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FOOD FUN: Want Fries On Your Salad?

The Idaho Potato Commission develops many delicious potato recipes, incorporating trending food flavors into conventional preparations (harissa, sriracha), as well as new concepts like this one:

French fries as a salad garnish.

“The crisp flavors of a Greek salad harmonize effortlessly with seasoned fries, while a cool, tangy tzatziki sauce extends the Mediterranean theme,” they say.

The fries themselves are more Greek than “French”: They’re seasoned with Greek spices.

For a bit of food fun, here’s the recipe.

For The Fries

  • 2 Idaho potatoes, cut into a french fry (julienne)shape
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    For The Salad Dressing

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
    For The Salad

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, chopped into cubes
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into rounds
  • 1/3 cup kalamata olives
    For The Tzatziki Sauce

  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons cucumber, cut into small matchsticks

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, toss together all the french fry ingredients. Place the fries on a baking sheet and cook for 40 minutes, flipping once halfway through cooking. Meanwhile…

    2. MAKE the salad dressing: Combine all salad dressing ingredients in a bowl.

    3. COMBINE the salad ingredients in a large bowl, pour on the dressing and toss. Cover and place in the fridge while fries finish baking.

    4. COMBINE the tzatziki sauce ingredients.


    Salad With Fries

    Classic Greek Salad

    Greek Salad

    Special Greek Salad

    [1] Greek Salad with fries from the Idaho Potato Commission. [2] Classic Greek Salad from The Maiden Lane Restaurant | NYC). [3] Creative plating from Stix Restaurant | NYC and [4] very creative plating: a vertical Greek Salad from Death Ave | NYC.

    5. SERVE the crispy fries on top of the Greek salad, with a drizzle of tzatziki sauce.


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    TIP OF THE DAY: Roasted Brussels Sprouts On The Stalk, “Bone In”

    Roasted Brussels Sprouts

    Brussels Sprouts & Dip

    [1] and [2] Roast the whole stalk of Brussels sprouts and serve with a lemon-garlic dip (photos courtesy Nutmeg Nanny).


    Last year’s fun cruciferous preparation was the Cauliflower Steak, along with its big brother, Whole Roasted Cauliflower.

    Meet this year’s classy crucifers: Brussel Sprouts “Bone In”, the brainchild of the ever-innovative Chef Eric LeVine who provides the clever name (the conventional name is “on the stalk”).

    This is a nifty way to enjoy Brussels sprouts as an appetizer or first course. Chef Eric serves the roasted stalk of sprouts with a lemon-garlic mayonnaise. The recipe is below,

    You can also make classic aïoli (garlic mayonnaise) or buy it. You can also use a different flavored mayo: curry, lemon sriracha, etc.

    Our favorite brand of flavored mayonnaise is Ojai Cook, a two-time NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week. It’s also one of our favorite house gifts and stocking stuffers.

    You can buy Ojai Cook online. The basic product is Lemonaise—lemon-accented-mayonnaise—but all variations are equally delicious:

  • Lemonaise With Garlic & Herbs (basil and tarragon)
  • Latin Lemonaise With Chiles, Lime & Cumin
  • Wasabi Lemonaise (with cilantro and lemon)
  • Cha-Cha Chipotle Lemonaise, with jalapeño, cayenne, and red pepper


    Yes, with a lot of elbow grease. Unlike broccoli and cauliflower stalks, brussels stalks are very tough and fibrous. You need a cleaver to cut through them. You can, however, easily eat the stems that attach the sprouts to the stalk.

    If you want to try it:

  • Remove the sprouts and chop the stalks into 3- to 4 -inch pieces with a cleaver. Hacking away with a cleaver is enjoyable for stress management.
  • Steam the pieces for at least 25 minutes or longer. Then, try different freestyle approaches to eating them.
  • Try gnawing at the skin. But then, use a paring knife, peel off the tough, woody layer, which truly is inedible by humans. The core inside is not big, but is rich and creamy and worth trying.
    Or, simply enjoy the engaging presentation of cooled sprouts on the stalk, before turning it into mulch.
    By the way:

  • Brussels sprouts on the stalk will taste fresher and sweeter. The challenge is that the sizes differ. When you buy them trimmed and packaged, they’ve been sorted by size.
  • The same roasted Brussels sprouts can be eaten plain, as a main course side, or halved and tossed into a green salad, or used in other preparations.


    We adapted Chef Eric’s recipe with one from Nutmeg Nanny.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 full stalk Brussels spouts
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
    For The Dip

  • 1 cup mayonnaise (substitute Greek yogurt)
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup garlic cloves garlic, peeled, roasted, cooled and chopped*
    *If you don’t want to roast the garlic, you can use raw garlic: 2 minced cloves per cup of mayonnaise.

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Rinse the stalk and the sprouts.

    2. MIX the oil, salt and pepper and brush or sprinkle the seasoned oil over the sprouts. Place on a baking sheet or in a shallow pan and roast for 45 minutes until slightly soft and browned on the outside. Rotate the stalk one-third of the way every 15 minutes to ensure equal cooking. Check the small sprouts with a cake tester or toothpick. When the small ones seem soft (but not mush), the larger ones will be al dente. Explain this when serving, since people have different preferences.


    Brussels Sprouts

    Ojai Cook Lemonaise Flavors

    [3] Buy brussels sprouts on the stalk—they taste fresher.

    3. MAKE the dip while the sprouts cook. Blend all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to serve.

    4. REMOVE from the oven and placer on a serving platter. Serve with a dip and scissors to cut sprouts from the stalk. You can just pull them right off the stalk, but some people may want a utensil.


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    TIP OF THE DAY: Celebrate Diwali With Indian Food

    Tandoor Chef Chicken Tikka Masala

    Tandoor Chef Chicken Tikka Masala

    Amira Rice

    Diwali Rangoli

    You don’t know how to cook Indian cuisine to enjoy a quality dinner at home. [1] and [2] A family favorite, Tandoor Chef Chicken Tikka Masala (photos courtesy Tandoor Chef). [3] Amira rice, an authentic Indian brand (photo courtesy Amira Foods). [4] A relatively simple rangoli made by college students. Some designs are very elaborate (photo courtesy


    This coming Sunday, instead of brunch at home, we’re headed to a buffet at a neighborhood Indian restaurant. It’s Diwali.


    Diwali or Deepavali is one of the most prominent Hindu festivals of India, a five-day festival of lights that celebrates the triumph of good over evil. Indians of all religions celebrate.

    The date, based on the Hindu calendar, varies in countries that use other calendars (the U.S. uses the Gregorian calendar).

    This year, Diwali begins on October 30th and continues through November 3rd. Here’s more from

    In India, families make vibrant rangolis, an art form in which patterns are created on the floor in living rooms or courtyards brightly-colored rice, dry flour, colored sand or flower petals. lighting diyas, traditional oil lamps made from clay, sharing sweets and exchanging gifts with friends and family.

    Another tradition is lighting crackers—rocket shaped firecrackers or sparklers.

    Here, in New York City, we eat!

    You can have a joint holiday this year: Diwali on the 30th and Halloween on the 31st. Dia de los Muertos also begins on the eve of the 31st, through November 1st.


    Cook an Indian dish, or go to an Indian restaurant.

    While we have an easy rice recipe below, those with no time to cook have lots of heat-and-eat options.

    that we always have on hand.

  • TastyBite is an inexpensive, shelf-stable brand in pouches. You can gather them all and have your own mini-buffet at home.
  • Saffron Road and Tandoor Chef, two top-quality frozen brands, have just about anything you could want. We often have the entrées and the crisp samosas.
  • Maya Kaimal makes authentic Indian simmer sauces. Add your own protein, and simmer away to a fragrant and delicious dinner.
  • Stonefire naan is a moist and flavorful flatbread we eat year-round, in original, whole grain and garlic (our current favorite). We serve it with breakfast eggs, make sandwiches with it, as well as serve it with Indian cuisine.
  • Swad coriander and tamarind chutneys are must-trys. Like hot sauces and salsas, they can be used with any grilled, fried or roasted foods, potatoes, grains and vegetables. Most Americans only know Major Grey’s chutney, a mango chutney sweetened for British palates. We like it, but the savory chutneys are dynamite.


    The reason America’s home cooks don’t prepare more Indian food from scratch, is that it takes lots of specialty ingredients.

    Unless one cook it regularly, it’s more practical to enjoy the prepared food brands or head to your favorite Indian restaurant. Otherwise, find other ways to use the spices in your regular recipes, from dips to sides to mains.

    Here’s a classic rice recipe that goes with everything, from Sharmilee Jayaprakash, a food blogger who lives in the city of Coimbatore, near the western border of the state of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Follow her cooking at

    See complete cooking photos for this recipe at



  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 3 cups water
  • Spices for pot: 1 bay leaf, 1 cardamom pod, 2 whole cloves, 1 small star anise
  • Dry-roasted spices (list below)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • Rice spices (listed below)
  • 1/2 cup mixed carrots and peas
  • 1 teaspoon cooking oil for jeera (cumin) powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon roasted jeera powder (roasted, ground cumin seeds—more information)
  • Fresh mint and cilantro leaves to taste
  • 2 teaspoons ghee, divided (substitute unsalted butter)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1/8 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • =

  • 10 cashews
  • Salt to taste
    To Make The Jeera

  • 1/2 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds*
    For The Dry-Roasted Spices

  • 1/4-inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 small star anise
    *If you have ground cumin and don’t want to buy the seeds, you can quickly toast ground cumin in a pan (how to toast spices). It will be lesss flavorful, but it’s a hack.

    1. SOAK the rice for 15 minutes; then cook, adding the rice spices to the pot: bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns and star anise. As the rice cooks…

    2. DRY ROAST (a.k.a. pan-toast) the spices for 3 minutes in a nonstick pan (how to roast spices) until the aroma wafts up. Then grind them to a semi-coarse powder with a mortar and pestle. You may not use all the powder; Shari reserved 1/2 teaspoon for another use. Set aside until Step 5.


    Indian Pilaf - Pulao

    Indian Pilaf - Pulao

    Amira Rice

    [5] Ingredients for vegetable pulao (pilaf) and [6] the finished dish, from SharmisPassions. [7] Amira, a brand of authentic Indian rices (photo courtesy Amira Foods).

    3. STRAIN any water from the cooked rice, spread the rice on a plate, fluff it up with a fork and let it cool.

    4. STEAM-cook the vegetables until they are slightly soft yet toothsome. (Or, thaw frozen carrots and peas). Set aside. Use the pan to sauté the onion.

    5. MAKE the jeera powder: Heat the oil in a small nonstick pan; add the cumin seeds and wait for them to crackle. Add the ginger garlic paste and onion and fry for a minute. Add the spice mixture along with roasted jeera powder and garam masala powder. Add salt to taste, and give the mixture a quick sauté. While the onions fry…

    6. FRY the cashews in ghee until golden brown and set aside.

    7. ADD the steamed vegetables to the pan and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the cooked rice, cover and cook for 2 minutes. Garnish with the coriander and mint leaves and mix well until the leaves slightly shrink. Finally, add the ghee and fried cashews.

    9. REMOVE from the heat, give it a quick stir and place in a serving bowl. Serve warm.


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    TIP OF THE DAY: Add Cauliflower To Mashed Potatoes

    If you’re working on a special mashed potatoes recipe for the holidays—or simply enjoy them on a regular basis—we present this mashup: a blend of mashed potatoes and cauliflower.

    This combination has long been recommended for better family eating. Cauliflower adds moisture to mashed potatoes, so they can be rewarmed on the stove without drying out. Thus, you can prepare the dish completely in advance and then warm it up on the stovetop.

    The added moisture enables us to reduce the amount of butter and cream typically needed for mashed potatoes.

    Not to mention, the cruciferous superstar has more nutrition and fewer calories than potatoes.

    The crispy fried tarragon is a garnish you can save for special occasions, or cook up in five minutes for any occasion. It’s a delicious garnish for any starch or grain recipe.


    This recipe was developed by the Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen. Prep time is 25 minutes, cook time is 25 minutes. You can make it a day in advance.
    Ingredients For 6 Servings

    For The Fried Tarragon

  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 4 to 6 fresh tarragon sprigs (substitute basil or sage leaves)
    For The Mash

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 head cauliflower, cored and coarsely chopped, a few florets reserved for roasting
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) (2 oz./60 g) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • Optional garnish: aleppo pepper flakes or red chile flakes

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F.

    2. FRY the tarragon. Add the vegetable oil to a large, wide pan over medium-high heat, to depth of about 1/2 inch. Heat the oil to 350°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Add the tarragon sprigs and fry until the bubbling diminishes, about 30 seconds. Take care, as the oil will splatter.
    Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel–lined plate and sprinkle with salt. Let cool completely.

    3. MAKE the mash. Combine the potatoes and cauliflower in a large saucepan, add cold water to cover by 2 inches, and salt the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well.

    4. RICE the vegetables: Working in batches, pass the vegetables through a potato ricer into a large bowl. Alternatively, mash with a potato masher. Meanwhile…


    Mashed Potatoes & Cauliflower Recipe

    Mashed Potatoes

    Colored Cauliflower

    Fresh Tarragon

    [1] Mashup: mashed potatoes and cauliflower (photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma). [2] Classic mashed potatoes (photo courtesy U.S. Potato Commission). [3] Cauliflower in your choice of colors. You can use green, orange or purple cauliflower to add a tinge of color to your mash (photo courtesy Melissas). [4] Tarragon: a perfect herb pairing (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

    5. TOSS the reserved cauliflower florets in a bowl with the olive oil and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast until tender and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

    6. USE the same saucepan from cooking the vegetables, and combine the butter and cream. Heat over medium heat until the butter melts and the cream just begins to simmer. Return the potato mixture to the pan, stirring it into the butter mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

    7. TRANSFER the potato mixture to a serving bowl. Garnish with the tarragon sprigs and roasted cauliflower and sprinkle with chile flakes.

  • Beet Mashed Potatoes, a vivid burgundy color for fall, Halloween and Valentine’s Day
  • Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes
  • Creamy Low-Fat Or Non-Fat Mashed Potatoes
  • Low-Calorie Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes & Chives, with yogurt substituting for the butter and cream
  • Mashed Potato “Martini”
  • Portabella Stuffed With Mashed Potatoes & Bacon
    Halloween Mashed Potatoes

  • Mummy Mashed Potatoes
  • Spooky Shepherd’s Pie

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Chestnuts, Briefly In Season

    Slicing Chestnuts

    Chestnut Soup

    Chestnuts With Brussels Sprouts

    [1] To roast chestnuts, cut an X on the flat side. [2] Chestnut soup, a don’t-miss seasonal treat. [3] Brussels sprouts with roasted chestnuts from


    While canned chestnuts, and more recently, ready-to-eat vacuum-bagged chestnuts, can be found year-round, fresh chestnuts season lasts for only about two months.

    Now is the time to enjoy their beguiling flavor and nutrients to the fullest extent.

    They don’t have to be roasting on an open fire, per our favorite crooner, Nat King Cole. Roast chestnuts (lacking an open fire, we use the oven—here’s how) are a treat, but so are the luscious preparations that follow.

    Long before they found their way onto holiday menus, chestnuts, which are tree nuts, were a dietary staple in the mountainous regions surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. Because grains could not grow in those areas, chestnuts were a valuable source of nutrition.

    In fact, chestnuts are nutritionally more like a grain than a nut. They are low in protein and fat, but high in starch and fiber. Naturally gluten free, they are the only nut that contains vitamin C.

    Add diced, halved or whole chestnuts to:

  • Appetizers (wrap with bacon instead of the classic water chestnuts)
  • Breads, dressings, muffins
  • Cream of chestnut soup (recipe)—a must-have seasonal treat
  • Puréed into dips, pestos, and as a delicious side, especially with chicken, duck, pheasant, pork, turkey, quail and veal
  • Garnishes for mains, soups, salads, vegetables
  • With grains, pilafs, risottos
  • With seasonal vegetables: Brussels sprouts, carrots, mushrooms, turnips—also in casseroles, stir-frys and omelet fillings

  • Candied (marrons glacés recipe)
  • Puréed and added to hot chocolate or coffee
  • Puréed and sweetened as a bread spread
  • Chestnut ice cream—puréed, diced or both
  • In a sweetened bread spread Mousse or Mont Blanc, sweetened chestnut purée in a meringue shell, topped with whipped cream
  • Cakes, plain and fancy (here’s a chestnut loaf cake)
  • Chestnut soufflé and a multitude of other desserts

    This recipe is from Mary R. Wendt, MD, author of Waist Away: How to Joyfully Lose Weight and Supercharge Your Life. She is an expert on making the transition to plant-based nutrition.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • ½ pound chestnuts (fresh, approximately 2 cups), wiped clean
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half (approximately 5 cups)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Fresh-ground pepper to taste
  • Optional additions: frizzled ham, sautéed leeks, sautéed wild mushrooms

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F. Use a paring knife to score an “X” onto the flat side of each chestnut.

    2. ARRANGE the chestnuts in a single layer in a large baking pan, with the X facing up. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the “X” flaps on the shell begin to curl away from the nut. Do not overcook!

    3. REMOVE from the heat and partially cool until it’s comfortable to peel away and discard the shells. Chestnuts are easiest to peel when they are warm.

    4. WARM the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the Brussels sprouts and garlic. Sauté for 5-10 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally until lightly browned.

    5. ADD the chestnuts to the skillet and cook covered for an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the Brussels sprouts are very brown. Stir in the salt and pepper and sauté an additional 2-3 minutes.

    6. GARNISH as desired and serve.


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