Hi! Another week has passed in our different world and it sure was wonderful to enjoy the warm weather and sunshine. Being able to get outdoors sure makes me a happier person, I highly recommend it.
Things that made me smile and brought me joy lately:
• I hugged my grandchildren.
• I made an appointment for a haircut.
• No more worries about paper products, as I see the stores have plenty.
• I bought my daughter-in-law’s favorite sanitizer/disinfectant she can’t get in Anchorage here in Homer and sent it to her. She said she’ll love me forever.
• There are little green tomatoes on the tumbler plant my friend gave me.
• I got another Homer Bookstore treasure: a book on botanical drawing, and bought watercolor pencils and paper from the Homer Art Shop.
• My niece in South Carolina sent me a surprise package of spices.
• The Other Fisherman is done working on the new-to-us boat and it’s almost ready to launch.
• I ordered a pair of purple tennis shoes.
I do a lot of reading about cooking and things relating to food. Chile oil is hot right now. As chefs create their own versions of the condiment, chile oil has reached cult status in the Lower 48 — Ccili crisp sauce specifically. I am a bit wary of anything hot and spicy, but have a curiosity to try new things. Lao Man Ga is the chile crisp sauce that is easily found in the states. As I’ve come to find out, besides being hot and spicy, there is an amazing depth of flavor in the condiments I’ve tried.
When green jalapeno Tabasco came out, I remember shaking it on tortilla chips and eating them thinking how hot tasting but good it was. Recall when you tried sriracha for the first time? My son put it on everything. Now a bottle of it lives in our fridge, and Sambal oelek is another chile and garlic condiment I keep on hand. Gochujang is the newest favorite of mine with a sweeter flavor.
I went crazy when a new full bottle of Frank’s fell out of the fridge and hit the floor breaking into a glass shard studded red puddle at the start of quarantine. At the time I was under the impression I couldn’t go to the store for months and didn’t want to imagine life without it. What one hot sauce condiment would you take with you if you could only bring one?
There is just something about spicy hot flavors that no matter how many beads of sweat form on your brow, you just gotta have more. Those of you who like spicy hot know what I mean. I’m not that crazy for lots of heat, but a little is nice.
Years ago, when I visited Spain, I had enjoyed eating all the little different and delicious dishes at the tapas and pintxo bars. Once back home, I wanted to replicate some of the dishes I tasted over there. Patatas bravas is a fried potato in spicy tomato sauce dish that got my attention, as our Alaska potatoes are so good and I could envision elevating it to new heights. I read and tried every patatas recipe I could find in the Spanish cookbooks in my collection and on-line, but just never quite came upon the “nailed it” version. Spain is proud of their peppers; they grow fabulous peppers and make the best paprika. I’ve concluded I will never duplicate the taste, as I was in Spain and that had everything to do with it.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 ¼ lbs. potatoes, cut into ¾ inch cubes
1 small onion, grated
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons Fino sherry
4 oz. canned chopped tomatoes
½ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, crushed
½ teaspoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
1 fresh bay leaf
Salt to taste
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet, add the potatoes and mix well. Cook for 15 minutes or until golden brown, turning occasionally and carefully.
Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in another skillet, add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sherry, then simmer one minute to burn off the alcohol. Reduce the heat and add the tomatoes, red pepper flakes, orange zest, sugar, parsley and bay leaf. Cook for 10 minutes, adding a little water to avoid the mixture getting too thick.
Transfer the cooked potatoes to a serving bowl, sprinkle in a little salt, and pour in the tomato sauce and mix well. Garnish with parsley and serve.
I am always on the lookout for potato recipes that are out of the ordinary.
This recipe is just fabulous and dinner party worthy. I made these with our red chieftain potatoes and I hit it out of the ball park when I served them to our dinner guests. So much flavor and so good to eat.
Spicy roasted potatoes with Dijon mustard, rosemary and smoked paprika
• ⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoons vodka
• 1 tablespoon dry vermouth or dry white wine
• 1 tablespoon bottled horseradish
• 2 cloves garlic, pressed
• 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• Pepper to taste
• 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
• ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 2 pounds red-skinned and Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 3/4- to 1-inch chunks
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, olive oil, vodka, vermouth, horseradish, garlic, paprika, rosemary, salt, pepper, caraway seeds, cayenne and pepper flakes. Add the potatoes, and toss with your hands to coat. Dump the potatoes onto the prepared baking sheet, and spread them out in a single layer. Roast, tossing with a spatula a few times, until the potatoes are crusty on the outside and tender throughout, about 50 to 55 minutes.