Last week, I found myself the hostess of our weekly Sunday family lunch…with three hours prior notice. These lunches are one of those without-fail-rituals, where our entire family typically gets together at my sister’s place – a sprawling bungalow which can easily accommodate my mother, father, two brothers and their wives and children as well as my sister’s husband and their brood of three.
Last Sunday, however, I was unceremoniously woken up at 8:00 am with a frantic phone call from my sister who told me that her house needed to be pest controlled and would I please host the lunch this week?
That left me with just about four hours to pull together a four-course lunch for fourteen people. After hanging up with my sister I called an office friend – one of those society hostess types – for some advice.
“Calm down,” she said after hearing my frantic soliloquy. “Why not serve steak? Just marinade some now and you can cook them once your family arrives.”
“Just a steak?” I asked dubiously. “What about appetisers and desserts? My mother is a stickler for full course meals.”
“Serve some drinks and chips for appetisers,” she suggested. “And ice cream for dessert.”
“Chips?” I asked hesitantly. “I don’t know… my sister’s on a health spree. I doubt she’ll let the kids have chips, let alone have any herself.”
And that’s when my friend introduced me to Terra Chips; a chips brand which is known for real vegetable chips that are delicious and healthy. “I work through a couple of packets a week; they’re terribly addictive, but they’re made with vegetables so they don’t derail my diet at all,” my friend confided.
Suitably convinced, I thanked her, hung up and ran down to our grocery store. After picking up a bottle of wine, pomegranate juice and a few steaks I headed over to the snack section where I immediately spotted an array of Terra Chips packaged in shiny black packets in a range of flavours. After some serious deliberation, I settled for a couple of packets of ‘Original’, ‘Blues’ and ‘Mediterranean’ flavours. I also had a time-saving brainwave; instead of serving vegetables with the steak (which would involve a lot of peeling, seasoning and roasting) why not simply serve these vegetable chips instead?
Congratulating myself on my inspired idea, I headed to the checkout counter and then home. While preparing a sauce for the steak and marinating it in a light rub of salt and pepper (I’ve shared a recipe below!) I snacked on the ‘Blues’ Terra Chips flavour. A vibrant, deep blue colour, the chips had an incredibly satisfying, crunchy texture and a faintly nutty taste; quite unlike any potato chips I’ve ever had. I could already tell that these chips and I were going to become good friends; they’d be a perfect snack for those Netflix and chill nights as well as the ideal cubicle companion at work. Thanks to their light weight packaging, they’d be a great alternative to the unappetising airplane food I’m presented with when I travel for work.
At about 11:30 am, the doorbell rang – my parents always manage to be unfashionably early. Immediately, my mother bustled into the kitchen asking if I needed help. “It’s all done,” I told her smugly. “I’ll just start cooking the steaks when everyone else reaches. Maybe you could uncork a bottle of wine?”
While she did that, I emptied out a few packets of the Mediterranean Terra Chips into a large bowl, again struck by the vibrant colours; these ones were a warm combination of reds, oranges and deep yellows. I carried the bowl of chips out and settled down with a glass of red.
My father dove into the bowl of chips and I watched as his face registered the surprise of their unique, exotic taste. The Mediterranean Terra Chips combine sweet potato, yuca, taro, ruby dipped vegetables, parsnips and batata chips creating a wonderful blend of flavours. I particularly loved the sweet potato chips while my mother rhapsodised about the punchy parsnip chips.
A few minutes later, the rest of our family arrived and I began cooking the steaks while my brother poured out wine for the other adults and pomegranate juice for the kids – after convincing them that the adults were drinking the same ‘juice’. After ladling the steaks out onto serving dishes and filling a bowl with Original Terra Chips, we settled down to eat. The steak (even if I do say so myself) was tender and juicy while the sauce was rich and velvety.
The chips were also a big hit – these were a combination of batata, parsnip, sweet potato, taro and yuca – we all found it amusing that this was the first time the kids had been served vegetables without some of them being thrown onto the floor or catapulted across the room. On their part, the children were going to town with those chips following the example of their fathers and (surprisingly) their grandmother.
As I surveyed the scene, I smiled to myself. Not bad for a couple of hours’ worth of notice I thought. Maybe I could host a few more lunches in the future. With a little more time to plan and the whole range of Terra chips flavours at my disposal, who knows what I could accomplish?
Get the recipe for that delicious steak here.