Tag Archives: potato

Five Ingredient Breakfast Casserole

Happy New Year! It’s the second Meatless Monday of 2012, and we’re continuing our series of super-easy vegetarian recipes for January.

My family loves “breakfast for dinner” once in a while, and this quick and easy breakfast casserole is on heavy rotation at my house.  Leafy greens, local eggs,  and fresh potatoes make this casserole much healthier than your typical cheese-laden hashbrown supper, and it’s very quick to put together.  It makes a ton of leftovers, too– perfect for breakfasts later in the week!

One thing that really helps with all the chopping in this (and most any) vegetarian supper is a food processor. I used both attachments that came with my machine to prepare this dinner, and the whole thing came together in about 10 minutes of hands-on time.


Slicing Disk

Chopping Blade

If you don’t have a food processor, plan to add about 10 minutes to the prep time for chopping, whisking, and slicing.

Five Ingredient Breakfast Casserole (serves 18-24)

1 yellow onion
1.5 pounds Yukon gold potatoes (about 5 medium potatoes)
1 bunch tender greens, stems removed
18 eggs
2 cups milk or plain soymilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 9×13 casserole dish.

Wash the potatoes and tender greens and pat dry. Peel the onion and chop it into quarters. Chop the potatoes into quarters. Slice the potatoes and onion very thinly by feeding them through a food processor fitted with the slicing disk. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add potatoes and onion to the skillet and cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While potatoes and onions are cooking, fit the food processor with the chopping blade and finely chop the greens. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs with the milk. (The chopping blade of the food processor is perfect for this, too, if you have a large enough machine. Watch out, though– overfilling the bowl of the food processor makes a big, egg-y mess.)

Once potatoes and onions are softened, place them in an even layer in the prepared casserole dish. Top with the chopped greens. Pour the egg mixture over the top of the casserole. Bake for 40 minutes, until the middle of the casserole is set and the edges are golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Potato Salad

Potato salad is one of those polarizing side dishes that people either love or hate. I’m in the love category. However, I can see how eating the sticky yellow store-bought stuff could turn someone away forever. This year I put my own spin on this controversial dish when a friend requested that I bring potato salad to an Independence Day party. I am so glad that I did. The potato salad I created showcased some of Austin’s best summer produce with bold flavors and a more appetizing texture than store-bought salad.

I started developing my recipe with the proportions from my Grandma’s potato salad: 1-3/4 cups dressing and and 1-1/2 cups diced vegetables for every two pounds of cooked potatoes. (See similar recipe here.) I made significant changes from her list of ingredients, though, to reflect my friends’ contemporary tastes and the array of great ingredients available here in Austin.

Grandma’s recipe called for peeled potatoes. I chose red potatoes from Acadian Family Farm*, which hold their shape after cooking, and left the tender skins on. Instead of generic yellow mustard in the dressing, I used Dai Due’s famousFireman’s Four Mustard. Austinite Jesse Griffiths makes this hot and tangy mustard using Real Ale’s Fireman’s #4 brown ale and sells it through Greenling Organic Delivery and in person at the SFC Farmers’ Market Downtown every Saturday.

For the crunchy elements of the salad, I strayed even further from the standard deli recipe, with red onions from Gundermann Farms and radishes. Red onions add a ton of color, crunch and a hint of sweetness to the salad that white onions just can’t match, while radishes add bite. My secret weapon in making the potato salad crowd pleasing was lots of applewood smoked peppered bacon. The smoky flavor of crisped meat, along with the heat from the peppercorns, really kicked the intensity of the salad up a notch. I finished the salad with a handful of chopped fresh parsley from Pure Luck Farms. The green parsley popped against the creamy potatoes and their flavor brightened the dish.

I don’t think that my version of potato salad is healthier than the original by any stretch, but it is more adventurous. I didn’t have to worry about it spoiling in the heat at my friends’ cook-out, either. It was all gone in the first 15 minutes.

Potato Salad (serves 8 )

6 medium-sized red, blue or yellow potatoes (about 2 lbs.)
4 slices applewood smoked peppered bacon
1 medium red onion, diced (about 3/4 cup)
10 small radishes, diced (about 3/4 cup diced)
1 1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup Dai Due Fireman’s Four Mustard (substitute another spicy mustard if you have a Gluten intolerance)
1/4 cup chopped parsley, half reserved for garnish
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Place whole potatoes in a few inches of water in a 3-quart saucepan. Heat the water until it is boiling, then cover and cook the potatoes for 20-30 minutes, until they are tender enough to be pierced with a fork. Drain and set aside to cool.

While potatoes are boiling, fry the bacon: separate bacon slices and place them side by side in a large skillet. Heat the skillet on the stove over medium high heat. Once the bacon becomes limp and begins to render fat, use tongs to turn the slices over. Leave the bacon undisturbed as it shortens and begins to crisp. Once the slices are a deep brown on that side, turn them again to crisp up the first side.  The bacon will be finished cooking when the edges on both sides are a deep brown (not black!). Remove the bacon from the pan and set it to drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Reserve the bacon fat for another use.

Combine diced onions and radishes in a large mixing bowl with mayonnaise, mustard and half of the chopped parsley. Once potatoes are cool enough to handle, chop them into bite sized pieces. The skin will likely peel away from some potatoes; just toss that along with the diced potato pieces into the bowl with the salad dressing. Next, chop the crispy bacon into very fine pieces and add about half of it to the potato salad. Use a spatula to gently stir the potatoes, bacon, and dressing together until all the potatoes are covered in dressing and the bacon is distributed evenly throughout the salad. Transfer salad to a serving dish, then top with reserved parsley and bacon bits.

*Sadly, Acadian Farm recently moved from Moulton, Texas, to just outside Norman, Oklahoma. Check out Tecolote and Massey Farms for potatoes once local stores of Acadian’s run out.

Local Box Picnic: Walnut Creek Park

Two of the best things about living in Austin are the weather and the outdoors. In 2009, Forbes named Austin one of the “best outdoor cities” in the nation. Yet, after almost a decade living here, I have explored just a few of Austin’s public outdoor spaces. This summer I’m working to fix that. My husband and I have resolved to take weekly picnics around Austin so that we can visit lots of different parks in the city and enjoy some great food together.

We started our picnic tour on Sunday at Walnut Creek Park in north central Austin. On the menu were sliced apples drizzled with local honey, a bagel sandwich with a root vegetable omelet, and a bottle of Texas wine.

The meal took us about 45 minutes to make. I packed two whole apples in the picnic basket along with a paring knife and the bottle of honey. For the sandwiches, I used Scott Ehrlich’s recipe for Spanish-Style Beet, Carrot and Egg Sandwich published by Food and Wine. Rami and I made the sandwiches with carrots from Acadian Family Farm, beets from Massey Farm, spring onions from Bar W Ranch and Farm and Yukon potatoes from Green Gate Farm.

In the sandwich, sweet onions and carrots, earthy beets, and buttery potatoes are sliced very thin and cooked until they’re tender. These become the star ingredients in an omelet, which serves as the filling for a toasted bagel sandwich. A spicy mayonnaise-based sauce complements the omelet perfectly. (Recipe here.)

The sandwiches were easy to cook, and the omelet portion of recipe will probably join our regular brunch rotation, especially when we get beets in our local box. (I never seem to use those up!)

For the picnic I assembled the sandwiches at home and wrapped them individually in foil for transport. Our insulated picnic basket kept the sandwiches hot until we arrived at Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park, which is just 10 minutes from our house.

Walnut Creek Park has extensive hiking and bike trails, an off-leash area for dogs, plus a baseball diamond and a playground. There are 26 picnic tables at the park and Rami and I had no trouble finding a quiet, clean place to eat around noon on Sunday. Our picnic table overlooked a shady clearing near a trailhead to the north, and a playground to the south. There’s also plenty of free parking available on the park property.

You can’t tell it from this picture, but this part of the park is very popular for dog owners since it’s near the off-leash area of the trail. Our dog Barclay was on his leash at the picnic table, and he enjoyed greeting several other dogs who walked by during our meal.

All in all we considered this first picnic venture a success. The sandwich was good, the wine was sweet, and the park was a pretty relaxing place to spend our Sunday afternoon. Next week we’ll be making another picnic meal with our Local Box and enjoying it at the pecan grove at Austin’s Colony Park.


Potato Chickpea Curry

I spent most of my work day today thinking about musical form and rhythm, and researching poetic forms. So when I got home and started writing about this curry recipe, a limerick happened!

There once was a mild chickpea curry.
That I liked to make in a hurry.
With potatoes and rice,
Tomatoes and spice,
It’s so easy there’s nary a worry.

Then, a haiku:

Potato curry,
Yellow and satisfying,
Tastes good over rice.

Now I can’t write about this dish– or much else– without it turning into a poem, so I’m going to quit while I’m ahead. I hope that you enjoy this super-easy, mild curry!

Potato Chickpea Curry (serves 4)
3 yukon potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (one can, drained)
1/2 cup skim milk or rice milk
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon dried ground ginger
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
cilantro to garnish
4 cups cooked basmati rice*

Put chopped potatoes in a large pot with a lid and cover with water. Bring water to a boil and cook the potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and set aside.

Put a tablespoon of olive oil into the pot and saute the garlic and yellow onion over medium heat until they are very soft. Add the cooked potatoes and remaining ingredients and stir. Bring the liquid to a boil, turn the heat down to low, and allow the curry to simmer for 15 minutes before serving over rice. Garnish with cilantro.

*I’m terrible at cooking rice, so I always ask my husband Rami to do it. He found this great instructional video “Perfect Basmati Rice” over at Show Me the Curry, and it’s his new favorite method.

Fennel Potato Soup with Turnip Greens

This soup is not what I intended to make for dinner last night. My regularly scheduled menu was interrupted last week when my sister had a beautiful baby girl! My niece’s name is Ella, and the past few days have been completely absorbed by this new little member of our family. Thanks to Ella’s arrival, we ended up eating out for dinner on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights with family.  I’m not complaining– how could I when I look at a face like Ella’s?– but I do have a lot of leftover produce in my fridge. Four meals’ worth, to be exact! Plus, heavy restaurant meals will make anyone feel bloated.

In order to knock out a lot of veggies and help my poor stomach, I turned to this Potato-Fennel soup recipe from the Mayo Clinic Foundation for Medical Education and Research. I knew the potatoes would give the soup a mild flavor, and fennel is supposed to be great for digestion.

I adapted the Mayo Clinic’s recipe by incorporating turnip greens and radish tops into the soup, and by increasing the liquid in the recipe accordingly.  And since I had just one half-pound bulb of fennel on hand, that’s all we used. (I couldn’t taste it a bit in the final dish.) I happened to have radish tops and turnip greens in my fridge today, but any cruciferous dark green would work well here.  However, I would avoid would be mustard greens; their spiciness would probably overpower the delicate balance of flavors in this soup.

All weekend I’ve been imagining what kinds of food Ella will enjoy as she gets older.  Maybe she will grow up to be the next Michael Pollan. Or a great chef. Whatever happens, I hope that some day I can make her a big steamy bowl of this fennel soup and tell her all about the Thursday night that she was born!

Fennel Potato Soup with Turnip Greens (4 large servings)
adapted from the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 fennel bulb, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 cups chopped dark greens, such as turnip, arugula, radish, spinach, or kale
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh ground pepper
Sour cream for garnish
Fennel fronds for garnish

Chop the onion and fennel bulb*. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion and fennel. Saute until the onion is translucent and the fennel begins to soften, about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, peel and chop potatoes and wash and chop greens.  Add potatoes and greens to the pot, along with the broth and milk.  Bring the soup to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the potatoes are very tender, about 20 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Taste and season accordingly. Ladle into bowls, garnish with fennel fronds, sour cream, and additional pepper.

*If you’re new to fennel (anise), like me, it can be tricky to know how to cut the bulb open. Here’s a great video with instructions:

Click here for a printable copy of this recipe.