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Don’t look so surprised…

January 11, 2010

… its a new post:

I didn’t intend the death of Potato Candies when I began Graduate School this year.  And yet here we are, in the future, at the precipice of a new year, after months and months and months of hibernation.  I have every intention of rekindling my relationship with ‘blogging’ & Potato Candies & whatnot, but before all can return to normal I have this… other resolution to complete: Detox.

Awe, look at those Liver Cleansers doing their job. They should probably be shooting their Milk Thistle lazers at the line up of Champagne I drank @ new years, and the side of Lamb I ate while home…

So, this whole Detox project has some… diet restrictions.  No meat, no dairy, no salt, no sugar, no wheat, no preservatives or additives, no, no no, no no no.  Which is not all that dissimilar to the norm around here.  But, it pulls me away from roasting the hell out of every vegetable I see in copious amounts of oil and butter.  I am confined to steaming or blanching or rawness or booringblandness. So I made a great cognitive effort to create a salad that is packed with every super-duper food on the detox diet list.  Be warned, it is SCREAMING for salt, but I need to avoid it for now. Please, if you make this and you are not me PLEASE add salt.  Please.


DETOX SALAD | with blue berries and no salt… none.

  • 3 cups of any cooked grain, cooled and well drained (I used barley, but check whatever detox diet you are doing… the grains in the wheat fam are to be avoided)
  • 1/4 cup of toasted unsalted cashew pieces
  • 1/4 cup of steamed small hacks of vegetables (I used Kale and Celery)
  • 1/2 cup of fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup of dried Turkish Apricots, chopped (NO acid or sugar added)
  • 3 pinches of ground Cinnamon
  • the juice on 1 lemon

Its pretty straight forward from here; dump it all together.  Stir it.  Get the cinnamon spread throughout to avoid clumpies.  You may want to add some salt or olive oil.  Just a smidgen.  Mine was still too wet to serve or store when I finished it so I spread it out on a cookie sheet to ‘dry’.  Major improvement.

Last but not least:

The biggest bit of new around here is …  Allyson. We were housemates in Portland Oregon, and she now resides with her hubs in LA; 3,500 miles away from us in Brooklyn, NY.  From henceforth the maintenance of Potato Candies is divided.  Her mad baking skills complete the sphere of goodness.  Actually in this merge the true entomological and linguistic genesis of Potato Candies is complete.  So, next weekend Allyson will take her maiden blogging voyage.  From henceforth we shall alternate weekends, one post a week, proablably on sundays (but if were late, show a little love.)
Overjoyed to be back, so glad to share with Allyson this Occidental Potato Candies move. By the next time you see me the detox will be dead and gone (and pie will be involved, lots and lots of pie).
happy new year and tuck in:
a & a

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: New Friends, New City, New Wine of Summer

May 31, 2009

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As a newly christened Brooklyner, I have been itching to get out of my teeny apartment den of winter into my first NYC summer. At home in Oregon, space was the rule rather than the exception. Big backyard Barbecues, dinner parties, picnics and beer gardens were regular articles… Roast chicken, greens from my parents garden, home made wines, chutneys and relish. All this big westward hospitality could only fit in one place: lush Prospect Park.

DSC_0048Thanks to 24, 24, 24; I kicked the soups and scarves of winter and explored the regional late spring/early summer bounty available here on the Easterly Coast. Clams. Asparagus. Blue Point Oysters. Pea shoots. Radishes as big as your fist. Lemons and early Strawberries. And, although impromptu performance were strongly encouraged there was only one stand out, ‘practice enjoyment face’ time. And the best clam shell sculpture of the evening was more avant garde than formalist.  And yet Oregon found its way to our table.  My mother shipped some wonderful items from the thrift stores of Portland.  The most intoxicating of which was the ‘harmonica’ horse plate.

DSC_0096So, friendlies from NSD have slaved away all year and with the final performances behind them an unbridled revelry in our first, hot, humid, sans-air conditioning season was overdue. All were merry, stuffed with foods and all foodstuffs were local, sustainable, and slow (especially when carried 4 blocks from my kitchen to the park). Viva la Summer.

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BEHOLD a menu comprised of foods exclusively bought and sold at the glorious prospect park greenmarket the thirtieth day of May at eight am in the year of our Lord, two thousand and nine (excepting only the bread and northwest wine)

DSC_0034There were unfortunately a few snafus. The first was our proximity to other tables, specifically to the small child’s birthday party at our nearest tabular neighbor. After the ParkslopeMommySafePolice came through and manicured the ground within a 30 foot radius (including all rocks, sticks, coals, pieces of dog food/poop) they slowly tried to encroach upon our reserved (since very very very early) space. Nevertheless, their audaciously large balloon arrangements (which can be observed in the above image) made for easy instructions for those joining our party, “we’re next to the table with the big f***off shamu ballons.” Because on a Saturday, in Prospect Park describing yourself as near children, bicycles, balloons, barbeques or men playing unconventional or clearly made up field games just doesn’t cut it.

clams1Our spot was also sans a functioning grill. In this event I had to cook everything (especially the clams) at home. We were able to finagle a bit of a grill from a neighboring table to coax our oysters open. But otherwise the everything was prepared at home and shuttled back and forth on bikes or in the able arms of our work horse Mr. Dan Ray. All said, it went beautifully and we sat and ate for a good 3 hours.

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COOK THE CLAMMIES

People don’t usually need gigantic pots, unless they love soup (like me) or are cooking a shit ton of clams (so also like me). So use what ever the largest, thickest pot you own. Throw some oil or butter in the bottom of the pot and just barely sauté some garlic and/or shallots until they are translucent. Drop down the heat. Put in enough wine or beer so that there is about an inch of liquid on the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil.

DSC_0153Pull the clams from their cool water bath (that you put them in earlier with wine and cornmeal remember?) rinse them off well and pile them in. Cover the pot for at least a minute and then give the pot a stir or a shake. In 3-10 minutes (depending on quantity, size and type of pot) you clams will start to crack their little faces open and die. If some clams just don’t open, just don’t eat them. If they look funky, don’t eat them either. This is shellfish people, bottom feeders; the bible is right about some things. When this stuff goes bad it goes BAD. Be smart and only eat things that smell, look and taste nice. Don’t make it complicated, it’s really that simple.

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You can also grill these little dudes right on the fires of death. We placed the clams and (very late season) Oysters on indirect heat until they opened. If this doesn’t work move them a little closer. Once they opened, we put in some of the majestic sauces. Pull them once they are bubbly. If you are a bit of a purist, you could just use some olive oil & wine and munch away. There is the subtle approach to clams and oysters and the super flavor vehicle approach. Both are fantastic, I don’t judge. Admittedly, I am a bit of a sauce/dipping whore; hence my inability to choose just one sauce. You can see the whole photo set on my Picasa site, just click here.

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So, success and beautiful local slow foods. Everything (well, except the booze and bread) was purchased at the Prospect Park Green Market. I should also give a mention to Blue Moon Fish for their a-mazing clamsters and oysters @ a mind blowing $5 a huge juicy dozen (these people are seriously good people, and you can find their fish at several greenmarkets around the city.) Check the links throughout this post for the specific recipes and yummy-yums (or just scroll down the page for two more relations). And to you my dear foodbuzz/24, 24, 24 my husband would like to say thank-a-you… and all in attendance at this clam/summer/newwiney meal would like to say, in the timeless words of mr. Bek David Campbell,

Oysters and Clams, Oysters and Clams, now clap your hands.

Yo Potatocandies I’m out.

Tuck in my little brooklyn clam diggers,

a

(24 p 2) May-time Salad, Grilled Asparagus and Lemon Vin

May 30, 2009

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Grilled Asparagus

  • Asparagus
  • Olive Oil
  • Soft Grey Salt
  • Fresh Cracked Pepper
  • the zest of one lemon

Roast for 15-20 minutes @ 400 degrees or until wilty and roasty. Dress with Lemon Vin.

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May-Time Salad

  • 1 bunch of radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch of dill, pulled apart
  • 1 head of italian frizea, torn up
  • 1 bunch of green beans, blanched and chilled
  • 1 small shallot finely sliced
  • some grabs of parsley
  • lemon vin

Combine everything, in an attractive way. Dress with Lemon Vin.

Lemon Vin

  • 1 part lemon juice
  • 2 parts olive oil
  • fresh garlic cloves
  • salt

Combine desired amount of lemon juice and olive oil. Do not chop or dice or mince or slice garlic. Just give the clove one good whack and throw the whole thing in like a little garlic dumpling. Mix very well with a whisk. Salt to taste. Emulsify or not, its your call… I like my dressings a little ‘broken’.

this post is a division of 24, 24, 24.

(24 p 3) I. Like. Sauce.

May 30, 2009

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Shellfish Friendly Chimmy Chury

  • 1 grab of parsley
  • 1 grab of Dill
  • 1 small grab of tarragon
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • the juice of one lemon
  • olive oil
  • red pepper flake to taste

Finefinefinely chop the parsley, dill, tarragon and garlic. Add lemon juice and glug in the olive oil until it makes a nice consistency. Add red pepper flakes to taste. This should sit at least over night, so go easy on the red pepper until you have tasted it AFTER they have unlocked their powers into the oil. Serve with Grilled, fried, or steamed fish types.

for a more traditional flavor for Steak, substitute dill with either parsley or cilantro.

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Mignonette (sorta)

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • white pepper to taste
  • salt as needed
  • Beer, Wine or Champagne

Reduce wine and vinegar in a sauce pan by about half. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients. Set aside at room temperature for at least an hour before refrigerating. Watch the salt, shell fish are salty creatures and you don’t want too much of that action. Combine with a bit of Champagne before serving. Serve chilled.

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The Always Popular (and always potent…)

Alex’s Red’ish Sauce

  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 shallot
  • a pinch of red pepper flake (or more, if you like a little heat)
  • 3 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 2 big glugs of sherry cooking wine
  • 1 glug of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dark dark dark brown sugar
  • 2 spoons of apricot preserves
  • 1 tsp of grated horseradish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Finely chop and sauté onion, shallot and red pepper in olive oil until the shallots begins to caramelize. Add Tomato paste and brown it slightly (it will stick to the bottom of the pan, this is a very good thing). Deglaze the pan with sherry and balsamic and allow to reduce for at least 30 seconds and turn off the heat. After tomato paste is incorporated add apricot preserves. If you like, add the horseradish at this point, but that is optional. If you have anything else to add at this point, including the kitchen sink, that is optional too.

For shellfish or chicken add a few squeezes of a GOOD QUALITY French Catsup.

For a thin sauce to be brushed on brisket or ribs; thin with water until you reach the desired consistency.

MELONSs & REDPEPPERs As LOVERs (sans photos)

May 30, 2009

Oh the endless possibilities. When given the ingredient melon, all I could think of was the potluck standby salad, with parm and jambon… with chili flake? … that was good enough.  Instead I tried melon with vinegar and molasses, that was very good too. I also put some in a salad with chili dressing, that was tasty. Wait, wait! Cook it and blend it, blend it… Amba! The food trend of the future. Yes, the sauce is traditionally made with a slightly fermented, slightly pickled mango. Yes, this sauce is amazing. Yes, I would like to predict that this little West Village/Israeli trend is going to start hitting the main market. Yes, I have tried to make it at home and failed. And YES YES this recipe is startlingly more simple than pickling, drying and stewing your own mangos. The only catch, fenugreek. It is amazingly tasty and has wonderful health properties. But it’s other properties? Well… don’t go straight to the gym after consuming fenugreek, it makes the body very ‘aromatic’ once consumed (probably don’t pack it for your lunch either).

Spicy Cantaloupe Amba

Ingredients

  • 1 Large Cantaloupe
  • salt
  • A glug or two of Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole cumin seed
  • 1 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon ground fenugreek
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 whole beautiful head of garlic
  • ½ cup a good quality olive oil

Remove all the seeds and rind from the Cantaloupe. Cut into uniform and small cubes. Sprinkle with a few pinches of salt and spread cubes out on a plate for about 2 hours. After this time the Cantaloupe should look a little darker and have released a lot of liquid. Reserve the liquid and collect the chunks. Allow the Cantaloupe pieces to dry out for another hour or so in the sun (keep any additional liquid).

Heat a glug of olive oil in a thick bottomed pot. Add Mustard seeds, cumin seed, red pepper flakes, fenugreek, paprika and turmeric. Cook until the spices start to chatter away and the oil turns orangey-red. Add the reserved cantaloupe liquids to the pot, along with rice wine vinegar and bring to a simmer. Add the chopped garlic and stir on a very low flame until everything starts to break down. Don’t let it get dry or stick to the bottom. If the mixture reduces too much, add some water. I found the Cantaloupe afforded a more grainy consistency than the traditional mango Amba. So, I transferred everything to my immersion/hand blender and gave it a few pulses with about ½ cup of olive oil and salted to taste (but don’t emulsify completely). Chill before serving, all spices are adjustable and negotiable.

Serve with falafel, roasted veggies or lamb.  I also made a little oil with some sambal and fresh chili flake to dress it up. Photos? Soon yet very soon.

So my fellow Foodie Fighters and Potato Friends… there are other entries in this e-competition… try and read em all before you vote!

VOTE HERE

This was fun. I wish it didn’t get so eaten up by the 24 24 24 insanity. :)

Tuck in Friends and Competitors.
a

cookie escapism

May 27, 2009

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I come from a long lineage of Jam makers.  As a kid my mother and neighbor would make jars and jars of Raspberry, Marionberry, Strawberry, Peach… whatever they could get her hands on.  Since I have been in Brooklyn Mom has mailed me jam ‘six-packs’ carefully packed for shipping in crocheted hot-pads and can-cozies.  I wanted to make something delicious (and wanted to use some of my Oregon in a jar), so I made these Brown Sugar Thumbprints.  So pretty and tasty.  I rationalized the rampant use of sugar by using Muscovado and the result was a delicious molasses-y caramel-y tasting cookie.

I decided not to post this last holiday weekend (who wants to sit at a computer when it is so beautiful outside?)  We had various adventures, including: chicken ala le Creuset / fire-escapism, all you can drink margaritas with Claire from P-Town, a failed attempt at gf/sugarfree/vegan macaroons (really scary) and a jaunt to Coney Island. Nonetheless, I have a big ole weekend on the horizon.  Very serious buisness maintaining a food blog.  Tyler and I did some ordering/research @ the marked this weekend.  Here he is doing some affective memory work about saving someones life by feeding them organic clams.  So good.

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The much anticipated 24, 24, 24 summer feast is on Saturday and the post drops on Sunday.  ALSO, I have been selected for this which sounds so exceptionally fun I can’t handle it, so its fast times here at Potato Candies. So, without further…

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Brown Sugar Thumbprints

  • 1 1/2 cups butter
  • 2 cups of natural brown sugar (I use Muscovado)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 5 cups Bob’s Redmill GF flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • (vanilla extract if you wish)

This is a big batch, cut it in half for a little batch of very petite cookies.

Loosely cut together butter and sugar.  Add eggs.  Sift dry ingredients into butter/sugar/egg mixture (fyi: you can use regular flour instead of GF with the same proportions).  Combine until it forms a dough ball.  Roll into about 20 bite sized balls.  Cover and chill for 15 mins-1 hour.  Arrange on a cookie sheet and every so slightly press down so they are just barely smushed.  Place in a 350 degree oven and bake for 10 mins or until relaxed and nearly done.  Remove from oven and press your thumb gently into the center of the cookie making a little well for the jam.  Tart jams taste best.  After pressing and filling their little thumb prints, return cookies to oven for another 5-10 minutes or until jam appears slightly ‘jellied’ and the cookies are starting to brown.  They are better slightly cooled than warm, and they are perfect with tea.

Num num, glub glub, tuck in…

a

The Portlander

May 21, 2009

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It’s a Stumptown staple | and as soon as the days got long and sunny here in New York, I started to dream of a land of unlimited salsa and vegan burritos: gooey melty rice cheese, thick leafy spinach, salty black beans, brown rice, and the key member of this ensemble Salsa Verde.  Incarnations are available at Laughing Planet, with spicy tofu at Dots, with mexi-rice @ Honken Huge Burritos, the HaYsTaCk at Paradox, and even Taqueria Los Gorditos has a vegan/ricey somethingorother with guacamole and greens.

Laughing Planet on Belmont, PDX

And yet, New York City, we supposedly have everything here. I am sure I could find something that mimics this burrito but it would be an impostor, an impersonator (similar to the tragic Stumptown mess brewed at some cafes, shame shame).  The other issue: Manhattan Burrito inflation.  The 3-5 dollar burrito here is a rarity (and often not very good).  So far, I have been happiest with little carts I find here or there.  But their fare is not focused on brown rice and greens but rather carnitas, taquitos and lard.  What about this Green Salsa?  Ex-employees (who have also warned me off the prevalent use of can openers in the LP kitchen, tisk tisk) have explained the ingredients.  Being who I am, I take their explanation and must mess with it.  Hence, this salsa is a bit of a riff on the (more traditional) Salsa Verde with tomatillos, using cucumber instead.  Why? Because I am on a restrictive diet, oh joy of joys.  Nevertheless, although its a little less tart/chunky it still tastes deceptively similar to the green stuff served by the bucket full at many a Portland vegan / earthfriends / crueltyfree / micromade / bikepropelled burrito haunt.

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The Portlander | with Green Salsa

  • Black Beans (cooked with a pinch of chili powder, cumin and salt)
  • Brown Rice
  • Fresh Spinach
  • Cilantro
  • Green Salsa
  • Tortilla (flour or corn, depending on your life needs)

Warm-up the tortilla in either a pan or directly over your gas stove top (don’t burn down your apartment building).  Pile all ingredients inside.  If you like, add Monterey jack or pepper jack cheese that comes from a cow or from rice, either way it will enhance your experience.  Dunk, dip, dredge or drown your taco/burrito in Green Salsa.

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Green Salsa

  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • ½ a small onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 lime
  • Salt
  • A few leaves of spinach

Place cucumber, garlic, and onion in a food processor or immersion blender and pulse a few times to hack stuff up.  Remove the rind from half the lime and place the whole half in the processor (supreme your lime would be the correct terminology).

Squeeze and add just the juice out of the second half.  I need my salsa mild, so I remove the seeds and pith from my Jalapeño, but you can toss the whole thing in there if you like a kick.  Pulse until everything sticks to the sides or starts to look smoothish.  Add cilantro. Add a little water to reach your desired consistency.  If you don’t like too much cilantro flavor, add spinach for super green good looks.  Salt to taste.  Add cumin if you wish.  If you feel the way I do about this salsa, this is barely enough for two people.  Double it for gatherings, BBQs, chip dippin, or taco nights.

{Bonus Desert Time}

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Sugar Free, Wheat Free | Oatmeal Cookies

  • 1/2 c. butter, very softened (or diary free butter equivalent)
  • ½ cup of light agave 1 tsp molasses (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 c. gluten free flour
  • 2 1/3 c. oatmeal
  • vanilla, raisins, nutmeg and/or cinnamon to taste

Blend and cream butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla. Add baking soda, flour, oatmeal and raisins. Drop and slightly flatten tablespoon sized chunks on a greased bake sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 9 minutes for a chewy cookies, 13 or so for something snappier.

Tuck in friendlies,

Alex

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