Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hurry hurry hurry, get your money ready

QUICK! All 10-16 lb. turkeys are on sale for $5 at Safeway (and probably at other gro stos, too) for the rest of the weekend. These birds cost around $28 pre-Thanksgiving, so you will be saving like 85 percent, according my rough, English major calculations. And you can freeze it till Christmas (of 2010, if you want) if it seems too soon to start gorging on gobblers again so soon after Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Not Talkin' Turkey

Thanksgiving is only three days away, but this year I refuse to add to the Best Side Dishes and Turkey Techniques blogversation. I am still bristling over last year's stuffing episode. Bored of the perennial basic bread stuffing from Joy of Cooking, I went to the trouble of also making a sausage and cornbread stuffing. It was both completely delicious and completely untouched. (Republicans...I should've known.) Maybe your relatives are more adventuresome than mine, but if not, then I recommend you temporarily stop culling the food blogs - except for this one, of course - and stop dreaming up newfangled renditions of sweet potato casserole. Remember, it's only once a year that marshmallows get their place at the dinner table.

Better to leave the improvisation to chili (with apologies to Texans and Cincinnati residents), because chili, unlike stuffing or gravy, doesn't have to mark a special occasion. A couple weeks ago my parents came back from Savannah, Georgia, where they had serendipitously stumbled upon a chili cook-off. My dad raved about a sweet potato chili he tried and said it seemed like it could've been a "Diana Owen Original" (his words). I only wish I had thought of it myself! It sounded so good that I set to making one, and it turns out there are already about 200 sweet potato chili recipes on the internet. Mine loosely borrows from a few of these, but it is mostly a DOO (Diana Owen Original). Not to brag, but it's delicious and really good for you -- and it hits the spot when you're watching the Redskins break another little piece of your heart.

Recipe: Sweet Potato Chili
Makes about 12 servings. Like other kinds of chili, it gets better after a day or two. I've tried to make it a complete meal by adding kale for greenery. Cornbread is a welcome accompaniment, of course. I'm an enthusiastic recent convert to Alton Brown's creamed corn cornbread.

Whatever cooking oil you want, enough to cover the bottom of a large pot
2 large onions, chopped
4 large yams or 7 small sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch cubes
about 6 cloves garlic, chopped (no need to mince)
2 T chili powder
1 t cumin
1 t ground coriander
1 t ground nutmeg
1 t ground ginger
1 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t chili sauce (I used homemade Mao Zedong Chili Paste)
zest and juice of one orange (sounds weird, but gives this chili a unique flavor and a great scent)
1 28-oz. can tomatoes, not drained (I used whole plum, but crushed or even diced would probably be fine)
1 can cheap beer
1 28-oz. can kidney beans, not drained
1 28-oz. can black beans, drained (so they don't turn the chili an unappetizing color)
1/2 lb. kale, coarsely chopped
1/2 C fresh cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onions. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, then add the sweet potatoes, spices, and chili sauce. Cook for another 15 minutes or so, or till the sweet potatoes begin to soften (add more oil if the pot starts to dry up). Throw in the orange zest and juice, tomatoes, and beer, bring to a boil, and reduce heat and simmer for about 40 minutes. Adjust seasonings if you want. Add the beans and kale and cook another 25 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro and salt and pepper to your taste.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Grocery Stores: A Curmudgeonly Rant with Maybe Some Practical Use

For a long time I had been meaning to write some kind of guide to area grocery stores, but I'd never felt much urgency about it until one day recently when I was shopping at the Bethesda Trader Joe's and thinking a steady diet of raw cabbage salad might help awaken my girlish figure from the dead. There wasn't any cabbage in the produce department, so I went ahead and paid for my other items. The cashier kindly asked me if I found everything I was looking for and I asked if they had any cabbages lurking in the warehouse. Her answer: "Oh, we only stock cabbage around St. Patrick's Day."

WHAT?!? It was hard to maintain my composure and I had to remind myself that these ridiculous policies are not up to the cashiers. It's unbelievable to me that any grocery store, even a self-proclaimed "unique" one like TJ's, would fail to stock such a mundane item as cabbage, one that something like 90 percent of humans consume. On the other hand, I think it probably says more about the way people cook (or don't cook, as it were) than it does about the store itself. The ideal Trader Joe's customer, I suppose, thinks it's quaint to make corned beef and cabbage for their annual St. Patty's Day drunkfest, but otherwise would never cook such a lowly vegetable with any regularity (heh, regularity and cabbage, get it?) -- or cook at all for that matter, considering the store's emphasis on pre-made foods. This might also explain why TJ's sells Orange Muscat Champagne vinegar, but you'd be SOL if all you want is plain old white vinegar to make brining solutions or Almost-No-Knead bread.

Despite my frustrations with Trader Joe's (and just about every other food purveyor I've ever visited), I still shop there almost weekly. When it comes to dairy products, TJ's prices-relative-to-quality can't be beat. Wait -- scratch that -- their milk's expiration date is often, like, tomorrow. But it is the place for cheese, butter, and eggs. Love-hate, that's how I am with every grocery store. Below, my take on where to shop (and not to shop), depending on what you're buying. Sadly, even in this age of one-stop shopping, I have yet to find a grocery store that satisfies most of my (admittedly demanding) needs.

Some caveats: This list definitely has a southern MoCo bias since I live in Bethesda and work in NoPe, not far from Silver Spring, but most of the stores I go to are major regional or national chains that don't have too much variation from store to store. I have left out Giant from this list; I personally find it's a lot more expensive than Safeway and the quality is not much better, though I know some people will vehemently disagree. I've also left out Harris Teeter -- I'm a Marylander through and through, and it's only just recently made the long trek from Virginia.

Trader Joe's

Love: Like I said a couple paragraphs ago, this is where you go to buy most stuff that comes from an udder. Just be sure to always check dates on milk, half-and-half, and cream -- you may come across some rare antiques. Cage-free eggs are also a lot cheaper here than at most grocery chains. Some other things I buy at Trader Joe's because of the price/quality correlative: coffee, olive oil, dried pasta, some jarred goods (e.g., olives, capers, pickles), granola bars (only $1.99 per box and the best store-bought variety I've tried), lemons (only $1.59 for a bag of six! That's pretty much unheard of, unless you live in Florida or California), frozen fruit and veggies, canned beans (unfortunately they don't sell dried beans, grrr), bread, jams and jellies, nuts, dried fruit, and two novelty favorites, smoked salmon pieces and mini boiling potatoes. I don't often buy meat there, mainly because I hardly ever cook meat, but I have found that their ground beef and ground turkey is reasonable.

I hate them 'cause they hate me. It's clear that Trader Joe's likes you better if you don't make anything from scratch because they make more money off all their pre-packaged stuff (a lot of which, I'll admit, is pretty good, but I'm too cheap to buy it). For example, they sell lasagna "kits" but not lasagna noodles. *Wrings hands in fury!* I also avoid most of their produce since it's usually pre-packaged and I prefer to select my own quantities. TJ's is pretty lame when it comes to baking ingredients -- some of their mixes aren't bad, but if you do a lot of baking from scratch, better stick to Safeway or Shopper's. No 5-pound bags of flour to be found. Don't bother shopping here for cleaning supplies or toiletries, unless you can justify spending $5.50 on a tube of Tom's of Maine. And finally, don't get too attached to any one particular item, because TJ's may just decide to drop it one day. I've asked employees on separate occasions about decisions to stop selling Kashi Good Friends and frozen edamame (which has since been brought back), and the reason both times was "a disagreement with the vendor." Be wary of any grocery store that hides behind a chipper nautical theme, all the while burning bridges!

In short: a great place to shop if your idea of cooking means removing from box and reheating; otherwise, stick to mainly dairy products, bread, nuts, and jarred goods.


Really, the main thing to love about Safeway is watching all the numbers drop down on the cash register screen after you've scanned your bonus card. The sales can be great, but if you don't have a bonus card, there is absolutely no point in patronizing this pit of putrescence. The produce is pathetic, the meat is....oh, right, I'm supposed to say what I love about Safeway. Okay, so not all their produce is pathetic. Root vegetables and members of the onion family are inexpensive, plus they're hardy enough that it's okay if you don't buy them brand new (trust me, you won't be doing that if you shop here). There's a good selection of baking ingredients with a good range of prices and quantities. The same goes for peanut butter, cooking oils (but not olive oil - TJ's is the best value), and some dried goods like rice, beans, and pasta. Prices on cleaning supplies, food storage items, and hygiene products are competitive, though not as good as Target's. But in all honesty, I'm just here for the cat litter -- the Arm & Hammer brand, which I've determined after rigorous testing and observation has the most effective clumping ability and therefore the lowest changing frequency and consequently the best value, is usually on sale!

Sorry, I forgot for a moment that this blog is about food. If you're still reading...

Hate: Where do I even begin? Produce is often old and overpriced relative to its quality. Most greens are pre-bagged and those that aren't are no longer very green. Citrus fruit is exorbitant, berries are moldy, etc., etc. You know how it's supposed to be best to shop the outer aisles of the grocery store? Well, the opposite is true of Safeway. Stay away from most produce, most dairy (unless, again, you are going antique shopping), most poultry (Perdue's flavorless birds rule the Safeway roost), all fish (it's expensive and already smells before you even take it home; that's a bad sign), and all bread (way overpriced compared to TJ's). So what does that leave you with? Things you should generally avoid eating, such as Chips Ahoy and Clorox.

In short: Go here for vegetables with long lifespans, baking ingredients, some dried goods, and items that are not actually food.

Shopper's Food Warehouse

If Safeway is food purgatory, then Shoppers is food hell, as many people seem to believe. I tend to disagree. Yes, their produce can be questionable, but not much more so than Safeway's, and at least it's cheaper and there's a better variety of it. The good things I've found at Shoppers are always-inexpensive generic Richfood brand items (Safeway, on the other hand, has good sales but can't always be counted upon) and huge baking and "ethnic" aisles. Seriously, I did not know Goya made so many products till I started shopping at the Rockville location. There's a lot of other legitimately ethnic stuff, too, though I do appreciate the wide variety of Goya dried beans. Meat can be hit or miss, but I did luck out one Easter with a $10 spiral cut ham that fed a whole army and happened to also be delicious.

Hate: Hate may be a strong word, for once. I am very forgiving of Shoppers' shortcomings, because at least it acknowledges them by billing itself as a warehouse. Safeway, on the other hand, does not always seem all that safe. Still, I recommend you tread carefully at Shoppers: examine produce closely and check expiration dates.

In short: Go go Goya!

H Mart

Love: H Mart is a Korean grocery chain not for the prudish of palate. If pickled pig's feet and ugly fruit are your thing, you will love it here. I sure do, but mostly for the prices, not because I buy that many exotic items. The place gets packed on weekends and it's not uncommon to hear shoppers sniping at one another in loud Korean or Vietnamese. I think this, along with the incredible variety of produce, meat (and meatlike things), and seafood, makes for one of the more interesting shopping experiences you will find in the DC area.

Hate: Locavores, stay away. Just about everything is imported. Also, though H Mart does carry non-exotic items like milk, eggs, and bread, these can be found a lot cheaper elsewhere.

In short: Go here for rice, tofu, coconut milk, soy sauce, chili sauce, basically anything with an Asian flair, and just about every kind of common fruit and vegetable, plus some very unusual ones. Oh, and don't forget the pig uterus.


Snider's, a Silver Spring institution, is old as dirt. This of course adds to its appeal, since everything else in these parts is so damn new. It's also one of few independent grocery stores left in the area, which earns it a very privileged status in teetotaling Montgomery County: yes, it sells beer and wine, too! There are some pretty good sales here, most of them organized on a shelf near the entrance of the store, or in bins toward the dairy department. The other day my roommate brought home a bunch of spices all priced around $1. Most notably, of all the grocery stores on this list, Snider's has the best value on meat and produce (ask my mother, a champion grocery shopper whose experience and expertise far outpaces my own, if you don't believe me).

Hate: Brand names and prepackaged items are pretty expensive here (and there's no generic, obv). Also, the aisles are really narrow and the parking lot is often jammed. I'm wracking my brain to think of bad things to say about Snider's. It's really a good place -- just not for everything.

In short: Stick to meat, dairy, sale items (all clearly marked in the same sections), and beer and wine, and avoid most other things.

Friday, November 6, 2009

International Potato Week 2009: Friday

I probably should be writing about potato soup instead of potato salad, given how cold it is today, but I don't think Potato Week is complete without this recipe (also, all the potato soups I've made are pretty run-of-the-mill variations on baked potato soup). However, my potato salad is the best there is, and here's why: it's not actually my potato salad but that of Ina Garten, also known as the Barefoot Contessa.

Say what you will about Ina's unabashed love of all things East Hampton, but the lady can cook. If you've ever watched her Food Network show, you may have noticed she's also really good at befriending gay Broadway producers, finding new uses for Pernod, and making eyes at her elfin husband, Jeffrey. But an economical cook she is not. She makes scrambled eggs with cream. She tops spaghetti with caviar. She fills pot pies with lobster tail. She makes cheese steaks with New York strip. And her house! Good grief, it's one of those cedar-shingled, Dutch-style, 8,000 square foot "cottages" that's practically dangling in the ocean. Oh, Ina, won't you let me spend the night? I can picture it now: the aroma of fresh-baked coffee cake and "good quality bacon" will find its way to one of the guest rooms, where I'll be slowly waking up from the best sleep of my life, on crisp, white, $400 sheets. I'll come downstairs, help myself to a Campari Orange Spritzer, and make cheerful chitchat with the two or three gay friends who've stopped by en route to Manhattan. In the afternoon, we'll set out in your gleaming silver Benz and hit the farm stand, the bakery, the butcher shop, and the fishmonger. Then we will come home, "assemble" our lunch -- I know how you favor assembling over cooking -- and carry it out to the beach in a wicker picnic basket. When the day is done, cute little Jeffrey will give me a lift to the LIRR, we'll talk about his Henry Kissinger days, and I'll be depressed the whole train ride home and probably for the next month. Oh, Ina, I want your life!

But I can't have Ina Garten's life, so I will have to live vicariously through her recipes - at least the few I can afford, such as this one for potato salad. This is not the hardboiled-egg-and-mayo-drenched version that ends up at every potluck and barbecue. That stuff is for the proles. This kind is high-class, with a punchy vinaigrette and a smattering of fresh herbs. There's a lot of ingredients, but you can definitely cut some of them out and still make a damn good potato salad. Here's Ina's recipe, with my tried-and-true suggestions for cheapening things up in parentheses.

Recipe: Aspirational Potato Salad
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. Makes 4 to 6 side dish servings.

1 lb small white boiling potatoes
1 lb new potatoes (you can make this with just one kind of potato; Ina happens to like the color)
2 T good dry white wine (I say you can use bad wine, or none at all)
2 T chicken stock (I've left this out before because I didn't have any. NP. You can also leave it out if you want to make this a vegan dish.)
3 T Champagne vinegar (who has Champagne vinegar? Use whatever vinegar want, but definitely use it.)
1/2 t dijon mustard (crucial -- I might even bump it up to a whole t)
2 t Kosher salt (or table salt if that's all you've got)
3/4 t freshly ground black pepper (non-negotiable)
10 T good olive oil (if, by "good," you mean the huge $5.49 bottle at TJ's? Then, yes, good.)
1/4 C minced scallions, white and green parts (hey, at least she's using the whole plant. I prefer to leave these in, but I've made the salad without. If you have some of the other herbs, they won't be missed too much.)
2 T minced fresh dill (Ina LOVES her dill. It definitely goes well with potatoes, but again, if you have some of the other herbs you can leave it out.)
2 T minced fresh flat-leaf parsley (ditto scallions and dill. You can also use the declasse curly parsley, if that's what you got.)
2 T julienned basil leaves (ditto scallions, dill, and parsley)

Put the potatoes in a large pot and fill with enough water to cover them by a few inches. Bring to a boil and continue boiling for 20 to 30 minutes, until they are just cooked through. Drain in a colander with a towel over it and allow them to steam for another 10 minutes. Once they are cool enough to handle, cut the potatoes into quarters (alternatively, you can cut them before boiling and then boil for a shorter time, as I prefer to do). Toss them with the wine and chicken stock (if using; if not, just set aside, or mix in the dressing if you have already made it).

To make the dressing (which you can do while the potatoes cook), whisk together the vinegar, half a teaspoon of salt, and the pepper, and slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Add the vinaigrette, the rest of the salt, and the herbs to the potatoes, and toss. Serve warm or at room temperature (cold is also just fine).

Above photo from Ina's column for House Beautiful

Thursday, November 5, 2009

International Potato Week 2009: Thursday

Yesterday and the day before we traveled to faraway lands, but today we're sticking close to home, specifically a kitchen that's piled high with dirty dishes and reeking of skunked beer. This potato recipe is quick and dirty, like really dirty. Perfect for those mornings when you wake up with mascara under your eyes and a buzzing in your brain. Perfect for any time, really, if you are not at all concerned about heart disease, the effects of nitrates, or your physique. Everything is cooked in bacon fat (including the bacon, of course).

Recipe: Hangover Hash Browns with Bacon and Eggs
Serves...however many can stand it, or just 2.

Okay, there's not a formal recipe for this, but here's the gist. Cook 5 or 6 strips of bacon in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, chop up a potato or two into 1/2 inch cubes. When the bacon is done, remove it from the pan, but reserve the fat, and set the bacon aside. Add the potatoes to the pan and cook in the bacon grease for 20 minutes or till crispy. If you're not too hung over to remember, season them with garlic powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne (or whatever). If the pan seems too dry, add some vegetable oil. Remove the potatoes from the pan, reduce the heat to low-medium, and add a bit of vegetable oil if most of the bacon fat has been cooked away, and break two eggs into the pan. If you like your eggs over-easy, flip them once. If you like them sunny side-up, don't flip them at all. Cook them till they are a doneness you like. Then mix everything together -- the bacon, crumbled, and the potatoes, and top with the fried eggs. Feel better soon...or go puke, I don't judge.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

International Potato Week 2009: Wednesday

Yesterday our potatoes took us to the Canary Islands; today we are off to Calcutta. Amazing how a tuber can transport you from your dingy office in doleful NoPe to a vibrant exotic locale. The following South Indian recipe is adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking, and it produces the most pleasantly piquant potatoes you will ever eat. Seriously. If you don't take my word for it, take Madhur's: "Can you imagine cubes of potato encrusted with spicy, crisply browned ginger-garlic paste? Add to that a hint of fennel, if you want it. That is what these potatoes taste like." As she suggests, they are the potatoes of your dreams.

Recipe: Sookhe aloo (dry potatoes with ginger and garlic)
Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking (1983). Makes 2 servings.

If you already have the spices, this dish costs about 50 cents to make. Madhur Jaffrey's recipe has you boiling the potatoes "in their jackets," then letting them cool, peeling them, and finally frying them. If you are a purist about ethnic recipes, go ahead (all Madhur's potato recipes involve this long process), but I find it's a whole lot quicker to just peel the potatoes raw and fry them -- and the results are still delicious. I add a few glops of plain yogurt at the end, for tartness and texture. The spice paste would also be great as a marinade.

5 T vegetable oil
1 t fennel seeds (optional, but highly recommended)
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger (or 1 t ground ginger)
1/2 t ground turmeric
1 t salt
1/2 t cayenne pepper
2 T water
A few spoonfuls of yogurt (optional)

Special equipment: mortar and pestle or food processor

Heat the oil in a nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, till they are starting to brown, about 20 minutes. While the potatoes are cooking, make the spice paste: in a food processor or with a mortar and pestle, grind together the garlic, ginger, turmeric, salt, and cayenne, and add the water a little bit at a time. Set aside. Add the fennel seeds to the pan and cook for an additional two minutes. Stir in the spice paste and cook for yet another two minutes. Remove from heat and stir in yogurt, if using. Serve warm.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

International Potato Week 2009: Tuesday

This next potato recipe comes from Jose Andres, owner of Jaleo and a few other DC-area restaurants and boisterous personality behind the PBS cooking show, Made in Spain. I always order the papas arrugas -- baby fingerling potatoes with a to-die-for cilantro and cumin mojo verde -- so I was delighted to catch the Made in Spain episode where he shows you how to make them at home. They're easy, cheap, and positively divine, or "astonishing!" as Jose would say. I do not have exact directions for the original recipe so the following is my own interpretation, and it has served me well. Also, you should definitely watch Made In Spain, even if you don't like to cook. You will find yourself talking like Jose and dreaming of Iberia.

Recipe: Papas Arrugas
Adapted from Jose Andres. Makes 4 side dish servings.

The sauce alone is a keeper. You can serve it with anything -- chicken, fish, other veg, bread. I eat it with a spoon. My stomach growls at the very thought. Baby fingerling potatoes are hard to find, but you can use any fingerling or even boiling potatoes. Right now Trader Joe's has bags of these cute little mini boiling potatoes, which I have been using.

Don't be afraid of the amount of salt you are using; it's more a part of the cooking process than the actual flavor. The salt is used to make the skin cute and crinkly -- apparently how they do it in the Canary Islands, where this dish originates.

2 lbs. fingerling or boiling potatoes
kosher or sea salt, lots of it
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bunch of cilantro, well-washed, including stems
1 t ground cumin
1 t pimenton (smoked paprika)
1/2 C olive oil
1 T sherry vinegar (optional -- but Jose adds this to everything)
salt and pepper to taste

Special equipment: mortar and pestle or food processor

Add the potatoes to a large pot, and add enough water to the pot to just barely cover them. Add about a quarter cup of salt, and cook on medium-high heat for 25 minutes, or until most of the water is evaporated and the potatoes are soft. Drain in a colander and set aside. If the potatoes have too salty a coating for your taste, you can wipe them off with a paper towel.

While the potatoes are cooking, make the sauce: with a mortar and pestle or the food processor, grind together the garlic, cilantro, cumin, and pimenton. Slowly add the olive oil, grinding all the while, till everything is fully incorporated. Add the vinegar if you're using it and salt and pepper to your taste, and serve with the potatoes.

Monday, November 2, 2009

International Potato Week 2009: Monday

There is probably already a national potato month or something like that, but I can't wait any longer. I am on a ravenous potato rampage, and I also haven't written anything in awhile (I'm sure you have been completely adrift without me). I formally declare the first week of November International Potato Week, which seems fitting since it's also right after Halloween -- potatoes are great diet food -- and coincides with the dark days of the Time Change -- potatoes are great comfort food, if you'll forgive my use of that stupid term.

I will be posting a favorite potato recipe every day, Monday through Friday. Some are invented, some are adapted, and all are unanimously believed to be delicious by those who have tried them. I wouldn't want anyone thinking I am blinded by love for the tuber (such an accusation has been brought against me before). Because it seems appropriate for the season, I may also include a recipe or two for sweet potatoes. But I have only five days, and there are about a billion things one could do to a potato, so I may end up sticking to the lighter-fleshed variety. We shall see how this exciting week unfolds!

Recipe: Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes with Feta and Roasted Broccoli
Makes about 3 main course or 5 side dish servings. Lasts up to five days and reheats well in the microwave.

This recipe's title bears the style of a food snob, but I couldn't think of anything better to call it without getting all Rachael Ray: "Cheesy Green Tater Smash'ems" or "EVOO Greeked Out Broccatoes" were options. Its main ingredients, all fairly common in most households, include potatoes, olive oil, some kind of green vegetable, and some kind of cheese -- making it essentially a deconstructed stuffed baked potato, but without the butter and sour cream. And, like the potato itself, the recipe is very versatile.

I came up with it when I found that the last few potatoes left in my 20-lb. bag from Costco had started sprouting coral reef-like growths. Most people in developed countries would throw the potatoes away at this point, but I was unfazed and just peeled them to make mashed potatoes. I also had a couple stalks of broccoli that were starting to turn, and wanted to add those to the mix. What came from these two humble old vegetables was one of the best and easiest potato dishes I have ever eaten. Of course, you do not need to wait till your potatoes and broccoli become potential health hazards to make this dish, but it is a good way to use up aging refrigerables.

While the potatoes boil, you cook the broccoli or whatever green vegetable you want to use. Spinach, chard, and other leafy greens are nice alternatives because you don't have to cook them; they just wilt in the warm potatoes. Also, the cheese does not have to be feta -- just about any cheese will be good.

3 large baking potatoes
2 stalks of broccoli
2 T olive oil, plus an additional half cup of olive oil
1 to 2 t hot or smoked paprika
2 t fresh rosemary leaves, chopped (optional)
1/4 C crumbled feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Peel the potatoes, cut them into chunks, and add them to a large pot filled with about 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil and continue to boil for about 25 minutes. While the potatoes are cooking, chop the broccoli stems and florets into bite sized pieces. Toss them with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the paprika, then spread them evenly on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, then set aside.

When the potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork, drain them in a colander and return to the pot, but place on a different burner that is set to low heat. Add the quarter-cup of olive oil along with the broccoli, feta, and rosemary and mash with a potato masher till you get a consistency you like. Add salt and pepper to your taste (with the feta and paprika, it might be seasoned enough for some tastes, but I add an extra teaspoon or so of salt and a vigorous grinding of pepper). Serve warm.