Home Fried Potatoes

I rather figured that everyone in the US knew how to cook home fries, and felt that putting them on the blog was daft of me, despite the fact that they’re normally gluten free, and my kids love them. However, it would appear that I am wrong. An American friend of mine just asked for my recipe for them, and my daughter said she needed a recipe for when she left home (and yes, this is a repository of recipes for my girls), and they’re not so common in England anyway, so perhaps a recipe is needed! For the Brits: these are like mini, pan-fried, roast potatoes.

Homefries

Lightly browned breakfast potatoes (homefries). It’s easy to crisp them up further, but my daughter likes them a little softer.

Note: In my opinion, this is easiest to make if the surfaces of the potatoes are dry before they are fried. I will usually cook them as jacket/baked potatoes in the oven/microwave, then peel and cut into cubes before frying. Make sure the fat is good and hot before adding the potatoes in order to avoid having the potatoes soak up too much of it.

Another option is to peel and dice the potatoes, then simmer in salted water until just cooked, then drain and allow to cool slightly (and dry) before continuing to fry them. Obviously, left over potatoes work well here.

I did try cooking the potatoes from scratch with the onions and peppers, but the onions/peppers had a tendency to burn if cooked before as well as with the potatoes, or didn’t brown at all if added after the potatoes had crowded the pan.

Oh, and as an aside: if you ever find you have left overs, these are excellent thrown into creamy broccoli soup as lumpy bits after the soup has been blended.

1 lb potatoes, cooked and cubed (see note, above)
1 + 1 tbsp vegan margarine (Earth Balance) OR canola (rapeseed) oil
1/4 large onion, diced
1 cup (8 oz) red/orange/yellow pepper strips
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp ground black pepper, or to taste
paprika/cayenne pepper (optional)

Warm the first half of the fat in a large frying pan.

Cook the onion and red/orange/yellow pepper strips in the fat until they’re soft and starting to brown. Remove from the pan, and put to one side.

Add the remainder of the fat to the pan, and once it is hot, add the potatoes. Keep them moving around with a metal spatula/fish slice, to reduce sticking, scraping the bottom of the pan as necessary (those crispy bits are tasty, but also stop the potato cubes from browning further, if not scraped off).

Fry until they start to brown on all sides (this will be quite quick, if the surface of the potatoes is dry and the fat is hot). Add the onion and peppers back into the hot pan to reheat, sprinkle salt and pepper (and paprika or cayenne pepper, if liked) over the vegetables, and serve hot for breakfast, with scrambled tofu and some ranchero sauce (for example).

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Pommes Dauphinoise

Pommes Dauphinoise, potatoes fit for a prince, is a rich, warming, indulgent, side dish for formal occasions. It’s also very easy to make, and needs very little attention once it’s been composed, so it’s a great side dish for dinner parties when you don’t want to be fussing with food too much, because you’d rather be socializing. I happen to like plenty of garlic in mine, but you could reduce it by half if you really had to. Although it’s naturally gluten free, this dish is normally loaded with cream. This version is still rather decadent, but in a veganized, and somewhat healthier fashion.

Pommes Dauphinoise

Serves 4 – 6

3/4 cup cashews
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz.) white wine (or water)
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
6 cloves garlic
1 tsp nutritional yeast
3 cups (24 fl. oz) water
5 – 6 large potatoes (2 1/2 – 3 lbs), peeled and thinly sliced

Put the cashews, wine, nutmeg, salt sugar, lemon juice, garlic, and nutritional yeast in a blender, and process until smooth. Add the water, and process to combine.

Transfer the sauce to a saucepan, and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Simmer for a minute to thicken the sauce, which helps it to adhere to the potato slices. Check for seasoning.

Layer one of the potatoes in a shallow baking dish (such as an 8” by 12” lasagna dish), and pour a small amount of hot sauce over it, and repeat with the other potatoes, making sure that the final layer is completely covered with sauce even though the sauce doesn’t fill the dish.

Set the oven to 400F, and cook for 50-60 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked (test by stabbing the middle of the potatoes with a fork.)

Serve as a side dish for a formal meal, or as a rich side to complement a tart main dish.

Aside: This can also be cooked in the microwave. Make sure the dish is microwaveable, and cook on HIGH for 5 minutes at a time, turning and checking the potatoes for softness between each cooking period. Depending on the power of your microwave, it will probably be done in 15 to 30 minutes. Place under a hot grill (broiler) to brown the top.

Walnut sauce

Chard with walnut sauce

Chard with walnut sauce

A few years ago, I read a book called The China Study which talked about the effect of diet on major health issues such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. If you haven’t read it, and are interested in how our food affects our health, I would highly recommend it! The reason I mention it is that there have been various book and documentary spin-offs since then, including the Forks Over Knives film/book/cookbook. Forks Over Knives is predominantly a vegan advocate, but for some reason the vast majority of the recipes in the books are gluten free. The main substitution I have to make is for soy sauce (for which I use Braggs aminos and reduce it to 1/2, though you could use a wheat free tamari if you wanted to). Anyway, most of the recipes are also very simple; there are very few recipes for, or using, bread, or pancakes, or tortillas, but if you’re after easy plant based meals, you might want to take a look. The following recipe is from Forks Over Knives (The How to Companion, not the Cook book), and demonstrates exactly what I mean by ‘easy’.

Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this recipe, however. The walnut sauce really is very good with lightly steamed greens. Good enough for guests …. providing you ever have guests who’d eat steamed greens. Personally, I think it’s a treat.

Walnut Sauce for Greens (serves ~4)

1/2 cup walnuts
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp Braggs aminos, or other wheat-free soy sauce replacement
1/2 cup (4 fl oz) water

Put all the ingredients in a blender (or immersion blender beaker), and process until smooth. Check for seasoning. That’s it. See what I mean about the recipes being simple?

Mexican style Corn Pudding

corn pudding

Mexican corn pudding served with Mexican rice, tortillas, black refried beans, and garnished with avocado and tomato.

Mildly hot, and gloriously yellow, with sweet spots; this is Mexican dinner party fare. I can’t vouch for any authenticity; we tasted it at a Mexican restaurant in California, and the girls and I wanted to be able to replicate it at home. It took a few attempts to get the right level of heat, moisture, and sweetness, but we got there.

One of the nice things about it is it’s so easy to make, and will sit happily in the oven while you prepare the remainder of the meal, with margarita in hand. Very party spirited of it!

Corn Pudding

1/3 cup olive oil
4 oz (1 cup) golden, fine ground corn flour (not corn starch)
2 oz (1/2 cup) masa harina (corn meal/flour that has been treated with lime)
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 fl oz (1/4 cup) water
2 fl oz (1/4 cup) honey (or vegan alternative)
6 fl oz (3/4 cup) plain, non-dairy milk (I have used soy milk, rice milk, and coconut)
12-14oz (2 cups) frozen sweet corn kernels
1/2 tsp minced jalapeno chilis

Preheat the oven to 330F.

Grease an 8″ by 4″ ceramic, oven proof dish.

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl, and scrape into the prepared dish. (Yeah, I didn’t bother to defrost the sweet corn first.)

Cover with foil to prevent drying, and cook for 40 minutes in the middle of the oven.

Serve by the spoonful, or press into a deep spoon/mold, and un-mold onto individual plates.

Mexican Rice

This is a tasty way to serve rice along with all manner of chilis. It’s also very straight forward to make, and most of the time, you just ignore it while cooking the accompaniments. I can’t tell you for sure how authentic this recipe is, but it can’t be far off where it’s supposed to be. If you want to use brown rice instead of white (which will make it even less authentic, I’m sure), you’ll need to increase the amount of water used by another cup (8 fl. oz). If your rice runs out of water before it has finished cooking, just add another 1/2 cup or so of water, and return to the heat again.

I know. I know. You saw this picture in the last post .... but now I'm talking about the rice in the middle. :-)

I know. I know. You saw this picture in the last post …. but now I’m talking about the rice in the middle. 🙂

2 cups (16 fl. oz.) long grain white rice
1 cup (8 fl. oz.) ranchero sauce
1/2 tsp salt

Rinse and drain the rice in a sieve to remove any loose starch that would make the rice stodgy.

Put all the ingredients in a medium sized saucepan (or a rice cooker) along with 2 1/2 cups of water.

Bring the lot to a simmer, and cook (tightly covered) until the water has almost all been absorbed and the rice is very nearly soft. Turn off the heat, and let it rest of 5 minutes while it finishes cooking. Fluff the rice gently with a fork before serving.

Seared Rosemary Carrots

These carrots appear as part of my mid-winter festive meal. They’ve a heartening color for when the sun isn’t shining (not necessarily a problem in southern California), and provide a slightly sharp counterpoint to the richness of much of the rest of the meal. They also benefit from not being a fuss to prepare when there’s a lot going on just before dishing up a formal meal. They’ll sit quite happily, covered, in the pan for a while until you’re ready to serve.

Slightly sweet, slightly tart. We like ours cooked through, but if you like yours a bit crunchy, just reduce the water in the pan and the initial steaming time a little.

1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into thick julienne
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 orange, juiced (no pulp)
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp margarine

Put the carrots in a large frying pan with 1/4”  or less of water, the rosemary, orange juice, brown sugar, and lemon juice. Bring to a gentle boil, and simmer until the carrots are almost cooked.

If necessary, boil hard until the liquid has all evaporated, then add the margarine and briefly sear the carrots, stirring frequently.

Variation: Use a small (12 oz) bottle of hard cider instead of the orange & lemon juice & water, and add a tsp of mild mustard; there is no need for the step involving the margarine as the cider makes a scant syrupy sauce N.B. You can also skip the brown sugar if the cider is sweet.

Green beans with Artichoke and Spinach Sauce

French green beans with Artichoke and Red Pepper Sauce

This dish started off life as my veganized version of a rich artichoke and spinach dip. Then one day, I had some left over from the day before, and needed a sauce for some beans, and this rather delightful combination was born. If you just want the dip as itself, just make this recipe up until the part where it says to deal with the beans. Make sure that you like the taste of the roasted red bell peppers before using them. I find that some of the jarred ones have way too much citric acid in them! Have a mouthful of pepper before adding to the dish, and if you don’t think ‘yum’, use a different kind.

12 oz tinned artichoke hearts, squeezed dry (Not the marinated ones, they are too highly flavored for this.)
1 1/2 cups (8 oz) raw or roasted red bell peppers
3/4 cup (vegan) mayonnaise
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
3 tbsp light chickpea miso
1/2 – 3/4 tsp salt (start with less, and add more if you want it)
8 oz frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and well squeezed (important to avoid sludgy texture)
1 oz cream cheez (optional)
1 lb green beans
16 oz tin of baby lima beans, drained

Chop the artichokes and red pepper until they are in pieces no bigger than a large pea, either by hand or by pulsing in a food processor.

Give the spinach a squeeze to get rid of any water that has been released.

Stir the cream cheez (if using), nutritional yeast, and miso together; then stir everything (except for the two types of beans) together, until the ingredients are amalgamated, but not pureed.

Check for seasoning, and add more mayonnaise, if desired.

At this point you can put the sauce aside until you’re ready to cook and serve the green beans.

Steam the green beans with 1 tsp salt (or to taste) until soft (or to your liking).

Now make sure the sauce and the lima beans are hot (either individually before putting in a warm serving dish, or assembling in the serving dish, covering with foil, and warming for about 20 minutes or until hot in the oven.)

Serve at formal meals, or in baked potatoes for a more casual lunch.