We raced home from the Museum of Natural History to get things in readiness for our dinner guests and they never showed!
Turns out they'd been talking about NEXT Thursday. It wasn't the worst thing in the world since the children's facades were beginning to crack in a big way and my culinary labors were confined to a few simple dishes to supplement the Thai carry-out our guests had volunteered to pay for. Actually, after two and a half hours of hanging around, watching the clock, it was hard to imagine anything better than sprawling on the couch, horking down eggrolls and beer, released from the yoke of sparkling conversation.
Of course, I did have this enormous bowl of Leftover Spud to reckon with in the morning. These fried taters rank among my favorite things to serve company (even if the company doesn''t show). They're incredibly cinchy to prepare, they take up a lot of room on the plate and in the stomach, and as long as nobody chomps down on a served-their-purpose-infusing-the-oil-and-now-just-for-show dried peppers, they're a hands-down winner in the flavor department.
Fried Potatoes, Chinese Peasant Style
Scrub 2 pounds of potatoes and chop them in your earthy, rough-hewn peasant, salt of the earth way. Boil until tender - about 15 minutes. Drain them and then chuck them back in the hot pot to dry.
Heat a wok hotter than hell's own hockey sticks, then add 3 Tablespoons of Peanut Oil and swirl it around to coat all surfaces.
Chuck in 5 dried chili peppers (I use those little red guys that look so festive next to the corn husks on Met Foods decidedly non-gourmet chili pepper rack where prices are so low, even Met's own employees can afford to shop there! After about a minute, they'll turn black and puff up (as will your eyeballs if you don't open a window).
Dump in the potatoes and stir fry, smashing them against the sides of the wok for that smashed-against-the-side-of-the-wok seared-in flavor! It's okay if they break apart, Houston. After about five minutes, they should be looking mighty crispy and delicious, though there will be plenty of smooshy, boiled potato softness to write home about too. You want that balance.
Add 1 teaspoon of sea salt and 1 cup of chopped scallions and knock them around for a couple of minutes. Voila!
This dish is delicious hot, but don't fret if your guests are running a couple of hours late because it's great at room temperature too!
Remeber. those dried chiles ain't for eating - they're for show.
Not so hot straight from the fridge at 6am, though, so I got the wok back out, slicked it up with the barest whisper of peanut oil (Feel free to use vegetable oil if peanut is going to give you anaphylaxis. I should have said that earlier.) Refried them spuds up to something resembling their former hotness, topped em with a fried egg and garnished with avocado, made myself a cappuccino and showed uncharacteristic restraint by reaching for my camera before my fork.