Monday, November 24, 2008

Ensalada de Papa (My Grandmas Potato Salad)

My grandmother from my fathers side (Spanish/ Cuban) whom I call "Tata" makes a wonderful potato salad. It has very Spanish flavors she dresses it in a "Alioli" a type of garlic mayonnaise popular in Spain (don't worry you won't have to make it from scratch she never did and I'm keeping this recipe true to how she made it) and some Spanish or Black olives which is what makes it special.

In my household this use to be prepared once a week and everyone loved it, I hope you love it just as much to, though I must warn you if you dislike garlic and olives you won't like this one.

Main Ingredients:
-10 medium russet potatoes
-4 hard boiled eggs
-1 red onion finely minced
-4 celery stalks julienned then finely minced
-1 bunch of parsley or cilantro washed, and very finely minced
-1/2-1 cup Spanish Pimiento stuffed olives or Black Olives sliced (whatever you have on hand)
Ingredients for dressing (alioli)
-2 cups prepared regular premium Mayonnaise
-4 cloves garlic
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 tablespoon white vinegar
Directions for alioli:
(1)Mash garlic to a paste with salt in a mortar and pestle, in a medium bowl add mayonnaise, whisk garlic paste well into the mayonnaise with a fork, add tablespoon of white vinegar and whisk in, your done, there's your short cut for alioli.

(1)Boil the potatoes until a fork or knife can go through them, when cooled, peel them by hand, cube them into medium sized chunks (your choice what size you want it) set aside.

(2)Meanwhile also boil the eggs until "hard boiled" run through cold water and carefully peel. Cut into cubes (by halving egg, then halving those halves and cutting those halves into 3 sections) set aside.

(3)Now get your potatoes, toss them with minced onion, parsley, celery, and sliced olives.

(4)Add the dressing, toss well, now gently fold in eggs. (You add them last so you don't crush them). Now your done, serve cold.

(5)In my house we serve it as we would any salad, or sometimes we will serve that, a cold leafy salad, some grilled meats, some homemade chilled fruit drinks and simple desserts (usually fruits in syrup paired with cream cheese, or custards)

(1)Feel free to make your own alioli from scratch, no need to for this, I learned to make one from scratch from Nikki's blog "Canary Girl" which I served her alioli with "Churros de Pescados" (she has the recipe on her blog I made a slightly adjusted version because I used "Bijol instead of saffron)

(2)In Spain they make a salad similar to this they call "Ensaladilla Rusa" which is similar but not really because "Ensaladilla Rusa" has tuna packed in olive oil drained added to it.

Salsa de Chile Habanero (Habanero Hot Sauce)

This weekend I went to go visit my good friend Shantall and helped her with her yard. It was fun (because I'm a dork like that) we went to the out skirts of the San Fernando Valley to get "horse manuer" to fertilize the soil. It was hilarious the truck used to drive us up there was literally over a huge mountain of horse doo-doo ha ha. (Yes yes not what a typical teenager would do on his weekends for fun.)

Anyways, towards the end of the day after some yard work, talking, biking and lots of wonderful food and fun I she gave me a small bag with Habanero peppers from her yard.

I was wondering, "What should I do with them?" I was even thinking of adding 1 habanero pepper to a Cuban dish and see what happens since it tastes like a very spicy green bell pepper. (No kidding I've had them raw with food, I take little nibbles and eat along with my food) Well after some thinking and reading other's opinions on a forum I decided to make a spicy Mexican hot sauce.

For those that haven't heard of these peppers they are claimed to be the most "spiciest" pepper in the world. Along with a Scotch Bonnet (both from the same species)

I highly recommend this sauce, it has the flavor of a crisp, sweet bell pepper with strong heat, although for me the sauce isn't so hot it's hot but can be consumed fine. (My mother actually makes hotter sauces combining lot's of dry "Chile de Arbol" peppers and "Chipotles in Adobo" those will burn stronger)

-9 Habanero Chili Peppers
-20 small to medium Tomatillos (about 1 1/2 pounds)
-4 cloves of garlic (skin left on)
-1 medium onion minced
-1/2 a bunch of cilantro washed trimmed and minced
-1 1/2 or 2 teaspoons salt (to taste)
-1/2 cup water (more or less)
-1 tablespoon white vinegar (optional this is only added to make it last longer)

(1)In a large griddle covered with aluminum foil grill the tomatillos, habaneros, and garlic until blackened on both sides and they release some liquid and it evaporates. Now set aside and let it cool so you can handle with your hands.

(2)Once cooled remove as much of the black charred parts as you can, add to a blender or food processor. Now add salt, and a little water (only enough to blend not to water down a bunch JUST TO BLEND)

(3)Now set in a bowl and stir in minced cilantro and onion, taste for salt and more if needed and if desired stir in vinegar (typically vinegar is only added to red sauces not green we didn't add it but it's your choice)

-If you cannot find "tomatillos" in your area you may substitute them for regular fresh tomatoes (preferably roma).
-This is to be used as a condiment, you add a little bit to your food when eating to make it more spicy/ give it a kick.
-I had some unripe one's in my fridge from the last time I recieved some Okra, there was unripe Habaneros which are still pretty damn good :)