Herbed Potato Wedges

I love potatoes and could eat them everyday.  They are universal and there is no limit to the possibilities of how to cook and prepare them.  Plus, they are relatively healthy for you too.  They are loaded with many different nutrients, and when not fried or loaded with butter, or cheese or bacon or sour cream, or whatever else you want to load them with, they are actually very good for you.  But it’s all that other stuff that really makes them taste so good too.  I have to admit, the Aussie in me could easily live on good crispy chips and I would be a very happy camper, but that would not be the healthiest or smartest way to eat my potatoes, and I especially could not do so everyday.  Baking them in olive oil is a good alternative to frying them.    Mixing them with a bunch of garlic and herbs is even better.

These herbed potato wedges are super simple to make and are very tasty too.  They can be partnered with any dish you like, and would be perfect, either dressed up or down.  I served them with a mile high quiche,  Mile High Crab Quiche but they would also pair nicely with a thick, juicy steak too.  I did not make a crab quiche this time though.  I made a ham, spinach and mushroom quiche.  The technique is the same, just a different filling.

 

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Herbed Potato Wedges

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Potoates, cleaned, peeled and cut into thick wedges

salt and pepper to taste

dry roasted garlic

dried herbs of  your choice – this time, I used marjoram, sage, oregano, basil and parsley

olive oil

 

Preheat oven to 475* F or 240* C.

I purposely did not add amounts to this recipe because you can make it for one person, or 100 people just by varying the herbs and the amounts you use.  This is a very simple and very accommodating recipe.

Once your potatoes are cut into wedges, mix them together with all the herbs and olive oil,  making sure the potato wedges are thoroughly coated.

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Line the potato wedges on a baking sheet, spreading them out in a single layer.  Then bake for about 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown and crisp.  Turn them over after about 10 minutes, to make sure the cook evenly.  You can also lower the temperature and increase the cooking time.  Since I cooked both the quiche and the potato wedges at the same time, I had the oven set for the temperature I needed for the quiche and cooked the potatoes for longer.

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Once they are golden brown and roasted to perfection, it is time to dish them up and enjoy.  Some people like to dip them in a little mayonnaise, some people like them with ketchup, and some people (me), like them just as they are.

 

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Another Birthday in the Books

Well, all good things must come to an end, and that includes all my birthday festivities for this year.  It was yet another successful birthday that is now forever in the books.  It was full of fun celebrations with friends and family, and lots of good food.  But if I don’t stop celebrating, my waistline is just going to continue to grow and grow and grow.  Believe me, it is already way to big as it is, and the older I get, the more it seems to grow.

My last birthday celebration for 2020 was at Barcelona Wine & Tapas Bar, in the RiNo area of North Denver.  Birthday Celebrations – Part 2 – Barcelona  It seemed like both the wine and the tapas were flowing all evening.  We all had ate too much, perhaps drank a bit more than we should have, and we all had a great time.  Maybe it is just meant to be, but every time we have dined at Barcelona, we have had our same waiter, Milo.  He takes such good care of us.  I brought the orange and almond cake to the restaurant with us, since after all, it was from their cookbook, Another Celebration, Another Cake and both he and the chef were impressed.  They said “it was the bomb”.  They both got to help us celebrate as well, and shared the cake with us too.

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Many thanks to everyone who helped celebrate all the good times.

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Another Celebration, Another Cake

I should be winding up all the birthday celebrations today, but before calling all the celebrations off until next time, we have one more.  A bunch of us are going to Barcelona, the Wine and Tapas Bar in No Denver for one more party and one more celebration.  Birthday Celebrations – Part 2 – Barcelona

I decided since we were going back to Barcelona, the Tapas Bar, that a dessert from my Barcelona Cookbook would be the perfect thing to make.  I made my version of their Orange and Almond Cake, also known as the classica torta de Santiago,which originally comes from Galacia.  Galacia is in the Northwestern part of Spain, North of Portugal.  It faces the Atlantic Ocean.  This cake is often used a cake to honor Saint James, the Patron Saint of Spain, whose remains are held in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia.

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Orange and Almond Cake

This is a simple cake to make with basic ingredients.  This is true for many European cakes.  Simple is my favorite too.

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1 cup sugar

7 eggs, separated

1 tsp grated orange peel

1 3/4 cup ground almond meal or flour

1/2 cup flour, optional

1 tsp orange extract

1.4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup applesauce

5 apples, peeled and diced small

2 TBSP honey

whipped cream

 

Use 2 8-8 1/2 inch cakes pans.  Spray them with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.  Preheat the oven to 350* F.

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Mix the sugar, orange zest, oil, applesauce and egg yolks together in a mixer with the whisk attachment for about 6 minutes.  In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites at a high speed until they become light and fluffy and form stiff peaks, or about 7 minutes.

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When the egg yolk mixture is thoroughly mixed together, add the ground almonds and the orange extract and mix again.  Then gently fold in the egg whites until everything is mixed together well.  Evenly divide the batter into the two prepared cake pans and spread the batter out.  Bake for about 45 minutes or until the cakes are golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

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While the cakes are baking, make your apples.  Peel them and slice them, then cut them into a small dice.  Cook them in butter and/or honey butter, and add the additional honey.  Cook the apples until they are tender, but not caramelized.

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When the apples are tender, mash them with a potato masher, keeping some chunks.  Let the apples cool a bit, then mix them with whipped cream.  Spread the apple and whipped cream mixture on the top of one cake.

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Add the other cake and top with more of the apple and whipped cream mixture.  I had some plain whipped cream leftover and I spread it on the sides of the cake.  I also added some chocolate orange bits onto the top of the cake as well as some of the chocolate shavings and some more orange zest.  Keep the cake refrigerated until ready to eat.

I also want to share that even I have my mishaps.  For some strange reason, my egg whites did not fluff up the way they were supposed to.  I whipped them for longer than necessary, but they never formed into stiff peaks.  I even added a little cream of tartar, and still no peaks.  The cake still came out fine, but it did not rise up the way it was supposed to, and is a little flatter than it should be.  Oh well, these things happen, even to me.  The moral of the story is that these things happen.  Don’t give up and don’t get frustrated.  As my idol, Julia Child, once said, “never apologize if the recipe didn’t turn out the way you wanted it too”.  Just enjoy it as is, and try to do better next time.  🙂  Let them eat cake.

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Birthday Fun

Despite the fact that Mother Nature was doing her best to ruin my birthday by opening up the skies and covering us with a thick white blanket of snow, I had a great time celebrating my actual birthday.  Janet, Bob, their son Brian, Nadeen, Larry and I all went to the indoor race track for some racing fun.  We went to the Unser Indoor Racing and Go- Kart Track in Denver.  Nadeen and Janet were the official photographers for the event, while Bob, Brian Larry and I hit the track.  We were racing around at 45 miles an hour in our go-karts.  It seemed like a lot faster while in the karts, but we were zipping all around.  Our average speeds around the track were all between 35-40 seconds per lap.  Larry and I had been last year and then I went on Thursday as well with our niece Kalani.  We were all planning on going together, but Kalani could not make it on Friday, so I just went both days.

Unser Racing and Go-Karting is located at 7300 Broadway, Denver, CO 80221.  You can contact them at (720) 282-5000 or go to their website at http://www.unskerkarting.com. 

The karts are fueled and ready to go.

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The track.

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And they’re off!  Let the races begin.

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The Paparazzi.

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The racers are pulling in for the finish.

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The racers after a hard day of racing around the track.

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After a hard day of racing everyone was famished.  It was time to eat.  We all decided on going to 5280 Burger in Westminster for a celebratory feast.  Birthday Celebrations – Part 1 – 5280 Burger Bar/5280 Ice Cream  After dinner we celebrated with my lemony wine cake for dessert.  A Lemony Wine Cake   E.J., the manager of 5280, joined us for some cake and celebrations.  We all had way to much to eat, but we all had a good time.

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We have one more big day of celebrations, then it will back to normal once again.  I just love celebrating with family and friends.  That’s what life is all about.

The Celebrations Continue

My best friend, my soul sister, and mi comadre, of 45+ years, Andrea, sent me a great wine package for my birthday.  Oh, we have shared many, many bottles of wine over the years, and even though we have lived in two different states for 20 years, we still share those bottles of wine with each other.  I send her wines from Colorado and she sends me California wines.  It’s a good way to stay in touch and to try new and different wines.  It is a win/win, although it would be much better indeed if we could still share those bottles together.  Te amo mucho Chica!

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Andrea sent me a chardonnay and a cabernet sauvignon from Coquelicot Estate Vineyards, located in Los Olivos, CA,  Los Olivos has some fantastic wines.  Believe me, I have tried many of them and have enjoyed them all.  The name Coquelicot means red poppy in French, and poppies are all over California, so the name is very appropriate.  “Coliquelicot is on a 58 acre Estate Vineyard and is an organically farmed property in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley.  Sustainable farming and gentle, meticulous winemaking techniques converge to produce limited production wines that are a true celebration of life.”  There are located at 2884 Grand Avenue, Los Olivos, CA, and can be found at http://www.coquelicotwines.com/.

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Cheers!  A votre sante!

Let The Birthday Celebrations Begin – Part 2

After dinner at 3 Margaritas in Broomfield, Let The Birthday Celebrations Begin we enjoyed a Flamenco Rock show at our local Broomfield Auditorium.  It is a small performing arts center, but we have enjoyed many performances there.  I have worked for the city of Broomfield for 15 years, and I saw a lot of people I knew at the performance.  It was fun to see so many people from the community supporting local theater and local artists.

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I love both Flamenco and rock music, but I had never heard Flamenco with a rock beat before.  It made for a very good combination.  The show was a bit delayed due to a minor glitch.  There were no lights at first, and the auditorium thought they might have to cancel the show.  But after waiting it out, the lights came back on and everyone was rocked by the music and the dancing of the show.

The show we saw was called El Javi, The King of Flamenco Rock.  His music was from the heart, and was full of passion like all Flamenco music, but it also had elements of rock to it as well that really brought his music to life.

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The Flamenco was the heart and soul of the performance but the band was joined on stage by a dancer who performed a couple of Flamenco dances as well as one belly dancing number.

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The band also brought a violinist on stage to perform with them for a few songs.  It all sounded great together.

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All in all, we had a great evening and it was a fantastic way to start the birthday celebrations.  When we got home, the best part of the evening though, was all the cuddles I got from my big boy, Vinnie.

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