Roasted Potatoes

Needless to say, when it comes to carbs, potatoes are my first (and second!) choice. I love them in all forms, but since I’ve given up most restaurant french fries due to the possibility of gluten cross-contamination, I tend to eat my crispy potatoes at home.

The key to a perfect roasted potato is this: parboil before roasting. Parboiling starts the cooking process, meaning the potato will be cooked on the inside when the outside is done. Parboiling also releases starches necessary for crispy exteriors.

This recipe works equally well for oven fries! Note that you can season your potatoes with anything, from a simple salt and pepper with olive oil glaze to an aioli crust. Mmm, that sounds so good right about now.

Tip of the Week

Roasting vegetables requires high heat, making your outdoor grill perfect for this task. To make it easier to turn the veggies on a hot grill, place them on skewers before grilling. And remember that denser veggies like potatoes will require more cooking time than vegetables like asparagus (here’s a quick reference guide).

Menu of the Week

In Southern California, it’s almost always grilling season, so I tend to think about cooking outside whenever I cook certain cuts of meat. A flank steak with a chimichurri sauce is a perfect signal that it’s time to set up the outside table!

While I like to dip my potatoes in the chimichurri, you can make a quick creamy ranch-style dressing with mayonnaise, sour cream or greek yogurt, and a bit of seasoning. This can offset the garlicky, peppery heat of the chimichurri sauce!

  • Grilled Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
  • Roasted Salt and Pepper Potatoes
  • Grilled Corn on the Cob or Grilled Stone Fruit

Filipino Garlic Fried Rice with Vinegar Sauce (Sinangag-Style)

First off, this is not an authentic Sinangag. When I discovered this fried rice dish, I also discovered that every household in the Philippines has its own spin on the traditional breakfast dish. Some use garlic and rice only. Some add soy sauce.

Many serve the vinegar sauce on the side only. As I played with variations on the recipe, I felt the rice needed a bit liquid while stir frying. I hit upon this approach after misreading a recipe in Saveur (http://www.saveur.com/article/recipes/filipino-garlic-fried-rice-with-vinegar-sauce-sinangag). Adding the sauce to the stir fried rice mellows the vinegar and garlic a bit, while incorporating heat from the red chile flakes.

If you prefer, omit the sauce while stir frying. You’ll still need a good amount of garlic, remembering to reserve some for a crunch topping. It will be delicious either way.

Grilled Romaine Halves with Caesar Dressing

During the summer, it’s natural to throw everything on the grill, and salads are no exception. Sure, you can do fantastic grilled veggie salads tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette. Or you can impress your guests with this unexpected grilled Romaine salad.

Just brush the cut halves of Romaine heads with a bit of olive oil (I have a lemon-flavored oil I use for this) and grill for a few minutes on each side while your meat is resting.

The traditional Caesar dressing can be made in the blender or food processor (or by hand if you’re feeling energetic). Don’t skip the anchovies — they add incredible flavor and nobody (but you) will know they’re there.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try this with Iceberg lettuce to make a very different kind of wedge salad.

Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

You cannot tear me away from a good potato salad (or any good potato, for that matter). I love the mix of starchy potato with a great dressing. Over the years, I’ve shifted toward vinaigrette dressings for my potato salads because it feels lighter, especially on hot summer evenings. This recipe has been my summer go-to potato salad for several years now. It even catches the attention of those who, and I cannot understand this!, don’t like potato salad.[box type=”info” size=”large”]Make It A Meal!
Serve with grilled tri-trip, roasted corn, and grilled summer fruit with ice cream.[/box]

Quick Pickled Carrot Sticks

I started craving pickled carrots after a great chirashi at a Japanese restaurant. A chirashi is, essentially, a dish of sushi rice topped with an assortment of fish. This particular meal came with about four tiny pickled carrots…and, oh, they were good.

So while I was making my own chirashi, I thought “I have carrots, I have time, I want pickled carrots.” And they were so easy. I served them that night, but they keep for about a month in the refrigerator, meaning that lovely pickly flavor keeps building over time.

[box type=”note” style=”rounded” border=”full”]You can use this basic recipe to pickle other kinds of vegetables as well[/box]