Roasted Root Veggies

sweetpotatoesThese aren’t your traditional sweet, sticky potatoes. Instead, they are a simple roast of julienned potatoes that bring out the slightly sweet, nutty flavor of the potatoes.

  • 1-2 sweet potatoes, peeled and julienned.
  • 2-4 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and julienned
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-4 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped, fresh thyme
  • 2-4 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 1 clove garlic, put through garlic press
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted (eliminate for dairy-free)
  • Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large roasting pan, toss potatoes and sweet potatoes with olive oil, shallots, thyme, and onion.
  3. Spread in a thin layer across the bottom of the pan.
  4. Roast for 20 minutes until brown.
  5. Remove from onion and toss with butter, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Perfect Hash Browns

hbMy family loves potatoes. In fact, frozen hash browns were one of the first foods my now-teenaged son cooked for himself when he was about 7. The problem with the frozen and pre-packaged hash browns, however, is that they often contain preservatives, chemicals, and lots of salt. They also don’t taste all that great. The good news is that making them from scratch is ridiculously easy. They taste better and are less likely to contain ingredients you don’t want in your diet. Here’s how I make perfect homemade hash browns.

  1. Peel a few potatoes. I really like russets or Yukon golds for this purpose, but you can use any type.
  2. Using a box grater (or a food processor), grate the potatoes and set them aside.
  3. Halve an onion (I like sweet onions for this) and remove the skin.
  4. Grate 1/2 an onion per two potatoes used, and mix the onion in thoroughly with the potato.
  5. Next, you need to squeeze all of the excess moisture out of the potatoes and onions. This is critical for browning. I like to use a potato ricer to do this, but you could also place them in a colander and press with a spoon until no more moisture comes out, or wring them wrapped in a towel. Try to remove as much moisture as you can.
  6. Place potatoes and onions on a clean paper towel and blot away any excess moisture.
  7. Heat a few tablespoons of unsalted butter or olive oil for dairy-free on the stovetop over medium high heat in a non-stick pan.
  8. Spread the potatoes and onions in a thin layer on the preheated pan. Allow potatoes to sit in contact with the pan until brown – about 4-5 mints (or longer, depending on the temperature of the stove).
  9. Turn potatoes and repeat.
  10. Season to taste with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.
  11. Serve immediately.

Tips for Perfect Mashed Potatoes

mashedHere are my tips for the perfect potatoes.

1. Select flavorful potatoes to start. I really like Yukon Gold potatoes. I also like russets, which make delicious mashed potatoes.

2. Boil the potatoes in their skins. This keeps the part of the potato you will be using from becoming water logged. Once the potatoes are boiled, remove the skins.

3. Whatever you do, don’t beat the potatoes. Using any kind of a mechanical beater will remove lumps, but it also binds the starches in potatoes and makes them gluier. Instead, I use a potato ricer. Put manageable chunks of the peeled hot potatoes through the ricer into a bowl.

4. Don’t use milk or cream. It creates gloppy potatoes. Instead, melt some unsalted butter (using unsalted allows you to control the amount of salt in your dish) and pour it over riced potatoes. Give the potatoes a quick mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. This keeps the taters fluffy because the fat from the butter coats the starches, keeping it light.

5. Before you serve, taste the potatoes for seasoning and add sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper a little at a time until you get the right seasoning. You need some salt, because salt enhances flavors, but you probably don’t need nearly as much as you think. That’s why I suggest adding a little at a time, tasting, and adjusting as you go.