Meat and Potatoes, Please

by paige on September 15, 2010

IT’S HAPPENED TO us all, we cooks: a great recipe book somehow goes sadly, horribly wrong. I was thrilled a couple of  weeks ago when I opened a package to find a cookbook I’d finally ordered for myself, one I’d seen gourmands praising for years as a superior resource for a particular regional cuisine. “Perfect!” thought I. “This will let me do something really unexpected for Summer-isn’t it fall-yet?? Fest”

Be careful of exacting plans. I found a recipe that featured potatoes, in combination with other veggies I love. It even contained legumes, making for a savory, vegetarian main dish. This was exactly what I was craving, as it happened, with leaves starting to blow off trees and a bite in the morning air. I followed the recipe to the letter. And you know what?

It was glop. Boring, banal and bland, with a side of not-very-appetizing-to-look-at. Furious at wasting my precious crop of home grown potatoes, I shoved the remaining tubers back into their dark storage, and began to brood on cooking disappointments I have known. And…on what the hell I was going to say to you people about potatoes, for after this culinary disaster, what with the chaos of back to school and work and kitchen mojo was flagging. Badly.

I am sorry to say, I still haven’t recovered much of a will to cook. In my house, right now, we’re off of fancy food. Dinner tonight is an experiment in slow cooking, and tomorrow, though a friend is coming by, I’m serving…burgers. He’s married to a fabulous foodie, but bless him, he’d mostly rather eat a hamburger, and so that’s what we’re having.

Alongside, though, I’ll serve french fries, damn it, and use some more of the gorgeous potatoes I managed to coax out of my garden. French fries are all method, not recipe, but the one I use is from my beloved Gourmet. I recommend it not only because it works, but because the spice-and-salt formula included in the recipe is a (better) version of Lawry’s, not to mention a dead ringer for the stuff used on the Ollie’s Trolley burgers I loved as a child, the best I remember eating, ever. Maybe a dose of nostalgia, not to mention meat and potatoes, will cure what ails me this week in the kitchen.

SUMMER FEST IS A cross-blog recipe (and tip) swap–and you’re invited to participate. Simply post your link or recipe or idea in the comments below my post, and also on the blogs of the other participants listed here. Want more information? Get the details (and the schedule for upcoming weeks). My collaborators’ goodies:

Alison at Food2: Boil ‘Em, Mash ‘Em, Stick ‘Em in a Stew
Kirsten at FN Dish: Twice-Baked Potatoes
Sara at Cooking Channel: Duck Fat Roasted Potatoes
Liz at Healthy Eats: A Day of Potatoes: Spuds for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Nicole at Pinch My Salt: Potato Taquitos, made with leftover mashed potatoes
Caroline at the Wright Recipes: Indian Spiced Potatoes with Chickpeas (Aloo Chole)
Cate at Sweetnicks: Bleu Cheese Potato Mashers
Caron at San Diego Foodstuff: Hatch Chile Potato Salad
Alana at Eating From the Ground Up: The strange experience of growing potatoes
Margaret at A Way to Garden: Potato Growing, Curing and Storage Tips

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

sandhya@vegetarianirvana September 15, 2010 at 10:11 am

So sorry you were dissapointed, but I find it funny I actually have a vegetable and potato, thank you very much recipe for the summer fest! I am just trying to cheer you up.

Prerna@IndianSimmer September 15, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Here’s what I did with the theme ingredient a while back

Marilyn September 15, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Almost-fall, garden-fresh fries? Made by you? I’ll take that meat and potatoes any day. xo

Kulsum@JourneyKitchen September 15, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Your post title says it all! Here’s my contribution for the theme , Simple and easy Indian spiced potatoes!

Ranjani September 15, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Great, now my stomach is growling as I think about fries…
This week I made a potato gratin:

One Hungry Mama September 15, 2010 at 5:43 pm

Sometimes meat and potatoes is just what you need. Gotta say, it’s just the way I feel sometimes. Your dinner sounds yummy!

I went healthy with potatoes for this weeks Summer Fest. I focused on the surprising nutritional benefits of white potatoes and how we can get the most out of their nutrients. I also share a recipe for my Potato and Chorizo Tacos which are, believe it or not, healthy too!

Thanks for another great week. Can’t wait to read what everyone else has been making with potatoes!

Cate O'Malley September 15, 2010 at 9:25 pm

Nothing like a tried-and-true favorite to coax you back into the kitchen – homemade french fries sound perfect! Here’s my addition for this week:

Kathleen September 16, 2010 at 12:02 pm

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