Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Foodista's Scalloped Potatoes and Fruity Corn Bread

Annoyed that I hadn't cooked in a while, I prepared a proper four course dinner last Friday night--Dan was pretty happy. While I made the appetizer, the side dish and dessert, he took care of grilling up some delicious steak. I'm not going to pretend to be an expert on grilling so I'm just going to talk about the side dish and dessert.

Scalloped Potatoes - This was a dish that I improvised. It was inspired by one of my dad's favorite Slovak dishes, ironically named "Francuske Zemiaky" or "French Potatoes." They're cut into thin ovals and flavored with sour cream, onions, sausage and eggs. My version nixed these except for the onions and instead of the sour cream, I added a splash of fat free milk--a healthier option. I also incorporated fresh rosemary into the potato mixture and topped it with buttery bread crumbs. Here is my recipe, which fed four people but could also be great for three hungry people.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
4 large Idaho potatoes sliced into 1/4" ovals
1/4 large white onion, sliced thin
A generous splash of fat free milk (or any milk that you like)
3-4 sprigs of fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 cup of Italian bread crumbs
A small sliver of butter (1 tbs or less) melted
Olive oil to coat the bottom of the baking dish
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line the bottom of a glass or ceramic baking dish with olive oil.

Mix all ingredients except for the milk in a medium bowl. Pour ingredients into the greased baking dish and add milk at the end. Combine melted butter and bread crumbs and pour over the top of the potatoes. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let cool for about 10 minutes but serve warm.

Fruity Corn Bread - I wanted to make a fruity dessert in the spirit of summer. Finding a box of corn bread mix in my pantry, I decided to put a new spin on it by enhancing it with fruit. Plums and peaches were my ingredients of choice. They made the corn bread moist, injecting personality into a typically bland dish. For that extra special touch, I baked this in individual ramekins so everyone got their very own fruity corn bread.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
A box of Jiffy cornbread mix
1 egg
1/3 cup of milk
1 plum and 1 peach sliced into 1/4" cubes
A dash of cinnamon for topping
Ice cream or frozen yogurt (your choice of flavor but I recommend vanilla)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Follow directions on the back of the Jiffy box. Add plums and peaches and mix together (but do not overmix). Place into individual ramekins using an ice-cream scoop--it will help you keep the quantities equal. Top with a dash of cinnamon and bake for 15-20 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Let cool for 5-10 minutes and then top with a scoop of ice-cream.

Enjoy, enjoy!

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