20 May 2008

Edible Thoughts: Comfort Food

I've been meaning to do this post for days, I admit, but I finally am getting around to it. Comfort food! No, I'm not talking about biscuits and gravy. Comfort Food is the title of a new book by Kate Jacobs, author of Friday Night Knitting Club, and I was invited to join the new Edible Thoughts Foodie Book Club, hosted by Stephanie and Cath, where we're blogging about it. First, my thoughts on the book itself.

I admit that when I read the first chapter, I was seriously doubting my ability to get through the whole novel. I have a pet peeve about clich├ęs and overdone description of people, and the first few pages were a little bit of that and then some. (Please, please, no more butterscotch-coloured hair!) Fortunately, it got better quickly, and I found myself enjoying the little drama that is the lives of CookingChannel host Gus Simpson and her family and friends. I'm not much of a "beach reader," but this is a good light read, and as you get deeper into the novel the characters start getting much more interesting.

I tend to get tired of romance in books, just because it's always heterosexual and it's always predictable, but here it wasn't too overblown, and I was actually surprised by some of the plot twists and turns. I especially enjoyed the minor characters like Hannah, Troy, and Oliver, and even beauty queen Carmen, who became much more likeable by the end of the book. As for the foodie element, I wasn't too into the use of real Food Network names, but the food itself was fun to read about.

For my recipe, I chose a Spanish tortilla, which I've seen on various blogs but never tried because I'm not into eggs. When I read about Carmen's version, though, using potato chips of all things, I was intrigued. I clicked around the web and found a few tortillas using potato chips, and came up with my own variation on that theme. It's very simple: beat five eggs, add a full Ziplock bag (quart-size, fill it up, crush the chips, and fill again until you have a full bag crushed) of high quality lightly salted potato chips, and let sit about five minutes. It basically looks like wet potato chips, but don't worry. Dump it into an 8" or 10" non-stick pan with a bit of olive oil, and cook maybe five minutes over medium heat. You can lift up the edges to peek and see if it's cooked. To flip, first slide it onto a plate, then flip the plate over into the pan. This worked very well for me, but you have to be a quick and fearless flipper. Cook the other side and slide out onto a plate. Slice and serve.

I still am not a big egg fan, so I wasn't in love with the recipe, but I did find it tasty. The potato chip taste is very prominent, which improved it for me, and it has an interesting texture - not quite soft, not quite crispy. My tortilla was fairly thin, but you could use a smaller pan or more eggs. You also might add some chopped fresh herbs. I saw one recipe that called for fried onions, the kinds that come in a can, but I couldn't find them in the store. Maybe next time!


LisaRene said...

Well this is certainly a unique concept for making tortillas, what fun! Trying something out of the ordinary and getting creative, that's what I enjoy most about cooking.

I too hate it when there is a ton of description in books. In a way it ruins it for me because I prefer to use my imagination to determine what the characters and location look like.

Sylvie said...

I've never seen a tortilla made with potato crisps, might have to give it a go some time if I'm in the mood for a 'lazy' dinner.

Judith said...

Lisa - It's not even that I don't like description, but there's this certain way of doing it that really gets my goat. Some of my favourite books are just full of narration (Atonement and Mrs. Dalloway are two great examples), but I can't stand cliches.

Sylvie - It does seem strange, doesn't it? But perfect for lazy!

Sarah said...

Oh, to be able to have potato chips... this looks fabulous (I have a personal love for the Ketchup kind we can get in Canada, which I think would be fabulous with eggs).

I nominated you for an award over at my blog, congrats!