“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
--- Douglas Adams

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

My Friend's Potatoes

There are plenty of foods I don't like. (I'm looking at you, Dolmas) That said, I'm pretty adventurous when it comes to eating and will try most anything. I may not like what I'm tasting, but I'm willing to give new things a try. There's a lot of food out there. I'll never get to taste all, so when something new is offered, I'm usually game. I'm a big fan of trying foreign candy and cookies. Today I tried a Matcha Kit Kat from Japan. It was yucky, but I tried it, without hesitation. Now I know that I'm not fond of Matcha Kit Kat and I will politely pass next time it comes around. Another time I tried wasabi Kit Kat. It was foul as well, but still, I tried it.
There was a time, however when my eating habits took a rather snooty turn and I would only eat homemade, nothing from a mix or a box, nothing unnatural, nothing conventional, only organic, and I would try to convince everyone to eat like me, but I admit, in a kind of condescending way. That got old.
Looking back, I could tell my family had it "up to here" with my pinkies-out self. I liken my behavior to how people who follow Paleo, Keto or GFV diets, or Atheists and Cross-fit enthusiasts who always work their eating habits, beliefs and physical activities into every single conversation, even before asked, usually within the first 5 minutes. (I admit, I could count myself among these folks in days past. For that, I apologize.)
Once I was able recognize the eye-rolling I was receiving, and once my pocketbook started taking a hit, I relaxed my pinky and started eating and grocery shopping like a normal person.  I still love my fancy food made with expensive ingredients, but I've mellowed out a bit. Don't get me wrong, I'll eat a brick of fancy pate with overpriced crackers and tiny pickles any day of the week, but I have come to enjoy and appreciate food for what it is, nutrition for my body, enjoyment for my palate and most importantly, the opportunity to sit with a group of people and share a meal with them. I've expanded my palate too, and much to my happiness and betterment. While I draw the line at hot pockets, I make cake from a box, use frozen fruit, serve my kids pop-tarts, buy Costco catering platters, use pasta sauce from a jar and serve it with frozen ravioli and let my kids eat Maruchan Instant Lunch and chicken nuggets. Sometimes I even go to Walgreens to buy a 4 pack of Sutter Home Cab. Needless to say, my eating habits and my view of food has evolved into something everyone can enjoy not hearing about.

That said, I tried something new on Christmas and it was so delicious, I had to make it at home. Captain Awesome and I joined a few friends at another friend's house to celebrate and share a meal. While we all contributed to the delicious menu (brussels sprouts, fancy cheese, sparkling wine, etc.), there was one clear star of the show -- The Potatoes.

They were super simple, really. Red potatoes chopped up into 2-bite pieces, tossed with olive oil and a packet of Instant Ranch Powder, thrown in the oven until someone says "I think I smell something" or "Weren't we making potatoes?" Take them out of the oven and set on the stove to cool.
Serve and enjoy.

I thought the potatoes were so yummy I bought the ingredients to make it this week. I chopped up my potatoes into bite sized pieces, tossed with some Instant Ranch Powder and olive oil. I realized my ratio of Instant Ranch and Olive Oil Slurry to bite-sized potato pieces seemed to be on the overly-seasoned side, so I quartered some mushrooms and tossed them in. Once the slurry to vegetable ratio looked good to me, I threw them on a cookie sheet and in the oven at 400F and let them roast for an hour, taking a moment about 1/2 way through to give them a good turn.

I served it with some tomato soup (my kids LOVE tomato soup, and if I make it from scratch, I can ensure it has lots of veggies in it, because I can't get them to eat veggies save for salad most of the time, so I serve it a few times a week). I also made some really yummy chicken legs, marinated in a slurry (sure, let's keep using that word) of olive oil, garlic, tomato paste, oregano, cumin, lime juice, and threw them in the oven for about 30 minutes.

Oh my gosh, they were so good.

But wait, there's more.

The next day I had about a serving of potatoes left over. I took that, plus the meat from the leftover chicken legs and tossed in a pan until it was all hot and yummy, then fried an egg to put on top, and let the yolk get all oozy over the potatoes. So super yummy.

A quick search of "ranch dressing potatoes" comes up with a whole host of Ranch dressing themed recipes. In my 19 second search for the perfect recipe, I found this one. You should try it.

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