It smells like … home
I have an overly sensitive nose. It is my friend when the nutty fragrance of brewing coffee hits me at 5:00 a.m while my eyes refuse to open. However, it is equally my enemy when I’m stuck in traffic and the stench of a dirty little sock that has been left in my car begins to make its air assault on my senses. When you have a 7-year-old son this is all too common. There are 2 things that undoubtedly can always be traced back to little Michael: Questionable funk and swarming fruit flies.
With 4 children, 3 dogs, and 1 husband … our family has its own perfume, packaged in a pretty box made of fragrant stories.
Sophia can now tell you the story of why you should never use the short cut button on the microwave labeled “Popcorn.” We all know it doesn’t work and that you have to listen for when the popcorn stops popping, right? A lesson well learned for a teenager who pushed the button and then decided to get into the shower. The microwave has never smelled the same.
My children have a well-trained nose for smelling vanilla. They can easily detect caramel corn baking in the Fall, buttermilk pancakes on Saturday morning, or the unannounced chocolate chip cookies secretly baking as a late night treat … For them, this is the smell of home.
Nothing stirs up nostalgia for me like the whiff of a summer bonfire blended with the salty damp ocean air, I’m 20 all over again. The savory scent of simmering stock takes me right back to culinary school where the permanent air freshener was bubbling bones. The comforting aroma of braising meat like short ribs or pot roast speak to my soul and remind me to pour a glass of wine and be thankful.
Like a child who willingly obeys without thought or resistance, the peppery spice of roasting chiles in the air grabs me by the hand and pulls me into the kitchen. The unmistakable scent of blackening chile skin insists that I pull out a cast iron skillet and fry potatoes and eggs.
This is the smell of home to me… The scent on the trail back to mother’s kitchen where any meal could be made out of potatoes and eggs. I guarantee she is frying potatoes with onions as we speak in her cast iron skillet. I imagine that her hair is set in rollers, covered with a dainty scarf as she stands gracefully in front of the stove in a zipper front-highly flammable-velour- pink house coat.
Home should smell like something warm and comforting. It should be a place where we find encouragement, a safe place to rest from the busy world and find nourishment for our souls. The table doesn’t have to be set and food does not have to be fancy, what is most important is that it was cooked by somebody who loves you. What smells remind you of home?
Hatch chiles are available right now through Melissa’s produce. You can check their site to see if there is a roasting event coming up at a market near you. Grown in New Mexico they are a prized chili known for their unique flavor. I always use Idaho potatoes, we all know why I love Idaho potatoes, look for the “Grown in Idaho” symbol.
For how to roast Hatch Chiles, step by step, visit Shockingly Delicious.
For how to store Hatch Chiles for a rainy day, visit Presley’s Pantry.
Or how about a pizza with Hatch Chilies from Joy the Baker.
Bristol Farms is the hottest Place in Town! – Here are some upcoming dates for the Hatch Chile Roasts.
Saturday August 25th
8:00am – 2:00pm
8448 Lincoln Blvd.
Westchester, CA 90045
Saturday, September 1st
8:00am – 2:00pm
606 Fair Oaks Avenue
South Pasadena, CA 91030
Saturday & Sunday
September 8th – 9th
8:00am – 2:00pm
810 Avocado Ave.
Newport Beach, CA 92660
- 1 large Hatch Chile
- 1 teaspoon grape seed oil
- Sprinkle of kosher salt
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ medium yellow onion, cut into small dice
- 1 Idaho Russet potato, scrubbed and cut into small dice
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- pinch of – smoky paprika, dried cumin, dried oregano
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large organic eggs
- Lightly rub Hatch Chile with grape seed oil and a sprinkle of salt
- Over an open flame or in a cast iron skillet, roast chile until the skin is blistered and charred. Place into a Ziploc bag and steam for 5-10 minutes.
- With your fingers remove charred skin, stem, and seeds over the sink and then cut into thin small strips – set aside
- Heat a medium saute pan over medium/high heat; add in oil, and once hot, add the onions, potatoes, chiles, and seasonings. Stir to combine and fry until golden brown and cooked through, 7-10 minutes.
- Heat a small nonstick saute pan over medium heat; add in oil, and once hot fry eggs.
- Serve warm hash with fried eggs