If you’re looking at the picture above, rubbing your eyes and thinking “why on earth does that look like a plate of potato chips with an egg on top?” then read on. What can I say, the Parsis made me do it. Or one particular Parsi cookbook author, anyway. For those who don’t know (as I did not), Parsis are Zoroastrian Persians who emigrated to India. Their cuisine has a great deal in common with Indian cooking, but retains certain unique qualities – including a serious attachment to potato chips.
I bought a copy of Niloufer Ichaporia King’s book My Bombay Kitchen some time ago, and was utterly delighted when I discovered the little drawing of the “Parsi food pyramid,” with the base layer consisting entirely of potato chips (the top two layers are ginger and garlic). These are my kind of people! According to King, potato “wafers” and eggs are both beloved of the Parsi people, and this recipe brings them together, along with cilantro and hot chiles, in a ridiculous, yet sublime, dish. We had it for breakfast, with cafe au lait, but it could be a quick supper with a bit of salad and a beer. Depending on your ability to pretend that potato chips are real food. Continue reading
So you may recall that last week there was a dish specifically designed to use up beet greens, but the beets themselves never made an appearance. Here they are! I deeply regret not taking a picture of them while they were fresh and intact, because they were beautiful – but you’ll just have to cope with pictures of the finished product, a gratin of beets, potatoes, and cheese. The beets were from Blue Heron Farm, and the potatoes from Frog’s Song Farm. The cheese was from the supermarket (sorry, the local cheesemaker doesn’t do Gruyère-style).
This is based on an actual recipe from one of our old standbys, the San Francisco Chronicle Cookbook. It calls for specific quantities and measurements, of course, but I never have the exact amounts of anything so I end up just tossing stuff in however. The key is adding plenty of cheese and cream.
We found these gorgeous pink fingerling potatoes at the farmer’s market last week, and couldn’t resist. I realized as I was taking their picture that they’re actually kinda fleshy looking, so it’s just as well they lost their color after cooking. They were good, though – I halved them lengthwise, tossed them with olive oil and Marlunghe herbed sea salt (thanks, R&G!), and roasted them at 400° for about half an hour. They were crispy and salty on the outside, chewy and sweet on the inside, with a hint of savor from the sage and rosemary in the salt.
Potatoes like that need some good accompaniments, so Jon roasted a pork tenderloin and made a exceptionally yummy pan sauce with white wine, butter and reduced apple cider, and I tossed some blanched green beans into a pan with minced shallot and a few fresh tomatoes.
It was very, very, very good.
After a short trip out of town last weekend, we did a quick swing by the grocery store to get something easy for dinner. Pacific halibut is still looking wonderful, so I picked up a fillet and went home to peruse another of our new cookbooks, West Coast Seafood. This is the book we’ve been needing for a long time – it sometimes seems like all the really comprehensive fish books are either too elaborate for my sort of cooking, or they use fish that we simply never see in this part of the world (turbot? mackerel?). This new book seems like it strikes a nice balance between accessible and interesting, and it uses real fish that we can actually buy around here.
For my halibut, I picked an easy recipe that sounded good, wasn’t too involved, and also used up an old lemon that I didn’t want to waste. I zested the lemon over the fish, then sprinkled on fresh thyme leaves, salt and olive oil. The recipe was for grilled halibut, but we didn’t have time to fire up the grill that evening – so I put the fish in the oven along with the Yukon Gold potatoes I was roasting, and it came out perfectly – tender, juicy, just cooked through, with lots of clear lemon flavor.
I used the juice from the zested lemon to make a salad dressing, with olive oil, salt, pepper and chopped fresh basil. The lemony greens with the lemony fish were wonderful with the sturdy, crisp roasted potatoes. Also, I had just picked up a bottle of La Piece Sous le Bras chardonnay/viognier/roussanne, and it was magnificent with the fish and potatoes. A lovely, summery supper to finish out the weekend.
This was our first month as members of the local wine shop’s special wine club, and we had two bottles of beautiful-looking tempranillo calling out to be drunk as a result. I spent a couple of weeks unable to drink wine due to various medications I was on – not fun – but I am finally getting better. So this week, more or less drug-free, I was finally able to taste them. We had one dinner (roast pork and yams) where we opened both bottles and tasted them side-by-side, then planned meals to suit each for the following two nights. This first bottle, Mapema from Argentina, gave me a strong hankering for romesco sauce – which we happened to have some of in the freezer.
One of our favorite dishes from last summer was the grilled shrimp recipe from a 2006 issue of Cook’s Illustrated – we made it over and over again, and were very sad to see it go with the end of grilling season. J wanted to try it with the broiler to see if it could be had in the off season. In the original recipe, the shrimp are grilled until partially cooked, then finished in a warm sauce, so we figured it should adapt fine. Continue reading
Sometimes Friday night is pizza night, or crêpe night, or going-out-to-eat night – something festive. Often it’s steak night. Last Friday we went for the super traditional steak-and-potatoes meal, with a nice big T-bone, some oven roasted Yukon Golds, and a pile of steamed broccoli. Nothing too complicated here:
The steak was salted and peppered, allowed to come up to room temperature, and pan seared until just done. J made a pan sauce with chicken stock and some chianti from the freezer.
The potatoes were cut into chunks about an inch across, rubbed with olive oil, salt and pepper and put in a 400° oven for half an hour or so. I turned them a couple times so they’d get crusty all around.
The broccoli was chopped up and steamed. We poured the pan sauce over everything.
We opened a bottle of Sandhill Cabernet that we bought at the winery in Benton City last September. It was awesome.
Sometimes it doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that.