Smashed Potatoes ~ 3 ways

IMG_1543With the early darkness of winter nights, comfort foods are appreciated far more than in the light of summer. To brighten some of these meals, we look for ways to switch it up, while sticking with the tried and true basics. Here are three ways to enjoy red potatoes as sides. Super simple, but each one gives us a bit of a twist, to complement the main course. The third option is for pancakes, which are so easy to do from leftovers from an earlier meal. Just store the leftovers, covered, in the fridge for up to a week. Ready when you are. Continue reading

Persian Potato Cakes ~ Kookoo

IMG_8422We went out in the boat this week for a late afternoon trip over towards the Secretary Islands.   So often the channel between Thetis and the small island group is very choppy, but that day it was beautifully calm. We were able to look at all the amazing rock formations, centuries old yew trees, and an abundance of seals.

It’s rare not to see a seal when you’re in these waters, but there were more than usual. Whether they were resting on rocks or in the water, they were all around. I suppose the fishing was good!

It was a lovely prelude to our fish & chips at Vesuvius, trying to squeak another wonderful dinner at the Seaside Restaurant before the days are too short.

The trip back was full of a late summer’s evening light, resting on the sandstone cliffs of Tent & Penelakut Islands. We could all feel the bit of chill in the air, reminding us that autumn isn’t far off.IMG_8314

September is our month for getting all those outside jobs done before fall really does set in, easy suppers, served late, and quickly getting back outside to do evening chores before dark. Meals have to be quick on these days, so I’m always looking for new ways to make that happen. Working on the middle-eastern menu for the island’s recent Summer Soiree, I found the lovely Persian vegetable & egg cakes called Kookoo. They are so versatile, and easy to make. We did a potato version as one of the appetizers. Our Gypsy-King musician, Barra, was so excited to have these treats from his heritage. His enthusiasm made them a hot item!

Somehow I’ve gone from centuries old yew trees and seals to middle-eastern traditional cuisine, but it all fits; a dish that is new to us, but traditional to others. It’s all about where we come from, and where we are today. Continue reading

Prosciutto Laced Potato & Rutabaga Pie

IMG_6869A few nights ago, the sisters and I decided to have a mini potluck and cards night.  Nothing fancy, just a bit of good food and a game of cards (and maybe a bottle or two of wine). It was so fun to go to the little house in the woods, for such a cozy evening.

I knew that one would be doing chicken, and the other a salad, so decided to go with potatoes.  And some rutabaga.  And some prosciutto.  And butter.  So good, and it hit all the comfort food marks.  I made it earlier in the day, and just put it in the oven to finish just in time to leave.

This dish is very traditional, except for the prosciutto, but why be a traditionalist when you can try something new? After all, they’re just vegetables… Continue reading

Prime Rib Roast with Roasted Potatoes

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IMG_2335Raising our own beef has taught us how few specialty cuts one actually gets from an animal.  We’ve learned the anatomy, and where each cut comes from.  For instance if we want tenderloin, we need to give up Porterhouse steaks, and other choices are made all the way from sub-primal cuts to the final portioned cuts.  We are always trying to produce beef that is lean, but with marbling, a fine balance.  Our animals are ranging their whole lives, which helps keep them lean, but they need to have enough good quality feed and browse to keep their weights up without reducing the marbling.

When you have a side of beef in the freezer, you are more mindful of what you eat, as a specialty cut is exactly that, special!  These are the cuts that are from the least used muscles.  They are fabulous from more mature animals, as they become more flavourful as the animal itself ages. Because of the small portion of these cuts when compared to the “lesser” cuts, they do tend to be saved for special occasions.

When cooking these treats, we want to be sure they are as tasty as possible, so need to follow tried and true methods.  Regardless of the weight of the prime rib roast, this recipe works.  We’ve used it for 3 rib, 4 rib and full racks: as well as roasts from 200 lb sides to 250 lb sides.  It always works.  Be sure you know how you want your roast done before you start.  I usually cook medium-rare, as it gives a bit of everything for a group.  The photos are from a small 4 rib roast, enough for 4 servings.  As well, this was cut from a smaller than usual side, producing a smaller roast.  I would suggest that you count on 1 lb per 1⅓ servings when purchasing a roast. Continue reading

Roasted Potatoes

IMG_2358When roasting a good cut of meat, roasted potatoes make for a lovely side dish.  Use a good Russet or Yukon Gold potato to get the right texture.  The par-boiling allows for the potatoes to have a bit of pre-cooking before roasting which helps to speed things up, as well it gives us a chance to texturize them a bit to create a nice crust. Continue reading