It was my night to cook dinner tonight. I’d been looking at the crepe page in the Moosewood cookbook for ideas for dinner crepes ever since I made them for breakfast a few days ago. They were a hit for breakfast, so I figured dinner was the logical next step!
Moosewood suggested a spinach and ricotta filling. That sounded ok, but a little bit boring. I was also a little worried about finding ricotta here. Spanish supermercados are a little funny about cheese. There are often 15 variations on manchego, but no other kinds. Want parmesian, ricotta, or brie? Too bad!
So I had a backup plan: steamed cauliflower with ginger orange sauce. Of course finding fresh ginger in Spanish markets is about as hard as finding ricotta, but the girls managed to snag some a while ago and have been using it to make fresh chai. It’s starting to go soft, so I was looking forward to helping get rid of it.
As usually happens with my plans, everything went to hell when it came time to implement them. I like having a plan so that I can tell when I’m no longer following it! The problem was that my day to cook was a Sunday, and I was too tired Saturday night to remember to shop. (Saturday, we got up at 0430 to sail from La Palma de Gran Canarie to Santa Cruz de Tenerife.)
So I went out shopping this morning, but struck out. So dinner was going to need to come from stocks on board. I decided to stick with the spinach, but instead of wilting fresh spinach (normally the only cooked spinach I can stomach) I’d use canned. I knew at least Hannah likes canned spinach because I noticed that she put it in the shopping cart. I made a crepe filling by sauteeing onions in olive oil. I added lots of pepper and cumin (another Hannah favorite) to the onions. I dumped in a drained can of sliced mushrooms and the canned spinach (also drained). Even with draining, the pot had a lot of liquid which I imagined would destroy my crepes (which by this point were rolling off the line into a somewhat balky but warm oven). So I cooked the hell out of the spinach filling with the top off to boil off the liquid.
The spinach, in retribution for me putting the heat to it stunk its usual stink. I grimmaced and decided if I was going to get anything to eat tonight I was going to have to make another filling. So I started thinking about the leftovers on hand. We had some chicken I could have used somehow, and a very few cooked potatos. I started thinking about the rosemary chicken and potato pizza at California Pizza Kitchen, but didn’t have any rosemary. Then I got a bolt of inspiration: dosas are Indian crepes, and my favorite dosa filling is curried potatos. Now I was excited about making curried potatos for my crepes, but I wanted to make more than the single serving of leftover potatos we had. I looked at the crepe batter: one half gone. The crepe production line was only going to be up and running for 15 more minutes. The evil stench of the boiling spinach spurred me to action; I’d be damned if I was going to sully my crepes with that filth. And I started becoming concerned not even people who like cooked spinach would either! The entire fate of dinner rested on the curried potatos!
In the movie adaptation of this story, this is where they will cue the chase scene music as our hero (played by Denzel Washington, undoubtedly) swings into action…
So I put the potatos (3 of them, sliced into 1/16th inch thick half-moons) into a frying pan and just cover them with water. I turn up the burner to NASA hot (thank you, Alton Brown) and parboil them until they are a little over halfway done. All the time, my left hand is turning out crepes, like sands through the hourglass. Will the potatos cook in time? Will Our Hero save dinner?
When the potatos were done enough, I tossed the water and set the steaming spuds aside. I put 2 tablespoons of oil into the pan, then added 2 tablespoons of curry paste and browned it a minute. Then I dumped in a thing of yogurt and stirred it in. I added the potatos and a bit of water and simmered them. I played stupid games with the top on and off again as I wavered between freaking out that they weren’t cooking fast enough (lid on!) and that they’d be too runny (lid off!).
Like the ending of a Hollywood blockbuster, the curried potatos got done when the last crepe did, which was just a few minutes before the guest from the next boat over showed up. We sat down for dinner, and everyone enjoyed both fillings. I have to admit, the spinach filling was pretty good.
But the curried potatos were excellent!
Roll credits as Our Hero washes dishes.