Garlic Fries

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Well folks, it’s back to reality after 10 weeks of summer vacation. This was the first summer since 1998 where I didn’t lifeguard on the beach, so having a summer completely free was very…blissful. And honestly a little crazy. So the idea of a little structure back in my life isn’t exactly the worst thing to happen to me. Although I will miss watching Investigation Discovery for hours on end in the middle of the day, because I am a wee bit obsessed with that channel.  This structured life welcomes alarms, schedules, and planned dinners most nights. Get back to me in four weeks from now and perhaps I won’t sound so enthusiastically.

Road trip with my Roscoe :)
Road trip with my Roscoe 🙂

I have been roasting potatoes since I’ve learned how to use an oven. Soo, there really is no excuse why I haven’t thought of adding garlic to this recipe, because now that I have, they are the most outstanding fries I’ve ever eaten. Ever. I spent a day last week making these a few different ways to bring you the most perfected recipe, and what I found is that less is more. I’ve said that before and it’s the truth. I took some tidbits from some of my favorite cookbooks and chefs, but what I found was that it was unnecessary and tedious – unless you enjoy spending an hour dipping potato wedges into a garlic/oil mixture which only amounts to half a potato.

Cyclones game with my friend, Jen.
Cyclones game with my friend, Jen.

During my first attempt, I blanched the potato wedges in boiling water for a few minutes and then plunged them into ice water to stop the cooking process. Once dry, I dipped each one into a paste of oil, garlic powder, and salt; however, it was so thick that it was difficult to coat each fry, thereby taking a good three minutes to spread the paste onto each one. They tasted great, but the process was far too lengthy. After a couple of attempts, each tweaked a little here a little there, I came up with not just the easiest of the methods, but the most delicious as well!

Luau party with my friend and co-teacher, Teeny :)
Luau party with my friend and co-teacher, Teeny 🙂

Ingredients:

  • about 2 potatoes (russet or Yukon gold)
  • about 1 cup garlic powder
  • about 1/2 cup oil (I used avocado oil because it is a high heat oil – its properties don’t change when baking.)
  • salt to taste
  • optional: one bulb of garlic, minced

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Wash each potato but do not peel.
  3. Cut each potato into 1/8 to 1/4 inch wedges – start by cutting each potato in half horizontally, and then create wedges out of each half.
  4. Lay each piece on a baking sheet so that there is no overlapping. Use a spoon or other utensil to drizzle the oil onto each wedge. Then generously apply the garlic powder to each piece, coating each wedge entirely. If you love garlic like I do, you cannot put too much on. You should notice that the oil and powder should begin to form a paste. (This is why I found my first attempt at dipping them into a paste irrelevant.) Sprinkle salt over each piece, and lastly, sprinkle a generous pinch of minced garlic over the potatoes. (Note: The reason the minced garlic is optional is because the garlic powder gives more than enough flavor, but if you’re like me and you like a little extra texture/crunch, go ahead and add it. Plus, if you’re making these for a crowd, it’s aesthetically pleasing!)
  5. Flip each wedge over and repeat the process.
  6. Bake for about 10 minutes on each side. If you like them a little crunchy, put them under the broiler for 3-4 minutes, but do not forget about them! They can easily go from lightly browned to burnt in a matter of a minute.
  7. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. Mine is my garlic aioli recipe.

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Fiesta Salad

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Well, it’s been a hot minute, but now that the summer is in full swing and I’m off from work for two months, I’m able to focus more of my attention to things I love, like this blog! Things are looking very optimistic over here: our boardwalk is coming back together after Sandy and it’s more gorgeous than ever; my mom is in town from Florida for the summer, so I get to spend more time with her; and the energy here in Rockaway is suffused with creativity and innovation.

IMG_1880I’ve been cooking up some delicious recipes in the balanced bella kitchen, and I’m looking forward to sharing them with you. I chose to blog about this fiesta salad because some of you may be attending a Fourth of July party and want to bring something that is sure to be a crowd pleaser. I’m all about versatility, and this dish can be eaten like a salad, as a dip, poured over rice, and as a side dish (even though I ate it by itself for dinner, so I suppose it’s a main dish as well…).

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Ingredients:

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup avocado oil (olive or vegetable oil could be used as a substitute)
  • 1/8 cup (2 Tbsp) red wine vinegar
  • 1/8 cup (2 Tbsp) lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp agave
  • 1/2 tsp cumin

Salad

  • 2 ears of corn
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 avocado
  • salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Remove the husks and wrap in aluminum foil. (Some skip this step and bake the corn with the husks still on.) Bake the corn for 25 minutes.
  2. Combine all dressing ingredients and whisk together well.
  3. Once the corn is cooked, use a knife to shave off the corn kernels.
  4. Add the corn and the other salad ingredients to a large bowl. Since the beans and avocado are more delicate than the rest, I like to stir the other ingredients together first, then add the last two ingredients.
  5. Drizzle the dressing on top of the salad and mix well. Garnish with a lime wedge and cilantro. Enjoy!

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