Wednesday, January 19, 2011

france and peru with the crew

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm I love potluck.


I hosted, and we somewhat inadvertently hit on a French theme this week. For example, I came up with my dish simply by surveying the contents of my refrigerator:


Spinach (leftover from work), sour cream (my sister… odd the things she buys), an egg yolk leftover from icing my mom made, and blue cheese from the ball.

To me, it spelled quiche. Well except I’m too lazy to deal with a crust. So… really more-Italian-than-French frittata.

Sautéed some sweet onion… wilted in some spinach.


Then I’d been talking about it at work with my supervisor (my immediate supervisor whom I adore; not my sort of mean boss-boss) because that’s what everyone talks about at work right? Right? What they’re making for dinner last night?

Anyway, she said “Why not throw in something sweet? Some jam or something?”

Well said, Katie! How’s about some CHUTNEY?!


So that went in with the veggies. Whisked together three eggs, the yolk, some sour cream, and salt and scads of pepper. Blue cheese sprinkled on top. Nom!


Baked in a 325 oven til set in the center.


When I mentioned the French-ification of my own recipe, Erin and I both gave deliberate, meaningful looks at Kyle. One, because his New Years resolution is to come to more potlucks (yay!) and two because homeboy makes some glorious, GLORIOUS crepes.

And he did… and he did!


Furthermore, he gives crepe tutorials. I already received mine at our awesome brinner potluck, so Erin got hers.


There were also a variety of fillings: cheese and Trader Joe’s chicken sausage with apple.


More kinda-sorta-could be French!

French fries (of the sweet potato variety- nom), brought by Erin. We seriously barely put these down on the table. We just kind of… started grabbing them the second they came out of the oven. The boys were cooking and barely got any. Suckers.


A salad from Patricia, who was moving the following weekend and freely admitted that it was made in order to clean out her fridge.


However, my favorite decidedly French and decidedly delicious dish was made by Steve: RATATOUILLE!


It began with roasted squash, tomatoes, and eggplant baked atop a base of homemade marinara (I had my Thursday lunch break at his house and we both cleaned out the marinara pan with spoons. It was QUALITY TOMATO SAUCE, GUYS).


But then at my place, just before we dined, Steve pulled out the “big guns”. And by “big guns” I mean “goat cheese.”


Godddddddddddddd it was gooooooooodddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd. Also, is the above picture sort of just bad or sort of just awesome? Thoughts?

Speaking of Steve, his birthday was the 15th. Friday was “college throwback party”, the preparations for which began at Thursday potluck.


Enough said, really.

Monday- another birthday! Well, besides MLK’s. Katie, my wonderful amazing supervisor who I wanna be when I grow up.

Due to it being Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday, Americorps all over the country had a service day, so we spent the morning doing a deep-clean of a homeless shelter.

Since it was in Rockville, I went “Uh, ethnic food afterwards? Please?”

And successfully coerced my entire office into going (victory #1) with the exception of Mean Boss, who was already getting into her car (victory #2)! So nice to celebrate with cool Katie outside of work. (I mean, I guess we were still celebrating Steve, too but seriously… we had already celebrated. With a great deal of enthusiasm.)

Our destination was La Limena, which I have had bookmarked on Yelp for EONS, ever since Tom Seitsema raved about it in the post. As an added bonus, we were joined by David, who honors his Peruvian heritage with a MEAN shimmy and kept us informed about which eats (of “the best food in Latin America”) were most delicious.

He saw this display case and kept going “Ooh!” It seemed like a good sign.


I began with a chicha morada, a kind of soda made of purple corn (which they… steep? Or something?), sugar and lime juice, which I was hoping would taste like horchata and did not. It was kind of like fruit juice, really. I sipped it as I perused the menu.


Hilarious- I am basically considered the “food authority” at work. I am in charge of everything related to the kids’ food: processing food bank deliveries, planning meals, cooking meals, serving meals, writing reports. Apparently I’ve also, in the process, become the person responsible for the adults as well. Thus, we all agreed we wanted to share some things (as no one was that familiar with Peruvian food and we’d eaten birthday treats just before lunch) so I was in charge of the selection process.

Funny, yet actually a fairly high pressure situation. I want to keep everyone well fed!

Everyone- EVERYONE- wanted to get this appetizer: papas huancaina.


So they are potatoes, and a hardboiled egg. Which sounds unremarkable. But lawd, that sauce. David talked us through it: sort of the signature flavor of Peru is aji amarillo, a yellow chili pepper. The sauce is just that ground up with some crackers and milk, or so he said.

We got Peruvian chicken… which I completely ignored. Like, forgot to photograph. But yummy sides!


Black beans and fried yuca. Yes please!

There was ceviche, of course. Hard to see with the draping of red onions but there was (deliciously seasoned!) fish, calamari, and shrimp under there. Vair delicious. (Kyle made fun of me for eating the garnish, but for the record that corn was delicious).


This little dish with it I cannot remember the name of but it’s basically… like… toasted dried cornhusks? It’s like if… you made something with the taste of popcorn but with a texture closer to pumpkinseeds. I found them addictive; apparently they’re a very popular snack in Peru.


Plantains. Obviously. In the form of tostones, which I guess is green plantains… fried… smashed… fried again.


And finally, green chile sauce. Which I ate. With a spoon.


Steve did too :D I’m glad we work together.


Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen said...

Love that you ate that sauce with a spoon.

Also, I have noticed that when guys make ratatouille (i.e. Steve, or, from my own life, my father--also named Steve, weirdly) they make it the baked, uber complicated roasted way...but whenever I have seen a girl make it (i.e. my old roommate, me) we just throw everything in a pot and let it simmah-down...

I wonder if this has some psycho-gender implications? [Or maybe just a thing with guys named Steve?]

Molly said...

Wow you are having quite the experience- that is awesome! All that looks absolutely delicious. Enjoy lady! Those egg/potato deals look so intriguing. Bet it was delich