Veggie Vixen's Recipes for a Good Life

Food is Love

Prismacolor… and Papas Caliente 09/24/2009

tomatilloThere are a zillion wonderful recipe blogs out there, some have fancy photos and a vast following. In many ways, it makes no sense to start a new blog when there’s so much competition for your attention (and taste buds). But I realized, as I searched the vast ethernet for inspiration, that it’s the STORIES of the women and men who crafted the meal that I find so compelling.

Close your eyes, and think about a happy family memory (I know it’s hard to read on when your eyes are closed, but just take a moment….)

I bet there is something in that recollection that feels like prismacolor. Something is exaggerated, heightened… It often has to do with our sense memory. The  sound of your mother’s voice, a laugh. The smell of the kitchen at Christmas. Your grandfather’s scratchy cheeks. That’s what I want to write about.

The recipe is only half the story.

Tell me yours…I’m listening….

M

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PAPAS CALIENTE

This is a family recipe that has been passed down several generations. I think every family has a simple dish like this. It’s the comfort food the kids ask for when they come home from college, or the starchy bookends to a casual family meal.

This recipe was handed down to my mother from her best friend. They were two women with seemingly very little in common. One was a very warm, Jewish mother who could not cook. Her friend was a loud, dramatic Italian who owned a butcher shop and had five equally energetic children. 

My mother’s best friend was tall, with full hips and thighs. She seemed to use the force of her whole body when she chopped vegetables or prepared meat. I was very intimidated by her. Still, she was a great cook and one I must pay tribute to.

This recipe was first called “Guido Potatoes” as that was the name of the family who originated it. It originally used more oregano and onions. Then it became our families namesake potatoes as my father (the cook in the family) adapted it to his liking with a little paprika and more oil. Now, from memory, I have altered it again, based on what arrived in our CSA farm share this week. I call it Papas Caliente which can be translated to “hot potato” or  in Spangish  to “hot daddy” as per your liking.

The Goods:

8 med sized white potatoes, cut into chunks

2  med sized onions, chopped

1 tsp minced garlic (about 2 cloves)

olive oil

fresh herbs (I used cilantro, but dried oregano and rosemary are equally nice)

8 tomatillos, (halved and husked)*

salt and pepper

***For those of you that have never cooked with a tomatillo I must say that they are a kitchen’s “best kept secret”. I had never seen one before they arrived in our farm share. They look like small green tomatoes with thin paper husks. If you have ever had salsa verde, you’ve enjoyed tomatillos and perhaps didn’t know it! I am a convert.

If you don’t have fresh tomatillos you can used a mild crushed green chile or just some fresh salsa.

If you want to add some heat, sprinkle potatoes with cayenne pepper.

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The way:

Preheat oven to 425

Add 3 tbs olive oil to a roasting pan. Add potoatos and onions, and seasoning and mix together. Arrange tomatillios so they are cut side down along sides of dish. (This will help them to roast).Cook for about 25 minutes or until browned and softened. Stir once and turn pan to evenly cook. Cook 10-15 minutes more, moving the pan to the top of the oven to brown the potatoes. Finito!

Serve along side your favorite meat (Check out my recipe on drunken chicken).

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