I love baked potatoes.
They’re comfort food to me.
We ate them all the time growing up, usually topped simply with butter, salt, and pepper (and sometimes sour cream).
These days, I’m all about upgrading the humble baked potato.
There’s so much more than a simply baked russet! Red waxy potatoes are deliciously creamy when baked, as are potatoes of all colors of the rainbow.
This newest spin highlights the earthy flavor of the potato with fresh rosemary and creamy manchego cheese.
I love how red potatoes are a little smaller than russets. They’re the perfect portion 🙂
Their creamy texture & delicate skin makes them super easy to eat, & they pair perfectly with minimalist toppings.
So, manchego cheese is pretty awesome.
It’s a semi firm Spanish cheese which got its name because it was traditionally made from the milk of sheep who grazed on the plains of La Mancha.
Ooo the plains of La Mancha!
Anyways, I love it because it has a yummy creamy mild taste & melts perfectly.
For these baked potatoes, I simply topped them with a pat of butter, wisps of manchego cheese, minced fresh rosemary, and a sprinkle of fresh cracked black pepper and flaky maldon sea salt.
The result: a simple side dish that tastes oh so gourmet.
- As many small red potatoes as you’d like
- A drizzle of olive or grapeseed oil if you’re cooking them in the oven
- Pats of salted butter, preferably grass fed
- Shredded Manchego cheese, for sprinkling
- Minced fresh rosemary, for sprinkling
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- Flaky Maldon sea salt
Cook the potatoes to your liking. The fast way is to prick them with a fork & cook them in the microwave using the “potato” setting. The longer way is to rub them with olive oil & bake in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for roughly 45 minutes, or until a knife can be inserted smoothly into the center with no resistance. The time will vary depending on the size of your potato.
The microwave will produce soft potatoes, while the oven will give the potatoes a crispy flaky skin. I like both ways, it just depends what you’re in the mood for, and how much time you have!
Once the potatoes are cooked, use a knife to cut an “X” shape into them & open them up. Use a fork to mash them flat on your plate. The potatoes should have a star-like shape.
Once the potato is flattened, spread a pat of butter over the top of each & let it melt into all the crevices. Sprinkle with plenty of shredded Manchego cheese & fresh minced rosemary. Season well with fresh cracked black pepper & flaky Maldon sea salt. Enjoy immediately!
Every week, I visit a local farmers market.
Whether it’s Culver City, Palms, Santa Monica, Mar Vista, or even Hollywood, I love love love the bounty of fresh produce & locally produced goods.
Walking through the stalls, browsing the best that nature has to offer, gives me chills… and mega inspiration.
This week was all about PEACHES.
Warm, sun-ripened peaches with enticingly sweet flesh & delicate fuzzy skin.
Fresh picked peaches taste nothing like the ones sold at chain grocery stores.
Fresh peaches are actually allowed to ripen on the vine, so they develop maximal sugar and sweetness. They are soft, juicy, and bursting with flavor.
In contrast, many grocery store peaches are picked while still rock-hard and unripe.
That green-tinge you see on so many supermarket peaches? Yeah, that’s not supposed to be there.
Green means the peach was picked while under-ripe to help it hold up better during transport. Unripe fruit has firmer flesh, so it can be stacked & stored without squishing & bruising.
Yes, that unripe peach will eventually ripen on store shelves, but it will never reach the same level of deliciousness as a fresh picked peach.
Since this salad features peaches, try to seek out locally grown organic peaches before making it. It will seriously make a world of difference.
The sweet, tender slices of fresh peaches are easy to pierce with a fork, and melt in your mouth with the creamy, tangy goat cheese & fresh basil.
Extra-firm peaches will change the texture & experience of this salad, so splurge for the best peaches you can find!
- 2 small heads frisee, torn
- several handfuls of baby greens
- extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
- 2 small yellow peaches, halved, pitted, & thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup torn basil
- 1/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts or walnuts
- ½ cup crumbled goat cheese
- fresh cracked salt & pepper
Thoroughly wash and dry your baby greens, using a salad spinner or paper towels.
Place in a large serving bowl, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar & toss to mix well. Remember to drizzle lightly at first. You can always add more oil or vinegar, but you can never take away! Aim for a ratio of roughly 2 parts oil to 1 part vinegar.
Sprinkle the sliced peaches, torn basil, nuts, and goat cheese over the salad.
Season with fresh cracked salt & pepper & serve family style!
I try to make it a habit to eat veggies at least 3x per day.
That could mean breakfast-lunch-dinner, or it could just be lunch & dinner with a snack or two sprinkled in.
This is important, since the typical American diet is sorely lacking in fresh produce- especially green leafy veg! Did you know that nearly 1/4th of the general American public (22.6%) doesn’t even consume veggies once per day?? At the very minimum, you should aim for 2-3 cups of vegetables each and every day.
Vegetables are truly nature’s medicine.
They provide us with powerful phytochemicals that slash our risk of developing many chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, and even dementia. We co-evolved alongside plants, and our body literally requires them for good health!
One of the easiest ways to include some veg at dinner is to serve a simple side salad.
Now I’m not talking anything crazy. No need to dice a zillion vegetables or labor over a complicated dressing.
In fact, my favorite simple side salad is just that.
It features fresh delicate baby greens tossed with a classic red wine vinaigrette.
And that’s it. No heavy vegetables or add-ins. Just lightly dressed baby greens.
And don’t be deceived. Although this salad is super simple, it’s also crazy delicious.
The homemade vinaigrette is the perfect complement to the slight bite of tender greens. The tang from the vinegar, creaminess from the Dijon, and delectable hint of garlic on the back end make this salad seriously addictive.
Try serving this Simple Side Salad alongside pasta dishes, grilled meats, or even at family gatherings. But watch out, it disappears quickly!
- 8 oz mixed baby greens
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt & pepper, to taste
In a small bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard, garlic, red wine vinegar, and olive oil. Season with fresh cracked salt & pepper to taste and whisk again until well combined.
Place the baby greens in a large serving bowl. Drizzle with just enough dressing to coat. (Be careful not to over-dress or you’ll end up with a limp salad!)