Roasted potato salad, and how to get rid of that smell.

A heartfelt goodbye to summer. Please don’t come back in a hurry.


Roasted potato salad


(I do not take any responsibility for the charred peppers. It was the gas oven!)

Recipe- adapted from Epicurious.


1 lb small potatoes (the tiniest round ones you can find-they are often bagged separately. I don’t like to use fingerlings here- they are too sweet.)

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1-2 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp coarse salt

1/2 tsp coarsely ground pepper

1 red bell pepper, chopped into bite sized pieces

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

a few fresh basil leaves (optional- I didn’t have them.)

1 tbsp feta crumbles

– Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.

– In a large bowl, toss the scrubbed potatoes with oil, salt and pepper.

– Spread the potatoes on a foil lined baking sheet. Add the garlic cloves (unpeeled) to one end and crumple the foil over the cloves to make a pocket.

– Roast the veggies for 20 minutes, then add in the peppers and roast for another 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes and peppers are done. (Charring optional.)

– In the same bowl, add the vinegar. Peel the roasted garlic cloves and mash them in the vinegar. Add the potatoes and peppers and toss quickly.

– Sprinkle the feta and basil on top and serve warm.

This is a delicious salad, best served relatively quickly.

And now on to more practical things.

That curry smell.

I wasn’t aware of this entity until I came to the US. Indian houses don’t smell like curry. They are designed for curry. The walls are brick, the floors hard cement/stone. Kitchens have large windows and industrial-strength exhaust fans. There are no carpets, no heavy drapery, and no central air-conditioning.

Most American kitchens, on the other hand, are designed for closed cooking. Boiling, baking, roasting. Bring in an open wok and lots of spices, and you have a situation. That curry smell.

So, until you build yourself an Indian house, here’s what you can do.

1. Ventilate, ventilate, ventilate. Before you start cooking, open windows, turn on the fans, and use that exhaust above your stove.

2. Cover your pots and pans as much as possible.

3. Remove any splatters  immediately. After you’re done cooking, clean the stove-top, counters and the floor (if you cook like me, there’s going to be food on that floor) with a rag soaked in white vinegar and baking soda. Grease is your enemy.

4. If all else fails, boil a saucepan full of apple cider vinegar till its almost completely evaporated.

5. Once in a while, rub down your cabinetry with vinegar. This will remove the tiny grease splatters that carry all the aromatics.

Finally, if the neighbors complain, invite them over for a curry dinner!


About purplesque

Psychiatrist, cook, bookworm, photographer. Not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in Food, Recipes, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Roasted potato salad, and how to get rid of that smell.

  1. Emmi says:

    *Share my curry? Never! (just kidding….)

    Thanks for posting this recipe! I forget about leaving garlic unpeeled until it’s roasted. The past few months the markets have had poor quality garlic and that makes it impossible to peel. I was so happy the day I discovered the stainless steel knife method of getting rid of the garlic smell from my hands. So bravo on the curry advice and what a neat background as well.

    I spent a year living in Kittery, Maine and my housemate was formerly engaged to a gorgeous grad student from India – he and his friends still hung out with us and just for me (vegetarian at the time) they cooked dahl – the most wonderful homemade recipe, ever. I did not realize either that spices are addictive. Who knew? For work I had to be up at 4:30 am and guess which leftovers I immediately reached for when I wanted breakfast?

  2. Vijay says:

    I like the last suggestion.
    Am I considered a neighbour?

    • purplesque says:

      Yes, sir, you are. Come over for lunch and kaapi any time. (And I won’t serve you any of that Northie instant coffee either; we are in proud possession of a french press and Cafe du Monde chicory coffee.)

  3. Zotta says:

    Very good shot. And interesting about “that smell” prevention. In small NY apartment buildings, smells of any cooking travel extensively. We’re big fans of curry, and I hear the tumeric in it is good for arthritis.

    • purplesque says:

      I bet it does, Z! Curry is good for a lot of things- or rather the curry spices are. They are doing a LOT Of research on the curcumin in turmeric and its role in preventing Alzheimer’s right now. In India, turmeric is often used as an all-purpose antiseptic and general immunity booster- a common remedy for colds/injuries was turmeric in hot milk.

  4. robpixaday says:

    YUM!!!!! they look FABULOUS!!!!!

    Haaaa….that’s neat about the smells. No, really. My Mom used to worry a lot about the scent of fried fish and onions hanging around. So right afterward she’d boil water with cinnamon in it. Or peppermint extract.

    • purplesque says:

      Thanks, R! Maybe I’ll add peppermint to my vinegar the next time. The scent of cinnamon has lost its appeal. I didn’t know it was possible to over-use a spice, but cinnamon seems to have cornered that dubious niche.

  5. The odors in our kitchen that drive me nuts are daikon and fish, especially mackerel and the sea bass my father likes to cook. Curry is actually pleasant compared to those. Daikon always smells like rotting garbage, especially if it’s been allowed to sit, grated, at room temperature.

    I think I’d enjoy living in an Indian-style house. It’d probably be chilly in the winter, but in California the issue is usually heat, not cold.

    • purplesque says:

      Oo..daikon does smell worse than curry.

      You’ve reminded me of a school snack sold in India- long thick slices of daikon, dunked in a spicy curry sauce. They were incredibly hot, immensely popular, and virtually guaranteed to clear out your sinuses.

      I’d like to live in an Indian style house, too, mostly because I miss fresh air.

  6. Aussie Emjay says:

    Vinegar is wonderful for so many things. Vanilla works on smells quite well too.
    I thought summer was over too but then we had to turn our a/c on today!!!!!

    • purplesque says:

      Vanilla is always good.

      Fall puts a skip in my step, but the past two days seem to have gotten warm again. I don’t like having to check the weather forecast every day before deciding what to wear..

  7. phantomxii says:

    No, no, no—what you need are fussy, expensive air fresheners that consume batteries or house power in order to periodically spritz chemicals of questionable safety into the air, making the entire house smell like a candle shop. Mmm…imitation vanilla scent…

    • Duuude, what you want is patchouli incense, so your house will smell like nearly every used record store here on the West Coast.

      I used to wonder if they were using it to disguise the smell of their medicinal marijuana; but M—–l thinks it’s to hide the smell of moldy, aging paper and vinyl. He said he would prefer the smell of old record albums to patchouli, and I agree.

    • purplesque says:

      🙂 I don’t mind the noxious-chemicals-that-will-probably-give-me-cancer part so much, but the fact that they don’t work! All they do is mix with the existing scents. Vanilla-lemon-curry is not an odor that should EVER exist.

  8. jaklumen says:

    Do baby red potatoes work?

    Hmmm… white vinegar and baking soda is a good grease remover? Might have to try that instead of the commercial strength Fantastik.

    Fresh air is nice– we have to open windows here because the Super Good Cents standards to which our apartment was built really does seal in that staleness. Indian standards seem nice (especially as I’m getting so TIRED of carpets and it would probably be easier to clean), but it’d get too cold in the fall and winter here.

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