Pretty Good Potatoes

You know: po-ta-toes? Grind ’em, mash ’em, put ’em in a stew? Well, I roasted ’em. I’ve had some red potatoes lying around the house that I thought I would slice up and bake with onions and butter like I’m sure we’ve all had, but a quick search online to get cooking times brought me to a recipe that contains no onions at all. (I’m not sure why it appeared so close to the top of the page in the search.) It’s on a website called “Cooking for Engineers,” which I haven’t fully perused, but intend to. All the pictures on this page crack me up. I thought the instructions were mostly clear, but it’s nice to have a visual of what it looks like exactly to put a baking dish into an oven.

Break! Filly was crying upstairs suddenly so I had to go check. It’s pitch black in her room and I find her by sonar and braille; she’s sitting up in bed against the wall, utterly despondent. I find her light-up seahorse toy just to get my bearings, and as soon as that thing turns on she flings herself onto her pillow and is asleep immediately. I turn her nightlight back on and leave. So she wakes up when a light goes out and she falls asleep when the light goes on. Just what kind of child is this?

Garlic Roasted Potatoes by Michael Chu

These were some darn good potatoes! Because I’m not an engineer, I guess, I missed that they had two bouts of 15 minutes, so I totally mistimed the pork chops (which were succulent and delicious, thanks to the seasoning that I bought them with and lessons hard learned about cooking times and my oven). The chops were juicy, but cold. Too bad. I pretty much followed the potato recipe exactly, although I didn’t weigh out how many potatoes I used and I threw in some fingerling potatoes that were sitting on the counter in a bag. There were too many in the pan I had to make a single layer, which may be why I didn’t get the promised crispiness on the outside. I didn’t mind at all.

I wish I’d used more herbs, but I didn’t have anything fresh and because there were a million things happening in my kitchen at once (including this), so I failed to add anything but salt and pepper before covering it and baking it. I sprinkled some rosemary on top after I removed the foil, but it didn’t really get absorbed into the dish. When I served it, the rosemary pieces just fell off. No biggie. I also wasn’t as careful as Michael Chu about cutting my wedges into identically shaped pieces. Like I said, I’m not an engineer. I know why you are supposed to do that with some foods, but I figured I could get away with it on a starch and I did. Perhaps I shouldn’t admit that. I don’t want my IP to be blocked from that site. I didn’t line or spray the pan or anything, and although a couple pieces of potato stuck to the pan and didn’t flip over nicely, it was an easy pan to clean. There was plenty of olive oil. I added way more garlic than recommended. It was worth it.

What I didn’t notice before I started baking–which is frankly inexcusable because I found that recipe hours before dinnertime and had it open in a tab all day–was all the comments. The comments are pretty amazing, and I really would like to meet the guy that makes this with goose fat instead of olive oil. I’m sure that enhances the flavor. We did get the benefit of the pork juices flowing around the plate onto the potato chunks, so that was a plus, but it wasn’t goose fat or lard. Many of the comments went well beyond enhancing this recipe to the point of adding entire birds or new recipes altogether. They are probably delicious recipes to try. What I might do next time I make this is toss freshly grated Parmesan cheese with the garlic.

I failed to provide a beautiful and interesting salad. The frozen green beans added color to the plate, but nothing special to the palate. I just wasn’t thinking green yesterday at the grocery store. I was gabbing with my brother and thinking about the chili I am serving tomorrow night. I was trying to shop for that one-alarm vegetarian chili by memory, and I think I mostly got everything, but it took up all my RAM and I let tonight’s dinner drop in priority. I also only got partway through balancing my checkbook, and think that if I don’t stay up tonight to do it I’ll forget tomorrow, too. Gah.

Dessert was shamefully easy. I had store-bought chocolate chip cookies but made with mini M&Ms and served them as ice cream sandwiches with either Dulce de Leche or Moose Tracks. It hit the spot. I’ve decided that the chocolate to candy ratio is ideal in the mini M&Ms, and the colors brighten any dish.

Michael Chu also has a recipe for buttercream frosting that looks amazing, but because it requires a thermometer and a stand mixer, and I can already forecast me running out of time tomorrow if I have to pick up the ground floors and dust, too, I think I am going to skip it. So far, the recipe on the back of the powdered sugar box works fine for me. I’m making cupcakes. I’m sort of stoked, because I’ve finally figured out how to use those foil Reynold’s Baking Cups that have given me so much trouble in the past. (You don’t need cupcake tins; keep the wax paper in the foil and just line them up on a baking sheet.) I have pink and red sprinkles, and some candy heart toppings, and a touch of red frosting spray paint. I think they’ll come out pretty cute. I can’t do elegant or neat, but I can do cute–especially when I have accessories. I know this for sure now because my Robot Cake from last August has made a list!

20 Awesome Robot Cakes

Even if my cake is one of the fails (and I don’t think it is), I’m jazzed just to be a part of the show. I too love and fear our future robotic overlords. I guess I better figure out who Dalek is before they take over. I don’t want to look bad in front of the new boss.

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  • Conner  On February 13, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    You make a mean robo-cake. Yours was definitely one of the awesome ones and not a fail. Those last two however… :-)

  • Karen  On February 13, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    The last two? Really? Flat Wall-E, yes. But I think the little vertical cake right above it trumps that doughnut thing. Husband, however, thought like you do. Perhaps it’s a the round head and the big eyes that make me think of a kitten. A light blue kitten with a crab paw problem.

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