Tag: mashed potatoes

Deeper ‘n Ever Pie

Deeper 'n Ever Pie | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Deeper 'n Ever Pie | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Deeper 'n Ever Pie | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Deeper 'n Ever Pie | Serious Crust by Annie FasslerDeeper 'n Ever Pie | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

We are back. Back in the U.S. Back on the west coast. Back in gray and rainy Portland. This past weekend we had a taste of spring, but otherwise it has been wet. And between the weather and having a bit more time on my hands and a fully functional kitchen again, I have been cooking some of my favorite warming meals. (Big shout out to friends Mac and Carmelle who are letting us room with them while we look for a place to live!) This recipe is one of those dishes. You may have heard of this pie, or at least the book series it is inspired by, Redwall. When I was younger, my older sister Emily was obsessed with the series, which focuses on a series of woodland creatures who live in mostly an abbey. If I recall correctly, there are castles and ghosts, banquets and wizards. I think of it as Camelot meets the Borrowers. My mother, being the amazing woman she is, somehow found a recipe for this pie, Deeper ‘n Ever Turnip ‘n Tater ‘n Beetroot Pie, and would make it for us, making us feel as if we were at the table during those banquets, eating alongside otters, squirrels, and birds.

This pie screams cozy to me. You start with a buttery, savory pie dough, layer the filling with cheese, mashed vegetables, beets, caramelized onions, and more cheese, and bake until the crust is golden. As an adult, I realize the amount of work that goes into this, and how long my mom must have spent in the kitchen making it: caramelizing onions, mashing potatoes and turnips, boiling beets, shredding cheese. It also is a great base for something that is easy to riff on – you could add squash, greens, mushrooms, peppers.

Continue reading “Deeper ‘n Ever Pie”

Restaurant Review: Que Pasa Cantina

The patio at Que Pasa Cantina // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Mexican food and I are relatively new friends. Growing up, I loved a good plain quesadilla as much as the next kid (occasionally I would even put shredded chicken in it), but beans and tomatoes and onions? Gross. Hated it. Blech. The texture of beans in general is still something I’m working on. But Mexican food has slowly creeped in to my life in the past 6 years or so. In high school, I would’ve way rather gone to Vietnamese or Indian than Mexican.

Here in Portland we’ve got some killer Mexican food. You want a hole in the wall with the most amazing tacos you’ll ever have? Go to Tienda y Panaderia Santa Cruz in St. John’s. You want a line out the door for a delicious bowl of rice and beans and meat and some mystery amazing sauce? Go to Porque No. You want a crazy good Mexican style brunch? Definitely go to Autentica. But a relatively recent discovery has made my go to Mexican list: Que Pasa Cantina.

First let’s talk about the margaritas. Because, let’s be honest, margaritas (margs for short) are delicious, thirst-quenching, and I love the combo of salty and sour. The margs at Que Pasa were great – strong, sour, and just straight up good. Could you ask for more? Yes – at happy hour their house marg is only $5. Don’t want to go traditional? Don’t worry, they’ve got margs with jager, seasonal fruit, grapefruit juice, jalapeño, and of course all different kinds of tequila.

Before I get to the food, I want to tell you about one of my favorite parts of going to Que Pasa Cantina. Aside from the Potatoes Olé (you’ll read about them later), this restaurant also has possibly my favorite waiter in town. He has served us both times we’ve gone to the restaurant, and I don’t know his name, but he’s hilarious. He’s a little quiet, but very suave and with a stellar sense of humor. You can tell the guy is having a great time and doesn’t take anything too seriously. I want to be his friend.

Chips and Salsa at Que Pasa Cantina // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

The first time we went to Que Pasa, I had recently discovered pastor (thanks Eliza!), so I ordered their traditional pastor tacos. Pastor is thinly sliced pork that has been marinated in a spice rub of chilies, cumin, and other delicious herbs. The bonus is that these tacos came not only with pastor, but also with pineapple (not uncommonly served with pastor), which is a serious weakness of mine. I have a tendency to, if there’s pineapple around, eat so much that my tongue starts to get numb and little bumps appear. This may be because I have a geographic tongue… but we’re getting sidetracked. Anyway, these tacos were awesome. First, any good Mexican restaurant knows to double wrap their tacos – 2 tortillas please! That way if one ruptures, you’ve got a backup. Makes the whole affair far less messy. Second, the pastor was so packed with flavor and had the nice fruitiness from the pineapple – I was in heaven. My next trip I ordered some chorizo tacos, which were super tasty, very flavorful, and spicy. Loved it.

Tacos and Potatoes Olé! at Que Pasa Cantina // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

The first time we went to Que Pasa was with Peter, the producer of Jonah’s new album. Peter told us the greatest secret of Que Pasa. With your dish, don’t get the usual side of rice and beans. Why? Because you can choose to replace those beans and rice with their Potatoes Olé, mashed potatoes with carrots, sweet white corn, jalapeños, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and jack cheese. These potatoes are to die for. I know, they aren’t super healthy (potatoes, sour cream, and hella cheese), but hot damn. I now have bouts of serious cravings for these potatoes. They are so creamy, and I love the occasional crunch of the corn and carrots, and the little bit of spice from the jalapeño. These are definitely on my list of dishes to attempt to recreate.

So there you have it, folks. If you want some bomb.com Mexican food with a side of probably the best mashed potatoes you’ll ever eat, do me a favor, and visit Que Pasa Cantina (just north of the Hawthorne food carts on 12th ave).

Scallops with Mashed Potatoes and Haricots Verts

scallops

Scallops
scallops

Ok, so I know I’ve talked about how I’m not really crazy about ingredient-heavy recipes. And really, usually I’m not. But when I’m trying to cook a nice, fancy, romantic dinner for someone, I’ll usually put that aside and just go for it. Especially if the recipe is still really not very difficult and I’ve been eyeing it for a while. I found this recipe while surfing around on Food52, which is a great resource for recipes. Seriously, great. I’ve found so many things I want to make. And it’s a cool food community, I’m not sure what the requirements are for posting, but it seems there are a lot of food bloggers who also post there… Anyway, it’s really neat. You should check it out.

So I found this recipe for scallops and accoutrements and it had been sitting on my Pinterest, giving me longing looks whenever I visited, asking “why haven’t you made me yet?” The opportunity arose where I actually had time to go to the store and take my time, buy some wine, and make Jonah a nice dinner. And while he did end up helping (quite a bit) I think he appreciated the gesture. I’ll also say that I usually find it pretty pretentious when people call green beans “haricots verts.” It’s like, we don’t all speak French, why confuse people? They’re just green beans. But I dunno… sometimes it’s fun to throw in some French.

Scallops with Mashed Potatoes and Haricots Verts

Ingredients

4-6 sea scallops (dry pack is way way better than previously frozen, as always)
4 Tbl butter, room temperature
1 tsp shallot, minced
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbl Italian parsley, minced
enough green beans for 2 (in our case), rinsed and trimmed
3 russet potatoes (medium-large), peeled and cut into chunks
1/2-1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbl butter
2 Tbl chives, minced
salt and pepper
2 Tbl canola oil

Instructions

First things first, some scallops have a little 1/2 inch strip of muscle that attaches it to the shell. It isn’t a nice texture in your mouth, so you’ll want to remove it. (I’ve never had a scallop with this little band, but it’s just good to check and make sure). Now either put them on paper towel on a plate or on a cooling rack over a tray to catch any juices and put them in the fridge.

Now the butter: combine the butter, shallot, garlic, and parsley until combined. Was that so hard? No. Moving right along.

Put the potatoes in a large pot of cold water, and season heavily with salt. Put the pot over high heat until it starts to boil. Then reduce the heat (just so it doesn’t boil over, but keep it at a rolling boil) and cook until the potatoes are tender. Drain them in a colander and let them dry for a few minutes. Now you can mash them with a fork, a ricer, BUT I’ve just discovered that an electric mixer makes for a great masher. Throw the potatoes in the bowl, add the butter, and blend (I used the paddle attachment). Once the butter is melted and incorporated, you can add the cream 1/4 cup at a a time until the potatoes are creamy to your liking. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in the chives. If you aren’t ready to serve yet, wait to add the chives until you are.

Take about a teaspoon of the butter you made, throw it in a pan, and add the green beans. Cook over medium heat until done – some like crunchy, some like a little softer, so just keep an eye on them and cook until they’re done to your liking. While those are cooking, bring out the scallops and season them with salt and pepper. Put a large fry pan over high heat and, once hot, add the oil. You want it to shimmer, but not to smoke. Carefully add the scallops (careful as the oil will probably spit a bit and can hurt) and saute until the first side is caramelized. Turn them and caramelize the other side, and remove them from the heat.

Now put a nice serving on a plate, put the scallops on top, and place a little dollop of the butter on top of each scallop. Add the haricots verts (ahem, green beans), and you’re done! That really wasn’t that hard for a fancy dinner with more than a few ingredients, was it? Enjoy with a nice cold glass of white wine (if you’re of age, that is).