Saturday, December 17, 2011

"Fried" Potatoes

As an omnivore, I was passionate about potatoes.

Julia Child's method for Thanksgiving mashed potatoes had me spellbound and I became famous for them. I would load them with salt, butter, and cream and we would all be in a turkey and potato stupor after our meal.

A road trip always was an excuse to eat McDonald's fries. (And of course grab a cup of coffee and visit clean facilities.)

Baked potatoes? Pass the butter, broccoli, and sour cream.

Hash browns. … And bacon?

My favorite lunch has always been soup and a sandwich with… potato chips. I love chips of any kind. I especially like low-fat, low salt versions because they bring out the best in the potato, but I cannot even  enjoy those with this new diet. Although I have bought them a time or two and eaten some on the way home from the grocery. :-}

A real dilemma in adopting a heart-healthy, vegan, no-oil diet was, "how would I ever again enjoy my potatoes?"

I often cook bread, shaped as round hearth loaves, on pizza stones. The stones cooks the bread with no added oil.

So, I thought, could they also cook potatoes without oil?

Indeed they can. And the potatoes are more awesome than any of the aforementioned delicacies.

First, I turn the oven to 400–450 degrees and heat the pizza stones for at least 20 minutes.

I chop the tators -- russets, reds, blues, or fingerlings -- into small (1/4" pieces) and place them in a bowl. I add salt and Mrs. Dash garlic blend or a garlic pepper mix and toss thoroughly.

Then, I spread the potatoes on the hot stones and cook for 20 minutes. Then, turn them with a spatula and cook for about 15 more, until they have lots of nice crispy brown sides.

If I've made some bean burgers, I can also cook these on the stones with the potatoes and have a very satisfying lunch.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Eating a heart healthy diet means eating a lot of salad.

I mean a lot.

Andy can eat salad by the bowlsful with just balsamic vinegar as dressing.


I, however, keep thinking of ranch dressing, which, if made with the traditional buttermilk, does not fit the heart-healthy diet I am following. Some folks believe you can mix up a ranch dressing from silken tofu and seasonings. Some folks rhapsodize about it.

I do not.

I have found, however, an Alessi balsamic vinegar that has been aged in wood for 10 years. Very good. I sprinkle some Italian dressing seasonings into it and enjoy my greens. I also add black beans or kidney beans and diced tomatoes -- and sometimes guacamole.

Our guru, Dr. Esselstyn, does not condone guacamole or avocados in any form because of their high fat content. But I just think of how nutrient rich they are and how tasty and get by.

Our choice of greens for the salad include: baby spinach, spring greens, chopped romaine, a sprinkling of kale, and some diced green onions. Then we add beans and tomatoes and maybe green or red peppers.

Love me some salad!!