My Favourite Oven Fries with Cashew Dijon Caper Sauce
These oven fries are seriously our favourite. They're oil-free and baked at high heat with a bit of sea salt, smoked paprika, and chili powder. They end up puffing up, being crisp on the outside and soft on the inside - SO good. This dipping sauce has been made in several iterations around here since the summer but always with the dijon mustard, capers, and hot sauce. The combination is a perfect match to the wedges. I have an even easier substitution for the cashews below - enjoy!
For the past several months, about once a week, we've been eating these puffy, crispy, smoky/spicy oven fries with this mustardy caper dipping sauce. Usually, there's also roasted broccoli. Sometimes, the potatoes, broccoli and sauce get all mixed together in a sort of potato salad, maybe with some arugula or shaved radish. An even quicker/easier variation of the sauce skips the cashews completely in favour of either veganaise or mayo. I use yogurt in both versions, but I especially find it helps to mellow to punchiness of the mayo variation so don't skip it! I can't even tell you the number of times I've passed Zach a big bowl of this, calling it dinner and settling in to binge watch Netflix. Speaking of, I think we've watched almost everything that looks even a little interesting - tv is clearly our coping mechanism for cold days! Send your recommendations our way ;)
About this time every year, I begin to go a bit stir crazy and decide that I need a vacation. Last year, we were headed to California in February, and the year before that was Jamaica. I was so close to booking something in the Caribbean a few weeks ago and while it didn't work out, I am still running a countdown in my head to vacation time. Another "staycation", I'll be staying close to home, but that's okay. Sometimes it's more about a change in routine and extra time to chill out than actually escaping to someplace warm and sunny. I have some fun things planned for the next couple weeks leading up to my holiday too: this Thursday we're celebrating our 4th wedding anniversary by having dinner at the hotel where we hosted our reception (funnily enough and slightly embarrassing, our picture is still used on their website as an advertisement!), this weekend I have a date with my grandma for high tea, I've booked myself a massage and facial, I'm visiting a friend for a couple days, and I signed up for a workshop on using herbs for women (which I actually am so excited for - I love that stuff). Leaning in to the coziness and big self-care is my plan for the moment.
I also wanted to share a few things that I have loved lately in hopes that you might find something that speaks to you too!
1. I'm thinking of printing this out and putting it up on my office wall like one big loving cue to take care
2. My hands are scaly and sore from the dryness at the moment, and this diy looks easy and perfect!
3. This lady is so full of wisdom and I love her compassionate and loving words on taking such good care, I have become a super fan overnight!
4. The past year or so, I've been increasingly drawn to crystals. Initially it was because they're pretty and I liked the idea of rose quartz to give calming/loving/peaceful vibes. This past Fall, my hairdresser gifted me some black tourmaline when I was feeling really anxious about a potentially difficult/emotional event to "ward off other people's negativity" and it worked. Since then, I've had some fun adding to my little collection. It's definitely a bit hippy, and I don't know if it's the power of the mind, but I've found myself drawing comfort and just a little extra internal strength during stressful times with them and that's good enough of a reason for me. This list is a good place to start for anyone who is interesting in delving in!
Hope you all are doing so well! xo
Oil-Free Oven Fries
Makes 2 large servings or 4 smaller ones
1 1/2 lbs/680 g (1 package) small potatoes
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon Mexican chili powder or chipotle powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Cut the potatoes evenly into quarters or sixths (depending on their size). Toss the potatoes in a large bowl with the spices and salt, and then divide evenly between the two parchment-lined baking sheets. Arrange the potatoes cut-side down (this helps them puff up as they bake). Bake for 20 minutes, turn over the potatoes, and bake for another 15-20 minutes. Serve with the Cashew Dijon Caper Sauce.
Cashew Dijon Caper Sauce
Note: you can simplify this sauce by substituting a half cup of prepared mayo or vegan mayo for the cashews, water and apple cider vinegar but just note that the total yield of sauce will be less. The mayo version is the one that I make most often, because it's so quick to throw together!
3/4 cup raw cashews (soak the cashews for 4 hours if you're not using a high speed blender)
1/2 -2/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons/1 large clove garlic, minced
2 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 -3 tablespoons plain unsweetened cultured yogurt (coconut, soy, goat's milk, etc - up to you)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
2 teaspoons capers, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, plus more to taste (I use a yellow habanero sauce, but choose your favourite)
a big pinch of black pepper
Place the cashews, 1/2 cup of water, the apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, 2 tablespoons of yogurt and salt to a blender. Pulse a few times to combine then slowly increase the speed to high and blend for 1-2 minutes. Stop and scrap down the sides of the blender with a spatula if needed. Add the extra water if you need it. Once the mixture is completely smooth, transfer to a bowl and stir in the capers, hot sauce and black pepper. Taste and adjust with more salt, hot sauce and the extra tablespoon of yogurt, if needed. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Keeps in the fridge for 4-5 days.
To make the mayo variation, whisk together 1/2 cup of mayo with 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice, the minced garlic, dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons of yogurt, salt, capers, hot sauce and black pepper in a small bowl. Taste and add the extra tablespoon of yogurt if you need to balance the mustard and mayo. Add extra salt and hot sauce, to taste. Keeps in the fridge for 2 days.