07 April 2010

A Taste of Summer ... Potatoes - Patatas, Tomatoes - Tomates ... Avocado!

Happy Spring! I hope you have been able to get out into the fine balmy weather! We had a gorgeous weekend and have come into the new week with more warm sunny weather. I am one happy woman, looking for easy fixin's after being out in the gardens cleaning up winterkill and pulling leaves and dried flower stalks off of last season's flower mounds.  It's so much fun to see the first little unfurlings of leaves and tiny stalks poking through the soil! It's good for the soul to see all this renewal!

This past weekend saw a gorgeous pile of beautiful vegetables in our markets for folks to use in preparing their Easter celebration dinners. I came upon tomatoes and basil from a greenhouse operation down the road in Massachusetts. There were gorgeous avocados from far away ... but I couldn't resist them! I picked up some good mozzarella and made a salad plate side dish to go with our Easter ham ... it was wonderful!

Today, I have some of everything left and want that salad again!  We have hard-boiled Easter eggs to eat also, so a light dinner awaits us! I think I shall make us some Patatas Alioli and chop some of those eggs to top it off. My parsley wintered over and is showing growth, so maybe some fresh green chopped for the topping! Ah, Spring! A glorious season!

I saw a post somewhere on-line that included sliced avocado in the traditional Tomato Caprese Salad and thought it such an easy and good idea! So... voila! This salad is nothing more than sliced tomatoes, avocado, and good mozzarella. The layers are dressed with plenty of black pepper, kosher salt, a full-flavored olive oil, and slivers of fresh organic basil leaves. Sooooo tasty! After all those winter brussel sprouts, squash, and carrots and parsnips, this salad is a little bit of heaven!

Patatas Alioli is one of the simplest of tapas dishes that we fell in love with in Spain. For two of us, I peeled and gently boiled four medium-sized Yukon Gold potatoes that were cut into bite-sized pieces. While the potatoes cooked, I peeled and sauteed three minced garlic cloves in a tiny bit of olive oil. I added the softened garlic to about half a cup of mayonnaise and used a handblender to whip it to a smooth garlicky alioli sauce. When the potatoes were cooked, they were turned into a serving dish and topped with chopped hard boiled eggs, the alioli sauce, and chopped parsley. Served warm, they are a nice foil to the cool tomato and avocado salad. A few slices of crisp bread, some peppered olive oil for dipping, and a good Rioja wine made for the final additions to our nice Spring supper!

Salut! I hope good veggies and wine are in your future too!

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