Sometimes maintaining this blog seems like an exercise in futility.
It’s easy to get cynical and think about all the hours I spend cooking and washing dishes and staring until I’m crosseyed at each and every photo…..for what? I’ll be blunt and say it certainly isn’t for the money.
I’ve been thinking a lot of lofty thoughts lately like for example, is this what I should be doing with my life? And more importantly, what choice do I have? I’ll be honest and say that most of the time I feel like a fraud, using this blog as a cover for what I really am: a housewife. The past few months have been filled with sick children and financial burdens and outside commitments that has been leaving me to choose between filling this space with new posts or fulfilling my role as mother and wife and overall general caretaker to the world (okay, maybe not that, but sometimes it feels that way). How does one choose between doing what you love and taking care of the people you love? I’ve been thinking maybe it’s all too much. Maybe it’s time to take a step back. I’ve also been recognizing that I hate to talk about my feelings…. so right now I kinda want to barf. It’s weird, it’s fine.
Yesterday as I was stationed in my usual spot—between sink, stove, and radio—I was listening to Michael Krasny interview Christine Carter about her new book, The Sweet Spot. Sometimes life just drops bombs people, bombs. She starts talking about how you have to find work that makes you hum and not in the singing dwarf kind of way but like, I don’t know, a Lamborghini. It dawned on me that this is why I write this blog! Not for the money or comments or likes or thumbs-up emojis, but for the way that I feel when I’m in the kitchen, or behind the camera, or one of those rare days when I’m writing and the words just fly. I’m in the zone baby and never feel more alive or happier.
So! Here I am, walking that tight rope between throwing in the towel and giving it another go, because as long as I’m alive I will create; it’s the alchemy that keeps my heart from growing cold, it’s what I do.
While we’re on the subject of what I’ve been doing, let’s talk for a second or two about crispy, fried corn tortillas stuffed with garlicky mashed potatoes. I’m not going to pretend these are anything fancier than what they seem but they are most definitely comfort food at its best. The guajillo salsa is not spicy at all, guajillos are a very mild, slightly sweet chile and they should be easy to find. Use generously on everything from these tacos to chicken flautas. I stirred a batch of leftover salsa into a pot of beans this week which is a move I can’t say I regret.
If you want you can thinly slice romaine hearts and sprinkle some queso fresco or cotija cheese over the top. Alternatively if you wanted to make a quick slaw with thinly sliced cabbage, cilantro leaves, and thin slices of red onion that would be good here too. Just toss the vegetables with some fresh squeezed lime juice, a little oil, and some salt and your good to go.
- 4-5 dried Guajillo chiles, stemmed, cored and seeded
- 1 onion, quartered
- 2 cloves garlic
- Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large Russet potato, peeled and chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 12 corn tortillas
- 1 cup vegetable oil, for frying
- thinly sliced Romaine lettuce, optional
- crumbled queso fresco, optional
- lime wedges, optional
- Heat a cast iron skillet or comal over medium heat. Add chiles and toast on all sides until fragrant and darkened in color. Transfer to a bowl and cover with hot water. Let soak 30 minutes.
- Add onion and garlic to the skillet and cook until browned and toasted on all sides. The garlic will toast sooner than the onion, so remove it before it burns. Transfer to a blender.
- Add orange zest and juice, sherry vinegar, and salt to the blender with the onions and garlic. Remove the chiles from the soaking liquid (saving the liquid) and place in the blender. Add 6 tablespoons of the soaking liquid to the blender and blend until smooth. Add more liquid, a tablespoon at a time, if it seems too thick. Taste and add more salt as needed.
- Transfer to a covered jar and set aside. You can make the salsa up to a week in advance and keep covered in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Cover potatoes with water in a medium saucepan. Add a generous pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Boil until soft, drain and return to the pan. Add garlic, white pepper, cumin, and salt to taste. Mash potatoes until mostly smooth, its okay if a few small pieces remain.
- Heat a cast iron skillet or non-stick skillet over medium heat. Warm tortillas one at a time in the dry skillet, toasting lightly on both sides. Place about 3 tablespoons of the potato filling on one half of each tortilla and fold in half to close.
- Add oil to the cast iron skillet and heat over medium heat until a piece of bread browns in 30 seconds. Add tacos a few at a time and fry until crisp and brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel lined baking sheet to drain.
- Serve tacos immediately with the Guajillo salsa, thinly sliced Romaine lettuce, a lime wedge, and crumbled queso fresco, if desired.