Archive for July, 2011

A postcard-style entry from France:

We’ve been having a wonderful time, wish you were here.  The trip has gone by too quickly, kind of like the Tour de France, as it passed by in a blur right by our tiny hamlet (look closely and you can see it up and off in the background).

Our camping trip to the Beach near Tarragona, Spain was full of sand and swimming, flamenco dancing at night, green olives at every meal (even breakfast) and a perfect cup of coffee each morning at the campground’s beachside cafe. Ahhhh.

The peaches and nectarines and apricots are drippy, gooey, sweet. They’re bursting with the heat of the Mediterranean sun so we’re eating them everyday, in every way we can think of.  Boiled into a homemade jam, spiraled into a glistening tart for dessert, swirled into an ice cream, generously packed in picnic hampers to enjoy on a hike.

The hamlet is still here, along with its seven hundred year old rock buildings, the two month old puppies, a herd of goats, and the blooming frangipani that are all a part of its present.

As always it’s the food that I will remember about this trip, most of all its simplicity. We’ve been traveling with five teenagers so providing lots of it and quickly is the “plan du jour”.  I’ve relearned that the most important ingredients are the simplest ones: olive oil, garlic, eggs, potatoes, herbs, tomatoes, olives. You can do a lot with very little and go a long way with it. Even across the Atlantic and over to the shores of the Mediterranean if you’re lucky.

Simple Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary and Olive Oil

The inspiration for this recipe comes from one of my favorite food memoirists, Susan Loomis. She’s written two books about her French life and runs a cooking school from her house in Louviers. These potatoes are flavorful and pretty much fool proof. I made them a few nights ago with rosemary that I picked in the hills behind our house in Cazo.

4-6 branches of fresh rosemary

2 pounds small to medium potatoes, any color will do, check to make sure they’re good for roasting, washed and ready for the oven

3 Tbs olive oil

a few dashes of of coarse sea salt (my favorite is from the Camargue)

a few grinds of fresh pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place half of the rosemary in the bottom of a large baking dish. Arrange the potatoes on top of the rosemary and then pour the olive oil over them making sure that each potato has a coating of oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cover with remaining rosemary. Bake for an hour or until the potatoes are soft when pricked with a fork. Serve immediately, removing the rosemary if desired.

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