This update bought to you from my father’s kitchen!  I cooked our dinner yesterday (roast beef, mediterranean baked feta, and maple dijon asparagus), and the only new recipe I bought out for this was these potatoes.  They’re absolutely fantastic, and pretty quick and simple to make – just be careful, though, as these have hella salt in them.  

New York Salt Potatoes
Serves 4 or so

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs unpeeled baby/new red potatoes, scrubbed
  • 2 qts water
  • 1.5 c salt (kosher or fine sea salt, I used half of each)
  • 6 T butter, cut into 1 T pieces
  • Herbs (I went with oregano, parlsey, and thyme, all dried)
  • Pepper

Fill a pot with 2 qts of water, and stir in your cup and a half of salt.  Stir to dissolve some of the salt (don’t worry, the rest settles to the bottom), add your potatoes, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, until fork-tender (appx 20 minutes).  Drain the potatoes and let them dry for a bit, to crystallize the salt. Return to the burner and melt the butter and sprinkle the herbs over the potatoes, tossing to coat.  

Eat them immediately.  What are you waiting for?  EAT THEM.

I probably should’ve started this recipe earlier in the evening, as I finally finished up around 10 PM last night, but that’s what happens when your cooking plans get pushed back due to phone shenanigans and ensuing panic.  

Either way, the end result is absolutely worth it – slow roasted cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, reduced balsamic, and torn basil combine perfectly in this. Just be aware that those tomatoes are gonna be roasting for about 3 hours.

Slow Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad
Lasts 3-4 lunches as side

Ingredients

  • 16 oz cherry tomatoes, halved (I got two pints over two weeks’ time and took a cup out of each for use in the Mediterranean baked feta)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 t coriander
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 1 head garlic, separated into cloves (but not peeled)
  • 1 c balsamic vinegar
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella
  • 4-5 leaves fresh basil

Half your cherry tomatoes, and then combine with your unpeeled garlic cloves, coriander, salt and pepper, and olive oil in a small bowl, and toss. While you’re prepping this, preheat your oven to 225 (200 in my case) and line a baking sheet with foil.  Once tossed, arrange the mix on the baking sheet, and roast for three hours, until the tomatoes are wrinkled at the edges. 

About a half hour from the tomatoes being done, put your balsamic vinegar in a pot and simmer, reducing by about half until it’s thick and syrupy (see pic 2 for what that looks like).  This will take about a half hour so it’ll time perfectly with the tomatoes finishing. Apparently you don’t need to use all of the balsamic to top the salad (I did, whoops).

As soon as your tomatoes are done, remove them from the oven. Tear your mozzarella and basil, and layer them in as you add scoops of the tomatoes.  Peel the garlic and add it in too, roasted garlic is fantastic and I will fight you if you say otherwise.  Then add your balsamic and toss to coat.

I tried this recipe almost immediately after Deb posted it on the Smitten Kitchen last year, and ever since then, it’s been a mainstay.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a grill on you – the oven works perfectly for this. And man, the simple perfection of warm, melty cheese and roasted tomatoes and olives cannot be overstated.  

Mediterranean Baked Feta
Lasts 4 lunches as a side

Ingredients

  • 1 c cherry tomatoes, halved
  • .33 c pitted kalamata olives, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (forgot this this time, whoops)
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 block feta (you want a good sized block, this was closer to 16 oz, at minimum you want 8 to 10 oz)

Half your tomatoes, chop your olives, and then mix everything except your feta block in a small bowl, tossing so that the olive oil coats everything.

Preheat your oven to 400 (mine was at 375). Put your block of feta in a baking dish, and then pour the tomato-olive-oregano mix over the feta.  Cover your dish, and cook for fifteen minutes – your cheese will get soft and warm, but not quite melty.  

Don’t worry if you can’t eat it all right away (though you will be tempted to) – this reheats easily, especially in the oven.

Continuing the afternoon’s theme of using the oven for maximum deliciosity (yes, it’s a word), I give you these sexy things.  The smell while they were roasting is absolutely indescribable.  The combination of the juices, the herbs, the garlic, the oils and vinegars, and the inherent sexiness of roasted tomatoes and mushrooms pretty much make the perfect storm of awesome in this side.

Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms with Goat Cheese
Makes 4 side servings

Ingredients   

  • 8 oz cremini mushrooms
  • ½ lb grape (or cherry) tomatoes
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 4 T balsamic vinegar
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • dash sea salt and black pepper
  • pinch herb of choice (I used dried oregano)
  • 3 oz goat cheese (I used garlic herb goat cheese)

Combine everything except your goat cheese in your baking dish, and heat your oven to 400 (mine’s at 375, you know the deal by now). Arrange in one layer and bake for 25 mins. You’ll know it’s done when you see juices in teh bottom of the pan, and the tomatoes will be a little wilted.  Turn off the heat, and remove the pan, and top with the goat cheese (put it on in shreds).  Put back in the oven, and let sit for five more minutes to melt the cheese.

You can eat it by itself, on top of bread, basically, any which way you want.  ^^

So, the other weekend, I was able to get my hands on the sexiness that is $3/pound trimmed asparagus at the farmer’s market – and baby, this is the good stuff. I was away this weekend, and hadn’t gotten to cook it prior to that (boo), so I wanted to get this prepared tonight while it was still fresh.  At first I was wondering what I was gonna make, and then I realized I had everything for what is my mainstay asparagus recipe – maple dijon asparagus.  One of my most highly recommended recipes, and simple enough to do while you’re making another dish (today’s other post).

Maple Dijon Asparagus
Lasts three to four lunches as a side

Ingredients

  • 1-2 lbs asparagus, cleaned and trimmed
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T grainy mustard
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1 t dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (original recommends grated, whoops)
  • dash salt and pepper and dill weed

Preheat the oven to 400 (or 375 if yours runs hot like mine), and clean and prep your asparagus (unless you’re buying it pre-trimmed like mine, then just clean).  Lay the asparagus out in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil, and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Roast in the oven between 10 to 30 mins, depending on the thickness of your asparagus (the results above were gotten at ~25 minutes at 375).

Meanwhile, while this is going on, and so long as you’re not working on something else, make the vinaigrette by combining the olive oil, cider vinegar, maple syrup, mustards, salt and pepper and dill, and grated garlic in a small bowl.  As soon as you remove the asparagus from the oven and put it in your container, pour the vinaigrette over the asparagus, close the container, and toss to coat.

And then, enjoy the sexiness of roasted asparagus with mustard maple dressing.