POTATO POTATO POTATO
It was a Wednesday night in early October but the temperature had dropped so suddenly that evening that by the time the three of us came home we were all looking for something hot to eat. Soup? Stew? Chili? Maybe a nice hot baked potato with a couple of steaks? But then I remembered one of us had a food issue. For some reason, Lynn isn’t particularly fond of baked potatoes (this from a guy whose father was born and raised in the state of spuds — Idaho). He can eat a roasted potato, french fries, potato gratin or even mashed but a baked potato even with butter and an extra dollop of sour cream just doesn’t do it for him.
While I had lots of potatoes in the fridge, they weren’t exactly worthy of being baked anyway (they were really small) but I had lots of vegetables. Even though Rachel’s brother tries to be a devout vegetarian, she’s not as religious about eating her veggies. In fact, more often than not she’ll bypass many of the salad and veggie side dishes I put on the table at night sticking to meat or fish and a potato or pasta accompaniment. That’s when I decided to cheat a little.
Digging around in the fridge I found some white carrots I had picked up at the farmer’s market, the aforementioned potatoes, some fennel and a red onion. Except for the ting of purple around the onion, when everything was sliced or quartered, well, they all kind of looked the same. When Rachel came in the kitchen to check out the meal for the evening, she looked at the root vegetables and thought they were all potatoes.
“Yummy, potatoes,” she said.
I couldn’t lie.
“Well, not exactly,” I offered.
“What then?” she wondered.
I pointed out the white carrots, the potatoes, the fennel and the red onion. She watched as I then coated the veggies with a half basil/ half parsley pesto after running out to the garden to pick the basil.
“Oh, why didn’t you make stuffed potatoes with bacon and cheese?” she asked
“What?” I said, looking at her.
Besides being able to consume large bowls of mashed potatoes by herself, her two other favorite foods were bacon and cheese.
“You never make those anymore,” she started to whine.
“The potatoes I have are too small,” I said and looked at the clock on the stove. It was already 6:52 p.m.
“Besides, even if I had decent-sized potatoes, baking them, mashing them, then stuffing them would take nearly an hour.”
I reminded her (as I do her father) if there was anything in particular they wanted to eat at night they needed to tell me in advance. Hence the conversation every morning as they are having breakfast.
“Who wants what for dinner?”
More silence. It’s not like I don’t give them options.
So, after putting the root vegetables in the oven I thought why not do a whole potato-themed evening with (sigh) some chicken thighs?
That night first course up was a hot potato leek soup with chives from the garden. Second course (albeit a second true appetizer but in our house, we love appetizers more than entrees so that’s an easy one) an omelette filled with some of the potatoes that had been roasted with the pesto then sliced into strips and topped with some fresh grape tomatoes and slivers of red onion. Third course: the aforemention roasted veggies with a platter of roasted chicken thighs with a Greek yogurt and dill dipping sauce.
The food was hot and the potato-heavy menu items filling. Rachel even acknowledged that the roasted white carrots were tasty. But the best part about the meal? Everyone was too full to wonder if there was dessert. (There wasn’t.) It made me wonder, could I have concocted a potato-based dessert?