So, last year I cooked my mom a delicious Chinese birthday lunch, complete with a homemade Chinese bakery-style birthday cake. For my dad’s birthday a few months before that, we went to Red Lobster and got him one of those giant fruit tarts from Safeway. Looking back, that didn’t seem fair, since my dad is pretty frickin’ awesome and definitely deserved to eat something other than rubbery fried seafood and cheesy garlic biscuits on his big day (even if those biscuits are delicious). So, this year I decided to rectify the situation and cook him a delicious and elaborate birthday lunch. On the menu: roast chicken, grilled salmon, tomato-mozzarella crostini, roasted asparagus, creamed spinach, and roasted parsley & garlic baby potatoes. And for dessert, a Chinese bakery-style birthday cake with strawberry mousse filling.
One slight problem with my grand plans — my parents were scheduled to come over at noon today, but Dan and I decided to go camping with our friend Andy in West Virginia yesterday and didn’t make it back home until 10:30 this morning. So that’s roughly 1.5 hours to roast a chicken, grill some salmon, throw together all of the other appetizers and sides, and bake a cake. Yikes.
Thank God for Dan. Despite getting up at 6:30 this morning, driving 130 miles straight (and therefore not being able to nap in the car like I did), and not having time for a bathroom break, he offered to take over some of the cooking duties. Most of them, actually. In the end, all I had to do was roast a chicken, slap salmon on a pan and make a cake; Dan took care of the spinach, asparagus, crostini, and potatoes.
There wasn’t time to take pictures of Dan doing everything in the kitchen, so “Dan in the Kitchen: Part 3” only showcases him making roasted baby potatoes. Really yummy, garlicky, crispy-on-the-outside-but-soft-on-the-inside potatoes drenched in olive oil. So. Good.
In case you’re wondering, my dad enjoyed all the food immensely, and ate multiple helpings of everything. And, he was especially pleased that Dan had a hand in putting together his lunch. Dan earned so many brownie points with everyone today. Seriously.
- 2 lb mixed bag of baby potatoes (Our bag had Yukon, Russet, and some type of purple potato. The original recipe used fingerling potatoes, so that's fine too.)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1-1/2 tbsp dried parsley
- Salt/pepper to taste (Dan used 1-1/2 tbsp salt...this may be too much for some people. That's why the recipe says "to taste"!)
- Preheat oven to 425.
- In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper.
- Cut potatoes into halves or fourths, depending on how big/small you want your pieces to be.
- Toss the potatoes in the olive oil mixture. (Tip from Dan: Really get your hands in there. You want to get olive oil on EVERYTHING.)
- Spread potatoes out in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Roast for about 35 minutes.
- Serve hot, with roast chicken and fresh bread. (But, also really tasty eaten cold by themselves.)
(Adapted from the Unsophisticook’s recipe)