt and pepper. Mash and stir until you reach your desired consistency.

Spoon back into potato skins and return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes. Garnish with paprika, chives and cheese.