Category Archives: What the Fork?

Foodie related articles.

Sous Vide Potato Salad

I use Paul Prudhomme’s hot German potato salad recipe from his Seasoned America.  Really excellent potato salad.

The trouble with potato salad, though, is really in the preparing of the potatoes.  His recipe calls to boil the small potatoes and then slice them (if memory serves).  Slicing hot potatoes is painful and sticky.  Not so easily done.

That’s not the even the most important bit.  Potatoes, like so many things in life, cook from the outside in.  So they will always be more done nearer the surface than in the center.  But, you shout at your screen, that’s precisely where sous vide shines!  Yes.  My thoughts exactly.

As I contemplated the path to potato perfection, I deeply pondered the shape of the potato pieces that should carry this most luxurious of salad sauces.  So I busted out my mandolin and crinkle-cut those bastards!

The hardest part is now the easiest part.

Tons of extra surface area for capturing sauce.  Cooked to perfect doneness via sous vide.  Nothing crumbles in the mixing process.  Even the smallest potato fragments tend to keep their structural integrity.  Yes, pure dining pleasure.  Farfegnugen for your tongue.

Submerge your vacuum sealed bag of crinkle-cut potatoes into the water bath at a temperature 185f for 90 minutes.  Mix with your favorite sauce.  Nom nom nom.

I do highly recommend Seasoned America.  One of my favorite books.


Some Notes on Adding Oats to Banana Bread

I usually just use the Joy of Cooking banana bread recipe.  Uncluttered and does a great loaf.  I add some chopped up dark chocolate but otherwise just the strait recipe.

I want to try adding oats.  I have made the following alterations to my usual.

  • sub 1/4 C of the sugar with brown
  • add 1/4 C yogurt (honey was what I had on-hand)
  • add ~1/4 C 2% milk (since the mixture was thicker (gloppier) than preferred (and it was what I had on-hand)
  • Also, I always sub 1/3 C whole wheat flour and continued that here

We shall see how that bakes up.

Baked up fine.  I am going to try adding a third banana and getting around the milk/yogurt thing.  Also, I’m going to try either grinding the oats (blender or food processor) or I’ll try using oat flour.

Modulation two or maybe three.  I’ve not been keeping close track.

My latest version included 1/3 C whole wheat substitution though I forgot the brown sugar.  I added 1/3 C oatmeal and about 1/3 C combined oat bran and ground flaxseeds.  Rated excellent by those who tried it I would like to see the baked loaf be a little more crumby and less gooey.


Smoked Almonds

I did this once before.  It was great.  Thought I might try adding a bit of brown sugar this time around.  We’ll see where that takes it.

I started with the below.  I vaguely remember using a combination of olive oil and butter last time.  Could be wrong though.   We’ll see what I do next time.


  • 48 oz bag of almonds (about 11 C)
  • 2 t cayenne
  • 2 T salt
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 2 T peanut oil

Put the almonds into a large bowl and coat thoroughly with olive oil.  Combine spices in a mortar and pestle or a ramekin.  Sprinkle and mix into almonds, again coating thoroughly.

Put them in a single layer in pans for your smoker of choice.  Smoke hot (250f to 300f) for some time (twenty minutes or until satisfyingly roasted).

Not as good as my previous batch (down to good from amazing).  I’ll have to experiment more.

Maybe borrow from this one next time.

New attempt…

  • almonds
  • 3 T butter + 2 T peanut oil combined
  • 2 T salt
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 2 t cayenne
  • 1 t nutmeg
  • 1 t molasses

Note to self, coat the almonds in oil first and then apply the dry spices.  Combining those makes it impossible to distribute the dry spices.

Into the smoker at 275f (top temp) and check in half an hour but I would guess a couple of hours.  If memory serves it took some time previously.  (Roasting almonds is typically done at 325f for maybe twenty minutes.)

This batch was better excluding the aforementioned idiocy about mixing ingredients.  Watch for the third attempt which I hope to solidify the recipe and the technique.


Black Rice and Cheese with Broccoli

New food experiment.  Mac and cheese but with black rice as the starch and add some broccoli because why not.


  • 2 cups black rice
    • 2 cups water (or stock)
    • 2 cups whole milk
    • 1 t mushroom paste (Better than Bouillon)
  • roux from 1 cube butter and 1 cup flour
    • pepper
    • nutmeg
    • cayenne
    • maybe 1/2 C each Parmesan and Asiago
    • couple cups milk or so
    • 1 lb shredded medium cheddar
    • 1 lb frozen chopped broccoli
    • salt

Add in order above (though that extra milk can be added as needed).  Use lowest heat throughout so the oils don’t break the emulsification.

Pretty thick.  Maybe too thick?  I was lazy and used pre-shredded Parmesan, Asiago, and cheddar.  The Asiago and cheddar contain starches which can interfere with emulsification and make the final sauce less smooth so that’s likely a factor.  Flavor is pretty good but can likely be made better.  Arguably the flavor of the broccoli overpowers all else; it’s very strong compared to the rest.


Dried Blueberry Ice Cream

Last weekend I made a new flavor of ice cream.  Centered around dried blueberries, I used brown sugar and maple syrup instead of white sugar.  Still used the usual vanilla and added cinnamon.


  • the usual custard
    • sub ¾ C brown sugar and ¼ C maple syrup
  • 1 C dried blueberries
  • 2 T vanilla
  • 1 t cinnamon ?

Next time chop the blueberries and macerate them a day ahead in a portion of the milk and cream mixture.  Also, maybe use cinnamon stick.

Second run and the maceration was very successful.  I macerated the dried blueberries (after finely chopping) in about half a cup of the cream.  Added this after cooking.


Oatmeal Meatballs

Been trying to a) decrease my consumption of red meat (fuck you, cholesterol) and b) increase my consumption of soluble fiber (fuck you, cholesterol), so I’ve cobbled together some meatballs with oatmeal and where I can use various combinations of meat as situations demand.  Here is the basic recipe which I just made and which were really delicious.


  • 1 lb meat (I used hot Italian style sausage made at my local grocery)
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 2 good sized shallots finely chopped
  • 1 C oatmeal (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 2 eggs
  • (one could add some Worcestershire or garlic if desired)
  • 1½ t salt
  • 1 t pepper
  • 2 t cayenne


  • For oven baked, set oven to 375f; for pan fried prepare a cast iron skillet with oil
  • Mix all the stuff in a bowl.
  • Make balls from the mixture no larger than a golf ball.
  • For oven, disperse balls over sheet (with or without parchment paper); or place gently into hot oil to shallow fry and brown evenly on various sides.
  • Bake for 25 minutes; not sure how long to fry but you got this.

This is technically a double batch so one could cut everything in half and do a smaller batch.

Note that I used half ground turkey (chicken would substitute, of course).  I should be able to alter the primary meat (in this case hot Italian style sausage) to use lamb or beef (again using half turkey) with solid results.  I may try the lamb version this weekend.  We shall see.

Have fun!


Stuffed Courgette


  • 1 large zucchini (split and hollowed)
  • 1 lb sausage
  • sage
  • pistachios
  • nutmeg
  • cardamom
  • pomegranate molasses
  • 1 cup black rice

Ingredients (alternate)

  • 1 giant zucchini sawn into boats
  • I run the seeds and such through a blender and add them back into the mix
  • 1 lb hot Italian sausage
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 cup rice (cook it ahead though)
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 green bell pepper finely diced
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • Kalamata olives (sliced or diced)
  • plain smoked almonds (house-made)
  • ground flaxseed (boost fiber)
  • cardamom
  • basil
  • parsley
  • thyme
  • black and white pepper
  • cayenne
  • salt


  • split zucchini and hollow the inner bits (you can grind these and eat them if you want)
  • mix the stuff together (including any ground up bits from the zucchini)
  • fill the boats with all the stuff
  • bake for an hour at maybe 325f
  • adjust the above as necessary

Best of luck.


Pickled Onions

Just a few ingredients and a jar.  I now keep these perpetually on-hand for sandwiches and salads and whatever else.  So good.


  • Onion (red)
  • 1 C water
  • 1 C vinegar
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 T sugar
  • some crushed red peppers


  • Warm the water and vinegar enough to dissolve the sugar and salt.
  • Fill a seal-able jar with thinly sliced red onion.
  • Pour the cooled liquid mixture into the jar, covering the onion slices.
  • Seal jar and place in the refrigerator.

Go forth and make sandwiches!