It’s been a comfort-food kind of week…

Apologies for not posting in a whole week, but family comes first around here, and with two sick kids and then a sick Mama, this space got put on the back burner for the week.

There is still no snow around here. Today, it was 9 degrees C and rainy. I, for one, am heartily tired of rain. I’m bored with grey skies. I’m missing sunshine. I’m missing blue skies. And I am definitely missing snow. Without snow, we can’t make snow men. Or snow forts. Or have snowball fights. Or ‘paint’ on the brick walls of the house with fistfulls of snow. Or paint on the snow with spray bottles of watered-down tempera paint. We can’t follow tracks in the snow, or make our own.

I am definitely ready for winter to arrive.

Of course, a lack of snow doesn’t stop us from finding things to do around here. Before everyone came down sick, we were busy with science experiements and crafts and embroidery projects and all sorts of things. I meant to blog about them, and I will… later.

Right now, I’m on the way towards being better, and craving comfort foods. Like homemade chicken fingers and oh-so-delicious roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes.

Don’t they look delicious, sitting there on the stone baking sheet just waiting to go in the oven? They are amazingly easy to make, and taste so good. They’re perfect for winter, too. Hot from the oven and smothered in aromatic spices, they bring comfort and warmth on a chilly day. Lately, it has been more rainy and grey than anything else, and I swear the familiar pop of orange from the sweet potatoes is bright enough to cheer me right up. Potatoes are one of my favourite comfort foods of all time, and I love how they can be served up in so many different ways.

I would have posted a picture of these after they came out of the oven, but we ate them all up before I remembered to get the camera. What can I say — they are really, really yummy! The best part is, you can adjust this recipe easily for more or fewer servings.

Easy Savoury Roast Potatoes

  1.  Pour a generous slug of olive oil into a large-ish mixing bowl. By generous, I mean anywhere from 2-3 Tablespoons to 1/4 cup, depending on how many potatoes you are making.
  2. Melt 1-2 Tablespoons butter and add to the bowl.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon to 1 Tablespoon garlic powder, or 1-2 crushed and minced fresh cloves of garlic (less, if you prefer less garlic).
  4. Toss in anywhere from 1/2 to 2 teaspoons each of:
    • fresh or dried rosemary,
    • fresh or dried thyme,
    • fresh or dried sage,
    • and fresh or dried parsley
  5. Smile to yourself when you realize that the only part of this meal that didn’t come from your very own garden was the garlic and the olive oil.
  6. Stir the spiced oil mixture well, pause to inhale that savoury goodness, then set aside for now.
  7. Scrub several white potatoes or yukon gold potatoes (my favourite) and slice into rounds as shown, or wedges if you prefer. The thickness doesn’t really matter, though thinner pieces will cook faster so you will need to watch your cooking time.
  8. Peel a sweet potato or three and slice into similar rounds or wedges.
  9. Toss the potatoes in the bowl with the oil mixture and mix them around until they are well-coated.
  10. Spread the potatoes evenly on a large baking dish; I use my stone baking sheet because it cooks well on both sides and I don’t have to flip them halfway through the cooking time, but any old cookie sheet with a raised edge will do. You don’t want to use a flat pizza stone or edgeless cookie sheet as the oil can run off the sides.
  11. Bake until cooked through and nicely browned. I typically bake mine at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or so, using the convection oven. They work equally well at higher temperatures, though you do have to watch them more carefully and they won’t take nearly as long. Higher temps make for a crispier surface, too. You can also throw these in the microwave, though they will not brown or crisp at all, but you can throw them under the broiler for the last 2-3 minutes to brown them up.

One final note – this is a great recipe for potato skins, too. If you are entertaining for Christmas and are making up a whole mess of mashed potatoes, wash the potatoes thoroughly before peeling them, then save the peelings in a bowl rather than throwing them in the compost. Rinse them quickly to remove the extra starch, then whip up a batch of the oil mixture, toss in the potato skins until well coated, and then roast them quickly at 425 degrees F. Keep a close eye on them – they crisp up quickly. Remove them from the oven and sprinkle them with a dash of sea salt for a warm version of potato chips that you can munch on while you wait for the main course to be ready. Or, remove them to a plate covered with a paper towel, allow the excess oil to drain, and serve them in place of regular potato chips.

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