My Mother was an amazing cook. She loved trying new recipes, and tasting new dishes. Especially the Salvadorean cuisines my Father’s family cooked for her. However, there was one food that she loved, but could never quite master. That dish is what I affectionately call her elusive tortilla. She was always on the hunt, trying to figure out how to make these little “flatbreads”. She bought presses, asked coworkers, badgered random people on the street, can you say embarrassing for me and my sister, but ultimately she never learned how to make tortillas. So, I figured, I would pick up where she left off, besides going up to random people on the street, I also wanted to learn how to make these treats.
With Valentine’s Day only a week away, I thought I’d give some advice on how to get your significant other to pop the question, propose, or my personal favorite, thanks to Beyonce, put a ring on it. I’ve been giving it a lot of thought lately because of a couple I met at my company’s holiday party this past December. As Mr. Donut and I were getting to know Jim and Debi, they asked us how long we had been dating? I dread this question because once we tell people how long we’ve been together, it is immediately followed by why haven’t you guys gotten married yet? Don’t you want to get married? What’s the hold up? What people don’t realize is when you’ve been with someone since you were a teenager, eight years really isn’t a long time. Regardless, I hate to lie, so I told them the truth, eight years. To that we got the expected confused head tilt to the side, and then, “You’re not married yet?” To that we responded with our usual statement of, no not yet, it will probably happen one day, just not right now.
This is probably one of my favorite sides to make because it combines some of my favorite vegetables. About two years ago, I found this great recipe for a potato and sweet potato gratin and thought it would be perfect for a potluck I was invited to. Logistically, it turned out to be a nightmare. First, potatoes turn a grayish-brown color (become oxidized) if they are not cooked right away (within 15-30 minutes) after being peeled. Also, if you don’t cut the potatoes thinly then they will take forever to cook. The gratin came out okay, but I’m a bit impatient and I knew I had to do something to cut down on the cooking time. I came up with this recipe by accident because I ran out of potatoes, and just used what I had stocked in the fridge. Did I mention it cooks in about 30-45 minutes? That’s right, this dish is table ready in less than an hour. Not too bad when you’re talking about a potato gratin.
I have to admit for many years I was intimidated to make my Mom’s famous macaroni and cheese. She made it so well, I didn’t want to mess it up. Besides, grating tons of cheese by hand, and cooking pounds of elbow macaroni seemed so tedious. In my house, her dish has become a Thanksgiving staple, and is usually the first to go at all of our family events. Yes, it is that good. Finally, when it was my turn to learn how to make my Mom’s legendary mac and cheese, I knew it would be a battle grating all of those special cheeses, and trying to combine all of the ingredients that made it so tasty. I remember she started listing all of the ingredients and in two seconds, she was done. Wait, that’s it?!? You mean you don’t add eggs, or flour? You only use cheddar cheese? I thought there was a lot more involved. She laughed and said, “Gotcha!”