Tag Archives: potatoes

Adventures in curry leaves

I don’t care what anyone says about tofu’s versatility. It has nothing on the lowly potato.  Fry them, roast them, coat them in a slick of olive oil with salt and pepper, and you have dinner. Ok, maybe not the most balanced dinner, but let a girl dream once in a while. If you want something green, broccoli, potato, and sharp cheddar cheese is even tasty if you do get lazy and make everything in a microwave. Not that we own a microwave.*

If you haven’t gathered this already, I will never tire of potatoes.

But I thought I had tried pretty much every variation I could think of, until I came across this recipe from 50 great curries of India, by Camellia Panjabi.  These potatoes are boiled, and then tossed in hot oil with some turmeric, mustard seeds, lentils, chile powder, and curry leaves.  The curry leaves are reminiscent of garam masala, but more vibrant somehow, and they transfer their frangrance to the potatoes far more thoroughly than I would have expected from a quick toss in a pot.

The end result? The most addicting, exotic homefries you will ever taste.  Hot or cold, this dish is both simple and impressive, and goes quite well with any sort of curry.  Or you could just eat them for dinner as is.

The only catch, really, is finding a source of fresh curry leaves.  Around here, the only place I’ve ever seen them is the Asian market in M&M farms, which seems to get boxes of them in sporadically.  Luckily, they freeze well, so stock up.

*For the record, we killed ours. It is resting peacefully in the basement, along with all our other broken stuff that I loathe to get rid of when we finally get out of this city for good.

Recipe after the jump.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under main, potatoes, side, vegan, vegetarian

Irish eyes are smiling

Stew and Damper

That song is perhaps the cheesiest reminder that today is St. Patrick’s Day.  Flogging Molly or the Pogues are more my style, as my Pandora station might reveal.  But according to my red hair, freckles, and relatively large percentage of Irish blood, I suppose I should be in a celebratory mood, with the requisite tolerance for funny old songs and fake Irish brogues. With enough Guinness, anything’s possible, right?
Carrots and rosemary

Except it’s a Monday, I really don’t own any green clothing that I can recall, and James doesn’t drink beer. Besides, I was kind of in the mood for a relaxing evening at home, with a bit of work and some new cookbooks to peruse. So I did what I always do in those situations: I threw this and that in a pot, brought it to a simmer, and let the delicious smells waft throughout the house.

Rosemary

This meal ended up having an Australian twist, in the end. See, Irish, British, and Australian pub food is really not so different (as you might imagine). You throw some tough meat, beer, a few basic vegetables, some homemade stock in a pot. Add a little Vegemite, disappear to the corner pub for an hour or two, and voila — you have your Australian equivalent of Irish Guinness stew.  You make a basic, scone-like quick bread of flour, baking powder, water, milk, butter, and salt, and you have damper, which is serious bush tucker, designed to be made with basic essentials and thrust into an open fire beneath the startling expanse of the Milky Way.

Damper

It’s all comfort food, really. Yes, you can turn it into something gorgeous and inviting; the smell alone will draw guests to your door in two seconds flat. But it’s basic, and somehow, a part of both of our collective memories, as different as they are. Simmering stew and fresh baked bread, with only slight variations here or there. It’s the kind of meal that makes us quiet, in mutual approval, and brings us both a little sense of home.

st patrick's day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone, from the lab leprechaun!

Continue reading

10 Comments

Filed under Australia, baking, beef, carrots, celery, main, milk, potatoes, quick bread, rosemary, soup, stew

The weekend is too far away

I have been living off of a bit too much takeout for comfort this week. Think cashew chicken from the Thai cart, egg and cheese on rye from the Italian market down the street, and of course, innumerable cups of coffee from the cute little cafe positioned oh-so-conveniently down the street. Weeks like these suck my paycheck dry in unsuspecting increments — $4 here, $6 there, $10 if I splurge. So when tonight rolled around and I was faced with the challenge of making or obtaining food in the 20 minutes I had left before yet another task, I chose to stay home and pull a quick and satisfying recipe out of the back of my memory somewhere. It takes about 10 minutes to put together, and combines the best bits of breakfast with a subtle and sophisticated twist. Oh, and it is very, very cheap.  It even looks pretty, provided you have a camera that actually takes decent pictures without copious amounts of daylight. I’m still working on that last item, as you can see…

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under environment, main, potatoes, quick meals, saffron

Early spring

Potato Soup

Picture the scene: just another endless weekday here at home. The kitchen is as chilly and cluttered as I left it, early that morning, when the sun decided to stay hidden behind a vast shroud of gray. Twilight’s no different — perhaps a bit more melancholic — but how would I know? I’ve been on shift all day, in the windowless bunker I call work, playing with wires and signals and listening to the monotonous drone of vacuum pumps and fans all working away at establishing the 24-hour rhythm of a lab that never sleeps.

Yes, it’s February, and I fear this month is getting to me. But after seeing this seductive little creation, I had to try my hand at creating a little bowl of springtime sun to call my own.

My version is pale green, like the first buds emerging from the monotonous brownish gray of winter, and calls for nothing more than a small bunch of cilantro and a few staples you probably already have in your pantry. It’s light, despite the potatoes, and a perfect antidote to the shortest month of the year.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under almonds, cilantro, main, potatoes, soup

Simplest thing in the world

Mashed potatoes + cabbage sautéed in butter = GENIUS.

Colcannon

Ok. Maybe I’m getting a little ahead of myself. But it’s creamy and a bit crunchy and savory and … have you smelled cabbage when it’s cooked in a bit of butter, and mixed with a bit of salt and pepper? After the first minute or two (when cabbage-haters will ask whether you really plan on feeding them that stink), it transcends its humble reputation and smells warm and golden, somehow. Pure heaven, I say. But maybe it’s just the red hair talking.

The dish I’m talking about is called colcannon. It’s a traditional Irish dish, which can really be made with kale or cabbage, and is filling enough to serve as dinner if you have a bit of bread and cheese on the side. I’ve strayed a bit from the traditional recipe here, with some sautéed onions, garlic, and paprika, and some leftover whey to cook the potatoes in (thanks for the tip, Dad). Either way, it’s worth a try.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under cabbage, main, potatoes, seasonal, side