Friday, June 22, 2007

Those Pink Potatoes

Surprising color, surprisingly delicious

Summers back, friends hosted a backyard potluck, convening spirited folk from the different corners of their lives. The midsummer night was steamy, the kids rambunctious, the trees a rainbow of colored light, the Jimmy Buffet dulcet.

Food-wise, the talk of the party was the ‘pink potatoes’, a delicious make-ahead dish perfect for family dinners and friendly potlucks since it’s good both hot and barely warm. The beets and potatoes remain distinct but also melt together somehow in a tantalizing way.

THAT PINK SALAD My Canadian relatives make a family-dinner favorite routinely requested as, “You know, that ‘pink’ salad”. For my version, just toss romaine lettuce with toasted sunflower seeds, drained mandarin oranges and chopped red onion. Just before serving, barely wet the greens with a dressing whizzed in the blender: ¼ cup vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons reserved mandarin orange syrup, some red onion, ½ teaspoon dry mustard, a teaspoon of salt – plus the source of the blush, four maraschino cherries.

ALANNA's TIPS I love the perfectly thin and perfectly shaped layers from a vegetable slicer called a Benriner, a Japanese mandoline that sells for $30 to $40. To serve more people, just build five layers of potatoes and beets in a large baking dish with equivalently more cheese and cream.
Kitchen Parade is written by Kirkwood resident Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Send a recipe for a dish with an unusual color to e-mail.


Surprising scalloped potatoes & beets
Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: about 2 hours
Serves 8
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • Butter for greasing

  • 3 ounces fresh Parmesan, grated
  • 1½ cups half & half (not fat-free, which won’t set) or heavy cream
  • 1 pound red-skinned or Yukon gold potatoes, no need to peel
  • 1 pound small or medium fresh beets, trimmed and peeled
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
  • Fresh thyme, optional but nice

Preheat oven to 350F. Rub a shallow quiche pan or 9x9 glass baking dish with garlic, then butter. Measure cream, grate the cheese.

With a vegetable slicer (see ALANNA’s TIPS) or very sharp knife, slice potatoes and beets very thin. Build five layers, three potato layers on the bottom, top and middle with layers of beet between. Season each of the first four layers with salt and pepper; top with a handful of cheese and a splash of cream. Add the fifth layer, season, distribute remaining cheese on top, then carefully pour remaining cream over top, jiggling a bit to help it filter through.

Bake for 60 minutes, pressing to submerge the layers into the liquid after 20 and 40 minutes. Remove from oven. If slicing, cover with foil and let rest for 15 minutes; if scooping, serve immediately.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Serving with half & half/cream: Per Serving: 169/188Cal; 9/12g Tot Fat; 6/7g Sat Fat; 15/14g Carb; 3g Fiber; 231/221mg Sodium; 28/42 Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 3/4 points

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Friday, June 8, 2007

Chicken Greek Salad

The Recipe: A traditional Greek salad, with chicken added, it's familiar and new at the same time.

The Conversation: Try "drive-by" food, it's the grocery-store alternative to the "drive-through"!

Chicken Greek Salad, another Quick Supper ♥ Low Carb. WW6.

Summer nights create a thousand ready reasons to skip supper at home in the kitchen. Little League and bike rides that run long. An after-work happy hour on a breezy patio. Lawn mowing. A family outing to the zoo. Day games. An oh-so-pretty-nobody-wants-to-leave afternoon at the pool.

An obvious answer to the 'What’s for supper?' question is drive-through food on the way home. Instead, think about drive-by food on the way home.

Drive by the grocery, grab a rotisserie chicken (a busy parent’s miracle food if there ever is one) and a few vegetables. Get home. Kick off the shoes. Assemble the salad. Plate. Somebody pour the milk, please! Pray. Eat. Enjoy.

SIMPLE HUMMUS Hummus is the chickpea (also called garbanzo bean) paste served with pita rounds in Greek restaurants. Grocery stores carry prepared versions but hummus is quick ‘n’ easy to make at home. In a food processor (or with a potato masher), purée a can of drained garbanzo beans, 2 cloves of garlic, 1/3 cup of tahini (a sesame seed paste or in a pinch, use peanut butter), the juice of a lemon or two, some fresh parsley. Add olive oil a few drops at a time until a spreadable consistency is reached.

ALANNA's TIPS Lime substitutes beautifully for lemon in the dressing. Why crumble dried herbs? You’ll know if you smell your fingertips: even gentle crushing releases the oils, intensifying flavor just a tidge. Everyone famished tonight? Bulk up with extra cucumber and tomato; add sweet pepper, fennel, zucchini, even chickpeas (if you’re not making hummus) and pepperoncini.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite Quick Supper recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


Just assemble and serve –
another good reason to eat at home!
Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 25 minutes
Serves 4
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Zest from 1 lemon (see ALANNA’s TIPS)
  • Juice of 2 lemons (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled between fingertips (see TIPS)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 cups rotisserie chicken, skin removed, in bite-size pieces (or leftover grilled chicken)
  • 1 English cucumber, diced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced fine
  • Other veggies, optional (see TIPS)
  • Romaine lettuce for 4, torn
  • Baby spinach for 4
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

DRESSING Whisk dressing ingredients in large bowl.

SALAD Stir in chicken, cucumber, tomato, olives and red onion and combine well, right in the dressing bowl.

TO SERVE Arrange lettuce and spinach on four plates. Top with the chicken mixture, then sprinkle with feta cheese. Serve with torn pita bread and hummus – and enjoy, at home!

MORE SERVING IDEAS Usually, I make this salad all in one big jumble but for a group, I've also made a "Greek Salad Bar" with individual bowls of each of the ingredients, letting people build their own salad plates. For picture purposes and for a person or two, a "composed salad" does the trick. All work!

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving: 333 Calories; 15g Tot Fat; 5g Sat Fat; 13g Carb; 3g Fiber; 601mg Sodium; 106mg Cholesterol. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 7 & PointsPlus 6

Simple Hummus Recipe

Simple Hummus, a quick and simple basic recipe for hummus @

While my recipe for Simple Hummus uses the traditional chickpeas, there are other options. How about lima bean hummus? or Pumpkin Hummus with Honey? or Cauliflower Hummus? or Eggplant Sandwiches with Cilantro Hummus? So many ways to make hummus!

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