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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Celebrating Self

          As a Father's Day gift in 2016, my daughter did a DNA kit on me, and while my family always told me I was predominantly Viking (i.e., Scandanavian), those pesky little protein strings show me to be 38% Irish, 35% Scandinavian, 17% British, and 10% trace elements from three continents.  Ancestry.com includes a map of the world showing the source of all your genetic makeup, and all of my elements, major and minor, almost exactly coincide with a map of all theplaces the Vikings dominated at some point, from Ireland to Russia to the near east.  Maybe the old folks knew what they were talking about.
          To mark the occasion, I decided to host a cookout, and in honor of finding myself a member of one of the coolest ethnic groups on earth, I set about creating a celebratory recipe.  As a newly minted Irishman and a lover of potatoes, it had to be a potato recipe, and as a lifelong resident of southern California, it had to include a Southwest flavor.  So, after careful consideration, behold

Taters O'Tyler

To make this incredible dish, you'll need:
          Four small potatoes (or two large ones), scrubbed.
          One-half of a Green Bell Pepper.
          1/2 tsp. Paprika.
          1/2 tsp. Parsley Flakes.
          1/8 tsp. Cayenne Pepper.
          1/8 tsp. Mustard Powder.
          1/8 tsp. Garlic Powder.
          1/8 tsp. Black Pepper.
          1/8 tsp. Celery Salt.
          1/8 tsp. Ground Cumin.
          And for the hint of the Southwest, 1/8 tsp. Chili Powder.
          Cooking oil of choice.

Preparation:
          Boil potatoes fully covered for about 15 minutes.  You'll want them to be almost done, but still firm.
          While the potatoes are boiling, cut the Bell Pepper into 1/4" rings, then chop the rings into 1/4" pieces.  You want to finish with a pile of 1/4" squares.  Set these aside.
          Thoroughly mix the various powders in a small bowl to a smooth, reddish-brown consistency.
          Drain the potatoes and let them cool to where they can be handled.  Cut them into thin wedges, skins and all.  Coat a large mixing bowl with oil.  Place the wedges in the bowl, and "toss" them until they all have at least some oil on them.  Continue to toss, gradually adding the mixed seasonings, until all the wedges have some of the seasoning on them.  Mix in the Bell Pepper squares and take the bowl to the grill.
          Cook over medium heat in a grilling basket, using a stir-fry technique, until hot.  The recipe as you see it serves 4, and can be easily doubled, tripled, etc. to serve large gatherings.

          This was by all accounts the hit of the party, and proved so popular that an uninvited guest dropped in.
          Everyone was very excited to see him, but he didn't eat much, and the people sat out on the patio in the warm summer night talking and laughing, and enjoying each other's company.  No one felt compelled to leave until after midnight.  It was what I call a perfect party, and these spuds are what was remembered.  I'll have to admit that they're pretty labor-intensive, but if you know your way around a kitchen and you like the flavor of the southwest, they're well worth springing on your friends.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

          All the best in all things always.  Now get out there and live life like you mean it!

~ Sean "Jack" O'Tyler

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