EASY POTATO BAKE
I think potatoes are my favorite vegetable. You can do so much with them, but the basics are always delicious and you never seem to tire of them! Our garden had them in abundance this year, and they were some of the nicest ones we've ever raised with few blemishes. The recipe I used for the potatoes is called Easy Potato Bake. It's an adaptation of the old familiar scalloped potato dish. I'm just recovering from a stomach virus and have had to stay away from all dairy products, so this recipe was easy to adapt. Most scalloped potato dishes use milk to moisten the recipe, and usually also have butter in them. This recipe called for butter, but I substituted olive oil.
I was surprised how good the recipe turned out! I sliced the potatoes and placed them in the dish along with 3 good sized shallots, also from our garden, and then drizzled olive oil over them along with salt and pepper and about 2 teaspoons of powdered thyme. The potatoes bake in a covered casserole at 425 degrees for 40 minutes, then the cover is removed and a light layer of cheddar cheese was added and baked uncovered for an additional 15 minutes. If you are lactose sensitive, the cheese can be left out. I would, however, still remove the cover, and bake uncovered for a few minutes at the end to give the top of the potatoes a little 'crust'.
For a simple recipe like this one, I would suggest the very best quality potato since there is not a lot of other flavors or ingredients added. I prefer Yukon Gold potatoes for a dish like this. Both their consistency and their flavor are perfect when you want to highlight the potato.
NUTTY CAULIFLOWER SKILLET
Over a week ago, we picked up a head of cauliflower at the farmer's market. It was huge! I used it in one dish, but still had quite a bit left over that needed to be used. Since today was MEATLESS MONDAY, I thought this recipe for would go well as a side dish for our meal. Again, I adapted it to our tastes. I first sauteed 1 Tbsp. of grated fresh ginger, and 2 garlic cloves in a bit of olive oil. Then I added the cauliflower which I had cut into small florets, and added 1 teaspoon of fresh ground cumin seed, salt and pepper, and 1 teaspoon of paprika. The recipe called for turmeric but I was out of it, so I used paprika instead, more for color than anything! I added an additional bit of olive oil and sauteed the cauliflower to incorporate the spices. I then added 1/2 cup of canned whole tomatoes and continued to simmer until the cauliflower was crisp-tender. I added 2 Tbsp. of capers and about 1/4 cup of pitted kalamata olives. The recipe didn't call for the capers or olives but I thought they would be a good addition. I was right!! We loved it!!
LENTIL PATTIES on ASIAGO FOCCACIA
I had a container of cooked lentils in the freezer, so I thawed them out and made lentil patties to go with the meal. I sauteed a little bit of shallot in oil, and added the lentils along with Worcestershire sauce, spicy mustard, and a bit of hot sauce. One egg was added to help it hold together along with seasoned bread crumbs, until the consistency was thick enough to hold together and roll into a ball the size of a baseball. I then rolled it in flour, flattened it, and sauteed in a bit of olive oil until crispy and browned. I toasted the foccacia and put ketchup on one side, and spicy mustard on the other and placed the lentil patty on it. Delicious!! It's one of our favorite meals. I honestly do not miss meat when we have a meal like this. The lentil patties are filling and very healthy and full of protein. We usually eat our lentil patties with no bread, but yesterday a friend of mine gave us this foccacia so I thought it would go nicely them. We probably could have done with out the additional carbs that the bread added, but we only had a small serving of the potatoes so I think it was still a pretty well-balanced, healthy meal!
On Tuesday and Thursday my husband cooks dinner for us. I don't get home from work those days until 6:30 so it's usually ready when I get home. It's always a treat! Tomorrow he wants to have a bonfire and have hot dogs over the fire. Hot dogs are not my favorites at all. I could live the rest of my life without ever eating one, but I sometimes make concessions! So, I'll make a nice side dish from the Simply In Season cookbook to accompany his hot dogs. I have one lentil pattie left over from our dinner tonight, and if it doesn't get eaten, I'll have that, otherwise it will be a spicy black bean veggie burger for me. I don't like hamburgers and will eat a hot dog on occasion if I HAVE to...tomorrow night I won't have to...fortunately!