Baked Potato

I know, I know… It’s just baked potato. But I have tried so many recipes for baking a potato and by far, this is the best and easiest baked potato I’ve had. The taste is unbelievable. I love eating the skin too. Just make sure you wash the potatoes really well. This is a perfect no-fuss side dish that you can just stick in the oven while making the main dish. As an added bonus, the aroma of the potatoes baking in the oven is so heavenly. I know, I know… it’s just baked potato. But a very delicious baked potato indeed!

Baked Potato

adapted from Good Eats by Alton Brown 

  • 1 large russet potato
  • Canola oil to coat
  • Kosher salt
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees and position racks in top and bottom thirds. Wash potato (or potatoes) thoroughly with a stiff brush and cold running water. Dry, then using a standard fork poke 8 to 12 deep holes all over the spud so that moisture can escape during cooking. Place in a bowl and coat lightly with oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt and place potato directly on rack in middle of oven. Place a baking sheet on the lower rack to catch any drippings.
  2. Bake 1 hour or until skin feels crisp but flesh beneath feels soft. Serve by creating a dotted line from end to end with your fork, then crack the spud open by squeezing the ends towards one another. It will pop right open. But watch out, there will be some steam.

NOTE: If you’re cooking more than 4 potatoes, you’ll need to extend the cooking time by up to 15 minutes.



Roasted Summer Vegetables

I cannot believe it is July already! Time flies so fast, it felt like June came and went by like a flash. You can certainly feel the summer heat here in St. Louis. With the long July 4th weekend holiday that we have, people are busy swarming the pools, lake, downtown for Fair St. Louis concerts (which, by the way, will feature one of my favorite bands Maroon 5 on July 3rd, 8pm at the Arch grounds), or simply have friends and family over for a nice barbecue party. To complement the slabs of meat that will be grilled, I decided to post a very easy side vegetable dish that everyone will love. All it takes is 15 minutes max to prepare the veggies, put it in the oven and it will be done by the time the meat is finished grilling. Enjoy!

Roasted Summer Vegetables

modified from Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That


  • 2 medium zucchinis
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow or orange bell pepper
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 small onion (preferably red)
  • 2 tbsp good olive oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Trim the ends of the zucchinis and cut them diagonally in 3/4-inch thick slices.
  3. Cut the peppers lengthwise in 1 1/2 inch-wide slices, discarding the core.
  4. Trim off the fennel stalks and cut the bulb through the core in 1-inch wedges. [I did not put fennel bulb in my version of Roasted Summer Vegetables]
  5. Peel the onion and slice it in 1/4-inch thick rounds, leaving the slices intact.
  6. Place The vegetables in groups on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil, add the garlic and toss gently, ensuring that the vegetables are lightly coated with oil. Spread the vegetables in one layer on 2 sheet pans. Do not crowd the vegetables, if they are crowded, they will steam rather than roast.
  7. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place the thyme sprigs on top.
  8. Roast for 15 minutes. Turn each pice and put the pans back in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, until all the vegetables are crisp-tender.
  9. Sprinkle with extra salt and serve hot or at room temperature.

Creamy Avocado and Lime Chilled Pasta

I was so ecstatic to have my first six-day vacation two weeks ago. To make it even better, it was the start of summer… And summer means grilling, hanging out by the pool/beach, concerts at the park, picnics, and all the fun stuff! Summer also means the start of sweltering weather in St. Louis. This one I’m not so excited about. So to beat the heat, I spent my first day of vacation trying to look for new recipes that will cool me off. I came across this blog entry from So Hungry I Could Blog, and I immediately decided that I am definitely going to make the creamy avocado and lime chilled pasta. It looks and sounds so refreshing, and I thought, this is a perfect side dish for summer picnics! And sure enough, it complements grilled burgers and brats. What a pleasing way to welcome the summer!

Creamy Avocado and Lime Chilled Pasta

modified from So hungry I could blog

  • 12 oz dry Rotini pasta
  • 2 ripe avocado
  • 1 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 6 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook pasta according to box instructions. Drain and allow to cool. I used tri-colored Rotini pasta, but shell pasta can also be used.
  2. Peel the avocado and remove the pit. Transfer the avocado, cilantro, lime juice, lime zest, mayonnaise and garlic in food processor and blend until creamy.
  3. Combine the mixture with the cooled pasta, and mix well. Add salt and pepper.
  4. Refrigerate for about 30 min before serving.