During the year or two when I wasn’t posting much here, I noticed a change in my cooking. It was less adventurous, which was likely at least in part a byproduct of the general life chaos that also required me to spend less time here. But it wasn’t just that—this site compels me to seek out new and different recipes, and that inspiration is one of my favorite things about having a blog. Without the site prodding me along, I stuck to a stable of tried-and-true recipes.
It wasn’t all bad while I was away, though. I tinkered with and perfected old favorites, and—overall—my cooking was much less recipe-driven. I often found myself cooking based on what was on hand, using the methods that I already knew, and striving for the flavors I know I love. They were straightforward dishes, and I didn’t record the recipes on paper or photograph the final product. Favorites would emerge, and I’d make those dishes over and over, a slow evolution unfolding over time, until they were just right.
More than once, someone has asked me for a recipe for one of those dishes, and I’ll look for a link from this site to send along, only to find that the recipe, born during the time when I wasn’t posting much here, never made it to the site. I plan to fix that.
Of course, many of our favorite dishes have been featured on this site, and we often find ourselves pulling up those recipes as we get ready to make dinner. When we moved, we decided to station a desktop that wasn’t getting much use on the breakfast bar in our new kitchen. So, these days, I pull up my recipes there, and tilt the monitor toward my cutting board. Before that, I’d fish out my iPhone and squint my way through the recipe on the small screen, smudging up my phone as I went along.
These options required a series of clicks to get to my favorite recipes, so I decided to pull my go-to recipes together on a single page to ease the process of hunting for them. A new Favorite Recipes
page is now live (you can access it in the lefthand column), but I’ve got some work to do to add the lost recipes from the past year or two that haven’t yet made it here. I’m starting with my favorite roasted potatoes and chimichurri sauce.
These potatoes are a perfect example of a very simple recipe that becomes something really special by adhering to a few particulars—the right heat (high), vehicle (a piece of parchment paper makes a world of difference), method (it’s critical to arrange the potatoes cut-side down, and to avoid over-crowding), and amount of salt (a lot). As for the chimichurri, it’s not a classic version by any means, but it’s one I’ve settled on after many (many, many) batches. It’s zippy and fresh and assertively- (but not overwhelmingly-) garlicky. We spoon it atop grilled steaks, and set out a little bowl for dipping (a sure-fire way to improve the already wonderful roasted potatoes, which I often make along with some simply-dressed greens to round out the meal). The sauce is the ideal condiment, and it shows up at a good deal of our summer barbecues, so I’m so glad it’s finally found its way to this site now.
Best Roasted Potatoes
8 cups small potatoes (like fingerlings or new potatoes), halved or quartered
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Meanwhile, in a large zip-top bag, combine the potatoes, oil, salt and pepper; seal the bag and toss well to combine. Arrange the oiled potatoes on the lined baking sheet, taking care to ensure that the potatoes are all cut side down, in a single layer.
Roast the potatoes for 30-45 minutes (the time will depend on your oven’s heat, the size of the potatoes, etc.). Starting at the 30-minute mark, check on the potatoes every five minutes or so. They’re done when the skins are pleasantly wrinkled and the cut sides are well browned.
Yields about 1 cup of sauce
1 cup basil leaves
1/2 cilantro leaves
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons lime juice
kosher salt, to taste
about 1/4 cup olive oil (more ore less to achieve your desired consistency)
Pulse the basil, cilantro, pepper flakes, lime juice and a big pinch of salt in a food processor until the herbs are well-minced. With the motor running, add the oil in a steady stream and process until a loose sauce forms. Taste and add additional salt if necessary. Serve alongside roasted potatoes (recipe above) and/or grilled steaks.