Potato Soup with Chives

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The easiest potato soup recipe I know is also the most delicious potato soup I know. Potatoes and chicken stock transform into some sort of alchemy in the pot and the chives give the whole thing a baked potato vibe, in the best sort of way.

Potato soup with chives

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1/3 cup sour cream, plus more for serving
Salt
Pepper

1. Combine potatoes and stock in a large pot. Cover and simmer until potatoes are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.

2. Puree potato mixture with an immersion blender, or, let cool and puree in batches in blender. Return soup to saucepan if using blender. Stir in milk, butter, and chives. Bring to simmer. Remove from heat and mix in 1/3 cup sour cream. Season with salt and pepper. Serve, garnishing with an additional dollop of sour cream.

Tofu with Wild Mushrooms and Greens

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I love this dish because it’s endlessly riffable. Don’t have Swiss chard? Use kale. Don’t have oyster mushrooms? Use straw mushrooms. You get the picture. Eat this on rice or by itself, because it’s really that good.

Tofu with wild mushrooms and greens

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon minced bird’s eye chiles or 1 teaspoon minced serrano chiles
6 cups Swiss chard or other leafy greens, stems thinly sliced, leaves sliced into 2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups oyster mushrooms or other mushrooms like straw, wood ear, or king trumpet, cut into bite-size pieces
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons peeled and julienned ginger
8 ounces medium tofu, cubed

1. In a wok, heat the sesame oil over high heat. Add the garlic and chiles and stir-fry until fragrant. Add the chard, mushrooms, sugar, and soy sauce. Cook, tossing the greens until they are tender. (If you are using heartier greens like kale, add two tablespoons water at a time to help them wilt.) Once the greens are wilted, gently stir in the ginger and tofu and cook for another two minutes.

2. Remove from the heat and serve with rice or on its own.

Artichoke-Spinach Dip

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The best spinach dip I’ve ever had is my mom’s: fresh and tangy and served in a sourdough boule to mop up all the good bits. This baked artichoke-spinach dip the cousin of that nostalgic Favorite Dip of All Time That I Can’t Stop Eating. Packed with loads of artichokes and spinach, the healthiness almost masks the generous amount of cheese. Say hello to your new favorite winter appetizer.

Artichoke-spinach dip

Ingredients:

6 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup shredded Gouda cheese
1/2 cup shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese
1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped thawed frozen spinach, drained well
3/4 cup canned or frozen artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cayenne pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Crostini or crackers, to serve

1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Stir together cream cheese, gouda, mozzarella, spinach, artichokes, green onions, mayonnaise, garlic, salt, and cayenne pepper in a bowl until smooth. Spoon into a 1-quart baking dish; sprinkle top with Parmesan. Bake in preheated oven until browned and bubbly, about 25 minutes. Serve with crostini or crackers.

Cheddar-Cauliflower Gratin

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Do me a solid and ignore how #uglydelicious the photo of this cauliflower gratin is. Really, the picture doesn’t do it justice. Tender cauliflower is coated in a gooey, cheesy bechamel and topped with crunchy panko for the ultimate winter side dish. This dish is heavy on the cheese, but also, like, vegetables. Win-win!

Cauliflower gratin

Ingredients:

1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon salt, divided
2 medium cauliflower heads (about 4 pounds total), cut into florets
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoon butter, divided
3/4 cup flour
4 cups whole milk, warmed
8 ounces aged sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
7 ounces Dubliner cheese, shredded (about 1 3/4 cups)
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup panko
1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/3 cup)

1. Preheat oven to 425F degrees. Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a large pot over high. Season with 1/4 cup salt. Add cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain cauliflower and set aside.

2. Melt 1/2 cup butter in a large saucepan over medium. Gradually whisk in flour. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in warm milk. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is thick and bubbly, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in cheddar, Dubliner, pepper, nutmeg, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt until smooth.

3. Transfer cauliflower and 5 cups cheese sauce to a large bowl; stir to coat. Spoon mixture into a 2 1/2-quart baking dish. Pour remaining 1 cup cheese sauce over top. Bake in preheated oven until edges are bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Place melted butter, panko, and Parmesan in a small bowl; stir to combine. Sprinkle panko mixture over casserole, and bake until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes.

Sheet Pan Potato Hash

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This is one of those perfectly versatile dishes that serves as breakfast, brunch, lunch, or even dinner. I mean, it’s crispy potatoes loaded with all the salty-savory fixings, so what’s not to love? Put an egg on it and voila, you have the perfect one-plate meal.

Sheet pan potato hash

Ingredients:

2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (about 4), scrubbed, very thinly sliced
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt
4 eggs
8 ounces hot-smoked salmon or other fish
1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
Trout or salmon roe, chopped dill, and thinly sliced red onion, for serving

1. Preheat oven to 425F degrees. Toss potatoes in a large bowl with 1/4 cup oil. Season generously with salt.

2. Transfer potatoes to a rimmed baking sheet and spread out into an even layer (it’s okay if they overlap as long as they’re even). Roast, undisturbed, until browned and very crisp, about 45 minutes.

3. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Crack eggs into pan and fry until set, about 3 minutes.

4. Divide potatoes among plates and top each with an egg, smoked fish, and creme fraiche. Spoon roe over and scatter dill and onion on top.