Baked potato with chive sour cream

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Happy Thanksgiving, lovelies! As we stuff ourselves, let’s not forget the historical basis of Thanksgiving: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/33781-no-thanks-how-thanksgiving-narratives-erase-the-genocide-of-native-peoples

I am on my way to a pesctarian Thanksgiving feast at a friend’s house, and we are all bringing a dish to share. I offered to make mashed potatoes, but after some humming and hawing, I realized I am much more in the mood for a baked potato: the crisped, charred skin, soft interior, and a dollop of deliciousness in the form of a chive sour cream. Inspired by Nigella’s recipe, I lightened up the sour cream with some Greek yoghurt. You really can’t tell the difference. Use Idaho or any other Russet potatoes  – they are the best potatoes for baking because of their high starch content (Yukon Gold’s are the best for mashing).

While this is a great Thanksgiving side, sometimes it can also be a really comfy meal in itself. The best part is: once you pop them in the oven, you have an hour and fifteen minutes to do whatever else it is you need to do (in my case, writing a letter of recommendation for students – ’tis’ the season)!

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Hope you all have a wonderful, relaxing, fun evening with lots of good food and wine.

Prep time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Serves: 6

Ingredients

6 Russet or Idaho potatoes, washed, scrubbed and dried with a towel

8 oz. sour cream

1 cup plain Greek yoghurt

1/3 cup chives, snipped with a scissor

1 tsp. whole grain mustard

1 tsp. salt

A good grinding of white pepper

Metal skewers for the potatoes

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Clean the potatoes and skewer them. Once the oven is at the right temperature, place the skewers directly on the oven rack (this makes for the crispiest skin, rather on than a baking sheet or foil).
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, make the chive sour cream. Mix the sour cream, yoghurt, mustard, salt and pepper into a bowl. Snip the chives into the bowl. In another bowl, snip about 6 strands for garnishing at the end and keep separate.chivesourcream
  4. When the potatoes are done (about 1 hour, 15 minutes), remove them from the oven. Take them off the skewers and cut a cross in the top of each of them and slightly squeeze them so they open out and place them into a bowl.
  5. Garnish the potatoes with the extra chives. Serve the potatoes with the chive sour cream on the side and have people help themselves. bakedpotato

Fall roasted veggies with haloumi

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Tonight, I’m attending a moveable feast in my neighborhood. Each person is responsible for serving one course in their home, and then we move to the next person’s house, and so on. Theoretically, anyway. My guess is that somewhere around the second or third house, we might all fall down with the wine and good food buzzing in our bodies, but who knows? Maybe we actually will make it to dessert.

My friend Denise and I are co-hosting the second course of the evening, appetizers. She is making a mushroom dip and I decided to make these roasted vegetables with haloumi, which I once saw on Nigella Bites. I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of cheese on the menu tonight, but as far as I’m concerned, that’s a good thing. This is also a great recipe for a weeknight dinner – just pop it into the oven and forget about it until five minutes before its ready to eat. Rewarding, rustic, delicious, easy.

If you don’t have/can’t find haloumi, you can substitute with feta or with another salty, crumbly cheese. Or you can also make your own haloumi, which I am going to attempt to do, thanks to this recipe: http://wholesome-cook.com/2012/07/18/homemade-haloumi-cheese-in-an-hour/

Prep time: 1 hour

Ingredients

One large sweet potato

1-2 yellow or red potatoes (whatever you have on hand)

1 red bell pepper

1 red onion

1/2 head of garlic (about 6-8 individual cloves)

4 tbsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. red chilli flakes or cayenne pepper (optional – I feel it adds more flavor)

Grind of pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut the potatoes into slightly smaller cubes than the sweet potato (the potatoes are denser than the sweet potatoes, so need slightly more time to cook). Add each ingredient to the pan as you go.
  3. De-seed and cut the red peppers into approximately the same size cubes and add to pan.
  4. Half the red onion and then cut each into 4-6 segments. Discard the outer skin. The onion chunks should stay together.
  5. Separate the cloves of garlic but you don’t need to remove the skins (yay).
  6. Drizzle your olive oil on top and mix everything together with your hands.
  7. Season with pepper and/or red chili flakes if you wish. Don’t add salt because otherwise your vegetables will get mushy.
  8. Arrange all the vegetables in a baking dish. Bake for approximately 45 minutes. Gently turn the vegetables about halfway into the baking process.roastveg2
  9. About five minutes before the vegetables are done, slice the haloumi cheese and lay on top of the veggies. Turn your oven on the broiler, and broil for 5 minutes. The cheese should get brown on top (if you don’t want to use cheese, just add salt at this stage).roastveg4
  10. Serve!

White bean, garlic and basil spread

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In continuation of my quest for hearty, delicious lunches, here is a quick and delicious white bean spread, perfect on a wholegrain toast with some avocado and tomato. The basil flavor really comes through and makes this pop as a dip or spread. I had it today for breakfast and now, I want it every day.

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Prep time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

1 15 oz. can (approx. 425 gms) white, cannelini, or great northern beans

10 basil leaves

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped (don’t worry–its going in the food processor)

2 tbsp. olive oil

3 tbsp. water

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Drain the can of beans and rinse well, until the foam disappears from the beans. Add to a food processor. whitebeansrinsed
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients into your food processor and blend everything until smooth. Add more water if you want a smoother or creamier consistency. whitebeanprep
  3. Taste and adjust for sourness, salt and pepper.beansblender
  4. Eat as a dip with pita chips or use as a sandwich spread. Bon appétit! whitebeantoast