White Borscht

Before I was introduced to this recipe, I thought that borscht was always a deep red, beet-based soup. I now know that borscht means “sour.” The sour tang in this soup comes from soaking sourdough bread in the broth, puréeing it, and incorporating it into the finished soup, along with crème fraiche which is stirred in just prior to serving.

I made my first homemade borscht (the beet-based version) for Christmas Eve, and my husband purchased pierogies at a Polish store for the same meal. Luckily, I saw this recipe and he was also able to buy house-made garlic kielbasa for this soup. The quality of the kielbasa is very important because it is used to create the broth for the base of this soup.

This recipe is from The New York Times, contributed by Gabrielle Hamilton.  I followed the recipe closely, but may decrease the amount of butter next time- I’m not sure it was necessary! (but it was quite delicious 😉 ) It was a creamy, indulgent, and delicious upgrade of potato-leek soup. Fabulous cold-weather comfort food.

Yield: 5 quarts, Serves 10 to 12

  • 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 pounds full horseshoe link of high-quality smoked kielbasa
  • 5 fresh bay leaves
  • 3 pounds leeks (6 long, lively leeks)
  • 3 pounds russet potatoes (about 4)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 large yellow onion, small-diced (about 2 cups)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 (4-ounce) hunk of dense, very sour sourdough bread, crusts removed
  • 1 full tablespoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  • 1 bunch fresh dill, woody stems removed, fronds minced

Italian Potato-Pasta Soup with Greens

My husband is not partial to brothy soups. Making this one required some convincing, but I was able to win him over by the inclusion of pasta and potatoes. By the way, he loved it. 🙂

This wonderful soup recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by David Tanis. I increased the onions, garlic, and kale, and added fresh lemon juice. I also used my homemade turkey stock. We ate it with a green salad, of course, and sliced sourdough baguette. It was surprisingly filling! Absolutely delicious too.

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for garnish
  • 2 cups+ diced onion (I used 1 1/2 large onions)
  • 1 cup diced carrot
  • 1 cup diced fennel or celery
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 large thyme sprig or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • parmesan rind, optional
  • 3 quarts/12 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth or water (I used  2 quarts of homemade turkey stock and 1 quart of chicken stock)
  • 2 pounds medium-size starchy potatoes, such as Yukon Golds or russets, peeled (if desired) and cut in 1-inch chunks (I skipped peeling the potatoes)
  • 6 to 8 ounces kale or chard, stems removed, leaves sliced across into 1/2-inch ribbons (about 6-7 cups total)
  • ½ pound dried pennette, orecchiette or other small pasta
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary or marjoram, for garnish
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
  1. In a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add onion, carrot and fennel, stir, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until softened and golden, 5 to 10 minutes. Adjust the heat to prevent vegetables from browning or scorching.
  2. Stir in bay leaf, thyme sprig, garlic, paprika tomato paste, and parmesan rind (if using), and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add broth, potatoes and a large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a brisk simmer. Cook until potatoes are cooked through but still firm, 12 to 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
  3. Stir in kale and pasta and simmer another 10 minutes, or until greens are well cooked and pasta is done. (Soup can be made up to this point, without the pasta, cooled and refrigerated for up to 3 days.)
  4. Add the fresh lemon juice and stir to incorporate.
  5. Ladle soup into bowls, and sprinkle with chopped rosemary and Parmesan. Drizzle each serving with a teaspoon of olive oil, if desired. Pass extra Parmesan at the table.

Note: If making ahead of time, do not add the pasta until reheating.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Four Years Ago:

Five Years Ago:

Classic Potato Gratin

I think that this is all my son ate during our Thanksgiving Feast! (BOTH days…) I loved that the russet potatoes were left unpeeled. 🙂 Not only did it make the dish easier to prepare, the presentation was prettier and it was more healthy too! Well, at least it had more vitamins….

This recipe is from Bon Appetit, contributed by Claire Saffitz. I set the mandolin to 1/8″ to slice the potatoes. Starchy side dish perfection. 🙂

Yield: Serves 12

  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and divided
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 medium shallots, peeled and quartered through root ends
  • 2½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves, plus more
  • 4 pounds russet potatoes, scrubbed, very thinly sliced on a mandolin
  • 3 ounces Gruyère, finely grated
  • 1 ounce Parmesan, finely grated
  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Cut 1 garlic clove in half and rub the inside of a 3-qt. shallow baking dish with cut sides. Smear butter all over inside of dish.
  3. Bring shallots, cream, salt, pepper, 1 Tbsp. thyme, and remaining 4 garlic cloves to a simmer in a small saucepan over low heat; cook until shallots and garlic are very soft, 15–20 minutes. Let cool slightly. Transfer to a blender; blend until smooth. (I used a Vitamix.)
  4. Arrange potato slices in prepared dish, fanning out a handful at a time and placing in dish at an angle (this ensures every scoop will have tender potatoes from the bottom and crisp edges from the top). Shingle as you work until bottom of dish is covered. Tuck smaller slices into any gaps to fill.
  5. Pour cream mixture over potatoes and cover dish tightly with foil. Bake potatoes until tender and creamy, 60–75 minutes. Let cool.
  6. Place rack in highest position; heat broiler. Remove foil and top potatoes with Gruyère and Parmesan. Broil until cheese is bubbling and top of gratin is golden brown, 5–10 minutes. Serve topped with more thyme leaves, if desired.

Note: Gratin can be baked 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before broiling.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

  • Mashed Golden Earthworm Organic Farm Potatoes

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

IMG_1227

When I saw this recipe from Nancy of Feasting with Friends, I forwarded a link to my husband at work to see if he would like to have it as part of our Thanksgiving feast. The response: “Are you joking? Of course!”

This casserole was insanely HUGE! My son ate potato casserole with a side of potato casserole for his Thanksgiving feast. 🙂 My husband ate his fair share as well- they were both absolutely thrilled- especially with the cheesy bacon topping. 🙂 This tasty recipe was adapted from Feasting with Friends. I used fat-free Greek yogurt in lieu of sour cream. (No one noticed….)

Yield: Serves 15+

  • 18 medium russet potatoes
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt (I used fat-free Greek yogurt)
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 – 1 cup of whole milk (may use less depending on consistency of potatoes)
  • 8 slices of bacon, fried until crispy and crumbled
  • 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • chopped chives
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (convection). Scrub potatoes and pierce each several times with a fork or sharp knife.
  2. Bake the potatoes (directly on the oven rack) for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Fully cooked potatoes will give slightly when squeezed (use an oven mitt – they’ll be hot).
  3. If baking completed dish immediately after prep, reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
  4. Cool potatoes slightly, until able to handle. Spritz a baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
  5. Cut each potato in half. Scoop out the insides and place in a large mixing bowl. Set the skins aside.
  6. In two batches, using a stand mixer, stir on low until potatoes are broken down a bit, incorporating about 1/2 cup of milk in each batch. Add half of the cream cheese, sour cream or yogurt, butter, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Repeat with the second batch.
  7. Taste, and adjust seasoning as needed. Add additional milk (a tablespoon or so at a time) if potato mixture is too thick.
  8. Roughly chop about 1/2 of the potato skins and place in the prepared baking dish. Using a large spoon, place the potato mixture on top of the skins. Smooth and level the potatoes. Cover with foil.
  9. At this point, the potatoes can be baked immediately, or stored in the refrigerator for 24 hours. If refrigerating, allow dish to stand at room temperature about 1 to 2 hours prior to baking and start in a cold oven, set to 325°F. Add about 10 minutes to the bake time below.
  10. Bake about 35 to 45 minutes, remove foil and bake about 10 more minutes until the potatoes are completely heated through. Immediately after removing from the oven, top the potatoes with the shredded cheese and crumpled bacon. Return to oven briefly to melt the cheese.
  11. Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving.

Note: Fewer guests? For every 3 potatoes, use approximately: 1 ounce cream cheese, 2 Tablespoons sour cream, 1 Tablespoon butter, 1/2 clove minced garlic, 2 Tablespoons milk, 1/2 cup shredded cheddar and 1 slice crumbled, cooked bacon.

IMG_1224

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Whole Wheat Potato-Spinach Gnocchi with Kale-Walnut Pesto

IMG_8155

In the past, I have found making gnocchi to be a frustrating experience. I blame my previous difficulty on waterlogged potatoes… In this recipe, the potatoes are baked prior to ricing- no water involved- it worked perfectly!  The gnocchi were tender, soft, and pillowy. This dish was inspired by alamain.net. The recipe for gnocchi was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Grace Parisi. I modified it by adding spinach, using whole wheat flour, and dressing it with pesto. The pesto recipe was adapted from alamain.net. I used Tuscan Kale instead of Rainbow Kale, Grana Padano instead of Parmesan, and walnuts instead of pine nuts. I doubled the gnocchi recipe to freeze a batch for later. Green, healthy, and delicious!

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

For the Gnocchi:

  • 4 pounds russet potatoes (about 6) (enough to make 5 cups riced potatoes)
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, or enough to achieve desired dough texture, plus more for dusting
  • 6 oz baby spinach
  • 1 T olive oil
  • Kale-Walnut Pesto (recipe follows)
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Pierce the potatoes all over with a fork. Alternatively, bake the potatoes in the oven for about 1 hour, until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, sauté the baby spinach in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool. Using the potato ricer, squeeze out excess moisture from the spinach. Finely chop the drained spinach in a food processor.
  3. Halve the potatoes. Scoop the flesh into a ricer and rice the potatoes. IMG_8138 Transfer 5 slightly packed cups of riced potatoes to a bowl. Stir in the egg yolks, drained and chopped spinach, and 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Add the 1 to 1 1/2 cups of flour; stir until a stiff dough forms. Knead the dough gently until smooth but slightly sticky, adding more flour if necessary.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and dust with flour. On a floured surface, cut the dough into 16 pieces, rolling each into a 3/4-inch-thick rope. Cut the ropes into 3/4-inch pieces.
  5. With your thumb, roll each piece against the tines of a fork to make ridges (I dusted the gnocchi, fork, and my thumb with flour before rolling); transfer to the baking sheet.
  6. In a large pot of simmering salted water, cook the gnocchi in batches until they rise to the surface, then simmer for 2 minutes longer. Repeat as necessary. (Do not overcrowd!)
  7. Toss the gnocchi with pesto to cover, sprinkle with the cheese, and serve.

MAKE AHEAD: The uncooked gnocchi pieces can be frozen on the prepared baking sheet, transferred to a resealable plastic bag, and frozen for up to 1 month. Boil without defrosting. (I reserved half of the batch.)

For the Kale-Walnut Pesto

  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1 cup Tuscan kale
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Grana Padano
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until paste consistency is reached. Store in an airtight container.

IMG_8167

One Year Ago:

If you like this you may also like:

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,347 other followers

Recipe Categories

my foodgawker gallery
my photos on tastespotting

Top Posts & Pages

Ravneet Gill's Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
One-Pot Crispy Gnocchi with Burst Tomatoes & Fresh Mozzarella
Churro Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Ina Garten's Easy French Apple Tart
Ottolenghi's Zucchini "Baba Ghanoush"
Bread Machine Brioche
One-Pot Chicken Thighs with Black Beans, Rice & Chiles
Ina Garten's Caramelized Onion, Tomato & Goat Cheese Tarts
Roasted Lemon Chicken over Garlicky Greens & Rice with Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce
Pesto-ish Risotto
Foodista Food Blog of the Day Badge
%d bloggers like this: