Curried Potato Pockets with Lemon Dill Cream

curry potato puffs with dill cream

This was an incredibly flavorful dinner for us last Tuesday night.  It was one of those meals that came from a lack of motivation to go to the store.  I had two large potatoes, an onion and some puff pastry and I knew – there’s a meal there, somewhere.  With just a little prep, I had a meal on the table in about an hour.  I made these with left-over pie crust, as well, but everyone, including Olive, preferred the ones with puff pastry.  Buttery and flaky with that smoky curry spice went exceptionally well with the tang of the yogurt and dill.

This meal included one of those moments where I wasn’t giving Olive any sort of chance and declared that she wouldn’t like the yogurt sauce and so I didn’t offer her any.  After we had eaten a few bites, she said, “I want the sauce?!” and so I put some on her plate and she ate it all!  Yet another lesson in giving your kids a chance to prove you wrong. You never know when they’ll surprise you!

curried potato puffs

Curry Potato Pockets with Lemon Dill Cream
makes 9 puff pockets with plenty of filling to spare

2 medium russet potatoes, cleaned, skinned and diced small
1 large yellow onion, diced small
4 tbs butter
1 tbs curry powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed and cut into 9 squares
2 tbs cream for brushing the pastry
1/2 cup plain, full fat yogurt
squeeze of one lemon
2 tbs chopped fresh dill
salt to taste

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and once it starts to froth, add in the onion and potato.  Stir around until the potato begins to soften and then cover with a lid and cook for about 10 minutes.  Remove the lid and add in the curry, cumin and salt and pepper.  Continue cooking over low heat until the potatoes are completely soft.  Remove mixture from stove and set aside.

Set your oven at 400F.  Mash the potato/onion mixture in a bowl until mostly smooth and adjust the seasoning as desired.

Cut the puff pastry into 9 squares and put a heaping tablespoon of filling in the middle of each square.  Dip your finger in the cream and dab along the edges and pinch/fold them together into little letters – really, however you pinch and fold is up to you, as long as they have a fighting chance of staying closed while baking! Place on a greased cookie sheet and repeat until all the squares are filled.  Brush the tops with the remaining cream and bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

For the yogurt dipping sauce: simply chop the dill and squeeze the lemon into the yogurt and stir till combined.  Adjust with a little salt and serve along side the pastries.  Personally, I don’t like this sauce on its own, but with the curry pockets, it’s just an amazing balance of flavors.

Enjoy!

The Homegrown B.L.T. with a recipe for amazing mayo!

The perfect BLT

Every year we look forward to this.  An entirely home-grown (or made) BLT!  When we are fortunate enough to have a tomato crop, as we were this summer, the homemade BLT is the first thing in our minds to make.  So when the tomatoes started looking like this:
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…we knew it was time to assemble the ultimate sandwich.  Matt cures pork belly and then smokes it in our electric smoker, I made the mayo, Matt made the bread and we grew the tomatoes, but sadly had no lettuce this year.  So other than the lettuce, this was entirely from scratch!  And what a good feeling.  I think this is kind of like remembering how good the food was on vacation – most of the goodness came from the setting or the mood, or the fact that you didn’t have to cook.  Similarly with this sandwich, the ingredients are certainly wonderful, but part of the joy is knowing that we worked for each component (minus the lettuce).  We thoroughly enjoyed this sandwich and this moment and Olive deconstructed hers, discarded the impostor (lettuce) and ate the rest.  She’s adoring these tomatoes, and I absolutely get giddy knowing that she likes tomatoes and that her first taste of tomatoes (besides tomato sauces) was out of our yard!  She won’t remember, but I know we will.

For the recipes, I will post our mayo recipe and method, which is super easy and totally worth it for the huge flavor you get.  I’ve posted Matt’s bread before, which is the bread we used for this (plus an addition of rosemary) and for the tomatoes, well, you’re probably too late to grow them yourself, but if you know someone who has an abundance, beg one off them and grab some good, thick-cut bacon and have yourself a BLT party!

open faced BLT

Mayo (made with an immersion blender -might be my most used kitchen tool, next to my knife)

2 egg yolks
1.5 cups light oil like canola.  I used a blend of canola and olive oil
1 TBS lemon juice
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard (or even dry would work)
Salt, pepper and a dash of cayenne and paprika for me!

Place the egg yolks in the bottom of a tall, wide cup (immersion blenders come with their own).  Place all the other ingredients on top of the egg yolks and stick your immersion blender all the way down to the bottom.  Turn it on the lower setting and start graaaaaaaaadddddddduuuuualllllly pulling the immersion blender up toward the surface of the oil.  As you pull up, the oil will slowly become incorporated into the egg yolk/spice mixture and in about 45 seconds, you will have perfect mayo!  It will keep two weeks in the fridge and I recommend slathering both sides of your bread and searing it on a griddle before assembling your sandwich.  Hey, if you only eat a proper BLT once a year, make it a good one.

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Happy 4th of July Weekend!

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It’s strange when a holiday falls in the middle of the week.  People have to go back to work the next day, so it’s this little blip in the week that makes you WANT the full, extended weekend, but few actually get it.  I figure since people might be celebrating all weekend, a recipe for a few burger-accompaniments would be in order.  I might even post, again, tomorrow with what we cook, tonight.  Maybe I’ll post on Sunday, too, with what happens on Saturday.  I love a good excuse to celebrate the summer all weekend long.  We really don’t need an excuse, but when festivities are high and people are cooking and grilling, it’s a wonderful time to try out new recipes and make the old, beloved standards.

We’ve been Top Chef fans since its debut seven years ago.  We developed a love-hate relationship with Spike during his season and bought his cookbook and now that relationship is all love.  He really understands how to do comfort food and takes nostalgia (burgers, shakes) to a new level.  So he is the go-to for summer time recipes!  I highly recommend his cookbook, The Good Stuff Cookbook and especially his recipe for the Good Stuff sauce that we now have to have on every burger we grill!  It’s a perfect blend of sweet, tangy and savory and it is perfect for burger toppings or a dip for fries!

goodstuff002

Good Stuff burger sauce*
makes about 2 cups

2 cups homemade or Hellman’s mayonnaise
2 tbs ketchup
2 tbs molasses
2 tbs rice vinegar
1 tsp salt

Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender (or in a cup with an immersion blender) and puree until smooth.  The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

*taken directly from The Good Stuff cookbook

We also are addicted, lately to caramelized onions.  There’s really nothing difficult about making them, and they completely improve everything they touch.  I’ve added them to omelets, sandwiches, wraps, burgers, stir-fry, beans, rice dishes – EVERYTHING!  Here is my simple method:

Caramelized Onions
makes 2 cups – can easily be scaled down

6 white onions, halved and then sliced thin
2 tablespoons neutral oil like Canola
Kosher salt

Heat the oil in a 12″ cast iron pan till it shimmers.  Dump all the onions in at once and let it sit there for a few minutes.  Then, gradually start flipping and stirring the onions around till they all get coated with the oil.  Your pan will be VERY full if you used all 6 onions.  Turn the heat down to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally for at least 30 minutes.  You want a deep, rich brown color on all the onions.  They will greatly reduce in size till you’re left with about 2 cups of onions.  We keep ours in the fridge and scoop out portions for everything under the sun, but most recently, they were an AMAZING topping to our burgers this weekend, complete with smoked gouda, pickles and the Good Stuff sauce.  Oh, heavens…

The last recipe I’ll impart is a very classic deviled egg recipe that includes a good amount of olive oil and the result is the most silky texture to the filling and the perfect balance of acid and richness from the egg yolks.  The recipe is adapted from the Serious Eats site, which, if you haven’t become addicted or receive their weekly emails, you will and you must.  So many great recipes come from their extensive research and trial and error!

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Deviled Eggs
makes about 18

1 dozen large eggs, not too fresh
2 tablespoons mayonnaise, preferably home made
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
Up to 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Frank’s Red Hot sauce
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons thinly sliced chives
Crushed red pepper or hot paprika

Place eggs in a large saucepan and cover with 2 quarts cold water. Place over high heat, bring to a boil, cover, remove from heat, and let stand ten minutes. Drain eggs and peel under cool running water. Slice each egg in half lengthwise.

Place all of the yolks in the bowl of a food processor. Select 16 of the best looking egg white halves and set aside. Reserve the remaining 8 for another use. Add mayonnaise, mustard, half of vinegar, and hot sauce to food processor and process until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.

With machine running, slowly drizzle in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season mixture to taste with salt and remaining vinegar (if desired). Transfer to zipper-lock bag. Filling and egg white halves can be stored in the refrigerator up to overnight before filling and serving.

Cut off corner of ziplock bag and pipe filling mixture into egg whites, overstuffing each hole. Drizzle with extra olive oil, sprinkle with black pepper, chives, crushed red pepper, and sea salt. Serve immediately.

Caramelized Onion Dip

pan fried onion dip

Every summer, certain things tend to become a trend.  We nearly always have an official corn dish, a certain way we assemble a burger from the grill, a particular drink we make over and over, or a particular ice cream flavor we bring to parties. It’s so much fun looking forward to the hot summer months by way of what we’ll be cooking.  It really helps utilize what’s in season (think: guacamole, caprese salad from REAL tomatoes and backyard basil, etc) and this summer, I think I’ve found the official dip/spread!

This dip would be amazing as a burger spread, a dip for tortilla chips, crackers, etc.  A wonderful topping for baked potatoes, a dip for fries – the options are endless.  I’ve always been a fan of the tubs of French Onion dip in the grocery stores, but this homemade version blows any of the store bought options out of the water.  It has a sweet smokiness from the caramelized onions, a super creaminess from the addition of the cream cheese and my addition, a tablespoon of red wine vinegar, really makes the flavors come alive and gives it a bite that cuts through all the richness.  It’s perfect.  I also decided to spin all the ingredients in my food processor a few times because I liked the idea of the onions being finely chopped instead of left in long slivers.  I think for me, it’s a more pleasing texture as a dip.

However you decide to make it, just promise me you’ll try this one at your next BBQ.

onion dip

 

Caramelized Onion Dip*
makes about 2 cups

2 large yellow onions
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 tbs red wine vinegar (really, any vinegar you have on hand will do just fine!)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup good mayonnaise (we use Hellman’s original)

Cut up the onions into very thin slices.  Place in a large skillet with the butter, vegetable oil, salt and cayenne and let it cook over medium low heat until the onions turn golden, and caramelize, about 30 minutes.  You really want to err on the side of TOO caramelized instead of not enough.  The flavors get so intense as the onions break down.  Let the onions cool and set aside.

Add the vinegar, salt and pepper, cream cheese, sour cream and mayo to your food processor and pulse a few times to combine.  Then add the onions and pulse until fully incorporated.  If you don’t have a food processor, just dice your onions before you cook them, and then take all the ingredients to a bowl or mixer and mix until smooth.

Adjust the seasonings and serve with…anything!

*recipe adapted from this site, who took the recipe from The Barefoot Contessa cookbook.