I hadn’t really been able to cook at home recently, so I was really excited to get back in the kitchen tonight. I ended up spending three hours in the kitchen, just cooking for myself!
First, a snack: Romano-Pepper Breadsticks and a Creamy Red Pepper Dip, perfect for an antipasto plate.
The breadsticks are not only straightforward, but it’s easy to eyeball ingredients and add moisture as necessary. They are also great because it’s easy to throw them together with whatever ingredients you have already. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine: 1 cup flour (a combo of white and wheat would be ideal, I just grabbed some cake flour), 1/4 cup grated pecorino-romano cheese, 1t fresh black pepper. Once mixed, add in 5T water and 1t olive oil. Mix into a dough (add water and even oil, if neccesary), then knead 4-5 times on a lightly floured surface. Roll into 18 8″ sticks, and bake for 10-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Now, for our sauce: Combine 2T golden raisins and 2T balsamic vinegar, throw in the microwave for 45 seconds and then let sit for 10 minutes. Drain the raisins, and then combine them in a food processor with the following: 3T ricotta, 2T cream cheese, 2T chopped parsley, 2T fresh chopped basil, 2/4t honey, 1 12oz. jar of drained and chopped roasted red bell pepper. Add salt and pepper, to taste. The result is sweet and savory, would make an excellent sandwich spread.
This is what you end up with:
Now, on to the main event: Potato Pancakes with Green Garlic and Asiago. I just recently learned about green garlic, which is essentially ‘young’ garlic that is milder than it’s more mature form. You can also use the green stalks, much like a green onion. So, I’ve been dying to cook with it at home and I am absolutely happy with the result.
Potato pancakes are a hard thing. I’ve never been particularly good at making nice, firm, dry patties. So, my dinner tonight was more like an insanely rich hash, and I’m 100% okay with that. In fact, by serving in a hash form you don’t really need the garnish that pancakes beg for.
The hardest part is waiting for the potatoes to boil and cool before shredding. It’s a brutal waiting period, but worth it. Boil 1 pound yukon potatoes for 20 minutes, saving a bit of the potato water before draining (to prevent the garlic from sticking). Once the potatoes are cool enough, skin and grate them. Dice up 3 heads of green garlic (don’t forget to dice the green stalks!), and saute in 1T olive oil with s&p for ~5 minutes, adding saved potato water to prevent burning and sticking. Mix your cooked garlic in with the potato, add some more s&p. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 egg and 1T sour cream/yogurt/creme fraiche/labneh, and mix in with potato. Mix in 1 ounce grated asiago cheese. Last but not least mix in 1/2T flour. Now you are ready to fry your pancakes in vegetable oil. Serve with your dairy of choice (sour cream, etc.) or enjoy alone.
I can’t possibly describe how awesome the green garlic is. Here is a sideways (will fix later) picture of it cooking, followed by the final product: