( Whining )
Anyhow, I made dinner last night. A friend came in from the airport and had dinner with us on the way back to southern Illinois where she's residing. Italian herb roasted potatoes and brussel sprouts with shallots and bacon. It was terrific. I don't want to heap praise on myself, because potatoes are dead simple and the thick cut bacon from the farmer's market is local and makes anything taste excellent. Bacon - and I was over the bacon-on-everything nerd fetish way before it even started - but bacon is basically like a cheat code for cooks. It's high-fat, which makes a dry burger suddenly taste good anyhow. It's smokey and adds that umami taste to pretty much anything you make. I don't like to over-use it because it's not exactly great for you, but we bought it for a GISHWHES thing and there's no sense in letting a bounty like that go to waste. Besides, brussel sprouts and bacon are pretty much the perfect classic combo. It went over really well, and I was super pleased with how much everyone enjoyed it.
And, to make sure this isn't a total waste, let me tell you how to make the potatoes because like I said, they're dead easy and they make you look like a better cook than maybe you are! (I'm not saying anything about you, mind, I'm just saying if you can't cook you'll still look like you can!)
First, pre-heat your oven to something like 450. People will tell you different temperatures, but it doesn't honestly matter all that much. They're supposed to be fork-tender and the skin should be crispy, and that's how you know. Just cook them until that's what's going on.
Cut up your potatoes - any number of potatoes that are going to fit in a pan that can go in the oven, preferably without too much potato not touching the pan. Try to keep them no more than, like, I guess an inch thick. And don't fucking skin the potatoes, you know? There's a lot of nutrients in the skin, and it crisps up and tastes fucking great. Someone might be like, "Oh, yeah, peel the potatoes." That person is a liar
The kind of potatoes you use doesn't really matter. Sure, it'll effect the taste, obviously. Yukon's are a little waxy and they've got a thin skin. Red's are quite waxy, indeed, and I like to use them for a lot of stuff people tell you to use other potatoes for. I love red potatoes, though. Russets are mealy and, in my opinion, when they crisp up, they've got the best
skin. It's like, kind of crunchy and the texture differs a lot from the rest of the potato. Russets are my favorite for this, actually, but we used Yukon Gold because that's what we had. Don't go out and buy different potatoes for this - this is the kind of thing you do when you don't have anything else around anyhow and want to give someone a decent meal (or you're too lazy, like me, to run to the store!).
Spices, people. Don't be afraid of herbs and spices. It's not a trick! Just pile them on there. I used just one of those Italian Herbs mixes you get in the store. It was on sale. You can literally use anything. Everything tastes good with potatoes. Italian herbs, salt, cracked black pepper, garlic powder, (don't use fresh garlic, actually! It'll burn up way before your potatoes are done. Waste of perfectly delicious garlic.) onion powder, and paprika. I think I put some turmeric on there because it turns everything yellow and I cheat because people in my house seem to love that yellow color on food. It does add to taste, though. I just coat the whole thing until it's literally covered in herbs, pour a bunch of olive oil on it (yeah, a bunch. Do it until it's covered. I didn't measure it, and you don't have to either.) Mess it around some, mix it up. Put more herbs on. Mess it up again, kind of try to make sure most of it is touching the bottom of the pan.
Put it in the oven for about 15-ish minutes, I guess. Pop it out, turn the potatoes over or, if you're me, just shake them up some. Put it in for 10-15 minutes and check the skin and tenderness. They're probably
done. Let 'em cool for a bit and serve them. If you're broke, they're a great main. If you're rolling in dough, or are serving beef or something, they're an excellent side. If you've got, like, a stew or a really hearty soup that's done
(and I mean done, like, it's done cooking. You don't want to put these potatoes in a cooking soup, you'll mess them up), you can put these in the bowl that the soup's being served in.
They're good. You'll look good when you serve them. Enjoy your ill-deserved accolades!