Welcome to the Flavors of Hidden Valley

Today is National Ranch Dressing Day. Just what is Ranch Dressing? That’s a fair question for those outside the United States and Canada. While we love it and know it well, beyond the northern half of North America, Ranch Dressing is almost unknown. At it’s core, Ranch Dressing is a buttermilk based salad dressing.

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Roasted Red Bliss Potatoes

There’s something wonderful about fresh Rosemary and potatoes. I love to add fresh Rosemary to roasted potatoes, giving them an earthy flavor with its tea-like aroma and piney, evergreen essence. Add plenty of minced garlic, and you’ve arrived in Potato Heaven. While you can use any good quality olive oil to toss the potatoes, if you happen to have basil olive oil on hand, by all means use it. The hint of basil will further enhance the aromas and flavors of this simple side dish.

These delicious, golden roasted potatoes go well with just about anything from chicken to steaks. They make a lovely accompaniment to my awesome Tri-Tip Barbecue with a Gourmet Rub or just about anything cooked on a grill or pan-seared. Be sure to check cooking temperatures when serving with roasted meats – the hotter oven is important to give the potatoes that wonderful golden “crisp” outer layer while preserving the moist flesh inside.

Roasted Red Bliss Potatoes
8-10 Red Potatoes, medium size, washed and cut into wedges
2-3 tablespoons Olive Oil – enough to coat the potatoes,
3-4 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 Tablespoon Fresh Rosemary, roughly chopped
Kosher Salt to taste
White Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter

Heat oven to 450-degrees.

Wash potatoes and pat dry. Cut into large wedges.

Place potatoes in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Add garlic, rosemary, salt and white pepper. Toss well. (I’m one of those use your hands cooks, so I toss the potatoes around in my hands rather than to use a spoon).

Pour potatoes out onto a rimmed baking pan large enough to hold potatoes in a single layer. Roast in oven for about 30 minutes, shaking pan occasionally to allow for even roasting.

When the potatoes are nicely roasted on the outside, tender on the inside, add butter to the roasting pan. Cover and allow butter to melt. Swirl potatoes through the melted butter just before serving.


Cast Iron Skillets and the Feel of the West

Cooking over a fire in cast iron pots dates back centuries to the time when humankind first learned to forge tools out of the Earth’s metals. While we still enjoy cooking in a skillet over an open fire or burying a Cast Iron Dutch Oven in hot coals, the modern cook can utilize all the conveniences of an oven and stove top while retaining the flavor that only cast iron cooking can provide. Although this meal isn’t a one-pot wonder and you will have three pots to clean, these Cast Iron Skillets provide both a means of cooking as well as serving the meal.

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Mesquite Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Potatoes

Today I thought I’d share a wonderful cheater’s way to a great supper.  While this particular meal takes a bit longer to cook than I’d like for a weekday supper, it is so easy that it makes the wait worthwhile.  Besides, that down time gives you a little more time to unwind from the day and enjoy the rest of the evening with your family.

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Red Roasted Cajun Potatoes

Recently Hubby and I made Sunday Supper together. He grilled up my awesome Sweet Carolina Style Barbecue Chicken while I whipped up the perfect sides. What goes better with sassy, sweet barbecue chicken than some buttery corn and Red Roasted Cajun Potatoes? These potatoes were perfect for a number of reasons – first for taste (yeah, that’s important – who wants a side dish that is boring?) and also timing. When Hubby started the coals in his grill chimney, I started preparing the potatoes. The chicken went on the grill about the same time as the potatoes were popped into the oven. By the time Hubby was pulling the chicken from the grill, the potatoes were reaching that perfect state of roasting.

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