Monday, May 16, 2011

Goat Cheese Smashed Potatoes with Spring Veggies

I must admit that I have been less than inspired by my cooking recently. It's not that I haven't been cooking or that it hasn't tasted good, I've just been relying on things I'm comfortable with or variations of things I've made many times before. And while it provides nourishment for me and my hubby, these meals have not compelled me to write about them and share them with you. This meal, however, was an exception. It started with a trip to the Durham Farmers' Market, which is always cause for some cooking inspiration, especially as we move into new and exciting spring produce. As usual, I didn't enter the market with much of a plan, hoping to find some products that would work well together and create a simple, seasonal meal. I ended up with some great little red-skinned potatoes, Lebanese squash (a cross between zucchini and yellow squash), shiitake mushrooms, and red pepper goat cheese. Armed with these fresh items, I headed home to come up with something to make.
Since potatoes and cheese are a match made in heaven, I decided to start with smashed red potatoes seasoned with the flavored goat cheese. The red pepper added a touch of sweetness while the fresh goat cheese made the potatoes nice and tangy. I like my potatoes to have some texture, so I left the skin on and simply mashed them with a fork for an uneven consistency. I then sauteed the squash and mushrooms, added some sun-dried tomatoes and white beans, and finished it off with a splash of red wine vinegar. The whole meal took less than 30 minutes to make and tasted fresh, healthy and exciting. It's also a great meal to try if you want to eat less meat. The beans and goat cheese add protein and make the dish satisfying enough that you won't miss the meat. Hopefully this meal, and the season's great produce, will inspire you to make something new and bring some excitement back to the dinner table.

Goat Cheese Smashed Potatoes with Spring Vegetables (serves 2, with leftovers)

  • 1 lbs. red-skinned new potatoes, halved if large
  • 4 oz fresh goat cheese, flavored if desired
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup milk (if needed)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 large garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 4 oz shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
  • 2 medium Lebanese squash (or zucchini), chopped
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped small
  • 1 15oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Salt and black pepper
Put the washed potatoes into a small saucepan and cover with cold water.
Cover the pan and bring to a boil over high heat.
Once boiling, season water with a generous (1 tsp +) pinch of salt and boil potatoes uncovered until tender, about 12-15 minutes.
Drain potatoes and return to hot pan.
Stir in goat cheese and butter, mashing potatoes with a fork or potato masher.
Add milk if needed to make potatoes easier to mix.

While potatoes are boiling, heat oil in a large saute pan.
Add garlic and saute for a minute.
Add mushrooms and cook until mostly browned, about 4-5 minutes.
Add squash and season with salt (1/2 tsp or so) and pepper (1/4 tsp or so).
Saute for about 8 minutes, until squash is nearly tender.
Add in sun-dried tomatoes, white beans and vinegar, cooking for another couple of minutes to heat through.
Season with more salt and pepper if needed.

Serve vegetables over mashed potatoes and enjoy!

For a printable recipe click here