Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pure de Papa Con Calabasa al Horno (Potato Winter Squash Mash)

This is my grandmother's version of mash potatoes in my home we simply call it "Pure de Papa" which means mash potatoes because this is the dish we are thinking of when we hear mash potatoes, it is not like the typical American mash potatoes. It is a very rich potato mash, that has good amounts of rich sweet unsalted butter, egg yolks, garlic, and parsley, baked in a dish to brown and dusted with paprika. It is given a beautiful light yellowish color with the yolks, butter, and a little bit of kabocha squash is added (a type of orange yellowish colored squash) if one does not have the squash my grandmother would sometimes substitute sweet potato for it.
-8 medium or small russet potatoes
-1/2 small kabocha squash (Japanese Squash that is green on the outside orange/ yellowish inside)
-5 tablespoons unsalted sweet butter (I got a good organic one from Trader Joe's)
-1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley very finely minced
-4 egg yolks
-3-4 cloves of garlic mashed to a paste (mortar and pestle or garlic press)
-1 teaspoon paprika more or less for dusting
-salt to taste

(1)Cur Kombucha squash in half, peel, and scoop out seeds and pulp. Get potatoes, wash and peel away all the sides leaving a top skin and bottom skin (this is so it doesn't absorb so much water when steaming my grandma likes the potatoes starchy and rich not watered down)

(2)Add about water along with potatoes and squash enough water to cover about 1/3 of potato, like 1 inch enough to steam, cover bring to a boil and simmer on medium low until potatoes and squash is cooked, squash will cook faster so you may want to check and remove squash to set aside until potatoes are cooked.
(3)Peel potatoes while hot, add squash, garlic, egg yolks, butter, and parsley and salt and mash to a smooth consistency. Now grease a baking dish with extra butter pour in the mashed starchy potato/ squash mash and bake in oven between 375 or 400 degrees enough to brown the top a bit/ make it a little golden. About 30 minutes, this is also to cook the yolks.
(4)Remove from oven and dust with sweet paprika.

My grandmother cut's it like if it was cake, into thick square slices everytime she serves it, enjoy while warm/ hot because it will turn more starchy and firm as it sits but it's still really good the next day I LOVE IT! Sometimes my grandmother will use the orange variety of sweet potatoes to make this when we have no squash.

Te Frio de Yerba Buena (Cold Mint Tea)

In my home when the weather get's hot we always have a variety of homemade drinks to stave of the heat and refresh, water is nice but sometimes I want something more. We have a variety of fruit drinks my mother makes and my grandmother (when she lived with us) liked making herbal tea's and chilling them to refresh. Also you can do the same cold tea drink using "Tila" (in english it is called Linden) instead of Mint. My mother would make "Te de Tila" and chill it when my father was stressed from work so he would feel better.

I don't know if this is Cuban or Spanish or what, I'm sure other cultures do things like this to. Mexicans make these types of tea but always serve it hot, I've never seen Mexicans chill any herbal tea's ONLY WITH THE EXCEPTION OF HIBISCUS TEA. So I'm labeling it as Cuban for navigation purposes and because my grandma cooks mostly Cuban.

-1 big bunch of fresh mint leaves (washed and cleaned well)
-16 cups of water
-3/4 cups sugar (more or less to taste)

(1)Bring water to a boil, add mint leaves, boil for 10 minutes uncovered (so your house can smell and minty and stuff ha ha).
(2)Now when it changes color, shock it with a cup of cold or room temperature water this will make the color deepen stronger when it comes back to boil for another 5 minutes.
(3)Turn of heat, let it cool a bit, put in large pitchers making sure to strain it to get the leaves out of the tea.
(4)Add sugar to taste, and chill in the fridge :)