Thursday, February 4, 2016

Potato Salad


Potato Salad by Smitten Kitchen
Potato salad is probably a popular go-to dish for a pot luck dinner party.  It's hard to mess up and most people like it.  If I'm opting to bring a side salad, potato salad allows for lowering the risk of having two leafy salads as there's always someone who tries to sneak in the 'healthy' to a pot luck.

I have another potato salad recipe that I really love but I opted for this one today.  Smitten Kitchen is my cooking fairy blog mother and I didn't want to pass up a great excuse to try out one of her recipes.

Recipe Variants:
  • I used 4lb of potatoes instead of 3lb like the recipe
  • BUT I did not increase the dressing at all and it still worked great!
  • I added a tablespoon of sugar to the dressing
  • I completely eliminated dills cuz...I didn't have any but would love to try it out next time
  • I used four eggs instead of three to match the potatoes.  I would not have minded adding a bit more actually
  • I did added ground pepper at the end - this is a must.  
Reminders & Tips:
  • Red onions have a pretty strong flavor so you can soak them in ice water for about 15 minutes to tame the strong flavor a bit.  
  • Putting the salad together is pretty easy & quick.  Just remember to budget in the time for the boiled potatoes to cool to your cooking time, especially if you're making this on a tight schedule.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Home-Made Home Fries

I didn't know that these were called 'home fries.'  May be my time in America or my American movie-watchin' have somehow dodged this term when referring to breakfast potatoes.  Glad I got that sorted.  I came across this recipe as I was perusing through pinterest for a solution for my leftover potatoes.  I guess boiling the potatoes before you cook them is a thing now as I've come across quite a few potato recipes that do that.  These were pretty awesome though and I would proudly serve this to brunch guests.  With the additional ingredients I added to the recipe, the potatoes had a burst of great flavors working together.  They were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.  

Ingredient Variations:
  • I added mushrooms, garlic (about two teaspoons of minced garlic), and half a medium-sized yellow onion (diced).
  • For spices I used:  (all approximate)
    • 4 teaspoons of paprika (divided)
    • 4 teaspoons of chili powder (divided)
    • 2 teaspoons of black pepper (divided)
    • 2 teaspoons of salt (divided)
    • 2 teaspoons of dried mixed Italian herbs
What I did: 
  • I cooked the garlic and diced onions for about 2 minutes in olive oil before adding the potatoes and mushrooms to the pan.  
  • I cooked it for 20 minutes, turning it after every five minutes
  • I added the spice mixture (half of it) at the beginning and then the rest + the Italian herbs before the final 'flipping'
Note to self:
  • I would turn the potatoes more strategically next time so the potatoes crisp evenly.  So no aimless stirring but sectioned turning with a spatula.  ;) 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

I'm Famous!

Well...not really.  But it certainly feels awesome to have this happen to me., aka one of my favorite recipe sites, featured the one recipe that I posted on their site on their Youtube channel and created a recipe video out of it.  This is monumental for this teeny tiny blogger.  I'm stoked.  I feel special, famous, awesome, and all of the above.  Here's the original recipe for the lemon cupcakes.  PS - This is still my absolute favorite lemon cupcake recipe.


Image from: Bon Appetit

As I'm slowly dipping my feet back into baking, I am a little cautious about the sugar content.  I know and agree that a little sweetness does nobody harm but I'm also nearing forty and unfortunately that means I need to watch what goes into my body. Yup.  But, I do not want to compromise the quality of the baked goods so I did a quick google research and wanted to share my findings with y'all.  Note:  This does not mean that I'll be depriving all of my baked goods of the full requirement of sugar.  ;) 

How Sugar Affects Baking from Fine Cooking explains what sugar is supposed to do in baking.  It's a bit of a read so have a hot drink handy when going through the article.  I skimmed most of the article and slowed down on parts that were of interest to me.  What I was most interested in was how eliminating sugar would affect my baked goods.  It may be obvious to some but if I may state the obvious, sugar adds moisture and texture to baked goods.  Since I'm trying to lessen the sugar content, the problem I would face is a drier cake with coarse texture.  Not that appealing.

How Can I Reduce Sugar is from The Kitchn and the article gives a simple answer to the question: "How can I reduce sugar in baked goods?"  It says that egg yolk adds moisture and egg white dries up the baking so the simple solution would be to add another egg yolk or eliminate egg white depending on what would work for your recipe.  How to determine what would work will probably be completely up to you.  Personally, I would choose to add an egg yolk, especially if I'm baking cake or quick bread.  I feel that it would add more richness to the baking.  The article poses this question to its readers and there are others who pitch in on what they do when eliminating sugar in their baking. 

The Best Sugar Alternatives from Popsugar Fitness lists great sugar alternatives and what's awesome is the article gives the perfect ratio for each alternative.  E.g. 1 cup of sugar swapped for 2/3 Agave Nectar

Your Guide to Baking with Sugar Alternatives from Bon Appetit is a fantastic guide for what each sugar substitute would be good for and the pros and cons of using each of the substitutes.  For example, honey would be a good substitute for producing moist baked goods like coffee cake.  Very practical!