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 life..my 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