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Once Again—Potato, Tomato & Zucchini Tian with Gruyère and Thyme

For the 4th of July I made the above Potato, Tomato & Zucchini Tian with Gruyère and Thyme. Mister Sive was cooking away on the grill. I posted the above on social media and was asked to give out the recipe. I had written about it for the blog several years ago. This time I also added minced garlic to the onions as they initially cooked away. The Vashon Island Thriftway had gorgeous looking garlic bulbs so I just had to give one a try. Aside from that, it was just like I wrote about in 2014. This is a great thing to make for a crowd or for a table of 2. You can assemble it hours in advance and pop it into the fridge to sit until ready to bake. As guests chat away, it can bubble away in the oven–the juices it creates a welcome little sauce to the meat or fish it saddles up next to.

Heat oven to 375 degrees while you get things chopping. Cut up one sweet onion. On the stove top in a skillet, brown the onion with extra virgin olive oil. (Add the minced garlic a tad before the onions are done and cook for just a few minutes. Always careful not to overcook the garlic as it becomes bitter fast. You want sweet.) Once done, line the bottom of a baking dish with the sautéed onions and garlic. Add thyme that you pull off the buds and just sprinkle around and on top of your onions. This is the base. Fine that this cools a bit while you start chopping away.

Next, you want to choose Roma tomatoes, small Yukon gold potatoes and zucchini that are very similar in circumference. Cut each into quarter inch sizes. On top of the onions, start stacking the slices, alternating the 3 as you go. Once done, add a liberal sprinkling of salt over the top of things. A bit of pepper too. Add more thyme leaves over the lot as well. The herb is so mellow and really adds to the lusciousness of this dish. Finally add a few whole springs of the thyme to the dish, cover with aluminum foil and bake in your now hot oven for 45 minutes. 

Once the 45 minutes has passed, take out of oven, remove the foil and the whole thyme stems and discard. Add a generous, make that a super generous about of grated Gruyère cheese to the entire top of the dish. I take extra care to make sure the cheese has also fallen down the sides of the mixture. You really want all of this cheesy goodness spread everywhere once it is done. Put back into the oven uncovered, for another half hour so the cheese melts and the mixture finishes cooking. Trust me, you will be quite pleased with yourself. It is so darn good! The cooked and melted mixture of the onions/garlic with the potatoes and the tomatoes and the zucchini mixed with the herbaceous goodness of the thyme is really all quite something.



Parmesan Smashed Potatoes

When you have leftover baby new potatoes and you want to do something to make them a little extra special the next go round, smash them. Then load them up with Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese. First, take a fork, gently push down on the spud until it flattens out a bit. Then sprinkle Parm all about. Either microwave to reheat or put in oven at 350 to warm and crisp up. Super easy, super yummy. You will never know they were leftovers.



Sheet Pan Orange & Honey Glazed Chicken with Potatoes, Cauliflower and Thyme

This Thursday brings us a Wine & Dine Wednesday. Made this last night and just had to share. In my mind a big sheet pan is a cooks best friend. I use one or more almost every time I cook. They have incredible versatility. For this, I cooked the entire meal on one pan, so it made cleanup super easy. Plus it made cooking it all super easy.

Oven to my loved 400 to preheat while you get things ready. Dry skin on, bone in chicken thighs and drumsticks with a paper towel. Place on pan, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, then salt & pepper bowl sides. Citrus is looking amazing at the moment so I cut in half satsumas and whatever other oranges looked good in our bin. Place those on the sheet pan. Then cut medium sized potatoes in half. Along with good sized cauliflower florets. The idea with both is that they are not small as they will cook for an hour at high heat. Add both to the pan nesting all together with the chicken and oranges. Give a generous amount of EVOO to the potatoes, cauliflower and oranges. Along with a bunch of pinches of salt. Lastly, take off a bunch of thyme leaves and let it rain over the whole lot. Then add fresh stems here and there. Thyme is such a hearty herb with a delicate flavor.

Almost there! In a bowl juice 2 oranges. Add a teaspoon of honey for each piece of chicken. Put in microwave for 20 seconds to get the honey nice and loose. Stir. Spoon over the chicken pieces. It is now ready for the oven. Every 15 minutes turn, flip or move around everything on the pan. At the half hour point turn the pan completely around so things get equal time at the back of the oven. At the 45 minute mark check the chicken temp. You want internal to be 160. If things look nice and caramelized, pull out. If not, go to the hour mark. Enjoy!



Ted’s Tip No. 164

Elevate simple small spuds by smashing them and adding Parmigiano-Reggiano. Cut potatoes in half, coat with extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper on a sheet pan. Add to a 400 degree oven. Bake until soft and golden. Take out of oven, carefully press a fork over the top creating crevasses for the cheese to melt into. Sprinkle Parm liberally about. Pop back into oven for a few minutes to let the cheese melt.



Smashed Potatoes with Rosemary & Feta

I joke that we often cook as if we are feeding an army. We both love serving plentiful amounts of food when we have guests, and that often happens when we are cooking just for the two of us. There are just certain foods that make amazing left-overs that we can then doctor up and make another meal out of. Which makes our week-day dinners in town tons easier after busy work days. Such was the case last eve with these little baby Yukon Gold potatoes. I had made them on Sunday at WestWard and we had a good amount left over. Here is what I did to make them different from the other meal, so it would not be boring.

Oven to the magical 400. A piece of fish and roasted cauliflower was on the menu. The potatoes could heat up in the same oven as those two, as they were already cooked so they were just heating up. You could certainly do this in a microwave, but the oven crisps them up a bit, which I quite like. Lay the potatoes out in a single layer in an oven proof dish. Take a fork and press down on each spud until it pops open. A nice full potato laden dish will soon appear. Sprinkle over a little chopped rosemary and a whole lotta fresh cracked black pepper. Put in oven until warmed through. Out of the oven crumble feta to the mix. As easy as that. Would also be amazing with a fried egg set on top. Just saying. But it worked swimmingly nestled up next to the fish and roasted cauliflower. Would work with so many things. 

Happy Thursday all! How is it May already?



Sheet Pans of Root Vegetables

A roasted chicken and an assortment of root vegetables was on the menu last night, a recreation of what was on the menu yesterday for the shoot.  It looks like I was cooking for a party, but it was just us two.  These make great left-overs–reheated for breakfast with eggs, diced smaller and added to salads for lunch, purée into making soups.  So I like to make a big batch, plus we love to leave a yummy meal or two in the fridge when we depart for fab caretaker Bill.

Truly, could not be simpler.  Get the oven heated to 400 while you cut up things.  I quarter most and some I leave whole, like the carrots.  Liberal use of extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper over all.  Then with clean hands really get into it by moving it all around and make sure every part is covered in oil, as this will help cook and not burn things, and give a tasty caramelized flavor to all.  Done.  Into that hot oven for half an hour, then turn all, put back in for another 15, check and pull out what is done, and continue cooking until all are to your liking.



Root Vegetable LOVE

20160111-090503.jpg It is that time of year when root vegetables are the star. This is my super, super easy ‘roast them all in one pan’ recipe that I do often in Winter because it is so hearty & satisfying. Last night I plunked a chicken to roast on top of all the below to make it a one pan Sunday supper. But these roasted root vegetables are also so good served with a piece of fish, a fried egg, or just as they are as a vegetarian option with a salad. Ease is the key with this. I just wipe down the outside of the veg with a damp towel to make sure they are clean. I leave the skin on them all. Here goes.

Turn the oven on to 400 while you start chopping. Turnips, rutabaga, parsnips, sweet potatoes, and Yukon gold potatoes are my favorites. Use the ones you like or can find. Cut all the above into similar sized pieces so they cook evenly. I aim for 2 bite sized pieces. Add all to a baking pan. Give a healthy smattering of extra virgin olive oil over the the whole lot. As well as a good amount of salt & pepper. Either with your hands or a big spoon, mix all around to make sure everything is coated with the trio. Put pan into oven. Check every 15 minutes, stirring things around to avoid sticking or burning. At the 45 minute mark check for doneness. An hour is what I always plan on, but it will vary depending on the size of the cut-up veg. Truly, this could not be easier. The sweetness and heartiness of the root vegetables make this a go-to time and again during the chilly months.




Whole Grain Mustard Roasted Potatoes with Red Onions

20150109-072203.jpg Trying a new dish for me usually ends up as a compilation of several different things I have seen/read, then I put my own spin on it. Roasting potatoes with mustard is one of those things. I saw it on a blog post, saw it in a food magazine, then saw it on a cooking show. This is so easy, and so comforting & tasty.

Preheat oven to 400. I know, I cook almost everything at 400. Cut Yukon gold potatoes in pieces that are two bite size. Generally this is quartering them, depending on the size of the spud. You don’t want them super small as they start to break down in the baking/roasting process. Spread the cut potatoes out into a large oven proof dish or roasting pan. They really need to be a single layer. If they are stacked, they steam more than roast. Then cut up a red onion into large pieces and scatter about. They are such a great combination with the potatoes. Then drizzle all with extra virgin olive oil and a heavy hand with the salt & pepper. Then the magic happens. Spoon over the whole lot several heaping spoonfuls of whole grain mustard. Now with your hands, get into the entire mixture and move it all around until everything is nice and evenly coated with the mustard, including the onions. Wash hands thoroughly, as they will be a mustardy mess. Then put the dish or sheet pan into the hot oven. Check every 15 minutes, turning things with a spatula or a spoon. 45 minutes to an hour should do the trick. Your kitchen will smell divine. Out will come these golden nuggets of deliciousness. They snuggled right up last evening to a piece of halibut, but would work with almost anything. Think steak, chicken. So good. Topped with a fried egg for a breakfast as dinner would be out of this world.



American Picnic Potato Salad

20130815-054525.jpg The Silver Palate cookbooks are sort of cooking bibles in our household. Many an August, I will make a version of their potato salad that is always a potato-y hit. I have altered the recipe over the years but the overall feel/taste is purely Silver Palate. Their recipe calls for a heart stopping 20 hard boiled eggs to the 4 pounds of potatoes. It is just too eggy when I really want the potatoes to shine. Don’t get me wrong, I adoooore eggs, in every way, but the 2 eggs to a pound of potatoes still does the yummy trick. The vinegar and mustard kick the flavor up considerably. I leave out some other things that it calls for in the book, as well as I don’t peel the potatoes. I like the extra texture & flavor the skin adds. Here is my spin on this classic.

4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups mayonnaise
5 tablespoons Dijon mustard
8 hard-cooked eggs, peeled

1. Drop the potatoes into a kettle of cold, salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender but still firm.
2. When done, drain the potatoes and drop them into a mixing bowl; roughly slice them. Sprinkle the still-hot potatoes with vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.
3. Add the mayonnaise and mustard; toss gently to combine.
4. Add eggs and roughly slice and toss again. I like to serve this still warm right after I make it but if you can’t, cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate overnight. Before serving, toss again, correct seasoning and add more mayonnaise if needed.




Herb Roasted Potatoes

20130708-072638.jpg With fresh herbs so plentiful at this sunny time of year, one of our favorite things to do with them is make herb roasted potatoes. Here is a quick & easy way to make what has become a go-to recipe in our home.

20130708-073306.jpg Set oven to 400 degrees. Cut potatoes in half and lay on top of whatever herbs you have or like best, in a baking dish. We are fans of thyme, rosemary and oregano. Sprinkle the tops of the potatoes with more herbs, salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. It really all depends on how large the potatoes you use. Shake contents of pan around every 15 minutes so things cook evenly and don’t burn. Your kitchen and your home will begin to smell herbaceous and yummy. These go with just about anything. Friday we had these with steaks done on the grill out on the island. Below was Sunday breakfast with the leftovers reheated in town. I love making extra so we have them for more than one meal.