Sunday, June 13, 2010

Meat and Potatoes Kind of Guy...

I have always loved meat and potatoes.  Memories of my mom's cooking center around Round Steak with Mashed Potatoes and a Vegetable, or Chicken with Boiled Potatoes covered in a Pan Gravy, and a Vegetable, or Ham with Scalloped Potatoes and a Vegetable, or Pork Chops with Fried Potatoes and a Vegetable.  My favorite?  Sauerbraten with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans.  Every year that dish would be my birthday meal, without fail.

You get the idea, don't you?  I am a meat and potatoes kind of guy.

Sure, there were times when we had soup, whether Beef Vegetable, or Chicken Noodle, or my favorite, Pea Soup.  Once in a blue moon we would even have Waffles or Pancakes.  But really, it was all about Meat, Potatoes, and a Vegetable. 

One my first culinary memories was my mom teaching me how to pick out a good Pot Roast.  We were at a Certified Grocer on Elston Avenue when she started asking me which Pot Roast I would pick.  She guided me to a nicely marbled piece of meat that was all of 49 cents a pound.  When I was twelve, mom went down to Florida to visit her father.  In good, wifely fashion, she prepared meals for each of the days she would be gone.  I was put in charge of warming all the frozen stews and meat casseroles in time for my father's return from work at 6 P.M.  Looking back, I guess I was destined to be interested in cooking, because I would always try to add a little something extra to the already perfect meal.  Usually that meant adding a few frozen vegetables to her meal, but it was my start into culinary endeavors.

I picked up my first share of Kathy's and my CSA investment yesterday.  In the 5/9ths of a bushel I found kale, spinach, bok choy, Swiss chard, two kinds of lettuce, fresh oregano, cilantro, broccoli, turnips and green garlic.  I suppose that even with all of those vegetables, the first meal Kath and I would cook is fittingly, meat, potatoes and a vegetable.

Here are the recipes.

Vegetable Root Purree
7 or 8 small white potatoes
3 turnips
3 carrots
2 tablespoons butter
Half and Half to get proper consistency
Salt and Pepper to taste

Boil carrots and turnips until done.  Puree in a food processor.
Peel and boil potatoes until done.  Mash the potatoes.
Add vegetable puree into the mashed potatoes, add butter, salt and pepper.
Add half and half as you mix until you achieve desired consistency.

3 or 4 bunches of greens, carefully washed (Today it was Turnip, Kale, Spinach, and Bok Choy)
1 bunch of Green Garlic, white and light green parts, chopped fine
1/2 pound smoked Bacon
2 small smoked Ham Hocks
1/2 chopped onion
2 ribs chopped celery
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco Sauce

Saute the bacon until done, chop and set aside.
Saute the celery and onion in the bacon fat.  When translucent, wilt the greens.
Add all of the additional ingredients and cook for about an hour on low heat.


  1. Dan! I love you and I love this blog! Thanks for the recipe, and look forward to many many more!

  2. No meal transports me to my youth faster than a good old-fashioned meat and potatoes. Sounds like yours was far more elegant (and probably flavorful) than those served at my moms table.
    I'm enjoying reading these glimpses into your psyche Dan.