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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Potatoes for Pittypat

Who, or what is a "pittypat"? I will start by saying that my mother had nicknames for many of her friends and my friends too. (some of the names I answer to are: "lisapou", "sisterbelle", "peanut", "lisamou", "lisabelle", "lise", "lee", and "ca-va"...I'm sure there are more). Patty was about 9 months older than I. I can honestly say that I've known her since the day I was born. We lived across the street from each other, our parents were the best of friends from way back until the untimely deaths of all but my father. Patty has two older brothers and so did I. Our oldest brothers were best friends too. We spent many evenings with entire families gathered together, cooking, chatting outside, going to relatives homes, etc.... Patty knew my cousins and I knew hers. Patty and I don't see each other often, but we do talk on the phone. Her birthday was yesterday and I sent her a note. How in the world does one little girl have so many names?? Patty is what I have always called her (she goes by Patricia), mom called her "Pittypat", and I think I heard "Tish" a few times too. Mom asked Patty what she wanted for her birthday one year. Patty said, "I want a pan of Greek potatoes"! Not sure if these are served in Greece or Cyprus, where mom's dad was from, but anything cooked at our house was "Greek" to our neighbors! :) Like I said, we ate at each others houses quite often. Her dad got me to try an onion ring by calling it a "Japanese Doughnut"! I think I even ate frog legs at their house once. Perhaps, that is why I enjoy so many different foods. Mom made Patty her birthday potatoes and she enjoyed every bite. I don't really measure, but it doesn't have to be exact. One version of Greek style potatoes:

I'll call them "Potatoes Pittypat"
  • 4 medium size baking potatoes
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • about 2 tsp oregano (you can add more or less to your liking)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 oz water
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive oil

13 x 9 stainless steel baking dish (I guess any kind will do, but mom always had her stainless steel pans. (leftover from the days when her and dad owned a restaurant)
Cut a baking potato in half lengthwise, then cut each half in half again.
Potatoes will look like long wedges (this is the way mom always did them)
Put enough potatoes in pan to cover the bottom, leaving some room between them. I will guess four potatoes should be plenty
Cut a large onion in quarters and place in pan
Add one 8 oz can of tomato sauce on top of the potatoes and onion
Add 1/2 to 1 cup of water in bottom of pan
Sprinkle potatoes with salt, pepper, and a dash of oregano
Drizzle olive oil over the potatoes (probably 2 tablespoons total)
Bake at 350 until for 45 minutes, then raise the temperature to 400F and cook until tender
Baste the potatoes and onion about every 15 minutes or so with the liquid in the pan
I can't eat these without thinking of Patty.

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Ingredients I must have in my kitchen (It's a long list, but I try and have these items on hand)

  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Cheese
  • Cumin
  • Curry
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Fresh Bread
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Greek Oregano
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Lemon ( At least 3 or 4 ALWAYS)
  • Peppers (Wax, Jalapeno, banana)
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Regular Olive Oil
  • Rice
  • Salad Ingredients
  • Sea Salt
  • Spanish Olives
  • White Balsamic Vinegar