This was a holiday that showed up on one of the sites that I use to discover what holiday to celebrate, although it wasn’t on the other sites that I use. In fact, most sites put National Potato Day back in August. But I was at a bit of a loss at what to celebrate tonight and potatoes were the answer. I was out getting dinner and decided to go the meat and potatoes route not because of the holiday but more because I’m just a meat and potatoes kind of guy. I bought some steak tips that I would grill. I picked them up at the butcher case at Clements who make a few varieties of steak marinades that they put their steak tips in. I went for the house blend. Then I went to the produce section to grab some potatoes. I went with a potato that I buy every now and then called Klondike Express. They are a bag of small, new potatoes that you just toss in the microwave for 6 minutes and they come out perfectly cooked. I’m not usually a fan of microwaving potatoes. I find they come out half cooked or over cooked in parts when you nuke them, but the folks at Klondike Express have got it down. I think it’s the size of the potato (not the motion in the ocean) but each small little tater comes out hot, fluffy and ready to eat. You just add the butter.
A new potato, I discovered, is simply a young potato meaning that the root vegetable in question has not fully matured. Because of that, they don’t get quite as starchy and even have a slight sweetness to them. My Mom used to love these potatoes (she probably still does), and she was always excited for them to be in season. That was usually in the summer so our summer dinners would often be served with fresh cooked new potatoes slathered in butter. The best servings of these were the ones that came at the bottom of the bowl where there were lots of small bits of potatoes all covered in the butter that had melted to the bottom of the bowl. That was good eating. Nowadays, there really isn’t a season for new potatoes especially when giant produce companies can import and export from throughout the country and the globe. I’m not sure of the exact origin of the Klondike Express potatoes, but maybe it’s best I don’t ask these questions. While the steak tips were grilling, I had the potatoes cooking away in the microwave so everything would be ready together. When the ding of the microwave went off (I was on my last flip of the steaks), I pulled the bag from the oven and carefully cut it open so that I wouldn’t be scalded by the escaping steam. I dumped the potatoes into a bowl and I topped them with lots of butter and then seasoned them liberally with some salt, pepper, garlic powder and parmesan cheese. Then I kind of loose chopped the potatoes with the side of a fork allowing all that butter and flavor to coat the potatoes more completely. They made a beautiful side dish.
It was one of those days that I was making dinner while Lola had been immersed in her writing so she was kind of oblivious to what was happening. This is life with a writer. The good part about this is that I can surprise her with a good dinner even when I make it right in front of her eyes. It’s the smell that always gives away the surprise. At some point, a good smell will waft from the kitchen and alert Lola that there is something tasty happening. The most effective smell for that is garlic. If garlic is cooking, it will instantly gain her attention. You know in movies when someone passes out and they break open an ammonia capsule underneath their nose to revive them? If Lola ever blacks out, I think I little sniff of garlic cooking will bring her right to her feet. You would think the smell of the steak cooking would catch her attention too, but since that was being cooked outside, the smell did not waft into her vicinity. But when the butter and the garlic powder collided with the hot potatoes, a delightful aroma was released into the air and that’s what clued her in. She was excited to eat a nice meal and I’m happy to say it was nice. The steak was cooked perfectly and in truth, the potatoes were the star of the plate. I’d like to say that was because it was National Potato Day, but I make these potatoes all the time. I think however that I put a little more love into seasoning them today. Tonight, all those flavors melded together perfectly. A raving success right down to the last buttery soaked bites. That’s a testament to the versatility of a potato. It’s a food that soaks up whatever you flavor it with. And no matter how you cook it, that’s just tasty eating.
Next Up: National Chocolate Day