My comfort food here may end up popping up in unlikely places. Like usual, Vilma told me she could make, "blah, blah, blah" and I, with a smile responded, "Sure. That would be good." The problem I am finding is not that I don't understand the words she's using - it's that I don't know what the dishes are. She doesn't speak English, so there is not really a way to give a reverse example. But, imagine she did and I said I was going to make muffins (which I did the other day). Muffins were a completely foreign concept to her. She kept saying, "We call those little cakes." And I was like, "Well, it's not really cake because that would be cupcakes." Anyway, as I have said before, I am moving towards just trusting her and realizing that I will probably like what she makes whether I know before hand what it is going to be or not.
Sometimes, I not only like what she makes, I am bowled over by how incredibly perfect the food on my plate is. You know how when something really, really nice happens you feel that event, or the emotions of it, like a cozy place in your heart for the rest of the day? You just feel at peace and present with what is. And, I'm not talking about something spectacular like winning the lottery or learning you got a great new job. I'm talking about the one line at the end of a movie that just perfectly captures the scene or the gentle guidance you hear one of your children give the other when you're in the other room. That kinda' stuff.
That's comfort food…OMG…I may have just invented those books that already exist (those Chicken Soup for the Soul books). I think it's funny when that happens - makes originality seem so over-rated. Anyway, Vilma made something the other day that filled my belly and my soul. It was the most random food, served up in the most random way, completely on the fly, but at that moment I was like, "Heaven has come to my kitchen!" As always, Vilma doesn't use recipes and I didn't watch her make this, but here is my best guess on how one could recreate Sautédita de Atún.
- Two medium sized potatoes cut into French fries
- One small red onion cut into small wedges
- Two Roma tomatoes cut into wedges
- One handful fresh flat-leaf parsley chopped - as garnish
- One can chunk tuna in oil
Fry the French fries in a skillet with oil. This was actually the most amazing step to me because I know you have to get the oil just right to prevent sticking. These French fries were perfectly golden and crispy without being burned. In a separate skillet, sauté the other ingredients (except the parsley). Add salt and pepper to taste and a dash of paprika (we use Spanish paprika). Toss in the French fries and garnish with parsley. Serve alongside rice.