Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Today I thought I'd take some time to talk to you about potatoes. Especially ones that have been fried. With onions. Potatoes are one of those foods that keep your mind off life's worries. The smell alone is a comfort. I've made them at all the trying times of my life. School stress warranted french fries, baked or fried. Special occasions are marked with twice-baked potatoes in their own skin -- extra complicated. A rough day makes me crave simple mashed potatoes. One of my favorite all-purpose renditions is called "fried potatoes;" a slightly vague title, but extremely tasty. There are a number of ways to fry potatoes. I slice them very thin, and then chop an onion into slivers. They all go in a pan together to mingle, and when they come out, they are lightly browned and crispy. I love them with ketchup, and have even been known to eat them cold the next day as leftovers, not even bothering with a plate or a fork.This week, we had some wonderful little new potatoes and an onion from our CSA basket. Even the olive oil I used is from a local source.
  • 15-20 small new potatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • a few tablespoons of olive oil
  • ketchup (optional)
Slice the potatoes to the desired thickness. The important thing is that they are all about the same size so that they cook evenly. Place some oil in a heated pan, coat the bottom, add the potatoes and cover. Depending on the size of the potatoes, they will need about 20-25 minutes to cook. While the potatoes are cooking, slice the onion. Add them in the last last 5-10 minutes of the cooking time.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

too hot

This past weekend, it was too hot to move. When the weatherman starts talking about "triple digits," I usually want to do nothing but sit on the kitchen floor, not far from the refrigerator. This is mostly because I won't have to move more than a few feet for food (mainly popsicles), but also because it's the coolest surface in the house. The pool is another option, but that involves sunscreen, and of course, the blazing sun. This iced tea is good inside or out, but is most refreshing on the days it's too hot to do much in the kitchen besides sit on the floor.
Blackbery Iced Tea

  • 3-4 tea bags (I used black, earl gray)
  • 6-8 cups water (depending how strong you like your tea)
  • 16 ounces fresh or frozen blackberries
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup sugar
To make the tea: brew the tea bags in 6-8 cups of boiling water. Let cool and then refrigerate.
To make the blackberry syrup: place the blackberries in a saucepan, and add the sugar and 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to medium immediately. Cook for a minute, and then reduce the mixture to low until it is close to liquified. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain the blackberries with mesh or a food mill to eliminate the seeds. Pour a few tablespoons of the syrup into each glass of iced tea.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


My father's mother did not cook. Well, she didn't cook much by the time she had grandchildren. I remember visiting her during the summer, watching as she smoked a cigarette by the sink, her hair bound tightly in pink curlers. Besides that, there weren't many other great occurrences in her kitchen that I observed. I opened the oven once to find it being used solely as a storage area for unwanted pans and cookie sheets. I did love the thick slices of salami and cheese she served with plenty of spicy mustard. At the holiday season, she baked plates of cookies for our annual exchange. And then there was her potato salad. I don't create too many dishes with creamy sauces or dressings, but I'm tied to this one. This recipe is a rendition of hers; the important thing is to use creamy dressing, and to let it sit for a few hours before serving.
  • 6 medium potatoes, peeled (use more if you cook with new potatoes)
  • 1 and a half cups mayonnaise (use less or more according to your taste)
  • 1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
Boil the potatoes and cook until they are tender. Drain and let them cool. Cut the potatoes into cubes. Mix the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the potatoes, celery and onion. Add the eggs last, and then chill for several hours before serving.