Turmeric and Cumin Crispy Smashed Potatoes

I do enjoy serving a meal of homegrown and freshly harvested food. I swell with pride as I lay a platter down proclaiming all prepared from our garden harvest. ‘So simple and easy’ knowing full well that the ease I feel is from years of; curiously
observing generations of the amazing cooks in my family, of boldly wandering into restaurant kitchens simply asking to see a technique, of sitting with locals at a farm table in the hills of Italy, on the banks of a river in Costa Rica, or roadside in India. I listen of trial and error and of trial and success. I learned of turmeric potatoes in India, brightly colored and deeply spiced. They are a perfect accompaniment to richly stewed meats. The version I present here is a bit more tame; still brightly colored and assertively spiced, but more suited to roasted meats or a vegetarian meal.

Sadly, my potato harvest was a bit of a bust this year…but in a brush of serendipity, I was sent a few pounds of potatoes from Friedas asking if i would like to give them a try. I like the piccolo potatoes for this recipe. Once cooked they have crispy crust, with creamy interior

Turmeric & Cumin Crispy Smashed Potatoes
1 1/2 lbs small potatoes
(i used piccolo from the little potato company, this will work with new, fingerling or any other small potato)
1 Tbs turmeric powder
1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
3 Tbs olive oil
1 generous teaspoon whole cumin seed
1/2 generous teaspoon whole mustard seed

Place whole potatoes in a pot of cool water to cover. Add turmeric and 1 tsp salt and stir. Bring to a boil and simmer for approximately 15-20 minutes (until the potatoes are cooked through). Drain and place in a roasting dish in a single layer. Using the back of a fork, press each potato until it is a bit broken and smashed, but not completely flattened. In a skillet, place the olive oil, cumin and mustard seed. Heat on medium until the seeds begin to jump and pop. Immediately pour the hot oil and spices evenly over the smashed potatoes. Place immediately into to 375 degree oven for about 30-45 minutes. Check periodically and stir if needed for even roasting. Remove from oven and taste for salt. Pair with roasted chicken or minted lamb or simply dab a bit of plain greek yogurt mixed with a bit of lemon juice over the top for a warm salad.

Game Hens with Patatas Bravas

Yesterday I was editing my photos from our trip to Spain and I came across this photo of patatas bravas; which we enjoyed surrounded by the bustle of La Rambla and a darling waiter whom was leaving fake euros under chair legs as a tease. He was getting much more joy from the fake-out than the actual and generous, I might add gratuity we left.

patatas bravas-barcelona

I immediately had a craving. Hubster is a meat and potato kind of guy and I  am a potato and potato kind of girl. If I were making this just for me I would round this off with a glass of red wine and a good read, but such is not the case. I am accompanying them with cornish hen stuffed with creamy and herbed cheese. If you can’t find game hens, or you don’t like them, you can easily stuff a chicken breast or thigh with the cheese mixture.

cornish hen

2 cornish game hens–cleaned and dried
1/4 cup chevre–room temp
1/2 cup cream cheese–room temp
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 cloves garlic-pulverized to paste
1 Tbs chopped fresh chive
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
Mix together the chevre, cream cheese, pepper, garlic, chive, and parsley.  Split into two portions and stuff into the cavity of each hen; truss it up.   Place in a roasting dish and squeeze lemon juice over the hens, then toss the lemon into the roasting pan. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the hens, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast in 400F oven for about 30-40 minutes (depending on size).

Patatas Bravas

2 russet potatoes–peeled and cut into chunks
olive oil
1  large egg yolk
3 cloves garlic–finely chopped
2 tsp lemon
1/4 tsp salt
pinch sugar or drizzle of honey
1/4 tsp paprika (smoked or sweet)
1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
1/2 cup olive oil
Place potatoes in a pot of cold, salted water.  Boil until you can easily pierce– do not overcook.  Drain and let cool. Make sure they are dry.  Heat oil in a heavy pot and fry potatoes in oil until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper and serve with aioli.
FOR AIOLI–place egg yolk, garlic, lemon juice, salt, sugar or honey, paprika, and cayenne (if using) in a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Slowly drizzle the olive oil until it comes together like a thin mayonnaise.  Taste for spice.

NOTE:  If there is NO WAY you are going to make aioli or don’t want to use raw eggs…then do this: put 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 large garlic clove–crushed to a paste), 1 tsp lemon juice, pinch sugar, 1/2 tsp paprika, and as much cayenne as you like in a blender and whirl it until everything is really smooth.  This will taste delicious!