Oven Fries

I’ve been trying to get these right for a long time. After combining elements from several different recipes, I think I’ve finally hit on a winner. This recipe will probably make enough for four adult portions.

1 1/2 lbs medium potatoes – mealy or waxy, I don’t think it matters. Use what you like.
3 T olive oil
1/2 t coarse salt
1/2 t pepper

1. Preheat oven to 500°F. If your oven doesn’t get up that high, turn it as high as it will go. Seriously, do the preheat, because you want the oven ready as soon as you’re done dealing with the potatoes. Use a baking sheet with low sides (if the sides are too high, the fries with just steam; no sides and you’ll have an oily mess all over your oven). Line the baking sheet with heavy foil, shiny side up, and put it in the oven while preheating.

2. After washing and allowing the potatoes to dry, slice them into fries (peel the potatoes if you want to – I don’t). You want them to be roughly the same length and not much thicker than 1/3 inch. Toss the fries with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Take the baking sheet out of the hot oven and arrange fries, cut side down, in a single layer (they will sizzle upon hitting the pan).

3. Turn the oven down to 450°F and bake the fries for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, take them out and carefully turn them with a pair of tongs (they will probably stick a little), then bake for another 5-10 minutes on the other side.

4. After baking, toss the fries with more salt and pepper if desired and serve immediately.

Note from Cliff on 2010-11-07: Use parchment paper instead of foil as the layer separating the taters from the cookie sheet and they won’t stick or otherwise make a mess when it’s time to flip/serve them.

Sautéed Green Beans

My mom made this years ago from a magazine recipe – Good Housekeeping or Southern Living, probably. I decided I wanted to make it for Thanksgiving this year, but she didn’t have the recipe anymore. I remembered the ingredients and the cooking method, so I just started making up the proportions. I think it turned out rather well.

1 lb fresh green beans
1 tsp salt
1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 large shallot, sliced thin
2-3 T butter
1/2 tsp lemon pepper

1. Trim the ends off of the beans and give them a good rinse. Add the beans and salt to a large stock pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer briefly – 2 minutes for very crisp beans, 5 for well-cooked. Drain beans and set aside.

2. Bring a large skillet to medium high heat. Melt butter in pan and add bell pepper and shallots. Cook until pepper softens and shallot is transparent, then add beans and the rest of the butter. Turn heat down to medium low and stir beans frequently, until heated through. Add lemon pepper and serve.

Potato Latkes

Gentiles: these are something you should really experience, if you never have. You may know them as “potato pancakes,” if you’re not familiar with them from an Eastern European/Jewish cuisine background. Potato pancakes are kind of seasonal fare here in Germany, often sold by street vendors fresh out of the fryer with apple sauce to sweeten them up and cool them down somewhat. We had some at the Weihnachtsmarkt out on the square, but they paled in comparison to the ones I had in Cologne. So Sarah found a recipe, and we made them, and they are just awesome. We were inspired by this recipe.

6 large potatoes, peeled
1 large onion
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon baking powder
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
1 pinch sugar
flour (enough to hold ingredients together, you’ll be able to tell when you’ve added enough)
shortening (we used butter-flavored shortening)

Cut peeled potatoes into chunks or spears and shred in food processor. Cut onions into chunks and shred in food processor.Mix potatoes and onions together in a colander over a large bowl. Allow to drain.

Pour mixture into a large bowl and add beaten eggs, salt, pepper, baking powder, sugar, and a tablespoon of flour at-a-time until mixture holds together. Mix well.

Latkes In a fry pan, melt shortening. You’ll need about 1/8″. Spoon heaping tablespoons of the mixture into the oil. Flatten each spoonful with the back of the spoon to make thin latkes. Fry until the edges turn a dark brown. Flip over to fry the other side.

Drain on a paper towel. Serve with apple sauce and/or sour cream.

Cabbage Roll Casserole

I’ve never actually had a cabbage roll, but I’ve read recipes and it looks like more work than I want to do. I found this recipe that cuts out all the rolling – it’s tasty and not terribly complicated. The only issue I have is coring the cabbage. Serves 6-8.

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 c chopped onion
3 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 can tomato sauce (14.5 oz of 29 oz can)
2 T Worcestshire sauce
1 3/4 lb chopped cabbage
1/3 c uncooked rice
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1 (14 oz) can beef broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large skillet, brown beef, onion and garlic in oil over medium high heat until redness is gone. Drain off fat.

In a large mixing bowl combine the tomato sauce, Worcestshire sauce, cabbage, rice, salt, pepper and paprika. Add meat mixture and mix all together. Pour mixture into a 9×13 inch baking dish. Pour broth over mixture and bake in the preheated oven, covered, for 1 hour. Stir, replace cover and bake for another 30 minutes.

Susie’s German Potato Salad (Kartoffelsalat)

I have been craving this for quite a while. The potato salad here in Germany is actually very similar to my mom’s, but not exactly the same. And no matter what, your mom’s version is always the best.

6 large red potatoes
6 slices bacon
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 T flour
1 T sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp celery salt
black pepper (to taste)
3/4 c water
1/3 c cider vinegar

Boil potatoes (whole and unpeeled) for 20-30 minutes on low. Potatoes are done when you can stick a knife in and the potato slides off. Drain potatoes and set aside to cool. Once they’re cool, peel and slice potatoes.

Fry bacon until crisp in deep skillet. Remove bacon from pan and set aside. Add onion to pan and fry in bacon grease until soft. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and add to onions, stirring frequently until forming a crumbly paste. Pour water and vinegar into skillet, stirring until a sauce forms. Bring sauce to a boil for one minute and stir until thickened.

Add crumbled bacon and sliced potatoes to skillet and stir until coated with sauce. Allow potatoes to sit for at least one hour and serve warm (but not hot).

Asian Cole Slaw

I detest creamy cole slaw, but the more vinegary kind is pretty tasty, I find. We were going to a Thai barbeque and needed to bring something that would compliment the other dishes. I think we found it!

Dressing
6 T rice wine vinegar
6 T vegetable oil
5 T creamy peanut butter
3 T soy sauce
3 T brown sugar
2 T minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 T minced garlic

Slaw
5 c thinly sliced green cabbage
2 c thinly sliced red cabbage
2 c shredded napa cabbage
2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
2 carrots, julienned
6 green onions, chopped
1/2 c chopped fresh cilantro

In a medium bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, oil, peanut butter, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic. In a large bowl, mix the green cabbage, red cabbage, napa cabbage, red bell peppers, carrots, green onions, and cilantro. Toss with the peanut butter mixture just before serving.