Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Spuds and Duds: A tale of potatoes and politik


On Saturday morning we packed up the kids and headed to Gut Wulksfelde, a local family-owned farm about a half an hour out of town. The deal: dig up your own potatoes! We arrived with a few hundred other spud enthusiasts armed with gloves, my Mexican market bag, a small trowel and something akin to a clothes hanger and joined the masses in a march out to the fields where we dug for the buried treasures. It is a mad stroke of genius on the farmer's part: a bunch of city folk get to pretend they've gotten out into the country (actually, a city bus stop was across the street) and the farmers get free labor.

With our favorite Germano-Spanish couple Bianca and Edi and their daughter Carlotta, we unearthed a combined total of 20 kilos, about 45 pounds, of tubers. All that hard work (mainly that of trying to stop the kids from swallowing handfuls of dirt and sticking the pitchfork in their eyes) was rewarded with fried potatoes and pork goulash cooked on the farmer's front lawn. Local businesses were hawking their wares, kids were climbing all over bales of hay, Henry bbaaaaae-ed at the sheep and Amalia snorted at the pigs, and then...they both came down with bronchitis.

Slight segue: Sunday morning we headed to the children's hospital to see a doctor about Amalia's cough. Ingo tried to explain the problem to the receptionist. "Our daughter has this terrible cough. We're afraid it could be bronchitis. She really sounds awful, like Darth Vader you know?" The receptionist, an elder man who was taking insurance cards and reviewing the cases before passing them on to the medical staff, frowned. He didn't get it. "You know, like, hhuuuuhhhhhh, like Darth Vader, you know? Like Star Wars? Blank stare. " 'Luke. Luuuukkkke. I am your father, Luke.' " Not even the slightest twinkle of recognition in what I thought was a very convincing portrayal on my husband's part. Whether it helped or hindered us I will never know but we saw a doctor about 90 minutes later and got the diagnosis - bronchitis.

Back to the potatoes:
Sunday afternoon Ingo cast his ballot for his national and local representatives and we packed the kids up shortly before the polls closed and headed to Edi and Bianca's "Wahl Ergebnis Party", an election result-viewing party catered by Edi. We gobbled up his homemade tortillas, made from scratch with the 25 pounds of organic potatoes we had dug up the day before, as well as other delicious tapas - I mean what else should one eat when awaiting results of the German national elections? - fish croquettes, chorizo, and saffron squid washed down with a bit of cava and a few cervezas.

The onlookers were rather dissatisfied with the outcome of the election, however predictable it may have been: four more years of the same, this time a Christian Democratic coallition with the Free Market Party headed by a German named Guido, the new Minister of Foreign Affairs. More cava was distributed to numb their pain. While I am entitled to live and work in Germany, I am not allowed to vote and therefore the only outcome of the evening that I had a direct impact on was that of the tortilla. And I was more than satisfied with the results, especially when Edi shared his recipe, handed down from his mother, with slight modifications.

Edi's Tortilla (makes two tortillas)

About 1 kilo of potatoes
About 7-8 eggs
One small-medium size onion
A bit of oil for frying

Wash peel and thinly slice the potatoes. Sautee them briefly in a little bit of oil on the stove. Crack the 7-8 eggs into a bowl and briefly mix together. Add to the potatoes. The consistency should not be too fluid, the eggs should cover but not drown the potatoes. Sautee an onion and add it to the mixture. Add salt. Edi dipped a piece of bread into the mixture and tasted it to see if it needed more salt. If you are confident about the quality of your eggs, do this. If not, don't.

Heat oil in a deep thick pan about 8-10 inches in circumference. Add the potato egg mixture. Lower the heat a bit so as not to burn the bottom. Agitate occasionally. Use a spatula to peek under the bottom and when it looks like ist browned, slide it out onto a plate and then flip it and slide it back into the pan on the side that has not yet been face down. Leave on the heat til evenly browned and thoroughly cooked. Y vaya con Dios - there is your tortilla!

PS If anyone has ideas for the remaining 15 pounds of potatoes, I am all ears!

Amalia also unsure of what to make of the outcome...

1 comment:

  1. some ideas: potato leak soup and potatoes boulangere. I made this recipe the other day and used bay leaves and fresh thyme instead of the dried herbs.. and I added more butter and extra olive oil on top.