Crispy Oven Baked Fries

Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

The question has plagued man since the dawn of time. Or the dawn of time when fat was brought to a boil and potato slices fell in.

How do I make french fries that are crispy and tasty without adding all the unhealthy fat from frying them and creating a huge mess of grease all over the kitchen?

Obviously the answer was to bake them. Of course that created soggy or burnt chunks of potato. Or they may have been roasted right, but their fried counterparts just tasted better.

Well have no fear for here is the solution.

Oven Baked French Fries

  • 2 lbs russet potatoes
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Old Bay

Peel potatoes and cut into thin wedges. The size of your fries will affect the time it takes to cook. Place in a large bowl and soak in cold water for 30 minutes changing…

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Insalata Caprese

maren ellingboe

The first time I ever had this salad was when I was 16 and traveling in Italy with my family. I vividly remember sitting in a small trattoria in Vernazza, the bright red tomatoes bursting with flavor in my mouth, their sweet juices offset by the creamy mozzarella and sharp basil. Of course, I had eaten raw tomatoes before, but had never liked them much. But there was something about this combination of flavors that changed my mind for good, and since then I have loved tomatoes in salads, pastas, even plain with a little salt. Be sure to only use the best tomatoes you can find — this is not a salad for winter, since there are only a few flavors it really gives them a chance to shine.

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Pear, Blue Cheese, and Caramelized Onion Focaccia

maren ellingboe

I actually made this focaccia for a dinner party several weeks ago, but of course am just getting around to posting it now. It makes a great fall appetizer, and I love the contrast between the salty blue cheese and the sweetness of the caramelized onions and pears. If you are feeling indulgent, it would make a lovely first course for Thanksgiving dinner. I chose not to core the pears because I like the rustic look of it, but you can of course core them and then slice them.  This would also be great toasted with a  little prosciutto the next day.

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The Ultimate BLT

maren ellingboe

_MG_4067Hi everyone. Terribly sorry for the month-long absence — I must admit that I don’t really have a good excuse, except that between work and going home to Minnesota for the holidays, December simply got away from me. Combine that with very short daylight hours, and it makes it a little difficult to take photos. In any case, I’m back just in time to give you the perfect thing to make for your (hungover) New Year’s Day breakfast (or dinner). Minimal prep time + the magic combinations of egg, bacon, tomato, and arugula = happiness. This does also make a lovely meal when you are not hungover, just so you know._MG_4062

In other holiday news, Minnesota was very cold and snowy, but quite lovely for Christmas. My family had our usual meals of Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, and lefse. I know, super Scandanavian. Did you have a good Christmas? Are…

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The Best Guacamole

maren ellingboe

_MG_4139Alright, that may be a bold statement. That said, I do think that this is a pretty great recipe, and it tends to disappear very quickly at parties. It’s also easy to modify, if you want to throw in a handful of cherry tomatoes, or substitute fresh jalapeños for the pickled ones. Just make sure your avocados are perfectly ripe — it makes all the difference. _MG_4165

This guacamole also goes very well with tacos or on sandwiches — but my favorite way is the most simple, with some good corn chips and a beer, and summer doesn’t feel quite so far away.


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bacon and egg cups with cremini mushrooms

daisy's world

I knew immediately when I saw this post on Joanne’s amazing blog, Fifteen Spatulas, that I would be making mini bacon and egg cups. After all, it’s got three of my favorite things – bacon, eggs, and cheese. The beauty of a recipe like this one is that it can be easily customized to our own particular tastes.  The eggs can be cooked over easy, medium, or even scrambled. There are many varieties of cheeses that would work well.  Proscuitto may be substituted for the bacon.  You see, the possibilities are endless.  For my version, I added some crimini mushrooms that I sautéed in butter with a little garlic and chives.  For the bread on the bottom, I cut rounds from a couple of slices of buttermilk bread.

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polenta tart with goat cheese and slow roasted tomatoes

daisy's world

polenta tart with goat cheese and slow roasted tomatoes |
One of the things I really like about blogging is interacting with people who share my interest in and passion for food.  I follow many food blogs to gain inspiration and to learn from other cooks and bakers.  For example, the idea of combining polenta and tomatoes came from a fellow blogger, Lizzy, who shared with me her recipe for soft polenta and tomatoes.  I would have never thought of that pairing on my own. Polenta, which is made from ground corn, is a very versatile ingredient. It can be served soft, like a porridge, or firm, usually cut into slices. Polenta can be served plain or with added ingredients like herbs and cheeses. I recently discovered that it could also be used to make crusts for tarts.  I ran across this recipe for polenta tart with goat cheese and tomatoes from the Whole Foods Market website and I…

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my latest guilty pleasure: pigs in a blanket

daisy's world

guilty pleasure is something one enjoys and considers pleasurable despite feeling guilt for enjoying it. The “guilt” involved is sometimes simply fear of others discovering one’s lowbrow or otherwise embarrassing tastes. (Wikipedia)

Mine….mini pigs in a blanket.  I had been craving them all week.  Just wrap some Lit’l Smokies with some crescent roll dough and bake until the dough is golden.  Serve with some mustard and ketchup.  That’s it.

What’s yours?

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pasta salad

daisy's world


I got this recipe from my mother-in-law, Lucia, who is the consummate hostess.  She has an incredible knack for making everyone feel at home.  Her house in Palm Springs, complete with basketball court and swimming pool, is the perfect hangout for family and friends.  While we all know it’s hard work, she somehow makes entertaining seem effortless.  She disappears into the kitchen for a moment only to reappear with a casual, yet very tasty poolside spread that has something for everyone.

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fried shishito peppers with sea salt and lemon

daisy's world

I have never liked peppers, partly because I don’t have a high tolerance for spicy foods and because I don’t really care for their taste.  When I do use them, mostly in the form of bell peppers, it is mainly to add color to stir-fries, salads, and kabobs.  Then, last year, I discovered one exception to my great dislike for peppers in the form of the jalapeño. They have a moderate “kick” to them, but they’re not intense, especially when seeded and their membranes are removed. They became a slight obsession, even planting them in my garden so I could have a steady supply of them. 

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