Last night was the ultimate test. I was tempted to drop by the grocery store on my lunch break and pick up a few things for dinner. Luckily, I got busy at work and did not have a chance to go. If you have been reading my blog then you’ll know that I am trying to cook more, and use the foods I already have stocked in my fridge and pantry. I have developed a habit of going to the grocery store and not using the foods I buy. I attribute this horrible habit to my indecisive nature. I can say I want spaghetti for dinner, but end up making meatloaf. Seriously, it’s ridiculous, and I’ve wasted way too much money and food because of it.
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.
I love having lunch dates, in fact I had one earlier this week with one of my best friends. The restaurants and “quick bite” deli’s in the neighborhood where I work are okay to splurge on occasionally, but spending $10 on a half sandwich and bag of chips just doesn’t sit right with me. I guess my friend felt the same way because we both brought bag lunches. Before I could even ask her what she brought, she blurted, “Yes, I did bring all of the ingredients for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I didn’t have time to assemble it this morning, don’t judge me.” Of course I wasn’t judging her, but I knew what she would ask next, and I didn’t want to seem like an arse, yes I really say arse, when it was my turn to share what I had brought for lunch.
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.