pommes persillade (potatoes with parsley + garlic)

I won't lie to you - I miss culinary school sometimes. The dashing from the 6 train, cappuccino in hand and the other holding onto my bag of tricks. Waiting for the impossibly slow elevator to the 14th floor, where you turned right into the women's locker room and slipped from one world into another by donning your checkered pants and chef's whites. The Institute of Culinary Education was such an experience for me, I still, and will always, draw on techniques learned there. 

This is one of them. November 2014 was the start of Module 2 of our Career Culinary class. This is where the core techniques are introduced. Pommes Persillade was one of our first experiences in Mod 2, learning to saute during Dry Heat Cooking Techniques. Sauteing is the foundation pommes persillade is built on, getting your pan and oil hot. Tossing the food in the pan so all sides are cooked. Not letting the garlic burn. It's deceptively simple and achingly delicious when you've achieved that golden brown crispy exterior, the soft fluffy potatoes therein contrasting with the bright herbal of parsley and the sharp tang of garlic. It's a perfect side dish, coming together in about twenty minutes from start to finish.

3 russet potatoes
1 heaping tbsp of parsley, chiffonaded
1 clove garlic, minced
salt
1 oz canola oil

Peel the potatoes and slice as evenly as you can into 1/2 inch rectangles. Slice the rectangles by 1/2 inch so you have a perfect 1/2 inch wide and 1/2 inch high baton. Slice into 1/2 inch cubes. 

Add potatoes to pot of water. Salt. Bring to a boil. Test potatoes for doneness. Once a knife can penetrate them easily, remove potatoes from water and spread on a paper towel. Allow to rest until cold.

Once cold, heat a 10" saute pan over med-high heat. Add oil. Once hot, add potatoes. Flip often, until all sides are brown and crunchy. Add parsley and garlic and toss. Cook 1-2 minutes longer, tossing regularly, until garlic is fragrant. Serve.

chilled beet and carrot soup

You know, left to my own devices, I think I'd never leave the house.

It's terrible but true, so when I have houseguests come and suggest dragging me out of the house - across the threshold of the two flights of stairs and ten minute walk to the F train - I actually secretly treasure it. Last week, my childhood friend Jenny came to visit and wanted to see the MOMA (which i somehow hadn't been to yet) and I jumped at the chance. 

But I might be justified in staying in because - oh, it's so hot out there. 

you know those weeks when the weather feels like it's slapping you in the face with a wet blanket? it's one of those here in New York. I was hopeful that the humidity would never come, that it would stay at bay forever. 

So, between that and my non-air-conditioned apartment, I only want to eat things that cool me down and I was fantasizing about some kind of cold borscht - but two problems presented. the first is that I desperately want to use my wife's family's recipe but it's in russian (and my russian is definitely not that good. yet.) and it's lost somewhere in the boxes we still need to unpack. 

So, instead we have a different take on a chilled beet soup. this one is faintly sweet with blended carrots and beets, thickened with cream and chilled to icy perfection that runs through my veins, bringing coolness from my mouth to my stomach to my toes.

Poor fluffball Jasper.

3 beets, peeled and cooked. diced 
4 oz carrots, peeled, cooked, and diced
1 potato, cooked, peeled, and diced
1 /2 onion, peeled and diced 
1 stalk celery, diced  
1 bulb fennel, cleaned and diced  
1 oz horseradish
1 cup cream
2 cups vegetable stock
1 oz canola oil
1 sprig thyme, parsley, and bay leaf tied in cheesecloth  
salt and pepper to taste

put a large pot of water on to boil. add beets and potato and cook until soft and able to be penetrated easily with a knife. drain. 

heat canola in a large pot. add carrots, celery, fennel, and onion and sauté until softened and fragrant, about five minutes. add stock and sachet and cook, simmering, for ten minutes. cool. remove sachet.

add beets and potato to blender or food processor and purée. add stock, horseradish, and cooked vegetables and purée until smooth. stir in cream and season liberally. serve.