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Lemony Roasted Potatoes

This might sound weird, but I’m not the biggest fan of potatoes. I do like french fries and potato salad, but those rely on a ton of fat to add flavor to a fairly bland star ingredient. However, they’re cheap and on their own, not all that bad for you. However, a while ago a found a recipe that was deceptively simple: potatoes roasted in lemon juice. No garlic, no onions, no herbs; none of those things that I rely on to add lots of cheap flavor. But oh my goodness, they’re so delicious. I had to restrain myself from eating the entire pan in one go.

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Girlfriend Pasta

True story: this summer I went on a number of dates with guys I met online. Two of the guys bragged about their cooking skills so I asked them if they had a signature dish or style. Both responded, and I quote,

“If I had a girlfriend, I would sautee some veggies in a white wine sauce and serve it over pasta.”

What the heck? Is there a manual on what to serve your hypothetical girlfriend?

Anyways, this weekend I needed to use up the last of a bottle of white wine so I decided to make my own version of this mystical recipe.

Girlfriend Pasta

2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp flour
1/2 cup milk or cream
1/2 cup white wine
4 oz shredded parmesan cheese
8 oz whole wheat pasta, cooked
1/2 lb steamed vegetables (frozen works well)
Salt to taste

In a small sauce pan over medium low heat, heat olive oil. Add garlic and cook until soft, about 2-3 min. Whisk in flour and cook until lightly golden and smells toasty, about 2-3 min. Whisk in milk and stir constantly until mixture is thick, about 2-3 min. Stir in wine and cheese until cheese is melted. Fold in pasta and vegetables until evenly coated, then adjust salt to taste.

Serves 4.

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Beet and Beet Green Gratin

One of my favorite vegetables is the beet, and 90% of the time, I eat them boiled or roasted, sliced up and topped with a little salt. But, I’m trying to get out of a culinary rut, so I did a little Googling and came across this recipe for beet and beet green gratin from my beloved NY Times. The ingredients are simple so the beets really shine, is only 170 calories a serving, and makes great cold leftovers, which are my favorite. It served as a great light supper, but would also make a good side dish to roast chicken. Not surprisingly, I made a few tweaks to the recipe due to what was in my refrigerator and my innate laziness. The prep is a little time consuming, but but you can cook the beets and prep the greens a few days before.

Beet and Beet Green Gratin

  • 2 bunches beets (6-8 beets) with greens attached
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 ounces parmesan, grated (1/2 cup)
  • 1 bunch chives, minced
  • pinch of salt
  1. Cut greens off beets 1/4 in from the base, and set them aside. Roast beets in 400 F or boil until fork tender, ~30-45 minutes. Once beets have cooled, the skins should slide right off, remove top, then slice horizontally.
  2. Rinse greens, cut off and discard stems, and chop leaves coarsely. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, add garlic and cook until soft and fragrant, ~2-3 minutes. Add leaves, cover, and cook until tender, ~ 5 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 F and lightly grease a 2 quart casserole. Combine last 5 ingredients, then fold in greens and beets.
  4. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until dish is set and golden brown on top. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6.

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Rumtopf

No, that is not a made up word in my title. It’s one of my projects for the summer and should make excellent Christmas presents. One of my favorite parts of summer is all the amazing produce. Working on a farm, and being a huge fan of the farmers market, I sometimes end up with more than I can eat before it goes bad. That’s when I turn to food preservation, which can mean making jams and pickles, but can encompass a lot of other methods.

One of my favorite methods, and the simplest, is to use alcohol, which brings me back to the title of my post. Rumptopf is a German dish, which involves layers of fresh fruit, topped with sugar and dark rum. As the summer progresses and different fruits come into season, add another layer of fruit, with more sugar and rum. Or, you can buy all the fruit and make it in one go.

I divide this recipe into 4 1-pint jars to give out as presents, but you could be selfish or generous, and put it all in one giant jar, that would hold a half gallon of water. Just use glass, which won’t transfer any flavor or chemicals to the fruit.

Rumtopf

  • 2 cups (1 pint basket) strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 2 cups peaches, sliced 1/2 thick, pit removed
  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 2 cups plums, sliced 1/2 thick, pit removed
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 liter dark rum
  • 4 pint glass jars
  1. Divide strawberries evenly between jars. Sprinkle 2 1/2 tbsp sugar over each layer of strawberries, then cover with rum, about ¼ cup.
  2. Repeat with each type of fruit, creating layers. At the end, make sure the fruit is completely covered with rum.
  3. Store in a cool, dark place (not the refrigerator!), and periodically swirl to help the sugar dissolve.  If the fruit floats to the top, occasionally flip to make sure everything is equally saturated with rum. Allow to soak for at least 3 weeks, though the longer the better.

Serve over pound cake, use the fruity rum in cocktails or just have a ridiculously tipsy fruit salad.

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