5.20.2012

Oven Roasted Potatoes

potatoes
It's a funny thing that happens.

The louder things get in my kitchen, the quieter things seem to get around here.

It's just totally backwards, but I see no end to that reality.  Until Apple comes up with a way for me to blink my eyes to take a picture that is instantly sent to my iphone and computer, I will most likely never catch up.

There are several types of cooking that take place over here.  There is the slow cooking, which is what gets photographed and posted.  Step by step is considered and the lighting is adjusted.  It usually involves a glass of wine and sending Mr. Hungry to the grocery store a couple of times because I forgot ingredients.  But it doesn't matter because time is not important. It's my therapy and I like it that way.

And then there is what has been happening as of late.  I seem to be moving at a speed that leaves not even seconds to place something down and take pictures of the food that I am making.

So without wasting any more time on my excuses for being away, I can share with you a list of things I have learned and a recipe for potatoes you are going to need for the rest of your life.
 

Without boring you with all the details, I wanted to share a few things.

One Saturday afternoon was  spent at a cooking party with eight first grade girls.   

Untitled


Chocolate chip cookies were made, sugar cookies were iced and balloons were popped in order to make chocolate bowls.  It appears we had one skeptic during the process, but not one bite of all this sugar was left.

Lesson learned:  Cooking with first graders is fun and exhausting all at the same time. 
Untitled 


A few days later, I catered my dad’s birthday party for 30.  I’m sure in his heart of hearts he had no intention of being difficult, but our menu planning discussion went a little like this…

Me: So thirty people… what about lasagna? 

Dad: Hmmm… that sounds interesting. (trying to be peppy but "interesting" wasn't the word I was looking for)

Me:  Or maybe King Ranch Casserole?

Dad: Okay. (trying to be nice, but clearly not enthusiastic)  

Me: Well… what do you like?

Dad: I sure do love veal picatta.

Me: Well, don’t we have a fine set of taste buds.  I have never made even one piece of veal, but I’m sure I can figure out a way to serve it to thirty. 

Dad: I would love that artichoke brie dip from Easter and oh, I must have those roasted potatoes you learned to make in Italy and anything else on that blog that always looks so delicious and I haven’t gotten to taste yet (My mother did interject at this point and ask my father to be reasonable).

There is absolutely no way I could love my father a tiny bit more so I was bound and determined to do this. 
buffet

The menu was set:

Artichoke Brie Dip
Spanakopita

Baby Spinach Salad with Lemon Caper Vinaigrette
Veal Picatta
Roasted Beets with Orange Dressing
Roasted Potatoes
Cheese Rolls

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake with Fresh Whipped Cream and Strawberries


Let’s just go ahead and skip to my list of dont's that I learned on this fateful afternoon while working on the menu.  Most of these things will make you feel like I am a fruit cake and you will never trust me again in the kitchen.  However, never underestimate the things you do (or forget) when you are trying to pull something monstrous together in a short period of time. 

1.  If making roasted beets for thirty, do not wear anything that clashes with hot pink.  That will be the color of your fingers after peeling 50 beets so you might as well coordinate your fingers with the rest of your outfit (I have successfully peeled beets without turning my fingers pink, but I was moving at the speed of light and by the last batch, there was a tinge of pink no matter how much soap I used).

2.  When you have two large pans of the roasted potatoes (that we will talk about shortly) in a 425 degree oven a lot of steam will be created.  Do not open the oven with your face directly in front of the  oven door.  In an instant, my mascara had melted my eye lids shut and I must have opened my mouth when I gasped because the steam burned my tongue.  How I don't have degreed burns on my face is a miracle because my tongue getting burned was a first.  Thankfully by taste buds came back before meal time.  

3.  When pouring wine on a pan to deglaze it when cooking on an open gas flame, do not get loose with it and let any wine hit below the pan.  If the wine hits the flames coming up around your pan, it will ignite and there will be flames…. high flames.  The wine does cook off and the flames will go away. It’s just a little dicey of a move when the microwave is above the stove top.

After the shock,  I felt professional as the flames cooked off the wine quite nicely (just like when they make bananas foster table side)… my mom didn’t feel the same way and got out the fire extinguisher for the rest of the afternoon.

4.  When using a hand mixer (no matter how fast you are trying to go), do not insert the beaters while someone else plugs it in.  If my mother's mixer was not a Sunbeam from 1955, I would probably not have an index or middle finger on my right hand.  My fingers got tangled in an instant.  My mom quickly turned it off, and while everything was fine, that pretty much sent her over the edge.  From my steam burned face to the flames to finally seeing my fingers molded around beaters, she started to cry.  I put my sweet mother through a lot that day, but believe it or not, the meal actually turned out just about perfect.  Love you, mom.

This is real life.  If we continue this blogging/ reading relationship, it is important you know the train wreck that I often am on a daily basis.

Oh, and you need to know that there has never been a celebration in my family that has not included this accordion.  A few of the highlights/ most embarrassing moments include  my high school lunch room when I was a freshman, showing up at my college house at 8:30 in the morning on my birthday and most recently busted in my office on my birthday for a serenade always complete with my mother harmonizing.

But what is scary is the fact that I now actually embrace it.  That instrument has been the bain of my existence for so many years and I could barely believe the words that were coming out of my mouth as I asked my mother to get it out of the closet so my brother could do the honors.  Yes, we have two accordion players... frightening.

But at the end of the day, I still have fingers and eye brows and wouldn't trade the memories for anything.  I love cooking for the people I love.
accordion
All that to say, I'm really here to tell you about these potatoes.  The first time I was in Italy five years ago, there was a small little restaurant below the apartment I was living in.  We got to know the chef and owner,  and he invited my friend Allison and I to come down on a Sunday afternoon to cook.

You know food is great when you can somehow learn a recipe through very broken English and come home to a different country and make the exact same dish.

These potatoes are just as happy next to a roast in the winter as they are with a piece of grilled fish in the summer.  They are crispy, chewy, salty from parmesan and a bit of sea salt and work every time.  
FoodPostcard
From my little kitchen to yours... Enjoy. 

Oven Roasted Potatoes
Makes 2 servings
Recipe Notes
It is very difficult to mess these up, but it is also hard to get an exact cooking time.  For whatever reason, they sometimes take longer than usual.  I make these first to allow enough time to get them brown and crispy.  If making for a party or a large group, make the potatoes early in the day and reheat at a 350 degree F oven right before serving.  I measured out the amounts of each ingredient for this recipe, but for the most part you can spread the potatoes, and drizzle with each ingredient to taste. To make large quantities, make sure to use large baking pans so that the potatoes can spread out in one layer.    
Ingredients
1 lb. baby red skinned potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove of garlic (about a teaspoon), chopped
1/4 teaspoon Sea salt + more to taste
Fresh ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese

Step by Step
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Quarter potatoes into small bite size pieces.  If a few of your potatoes are larger, cut into 6 or 8 pieces (or halve smaller ones).  Make piece as close to the same size as possible for even cooking.

Use a rimmed baking sheet or oven safe glass dish large enough for the potatoes to be added in a single layer.  Drizzle a little olive oil on the pan and coat.  Add potatoes.  Drizzle olive oil, sea salt and a few dashes of black pepper and toss to coat.  Sprinkle chopped garlic over the potatoes.

Roast potatoes for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, tossing every 30 minutes or so.    If you go to toss the potatoes and they look a bit dry and/or sticking to the pan, drizzle extra olive oil and toss.  Cooking time will vary on the size of your potato chunks.  Remove potatoes when they are browned and some edges are crispy.  Do not remove until some pieces are really dark to ensure crispy potatoes.  Sprinkle piping hot potatoes with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Serve immediately.

If you make ahead of time... 
Potatoes can be made earlier in the day if you need your oven for other dished.  Leave potatoes in pan.  Reheat in a 350 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes.

potatoes 2

12 comments:

  1. These potatoes look so great! And I love that you did a cooking class with 8 years olds. so cute!

    ReplyDelete
  2. There are also some great all-natural top-dress pellets derived from alfalfa that are really easy to aply with a spreader.
    They increase the soil water and nutrient holding capacity while naturally and without smell decompose to act as a food source for the soil and turf.

    Lawn Care Sugar Land
    Lawn Maintenance Sugar Land

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ashlea, you are as funny as your daddy (without the accordion!) Two nights ago, my Keith asked me to please make the roasted potatoes like Ashlea made- and here we are! Can't wait to try them-

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm ready for you to share your veal picatta recipe. And I am so glad you posted! We have been missing our Little Kitchen updates at the office. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Haha, great stories. I am glad to know I am not the only one who loses their mind when moving too fast. Can't wait to try the potatoes.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yay! So glad you are posting again! Do you do birthday parties in Houston? I think my little girl would just die if she had a cooking party!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jane, yes, I have done a handful of cooking parties for birthday parties. Email me!

      Delete
  7. Truly an unforgettable birthday party! ALL of the food was amazing and delicious! All of the guests are still talking about those potatoes! Only my daughter could have survived the night with such grace and poise and still delivered a gourmet meal! You are my hero! MOM

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well......as the SUBJECT (or should that be "object"??:-D) of this little culinary "roast" (no pun intended! ....well....maybe a LITTLE pun!)I think I deserve equal time! Although NOTHING can quite equal my AMAZING daughter! (Except my equally amazing wife, son, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, and grandchildren!) Part of my amazement stems from the fact that whilst she was "living under MY roof" she never so much as fried an egg,made toast, or boiled WATER! Her cooking skills (and they are FORMIDABLE!) were all developed post residence in the Moore household! But the cooking abilities are exercized the same way she approaches EVERYTHING else in life, with excitement, joy, and love! I was thrilled (as I always am!) to once again be the recipient of her incredible talent and affection! My birthday party was an absolute TRIUMPH ( not counting the near scalding, blinding,and loss of limb that occurred in the process!) and certainly one I will NEVER forget! The food, the fam, the friends, and the fun are PRICELESS treasures that I will hold in my heart (and memory(!),as long as it LASTS!) FOREVER!!!! Thank you, Sweetheart, for an INCREDIBLE experience. MUCH love, PA

      Delete
  8. Would like to roast partially the day before and then finish roaring the day of the party. 50 people. Ok to prepare a day ahead and. Or on the day of so that most of the work is done?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Judy! So sorry for the late reply. Yes, you can absolutely make them the day ahead. Cook until almost done, and pop back in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes to warm up and slightly crisp them right before the party. Let me know how it goes! (assuming I didn't miss the party)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Should potatoes be covered if made ahead? Thank you

      Delete