Saturday, April 17, 2010

I blame my mother-in-law . . .

It's all Lillian's fault. Actually, it was Mrs. C. That's what I always called her. She's been gone for many years now, and we miss her, especially her cooking. That woman could cook. She was born in the U.S., but her parents came from Italy; passed through Ellis Island, as a matter of fact. Anyway, she introduced me to Roman Potatoes, which she also called Rosemary Potatoes.

Last night, I tossed and turned, and woke up several times, and each time, I would think of her potatoes. I wonder what a dream analyst would have to say about that. Naturally, I had to make them today. My husband reacted in that cool way that people do when they really want something but are afraid to make too big a deal, just in case it doesn't come true . . .

So I started with a 5-lb. bag of red potatoes. If you are going to make these, you may as well commit - there's no point in making less than 5 lbs. When she made these, Mrs. C would start peeling potatoes first thing in the morning. To feed her large family, she would sometimes make 15 lbs.!

The recipe is quite simple, really. You peel and cut the potatoes, add rosemary leaves, fresh if you can get them, olive oil, salt and pepper . . .

And . . . oh, yes, one last ingredient: Garlic. Um . . . I'm afraid this is the one change I've made to her recipe. Mrs. C's idea of adding garlic was to take one single clove, rub it on the bottom of the pan, and then discard the clove.
My idea of garlic is . . . Well, let me give you a visual . . . Imagine me as Dirty Harry, only shorter and rounder, Dirty Harriet, if you will . . . She is standing in front of the stove, facing down a vampire . . . Then, Dirty Harriet, curling her lip, says to the vampire: "I know what you are thinking. 'Did she add six cloves or only five?' Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a powerful weapon, an herbal wonder drug, and delicious to boot, you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?" That vampire doesn't stand a chance.

You put them in the oven at 350º for an hour and a half until they are tender and brown and a bit crispy. I made a pot roast to go with these beauties, but it was totally irrelevant. However, the bottle of Chianti we opened up to go with dinner was a nice touch.

And then we could raise our glasses: Here's to you Mrs. C. Thank you for the memory . . . and your wonderful recipe!

5 comments:

Amy said...

I love the story with your potatoes! They look DELICIOUS and garlic, it's no match for me. my dad's spaghetti would walk itself to the table it was so strong. Thank you for sharing :-)

Samantha said...

What a fantastic story, and what a delicious looking recipe! I'm sitting here drinking my morning coffee and enjoying a banana. Food like your potatoes should be the furthest thing from my mind right now. But my mouth's watering from the pictures and description! Dirty Harriet, I'm with you... the more garlic, the better!

annabelle g said...

yummmmmmmy :)

Barb said...

I really miss Mrs. C also. Bob will ask for rosemary potatoes every once in a while and I make them. I didn't realize that he grew up eating them.

Angela2932 said...

OK, now I'm sitting here at work blubbering away! God, how I miss her, and I love those potatoes! My only concession is that now I slice them thin, and I reduce the garlic. And! In the summer, we grow rosemary in the yard for this, the more the merrier, because even dried from our yard is better than that nasty grocery store stuff. We just rinse the rosemary stalks, let them dry, and fill up paper garbage bags with them, and let them sit in the garage till we need them. Great visuals for this. . . but now I'm also salivating too! Doug refers to them as "Can we have Those Potatoes tonight?"