Sunday, February 26, 2012

Home Fries

Made these this morning and they were a big hit. Will never make home fries any other way again.

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated. And as noted in CI, whatever modifications or additions you make, DO NOT leave out the baking soda. It’s what coaxes the perfect texture out of the potatoes.

Serves 2


  • 1.5 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1.5 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees.
Bring water to boil in Dutch oven or large pot over high heat. Add potatoes and baking soda. Return to boil and cook for 1 minute. Drain potatoes. Return potatoes to pot and shake pot occasionally, until any surface moisture has evaporated, about 1-2 minutes. Add butter, 3/4 teaspoons salt, and cayenne; mix with rubber spatula until potatoes are coated with thick, starchy paste, about 30 seconds.
Remove baking sheet from oven and drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil. Lower oven to 450 degrees. Transfer potatoes to baking sheet and spread into even layer. Roast for 15 minutes. While potatoes roast, combine onions, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and a pinch of  salt in bowl.
Remove baking sheet from oven. Using thin, sharp metal spatula, scrape and turn potatoes, mixing onions into potatoes. Continue to roast until potatoes are well browned and onions are softened and beginning to brown. Stir in chives and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ash-e Reshteh (Persian Noodle Soup)


Saturdays are Soup Suppers at our home. We often experiment with new recipes on these days. Tonight we tried our hand at Persian Noodle Soup, or Ash-e Reshteh. I used two differing recipes as inspiration- one from Saveur Magazine and the other from Najmieh Batmanglij’s A Taste of Persia cookbook. My adapted recipe combining the best of both follows below.

Serves 4. About 45 minutes to prepare.

olive oil

3 small onions, peeled and thinly sliced

5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1/2 cup white wine

1 can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed

1 can small white beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup small green lentils, rinsed

6 cups chicken broth

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 T dried dill weed

1 /4 pound ground beef

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 cups dried egg noodles

1 T dried mint leaves, crushed

Plain Greek Yogurt

salt and pepper

In a large dutch oven heat 2 T oil over medium heat. Add 2/3rds of the sliced onion (salt them lightly) and fry for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and using the wine to deglaze the pan as needed. Add the turmeric, more salt and pepper to taste, and 2/3rds of the garlic and continue to saute until golden brown. Add the peas, beans, and lentils and the broth. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the garnish. Saute the remaining onion (salt them lightly) in a bit of olive oil until golden, adding the remaining garlic near the end of cooking as you did before, and using the wine to deglaze as before. Turn off the heat and sprinkle with the mint leaves. Set aside.

Next, make the meatballs. Combine beef, cinnamon, salt and pepper in a metal bowl, shaping into small globes a quarter in diameter. Saute in a 1/4 cup of olive oil until cooked through. Set aside.

Add the egg noodles and meatballs to the soup and cook until noodles are tender- less than 10 minutes. Sprinkle dill into soup, and stir. Adjust soup for flavor with salt and pepper as needed.

Serve tableside as follows: ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with a dollop of yogurt and a T of the onion garnish. Soup can be served with flatbread or dinner rolls and butter.