Category — Pasta, Potato, Rice, & Grain Recipes

{recipe} Smashed Potatoes with Leeks and Baby Broccoli

I love mashed potatoes in all forms. But I always feel vaguely guilty eating them, because the way I usually make them, they are loaded up with butter and fat and all kinds of delicious stuff – which is (obviously, duh) why they taste so great. With this recipe, they are a guilty pleasure no more.


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January 11, 2013   1 Comment

{make this} Kale and Walnut Pesto from the Tastespotting Blog

If you read this blog often, you will know that I love putting things in the food processor and I also love Tastespotting. So when I saw this super fast and easy recipe on the Tastespotting blog for kale and walnut pesto, I had to try it.

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January 13, 2012   No Comments

{top tips} Chef-Tested Methods & Scientific Facts for Perfect Mashed Potatoes

To me, mashed potatoes are like a blank canvas. They can be creamy and pillowy or rich and silky. They can be chunky or smooth. They can have green stuff in them. But most importantly, they can be really really really good or just so blah and boring that they’re not worth the calories.

I always make mashed potatoes a little differently, so I’m not here to share a specific recipe – but rather a group of the most important scientific potato facts and chef tips gleaned from years of experimentation and experience. Armed with this knowledge, you will never need a recipe to make fabulous mashed potatoes under any circumstances.

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November 16, 2011   14 Comments

{recipe} Bucatini with Pancetta and Pumpkin-Parmesan Sauce

I’ve been having some serious pumpkin cravings lately, so I thought I would try to work some into my dinner. This is an excellent way to use up any canned pumpkin you may have left over from your fall dessert attempts (I’ve been trying to perfect pumpkin fudge so I have a lot of the stuff around!)

Not everyone is a big fan of marjoram, and it’s not always the easiest herb to find in a store. I think the slightly floral nature goes perfectly with the pumpkin, but you can certainly substitute thyme or sage and still get excellent results.

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October 14, 2011   2 Comments

{recipe} Easy Oven Barley “Risotto”

As much as I hate unnecessary quotation marks, I can’t think of any other term for this. The process is so simple, with a little time on the stovetop and the bulk of the time in the oven, and yet the texture comes out closer to risotto than anything else. More good news: it’s almost impossible to overcook it, too.

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October 1, 2011   4 Comments

{recipe} Pommes in a Pile

Purple potatoes and Yukon golds, butter, salt, pepper, a hot oven, and… you get Pommes in a Pile.

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March 26, 2011   2 Comments

{top tip} Risotto Tips from Italian Grannies

In my home kitchen, I use a lot of shortcuts and tricks gleaned from my checkered pants past. From time to time I will pull one out of my toque and share it with you! If you have questions or requests, leave them in the comments and I’ll tackle them in a future post.

Have you ever made risotto with an elderly Italian woman? Be warned: she might yell at you for doing it wrong. Here are some things you can do to get top marks with the signoras!

  • In the first part of the process, toast the rice well in the olive oil before adding any liquid. The rice should be a nice golden brown before proceeding to the liquid phase.
  • You don’t have to heat the broth before adding it in. I swear. Don’t believe the broth-heating hype, you’re just making more work for yourself!
  • While Arborio rice is the commonly recommended risotto rice, many chefs and grandmas prefer Carnaroli rice – try it if you can find it.
  • If you’re adding things to the risotto, like sauteed vegetables or bacon or shrimp, cook them separately and fold them in at the very end.
  • Also: I once read that Thomas Keller folds whipped heavy cream into his risotto at the end, to finish it. I have tried that and it’s not worth the effort – a splash of unwhipped cream or a knob of butter does the trick just as well.

It bears noting that I don’t use a recipe to make risotto, and I don’t think you need to either. It’s one of my favorite things to make when I need to make a good side dish and I don’t want to go to the market, because you can add most anything to it. The whole process takes about 20-30 minutes, and shouldn’t be made ahead because it will ruin the texture.

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March 15, 2011   1 Comment

{recipe} Fettucine with Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Marcona Almonds, and Bacon

Brussels sprouts and bacon–a classic combination. Add Marcona almonds, minced shallots, and touches of cream, white wine, and parmigiano, and you have a 20-minute pasta dish that transcends the mere classic and becomes, well, pretty fancy.

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February 27, 2011   No Comments

{recipe} Potato Salad with Yogurt Vinaigrette

This is my new favorite potato salad recipe. It’s tangy and delicious with a vinegary bite that sneaks up on you. It’s also not full of mayonnaise or other fattening things. With all the celery in it, you can practically consider it health food. I make a batch and bring it to work for a healthy, balanced, and filling lunch.

The recipe is from Martha Rose Shulman’s Recipes for Health series in the New York Times–a source of recipes I have turned to many times with great success. I have not tried a bad recipe from the series yet. All have turned out fantastically and been reasonably easy to prepare. I like them so much that I just ordered the physical cookbook–which is something I almost never do. I own very few cookbooks.

P.S. I use Fage nonfat plain yogurt to lower the calories further.

P.P.S. Maybe you are thinking it’s weird to talk about potato salad in December, but if you live in California you are not calibrated to think about potato salad only in the summer!

December 3, 2010   No Comments

{recipe} Asian Forbidden Risotto

I’ve been really into forbidden rice lately, because it’s actually a whole grain, it’s an exciting color to bring to the table, and it tastes great. Plus, forbidden = fun!

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November 15, 2010   2 Comments