Category Archives: beans, slaws, quiches, mashers, and casseroles

Vinegar Salad

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One of my dad’s classic summer side dishes is tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions that have been marinated in vinegar and salt for a few hours. Served cold, it’s a tart and fresh salad that pairs wonderfully with all manner of easy summer dinners, particularly those whipped up on the grill and enjoyed on the porch.

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As part of my Farm to Fork dinner at Greenlands Farm I mixed together a variation of the salad with green and purple beans, dragon’s egg cucumbers, onions, and garlic all from the farm. Served in lemon squash boats with a dollop of herbed goat’s cheese over a bed of kale salad, it hit the spot.

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Vinegar Salad

2 cucumbers

2 dozen green and purple wax beans

1 small green onion

1 small red onion

2 cloves garlic

4 cups apple cider vinegar

1 tsp sea salt

Mince garlic and chop cucumbers, beans, and onions into bite sized pieces.  Toss in vinegar and salt, cover, and refrigerate at least two hours (though overnight is better). Serve chilled alongside the best of what your grill has to offer.

Garlic Skillet Smashed Potatoes

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I know that I’ve been talking about it here a bit, but the past few months have been crazy. And while I know I’m guilty of saying that all the time, this winter and spring have blown other crazy times out of the water. We (or I) have been on the road every weekend since the end of January, and some of the week days (like our recent trip to San Francisco). My months have blurred, projects that need my attention are being ignored, and I feel a little bit less than grounded. I’m barely staying afloat and what I mean by that is, I’m sorry. It’s been months since I’ve had as much time and energy as I’d like to devote to this space, and I know it’s been apparent. That said, things are finally starting to clear up. We have a few more big trips planned in the next few weeks, but things are slowly settling down and I am working to get back to my routine.

smashed potatoes 2 The wonderful thing is, that in life, things are coming together. My school is moving to a beautiful new space that is giving me the opportunity to build a huge organic fruit and vegetable garden, an orchard, a chicken program, and more (like two pet lionhead bunnies that I’m naming Humphrey Bungart and Ernest Hoppingway THANKS THIS IS THE BEST FOREVER). We’re looking at moving into a new house in a new neighborhood that is still downtown but closer to school and slightly bigger (with more space for a potential studio space), which will hopefully give me the creative inspiration I need to finish a few big projects. Dan finally cut off his pony tail. We’re living the good life over here.

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While we cheated slightly (sometimes more than slightly) on our April diet while we were in San Francisco, we’ve mostly stuck to the plan. Today, after a lot of green smoothies, apples dipped in peanut butter, and edamame I was ready for something substantial. Call in the garlic skillet smashed potato. The basic premise of this masterpiece is- cook a potato, smash it, season it, roast it in high heat for optimal crispness. Paired with sweet and spicy Brussels sprouts and a fried egg this was everything I wanted it to be.

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Garlic Skillet Smashed Potatoes

6 red potatoes

4 tbsp olive oil

4 tbsp butter

3 garlic cloves

Salt

Pepper

Red pepper flakes

Preheat the oven to 350F. Toss the potatoes in half the olive oil and seasoning. Roast for 30 minutes or until a fork easily penetrates the potato. Let cool to room temperature, then heat the oven to 425F.

Use a potato masher to smash the potatoes to flat. Top with remaining oil, half of the butter, and seasoning. Cook for 15 minutes. Flip, top with remaining butter, and season. Cook an additional 15 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Serve hot.

White Yam & Candied Bacon Casserole

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year in Mountainhome, Pennsylvania, with Dan’s cousin Nathan, his fiance Jess, and the two dogs (Chase and Kaylee). It was relaxed, fun, and full of delicious food.  It’s the first Thanksgiving that I haven’t been with a lot of family (or at least some of our parents) and it had a definite kids-table vibe to it. We cooked all day long, ate a HUGE meal, took a nap, went for a walk, and then drank wine and relaxed on the couch. An ideal Thanskgiving, for sure.

One of my favorite dishes this year was a White Yam and Candied Bacon Casserole, something we created completely by accident. We intended to make a traditional sweet potato casserole with candied bacon and marshmallows tossed into the topping (Dan’s request), but I accidentally bought white yams instead of orange ones. And can I tell you what a happy accident it was? The yams were sweet and soft and creamy and the topping was this amazing combination of salt and cinnamon and sugar. I could have eaten the whole casserole! And while I’m going to save most of this year’s recipes for next year’s Thanksgiving menu I thought this would be just as wonderful on a Christmas table, so I beg you- try it! You won’t regret it.

We’re finally home now after a week long Thanksgiving tour (Wilmington -> Arlington, VA -> Mountainhome, PA -> Oreland, PA -> Harleysville, PA -> Baltimore -> Wilmington) and man are we exhausted. We’re playing catch up on unpacking, taking care of the dog, Christmas decorating, work, and life. But despite the craziness of the past few months we have so much to be thankful for. I made a list over on missELENAeous, but it can really be summed up in three words -health, happiness, love. We’re very lucky, us three.

photo by our friend Bill

White Yam & Candied Bacon Casserole

For the casserole:

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cup butter

1 cup milk

2 tsp vanilla

6 cups mashed white yam

For the topping:

1 cup brown sugar

4 tbsp butter

1 cup chopped pecans

1 lb bacon

1/4 cup white sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon

1/2 cup mini marshmallows

Peel, chop, and boil your yams.  Mash, and set aside.  Beat eggs, sugar, and butter.  Add milk and vanilla, and combine with potatoes.  Spoon into a greased casserole dish.

Cook your bacon. As you’re cooking sprinkle both sides with cinnamon and sugar.

Combine brown sugar, butter, crumbled bacon, marshmallows, and pecans.  Mix until crumbly and sprinkle over potato mixture.

Bake at 350* for 45 minutes.