Category Archives: fruits and vegetables

Potatoes Braised in Butter

parisian-potatoes

Potatoes Braised in Butter

Native to Peru, potatoes were an important part of the French diet during the 19th century and are still widely eaten today. Urbain Dubois features 44 potato recipes in his La cuisine classique. In his dictionary of food, Alexander Dumas writes of the potato, “This excellent vegetable was brought fro Virginia by the English admiral Walter Raleigh in 1585, and has since then preserved people from famine.” He goes on to say that the potato is not only healthy, but also inexpensive.

3 pounds baby Yukon gold potatoes
salt and pepper
3 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons butter
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Place the potatoes in a deep skillet and season generously with salt and pepper.

Cover potatoes halfway with chicken stock, about 3 cups, add the butter and cover skillet with a lid. Cook the potatoes in the stock until almost tender, about 5 to 8 minutes, depending upon the size of the potatoes.

Remove the lid and allow the stock to evaporate, about another 5 minutes.

Once the stock has evaporated pop each potato using a ladle or large spoon, creating a small crack in each, but do not smash. Allow the potatoes to brown on each side, another 5 minutes, taste and adjust seasoning.

Remove the browned potatoes from the skillet and place onto a serving platter, garnished with the parsley.

Serves 6

Adapted from Jacques Pepin
photo credit: Carin Krasner

Paletas de Sandia con Mango (Watermelon Mango Popsicles)

paleta sandia

Paletas de Sandia con Mango (Watermelon Mango Popsicles)

Watermelons and mangos, two of the most delicious fruits in the world, are used staples in Mexico. You can find them sliced with chile and lime, in aguas frescas, and in popsicles. Surprising, neither fruit is native to Latin American. Watermelons were brought to Mexico on African slave ships and mangos are native to India.

8 cups cubed watermelon, seeds removed (about 3 pounds of watermelon)
3 mangoes, peeled and cubes
½ cup coconut water

Place the watermelon, mango cubes and coconut water in a blender and process until smooth. (You may have to work in batches.) Put in the popsicle molds and freeze.

Makes 2 dozen

Zucchini Salad with Pine Nuts and Parmesan

zucchini salad with pine nuts and parmesan

Zucchini Salad with Pine Nuts and Parmesan

Farmers first cultivated squash over 8,000 years ago in Mexico and Central America. As time progressed, these vegetables migrated north, settling into the gardens of American Indian tribes from New Mexico to Massachusetts. Native Americans have been eating the nutritional pine nuts in the high desert regions between the Sierra Nevada and the Rocky Mountains for centuries.

1/3 cup olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 pounds zucchini, trimmed
½ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
small wedge of Parmesan cheese

Whisk oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes in small bowl to blend. Set dressing aside.

Using vegetable peeler slice zucchini into ribbons working from top to bottom. Place ribbons in large bowl. Add basil and nuts, then dressing; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Grate Parmesan over the salad and serve.

Serves 6

Salad composed according to Alexandre Dumas

alexander dumas salad

Salad composed according to Alexandre Dumas

Better known for his novels, The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas was also a gourmand and wrote Le Grande Dictionnaire de Cuisine, an encyclopedia of culinary terms, recipes and anecdotes that begins with absinth and ending with zest. The 1152 page book was completed just before his death and published posthumously.

A variation of this salad appears in Salvador Dali’s cookbook of 1973, Les Diners de Gala.

For the vegetables:
1 medium celery root
1 apple
4 celery stalks
3 beets
1 head radicchio, chopped
3 endives, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice

For the vinaigrette:
½ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
salt and pepper
1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 shallot, finely chopped

Whisk together all of the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Taste, adjust seasoning and set aside.

Peel and quarter the celery root and cut into thin matchsticks (julienne) with a sharp knife. Place in a bowl and toss with enough vinaigrette to coat. Set aside.

Peel the beets and julienne, place in a separate bowl and toss with enough vinaigrette to coat. Set aside.

Core the apples and cut into quarters, then julienne. Place in a separate bowl and toss with lemon juice. Set aside.

Thinly slice the celery into half moons and place in a separate bowl and toss with enough vinaigrette to coat.

Chop the radicchio and endive. Mix together, wash, dry, and set aside.

When ready to serve, separately dress the apples, radicchio and endive. Artistically arrange on a platter and serve.

Serves 8