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Downtown dusk, waiting on the holidays

Dusk on the holiday street

Originally uploaded by the_babyladies


December 16, 2009 at 2:31 pm Leave a comment

Winter arrives

Snowy pine guarding the setting moon

December 9, 2009 at 1:22 pm Leave a comment

“Hedgehog” Potatoes, or if you’re in Texas, “Armadillo” Potatoes

Up close and personal with one of these cute little darlings

Occasionally, I’d like to recommend some recipes that I find in my travels.  Sometimes you just need to share the love!  This is a great little recipe I came across a while back.  Take away a little of the perfectionistic fussiness, and the bay leaves (I’m not going to spend my time crumbling them up and trying to insert the little shards every which way.  Are you?  I’m sure it’s lovely, but simple is good, too!) and you’ve got quite the winning side dish.

You know those adorable little potatoes? Fingerlings, new baby reds, baby Yukon golds, those intriguing mixed bags with the purple baby potatoes?  Don’t you want something fun to do with those? This is really easy, but it looks über fancy.  I did these as a side with the Thanksgiving turkey this year and illicited ooohs and aaahs.  They’re just as great on a weeknight with eggs and salad, though.  They look kind of like little hedgehogs.  But I was thinking about my in-laws in Texas and kept calling them armadillos.  Call them what you will, they’re great.  Roasted deliciousness with a little hint of crispiness around the edges.

This will take a little over an hour — but fear not, most of that time is passive.  Things getting yummy in the oven while you watch some tv, walk your dog, pet your cat, or run around naked, whatever it is that you do while dinner is cooking.  You’ll only be investing about 10 to 15 minutes here.

Preheat your oven to 375°F.

All you need is to take one of these potatoes (washed, naturally) and sit it atop a tablespoon.  Take your knife, and put one slice down the middle.  The spoon will stop you from going all the way through.  Genius, right?  Then slice all the way to the end every 1/4 inch or so. to make little slits.  Turn the potato around so that the sliced side faces the handle and slice the rest of the potato.  If this sounds time consuming, keep in mind that these are little potatoes.  And you won’t have to peel them, boil them, etc.  It’s a small price to pay for something this cute.  And it really doesn’t take much time at all.

Repeat the process for however many you will want to serve.  I did about 7 for two people, but you may want more than that if you’re ready to dig into some serious potato love.

Now, take a rimmed baking sheet and oil it.  Spray it, or just rub a little oil on the pan so these babies don’t stick.

Put your potatoes on the pan, cut side up.  Gently pull apart the little slits and sprinkle with a little fresh or dried thyme (rosemary would be fabulous here too!), a little bit of salt and a little bit of pepper.  Don’t drive yourself nuts trying to get into every nook and cranny.  It ain’t gonna happen unless you have more patience than a saint.  Just try to spread the herb love around a little bit.

Stick your pan into your oven.  These’ll take about 50 minutes to an hour.  You want to make sure they’re nice and done — no al dente potatoes here.  You want them tender and to have that nice fluffy-ish quality to them.

Serve! Eet Smakelijk!

December 3, 2009 at 12:56 pm Leave a comment

Perfect late autumn evening light

December 2, 2009 at 1:39 pm Leave a comment

Seared salmon with lemon “butter” sauce

Seared salmon with lemon butter sauce over mashed potatoes, carrots, and leeks

Before we get into a whole TURKEY-fest, I thought it might be nice to take a minute and take a look at a quick, easy, delicious dish: Seared salmon.  With butter sauce?  Yes, there are totally acceptable and available replacements for dairy butter out there — try Earth Balance buttery spread.  It’s really the best.  And you can use it just like regular butter.  Keep one thing in mind, though.  They don’t yet have an unsalted version, so you’ll need to dial down the salt in your dishes.  Otherwise, it’s great.

Preheat your oven to 375°F.

Start with either a whole salmon steak or two salmon fillets (frozen are fine! Just make certain that it’s defrosted).

Heat a skillet over med.-high heat. I used a cast-iron pan, but anything will do.

Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to the pan until it is warmed, but not smoking.

Gently place the salmon down into the pan.  Let it sit there!  For about 2 whole minutes! Don’t move it!

Now stick that pan into the preheated oven and let it be for about 8-10 minutes (depending on how thick the fish is).

To make the “butter sauce”:

In a small sauce pan, melt 3 T. of “butter” over low heat, add in the zest and 1 lemon and the juice of half the lemon. Stir to combine.  Add 1 clove of minced garlic a little salt and pepper to taste.  Cook, stirring constantly until the garlic is fragrant.  You DO NOT want that garlic to burn — just to be wonderfully fragrant.

When the fish is done, take it out of the oven, flip it over onto your plates — it will have a gorgeous crust on that side.  Top with the “butter” sauce.

Serve it with whatever you like.  I’ve got some potaotes, carrots, and leeks all boiled together and mashed with a little vegetable stock (a take on Dutch stamppot), a lovely green salad, and some French Bread rolls.  Start to finish?  15 minutes!

So when you get sick and tired of turkey, try a little salmon.


Happy Thanksgiving, all!

November 23, 2009 at 3:43 pm Leave a comment

With autumn comes images of winter

Pine cone and sap

Originally uploaded by the_babyladies

November 18, 2009 at 4:32 pm Leave a comment

Balsamic braised red cabbage and carrots

Yes, I have been cooking.  I swear!

I thought I would post a quick side dish that is both really pretty and quite tasty:  balsamic braised red cabbage and carrots.

Purple and orange will liven up any dinner plate!


1/2 head of red cabbage, shredded
1-2 carrots, grated
1 T. Olive oil
1 T. Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 c. water
salt and pepper


Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.  You must be able to put a cover on the pan and it needs to fit all of your cabbage, so no whimpy little things, please!
Once the oil is hot, toss the cabbage into the oil.  Stir to cover in the oil and saute.  Add a pinch of salt.
Cook for about 5 minutes, until cabbage just begins to soften.
Add balsamic vinegar to cabbage, and stir.
Braising the cabbageAdd water to pan and cover.
Lower heat to medium low.
Cook for about 5 minutes, or until water is almost absorbed.
Remove cover and stir in carrots.  You don’t want to add the carrots too early, otherwise the cabbage will turn your beautiful orange carrots purple.  It will taste fine, but it won’t look nearly as beautiful.
Cover again and cook for 1-2 minutes until water is totally absorbed.

This is a slightly sweet, very satisfying dish for a cool night.  I served it with a lentil and rice pilaf, but I can see this as an excellent candidate to go alongside any type of pork dish, too.  The colors are amazing, and it tastes divine.  Give it a try, won’t you?

November 12, 2009 at 2:10 pm 1 comment

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