7/1/12

Potatoes with Cheese Sauce (Papas a la Huancaína) & My Olympic Dream

Above photo by Marcus Nilsson
I understand the irony in offering up Peruvian potato salad as a Fourth of July side dish option, but the colors are pretty, and I'm not thinking straight these days. See, I've gone bat-shit crazy for the upcoming summer Olympics. If you took a look at my browser history, you would think that following women's gymnastics was my job, my only job. I scour the web for interviews, new and old. I search youtube for leaked iPhone footage of warm-ups, anything to get a glimpse of the routines in training. And of course, I live for fluff pieces. When I find one, I look around for Matt and scream: FLUFF PIECE! 

So naturally when one of my favorite gymnasts, 2008 Olympic gold medalist Nastia Liukin, tweeted the below image of herself in Women's Health magazine, I forwarded it to Matt and said that I would like to attempt it. It was hard to find the exact city ledge, but we managed.
Only five girls out of the fifteen at trials will "punch their ticket" (lame announcer lingo) to London, and unfortunately for Nastia, it seems she won't be one of them. Disoriented and lonely, I'm trying to make sense of this cruel fate by realizing that another girl who has worked her whole life for this singular opportunity will get to punch her ticket to London instead. The team is announced tonight. Set your DVRs, people! Set them!
In the mean time, there are these lovely potatoes with cheese sauce.
In order to make it as patriotic and Olympic as possible, I added cherry tomatoes. 
Ladies and gentleman: your Olympic-gold side dish. 
Potatoes with Cheese Sauce (Papas a la Huancaína) via Gourmet
2 lb medium potatoes such as purple Peruvian or Yukon Gold (about 8)
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 lb queso fresco or feta, crumbled (scant 1 cup)
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon chopped onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon bottled ají amarillo or ají mirasol paste (sometimes labeled “crema”) (I couldn't find this at the grocery store, so simply served it with Cholula hot sauce on the side.)

Garnish: chopped pitted black Peruvian or Kalamata olives; lime wedges (preferably Key lime)

Cover potatoes with water in a medium pot and season well with salt, then briskly simmer, covered, until just cooked through, about 20 minutes. Drain and cool, then peel.

Meanwhile, mince and mash garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt, then blend with remaining ingredients in a blender until very smooth and thicker than heavy cream (if necessary, thin with milk). Season with salt.

Cut potatoes crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Spoon some sauce onto 8 small plates, then top with sliced potatoes. Serve remaining sauce on the side.
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23 comments:

  1. You are why they invented the human-interest fluff pieces in between competition. Also, this potato salad rocks! xoxo

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  2. At first I was all: wait, she posted that picture of Nastia twice. But then, after some studying, I realized that the second handstand photo was indeed you. It was the reversal of the short/bodysuit colours that finally gave it away.

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  3. laughing my ass off.

    i'm not sure what else to say except FLOOR ROUTINE.

    and i like the color of the potatoes.

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  4. You are the best. Let's pretend-watch the Olympics together.

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  5. YESSSS!!!!!!!!! John Tesh, Bart Connor, Tim Daggett and Elfie Schlagel would be so proud!!!!

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  6. But why is your front leg so small compared to your back leg? I didn't know you have a midget leg!

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    1. Maaaare! It's because my hips aren't even close to "square." That leg isn't going straight back... know what I mean? If not, I can give you a tutorial sometime, OK?

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    2. Oh I KNOW, Amelia. I just wanted to point out the funny-looking midget leg.

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  7. You are my Olympian!!! See you in London ;) xo

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  8. Those are the prettiest potatoes in the world!!

    Also, nice handstand split! Rockin.
    xx

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  9. Look at those potatoes! What kind are they? Gorgeous pictures as always!
    -Jess

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    1. Pretty sure they're called purple Peruvian! Just look for the blue ones. :)

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  10. So brilliant. I too, am beside myself with excitement (even more so, because I now get to have lived in two cities while they've hosted Olympics.... and... we managed to score tickets to the gymnastics). Our floor of flats is hosting an Opening Ceremony party. All the food has to be in the shape of rings.

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    1. Oh my goodness!! I think my head might explode if I actually went to the competition. ;) Opening Ceremony party sounds like a dream!

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  11. I have an unnatural obsession with the Olympics too! 4 years ago I actually set my alarm to wake up at 3AM and watch Phelps swim. True story.

    Sean (my now husband) lured me into his web by telling me he had a big screen tv perfect for Olympics watching. Then it turned out that his tv didn't actually get the channel the Olympics were on. By then it was too late...

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  12. you are f}##^^ng hilarious. after that past dance video, you got me.

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  13. Ah-ammm... intenta con papas amarillas; la leche SÍ es necesaria y se agrega a medida que licúas; no lo juntes todo de un porrón. En lugar de tu ají, si puedes, consigue escabeche, y entero, y pélalo y sácale las pepas porque pican como madre; porque la Papa a la Huancaína tiene un color naranja característico de este vegetal. Y un ingrediente que se te pasó es el pan: si tienes pan viejo en tu casa, úsalo: muélelo, ráspalo, ráyalo, usa las migajas para darle consistencia a la crema; si no tienes, muele galletas de soda, saladas, claro. Debe ser más aguada que la mayonesa y sin grumos. También puedes acompañarla con lechuga, poniéndola antes de todo en el plato. Luego, si le agregas maní y una q otra especie, obtienes otra salsa peruana: Ocopa.

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  14. Ah! Y no es una ensalada; es una entrada.

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  15. Beautiful and hilarious post!

    Have you ever worked with purple sweet potatoes? YUM!

    http://boundarylinecollective.wordpress.com/

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  16. my moms peruvian, and I can tell you this dish is delicious, but the way you made it is so-so. You're missing vital ingredients. Let me know if you ever want a real recipe that'll knock ur socks off. Best part of the sauce (if you make it the right way) it's delicious with so many different things, like steaks, especially Lomo Saltado. Let me know :)

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