When I was nineteen, I moved to Boulder, Colorado. Many things amazed me about living on the front range—the majestic mountains and crystalline streams which flowed through the town, the hawthorns groves which wove themselves thick amidst the foothills, and the tender friends who welcomed me as never before. And then there was the dazzling array of local produce, so much more diverse and abundant than anything I’d experienced in Texas.
The farmer’s market became a foundational part of my weekly ritual. I’d walk from the communal house where I lived and fill my basket with deep-purple mustard, umber-colored pumpkins, rainbow popcorn, and bison meat from buffalo raised just miles away. I was in awe of the nourishment that this landscape provided.
There was one farmer whose offerings always drew me in. He had a wry smile and warm way that seemed to suffuse not only his demeanor but his vine-ripened tomatoes and the bushels of greens overflowing from his stall. Feeling brave and also hungry, I offered to come by and cook a meal for his family and farmhands each week. In exchange, he agreed to give a share of his harvest. The catch was that I would have only salt, olive oil, and whatever vegetables were available to work with.
I began this new undertaking with unequaled enthusiasm. I admired each and every summer squash I chopped and marveled at the dewy perfection and of young heads of lettuce. However, after a few meals in a row made with almost identical ingredients and no spices to speak of, I had to get creative.
Necessity is, indeed, the mother of invention, and the recipe which follows is a testament to that. When the potatoes and poblanos were harvested, something just clicked. I knew I had to bring them together, and I’m so glad I did! Few flavors are as satisfying as fragrant roasted chilies alongside rich and creamy potatoes, both grown on the land where I was standing, nonetheless. The result turned out to be comfort food at its best. Everyone who tried them at the farm was over the moon. And after serving this dish countless times since then, I can attest to the fact that these humble ingredients, brought together with love, will never fail to impress.
Trust me, you will not be
mad if there are left-overs.