Oven baked Sweet Potato and Garlic Potato Fries

sweet potato fries

potato fries

These easy baked fries satisfy my craving for fries with only 1 Tablespoon olive oil per potato. I sprinkled cinnamon on the sweet potato fries for a sweet spiciness. I used garlic olive oil with a sprinkle of smoked paprika and sea salt on the potato fries.

Sweet potato fries

Ingredients: 

  • 1 large sweet potato or yam, scrubbed well
  • 1 Tb olive oil
  • cinnamon for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 450′

Cut off ends and slice sweet potato in half crosswise and lengthwise. Cut each quarter into matchsticks. Place in a pile on a baking sheet and pour olive oil on top. Use your hands to coat the sweet potato with oil, then spread out on the baking sheet so the sticks don’t touch. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Place on a rack in the upper third of the oven. Bake for 20 minutes and use a spatula or tongs to flip the fries over. Bake another 10 minutes until nicely browned. Serve hot. They will be softer than potato fries, but they will be delicious!

Potato Fries:

Ingredients: 

  • 1 large potato  scrubbed well. I’ve used both Russet and Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 Tb garlic olive oil
  • smoked paprika (use regular paprika if you can’t get smoked)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • sea salt

Preheat oven to 450′

Cut off ends and slice potato in half crosswise and lengthwise. Cut each quarter into matchsticks. Place in a pile on a baking sheet and pour garlic olive oil on top. Use your hands to coat the potato with oil, then spread out on the baking sheet so the sticks don’t touch. Sprinkle with paprika, pepper and salt.

Place on a rack in the upper third of the oven. Bake for 20 minutes and use a spatula or tongs to flip the fries over. Bake another 10 -15 minutes until nicely browned and crispy. Serve hot.

Roast Chicken with Arabic Spices

roast chicken with Arabic spices

I’ve been running to the various Halal markets buying Arabic spices: Sumac, and spices blends Ras el Hanout and Za’atar to make recipes from Ottolenghi’s “Simple” cookbook. Inspired by the recipe on the package of Ras el Hanout, I made this simple but tasty roast chicken. The skin is crisp and flavorful.

I’ve found that roasting a chicken breast side down yields a much juicier bird, especially the breast meat which benefits from the juices flowing down.

I surrounded it by giant shallots, since they go so well with roast chicken. I was in a hurry so I left the skins on and figured they’d come out moister that way.

Arabic spices

Ingredients:

  • One chicken (We spend the big bucks to buy Rocky chicken which is organic and air chilled, since it does taste a lot better and I imagine the hens are happier)
  • Olive oil (EVOO)
  • Sumac
  • Ras el Hanout
  • Za’atar
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground garlic salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 lemon, cut in half
  • 4 large shallots

Directions:

Preheat oven to 430′. Grease a large roasting pan with olive oil. Rinse chicken inside and out, and dry with paper towels, then set breast side up on the roasting pan. Sprinkle the spices, salt and pepper all over the top of the chicken, including legs and wings, and in the cavity. Pour oil into a ramekin or teacup and use a basting brush to paint the oil over the chicken. Dip the brush into any spices that fell on the pan. Separate the skin from the breast with your fingers, and paint the spice-infused oil in that space. Place the lemon pieces inside the cavity.

Flip the chicken over so that it is breast side down. Repeat the spices and oil on the back side, including legs and wings. Place shallots around the chicken.

Roast for 1 1/2 hours at 430′

Nice served with couscous.

 

 

Brothy Linguine with Prawns in White Wine Sauce

Serve this delicious Italian favorite with its aromatic sauce made from shrimp shells, clam juice and white wine. My husband’s favorite. I made it for his birthday dinner last night. Use shrimp in shells; easy-peel deveined shrimp are the easiest to work with. I used Italian flat-leaf parsley. I was thinking of naming this recipe “Whining around the kitchen with brothy linguine with prawns in white wine sauce” but it was a bit too wordy.

brothy linguine and prawns May 29

Ingredients:

26 medium large shrimp (41/50 per pound size) OR 14 large shrimp (prawns) (26/30 per pound size)

Broth:

1 1/4 cups water

2 Tb parsley stems (approximately)

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp dried oregano

a pinch red pepper flakes

several grinds black pepper

1/2 -3/4 tsp salt, to taste

8 oz bottle clam juice

1/4 cup chardonnay or other dry white wine

Stir Fry:

2 Tb olive oil

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 Tb finely chopped parsley

14 oz can artichoke hearts in water, quartered

4 cups baby spinach

To cook linguine:

4 oz linguine pasta (1/4 package)

1 gallon boiling water

1 tsp salt

Garnish:

2 Tb pine nuts

2 Tb minced parsley

1 Tb finely grated Parmesan

Directions:

Defrost shrimp if using frozen shrimp. Either defrost in a container in the fridge overnight or let cold water run over them in a colander for 7 minutes.

While you are defrosting the shrimp, Wash and mince the parsley and wash and spin dry the baby spinach.

shrimp broth May 29

Broth: Peel shrimp and add shells to 1 1/4 cups water in a medium pot. Add the rest of the broth ingredients. Bring to boil, lower heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes.

Pasta: While broth is cooking, boil 1 gallon (16 cups) water and 1 tsp salt in a large pot. Stir the linguine into the boiling water, and cook uncovered for 9 minutes.

shrimp with garlic and parsley May 29

Stir-Fry: Thinly slice then dice garlic. Heat oil in a heavy skillet and fry the garlic for a minute until it begins to turn golden brown. Add the shrimp, oregano and parsley, and stir fry until the shrimp are not quite cooked, a bit translucent and a barely pink.

Add quartered artichoke hearts and spinach. Stir fry until spinach is wilted and shrimp are pink and opaque.

Strain shrimp-shell broth through a fine mesh sieve into the shrimp stir fry and stir softly. (Can you say that fast three times?) Adjust salt.

Put it together: Drain the linguine and divide between two large bowls. Ladle shrimp mixture between the bowls and stir well.

Garnish with parsley, Parmesan and pine nuts. Serve with a fork and a soup spoon.

 

 

 

 

Chicken Mango Salad

Perfect for lunch or a light dinner on a summer’s day. Sweet mango, sour lemon, tangy Blue cheese, salty crunchy cashews, smooth avocado, and chicken for protein. All on a bed of organic baby lettuce and baby spinach.

with cashews

Ingredients: makes 2 salads

  • Several handfuls of baby spinach-baby lettuce mix per plate
  • 1/2 cup shredded roasted chicken
  • 1 Manila mango or 1/2 Tommy Atkins mango, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 large Haas avocado, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 Tb blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup roasted, salted cashews (can substitute peanuts or pistachios)
  • Juice of 1/2 large lemon
  • A few shakes Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Directions:

without cashews

Put lettuce-spinach mix on plates. Arrange chicken, mango, and avocado pieces evenly around the top of the greens.

Sprinkle blue cheese and cashews on top. Squeeze the lemon and sprinkle with Kosher salt on the salad. Drizzle olive oil over the salad. Toss to combine. Enjoy!

 

 

Grilled Chicken with Italian Herb Marinade

Grill this tasty chicken after marinating it in a lemon-olive oil marinade with Italian herbs. Easy peasy on a warm day. I served it with grilled eggplant salad

eggplant and chicken with pasta

served it with grilled eggplant salad,  linguine or spaghetti with a bit of grated Parmesan on top.

Ingredients:

herbs

Juice of one large lemon

1/4 cup EVOO

Several grinds of black pepper and of garlic-onion salt

Several shakes of red chili pepper flakes

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried thyme

1 sprig rosemary, minced

1 sprig fresh oregano (optional but nice), minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 thin-sliced chicken breasts

Directions

Combine marinade ingredients in a plastic or glass container. Immerse chicken in it and marinade for 1 or 2 hours. Heat grill to high and place chicken on it. Turn grill to medium. Flip chicken over when one side is cooked, then pour a little marinade on it and cook the other side. Chicken should be brown but not dry.

Serve with pasta. Nice paired with grilled eggplant salad and chopped artichoke hearts and sprinkled with Parmesan.

pasta chicken eggplant artichoke heat and Parmesan

 

Papaya and Salmon Spinach Salad

IMG_1532I’ve been buying an extra half pound of salmon so that we can make salmon salad with the leftovers. Coho salmon is really the best and has few bones, even in the center cut.

jicama

This recipe is made with produce that is common is Mexican cuisine . The jicama looks like a pointy potato, but is a bit sweet and crunchy inside.

The citrus dressing is a nice contrast to the sweet papaya, and has a little kick from Habanero salsa and ginger. I thought of adding the cilantro after we ate it, so I’ll have to wait until next time to retake the picture with it.

papaya

Ingredients: Serves 2

  • Several handfuls of clean baby spinach, long stems discarded
  • About 1/3 cup sliced jicama
  • 1/2 small papaya, sliced into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 medium avocado, sliced
  • 1/3 cup of toasted pepitas
  • About 1 Tb cilantro leaves

Dressing

  • 3 Tb juice from 1/2 medium lemon and 1 lime
  • 1 Tb cold water
  • 3 drops Habanero salsa (That’s hot enough for my taste but you are welcome to add more if desired.)
  • 1/4 tsp finely grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tb olive oil

Directions: 

Make dressing: Combine all ingredients except oil in a jar and shake well. Add oil and shake well to emulsify.

toasted pepitas

Toast the pepitas (Green pumpkin seeds): Preheat oven to 350′ Measure 1/3 cup of pepitas in a bowl. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp water on them and mix in. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp salt and stir well. Spread on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes until pepitas are light brown. Cool on a rack.

saladPlace baby spinach on plates, removing the long stems. Slice papaya, avocado and jicama and place on top of spinach.

Place cold salmon on top. Dress with citrus-ginger dressing. Sprinkle toasted pepitas on top.

 

 

 

Nearly Niçoise Tuna Salad

Tuna nicoise

This French salad (Niçoise means from Nice, France) is a far cry from the mayonnaise-drenched tuna and celery salad of my childhood. Traditionally it’s served with anchovies and I’ve had a fancy version made with seared sushi grade tuna. This is my “shelter-in-place” version, made from what’s left in my pantry and fridge a week and half since I braved the grocery store. The eggs are cooked a minute beyond “jammy.” This was enough for a nice lunch with my husband, still tasty if not altogether authentic.

Salad ingredients: (serves 2)

5 oz can tuna in olive oil

Iced water (half ice water and half crushed ice) in a bowl

2 eggs

1 tsp Kosher salt

a couple of handfuls of fresh or frozen green beans (You can get fancy French with skinny haricot verts)

1 medium white or red potato

2 bay leaves

Several grinds black pepper

A couple of handfuls of spring salad mix

A handful of mini cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes

10 salty olives. I had Manzanillas on hand (a packet from Trader Joe’s)

A few pieces of avocado if you like

Dressing ingredients:

2 Tb lemon juice

1 Tb water

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp dried tarragon

1/4 tsp dried dill weed

Pinch of Kosher salt

Several grinds black pepper

3 Tb Olive oil (EVOO is best)

Oil drained from tuna can

Directions:

Place can of tuna in the refrigerator right before you start to cook.

Have a bowlful of iced water ready.

Boil salted water in a medium saucepan (It should come up 2/3 of the way.) Gently place the eggs in the water using a slotted spoon. Lower heat to medium so the water is boiling gently. Cover pot and cook for 7 -8 minutes. Remove eggs from pot and place in iced water.

Put a couple of handfuls of green beans in the boiling water. Cook uncovered for about 4 minutes, until they are bright green. Fish out the green beans with the slotted spoon and place in the iced water, adding more ice.

Add a bay leaf or two and a couple of grinds of black pepper to the boiling water. Stab the potato a few times and lower into the water. Cook, covered for about 18 minutes, or until potato is fork-tender but still firm.

Remove green beans and eggs from the iced water and put in the potato. Place the green beans on a paper towel to drain. Peel the eggs, starting at the flat end where the air pocket is, which makes so much easier! Rinse them, then cut in half crosswise. Remove the potato from the iced water when it’s cool enough to handle and gently peel it by hand, then cut into bite-sized pieces.

Make Dressing: 

Whisk together lemon juice, water, mustard, tarragon, dill, salt and pepper. Drizzle in olive oil while whisking. Open tuna fish can and drain oil into the dressing and whisk well until emulsified. (The mustard helps with the emulsification.) You can also do this in a blender.

Put salad greens on plates and place tuna in the middle of each plate on top of the greens. Place eggs, potatoes, and green beans each in its own area around the tuna. Scatter the olives, tomatoes, and avocado over the salad. Generously pour dressing over the salad.

Bon appétit!

Ground Turkey Tostadas and Tacos Filling

turkey filling

Ground turkey makes a lighter and healthier filling than ground beef for tostadas and tacos. Even  low-fat ground turkey becomes moist and flavorful with the addition of tomatoes, salsa, and spices.

I browned the entire pound package and added a whole onion, and doubled the salt. I then saved half of the meat mixture for Baked Ziti or other Italian meat sauce.

These seasonings are at  the low end of the spicy scale, so season to your taste.

Ingredients: Makes approximately 8 – 10 tostadas or tacos

  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 onion, chopped finely
  • teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced and chopped
  • A few shakes red pepper flakes
  • A few grinds of black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp of chipotle or other chili powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 Roma tomato, chopped
  • 2 Tb salsa chipotle or salsa Mexicana
  • 1/4 cup water or broth

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan until it shimmers. Place turkey on the oil and let it sit about 5 minutes or so until it browns. Turn it over and let it brown on the other side a few minutes, then use a metal spatula to break it up. Add the chopped onion and salt, and continue breaking up the turkey. Cover the pan and turn the heat to simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in garlic and seasonings, the tomato, salsa and water or broth. Cook for about 10 minutes until the liquid is absorbed but turkey is not too dry.

Spread the tostada shell with frijoles pintos, then with the turkey. Top with lettuce, cilantro, tomato, avocado, radishes and black olives (halved so they won’t roll off the tostada!) and salsa if desired. Tacos pretty much the same, except with heated tortillas.

tostadas with ground turkey filling

Apple Strudel in Phyllo Dough

sugared strudelPhyllo (sometimes spelled filo) means leaf in Greek and the sheets of dough are as thin as leaves. I buy it frozen in Middle Eastern markets and if I’m lucky it also shows up in Berkeley Bowl and other large markets. I use it to make Spanakopita, and there’s usually enough leftover sheets to make Apple Strudel for dessert. I caramelize the apples before rolling them in the phyllo dough.

Ingredients: (makes 3 rolls)

  • 3 medium apples (Gala or other cooking apples are good)
  • 6 Tb butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tb cinnamon
  • 2 tsp lemon zest, from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tb bread crumbs or 2 slices of toast, torn into pieces
  • 1/3 – 1/2 package phyllo dough (9 sheets), defrosted
  • 1 Tb powdered sugar with a few shakes of cinnamon for topping if desired

Directions: Preheat oven to 375′

Peel and core apples and chop them finely.

If you don’t have breadcrumbs,  place the torn toast in the blender. Run on high and you will have made breadcrumbs! Divide them in half.

apples for strudel

Melt butter in a large skillet. Pour out 1/4 cup and set aside. Add apples to the skillet and stir until they are coated. Stir in cinnamon and brown sugar and cook until the liquid is thick and sticky. Stir in 1/2 the breadcrumbs, pecans, lemon juice and zest. Remove from heat.

Divide the remaining breadcrumbs into 3 groups.

breadcrumbs on phylloPlace 1 sheet of phyllo on a pastry board or clean surface. Lightly brush with melted butter. (If the butter has thickened, reheat it in the microwave.) Place another sheet and repeat, and then a third sheet. Sprinkle 1/3 of the breadcrumbs in a rectangle at about 2 inches from the sides and top.

filling in phylloScoop 1/3 of the apple mixture and spread on top of the breadcrumbs. Fold the top and sides over. Then roll it up by folding it over the apple filling.

strudel rolled up and ready for oven

Brush the butter over the sealed bottom and place it on a parchment lined baking sheet. Butter the top and sprinkle a little cinnamon on it.

Let bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack before slicing. You can sift a little powdered sugar with a dash of cinnamon on top just before serving.

 

 

 

 

Baked Ziti with Swiss Chard

baked ziti inside

This is a lighter version of the traditional baked ziti, which is usually loaded with cheese and sausage. As I don’t eat red meat anymore, I substituted ground turkey for the sausage. I made this during the Coronavirus shelter in place, using whatever I had in the kitchen. I only had 1/2 cup each of mozarella and parmesan and I substituted penne pasta for ziti. (Penne are narrower than ziti , have ridges and are cut at an angle, thus resembling a quill pen.) I added flavorful red chard to up the healthy lightness. It came out cheesy enough and we had enough for several meals.

red chard

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tb extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 oz. ground turkey (half of a pound package)
  • 1/2  onion, finely chopped
  • teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • A few shakes of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary needles, finely chopped
  • A few grinds black pepper
  • 14-ounce can crushed San Marzano tomatoes (they are the best, but if you can’t find them, use what you can)
  • 1 bunch red Swiss chard, rinsed thoroughly and chopped roughly, Chop the stems about 1/2 inch diameter.
  • 8 oz. ziti or penne pasta (1/2 box)
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions: Preheat oven to 350′

Heat olive oil in a medium-large pan until it shimmers. Add ground turkey and cook on high for a few minutes to brown the meat. Add onion, chard, and salt, cover and cook on low for 15 minutes until they are soft and the onions are translucent. Add garlic and seasonings and stir for a few minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cook on low for another 15 minutes. You can make the sauce ahead of time.

While sauce is cooking, boil a medium-large covered pot of salted water. Stir in the pasta, and cook uncovered for 10 minutes, until it is al dente. Add 2 tablespoons of pasta water to the sauce. The starch in the water will help emulsify the sauce. Drain pasta, then stir the pasta and the sauce together in the large pot.

Oil a casserole dish. Add a third of the pasta mix, then top with 1/4 cup of the combined cheeses. Repeat with the next layer. After you add the last layer of pasta, sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.

Bake in the middle rack of the oven for 20 minutes. Turn  the broiler on high and broil for 5 minutes until the cheese is a golden brown. It is even better the next day after the flavors meld.

baked ziti