Archive | December, 2015

Oven-roasted “fries”

29 Dec

Oven Fries

When my husband and I were in our carefree early 20s and living in London, we had a deep-fry pot, with an insert basket that let you put the food into the hot oil and then lift it out to drain. We kept the oil in the fryer on the stove, adding a little fresh oil every time we used it. We ate “chips” (aka French fries) almost every day.

Now, alas,  we don’t have a special pot in which we can keep oil just for making fries — nor would we want to, given our middle-aged metabolisms. So when we eat “fries,” they’re usually made in the oven.

Most of the time I don’t need a recipe. I just peel a couple of nice large baking potatoes and cut them into thick strips. Then I preheat the oven to 425 degrees. I put foil on a baking sheet and spray it with non-stick spray, like PAM. Then I put the potatoes on the sheet and spray them well with non-stick spray. I roast the potatoes in the oven for about 20 minutes, turning them over once so they brown evenly.

It you want to get a little fancier, here’s a nice recipe I got from Weight Watchers more than 30 years ago. The potatoes come out tasty-spicy but not hot-spicy.

Ingredients:

2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into strips
¾ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. chili powder
2 egg whites
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil and coat it with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with a fork until frothy, then stir in the spices. Add the potato strips and toss until they are completely coated. Put the strips in a single layer on the baking sheet, and bake until barely tender, about 15 minutes. Turn the oven to Broil and broil until potatoes are crispy, about 10 minutes.

Serves 4

Baked Beans

15 Dec

Baked beans by Kelly GarbatoYou might think of baked beans as a summer-barbecue type dish. But if you want to make it from scratch, you need to leave it in the oven for many hours, making it a perfect recipe for these cold days of the year.

The recipe comes from Dr. Robert Wright, who oversaw the graduate program  in the Religion Department of Temple University, where I worked as a secretary right after we were married. At the end of the year, Dr. Wright had a barbecue for his students and invited us. He served these delicious baked beans and gave us the recipe.

These are old-style Boston baked beans, flavored with molasses and brown sugar rather than tomato sauce. It’s an inexpensive but hearty and satisfying dish, and the leftovers are good too

You can cook it overnight if you like. You can also make this in a slow cooker (on high) if you don’t want to keep your oven on that long.

Ingredients:

1 lb. white or pinto beans
1 large onion, sliced thin
3 Tbs. molasses
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. salt
Pinch black pepper

Directions:

Soak the beans overnight, and then boil them in the same water for 1 to 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Drain beans but reserve the water.

In a large, heavy, oven-proof pot, layer the beans and the onions. Add the rest of the ingredients. Pour the bean water over so that the beans are just covered. Cover the pot tightly and bake for 8 hours.

Serves 8

Tunisian Couscous Pilaf with Chickpeas, Dates and Almonds

1 Dec

Couscous with Chickpeas. Dates amd AlmondsThis is adapted from a recipe I clipped from the Detroit Free Press. If you have turkey left over from Thanksgiving, consider chopping some into cubes or strips and adding it to this pilaf for a one-dish meal.

This dish has a nice range of flavors, from the sweet dates and almonds to the standard onion and garlic, the exotic combination of cumin, paprika, cinnamon and corinader, and just a hint of heat from the cayenne pepper.

Ingredients:

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
3 cups defatted low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
4 Tbs. lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup chopped, pitted dates
1 box (10 oz.) or 1½ cups couscous
½ tsp. salt or more to taste
¼ cup sliced, unblanched almonds, toasted
Black pepper to taste
1 cup thinly sliced green onions

Directions:

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 8 minutes.

Add the garlic, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, coriander and cayenne. Cook, stirring for 1 minute.

Add the broth, lemon juice, lemon peel, chickpeas and dates. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.

Add the couscous and salt, stir, then remove from heat and set aside, covered, for 5 minutes. The couscous should absorb all the liquid.

Fluff the couscous with a fork and add additional salt, if desired, and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds and the green onions.

Serves 8