January 11 – January 17, 2021
Note: I cannot insert pictures into the blog this week – the app I’m using has changed the rules, oblivious to what this means to anyone who is not an internet nerd. I’ll ask Andrew to help me get back on track next week.
Monday: Potato Soup with Pita Croutons
Tuesday: Turmeric Pasta
Wednesday: Pizza from Brick and Barrel
Thursday: Crispy Chicken with Lemon Orzo
Friday: Kale and Artichoke Stuffed Shells
Saturday: Hilda, Tim, Julie: Crostini with Figs and Brie, Sautéed Kielbasa with Mustard and Horseradish, Rigatoni with Lamb Ragû, Salad, Sticky Chocolate Cake with Ice Cream
Sunday: Leftover Ragû with Salad
First a note about our Covid-guideline busting dinner last weekend with Julie, Hilda and Tim. We are going stir-crazy – well, actually, we are going crazy in many different ways, but the pandemic guidelines have driven us higher up the walls than ever before. I found myself on top of the breakfront in the living room just the other day and Beez had to call the Fire Department to help me down.
So, last Saturday we dined with friends at our house. The thing about dining with friends is that you can be yourself, tell stupid jokes, ask impertinent questions and recount stories that all of you have heard dozens of times. And that’s how it was with Julie, Hilda and Tim last Saturday. The evening, in addition to dinner, was an unending conversation from the moment we started, though in terms of sheer volume, Julie, Hilda and Beez outpaced Tim and me by several hundred pages. Tim and I were content to watch football and have our own conversation on the side, checking in from time to time to see where those three were in the course of their far-reaching discussions and reminiscences. We generally checked out on the subject of clothing and hair styles, focused in on news about children and grandchildren and marveled at how those three delinquents from Our Lady of Mercy Academy had not done serious jail time for the various infractions of their youth.
And now a word about the humble badada: Well, first a word about the word, ‘badada’: Years ago, Billy and I were having dinner somewhere in North Philadelphia during a weekend soccer tournament. Our waiter, after Billy had ordered chicken and a salad, said to him, “and a badada – you gotta have a badada.” The waiter was Irish, of course, an escapee from the Old Sod where a potato, excuse me, badada blight in the 19th century led to the starvation deaths of more than 1 million people. Billy enjoyed his badada and, generally, the Stewarts and Duffys are big on the tuber whose blight caused so much suffering among our ancestors.
We’re in love with sweet potatoes, baked or cubed and roasted, but, above all, we crave potatoes cut into pieces and roasted in the oven until golden brown and crispy on the outside and soft and melting within. For very little money (Barbara keeps reminding me that we’re on a fixed income now), you can supplement any protein with potatoes that will steal the show from an indifferently cooked chop or chicken breast.
We’ve given you recipes for our oven-roasted potatoes in previous postings, however, so this week we’re going to share a recipe for a rustic potato soup that will warm your heart any day of the week. Add some of our toasted pita parmesan or some garlic bread and you’ll have a meal that, if you charged someone $10.00 for, would net you about $8.65 profit.
But even if money is no object, you’ll want to cook this soup. It’s nutritious and packs a surprising whop of flavor for what is, basically, a boil of potatoes and water.
Basic Potato Soup
(adapted* from Deborah Madison, Vegetable Literacy)
*On beyond adapted, since I never turned the page to the direction to purée the soup.
Hence, this rustic, absolutely delicious rendition where you know you’re eat a badada
Note: You can use cream, add bacon, various herbs, etc. – i.e., you can modify this basic recipe to make it fancy or more complex. We like it this way – but be our guest
Timing: 40 minutes or so, mostly untended
Ingredients: Serves 4 as main dish
1 ½ pounds russet potatoes, scrubbed (you can peel them, if you prefer)
5 cups water or chicken stock
1 cup half-and-half (note: you can forego the half-and-half and add another cup of water or stock, but you’ll miss the richness of this dish)
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter or a mixture of the two
Ground Black Pepper
Chop the onion
Quarter and thinly slice the potatoes
Measure out the liquid ingredients
Heat the oil/butter in a wide pot over medium-high or a little lower.
Add the onion and stir to coat, then cook, stirring occasionally for about 4 minutes. (Keep an eye on the onions, you don’t want them to burn)
Add the potatoes and 1 ½ teaspoons of salt and continue cooking, turning the potatoes frequently, until both the onions and potatoes begin to color – about 5 minutes.
(The pan will develop a glaze – that’s a good thing.)
And 1 cup of the liquid and deglaze (scrape the glaze and any crusty bits off the bottom with a wooden spoon).
Now add the rest of the liquid.
Bring to a boil and lower the heat to simmer.
Cover partially and cook until the potatoes are tender – 15 minutes or longer.
You can serve at this point, or, if you want to get fancy, puree in a blender reheat and re-season.
This soup with a little crusty bread or a salad is a quick, filling weeknight meal.