Week 8: post-Easter bliss

The first recipes from this week are a few days late due to the usual post-Easter bliss. My apologies to those who have been impatiently waiting to discover the secrets of Hasselback Potatoes or, arguably more important (depending on your spiritual affiliations), Heaven and Earth.

We’ve had a steady stream of company since Palm Sunday = more mouths to eat our surplus, plus the excuse to try out some new recipes: fresh tuna poached in olive oil (and its leftovers that became a tuna-mushroom-sun-dried tomato quiche), chicken marinated in Rooibos tea, fish fingers with a macadamia crust, an ostrich roast for Easter Sunday, a whole salmon baked in a salt crust, and yesterday a Hungarian use-up-your-leftover-hard-boiled-eggs and potato casserole. I’ll divulge these recipes slowly so that, perhaps, chez-maureen can continue even after the last spud has been cooked. Please note, lest you get the false impression that a parent of two under 4 is capable of preparing such dishes on the whim: all of the previously cited recipes were possible due exclusively to the full-time toddler-occupation program, Oma (Grandma).

All the festive food, plus more chocolate paraphernalia than we need, means it’s back to root vegetables for awhile.

A few years back I received as a gift an original, mint condition, first run, 1980 edition of Betty Crocker’s International Cookbook. Despite the fact that I was clearly now in possession of a heavily sought-after and arguably priceless volume of recipes, nearly like having the premier authority on American cooking (Mrs. Crocker) sitting in my kitchen, the cookbook was largely overlooked. Until now. I’ve prepared pretty much all of the potato, apple and carrot dishes that I could think of off the top of my head. Time to pull out all the stops. Betty? You’re up!

Hasselback Potatoes

Himmel und Erde (Heaven and earth)

Potato Soufflé

(Mock) Irish stew

Sick of potatoes, apples and carrots? Try this:

Poisson en papillote (Fish in parchment paper)

Hasselback Potatoes

Google failed to provide an adequate definition of “hasselback”. In my fruitless search I did however learn more than I ever wanted to know about American talk show host Elizabeth Hasselbeck—no apparent relation to the potato recipe below. Our only hint is good friend Betty’s indication that the recipe is Swedish baked potatoes: “easy to eat and to serve—and go especially well with roasts and baked fish dishes”.

Potatoes, 6 (one per person)

Butter, 60 g (¼ cup)

Parmesan cheese, grated, ¼ cup

Dry bread crumbs, 2 Tbsp.

Salt & pepper

Paprika

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (180°C)
  2. Wash and dry potatoes. Cut them only ¾ of the way crosswise. The more whimsical and elaborate your pattern, the better. (No, you’re right, no one will care and it won’t at all increase the chances of the toddlers eating them, but you can be proud of your artistic expression—“I bet the Swedes haven’t thought of this one yet!”) To avoid slicing too far into the potato, place the spud in a large spoon and only cut until the knife hits the edge of the spoon.
  1. Grease a baking dish. Place potatoes (cut design upwards) into pan.
  2. Brush with melted butter and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake 45 minutes, brushing twice with melted butter.
  4. Combine grated Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Sprinkle on potatoes. Sprinkle on paprika.
  1. Bake a further 20 to 30 minutes until cooked through.

Hasselback Potatoes

Swedish baked potatoes: “easy to eat and to serve—and go especially well with roasts and baked fish dishes”.
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • Potatoes 6 (one per person)
  • Butter 60 g (¼ cup)
  • Parmesan cheese grated, ¼ cup
  • Dry bread crumbs 2 Tbsp.
  • Salt & pepper
  • Paprika

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F (180°C).
  • Wash and dry potatoes. Cut them only ¾ of the way crosswise. To avoid slicing too far into the potato, place the spud in a large spoon and only cut until the knife hits the edge of the spoon.
  • Grease a baking dish. Place potatoes (cut design upwards) into pan.
  • Brush with melted butter and season with salt and pepper.
  • Bake 45 minutes, brushing twice with melted butter.
  • Combine grated Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Sprinkle on potatoes. Sprinkle on paprika.
  • Bake a further 20 to 30 minutes until cooked through.

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Himmel und Erde (Heaven and earth)

A northern German dish, served with blood sausage and more precisely translated as “apples and potatoes”, was an obvious candidate for our surplus survival guide. Even the toddlers ate it up. If blood sausage isn’t your thing, the very agreeable Himmel und Erde can be served with just about anything else. And, I should mention, it’s easy enough to pull off even if you’re having a hell of a day.

Potatoes, 4 medium, cut into small cubes (peeling optional)

Apples, tart, 2, sliced

Sugar, 1 Tbsp.

Bacon, 4 slices, cut into 1 inch pieces

Onion, 1, medium, sliced

Butter, 1 Tbsp.

Nutmeg

  1. Heat 2 cm (1 in) of salted water to boiling. Add cubed potatoes, sliced apples and sugar. Once it returns to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes.
  1. While the potatoes and apples are cooking away, after addressing all urgent toddler demands, fry the bacon. Add and fry the onion. (Drain off a bit of the grease if you have the privilege of using real bacon. If you’re using French “lardons”, you may even need to add a bit of oil for the onion.)
  2. Place drained apples and potatoes into your serving bowl.
  3. Top with small pieces of butter, sprinkle on nutmeg. Serve onions and bacon on top.
Himmel und Erde, served with baked chicken (parsley exclusively for dramatic effect)

Himmel und Erde (Heaven and earth)

A northern German dish, served with blood sausage and more precisely translated as “apples and potatoes”, was an obvious candidate for our surplus survival guide.
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • Potatoes 4 medium, cut into small cubes (peeling optional)
  • Apples tart, 2, sliced
  • Sugar 1 Tbsp.
  • Bacon 4 slices, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • Onion 1, medium, sliced
  • Butter 1 Tbsp.
  • Nutmeg

Instructions

  • Heat 2 cm (1 in) of salted water to boiling. Add cubed potatoes, sliced apples and sugar. Once it returns to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes.
  • While the potatoes and apples are cooking away, fry the bacon. Add and fry the onion. (Drain off a bit of the grease if you have the privilege of using real bacon. If you’re using French “lardons”, you may even need to add a bit of oil for the onion.)
  • Place drained apples and potatoes into your serving bowl.
  • Top with small pieces of butter, sprinkle on nutmeg. Serve onions and bacon on top.

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And more international dishes, interpreted by Mrs. Crocker for the American audience, and now re-interpreted by chez-maureen for the international audience, later this week:

Potato Soufflé

(Mock) Irish stew

Poisson en papillote (Fish in parchment paper)

As always, your comments, thoughts and recipe ideas are welcome below.

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