Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cheesy Potato Cure

Upon reading a title like “Cheesy Potato Cure” you could be forgiven for thinking that this post would contain stories of cold weather, long days in the office and the need for rich, stodgy comfort food, like Cheesy Potatoes to cure all the ills in the world... but you would be wrong. In fact, it is a post about what to eat as a cure when you've eaten too much greasy food and feel like, well a cheesy potato. I think I should go back a little bit and explain...

The term “Cheesy Potato” was coined what seems like an age ago when my lovely sister flew half way around the world to save me from dying of a broken heart, all alone, in Italy. Ok, so I was nineteen and probably a little melodramatic, but it was definitely a sad and lonely place to be.

We met up in Barcelona for what turned out to be a wonderful 10 days or so of touring, talking, drinking, healing and, of course eating. Only problem is, Spain is not such a friendly place for the vegetarian and over the course our time there we ate more bread, egg, potato, cheese and miscellaneous fried stuff than anyone could ever wish to. Not to mention all washed down with plenty of cerveza (which is really just more bread in liquid form!)

It was one day when we'd been wandering the Alhambra in Granada for untold hours and the lack of food was beginning to make us both a little hangry (hungry-angry) that we relented and ate a boccadillo (don't be fooled by the fancy name it is, you guessed it, bread filled with egg and potato) from the touristy food stall just outside the Alhambra. It was gross – stodgy, dry and greasy all at the same time. After inhaling the whole thing, Thea groaned “Urgh, I feel like a cheesy potato!” And so, a legend was born – from that point on, whenever too much unhealthy food has been consumed, we cry “Cheesy Potato”!!!

Now, there are a number of ways to cure this particular feeling. Often something as simple as a tart apple or a stick of celery will suffice to freshen up your insides and make you feel clean and sparkly again, but sometimes, a quick fix just won't do and a whole meal must be devoted to scrubbing the cheesy potato out of your system. These times call for something that make you feel virtuous and taste delicious, something that tastes green, something like the salad I made this week for dinner, and then again for lunch. Inspired by the sorrel I bought from the farmers market and the red quinoa bestowed upon me by Dave's mum, this salad was the perfect cure for my cheesy potato feeling brought on by an indulgent weekend in Tasmania and too many lunches and dinners out and about.

The beauty of this salad is that it is substantial enough to eat for dinner, stays fresh left overs, and lends itself very nicely to whatever variations of vegetables you have in your frigde – although I would have to say that if you can find a nice bunch of sorrel, use it – it's tangy and zingy yet earthy flavour is really something special.

Cheesy Potato Cure Salad – or Sorrel and Red Quinoa Salad

1 bunch fresh sorrel, washed, dried and cut into ribbons (you could also use rocket, spinach or a mixture of all three)
1 cup red quinoa (or other quinoa)
1 bunch spring onion, chopped into 1 cm pieces
½ avocado, sliced
1 small cucumber, chopped into half circles
1 tomato, diced
1 bunch asparagus, briefly blanched or steamed and chopped into 2cm pieces
100g feta cheese (optional)


1 tbs dijon mustard
3 tbs white wine vinegar
5 tbs olive oil

Rinse the quinoa well under running water for a minute or so (then take a shorter shower that night to off-set the guilt of running the tap for so long)

Pop the rinsed quinoa and 2 cups of water in a pot on the stove. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally then reduce to a simmer, pop on a tight fitting lid and let it cook until almost transluscent and tender and all the water is absorbed. My packet of quinoa said 10-15 minutes but it took more like 20mins.

In the meantime, prepare all the veggies and whisk together all ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl.

Dump everything (except feta) into a big bowl, and pour all the dressing on top – toss well – at this stage, if you're not going to use the feta, add some salt to the salad too.

Crumble some feta on top and enjoy straight from the serving bowl.

Serves 2 people for a light dinner and the perfect cure to cheesey potato guilt.

1 comment:

  1. very amusing tale - I went to spain not knowing any of the lingo and found the vegetarian food very difficult - but managed to find some foodie bliss in churros and chocolate - I imagine your lovely salad could cure too much of this delicacy too!