July 21, 2010

Simple Things

Carrots. I don't know how -- but they manage to make it in our grocery cart every week. Without fail. I don't love them or hate them - they're just always there. (Like the all-too-familiar characters on my bus.) Carrots are pennies, they give you an excuse to eat orange food that's not processed, and they're good for your eyes. (Or is it nails? Can't keep it straight.) If I don't find a way to cook with them, they get chomped while checking email, reading a magazine, or tossed in a salad. They're not fussy, and I like that. I'm not too fussy either -- so we make a good match that way.

Potatoes and I, on the other hand, have a much different relationship. A few of you may recall a potato thrashing I had a few months back. Well, dear friends, I've come around. Potatoes, the humble tubers that they are, have surprised me as of late -- crusted with paprika at Portage Bay Cafe, wedged and roasted, or smashed with buttermilk in Zuni Cafe fashion. These things are stunners. The potatoes are what I really wanted to talk about.

These lowly vegetables have done more than give me physical sustenance. These things keep me grounded. Their simplicity remind me of the "less is more" mantra that older sisters tell you about makeup and mothers tell you about life. Nothing gives my mind a break better than slicing carrots or scrubbing potatoes. Call me crazy, but these simple things are what I consider real riches.

Classic Roasted Potatoes
(this isn't so much a recipe as it is a method)

Potatoes (I prefer baby reds or fingerlings)
olive oil
sea salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Clean the potatoes (peel if you like) and cut them into the shape you prefer. I like to wedge mine. In the pan you'll be roasting the potatoes, toss them with enough olive oil to lightly coat and add salt/pepper to your liking. Roast in oven until your preferred doneness is reached. (To move this process along more quickly, I sometimes boil the potatoes for 5-10 minutes before wedging and roasting.) Regarding 'doneness' - the picture above is what I consider the 'bruised and blistered doneness' -- you may not want to take them that far.

1 comment:

Maddie said...

I really like what you're saying here. I just had a weekend at home where all my big plans were dashed by an epic airline snafu. In the face of all that, I can't tell you how much I enjoyed the simple acts of taking bubble baths and eating grilled chicken on the porch.

So you enjoy losing yourself in your potato-scrubbing! I endorse it wholeheartedly.