harissa potatoes

May 7, 2014 § 77 Comments


Harissa potatoes would be perfect with eggs on a Saturday morning, or as a dinner side with roasted chicken.   You could serve these as part of a meze, a selection of small dishes to make a meal, in the same way tapas are served in Spain, or, as we American’s might enjoy small plates dining.  These potatoes are lovely served warm or room temperature with a tomato salad, tzatziki,  and a good home made hummus.

We have been enjoying the flavor combination of sundried piments, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, sun dried tomatoes, coriander and caraway seeds in a traditional harissa paste which is hand made in Tunisia.  Harissa is a hot sauce (or paste rather) used in North African cuisine, made from chili peppers, spices, and olive oil.  My store bought harissa paste adds a delicious flavor to bland foods such as chickpeas, carrots and potatoes.   Although  I haven’t made my own harissaa yet, John fromthebartolinikitchens’  has a recipe you could try.  Visit his post to learn more about harissa and for a wonderful chicken thigh recipe too.

Recipe slightly adapted from Herbivoracious.

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 3 medium size potatoes -yukon golds would be a nice choice
  • 2 teaspoons harissa paste
  • 1 tablespoon minced preserved lemon, I found this at our local market
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • sea salt, to taste
  • crumbled feta cheese for serving
  • fresh dil for serving

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the onion and cook for 1 minute until it begins to soften. Add the potatoes, harissa, preserved lemon, cumin, and salt and cook, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are lightly browned on the outside and tender in the middle. It helps to cover the pot so that the tops of the potatoes are steaming a bit while the bottoms are browning. Uncover for the last couple of minutes.
To serve, taste and adjust seasoning. You might need more salt, harissa, or preserved lemon. Transfer to serving plate and garnish with the feta cheese and a very generous amount of fresh dill.



warm swiss chard salad

March 12, 2014 § 68 Comments


I ran out to the market the other day to buy what we needed to make this warm salad.  With kale being the go-to leafy green these days naturally I headed toward that section of the produce area when these beautiful stalks of swiss chard caught my eye.  Crisp leaves, firm ribs, vibrant color, organic and huge!  I couldn’t resist.


Swiss chard has an extended growing season here in the Pacific Northwest; the harvest timeframe is mid June all the way through March.  Even after what feels like a long winter I still see chard and kale growing in p-patches through out the city.  Goes to show how mild our winters are here in Seattle.  Nothing to complain about folks.


Perhaps it is how the leaves retain their thickness after steaming, or the color vibrancy of red and green that I love so much about chard.  Or maybe preparing it like this on a Saturday morning and adding a poached egg and dry aged thick cut bacon on top seals the deal.  


Swiss chard, shallots, a little cream and lemony breadcrumbs make up this wholesome and substantial salad.  Another fine recipe adapted from my favorite cooking magazine, Bon Appétit.

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • ½ cup torn fresh breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • Sea salt
  • 2 bunches Swiss chard, ribs and stems cut into 2” lengths, leaves torn into 2” pieces
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 medium shallots, sliced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup heavy cream

M e t h o d

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Toss breadcrumbs, oil, and lemon zest on a rimmed baking sheet and season with salt.  Toast them in the oven, tossing once, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook chard leaves in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 1 minute. Drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool. Squeeze the liquid out and dry off in a clean kitchen towel.
Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and chard ribs and stems, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until tender, 5–8 minutes.  Add cream; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often, until thickened, about 4 minutes. Add chard leaves and cook, stirring, until warmed through and coated with cream sauce; season with salt and pepper.  Top Swiss chard with breadcrumbs just before serving.

chicken and parsley

June 8, 2013 § 25 Comments

A new look for COTTAGE GROVE HOUSE!  I have been wanting to make a theme change and spring seems like the perfect time to do it.  I do prefer this theme…

Finally, a complete herb garden is growing out back!  When we moved into the Cottage Grove House I was delighted a small herb garden was established with mature thyme, rosemary, mint and chives.   Then it occurred to me one day while at the market purchasing basil, cilantro and parsley, I needed to expand my garden!   Here we are four years later and I have succeeded. We have nine herbs living happily ever after in my garden.  I chose herbs we use regularly and I am learning how to take cuttings from the plants to help promote growth.  So far they are producing and thriving.  We built these little boxes and strategically placed them here and there in close proximity to the kitchen door.


thyme, sage and chives

Chicken and parsley

Originally I was going to make this chicken with chives.  I chopped parsley for the boiled baby potatoes and chives for the chicken.  Then I accidentally tossed all of the parsley into the chicken pan!  I stood there a minute looking at it wondering how I could so quickly change the outcome of my plan by one simple movement.  In the end it didn’t matter.  The chicken was delicious and you really can not mess up simple boiled potatoes, right?  So if you would like to try this chicken with chives instead of parsley let me know how it turned out!


I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 4 large boneless chicken cutlets
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup parsley

M e t h o d

I have been purchasing cutlets form the market.  They are thin sliced breasts without skin.  If you are using whole chicken breasts, place them one at a time between two sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap and lightly pound with a mallet until 1/4 inch thick.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Heat the oil and butter in a large sauté pan.  Add the chicken breasts arranging them in one layer.  Cook over medium high heat, turning once until the centers are cooked, but still moist, no more than 8 minutes.  Transfer the breasts to a serving platter and keep warm.

Add the remaining ingredients to the pan and stir to mix.  Cook over medium heat for 1 minute, until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken a little.  Pour over the breasts and serve right away.

Serves 4.

buon appetite.

simple blueberry crostata

June 6, 2013 § 62 Comments


I can not express how much I enjoy reading all of the amazing food blogs I am conversant with!  I started my little blog a few months ago and the myriad of information I have acquired in this short time is genuinely treasured.   I realized right away I was overwhelmed because I want to cook so many of the delicious dishes and desserts I delight in everyday.  My bookmark bar is out of control!  I sincerely appreciate the inspiration and enlightenment from all of my new found internet friends.

Last week I saw this sweet post from The Suburban Soapbox.  I loved reading this because while celebrating her 100th post, she fired up her oven when it was 95° to make this crostata!   Bookmarking the page I decided right then I was going to make the crostata too.  The next day when I stopped by Whole Foods I noticed  they were having a one day sale on blueberries.  Instantly I thought “Crostata”!   $1.99 a tub for organic blueberries from California.  I bought three tubs and over the course of the weekend I made two crostata’s!  They were sensational!  I think I ate 1/2 of the second one all by myself!


Here’s the recipe exactly as Kellie posted it.  However, I know you would enjoy a visit to her blog.

I n g r e d i e n t s  

  • 3 1/2 cups blueberries, washed and drained throughly
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • zest and juice from one large lemon
  • 1 ready-made pie crust rolled out into a circle

Crumb Topping

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter

M e t h o d

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the blueberries, flour, sugar, lemon zest and juice thoroughly.   Set aside.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and roll out the dough.  In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar and butter together for the topping using a pastry blender or fork until large clumps form.  Pour the blueberry mixture into the center of the dough making a mound and leaving a one inch border around the edge of the crust.  Crumble the topping mixture over the blueberries evenly.  Fold the crust up over the edge of the blueberries pinching to create pleats.  Repeat the process until all the edges have been folded up over the blueberries.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet.  Transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Can be served warm or at room temperature.

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