This is Kim. She runs the Passion and Art Blog, sews, crafts, is creative, is a mom, and is currently pregnant with her second child. Congrats again Kim! If you visit her blog, you can see some of her most recent craft creations. The dresses for her and her daughter are just too awesome.
Kim and I have been friends for quite some time. We went to high school together, and visited each other during college (we attended different universities). We ran the drama club in high school, did silly plays, and generally laughed a hell of a lot.
These days she lives many, many miles away in Maryland. She’s a busy woman with a husband, preschooler, and baby #2 on the way. She runs her own business (Passion Parties), keeps her own blog running, networks with other moms, and is a blogger for the DC Metro Moms. Though she lives way up in Maryland, we keep our friendship going with alot of Internet chatting and mutual blog reading. She’s very different from me. Much more open to new things, adventurous, and outgoing. It must be what keeps us friends. That whole opposites attract thing.
Around five years ago, I visited her in Maryland on my way to a wedding for another friend. Kim had agreed to accompany me to the wedding. That way, I was able to visit her in Maryland and not have to drive up to New York state for the wedding alone. In fact, she made the drive with me through the hills of Pennsylvannia (oh my god, do you remember that Kim?), dealt with my fear of said hills, and enjoyed a fun wedding. I spent a week with her and her husband, laughed more than I had in a long time, had my first experience with Ikea and the Container Store (my personal mecca), and enjoyed some really great meals. While there, Kim brought me to a restaurant called Jaleo for tapas. This was way, way before Not Exactly Bento, before I was willing to try new things, before I’d realized everything to which I’d said, “no I don’t like that” in my life. Kim told me it was great, that I’d love the restaurant. I didn’t tell her at the time (I don’t think), but I was apprehensive. Trying new foods, or new things even, wasn’t really on my agenda. But I was in town to have fun with one of my most favorite friends, so off we went to Jaleo. Of all the dishes we tried there, the chorizo sausage with garlic mashed potatoes has stuck with me for a long, long time. It was my favorite dish of the night. In fact, we may have even ordered a second helping of it, it was that good.
When I returned home to Louisiana after that trip, I searched everywhere for chorizo like we had at that restaurant only to find it must be something to Jaleo. Chorizo, I came to find, normally is in a casing and falls apart upon cooking. I was told by a woman I work with that her husband likes to scramble with his eggs. I didn’t really think this is what I wanted, so I’ve just kept a look out for hard cured chorizo. I tried to satisfy myself with pan-fried sausage and garlic mashed potatoes, but it just wasn’t the same.
Tonight, I went to Whole Foods the idea of fish and potatoes in my head, I had no real clue exactly what I wanted to cook. I just knew I had some potatoes from a Farmer’s Market purchase 2 weeks ago I really needed to use. As well, I was kept thinking I wanted something fairly hearty to eat. I’ve dealt with a headache today bordering on a migraine. I think partly due to eating eggplant for nearly two weeks. Sometimes, I don’t pack my bento boxes as full as I think I should probably be packing them.
I cruised the aisles looking for things that would be tasty to eat and go well in a bento tomorrow. I had in mind to pick up more of the vegetable gyoza I’d purchased before in the deli area. As I as walking around the counter looking for the gyoza (they were out!), I saw this: Chorizo! Hard cured! It looked like a roll of salami or pepperoni. When I saw it, I thought of Kim, a wonderful trip, and one of the best meals I’ve ever had in my life. That chorizo was coming home with me NO MATTER WHAT! At nearly $12 a pound, it isn’t cheap, and well beyond my budget if I were to purchase a whole pound. But given what flashed through my mind to do with it, I knew only a little was needed. A quarter pound cost me $3, and the idea was born for…
Chorizo Garlic Mashed Potatoes! The flavors of the dish I remembered all rolled up into one flavorful bowl. I had to make it! I had to eat it! NOW! And I cooked it. And I thought of Kim, and Jaleo, and sighed with tastebud pleasure. In the hopes the dish came out well, I took pictures along the way. I was lucky. It came out great! Now, here’s how to make them.
My first step was to roast a head of garlic. I decided that roasted garlic was the way I would add garlic flavoring to this dish. I’ve wanted to try this technique ever since I read it on the Pioneer Woman’s website. This seemed like the perfect opportunity. Using her instructions, I roasted a head of garlic in a toaster oven on 375 degrees for about 30 minutes. Look how beautiful it is. I nearly fainted with delight at the lovely smell this produced in my kitchen. This whole recipe was a delight for my nostrils. Hopefully, it will be for yours too if you try it.
Besides the garlic and chorizo, you also need some potatoes and a red onion. While only three are pictured here, I boiled 5 medium sized red potatoes and used one small red onion. The onion I diced fairly small.
The potatoes were cubed and placed in a large pot of water. While the potatoes began to boil, I diced the onion and three cloves of the roasted garlic.
I also cut up the round chorizo slices. The stack pictured above was cut in thirds one way, then in thirds the opposite way, creating small rectangular and triangular pieces. During this prepping process, I continually checked the potatoes. When they were not quite fork tender, I put these ingredients on to cook.
I heated 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet on medium-high heat. First, the onion went into the skill to cook until translucent.
Once the onions turned translucent, it was time to add the chorizo. It everything this really pretty yellowish color. I cooked the chorizo until it was crispy like bacon. The onions turned a beautiful brown color in this process. They weren’t burnt tasting. Maybe this is what people call carmelized? I don’t really know. I’ve never caramelized onions before.
When the potatoes were fork tender, I drained them in a strainer and transfered them to a bowl. This next step is basically making mashed potatoes. In went a tablespoon of butter and some milk. Using a hand mixer, I blended the potatoes until smooth, adding more milk as needed. I think I might have used about a 1/2 cup of milk, maybe a little less. I just poured until everything looked right.
Once mashed, the cooked chorizo, onions, and roasted garlic were added to the potatoes and mixed well together.
The last step is to transfer the potatoes into a bowl you really like, dig in with a fork, and take a big ol’ bite. Kim, this bowl is dedicated to you and the fun time we share always, and most especially to a trip on which I remember laughing so hard I nearly needed my inhaler.
Be the bento everyone!