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Winter Root Vegetable Tart

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I’ve been wanting to make something simple and seasonal, and this recipe fits the bill. There’s no real Wow! factor, but it was just very simply delicious.

I used my quiche dough and made it two days a head of time, so that when I went to roll out the dough it was very chilled, and it worked a lot better this time! As a result, I think the crust was super flaky and extra tasty. I rolled out the dough, prebaked it at 375 with a weight for 20 minutes, removed the weight and baked another 15 minutes. While the crust was prebaking, I got started on prepping my root veggies.

After collecting a variety of root vegetables at the farmer’s market and the grocery store, I got out my new favorite kitchen toy: the mandolin, and sliced them up thinly, about 2mm thickness. You could do it by hand as well, but my slices are never than thin, or that even, and I wanted the veggies to cook evenly.

I used a russet potato, a large parsnip, a rutabaga, a sweet potato, and 2 golden beets. I ended up using 3/4 of the veggies I cut, but if you make this, I would pile the veggies higher and use all of them, because Brent really wishes the veggie layer was thicker. After slicing all the veg, I arranged them in layers in the crust. You could do 1 layer for each veg, or do like I did and alternate the veggies, so each layers gets all the vegetables. After each thin layer, I drizzled it with a thin layer of olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. I should include more prep photos, but I always forget! I think I had 5 or 6 thin layers total. After the last layer, I again drizzled with olive oil, salt, pepper, and then added a bit of rosemary.

The tart went back into the oven for 35 minutes at 375. After 35 minutes, I opened the oven door and sprinkled some crumbled goat cheese over the tart and baked for an additional 10 minutes. The goat cheese isn’t necessary, but I decided to add it at the last minute because I thought it would go with the beets and other veggies. Goat cheese is always delicious. 🙂

Don’t worry about brown edges. The top layer wrinkled up and browned a bit, making it even more delicious! This was flaky and comforting and totally tasty. I would definitely make it again! I think using all different varieties of beets and adding more goat cheese would be pretty stellar as well.

This makes great leftovers too! I reheat it in the oven at 325 for 10 minutes and it comes out tasting exactly like it did the first time.

Winter Root Vegetable Tart

  • One recipe pastry dough for an 11″ tart
  • 1 Russet potato
  • 1 Sweet Potato
  • 1 Rutabaga
  • 1 (big) Parsnip
  • 2 (medium) Golden Beets
  • Extra-virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Rosemary (I used dried, but fresh would be good)
  • 2oz Goat Cheese (optional)
  1. After chilling dough for at least one hour, roll out into a 13 inch circle.
  2. Carefully place dough into a tart pan and press gently into shape.
  3. Jab the dough with a fork a few times.
  4. Place pie weights, dried beans or another weight mechanism onto the dough and bake at 375 for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove weight and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile…
  7. Set a mandolin slicer to 2mm and slice all of the vegetables.
  8. When the pastry has prebaked, begin arranging the vegetable slices in slightly overlapping layers in the crust.
  9. After each layer, drizzle with approximately 1t. olive oil and sprinkle with a dash each of salt and pepper.
  10. Repeat layering process until the tart is all full – these vegetables will cook down a little bit, so you can go over a bit if you want.
  11. Drizzle with 1t. olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and rosemary.
  12. Bake tart for 35 minutes at 375.
  13. After 35 minutes, sprinkle with goat cheese and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  14. Slice and enjoy!

This was a fun way to incorporate a ton of winter vegetables without simply roasting them. Roasted root vegetables are delicious, but it’s nice to have them prepared in another way! 🙂

Brent turns 29

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Today was Brent’s 29th birthday. I make a big deal out of birthdays. Brent thinks of them as just another day, but I like to make them special. I started out waking up early so I could make Brent’s breakfast before he got up. I made some biscuits with bacon gravy. The biscuits were delicious. I’m not sure about the gravy because I do not get down with gravy, but Brent seemed to enjoy it. I just ate a plain biscuit and some coffee because I had plans to run later in the morning.

While Brent was at work, I made use of my time off and made a ton of stuff in the kitchen, including Brent’s birthday cupcakes. I love to bake – especially for birthdays, so I basically insisted Brent find something for me to bake for his birthday. He skimmed through Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and decided on Lemony Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream. He’s really been into citrus flavored sorbets this summer, so he wanted something that would taste “refreshing” when he bit into it.

These were wonderful, and I thought they looked pretty cute too! Brent really seemed to like them, so I was happy.

Of course, we had to have dinner before dessert. I’m slightly ashamed to say, Brent actually made his own birthday dinner. He decided he wanted Steak & Frites, and I’m not great with cooking meat or frying things, so he chose to do it himself. He made steak au poivre from Alton Brown and french fries from Serious Eats. The fries were a production. He started them yesterday! They involve frying, then freezing, then frying again. I do have to say these were some freaking amazing french fries, so if you’re looking for a salty, crispy, stick of potato goodness, I recommend these. The steak was good, but it was probably my least favorite part of the meal. I was just too enamored with the fries and the arugula, beet & goat cheese salad I threw together to add color and veg to the plate. I LOVE this salad.

An impressive looking plate, right? Enjoyed every bite! 🙂

After dinner we went out for a drink with some friends and it was way more trouble than it was worth. We got there at 8:30 and they were out of the first 4 types of beer Brent tried to order, and then when we finally got a drink, the bartender told us they were closing in 3 minutes at 9pm. The bartender felt a little bad for us, so he let us hang out a have a drink with our friends while he closed up. It was very nice of him, but what kind of bar runs out of most of their beer and closes at 9pm?!

We’re now ending the evening watching Futurama in bed… it must be Brent’s special day, because I can’t stand this show! I’m making freezer jam with my friend tomorrow! 🙂

In the Doghouse

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It has a been a DAY! My alarm went off at 4:45am as it does every Wednesday and Thursday 😦 and when I came downstairs I discovered our trash had been ransacked — most likely culprit Larry — and the beet skins from yesterday, as well as the rest of the trash, was scattered and smeared across out living and dining room carpet. I was beside myself, and immediately went and woke Brent up to yell at him about what his dog had done. I got the trash picked up, ate some yogurt and made my way to the hospital.

11 hours later I was back at home and exhausted. Luckily I was prepared and had made tonight’s dinner yesterday and only had to bake it for 20 minutes. I made these Twice Baked Salmon Potatoes, which I’ve made once before. I think they turned out much better this time and mine was delicious.

Unfortunately… I was eating my potato on the couch using the coffee table, and my mom called me half way through eating. I stepped away from the couch to talk to my mom and when I came back 90 seconds later — one of the dogs had eaten the other half of my potato! Ugh. I was so pissed. I have definitely not been a proud pet parent today. I’m still annoyed, but I usually forgive the dogs pretty quickly so hopefully tomorrow will bring an improvement in their behavior and my mood.

In more exciting news, next week is my last week of class, and the week after that is my birthday! Exciting things to look forward to. 🙂

Belated Valentine’s Day Post

Hey all. My posting has been so sporadic, sometimes I wonder why I bother, but the blog is (if nothing else) a fun reference for me when I’m meal-planning. On to tonight’s post. If you read last year’s Valentine’s Day dinner, you may remember that Brent always cooks me dinner. This year was no exception.

While he was preparing dinner, Brent presented me with a cocktail ( also tradition), which was Stoli strawberry vodka, lime juice, and some sort of punch. Delicious and pretty. 🙂

Our appetizer was a mixed baby greens salad, topped with balsamic caramelized onions. He just sautéed this until caramelized and added splash of vinegar to deglaze the pan. At least I think that’s what he did. I was on the couch 😉 These onions elevate any salad to spectacular.

For our main course, Brent went with Sole Meuniere and fingerling potatoes. I love these potatoes! Unfortunately, the sauce for the fish was just a bit too sour. I guess I don’t love lemon as much as I thought I did, but it was nice to try something different.

In addition to schoolwork, I’ve been obsessed with the Olympics. Brent thinks my focus on the Olympics is borderline insane. I think he’s just sick of ice dancing. Oh, also I got my cholesterol test done, and it’s super high. 😦 Can’t outrun genetics I guess. I have a follow-up doctor’s appointment in two weeks, and I’ll get a better understanding then, but you may be seeing some dietary changes in the Monroe house.

I have more to post, so hopefully I’ll be back before next week!

Baked Potato Soup

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Doesn’t just hearing the words baked potato soup make you feel warm? I saw baked potato soup on some show Brent and I were watching, and immediately all I could think about was making it. That happens to me sometimes, quite frequently actually. Anyway, I made this soup and it was delicious. With a Vermont Cheddar roll of course! 🙂

The sour cream made the soup. This soup is clearly not “good” for you, although I did use smart balance instead of butter, 2% milk, light sour cream and reduced fat cheese, mostly due to what was on hand, not purposely trying to lighten it up.

Normally I don’t really worry a ton about the fat or calories in something because I figure I eat OK enough on a day to day basis and as long as I’m feeling fine, it’s all good. I’ve been thinking about it more and more recently though because I know I’m not perfect, and my eating habits have gone downhill with school starting, and I do have a serious family history of heart disease and high cholesterol. With that in mind, I’m getting my fasting lipid profile done in two weeks. I’ve been meaning to do it for awhile, but I’m always so lazy about these things. Recommendations are to get a baseline when you’re 20 (I’m only 4.5 years late on that) and then once every 5 years after that if results are within a normal range. I’m actually kind of nervous about it. 😦

Anyway, make some baked potato soup, because even “lightened up” it made me so happy to eat lunch every day this week! 🙂

Happy Birthday Brent!

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Wow! It’s been such a fun, exhausting weekend! We went back to our alma mater for a wedding. It was a long drive both ways and a late night. At midnight last night when it turned August 2nd, we toasted not only the bride and groom, but also my husband Brent who turned 28 today! For Brent’s birthday I told him to pick whatever he wanted for dinner and I would make it for him. His choice: fried chicken and mashed potatoes with gravy.

HPIM3911Though I’m not well-known for my ability to fry things, I tackled the project with enthusiasm, covering myself in egg and flour in the process. Here’s a lovely photo of my giving myself the dreaded “club hand” from all the double-dipping.

The chicken came out really well, and the birthday boy seemed very grateful and happy.

HPIM3920Dinner was tasty. I love mashed potatoes and I haven’t had them in a long time. Delicious. I made a lot of food because we’re planning on eating leftovers for the next two days until Wednesday (my birthday!!!) when we leave for Denver.

HPIM3925Not exactly “Well-balanced,” but delicious nonetheless. I’ll have a fun wedding post up later. 🙂

Happy Mother’s Day

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day. I wasn’t able to see my mom today, but she is a pretty awesome mother. I can definitely say I appreciate her way more now that I’m an adult myself. My family was having a pretty big get together today so I’m sure Mom got showered with enough attention (I did remind my other absent sibling to call her! ;))

However, we did have Brent’s family over for dinner to celebrate with his mom today. Whenever I’m entertaining people, I like to look to the Barefoot Contessa for inspiration. She thinks like I do, and she likes to serve things that can be prepared ahead of time so she’s not spending the whole time in the kitchen instead of with her guests. Today’s meal was pretty much entirely prepped ahead of time.

Our main course was roast chicken. It’s super simple to prepare and I knew Brent’s family would like it. I don’t try to force “adventurous” food on people, especially family. Both Brent’s and my family are fairly simple when it comes to what they like, so this was perfect. I forgot to grab a picture of it before Brent carved it.

HPIM3329It came out very well, and I made gravy for it (Brent loves gravy) from the pan juices. On the side I made French Potato Salad, which is absolutely one of my all-time favorite potato recipes. It’s definitely my favorite potato salad — and it tastes delicious at any temperature. Perfect picnic food.

HPIM3311I also made roasted green beans, which I popped in the oven for fifteen minutes while the chicken was resting and I was making the gravy. All together:

HPIM3330Finally, for dessert, I made Deb’s Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. Hers looks much better, but mine was equally delicious. My “concentric circles” didn’t work out so well.

HPIM3318Brent was especially fond of the crispy caramelized edges of the cake. I’ve never eaten pineapple upside-down cake that I can remember, but I think this version is pretty fantastic and I enjoy it’s summery-ness.

I leave you with an entertaining photo of Brent’s brother Jonathan chasing Larry around the backyard. Larry is much faster than Jon. Jon’s moving to Colorado next month, and I definitely think Larry’s going to miss him.

HPIM3332I hope you had a wonderful day and were able to spend time with your family this weekend!

Hot Potatoes

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Hey blog peeps. Today has been such a weird day. I have an an overall anxious feeling that I really can’t shake. I think it’s mostly due to school and everything, but as a result of my anxiety, I’ve been ready to chow down on anything and everything in sight. Brent called me “hanxious,” which we deemed to mean “hunger due to anxiety” and it seemed fitting. So I had a very hanxious day.

Of course, I feel pretty blah now that I’ve eaten my way through the afternoon and evening. So let’s backtrack to more exciting things. I finally had my orientation and started volunteering in the NICU yesterday. Loved it so much. I absolutely cannot wait to go back! My schedule there isn’t the most convenient (which Brent has pointed out on multiple occasions), so dinner is kind of tricky. I pick Brent up from work, drop him off and head straight there, from 5-8. So I’m trying to come up with a meal that can be eaten by him when he gets home, and me around 8:30.

Last night, we had Twice-Baked Salmon Potatoes, which worked out perfectly. I made them completely ahead of time and we each just reheated ours when we were ready for dinner. Gotta love that smoked salmon!If any of you have other meal ideas that would work for this schedule, let me know!

hpim3103Now I’m back from class and trying to de-anxify. Not a word, but wevs, I think you all know what I’m saying. I’ve got basketball to watch. Brent’s muttering over Purdue, meanwhile, Pitt’s busting my bracket as I type. “See” you all on Friday!!