Quinoa Salad

I feel like quinoa popped up overnight.  One minute I’ve never heard of it, the next it’s all over the internet.  I have grown very fond of quinoa and it is now a regular part of my diet.  It is known as an ancient grain and isn’t considered one of the “bad grains” I’ve written about earlier.  Quinoa has twice the fiber and protein of brown rice or any other grain.  It also has a nearly perfect blend of amino acids which helps keep stabilized blood sugar, etcetera, etcetera. I’m probably boring and not as qualified as the rest of the internet, so do your own googling!

This is one summer salad that is so easy to make and it’s light, healthy, and delicious!  The ingredients are easily interchangeable so the flavor profiles are endless.  It also packs well so it’s great on a picnic or the next day at work or school.

I used a tri-color quinoa of red, black, and white, but using simple white quinoa is just as tasty.  I love that quinoa is easily made on the stovetop or a rice cooker, with water or vegetable stock.  It is a great rice substitute and it goes well with so much.  I have given approximate portions of what I used, but this is the type of recipe that doesn’t need exactness, you just put a little bit of what you like and a lot of what you love.

Quinoa Salad

serves 2-3

2C cooked quinoa

1.5C cooked black beans

1 mango

1/2 bell pepper

2 scallions

zest from 1 lemon

3T lemon juice

5-6T olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

First, cook the quinoa if you haven’t already.  This would be a good time to make the dressing.  Simply combine the oil, lemon juice and zest, with the salt and pepper in a small food processor to combine.  Then, chop all the fruits and veggies of your choice.

Once the quinoa has cooled to room temperature, combine it with the black beans in a large serving bowl.

Toss the veggies and fruits in.

Look at the lemony yellow dressing.  It’s BEAUTIFUL!

Pour it over the salad and toss thoroughly to combine.

Rest for at least an hour to let the dressing soak into the quinoa and serve chilled or at room temperature.

 

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Stir Fry

I apologize for the delay.  I’m changing my posting days to Mondays.  And also, my husband and I were recently leading 150 youth at camp.

There’s this game my husband and I play at various times.  One main time is when we’re about to go out of town.  It’s called: Use only the ingredients on hand and make it work!  This often leads to culinary genius!  But a lot of times it leads to stir fry.  We love Asian flavors, and we can basically whip up stir fry any day of the week at our house.  I always keep rice, sesame seeds, and various Asian spices and oils in the pantry, and there’s always some teriyaki and soy sauce in the fridge – though lately I’ve switched to Braggs Liquid Aminos which is much healthier than soy sauce, and I pleasantly have not noticed the difference.  No complaints here!  The beautiful thing about stir fry is that the veggies you include can be whatever you’d like, so use whatever you have.

Stir Fry

serves 2

2C rice, cooked and chilled I used brown rice

1 egg, optional

1C broccoli

1C mushrooms

1 small zucchini

1/2 bell pepper

1/2 onion

1T of butter or margarine or sesame oil

2T Bragg’s or low sodium soy sauce

1-2T sesame seeds

I’m not gonna lie.  I don’t remember if I read this somewhere, heard it on a cooking show, or if I straight up asked the hibachi chef one day, but I found out that Japanese hibachi grill restaurants make fried rice with cooked, chilled rice.  It apparently cooks better, takes on the flavor better, and doesn’t become mushy in this state.  So I cooked my rice the night before – gasp – in a rice cooker.  Hey, I’m human, too.  I chilled the rice in a covered container in the fridge over night.

Then, everything is pretty simple.  Chop all your veggies in about bite size portions.  I like to switch up the shapes, so diced onion, pulled apart stems of broccoli, matchstick zucchini, chopped carrots, sliced mushrooms, etc.

Once all the vegetables are prepared, I heated my wok with a small bit of sesame oil inside.  Cooking in order of the hibachi restaurant, I started by scrambling the egg,

then added the rest of the sesame oil (or butter if you choose) and the chilled rice on top.

Once the rice begins to cook, add the Bragg’s or soy sauce to taste.

Once it was cooked through, I set aside the rice mixture

and cooked the vegetables, starting with the thicker, or longer cooking ones first.  I sautéed the garlic and onions together, then added the broccoli.  If you’re using carrots or mini corn this would be a great time to throw it in.  I added a bit more sauce as the liquid was either cooking in or evaporating.  (Look at the steam!)

Next zucchini, and peppers, and whatever else you’d like.

Once all the vegetables are cooked through, add the rice back in and a little more sauce if you’d like.

Stir well.

Top with sesame seed and serve.  I actually have genuine wooden chopsticks that I received as a souvenir after my mom had a trip to China.  Thanks, Mom!!!

Orzo & Wild Rice Salad

What an eventful week!  The 4th always brings lots of fun, memories, and food!  After the burgers & desserts that accompanied the fireworks I had to make something light, chilled, and refreshing for this HOT summer we’re having in Florida.  This little chilled salad is perfect!

I was inspired, once again, by J. Alexander’s and their orzo & wild rice salad.  That side is one of my husband’s favorites, so I decided to make my own version.  Cherries are in season and so delicious, so I wanted to make those the star of this dish.  This is the type of dish where measurements don’t really matter, as long as you’re happy with the look of the salad and ratio of ingredients.  But for all those OCD folks, I listed the measurements I used.

Chilled Orzo & Wild Rice Salad

Serves 10

2C orzo pasta

1C wild rice

1/2C red winter wheat berries

2 handfuls of fresh cherries

1 ear of corn

½ red bell pepper, diced

½ green bell pepper, diced

1 handful of raw almonds

5-10 basil leaves

1/3C olive oil

2T balsamic vinegar

1-2T lemon juice

1/2t pepper

1/4t salt

1T cherry juice, optional

Cook the orzo, wild rice, and wheat berries according to the package directions on the stovetop.  Meanwhile, roast your corn in the oven at 350 for 20-30 minutes.  Leave the husk on (it holds in juicy moisture) but rinse it off before placing in oven.  Also, this is a good time to stem, pit, and slice the cherries.  I used my handy dandy cherry pitter from Williams-Sonoma.  It shoots through the cherry taking only the pit and occasionally a small circle from the bottom of the cherry.  Otherwise the cherry is perfectly in tact.  I shot the pits directly into a deep garbage can…and still managed to get cherry juice on the side of my white fridge.  Clorox wipes to the rescue!

Since cherries are notorious for staining, and I didn’t want my pasta pink, I sliced them each in half and let them sit on paper towels for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, I roughly chopped the almonds.  If you want to save some time, or really want everything to be symmetrical, you could pre-buy slivered almonds.  But, I like the rough and tumble, all natural, hand-made, rustic feeling of this dish, so I roughly chopped away.

Then, I julienned the basil.

And made the dressing.  I first combined the salt, pepper, half the basil, & vinegar

with the lemon juice.  This would be the time to add a Tablespoon or two of cherry juice if you’d like, but if not, add extra lemon juice.

Blend together well.

Once blended together, slowly, and I mean slowly incorporate the oil a little bit at a time, and set aside.  At this point, the corn should be about ready and whenever the orzo, wild rice, and wheat berries are ready, they should be cooling at first on the stove top, then in the fridge.  Don’t forget to rinse the starch from the orzo.  Though it looks like rice, you’re still dealing with pasta!  Cut the corn off the cob and assemble your ingredients together.  You’re almost ready!

I first started with the orzo, wild rice, and wheat berries to make sure I had a good ratio of each and that it looked pleasing.  (I didn’t end up using all my wild rice.)

Then added the veggies (I used them all!)

then lastly the nuts, fruit, remaining basil, and dressing.  Stir well and chill for at least an hour to let the flavors develop.  Enjoy!

Black Bean Hummus

Hummus is a staple in our household.  (If you didn’t already figure that out from my Garlic Hummus recipe.)  We eat it with pita chips & vegetables, and also use it as a spread on sandwiches or tortilla wraps.  Hummus is so versatile you can make it fit with whatever flavor food you’re preparing.  I make black bean hummus a lot because I always have black beans in the pantry and we eat Spanish food so much, that this is perfect!  I love this recipe because it can be made in less than 10 minutes.  Plus, with all the Puerto Ricans we know who are a little shy of chick peas, this is a great gateway hummus.

I call this my Latin Hummus!  For the first six months of marriage, my husband didn’t know what to cook in the kitchen because I didn’t have Adobo – a Latin staple.  I learned to change it, and learned why all the Puerto Rican and Dominican cooks that I know love it!  So for all you Latin food lovers and hummus lovers alike, here you have it:

Black Bean Hummus

makes about 1 cup

1 C cooked black beans (if using canned, drain and rinse well)

1/8 C tahini

3T water

1T lemon juice, or about half a lemon

2 cloves garlic

1/4t salt

1/4t Adobo

1 small handful of either parsley or cilantro

Put all ingredients in a food processor.  I started with the beans, parsley, and garlic.

Then added the lemon juice, water, seasonings, and tahini.

Process until smooth and at a consistency you like.  To get it more thin you can add more water, lemon juice, or a small amount of olive oil.

Viola! Delicious, healthy snack.  I like to refrigerate mine before serving.  Enjoy!

Passion Tea Lemonade

Summer is approaching.  And as hot and humid as Florida days have been lately, summer has arrived.  Lemonade is a trademark drink, and Starbucks has made it’s own twist on an Arnold Palmer by combining lemonade and Passion tea – an herbal tea by Tazo.  Passion tea is officially described as “a magical blend of hibiscus, lemongrass, rose hips, mango & passion fruit flavors.”  It is so fruity and delicious, it pairs nicely with lemonade.  You can order it at Starbucks, or make your own for fewer bucks.

This is a great drink to make when company calls unexpectedly, for a brunch, or just an afternoon treat.

Passion Tea Lemonade

makes 2 quarts

2-3 bags of Tazo Passion tea

10 lemons

Simple syrup (or sugar) to taste

First of all, I highly recommend keeping simple syrup on hand if you are a flavored coffee drinker.  This particular batch I made included the insides of scraped vanilla beans for a vanilla simple syrup.  Simple syrup – or “Classic” syrup as Starbucks calls it – is simply sugar water, but the scientific way in which the sugar breaks down makes the same amount of sugar sweeter when in simple syrup form.  I use a 1 to 1 ratio of sugar and water, bring to a boil on the stove, then drop to low heat and stir until dissolved.  The syrup should be a consistency of just thicker than water.

To start the passion tea lemonade, I brought 1.5 quarts of water to a boil, turned down the temperature, then added 3 tea bags and let sit for 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, I started juicing the lemons.  Hubby & I recently become acquainted with Mr. Jack LaLanne.  Love him!

Though I used a juicer, you could hand squeeze or use a citrus juicer to extract the juice of the lemons.  My 10 lemons yielded about 1.5 cups of fresh lemon juice.  Notice the white foam on top of the 1 cup portion – that’s where a ton of nutrition is!  (I am a nerd & learn things from food documentaries.)

Once the tea and lemon juice are ready, it is as simple as letting the tea cool slightly, and mixing it with the lemon juice and simple syrup.  I ended up using 1/2 cup of simple syrup for my liking.

Garnish with some ice (I had frozen cubes of lemon juice on hand) and freshly cut lemon, and you’re set to serve!

If you are not serving it right away, do not put lemon garnish in the tea mixture as the lemons will stain red.  Simply add fresh lemons when ready to serve.

Baked Falafel

Oh, falafel. I could sing its praises for a long time. It is tasty, vegetarian and often times vegan, portable, and really easy to make! I fell in love with falafel when I lived in Israel, since it is the primary fast food in the Middle East – move over, McDonald’s. Falafel is traditionally deep fried and accompanied by hummus and tahina sauce. In Israel, it is served in a pita pocket, making it an easily transportable, quick lunch.

If you plan on frying the falafel (which is easily done on the stovetop with olive oil) it is better to use dry chickpeas and soak them for 2 hours, up to overnight. Canned chickpeas are too soft and tend to fall apart during the frying process. Since this recipe is baking the falafel, either canned or soaked chickpeas may be used.

I have tried several different falafel recipes, but I found one from a fellow foodie who spent some time in Israel, and I thought her recipe was so close to authentic! I made a few changes, and came up with this healthy version of the tasty falafel.

Baked Falafel

adapted from theshiksa.com

makes 12 falafel discs, serves 3-4

1C chickpeas, rinsed

1 small onion

1/2C spinach leaves

1/2C parsley leaves

3 garlic cloves

1T flour (I used spelt to keep these gluten free)

1t salt

1t cumin

1/2t ground coriander

1 pinch of cayenne

1 pinch of ground cardamom

Freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2t baking powder (to help them rise with the lack of gluten)

For falafel sandwiches:

Pitas

Hummus

Tahina Sauce

Chopped tomato

Spinach or lettuce

Chopped cucumber

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Assemble all falafel ingredients in a food processor.  Parsley:

Spinach & spices:

Baking Soda:

Roughly chopped onion:

Flour:

And Chickpeas:

Pulse until a course meal is formed. I personally don’t like my falafel to be the texture of baby food.

I used a cookie dough scooper -which to you might be a melon baller- to form the falafels on a baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes, then flip and bake 15 minutes on the other side. Due to the baking nature, the falafels will only be crispy on the sides that touch the pan. Though you could probably bake them and maintain a round shape, I chose to smash them and make them discs for ease.

Serve them hot with either hummus or tahina or both, or in a pita as a sandwich.  I slathered my pita with hummus (see my recipe link above), stuffed it with falafel, spinach, tomato, and tahina sauce (recipe also above.)  Or they’re delicious on their own, served with a traditional Israeli Salad.  Yum!!

Here’s a picture that I took in Israel of a postcard.  The recipe is pretty close!

Johnny Marzetti

Sometimes you just need some comfort food. It was my birthday a few weeks ago and I was thinking a lot about my family. Growing up, this recipe was a favorite of mine, served up by my Polish grandmother. She is one of my heroes. She survived both the Great Depression & World War II as a slave in Germany, her love story with my Grampa is Oscar worthy, she taught herself English by reading magazines, and raised four great children, the oldest of whom was my dad. Whenever I visited she would always pull me up in her lap, tell me how beautiful I was, and give me a dollar or two (which was a lot to her) so I could have my own spending money. So, yes this meal is pretty basic, but when you’ve got all that history in some food, it makes it that much more special.

This is Johnny Marzetti. It began during World War II at a restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, where my grandparents lived after the war. I suppose it was an easy, relatively affordable way to feed people so I easily see how my grandmother picked up on it with six mouths to feed. From what I’ve read online, Johnny Marzetti is traditionally baked and made with red sauce, but I made this one on the stove top like Grandma did. She made both red & white sauce versions, but this time I decided to tackle the white sauce. Though Grandma never used recipes or had anything written down, my uncle told me what he could remember, and I added a few adaptations of my own to make this rendition a bit healthier.  I’ll let you know when I conquer the red sauce.

Johnny Marzetti
Serves 6-8

12oz elbow macaroni
12oz ground soy crumbles or ground beef
1 yellow onion
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
2C milk
1C grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
Salt & pepper to taste
1T olive oil, if using soy crumbles
Parsley for garnish, optional

So my grandmother’s way was to use Kraft macaroni & she included the cheesy powder in her recipe. Not that you can knock anyone’s grandmother’s cooking (was that even English?!) but I really try to cook with whole foods that are as natural as possible, so cheese powder was out for me. But, I glanced over the Kraft box and besides crazy stuff, it was mostly milk based, so I figured, why not actually add milk to the recipe?

So I set the macaroni to boil

while I chopped the onion.

Since I didn’t have to cook any meat, I mostly browned the onion and heated the soy crumbles. Since soy doesn’t have the grease that meat does, I added the olive oil to help keep everything from sticking to the pan. If you use ground beef, cook it with the onions. Once browned, drain the grease off before adding the other ingredients.

Cook the macaroni only for about 5 minutes, drain and rinse the starch off

then add it to the meat mixture.

Add the cream of mushroom soup and stir well.


Stir in the milk, salt, and pepper, and simmer for 10 minutes.

After simmering, add the Parmesan cheese and stir until it’s melted in.

Serve immediately, garnishing with Parmesan and parsley.

Comfort food at its finest. If you add a sunset, it makes it that much more perfect.

Tangy Vinaigrette Chopped Salad

Years ago I cruised to the Bahamas with my husband and some close friends.  While ashore, we dined in the Atlantis Hotel at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill restaurant.  I fell in food-love!  Not only was the restaurant gorgeous itself, but the food presentation and flavor was unlike anything I’d ever seen or tasted.  Perhaps this would be a good time to mention that the small town I live in only has a Chili’s and an Outback….ahem.  Moving on.  I loved the style of food at the Mesa Grill which is perfectly described as “explosive flavor from the southwestern kitchen.”  I could eat quesadillas every day, so when I ordered the Smoked Black Bean & Corn Quesadilla with Avocado and Toasted Garlic Creme Fraiche I was in quesadilla Heaven.  The way Chef Flay combines spicy chilies with sweet notes in his food instantly made me a fan.  I talked about it so much that one Christmas, my sweet mother & father-in-loves (yeah, better than in-laws!) bought me the Mesa Grill cookbook!  I was ecstatic!

Though several recipes are quite fancy – as in, I’d never have the guts to cook, or eat, duck – there are many that I’ve made several times for both casual dinners and special occasions.  This salad is so simple, yet delicious!  The secret is how you make the dressing.  Now, I respect a chef. But, there’s still something in me that urges me to try things a different way.  So, normally I don’t mess with a good thing, but this is my interpretation of Chef Flay’s “Sophie’s Chopped Salad.”

And yes, maybe I am referring to him as Chef Flay just in case he reads this and wants to hire me.

Tangy Vinaigrette Chopped Salad

adapted from Bobby Flay

Serves 4-6

For the vinaigrette you’ll need:

1/4 C balsamic vinegar

1T Dijon mustard

1t salt

1/2 t pepper

1 C canola oil, divided in half

For the salad you’ll need:

3 C chopped romaine lettuce

2 ripe tomatoes of your choice seeded and diced

1/2 C canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 C canned garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 C chopped stems of scallions

3/4 C 1/2-inch-cubed white Cheddar cheese

3/4 C 1/2-inch-cubed Monterey Jack cheese

4-6 corn tortillas

With a salad like this, you really don’t need to measure the ingredients exactly, you just want an even blend of the beans, cheeses, tomato, and scallions.  No worries if the measurements aren’t perfect.

After washing and drying the veggies, chop the lettuce to bite size pieces.

Next, add the beans and cheeses!  Try not to eat too many on their own.  I know it’s tough.

Chop the scallions.  I only used the green parts because though I love onion, I didn’t want that to be the predominant flavor of the salad.

And the tomatoes.  I waited to put them in the bowl until after the vinaigrette and tortillas were ready so their juices didn’t run around all cray cray.

Now it’s time for the vinaigrette!  This is one of the first home-made salad dressings I tackled, and it showed me there’s no need to be intimidated by salad dressings!  They’re not too hard to pull off.  This one can be made in a blender, in a bowl with a wisk, or as I did, in a small food processor.

Add salt & pepper,

Dijon mustard,

And add the vinegar.

Blend together until smooth.

Once it’s all blended slowly add 1/2 cup of oil to the mix.  If using a whisk, this will be easy, and if your food processor has an opening on top this will be easy.  Since mine does not, I would stop, add a little then blend.  Stop, add a little more then blend, and so on until all the oil had been encorporated.  This is the tricky part!  I’ve made this dressing before and once I dumped the oil in all at once and it did not blend correctly and separated afterwards.  It wasn’t right.  Make sure you add the oil slowly a little bit at a time.

When it’s done right, you get this!

The last component to this delicious salad is the crispy element.  Heat the remaining oil on medium-high heat.  Once the oil is ready, lightly fry both sides of each tortilla.

Once all tortillas are finished, add the tomatoes to the salad and mix well.  Plating is fun since the tortillas acts as a “plate.”  The tortillas tear easily with the fork to add a bit of crunch in the salad.  Garnish with freshly ground black pepper, dried parsley, or anything else you’d like!  It’s soooo delicious.  This might just become your new favorite salad.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Cauliflower

I never had brussel sprouts as a child.  And due to everything you hear about them as a child, I determined to never try them if I was given the opportunity.  The opportunity never really presented itself until about two years ago, where I tried them at a lovely restaurant called J. Alexander’s.  I had never had anything at J’s that I did not like, so I recklessly thought, why not!  Well, I don’t know about all brussel sprout preparations, but these are good!  I was determined to always make brussel sprouts this way and make vegetable converts of those around me!

My husband liked them the first time I made them, and convinced his father – who claimed to not like brussel sprouts either – try them.  Dad liked them. Yes!  My veggie revolution had begun!  The secret is in the panko breadcrumbs.  They’re bigger than usual breadcrumbs and give a crunch to the dish that could otherwise be another pile of limp vegetables.  I carefully studied the simple looking recipe and came up with this copy cat version.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Cauliflower

a lovely side dish serving 4-6

1 head cauliflower

1 bag of brussel sprouts, I prefer smaller ones

Panko breadbrumbs

Olive oil

Rosemary

Salt & pepper to taste

Parmesan, shaved, shredded, or powdered, optional

I used two types of breadcrumbs this go around, but usually I only use one, the one that makes J. Alexander’s so wonderful.  The lovely panko breadcrumbs.  You can even get them in whole wheat, so no guilt required!

Preheat the oven to 400 then wash and cut the veggies into bite size chunks.

I sliced the brussel sprouts in half, lengthwise, so they’re bite-size, but don’t fall apart completely.  I also chopped any dark end pieces and peeled off any wilty leaves.

Then I threw the vegetables into a bowl that had a lid like so…

added a tablespoon of olive oil, some salt & pepper, and some Italian breadcrumbs.  I used these breadcrumbs for the spices it had, but if you’re using plain panko, you could also add italian seasonings, garlic powder, or anything else that you’d like.

Then I put on the lid tightly and shook all the stuff around to evenly coat the vegetables.  And dumped them onto a baking sheet with sides.

Shake the rosemary over the whole pan, and add more salt & pepper if you wish.

At this point, liberally shake the panko breadcrumbs onto the veggies, and drizzle with more olive oil to coat the breadcrumbs.

I make this recipe a lot and have to switch it up now and then.  Though J. Alexander’s does not do this, sometimes I’ll add some freshly grated Parmesan before popping them in the oven.

Place on the top rack in the oven and roast for about 15-18 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.  Then, broil for 3-5 minutes.  You’ll need to watch the broiling process carefully as seconds too long could scorch the entire pan.  You want some outer leaves of the brussel sprouts to be crispy, and some cauliflower pieces to have browned, but what you don’t want is vegetables that taste like coal.  Bleck!

Serve immediately!

You, too, can prove that brussel sprouts are good!  Enjoy!

Crispy Oven Fries & Bistro Sauce

This is the sequel to last week’s post!  The delicious, crispy, herb drenched fries and the sauce that cannot be described, only consumed.  This sauce is inspired by Nordstrom’s Cafe Bistro, who serves it with their own crispy, herb drenched fries.  My husband and I were introduced to Cafe Bistro years ago and have fallen in love with it.  They have great salads, sandwiches, pizzas, and desserts!  We seriously refer to this pink dip as “Heaven Sauce” in our household, and it has caught on with friends who love the Cafe as much as we do.

I loved this sauce so much I once asked for the recipe and though they sell cookbooks with their recipes, they so generously jotted it down for me.  Now, that was quite a while ago, so I’ve long forgotten where that little receipt has ended up.  Thankfully, my somewhat functional memory and my culinary instincts could reproduce it!  It’s amazing!  Also, I’ve learned a lot about baking fries since my last fry post.  From soaking the potatoes in water to cooking them on a rack with air circulation, it’s all good things I’ve learned.  I’m excited to share this recipe with you!

Crispy Oven Fries & Heaven Bistro Sauce

Serves 2-3, Fries inspired by thetalkingkitchen.com

3 small/medium potatoes

1/2 t garlic powder

1/4 t onion powder

1 small bunch of parsley, I used Italian flat leaf

4-6T mayonnaise, I used Vegenaise

2-3T Greek yogurt (optional)

2-3 cloves fresh garlic

8-12 Kalamata olives

Juice from 1/2 a lemon

4T olive oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

First, I washed and cut the potatoes to desired fry size.  I wanted skinny fries in the attempt to make them nice and crispy.  I also left the skin on and was not disappointed.

Then soaked them in ice water for about 5 minutes to let some starch out.  At this point, I pre-heated the oven to 400 degrees.

I then rinsed and drained the potatoes, and dried them out on a towel.  I rubbed the towel back & forth over them to ensure they were fully dry.

I then mixed the powders, salt, & pepper together.

Side note: I used a chimichurri sea salt that I picked up at a farmer’s market recently.  Bless the Lord, it’s good!  Recipes like this are a fun time to experiment with new seasonings or different flavored salt & peppers.  Also, if you’ve never had chimichurri sauce…get on that.  It will change your world.

Then added the olive oil.

And added the fries.  At first I tried to toss them with a spatula, but they weren’t getting sufficiently coated, so prepare to get your hands a little dirty.

I lined a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, just to make clean up a little easier.  And since I don’t own a cooking rack, I used an all metal cookie cooling rack to put the fries on.  Apparently, air circulation makes the fries crispier, and you don’t need to flip them half way through the cook time.  I’m not sure how I feel about that since I got some crispy fries, and some softer ones.  Good thing I like both kinds.

I made so many I had to cook them in two batches because they didn’t all fit on the pan!

I baked them for 30-35 minutes, or until nicely browned.  Meanwhile, time to roll up your sleeves, bust out the food processor and make the sauce of Heaven!!!

I first tossed in 4T mayo.  I subbed out some mayo for Greek yogurt to cut down the fat and up the protein in this dip.  This is optional of course.  You could go mayo all the way if you’re not as vain as I am.  I use Greek yogurt as a sub for mayo and sour cream often in recipes.  The kind I buy by Fage has 0 fat and 20ish grams of protein per serving.  This is fantastic news to my heart!

Then added the garlic.

Oh, yes, I used my mini food processor since I’m not making but 1.5 cups of this goodness.

Then added the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, and some salt & pepper.

Add the olives.

And blend it!  This would be the time to adjust seasonings to taste.  You’ll know when it’s right for your taste buds.  The consistency you’re looking for will be slightly more runny than mayonnaise.  Place in the fridge until the fries are ready.

While the fries are finishing in the oven, chop the parsley finely.

When the fries are ready, pull them out of the oven and allow to cool for 1-2 minutes.

Toss with parsley, and serve with Heaven sauce immediately.  So delicious!!!  Enjoy!

I used the sauce throughout the week as a sandwich spread and dip for pita chips.  It’s just that good.