Creamy Potatoes with Thyme Browned Butter

creamy boiled potatoes with thyme and browned butter
Some days you just need someone to think up a side dish for you. This is not complicated.  This is nothing you couldn’t come up with on your own.  But your brain is zapped. And there are days I stand there with my fridge gaping and I just can’t be creative anymore.  I roasted the potatoes yesterday, I don’t want to roast them again! So, if you’re like me and you don’t necessarily want to do something crazy or ambitious on a Monday evening, but you DO want something different that someone else thought up for you – then this recipe is for you.  Clean, simple, warm, filling and utterly delicious.  Boiling the potatoes in their skins gives them that appealing pop when you bite through the skin and the interior is smooth and creamy.  Add in some browned thyme butter and this could almost be a meal in itself…

…but if you have a three year old who has a bit of an opinion about dinner, then you can’t serve these alone because then she’ll ask, “Where’s the rest of the meal?” She’s been asking me that for about a year, now.  Where she even got that phrase, I’ll never know.  But it’s pretty intimidating.

Creamy Potatoes with Thyme Browned Butter

Boiled Potatoes with Thyme Browned Butter

  • Servings: 4-6 as a side dish
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1 lb baby red potatoes (red creamers)
4 TBS unsalted butter
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme, plus a teaspoon of chopped leaves
kosher salt for seasoning

In a large pot, submerge potatoes and salt the water generously.  Bring to a boil and boil until soft when pierce with a knife.  This took me around 15 minutes.  Drain the potatoes and transfer into a large bowl.  In a small sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat, and add the thyme sprigs and cook till the foaming subsides.  When brown butter solids start forming at the bottom of the pan and the butter smells nutty, immediately remove from the heat and add the thyme leaves.  Swirl around and then pour over the potatoes, tossing to coat evenly.  Sprinkle the potatoes with kosher salt and serve.

Sweet Potato Tortellini with Sage Brown Butter

homemade sweet potato tortellini
This pasta is a yearly tradition that Matt generally does at the beginning of the fall season.  The classic combination of roasted pumpkin and sage is glorified with browned butter and served simply with a shaving of fresh Parmesan and a side of crusty bread.  This year, we dipped into the all-encompassing guide to Italian cooking, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, by Marcella Hazan, for the recipe for the filling, which actually called for sweet potato instead of pumpkin (you can literally not taste the difference and the texture was great).  We also use her recipe for our pasta dough and it is velvety and amazing every time.  Making pasta from scratch is time consuming, but as we often do on the weekends, we incorporate the process of making the meal into our entertainment as well as our dinner.  I’ve included step by step photos of how to cut and fill the dough and for rolling it out, we have this hand-crank pasta machine.  It works great because I don’t feel like I can ever get pasta thin enough just rolling it out by hand.  I’m no Italian grandmother.

Also, just an FYI to the few of you who subscribe to this blog:  I’m due kind of any day, now.  So, as you’ve undoubtedly noticed, my posts have been waning at the end of this pregnancy, and when I have the baby, I’ll either drop off the face of the planet entirely for a few months, or have a ton of random pockets of time to do posts – I just don’t know how it’ll turn out!  But I’m thinking the former is more likely.  So I pray you are all here when I return!  And hey – when I return, I’ll be nearing the baby food making phase, again, and that may end up being great material for Family Meal posts, anyway!  Stay tuned…and a few prayers would be nice, too. 😉

cutting pasta
After rolling out the dough, for tortellini, cut into about 1.5″ squares.  It doesn’t have to be perfect and a good pizza cutter makes it super easy.
piping out tortellini filling
Pipe out the filling by teaspoons using a simple ziplock bag with one of it’s bottom tips cut off.  Using a serrated knife to lop off the portions helps tremendously so your hands don’t get all gunky.

folding tortellini
Wet the edges of the square with your finger dipped in water and fold one corner over to meet the other.  As you can tell, this particular one was not so “square.”

 

forming tortellini 2
Then, fold the opposite corner up, dotting with water to seal it.
forming pasta 2
Wrap one of the other corners over your finger, and making sure your other corner is wet, bring it up and seal on top of the corner draped over your finger.
forming pasta
Voila – you have a tortellini.  Now – do this 100 more times till you’re done with all of them, laying the finished pasta on a parchment-lined baking sheet dusted with flour to keep them from sticking together.  Use parchment to separate layers of tortellini until you’re ready to boil.

 

forming tortellini

sweet potato tortellini

Sweet Potato Tortellini with Sage Browned Butter Sauce

For the Filling:

1 3/4 lbs orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (so really, yams if you can find them)
A pair of Italian amaretti cookies (I’ve only found these at World Market.  I have a huge bag if you need a couple.  Just swing by.)
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons chopped prosciutto
1 1/2 cups freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped fine
whole nutmeg
salt

For the Pasta:  

*this is a great site and nearly the exact recipe we used.  He just gives so much great instruction and homemade pasta could be its own post entirely, so follow his steps and then continue on with rolling it out into tortellini as pictured in my post here.

For the Sauce:

5 tbs unsalted butter
12 sage leaves, roughly chopped and a few left whole

Instructions for the filling:

Preheat oven to 450F.  Bake the potatoes in the middle of the oven.  After 20 minutes turn the temp down to 400F and cook for another 35-40 min until potatoes are very tender when prodded with a fork. Turn off the oven. Split the potatoes in half lengthwise and return the potatoes to the oven, cut side up, leaving the oven door slightly ajar.  Remove after 10 minutes.  This helps dry out the potatoes some.

Peel the potatoes and scoop the flesh into a food processor.  Add the cookies, egg yolk, proscuitto, Parmesan, parsley a grating of nutmeg and about a teaspoon of salt and puree until smooth.  Adjust taste with salt.

Use this filling to fill your pasta and boil the formed pasta in salty water for 10 minutes, or until they’re al dente.  We take one out around 5 minutes and test it and we usually let it cook a little longer.  Remove pasta from water and keep it in a bowl with a splash of pasta water to keep it all from sticking together.  If it sticks, more pasta water should loosen them up.

For the sauce: over medium heat in a large saucepan, heat the butter until it stops foaming and brown solids begin to form.  Careful to not burn!  As soon as foaming starts to subside, add in the sage leaves and swirl them around to crisp them up.  Continue letting the butter brown until fragrant.  Spoon browned butter and sage leaves over the pasta, top with a grating of Parmesan and serve!

 

Brown Butter Honey Ice Cream in Milk Toast Bowls

Japenese Milk Bread Bowl with Brown Butter Ice Cream
This recipe is insane.  What’s more insane than each component is the sum of its parts.  Matt saw a recipe for Japanese Brick Toast a few weeks ago and I had seen a similar recipe on Pinterest that looked downright heavenly.  He said in Japan they put ice cream with buttery toasted sweet bread as a dessert (…which is doubtful – I’ve seen Japanese people.  They don’t look like they eat ice cream in bread bowls).  Why has no one thought of doing a bread bowl for ICE CREAM?!  It’s genius.  The bread soaks up the melted ice cream and you’re left with this spongy cake-like texture when you get to eating the bread part.  This dessert demands to be shared.  Because if you don’t share it, you’ll feel like a dadgum glutton.  I mean, LOOK at that thing!

For the ice cream, we look no further than Jenni’s Splendid Ice Creams.  I posted about her Brown Butter Almond Brittle ice cream last year.  I’m a broken record when it comes to browned butter.  I can’t help it.  We began making ice cream out of her book about four years ago and haven’t even wasted our time with a different method.  She’s perfected the texture of homemade ice cream, in my opinion.  So for this recipe, I used her browned butter ice cream base and added honey and vanilla bean paste.  It was perfect in our little ice cream bowl.  The bread deserves a post of its own and don’t you worry – we’ll blog about it, soon.  Matt loves it too much and loved the process too much to only make it once.  He can’t wait to try it, again.  For now, enjoy a truly amazing bowl of browned butter ice cream:

Milk Toast with Brown Butter Ice Cream, Bananas and Honey

Browned Butter and Honey Ice Cream

for the base:
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1.5 oz (3 tbs) softened cream cheese
1/8 tsp fine sea salt (I use kosher)
3/4 lb unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbs light corn syrup
1 tbs vanilla bean paste

Raw honey to fold into the ice cream

 

Mix about 2 tbs of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry.  Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a large bowl until smooth.  Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

Melt the butter over medium heat in a 4 quart saucepan.  Bring to a boil and let bubble until the foam starts to subside and the butter is a rich dark brown (not black!).  Remove from the heat and let stand until the butter solids settle to the bottom of the pan, about 5 minutes.

Pour the clear butter oil into a storage container (once it solidifies you can use it as you normally would for cooking so it’s not a waste!) As you get closer to the butter solids in the bottom of the pan, use a teaspoon to remove as much liquid butter as you can.  You should have about 1 tablespoon of brown butter solids and a little bit of melted fat in the bottom of the pan (it’s impossible to remove all the fat).

Add the remaining milk, cream, sugar, vanilla bean paste and corn syrup to the butter solids, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat and boil for 4 minutes.  Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry (you’ll need to stir it up again as it will settle and solidify some).  Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula or whisk, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.  Remove from the heat.

Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese mixture until smooth.  Pour the mixture into a 1 gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath.  Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.

Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister of your ice cream maker and spin until thick and creamy.  Pack the ice cream into a storage container, folding in drizzles of raw honey as you go.  Press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface of the ice cream (this is important to avoid freezer burn and maintain a good consistency) and seal with an airtight lid.  Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

Layer ice cream with sliced bananas and serve in boring porcelain bowls, or sweet bread bowls.  It’s up to you.  🙂  (recipe for bread bowls coming soon!)

 

Parsnip Puree with Coriander Brown Butter

parsnip002

I remember the months of making Olive’s baby food with great fondness and happy farewells.  While it was fun to show her new foods, I was all too glad to stop blending and pureeing things like chicken pot pie or beef stroganoff.  Because while certain foods look nice pureed, others look like…gray.  And gray just isn’t an appealing color in the food world.

Whenever I see recipes for purees, I instantly think, “That’s baby food” because it was to me.  I never followed the rules of how to feed your baby what at what age, except for the standard “biggies” like honey, peanut butter and strawberries.  I just always blended up whatever we were having and it always worked out great.  Her first foods weren’t bland cereals, but full flavored vegetables.  Olive ate and enjoyed nearly everything my trusty immersion blender wanted to create and I think, because of that, she isn’t very averse to strong flavors, spices and seasonings.  I always seasoned her baby food.  I’d hold back on the salt more than what my palette would prefer, but I felt that her food should taste good and that if we enjoyed it, she’d enjoy it!

Today’s recipe fits a lot of current trends.  Substitutions for those evil, fear-inducing potatoes?  Check.  Browned Butter?  Check.  Calling baby food a puree and feeling fancy while serving it for dinner?  Check.  I made this dish last night as a side to lamb chops and roasted broccoli.  (Olive gnawing on the lamb chop ranks up there with Greatest Moments Ever.)  We all enjoyed it and I think it will make an appearance again during the fall season.  Those crusty bits that Olive called bacon?  Yeah, that’s roasted garlic.  Totally awesome.  If I could do anything, I’d make parsnips not so sweet.  And then, by George, they’d actually taste like mashed potatoes!  🙂

parsnip003

Parsnip Puree with Coriander Brown Butter*
serves 4-6 as a side

2 lbs parsnips, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
5 TBS unsalted butter
2-4 TBS milk
Salt and fresh ground pepper
1/4 tsp ground coriander
2 cloves chopped garlic

Boil the chopped parsnips in salted water until tender.  Transfer to a food processor, or to a large bowl if using an immersion blender.  Add two tablespoons of butter, the milk and salt and pepper and blend until smooth and creamy and no chunks remain.  Add a dash more milk if you want.  Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

In a stainless steel skillet over medium heat, add the remaining three tablespoons of butter, coriander and chopped garlic.  Swirl the butter around until bubbling and starting to brown.  Keep the garlic moving around so it doesn’t burn.  Remove from heat and pour over the parsnip puree to serve!

*recipe from Real Simple magazine this month, in which they gave us four entire weeks of dinner planning.  I’m not going to squander that work done for me, so we’re eating through Week 1 and enjoying it very much.  Especially the lack of effort part.