Low Country Boil

Low Country Boil is a classic one-pot meal from the coastal region of South Carolina and Georgia (the Low Country). Also known as Frogmore Stew or Beaufort Boil, Low Country Boil is a simple, yet delicious meal that is a lot of fun to eat. This particular recipe serves about 4, but by increasing the quantity of ingredients, you can feed a crowd. You can even find Low Country Boil calculators online to determine the amount of ingredients you will need to feed a particular amount of people.

This is a basic recipe, but you can do your own thing. I have seen recipes that include crabs, crab legs, clams, green beans, mushrooms, bell peppers, etc… I added mushrooms to my Low Country Boil, as seen in the picture. Serve with crusty bread and cold beer.

Low Country Boil

1 gallon water
1 lemon, halved
2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 large sweet onion, peeled and cut into eight wedges
2 pounds baby potatoes
1 sausage rope (about 14 ounces), cut into bite-size slices
4 ears corn, shucked, cleaned and cut into fourths
2 pounds fresh shelled shrimp

melted butter
cocktail sauce

Bring the water, lemon, Old Bay, salt, peppercorns, and bay leaves to a boil. Add the onion and potatoes, return to a boil, and cook 10 minutes. Add the sausage and corn, return to a boil, and cook 10 more minutes. Check to see if potatoes are tender. If so, add the shrimp and cook until pink, about 3 minutes. If the potatoes are not tender, cook a few more minutes before adding the shrimp. Drain and serve on a large platter (or on newspaper in the middle of the table) with melted butter and cocktail sauce.

Cream of Cabbage and Potato Soup

Cream of Cabbage and Potato Soup

Cabbage. So much cabbage. I have gotten 4 or 5 heads of green cabbage in my CSA boxes this season. I’ve been struggling to come up with new ways of using it. I have fallen back on old favorites like stir fries, Fried Cabbage, vegetable soups, Southeast Asian Cabbage Salad, Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup, and Coleslaw. I also made Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (which I will blog later). And, I made this soup.

I was really happy with how the soup turned out. It was delicious! It reminded me of my Cream of Cauliflower and Potato Soup. That is a good thing.

I sprinkled a little shredded cheddar cheese over my first bowl of soup. It’s a wonderful compliment to the flavors of the cabbage and potatoes. The soup is also wonderful without cheese.

Cream of Cabbage and Potato Soup with Cheese

Cream of Cabbage and Potato Soup

3 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 head green cabbage, cored and shredded
1 carrot, peeled and diced
3 large potatoes (or 6 smallish), peeled and diced
7 cup vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
1 cup half & half or cream
salt and pepper, to taste

cheese (cheddar, Swiss, Edam, etc…), shredded (optional)

In a soup pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cabbage and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the diced carrot, diced potatoes, and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Add the half & half and season with salt and pepper. Serve. Sprinkle with shredded cheese of your choice, if you desire.

Corn and Broccoli Chowder with Bacon

Corn and Broccoli Chowder with Bacon

Like much of the rest of the country, South Carolina is experiencing super cold temperatures. When I took my youngest son to school yesterday morning it was 16 degrees and with the wind chill it felt like 2 degrees. So cold. Upon returning home, I needed to warm up so I made this thick, hot chowder. It’s warming, delicious, and visually pleasing. I love the colors of the corn and broccoli in the creamy white. Oh, and it has bacon in it.

Corn and Broccoli Chowder with Bacon

4 slices bacon, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 cup flour
5 cups chicken broth
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 head of broccoli, cut into bite-size florets (save the stalk for another use)
2 cups frozen corn
1 cup milk or half and half

In a soup pot over medium-low heat, fry the diced bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pot using a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Increase the heat slightly and cook the diced onion in the bacon fat until it softens. Add the flour, and cook, stirring constantly for about 30 seconds. Whisk in the chicken broth, a little at a time, taking care to whisk out the flour lumps. Add the diced potatoes and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook until tender (but not mushy), about another 10 minutes. Add the corn and milk (or half and half) and heat through. Season the chowder with salt and pepper and serve in bowls with the crisp bacon crumbled on top.

Crockpot Butter Chicken and Potatoes

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The past two months have been crazy-busy. Both of my sons are now in school. Their schools are in opposite parts of the city. I’m spending 4 to 6 hours a day in the car shuttling them around to school and appointments. Throw in there an emergency surgery for my cat, a dead air conditioner that required a complete system replacement, a ruptured eardrum, a variety of back-to-school colds, car problems, soccer practice and games, art workshops, and PTO meetings (I volunteered to be the Secretary for my oldest son’s school’s PTSO). Life has been hectic!

In hectic times, the crockpot comes in so handy. Butter Chicken is a popular Indian dish not usually done in a crockpot. The crockpot is a perfect cooking implement for this dish because the chicken turns out so tender. The addition of potatoes is not necessarily traditional, but it is delicious and gives more substance to the dish. This recipe makes enough for leftovers, which taste even better since the spices have had time to meld.

This recipe uses a lot of spices. I mix my own garam masala and curry powder. I have included the recipes for my spice mixes. You can buy already prepared Indian spice mixtures at some grocery stores or online at http://www.penzeys.com.

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Crockpot Butter Chicken and Potatoes

1 small onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 breasts), cut into bite-sized chunks
3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste (I used Thai Kitchen brand)
1 tablespoon curry powder (see recipe below)
1 tablespoon garam masala (see recipe below)
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
1/2 cup heavy cream (or half and half)
4 tablespoons butter
fresh cilantro, chopped

Cooked Basmati rice

Layer the onions, chicken, and potatoes in the crockpot. In a bowl, whisk together the garlic, ginger, Thai curry paste, spices, tomato paste, coconut milk, and cream. Pour the sauce over the chicken and potatoes. Add the butter to the crockpot. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with Basmati rice. Naan bread would be wonderful with this too.

Recipe adapted from the one found here.

Curry Powder

2 T. ground coriander
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. ground cayenne
1 tsp. ground ginger

Mix spices together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Garam Masala

2 tsp. ground cumin
4 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Combine spices. Store in glass jar.

Squash Hash Browns

Squash Hashbrowns and Eggs

Breakfast is a perfect meal to add more veggies (ahem, and this time of the year, squash) to. These squash hash browns are super yummy, especially when paired with eggs. If you wanted to add some minced onion along with the potatoes, that would be good too.

Squash Hash Browns

1 pound of potatoes (whatever variety you like or have on hand), scrubbed clean, peeled if you want
1 yellow squash, ends trimmed
1 zucchini, ends trimmed
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
olive oil (or your favorite oil)

Using a food processor or grater, shred the potatoes. Squeeze as much moisture out of them as you can. I dump them out onto a large clean kitchen towel, wrap them up and squeeze. The less moisture in the potatoes, the crisper they will be.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a (cast iron) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes, season with Kosher salt and black pepper, and let cook. Let the potatoes cook, stirring occasionally, while you are preparing the squash.

Meanwhile, shredded the yellow squash and zucchini together and squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Again, I put them in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze. Add the minced garlic to the cooking potatoes and then the shredded squash. Season with Kosher salt and black pepper, add more oil to the pan if you feel like you need to, and even the mixture out in the bottom of the skillet.

Cook until the bottom is crispy, about 6 – 8 minutes, and then using a spatula, turn the hash browns over and cook the other side until crispy. Admittedly, I have a hard time leaving hash browns alone while they are cooking. I’m constantly stirring and turning them. My thought is that they will get crispier. Do it however you like. Once the squash hash browns are browned and crispy to your satisfaction, they are ready to serve.

Squash Hashbrowns

Chana Aloo (Chickpeas and Potatoes)

Chana Aloo
This was one of the first Indian dishes I ever learned to cook. I scribbled the recipe in a composition notebook over 15 years ago. I have made it countless times over the years. It is easy to prepare and super tasty. A nice introduction dish for someone who hasn’t eaten and/or cooked Indian food.

Serve the chana aloo with hot rice (I prefer Basmati) for a quick weeknight meal or as part of a more elaborate Indian meal.

Chana Aloo 2

Chana Aloo (Chickpeas and Potatoes)

2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed (I use Russet potatoes)
2 tablespoons oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes & their juices
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
2 15.5 ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
fresh cilantro, chopped

Boil the cubed potatoes in water until tender but not mushy, about 8 – 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion until it starts to brown. Add the garlic and sauté one minute more. Add the tomatoes, spices, salt, and chickpeas and cook until heated through. Add the potatoes and continue to cook until the potatoes are heated through. Taste for seasoning and adjust, if necessary, to suit your tastes. Sprinkle the fresh cilantro over the chana aloo and serve with hot Basmati rice.

Roasted Root Vegetables

Roasted Root Vegetables

These roasted root vegetables were so delicious, I wish I would have doubled the recipe.  Roasting brings out the sweetness of the veggies.  Oh so good.

This recipe is totally adaptable. You can use any type of root vegetable. Parsnips, sweet potatoes, beets, celeriac, and radishes are just some of the other root vegetables you could roast. You can also adjust the amount of root vegetables you roast. Make enough for left-overs. I bet they would be delicious with a poached egg on top.

Roasted Root Vegetables

1 large turnip
1 onion (I used a purple onion)
2 carrots
4 small rutabagas
1 large potato
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Peel and dice all the root vegetables. You want all the diced vegetables to be about the same size. Place all the diced vegetables in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil, about 1 to 2 tablespoons. Season with salt and pepper and toss. Pour the veggies onto a cooking sheet and arrange so that they are in a single layer. You don’t want the veggies to be too crowded. If you are making a larger batch, consider using two sheet pans and rotate them during cooking.

Root Vegetables

Roast in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until they start to turn golden brown. Serve.

Roasted Root Vegetables (2)

Guinness Beef Stew in the Crockpot

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Here is a stew for St. Patrick’s Day. The Guiness gives the stew such a rich flavor. I think this would also be good if the potatoes were left out and then the stew was served over mashed potatoes.

Guiness Beef Stew in the Crockpot

1 pound stew beef, cut into large bite-size chunks
1 pound potatoes, peeled, cut into large chunks
2 onions, cut into chunks
2 carrots, peeled, cut into large chunks
8 ounces mushrooms, cleaned, quartered
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (11.2 ounces) bottle Guinness stout
1 cup beef broth
4 tablespoons cornstarch, mixed with enough water to make a thin slurry
salt and pepper, to taste

Place all the ingredients in the crockpot and stir to combine. Cook on low, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 hours or until the beef is tender and falling apart. The potatoes should also be tender. Serve the stew warm.

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Crockpot Baked Potatoes

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Did y’all know you could bake potatoes in the crockpot? I didn’t until last night.

Several years ago, I bought a crockpot to use in my classroom when I was teaching, but never really used it at home. It has been hidden away in a dark cabinet over the fridge for several years (although I think I pulled it out once to serve warm queso dip at a party we had). In the past few months, I have decided to try to use the slow cooker more. I have been trying out crockpot recipes here and there and am becoming a fan. I was finally able to pull off a perfect pot roast using the slow cooker. I also made a decent shredded beef with pepperocinis and some very tender chicken breasts with lemon and rosemary. Last night I finally tried baked potatoes in the crockpot.

I was skeptical about how the potatoes would turn out. I didn’t think they would get tender, but they did. The insides were moist and fluffy, but the skin was also very soft. Typically, I like to bake my potatoes in the oven so that the skin gets crispy, often giving up perfectly cooked insides. That’s just my preference.  I didn’t notice much difference in taste. One advantage I see with baking potatoes in the crockpot is not having the oven heat up the house. This would be espcially nice during the hot South Carolina summers.

You can bake up to as many potatoes as you can fit in your crockpot at one time.

Generally, I like my baked potatoes dressed with butter, sour cream, and salt. Last night, I topped my potato with some frozen broccoli florets that I zapped in the microwave and some cheese sauce I had made for my son’s macaroni (or as he says, “macamoni) and cheese. It was amazing. So good.

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Crockpot Baked Potatoes

medium sized baking potatoes (I like Russets best)
olive oil
Kosher salt

Wash and dry the potatoes. Place each potato on a piece of foil. Drizzle each potatoe with a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt before wrapping with the foil. Place the foil wrapped potatoes in the crockpot and cook for 8 hours on low or for 4 hours on high.

French Potato Salad

I made this potato salad for our Memorial Day meal. I had some red potatoes I needed to use and wanted to make something vegan for my mom. A potato salad dressed with a vinaigrette was just the thing. I’m not a big fan of mayonnaise, so I rarely fix traditional potato salad anyway.  This potato salad was sooooo good. It was surprisingly creamy and very flavorful. I loved the addition of the capers. It is perhaps the best potato salad I have ever made.

French Potato Salad

2 pounds baby red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into bite-sized chunks
1/2 small sweet or red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon capers
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1  tablespoon dijon or brown mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Cook potatoes in boiling salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander.

Combine olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper in a mason jar. Screw on a lid and shake dressing until well mixed. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine potatoes, onion, celery, and capers. Pour dressing over the vegetables and toss gently to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

You can make this potato salad more colorful by using red onion and different colored potatoes.

French Potato Salad 2