Bring on the salt! — And before you go all ballistic and start sending me your comments - I know about the negative effects that too much salt can have on my body. I've done my research and I know how much NaCl I should be eating and when I've consumed it in excess. I also know that it's okay to indulge in salty snacks every once in a while. Moderation, am I right? After all, I'm not suggesting that you eat Salt Crusted Potatoes on a daily basis.
Most of the time, if given a choice, I would choose a sweet snack over salty one. I love potato chips as much as the next girl but my sweet tooth usually trumps my salty cravings. Baking days are the exception. After a long day of breathing in sugar, I crave salty foods. 😂
I know that potato side dishes aren't exactly the most exciting thing to see pop up on my blog, especially after that Red Velvet Cake Roll from last month. But I also know that sometimes you just need a really simple and delicious potato side dish to accompany a great main dish like Tuscan Turkey or Slow Cooker Pot Roast. I got your back. These little potatoes with salty skins and creamy centers are absolutely divine.
Salt Crusted Potatoes
3 pounds small potatoes
2 3/4 cups kosher salt
1 Tablespoon fennel seeds
Bring 2 quarts water to a boil. Add potatoes, salt and fennel. Cook at a gentle simmer until fork tender. (25-30 minutes)
Drain potatoes and spread on a wire rack over a baking sheet to let dry until a salt skin forms.
I feel a little silly about posting a 3 ingredient boiled potato recipe but ... I had to share. These are amazing. Simple...but amazing.
Amy's Tip of the Day: Put your potatoes in a bigger pan than I chose. My salty water spattered all over the pan AND the stove. Oops. Some lessons are learned the hard way. 💁🏻♀️
There are no places on Earth quite like Ireland, and I consider myself extremely lucky to have been able to explore the seemingly untouched landscape that is home to some of the greatest people and places in the world. In the land of endless, rolling green hills and countless sheep, one thing is certain. Ireland is a place full of places, people and experiences that I will not soon forget.
One evening in an Irish pub was all it took to convince me that Ireland has the friendliest people in the world. We were embraced with the same warmth and hospitality of a local. Everyone that we met was polite and kind and downright hilarious. They were even merciful to a couple of crazy American tourists who decided to rent an unusually tiny manual car and drive it on the opposite side of the most narrow of country roads. 😬🚙
Navigationally challenged would be an accurate way to describe our travels through Ireland. Getting lost actually led us to some pretty great adventures though. Abandoned castles, quaint towns, breathtaking scenery and roads barricaded by sheep were a just a few of the things that we would have missed if we have not unintentionally strayed from our intended route.
I honestly didn't know what kind of food to expect in Ireland. We travelled from the North of the island to the South, and we had some great meals along the way. We ate most of our meals in local pubs and I was blown away by the quality and menu selection. A far cry from traditional American bar food. Freshly farmed mussels in Irish cream sauce and fresh caught salmon with lemon dill sauce were stand outs. And much to my surprise, they were even able to honor my request for decaf Irish coffee to end my meal. And judging by the bewildered look on their faces, a request that I'm sure they don't get very often. ☕️
Even though we didn't see a single potato farm on our drives through Ireland, it's very common to be served potatoes as a side dish with every meal. Needless to say, it was a glorious few days of carbohydrate consumption. Whipped, mashed, roasted, fried, hash browned and baked - I saw them served in every way possible.
Is it possible that I actually got addicted to the humble spud in less than a week? I've been back home for less two weeks and I'm still craving potatoes, all day long! A batch of these twice baked potatoes ought to satisfy my craving. To be honest though, I think I'm missing Ireland more than the potatoes. These will have to do until I can make another trip though.
Twice Baked Potatoes
4 russet potatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 slices bacon
5 Tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 scallions, sliced thin
Check back on the blog on St. Patrick's Day for more pictures of our adventures through Ireland. Giving myself a deadline for getting my photographs organized is helping me stay focused. 📷😂
There are over 430 Waffle House restaurants in Georgia. Chances are that if you live in this wonderful state, you reside within 10 miles of at least 2 different Waffle House locations and probably at least one within walking distance. If you're not a Georgia resident but you've ever had the privilege of driving through our beautiful state, there's no doubt you took notice of our state restaurant. 😂 You won't have to drive far from an exit off of any major highway to satisfy your most imminent waffle emergency.
According to their website, Waffle House serves 341 strips of bacon, 238 orders of hash browns, 127 cups of coffee and 145 waffles -- EVERY MINUTE!!! That is a LOT of waffles. When I first moved to Georgia, I thought that everyone went to this popular establishment for the waffles. Turns out, people flock to this chain restaurant because it's open 24 hours a day - 365 days a year, it's relatively cheap and it serves greasy spoon comfort food.
What I find fascinating about this iconic restaurant, is that no matter what time of day I pass by any given location, there are cars in the parking lot and people sitting at the counter with steaming cups of hot coffee. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit this, but I've been in a Waffle House at 3:00 in the morning and there were plenty of other hungry diners happily enjoying a meal alongside me.
This is not going to be a popular opinion but I'm not actually a big fan of the waffles at Waffle House. My very favorite waffles are the still the ones that I make in my own kitchen. They're light, fluffy and delicious and even though they may be not be as popular as the Waffle House waffle, I think they're far better. And as it turns out - my kitchen is open 24/7 too. 💁🏻♀️
1 3/4 cups whole milk
8 Tablespoons butter
2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon vanilla
In the morning, pour batter into a hot waffle iron.
Serve with fruit and powdered sugar (Amy style) or drizzle with maple syrup.
Weekends were made for waffles. With a little planning and prep work the night before, you can have fresh homemade waffles in under 15 minutes. That might actually be faster than I can get to a Waffle House and order a waffle. 🤷🏻♀️
What is the deal with pancetta? Is it just fancy, more expensive, hard to find bacon? Is it really necessary in recipes or can you swap pancetta out with bacon? Why do people use pancetta? Is it really THAT much better than bacon? I've got a lot of questions. 🥓🤷🏻♀️
I used to be able to buy pancetta from the deli department in my local grocery store. They've recently stopped carrying it though and the only way that I can buy it now is in the prepackaged, sliced deli meat and cheese case. I'm not a pancetta expert so I really don't know if this kind of pre-packaged pancetta is any good or if I'd be better off with bacon. Where are my pancetta experts? Can you help a girl out? I need answers.
I did a little research and I found out that the biggest difference between bacon and pancetta is that bacon is smoked and cured and pancetta is seasoned, rolled and cured. I'd say that pancetta is the Italian cousin of bacon. It's used for things like soups, pastas and risottos. Most cooks believe that one can be swapped for the other in most recipes as long as you keep in mind that bacon will add a smoky flavor that pancetta will not.
This simple pasta and cheese recipe is what first stirred all of this bacon/pancetta curiosity. Changing just one of the five ingredients in the recipe can really alter the results. I decided to do a little of my own research. I made one batch with pancetta and the other batch with bacon. The results were inconclusive. We liked both pasta dishes. They were different but both were delicious. How's that for ambiguous?
Pasta with Pancetta and Pecorino
8 ounces pancetta, sliced 1/4" thick
1 Tablespoon oil
1 pound pasta
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
Reduce heat to low and add pasta, pancetta and pecorino. Stir 1 minute.
Serve with additional pepper and pecorino.
Hey pancetta people - where you at? Send me the information that you know about pancetta and any advice that you have for this novice pancetta user. I need support and more importantly - I need to know where I can buy great pancetta in the greater Atlanta area. 😂
I'm baaaaack!! I hope that you were not alarmed when you didn't see any new blog posts from me over the past couple of weeks. I didn't taking a break because I'm tired of blogging. And don't worry, I haven't gone completely crazy and decided to tackle a THIRD website. 🤣 Believe it or not, I went to Europe for a casual ten day trip to visit some of the most beautiful places on earth. No big deal. 😲
Just kidding. This was SUCH a big deal in my little world. We covered 3 amazing countries in 10 days. I was so freakin excited about this trip that I felt like I could have just burst. My suitcase was packed for over a week before I left, I successfully lined up 4 different dog sitters and prepared and froze 7 days of meals for the world's greatest house sitter/starving college student/youngest child.
Who would ever have guessed that little old me would jump on a plane to meet my handsome husband in Venice? VENICE!!! Even though I didn't post on my blog while I was travelling, I did document all of my travels with my trusty phone and camera that was constantly attached to me. If you want to follow my journey through Europe, follow my Instagram. And just a warning: If you DON'T want to bombarded with a ridiculous number of food pictures over the next couple of weeks - you should unfollow me immediately.
I'm incredibly jet lagged and I can think of nothing better thing for me to at 2:00 on the morning that I returned than edit and post pictures of my trip. I just loved everything about these amazing countries and I can't wait to share all of my photos with you. The views were amazing, the people were awesome and the food was incredible.
If I've got your Euproean juices flowing - I suggest you make some Fregola with Shrimp and Tomatoes while you scroll through my pictures on Instagram. Open a bottle of Chianti and we can take this beautiful journey together.
Fregola with Shrimp and Tomatoes
3/4 pounds shrimp (peeled, shells reserved)
8 ounce bottle of clam juice
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup fregola
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Remove from heat and stir in shrimp and juices, 1/2 T. oil, lemon juice and parsley.
Cover and let stand 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
OK food blog followers, who's been to or lived in Italy, Switzerland or Austria? What are the foods that you absolutely love? The foods that define the culture. Much love to you all and I'll see you in a couple weeks with LOTS of pictures.
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