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Having Your Chocolate and Eating It Too

 

1 chocolateThe news about the health benefits of eating high quality dark chocolate just keeps getting better and better.

Who ever said you can’t have your cake and eat it too?

We already know from previous studies that eating an ounce of dark chocolate a day can improve heart health. It lowers blood pressure; may reduce risk of heart failure, lowers LDL cholesterol and raises HDL.

Now My Dream Come True!

Chocolate has been found to make you smarter too.

eeeeeee

 

From KSL.com in Utah:

The study, conducted by Dr. Farzaneh Sorond, a neurologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, included 60 older adults who drank hot chocolate twice a day for 30 days. The study, published in the journal Neurology, linked a 30 percent raise in memory and problem solving among the participants.

eeee

The brain needs lots of fuel to operate optimally. Seems after 30 days the dark chocolate boosted the brain’s blood supply by 8.3 percent, thus making the brain work more optimally.

The researchers are not sure why this happens. Some theorize it is the antioxidants in the chocolate; others think it is because chocolate makes us happier.

Happier? Ya think?

Type and Amount Are Paramount

The caveat is that you cannot gorge yourself on chocolate. About 3 tablespoons a day is enough.Also remember it is dark chocolate, not milk chocolate.

Humble Pie Needed

Chocolate is why I am so smart. Now, if only there was a chocolate bon-bon for humbleness.

 

Featured Recipe        Crispy Smashed Roasted Potatoes

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The first time I saw this recipe was in the December 2007 issue of Fine Cooking magazine.

In June, 2008 there was a pan-fried version of smashed potatoes adding cheese to the potatoes.

Today many people call these potatoes Crash Potatoes. This is the name Ree Drumond/The Pioneer Woman used for this dish in her June 2, 2008 post. Pioneer Woman based her recipe on Australian food write, Jill Dupleix’s recipe of same name. There is no date I could find at her website for this recipe.

I tell you all this because I do not know to whom I should attribute today’s recipe to.

The Fine Cooking magazine’s recipe is the first one I made way back before I ever even heard of the Pioneer Woman.

The thing I like about Jill’s and then Ree’s recipe is they use a potato masher to smash the potatoes. Inspired. Inspired I tell you. Much easier and faster than using the palm of your hand as I did back when I first made these delectable morsels way back  in 2007.

I also like the addition of the herbs and other seasonings to this recipe. Much yummier!

To make the recipe even more delicious I add butter and bacon. I am such a hedonist!

Another thing you could add would be sour cream and green onions.

The options are endless.

What would you add to these potatoes?
This is what you will need for 4 people:

12 small red or new potatoes – or any small round potato

¾ cup olive oil

Several sprigs of thyme – or herb(s) of your choice

6 tablespoons butter

4 slices bacon

Salt and pepper to taste

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Here is what you do:

Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees. This is a really good recipe to make in the depths of a super-cold winter day. Not so much on a hot 82 degree humidity saturated day like today. But then I will do almost anything for you, my dear readers. SECRET: Shhhhhh! Actually, I am just a poor planner.

Cook the unpeeled potatoes in a roiling pot of generously salted water until fork tender, yet not soft, about 10-15 minutes depending on size.

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Drain and allow the potatoes to dry.

IMG_5700Slice the butter into thin pats and roughly chop the thyme or whatever herb you are using.

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Nuke the bacon in a microwave and when cool enough to handle crumble and set aside.

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Drizzle some olive oil on a baking sheet.

IMG_5702Arrange the dried potatoes on top of the baking sheet.

Now here comes the fun part. Smash the potatoes flat with a potato masher. This is best done gently. This is not a recipe where you can let go to get rid of excess stress. That is best left to mashed potatoes.

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Optional: Add a pat of butter to each potato. Drizzle some olive oil over the smashed potatoes.

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Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and the herb(s) that you are using.

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Bake on the top position of your oven for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and nice and crisp.

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You can serve as is for a very delicious side dish.  Or……

Or you can add all manner of goodies to your potatoes: like sour cream and green onions. – You see, I had this one lonely pathetic looking green onion in the fridge. What a wonderful way too use it up.

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Have some left-over shredded cheese? Sprinkle on top of the potatoes and place back in the oven for a minute or two.

Did you think I forgot about the bacon? Oh ye of little faith. Sprinkle the potatoes with the bacon crumbles.

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Serve with any meat or fish entrée. Or make a meal of it served with a salad.

Bon appétit!!!

Cost

12 small potatoes                  $1.59

¾ cup olive oil                       $1.38

6 sprigs of thyme                   $0.80

6 tablespoons butter               $0.48

4 slices bacon                         $1.68

Salt & pepper to taste

Total cost = $5.93
Cost per person = $1.48

Quote of the Day

Chocolate is cheaper than therapy and no appointment is needed.

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