Brussels Sprout Latkes Recipe

brussels sprout latkes | pamela salzman

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I learned how to make latkes from an unlikely source — my Puerto Rican mother-in-law, who like me, also did not grow up Jewish.  But let me tell you something.  That woman makes the best latkes I have ever had.  The. Best.  And I’ve had a lot.  They’re a cross between lacy and meaty, with the perfect crispiness and seasoning.  No one even cares what else is on the Hanukkah dinner menu since we all practically make a meal of latkes as they come out of the frying pan.

sliced brussels sprouts

Since there are still 4 nights of Hanukkah left, I thought I would squeeze in this recipe.  Full disclosure though, these are not my mother-in-law’s latkes.  She wouldn’t dare mess around with Brussels sprouts or anything too healthy.  She’s pretty straightforward — all potato and onion.  And no one complains.  But I taught these in my classes this month and everyone has been raving.  Personally, I would love to substitute a little more Brussels sprout for potato, but my family stopped me here, the point where they couldn’t tell there were Brussels sprouts in there.   I am crazy for Brussels sprouts and love the taste, so I think a little more would be a good thing.

use a nut milk bag to squeeze moisture out of potatoes and onions | pamela salzman

I originally got the idea for using Brussels sprouts from my talented friend, Phoebe Lapine, who has a blog called “Feed Me Phoebe.”  She actually makes her latkes with all Brussels sprouts!  How about that?  And she serves them up with an anchovy aioli.  So fun to be young and cooking for not picky children.  I would love anchovy aioli.  I digress.  I merely took my basic latke recipe and subbed in 1/2 pound of Brussels sprouts which I sliced in my food processor.  And yes, I use a food processor to make latkes.  They do not taste better when the potatoes and onions are grated by hand.  That is an old wives tale meant to make all the ladies who lost their knuckle skin feel better.  Using a food processor is awesome, fun and the way to go.  See my post for how to use your food processor if this intimidates you.  If you know how to use a toaster oven, you can use a food processor!

brussels sprout latkes | pamela salzman

A couple of latke-making tips:

  • Latkes taste best right out of the frying pan.  But you can make them ahead and freeze them if you want.  Fry them until the are barely golden, i.e. underdone, and freeze them in one layer on a sheet pan.  Once they are frozen, scoop them up and store them in a container or a resealable bag until ready to use them.  Bake them frozen on a cookie sheet at 425 degrees until hot and crisp, about 10-15 minutes, and serve.
  • You can also make them an hour ahead and keep them warm in one layer in the oven at 200 degrees.
  • Do not make the latke mixture ahead of time though.  It will turn all shades of ugly.
  • Frying, as opposed to baking, makes them taste the best, so just let go of the fact that you will be overheating your oil and crating all sorts of inflammatory particles and free radicles.  Life is about balance.  Enjoy the fried latkes.
  • You can use any number of binders including matzoh meal, potato starch, all-purpose flour, panko crumbs and even ground up cereal.  I use potato starch if I am serving to anyone gluten-free, but I think it also makes a lighter latke.
  • Do squeeze the living daylights out of your potatoes and onions.  The less moisture, the crispier the latkes.  I posted a picture of me on Instagram squeezing the mixture in an extra-large nut milk bag.  Best method ever.  Then just wash the bag in soapy water and let air dry.  I only use this one for veggies, not making nut milk.  This is the one I use and it’s $9 on amazon.  You’ll have it for years.  Otherwise use a thin flour sack towel or cheesecloth.
  • When the bottom of the bowl starts to get liquidy, just pull the mixture from the top.  You don’t want a drippy, soaking wet mixture.  The latkes won’t be crispy and the oil will splatter everywhere.

brussels sprout latkes | pamela salzman

brussels sprout latkes | pamela salzman

If you do celebrate Hanukkah, have a joyful rest of the holiday.  For everyone else, I’ve got you covered with some fab Christmas and party recipes coming up!

brussels sprout latkes | pamela salzman

brussels sprout latkes | pamela salzman

Shop the tools I used for this recipe by clicking on the images below:


Brussels Sprout Latkes Recipe
Author: 
Serves: 15-20
 
Ingredients
  • ½ pound Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed (or 3 cups pre-shredded)
  • 1 ½ pounds Russet potatoes, about 2 or 3, peeled or unpeeled, and cut to fit a food processor, if necessary
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon sea salt
  • A few grinds of black pepper
  • ½ - ¾ cup potato starch, panko bread crumbs, all-purpose flour, or matzo meal
  • Olive oil for frying (or a refined peanut oil or grapeseed oil has a higher smoke point, although not exactly healthful)
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the slicing disc attachment, thinly slice the Brussels sprouts. Place in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Change the disc to a shredding disc and shred the potatoes and onions. Squeeze out as much liquid as humanly possible. I like to do this by placing the shredded vegetables in a thin kitchen towel and wringing it out. Let the mixture rest for a few minutes and squeeze again.
  3. Add the shredded potatoes and onions to the Brussels sprouts. Mix well. Remove 2 cups of this mixture and add to the food processor this time with the metal S blade and pulse twice until everything is finely chopped.* Add back to the mixing bowl.
  4. Add the eggs, salt, pepper and bread crumbs to the vegetables and combine well.
  5. Heat the olive oil in 2 large skillets until hot, but not smoking. You want more than a thin layer.
  6. Using about 2-3 tablespoons of the Brussels sprout-potato mixture, form the latkes into 2 ½-inch pancakes. Flatten slightly and carefully place into the pan. When the edges are brown and crisp, turn them over and continue cooking until deep golden. I usually flatten them in the pan when I flip.
  7. Lay paper towels on a cooling rack or brown paper bag. Transfer the latkes from the pan to the rack. Sprinkle with sea salt if desired. Serve immediately with applesauce or sour cream (if you must).
Notes
*If you don't want any "meatiness" to your latkes and prefer all lacy-ness (not really a word, but you know what I mean), don't pulse the vegetables.

 

Cauliflower mashed potatoes recipe

cauliflower mashed potatoes | pamela salzman

My husband has no choice but to eat what I make every night because there are no other options and the man does not cook.  That said, if I’m being totally honest, I think he would rather eat lasagne and cheeseburgers over quinoa and brown rice bakes.  I do, however, think he appreciates how my cooking makes him feel, which is “not gross” and he has definitely come to like plant foods and veggies more and more.  But there are certain occasions when he just wants me to leave things be, like Thanksgiving.  Not to worry, I’m not starting to post Thanksgiving recipes yet.  We still have 6 1/2 weeks to go for that.  But who’s counting?

cook the cauliflower and potatoes together

When I suggested either eliminating regular mashed potatoes from the Thanksgiving menu or replacing them with cauliflower mashed potatoes, he stood up and exclaimed, “NOW you’re taking this too far!”  He may have even pointed his finger in the air, I can’t remember.  Ok, I got the message.  But, I haven’t made “Thanksgiving” mashed potatoes on any other day of the year since then, instead I have used this Cauliflower Mashed Potato recipe.  And guess what?  Everyone loves it!  They’re creamy, light and hardly taste at all like cauliflower.

fork tender

It’s not that mashed potatoes are so terrible for you.  I wouldn’t put them in the class of Twinkies and Diet Coke, for example.  But potatoes without the peel aren’t a 10/10 and all that half-an-half and butter make mashed potatoes a very rich, not necessarily super digestible, dish. But cauliflower puree made from just cauliflower doesn’t have the same body (too thin) as regular mashed potatoes and I’m not fooling anyone with that one.  A combo of cauliflower and potatoes is what my family and I like best and I love that it is definitely more healthful and arguably waaaay easier to make than regular mashed potatoes if you have a food processor or an immersion blender.

food processor works great here

I have been talking up cauliflower as the “new kale” for some time and truthfully, I think cauliflower is much more versatile than kale.  Last night I made cauliflower “steaks.”  I’ve used cold steamed cauliflower in smoothies.  There are recipes for cauliflower alfredo sauce, and so on.  The best part is that cauliflower is a rock star plant food rich in Vitamin C, folate, Vitamin K, fiber, antioxidants as well as several anti-cancer phyto-chemicals like sulforaphane and plant sterols such as indole-3-carbinol, which appears to function as an anti-estrogen agent.

smooth and creamy cauliflower mashed potatoe

I serve this the same way I would regular mashed potatoes, with poultry or beef or saucy roasted vegetables.  I also count this as a starch, even though it’s mostly cauliflower, and I would serve a green veggie on the side.  And if you want to make this up to two hours in advance, just keep it warm over a double boiler.  That’s also the trick I use for making mashed potatoes in advance on Thanksgiving.  Ooops.  I wrote the T-word again.  Plenty of time until then, I swear.  First post coming in 2 1/2 weeks!

cauliflower mashed potatoes

cauliflower mashed potatoes | pamela salzman

5.0 from 1 reviews
Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 medium-large head of cauliflower, about 2 ¼ pounds, cut into florets (about 5 cups)
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter (optional, but makes them taste better)
  • ½ teaspoon of sea salt or to taste
Instructions
  1. Place cauliflower, potatoes and a big pinch of kosher salt in a large pot and add enough water to come just below the top of the vegetables.
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat and then lower to a simmer.  Cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Drain cauliflower and potatoes and transfer to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade.  Add butter and salt and process until smooth.  Taste for seasoning and serve immediately.

Roasted summer vegetable tian recipe

roasted summer vegetable tian | pamelasalzman.com

After Barcelona, we went to Aix-en-Provence, which is the center and heart of Provence, France.  I adore the South of France!  We had a guide for the day since I don’t know the area well and I had no time before we left to do proper research.  I absolutely love hearing about the history of European towns because it puts everything in context.  This wall was here for this reason.  These two towns were perched on opposite hills facing each other for that reason.  Plus the only way to keep my son interested is if you talk drama – wars, fighting, weapons, who won, who got killed, etc.

make a bed of sautéed onions and garlic

More than that, I love seeing how other people live.  Do they drive or walk?  What do they eat for lunch and when?  How much vacation do they get every year?  What’s the coffee shop for locals?  I am very, very nosy!   I was so excited to find and experience the local farmer’s market in Aix and see what is sold here and how it is different from my market in Manhattan Beach.  It thought I was so lucky to be here on market day, until our guide told me the market is open every day until 1:00.  People in Provence prefer to shop daily for their food so it’s really fresh.  Heaven.  It was such beautiful market, where they sold everything from tomatoes, herbs, melons and lettuce, to eggs and the freshest fish, to the most delicious olives ever and lavender sachets with lavender from the fields in Provence.  I could get used to that.

slice vegetables about the same thickness

 

While I was in Provence, I remembered the recipe for this Roasted Summer Vegetable Tian that I taught when I was in France 2 years ago and in my cooking classes in LA last summer.  It’s a very simple, easy, seasonal vegetable side dish and of course, it’s quite delicious.  Who wouldn’t love a casserole with gently cooked onions on the bottom and then a mélange of tomatoes, zucchini and potatoes on top, where the tomato juice kind of infuses everything and mixes with a bit of fresh thyme and some Parmesan cheese?  Yum!  I love it because it goes with anything, whether you are making a piece of grilled fish or some roasted chicken or you want a light vegetarian meal with either a frittata or a simple green salad.  Don’t forget a cold glass of rosé, too!

arrange in dish

It does take some time to cook, so it’s not a last-minute deal.  But you also don’t have to time it perfectly with your meal, since I think it actually tastes just as good warm and even room temp.  You know how I love a good do-ahead!

roasted summer vegetable tian | pamela salzman

 

The one thing I miss when I’m on vacation is cooking at home, especially when I see such beautiful ingredients around me.   For now, I’m picking up inspiration everywhere I go.  Next stop – Italy!

roasted summer vegetable tian | pamela salzman

Roasted Summer Vegetable Tian
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons unrefined, cold pressed extra-virgin olive oil + more for drizzling
  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, about ¾ pound, sliced ¼-inch thick
  • 2 small tomatoes, about ¾ pound, sliced ¼-inch thick
  • 1 medium zucchini, about ½ pound, sliced ¼-inch thick
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Warm oil in a skillet over medium heat and add onions and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté until tender and lightly golden, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  2. Transfer onion and garlic on the bottom of an 11 x 9 gratin dish or a 10-inch round baking dish. Overlap potatoes, tomatoes and squash over the onion mixture. Season with salt (I use about ½ teaspoon) and pepper. Sprinkle with thyme and Pecorino/Parmesan and drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 30 minutes until golden and potatoes are tender. You can serve this hot, warm or at room temperature.
Notes
Try to find potatoes, zucchini and tomatoes with approximately the same diameter so the casserole looks balanced.

You can also add shredded gruyere or buttered bread crumbs to the top for an extra special finish.

 

Mediterranean Fish Stew Recipe

Mediterranean Fish Stew | Pamela Salzman

I had some friends over for dinner recently on a Friday and remembered that it is Lent.  Lent starts about 40 days before Easter on Ash Wednesday and ends the day before Easter.  It is a very holy time for many Christians and I remembered observing as a child.  Traditionally no meat is eaten on Fridays, but fish is acceptable.  During Lent, many observers also give up something pleasurable or something that might be a challenge to go without.  When I was much younger, I asked my mother if I could give up beef or chicken (which I didn’t like) or going to CCD classes (which I really didn’t like.)   And she always instructed me that I was missing the point.  If I needed some ideas, my mother suggested perhaps my sisters and I could give up bickering with each other.  I understand my mother so much more now.

chopped onion, bay leaf and turmeric

parsley, thyme, crushed red pepper

Whether you observe Lent or not, I think you should make this absolutely delicious fish stew.  My family doesn’t love fish as much as I do, although they never complain when I make it.  There are certainly recipes they like more than others, like fish tacos (and who can blame them?) or poached salmon (“because it doesn’t taste fishy.”)  This fish stew was a hit when I made it because all the fish is mixed with other stuff, Mr. Picky explained.  Whatever works!

sliced fennel

wild halibut

This stew is brothy like a soup, but full of all sorts of chunkiness like a stew and you can easily make a meal out of it with a piece of crusty bread.  So I’ll call it a stew.   When I put this together the first time, I was thinking more bouillabaisse, the classic French seafood soup, and less cioppino, the zesty Italian tomato fish stew.   Either way I think this is the perfect light, but warming dinner.  It also cooks in a very short amount of time, so you’ll have it on the table in less than half an hour.  You can also adjust the amount of fish in the recipe without adjusting any other ingredient.  If you want lots of fish because this is your main course, then add another 3/4 pound.  If you’d like to use a mix of seafood, such as shrimp, scallops or mussels, those would all work well too.  The only thing I would advise is NOT to skip the butter.  If you have to go dairy-free, use Earth Balance.  I tried this with all olive oil and surprisingly it wasn’t nearly as good.  In fact, in my next life I’m going to double the butter.    And if you live where the temperature has been freezing since Thanksgiving and you’ve more snow storms than the previous 10 years combined, I give you permission to use as much butter and wine as you want in this recipe.  You’ve earned it!

Mediterranean fish stew | pamela salzman

5.0 from 3 reviews
Mediterranean Fish Stew Recipe
Author: 
Serves: 4 (multiply everything by 1½ to serve 6)
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter or organic Earth Balance
  • 1 Tablespoon unrefined, cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, halved and chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • ⅔ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, divided
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • pinch of red pepper flakes, or more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric (optional)
  • ¾ pound of fresh tomatoes, chopped (peeled and seeded, if desired) or 14-ounce container of chopped tomatoes, drained (I like Bionaturae in glass jars.)
  • ½ pound Yukon Gold or other boiling potatoes, peeled if you like and diced
  • 10 ounces (1 ¼ cups) of fish stock (or even chicken stock or vegetable stock)
  • 1 cup dry white wine (like Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay or Sauvignon blanc)
  • 1 ¼ pounds fish fillets (use halibut, cod, sole, red snapper, sea bass), cut into 2-inch pieces (or use more fish and fewer vegetables)
Instructions
  1. Heat butter and olive oil in a heavy large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion, garlic, fennel and carrots and sauté for about 6 minutes, until tender.
  2. Add half the parsley, bay leaf, thyme, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper and turmeric. Gently cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add tomatoes and stir to combine.
  3. Add potatoes, stock and white wine. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook, covered until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add fish and cook another 5 minutes uncovered or until fish is cooked through. (If you decide to use mussels or small clams, simmer with the pot covered until they open.) Add more salt to taste, if desired. Ladle into bowls and serve. Garnish with reserved parsley. Nice with a piece of toasted baguette rubbed with garlic.
Notes
I buy fish stock from the freezer case in the seafood department at my local Whole Foods.  I have also tried a a good stock by Stock Options which I found in the freezer section at Whole Foods.

Roasted baby potatoes with broccoli and cheese recipe

perfect little bite

Because I have no association with either football team in this year’s Super Bowl, all I really care about is what we’re going to eat!  I’m have no need to read the sports pages or listen to the experts, trying to figure out if my team has a wining chance.  No big deal. I’ll just ponder my repertoire of chili recipes and decide what other deliciousness I can whip together for our little group.  I asked Daughter #1 for some suggestions, and she started begging me for these little cheesy broccoli potato bites.  Great idea!

little yukon golds

slice in half

I’ll be honest, I don’t normally make these for the Super Bowl because I usually have a baked potato bar happening and that would be a little redundant.  But I do make these baby potato hors d’oeuvres very often for dinner parties, sometimes with broccoli, sometimes with lemon creme fraiche and smoked salmon or roasted cherry tomatoes.  But for the Super Bowl, I keep things really casual.  Broccoli it is!

roast potato halves cut-side down

Just like the mini chicken tostadas I posted the other day, I actually think a mini version of a baked potato is better than the  real thing.  These little bites are super easy to eat and you get the perfect ratio of potato to broccoli to cheese.  And the entire bite has a nice bit of saltiness and crispiness.  Love it.  AND I think we can all agree, this is reasonably healthful stuff to boot!  Even if you don’t eat cheese, I’m sure you have found a good non-dairy cheese that you can sub for the mozzarella here.  Keep in mind, the melted cheese is what helps the broccoli stick to the potato.

the cheese helps the broccoli stick to the potatoes

Although these baby potatoes are great any time of the year, I do think they’re better suited for cooler weather, or maybe I should say mind-numbing cold weather, depending on where you live.   Ugh, sorry if that’s you.  Regardless, these bites could very well be the perfect party food.  They’re delicious right out of the oven, but they also stay warm for quite a bit.  And I think they taste perfectly delicious at room temp, too.  You can make the potatoes and the broccoli the day before and then just assemble them with the cheese and bake before you want to serve them.  I promise, these will score you major points!

mini potato broccoli cheese bites | pamela salzman

I could actually eat way more than three of these!

Roasted Baby Potatoes with Broccoli and Cheese
Author: 
Serves: makes 24 pieces
 
Ingredients
  • 12 small potatoes, scrubbed and halved (I cut in half the long way)
  • 1 Tablespoon unrefined cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fine grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound broccoli crowns, cut into 24 bite-size florets
  • ⅓ cup shredded mozzarella or fontina cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons grated Parmesan or Pecorino-Romano (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Place potatoes in a bowl and toss with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Place potatoes on parchment paper – cut side down and bake for 30 minutes (until golden brown and tender). Leave oven on if serving right away.
  4. Place broccoli in a steamer over boiling water and steam until just tender, about 3 minutes (or blanched in salted water for 2 minutes.) If cooking the broccoli ahead of time, remove from the pot and immediately refresh under cold water to stop the cooking process.
  5. Top each potato with a pinch of cheese and then a broccoli floret and bake until cheese is melted or broil it for a few minutes to speed things up.
  6. Sprinkle each with a pinch of grated cheese, if desired.
Notes
Potatoes can be made the day before and refrigerated; broccoli can be blanched the day before and refrigerated.

Other complementary toppings include smoked salmon and crème fraiche, pesto and roasted cherry tomato halves

Roasted fingerling potatoes with gremolata recipe

roasted fingerling potatoes with gremolata |  pamela salzman

I hope you all had a merry Christmas!  We’ve had such an amazing few days with my family in New York.  Christmas Eve is always such a special night and this year was no exception, with 94 of us at my aunt’s house for dinner.  NINETY-FOUR.  And four ladies announcing they are expecting so we’ll be 98 next year?  My aunt is an absolute genius to be able to orchestrate a sit-down pot-luck for so many.  I swear she could run a small country.  Heck, she could probably run THIS country! We were in four different rooms eating 7 or 8 different types of fish (and a few veggies for good measure.)  Although it’s really not about the food for me, instead my favorite moment of the evening is listening to all the little ones sing around the Christmas tree watching the staircase in hopes that Santa makes an appearance, which he always does.  Then everyone screams and the flash bulbs go off as if there were paparazzi in the house.  It never gets old for me.

zesting lemon

ingredients in the gremolata

Christmas Day is always the perfect balance to the evening before.  It’s quieter, just 17 of us at my parents’ house and my mom is in charge.  We always start the meal with tortellini in chicken broth, which my kids love.  Then she makes a beef tenderloin with a red wine sauce, stuffed mushrooms, green beans with shallots and a green salad.  This year I was hoping to add these amazing potatoes to the menu.  I made them for Jenni Kayne’s holiday cooking class a few weeks ago and I knew they would be perfect with my mom’s menu.  They would actually be perfect with almost any menu!  But I’ll admit, I bailed at the last minute, thinking we had plenty of food already, I was a little tired from having gone to bed at 2:00 in the morning, and no one would care if we had or didn’t have potatoes on Christmas.  Really, everyone looks forward to all the cookies after dinner anyway.

gremolata

Alas, I still would love to share this recipe with you because I know you will love it and I know you will find a place for it in one of your upcoming weeknight dinners or even for something as special as New Year’s Eve.  I love crispy, roasted potatoes plain and simple, but these have an extra umph from the gremolata.  Gremolata is an Italian garnish traditionally made with finely chopped fresh parsley, raw garlic and grated lemon zest.  I’ve had it before on osso buco, roasted vegetables and even pasta.  It’s just bursting with flavor and freshness and makes ordinary potatoes out of this world.  I love it!  For this version of gremolata, I added a little orange zest, crushed red peppers, and fresh mint and thyme, all of which I adore with potatoes.  I also made the gremolata once with a little fresh rosemary instead of the thyme and dropped the chili flakes just because — also delicious!

baby fingerling potatoes

Try and find these teeny fingerling potatoes if you can.  They are so creamy and super easy to use since you just just have to wash and dry them, no peeling, no chopping.  BUT, if your market only offers Yukon Gold or red skinned potatoes, go for it.  They’ll still be delicious.

roasted halfway

I am hoping you are finding time to rest and restore your energy this week.  Acting like a superhero is totally overrated and people who look like they do it all don’t, and if they do, they’re exhausted.  Being a good parent or a good host/hostess or a good cook is good enough.  Sounds like a good new year’s resolution for me for 2014!

roasted fingerling potatoes with gremolata |  pamela salzman

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Gremolata
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest (about half an orange)
  • ⅓ cup fresh parsley leaves and tender stems, finely chopped
  • 2 heaping Tablespoons fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced or grated
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 pounds small fingerling potatoes, washed, dried and halved (leave whole if they are only an inch or so long)
  • 3 Tablespoons unrefined olive oil, divided
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a large baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
  2. Make the gremolata:  in a small bowl mix together the zests, herbs, garlic and red pepper flakes.  Set aside.
  3. Place the potatoes on the prepared baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Spread the potatoes in an even layer and sprinkle with ¾ teaspoon of sea salt and black pepper to taste.  Place in the oven for 35 minutes.
  4. After 35 minutes, remove the potatoes from the oven and add another tablespoon of olive oil and half the gremolata.  Toss until well combined.  Place back in the oven for another 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden.
  5. Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving bowl.  Toss with the remaining gremolata and taste for seasoning.  Sprinkle with an extra pinch of salt and pepper, if desired.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Vegan mac and cheese recipe

Vegan Mac & Cheese|Pamela Salzman

If someone tried to coax me a year ago with a “vegan mac and cheese” recipe, I would have politely said, “no, thank you.”  First of all, I actually don’t really like mac and cheese.  Not the boxed kind and not even the homemade kind.  Weird, I know.  And sad for my husband who looooooves it.  I used to have to make him the famous “Ronald Reagan’s favorite mac and cheese” recipe all the time when we first got married.  Tons of butter, cheddar cheese, milk, stomach ache for me.  Just not my thing.  It’s now the 21st century, and we’re both eating differently and I am open minded to alternative recipes.

potatoes, carrots, shallot, onion cook the veggies in water, but cover them everything into the blender"cheese sauce"

Although open minded or not, I’ve always felt if I’m not going to like the real deal, why would I like something pretending to be the real deal?  And most vegan mac and cheese recipes call for fake processed cheese or nutritional yeast and they’re just not that tasty, in my opinion.  Are you with me?  Well, according to myself and according to Mr. Picky who still doesn’t like cheese except Pecorino Romano in some soups and on pizza crust, this mac and cheese is the bomb.  I think it’s better than mac and cheese and he likes it because he has watched me make it and is confident there is not a morsel of cheese, real or fake, anywhere in this dish.

bread crumbs

 

You may have seen on a month ago a picture I posted of “vegan nachos” I made for the kids.  Here it is below.  That’s the same sauce for this!  You may have also seen a strange looking bowl of yellow stuff on my baked potato bar.  Same vegan cheese sauce!  Do you see the potential here?  What about as a dip for steamed veggies?  I might even make a soup out of this.  We are not just talking about a mac and cheese recipe.  We are talking about a life-changing delicious not-cheese sauce.   This sauce is a miracle.  It is made from potatoes, cashews, carrots, onions and a bunch of other completely natural foods blended into creamy, cheesy deliciousness.  Completely digestible (unless you are nut-free, in which case I am so sorry.  Buggers.)  I know I sound crazy.  I wouldn’t believe me either.

vegan nachos | pamela salzman

vegan mac & cheese|pamela salzman

vegan mac and cheese | pamela salzman

The only trick with this recipe is that you have to follow it exactly!  No eyeballing measurements.  No leaving things out.  Anytime I have guesstimated an amount with this recipe, it hasn’t worked quite as well, especially with ingredients like cayenne, lemon juice (you can leave this out, but just don’t add more than indicated) and garlic.  Some of the images on this post were taken of light spelt macaroni and some of whole spelt macaroni.  My family much prefers the light spelt pasta with this sauce, but you should use whatever suits you.  I have also tried this with brown rice pasta and a corn-quinoa pasta — both super!   Once I threw some small cauliflower florets into the pasta pot two minutes before the pasta was done and made a cauliflower mac and cheese.  (See above.)  I’m sure broccoli and kale would be great, too!  Can you see how much fun we are going to have with this??!!

vegan mac and cheese | pamela salzman

Vegan Mac & Cheese|Pamela Salzman

4.8 from 13 reviews
Vegan Mac and Cheese
Author: 
Serves: 6 as a side dish
 
Ingredients
  • 8 ounce package elbow macaroni pasta (I like spelt.)
  • 2 slices bread, torn into large pieces (whole grain works!)
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter (not vegan) or organic Earth Balance (vegan), divided
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 1 cup (about 7 ounces) chopped Yukon gold potatoes (you can leave the peel on)
  • ¼ cup chopped carrots (about 1 small carrot)
  • ⅓ cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup raw cashews (soaked for 1-5 hours and drained if you your blender is weak)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt (use 1 ¾ teaspoons if using Earth Balance)
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic, minced (about 1 medium clove)
  • ¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, add the shallots, potatoes, carrots, onion and water and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook, covered, for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente, drain and put back into the pot.
  3. Put the bread pieces, 1 Tablespoon of butter and paprika in a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process until combined to a medium-fine texture, set aside.
  4. Place the cashews, salt, garlic, 5 Tablespoons butter, mustard, lemon juice, black pepper, and cayenne in a blender or food processor. Add the softened vegetables and cooking water to the blender or food processor and process until perfectly smooth.
  5. Pour the “cheese” sauce over the cooked pasta and combine until completely coated. Spread the mixture into an un-greased 11 x 8 casserole dish, sprinkle with prepared breadcrumb mixture. Bake for 30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the top is golden brown. If you add veggies (such as 1 or 2 cups of blanched cauliflower or broccoli) to the macaroni, cook in a 13 x 9 dish.
Notes
I actually don't make the vegan version for us because we can eat butter.   But I have made this with Earth Balance (which is vegan) many times and it has always turned out great.  I have never made this without the bread crumbs, though.  I think they provide a nice contrast in texture to the soft and creamy macaroni, but if not everyone will eat the bread crumbs, I am sure you can leave a square of the baking dish free of them.

Roasted smashed potatoes recipe

roasted smashed potatoes by pamela salzman

Everyone thinks it’s so funny when I whine that I don’t get invited much to peoples’ houses for dinner.   There is an assumption that I’m an accomplished chef and I must have such high standards for eating therefore it’s too intimidating to have me over for dinner.  Ha!  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  I’m a home cook who never went to culinary school and I don’t ever make recipes with three sauces.  I could never work in a restaurant or hotel or be on one of those shows where you have to figure out what to do with octopus and cornflakes in 20 minutes.  Just for the record, I love simple food.  I don’t need anything fancy or chef-y.  I am very easy to please as long as it’s fresh and natural.  And I’ll bet that you are as good a cook, if not better than I am.  Anyone can have a food blog, friends!

red new potatoes

What I do love is sharing recipes that work for me, because I think we’re a lot alike.  And it makes me happy if more people are cooking at home, even if I’m not invited.  Wink, wink.  These roasted smashed potatoes are my favorite kind of recipe — uncomplicated, tasty, easy and healthful.  They go with whatever I’m serving and every single person in my family loves them.  If you’ve never made smashed potatoes, you are totally missing out.   They’re both fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside and if you add enough salt, damn delicious.  I could just eat a half dozen of these and some scrambled eggs and call it a night.  If you invited me over for dinner and made these potatoes with scrambled eggs, I would be in heaven.  Yep, that’s all it takes.

pierce potato with paring knife to determine doneness

The other night at our dinner table, there were several ways to eat these.  My husband makes up for my dairy abstinence by melting cheese on everything, including these potatoes.  Mr. Picky dipped his in mustard and Daughter #2 topped hers with guacamole, salsa and sour cream.  Daughter #1 and I ate these plain and simple.  I’m going to start teaching the little miss how to make easy recipes like this because she’ll be off to college before I know it.  Sigh.  Wait, what am I talking about?  Yippee!

toss boiled potatoes in a little oil

These are divine out of the oven, but I don’t love potatoes reheated.  To do some of the work ahead of time, boil the potatoes and refrigerate them.  Then, smash them and roast them to crispy perfection.  What is great is that you’ll use the whole potato, since most of the nutrients are in the skin or just underneath the skin.  And if you follow the Body Ecology Diet, red new potatoes are the only potatoes permitted since they have the fewest sugars of any potato.  Just an FYI.  Of course, most of you are not on the Body Ecology Diet, so use whatever baby potatoes you can get your hands on, like Yukon Golds.

arrange the potatoes evenly spaced apart

put another baking sheet on top to flatten potatoes

press down on the baking sheet to flatten the potatoes

When I taught in France last year, I did some roasted potatoes in duck fat, which I know doesn’t sound healthful, but to be honest, I think animal fats can be good to cook with at high temperatures, unless you’re a vegetarian.  Unsaturated fats (vegetable oils) can oxidize at high temperatures (above 350 degrees) which create free radicals.  Yuck!  Those are pro-inflammatory compounds that will age you from the inside out.  Saturated fats don’t do that.  Listen, I use olive oil at higher temperatures sometimes if it’s the only fat that works, but you’re better off with coconut oil, ghee or duck fat, in this case.  Do what you’re comfortable with because you’ll love these no matter what!

roasted smashed potatoes by pamela salzman

roasted smashed potatoes by pamela salzman

5.0 from 1 reviews
Roasted Smashed Potatoes
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds baby potatoes, such as red-skinned or Yukon Gold (about 15-18)
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt for boiling the potatoes
  • 4 Tablespoons fat of choice, divided (e.g. olive oil, duck fat, or ghee)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Scrub the potatoes and place them in a large pot with 1 tablespoon of kosher salt.  Fill the pot three-fourths with cold water.   Place the pot on the stove over high heat.  Bring the water to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20-25 minutes.  You should be able to insert the tip of a paring knife easily into the center of a potato.
  3. Drain the potatoes in a colander and shake to get off as much moisture as possible.  Place the potatoes back into the pot and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil.  Roll them around to coat with the oil.
  4. Arrange the potatoes on the prepared baking sheet and evenly space them apart from each other.  Take another large rimmed baking sheet and position it right on top of the potatoes and press down, smashing the potatoes to about a half inch thick.  Remove the top baking sheet.
  5. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil on top of the potatoes and sprinkle with the chopped thyme and salt and pepper.
  6. Bake until potatoes are golden and crisp.  I took them out after 30 minutes, but you can go much longer if you want them really crispy.  Serve hot or warm.