Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Default Side Dish

I guess I've been a little MIA lately. I haven't done a huge lot of new cooking- nothing exciting really. It finally warmed up a tad, so we've been running the grill a little making standard grill food- burgers, chicken breasts, hot dogs, etc. Nothing really blog-worthy. And I guess I decided that it's better to not blog than blog about nothing. Last night though as I was assembling some potatoes for the grill, it occurred to me that while not really special, foil potatoes are kind of standard fare here once grilling season starts. Being inspired by my friend Janelle's "Default Dinners" posting, I thought I could share the process for foil potatoes.

You begin with the grill on and warming up, and a few sheets of aluminum foil. Personally, the heavy duty always works best for grilling, but you can use the standard if you double it up. Next, you grab a handful of potatoes and an onion. (Gauge the potatoes as to how much your family will eat. I like to use red-skinned potatoes, as I like to leave the skin on- but feel free to use any potato you like and peel if necessary. Scrub the potatoes, cut them in half lengthwise, and then in half lengthwise again. Cut these pieces into thin slices, and repeat until the potatoes are sliced. Then chop half of the onion into small pieces. Spray your foil with cooking spray and pile the potatoes on. Next, sprinkle the onions all over the potatoes. Sprinkle the potatoes very liberally with your choice of salt (I like seasoning salt or sel gris) and plenty of freshly ground pepper. If you have herbs, this would be a great place to add a handful of fresh rosemary or chives. Then drizzle olive oil over the whole mass. If you are a butter lover, you can dollop pats of butter on the very top. I like to use olive oil if I'm using rosemary with just a few tablespoons of butter for flavor on top. Oh- chopped fresh garlic is tasty in here as well!

Then wrap the foil around the potatoes tightly- making sure it's well sealed, using additional foil sheets if necessary. Plop this package on your grill over indirect heat and let if cook- rotating as necessary to cook all sides. It takes about 45 minutes, which is plenty of time to toss a salad and prepare and grill your main course. If you let the potatoes go a little longer, they get all browned and caramelized around the edges- very tasty stuff. This works well on a grill or an open fire (in the instance of camping). I also swap out the plain potatoes for sweet potatoes at times- although then I use more butter and add cinnamon and brown sugar instead of herbs and onions. (I'm a sweet girl, I like my sweets on the sweet side.) Any way you do it, it's quick to throw together, and really cooks itself. Foil Potatoes is one of our default side dishes. The picture above here is of the potatoes ready to be wrapped up and cooked. I failed to take a finished picture-sorry!


Claire said...

IF I do potatoes, this is usually how I do them. I made some last night, except ran out of foil, so they just went on the roasting pan. Nice side dish for my fish!

Tammy said...

Sounds great! We love to use the same grilling/foil method for cabbage. The recipe that was passed on to me calls for quartering the cabbage but I cut it much smaller so it will cooker faster and a little more thoroughly. But you spray the foil with nonstick spray, lay a few strips of bacon down, then the cabbage, salt and pepper and a sprinkling of garlic powder, close the foil and grill for about 30-45 minutes. The bacon gets quite crispy since it's on the bottom and it imparts the nicest flavor to the cabbage. I have skipped the bacon and just added dollops of butter on top, same seasonings and that's quite delish also!
Thanks for sharing the potato recipe.

Mimi said...

I've sworn off potatoes. But I like to look at them, anyway and lust after them.

I've been MIA for weeks. It's hard to catch up.

Erika said...

Claire- potatoes are an IF here too-Zander just doesn't like them no matter how I try to feed them to him (except frnech fries of course)

Tammy- that cabbage sounds wonderful! And it happens to one of Abigail's favorite vegetable- AND on sale this week. I'll be picking some up to try that soon.

Mimi- I hear you on the MIA. I take a few days to be away from my computer, and it seems to take forever to catch up with what everyone else is doing.

janelle said...

Erika:). I love defaults. From dinners to apps to sides. Yummy looking potatoes!

janelle said...

Mmmm, that cabbage sounds awesome too! Default sides... Erika I think you are right. We need this!

Erika said...

We do need default sides! Especially for those days where we really go all out to try something new and extravagant, and it takes all day for the main entree...and there's not much time left to think of sides.

Definitely need a category for default sides.

And default dessert too-right? :-)