One of the hardest things for me to do in the morning is to wake up…just to wake myself up…to wake up and function before having my normal two pots of coffee…
But now that the “resident five year old” is going to “real” school, I am expected to not only wake up myself…but wake “the resident five year old” up, get him dressed, feed him breakfast, and get him to school in time.
I have only been doing this for a week…and I have to do this for how many years before I can have the empty nest that most couples my age already have…
Oh well, being the Army wife that I am, I must do what I have pretty much always have done…what my husband and his Army buddies said they they had to do when they were deployed…
“Shut up and color”
So instead of complaining about the fact that I have to feed the numchkin before sending him out the door, let’s develop a strategy that will make feeding him breakfast every single morning for eternity not such a big deal…and not him having to dread the same old boring bowl of Corn Flakes every single morning like I did when I was growing up.
When it comes to breakfast, there are a few categories that we can use to create out game plan…types of food that are served om the typical breakfast buffet.
- Assorted baked breakfast breads…croissants, muffins, toasts
- Assorted cereals and dried fruits
- Breakfast Meats
- Seasonal fruit
So let’s look at a few recipes under each of these categories that we can put into our arsenal to shoot out the door ready to send our troops off to battle the day ahead.
For our final Meat and Taters recipe from around the world, let’s travel to Switzerland…and try the rösti….(The word is actually pronounced “reursch-ti,” not row-sti…as you might think when you first saw the word…and the word “rösti” translates as “crisp and golden,”.)…
This dish consists of grated potatoes that are shaped into 1″-5″ patties and served in wedges like pizza….kinda like a giant latke or potato pancake.
These latkes-of-a-sort are enjoyed primatily in the German-speaking area along the border between the French-speaking and the German-speaking parts of the country.
And even though this dish started out as a breakfast dish, and is now more commonly served as an accompaniment, often to egg or sausage dishes.
the Swiss now enjoy
This is a simple peasant dish that began with just two humble ingredients—
But feel free to branch out and try serving this along with smoked salmon, sour cream, chives, or braised Savoy cabbage, smoked ham, fried eggs, salmon roe, chopped onion, dill, Swiss cheese
The perfect rösti is extra crispy on the outside…and soft and buttery on the inside….never an unpleasantly starchy flavour and greasy, raw interior…like the very best hash brown potatoes…but even more delicious.
- 4 medium-sized potatoes…(Note…Waxy potatoes seem to maintain their shape better than starchy potatoes…and also produce a crunchier cake.)
- 3Tbsp butter
- Olive Oil
- Optional ingredients…such as bacon, parsley, onions, nutmeg, pepper, or ground paprika, scallions
Many chefs start a day ahead by parboiling their potatoes in salt water until just tender, but not soft…allowing them to cool…and then chilling their potatoes for a couple of hours or even overnight. This will eventually make the potatoes easier to grate and helps them stick together when you’re cooking them.
Anyway, regardless if you chill them or not, at least clean and peel your potatoes.
Grate the peeled raw potatoes into a bowl. This is traditionally done by hand with a rosti grater…but honestly how many of us have rosti graters at home…and Alton warns us about “unitaskers” in how many episodes?
So instead do this with a box grater, food processor.
You want to use the larger holes on your box grater, not the smaller ones. This will mean not only faster work, but also better texture.
Let the potatoes rest for at least five minutes.
Now squeeze as much liquid as possible out of the potatoes by grabbing and squeezing fistfuls.
Transfer to a second bowl.
Season the potatoes with salt and pepper….Salting the grated raw potatoes at this point will “draw out” the excess water…making the rösti more crispy on the outside.
Melt 3Tbsp butter in an 8″ nonstick or cast-iron skillet.
Add the grated potatoes to the pan, Use a metal spatula to spread the potatoes in a layer that is about 1″ deep.
Add salt, onions, spices
Cook over medium heat for ten minutes, stirring two or three times with a metal spatula to coat the potatoes evenly with butter and avoid “hot spots.”
Cook until the bottom of the pancake turns golden and crisp…and the top of the pancake starts to look translucent….about fifteen minutes.
Finish Cooking and Serve
Add 2Tbsp more oil or butter to the pan.
Now slide the pancake back into the pan….browned side up.
Tent with foil.
Cook for another ten minutes…until the other side is also browned and the potatoes feel really tender in the middle.
Slide the rosti onto a plate, cutting board, or cooling rack.
Cut it into wedges.
Add more salt and pepper if desired.
Getting my five year old ready to start “real school” in the fall has reminded how there’s always one of THEM in almost any crowd…
The sibling that gets your mom the most expensive gift of any other sibling
The nerd in the class that always aces the test that most of us have just failed
The homeroom mother eight months pregnant, kid in tow, perfectly organizing the homeroom Christmas…or whatever the heck THEY acknowledge the holiday as this week…party
The relative that brings the fanciest side dish to the Thanksgiving side dish to the annual “let’s all get together and pretend like we all like each other once a year” ordeal…
Your sister in law was so proud of her mashed potatoes…until you showed up with your twice-baked potatoes…
But lo and behold…here comes THAT sibling…the one you’ve competed with and lived in the shadows of your entire life walking in fashionably late with nothing but…
We can all thank Leif Elisson for being the overachiever in his cooking school and creating these potatoes back in 1953…when he was a chef in training at the famous restaurant at the Hasselbacken Hotel in Stockholm…an elegant hotel that first opened in 1748.
By the way the word Hasselback actually translates “Hazel Hill.”
In fact, they can’t be possibly be as hard as they look like they would be to make if the Swedes enjoy them not only for “red calendar day” events…but also for breakfast, appetizers, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
They are basically a baked potato…so I’m not gonna go into depth as far as cooking them…already talked about that in this previous post…
These just go extra by requiring that you make a special series of deep parallel cuts along the top of the potato so that it opens into their expected fan shape….and then so that you can showboat various toppings on top.
Surprisingly these potatoes only take a little more effort than a regular baked potato…and can make such an impact when served alongside a special dinner—such as a holiday roast, date night steak, or Easter ham.
The perfect Hasselback potatoes have perfectly crispy, crunchy, and golden edges of French fries on the outside…the soft, buttery, creamy goodness of mashed potatoes on the inside….and the perfect amounts of cheddar, Parmesan cheese, fresh chives, sour cream, bacon, crumbled feta, spring onions, etc.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet or a 9×13-inch pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Arrange a rack in the bottom third of the oven and heat to 425°F.
The one thing that separates a hasselback potato from a plain everyday baked potato is the way it is cut.
So settle on bringing mashed potatoes or twice-baked potatoes to the party until you master the technique.
First of all, it is important that you choose a good quality knife to cut your potatoes—one with a thin blade that is very sharp…(and have the number to the nearest CareNow clinic close at hand.)…
Slice a thin layer from the bottom of the potato to keep it from rolling around.
Place a potato between the handles of two wooden spoons or two chopsticks. This creates a “guardrail” that should help keep you from slicing the potato all the way through….the most important thing to not do whenever making this dish…(other than cooking them too long and burning both your potatoes and perhaps even your house.)
Another option to help guide you as you are making your cuts is to rest the potato in a large serving spoon.
Cut thin parallel slits about every 1/4″ across each of the potatoes, leaving 1/4″ at the bottom intact. The thinner the slices, the better the end result.
Push the knife straight down into the potato. Once your knife hits the chopsticks or edge of the spoon, stop slicing. Once again, it is important to make sure that the slices stay connected at the bottom of the potato.
Don’t worry about your slices being perfect, they will end up great regardless.
If all else fails, and you still suck at this, then order yourself a Hasselback potato cutting board…they’ll still be impressed…
Repeat with the remaining potatoes, sertting each on the prepared baking sheet once sliced.
Next let’s look at a classic potato dish from the country Spain……Spain’s “true national” dish….
Tortilla de Patata
Also known as the Spanish omelette or Spanish tortilla, tortilla de patata are eaten across the country, for any meal of the day,…for breakfast, for dinner, served at room temperature as an appetizer…in (triangle pieces served with a fork as a “tapa”…cur into little cubes and served with a cocktail stick as “pincho” …as a sandwich…as a picnic dish…and served in almost every home, cafe, bar, mall or rest stop….kinda like French fries here in Ameriax, I guess…
The word “tortilla” can actually be translated into the word “cake.”
Yet despite the name, this dish is totally different from the tortillas that we all think about when the word is mentioned….the ones we eat with fajitas, quesadillas, and so forth.
The perfect tortilla de patata is the perfectly juicy and thick omelet consisting of the perfect combination of eggs, potatoes, garlic, onion and olive oil….and perhaps spices—such as pepper, parsley or oregano…and veggies—such as green or red peppers and asparagus and mushrooms and peas…and meat—such as chorizo, sausage, diced ham, tuna, and shrimp.
So let’s look at how to make this simple and delicious dish.
The best potatoes to make this dish are starchy potatoes, such as the Russett potato.
Cut the potatoes into ½ centimeter slices. If you slice your potatoes too thin, they will stick together….It’s better to err on the thick side…that just means that it will take a little longer for them to cook.
Pat the potato slices dry.
Put them in a large bow.
Sprinkle with salt. Salting the potatoes draws out more of their liquid and flavor.
Feel free to play around and experiment with other ingredients to go into your omelette, but honestly, the simpler, the better.
For example…try adding…
Add any extra ingredients a few minutes before your potatoes and onion finish cooking, depending on the cooking time of the ingredient.
Chorizo Sausage: Slice a Spanish chorizo sausage into eggs while they are frying…(more on this later)…
Green Pepper: Add 1 chopped green or red bell pepper to the potatoes and onions and fry.
Ham: Add a couple 1/4″ thick slices of finely chopped ham, or Canadian bacon.
Cooking the Potatoes and Onions
The Pan…You will want to cook this dish in a 10″ non-stick frying pan over medium heat.
The Oil…Use a high quality olive oil, because the potatoes will absorb quite a bit of the oil.
- Heat 1-1/2C olive oil on medium-high heat.
- Your oil is hot enough, once you can add a single piece of potato into the oil and it starts sizzling…(see more about pan frying in this previous post…Pan-Frying 101
- If your heat is too high, your potatoes will brown rapidly on the outside but will still be raw on the inside.
- Once you skillet is hot, carefully add your potatoes and onions into the frying pan, spreading it evenly over the bottom of the pan…as we did when we were Making the Perfect Hash Browns.
- Cook, turning occasionally, until crisp-tender, 10–15 minutes.
- Your goal is to slowly fry the potatoes until they are tender and creamy….not to the point where they become crisp like french fries.
- Check the potatoes occasionally to make sure they are not taking on any color. If so, turn the heat down a bit.
- When the potatoes are almost done, check for seasoning.
- Once you can easily break a piece of potato in half with a spatula, your potatoes are done.
- Season potatoes and onion with salt and pepper.
- Once you have finished frying your potatoes, remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and place them in a colander to cool for 5 minutes.
- Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Combine with the potatoes, onions, salt, and pepper.
- Let soak for about ten minutes. This will help your finished product stick together better.
- Melt 2Tbsp butter over medium heat. Add the egg mixture.
- Cook about eight minutes.
- Now’s the time to flip the omelette over….to do this, place a large dinner plate upside down over the frying pan. With one hand on the frying pan handle and the other on top of the plate to hold it steady, quickly turn the frying pan over and let the omelet fall onto the plate.
- Place the frying pan back onto the stove. Add enough oil to cover the bottom and sides of the pan.
- Slide the tortilla, uncooked side down, back into the pan. Tuck the sides underneath.
- Cook until golden on bottom and cooked through, about five minutes more.
- Use a large plate to flip the tortilla out of the pan.
- Turn the heat off and let the tortilla sit in the pan for 2 minutes. Allow the tortilla to sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.
- fine-grained, dense flesh
- generally smaller and rounder
- high moisture level
- high sugar content
- hold their shape well during cooking
- low in starch
- more moisture
- smoother texture
- thinner skin
Waxy potatoes are best for boiling, steaming, frying,roasting, and making casseroles—such as potatoes au gratin and scalloped potatoes.
Let’s look at five different categories of waxy potatoes—fingerlings, new potatoes, red potatoes, purple potatoes, and yellow potatoes.
1.Fingerlings…Fingerlings are basically an elongated variety of new potatoes.
- Flesh…ranging from red orange to purple, yellow or white
- Shape…thin, finger-like shape
- Size…ranging from 2″ to 4″
- Skin…thin, tender skin…colors ranging from red to orange to purple or white
- Three varieties of fingerlings that you might find are…
- Flesh…pink flesh
- Skin…bright red skin
Rose Finn Apple
- Skin…pink, often knobby skin
- Flesh…golden buttery yellow
- Flavor…earthy flavor
2. New Potatoes
- Technically, any potato picked before the height of maturity,, before its sugars have fully converted to starch.is a new potato.
- Uses…Because new potatoes are so small, they are simply boiling whole and eating unpeeled…as in a roast…that food that we all probably hated growing up and absolutely love now that we have grown up ourselves…kinda like a rite of passage…
- Shape…small and round
- Skin…thin and tender..various colors
- Uses…boiling, steaming, roasting…not for baking….
3. Purple Potatoes
Purple potatoes are named purple potatoes because why…gee, could it be their skin…since the other two varieties of potatoes that we will talk about are the white potato and the yellow potato…
A few of the characteristics of the purple potato…
- Flavor…earthy, nutty flavor
- Skin…deep purple
- Uses…grilling, roasting
One variety of purple potato that you might find available is the Purple Viking…
- Flavor…meaty, slightly sweet and buttery
- Skin…dark purple
- Texture…creamy and moist texture.
- Uses…roasting, boiling, casseroles and gratins…but not for soups….
4. Red Potatoes,
Red potatoes are are typically small, smooth, and round,,,,and as you c an probably figure out, have a red skin.. These potatoes have creamy moist texture and subtly sweet flavor.
These are the potatoes that you want to use whenever you are roasting, boiling, or steaming.
Three common varieties of new potatoes are…
- Adirondack Red
- Flavor…lightly sweet
- Flesh…pink to red flesh that’s either opaque or in a starburst pattern
- Texture…moist, meaty and waxy
- Red Bliss
- Flesh…creamy white
- Skin…bright red
- Taste…slightly bitter
- Texture…firm, moist and waxy
- Rose Gold
- Skin… rose-red skin
- Taste…mild and earthy
- Texture…firm and moist
5. Yellow Potatoes
Our final category of potatoes is the yellow potato. Two types of yellow potato are…
- Flavor…strong, classic potato flavor with earthy and buttery notes
- Texture…firm, creamy and waxy texture
- Austrian Crescent
- Skin…yellowish, tan smooth skin
- Flesh…yellow flesh
What kind of potatoes should I use…and how many?
You will need about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds,…about six,,,Yukon gold potatoes…
Avoid using russet potatoes…they tend to fall apart.
Yukon Gold potatoes are the best potatoes for making potato salad for many reasons, such as the facts that they…
- are creamier
- are sweeter
- cook quickly
- have a thinner skin, which means that they are easier to peel
- hold their shape well after cooking
How do I cook the potatoes?
- Do not cut or peel the potatoes before cooking them…cook them whole. This will help them maintain more of their flavor and natural sweetness.
- Add the potatoes to cold water and then bring to a boil This will give you a better consistency than if you had added the potatoes to hot, boiling water.
- Add a tablespoon to the water. This will give the potatoes more flavor. Adding salt to the cooking water brings out the flavor of the potatoes.
- Cook the potatoes for 10-15min or until you can easily pierce the potatoes with a fork.
- Drain the potatoes.
- Set them in a bowl of ice for a couple of minutes to keep them from cooking even more.
- Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them and cut into large diced pieces.
- Put the warm potatoes to a large bowl.
- Stir in a few hearty splashes of a vinegar-y liquid—such as white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, or dill pickle juice—the potatoes are still warm This will give your potato salad a subtle flavor punch
- Allow the potatoes to cool for at least 15min before adding your dressing.
Dressing,,,Mix the following together…
- 1-1/2C mayonnaise
- 1/4C yellow mustard
- 1 1/2tsp celery seed
- 2tsp sugar
- 1/2tsp onion powder
- 1/4C sweet pickle relish
- salt and pepper according to taste
Extra ingredients….Once you have your cooked and chopped potatoes coated with your dressing, it’s time to add anything else that you would like in your salad, such as…
- Boiled Eggs…5 eggs peeled…This will add texture and extra creaminess.
- Celery…2 large stalks, diced…Celery adds a nice crunch.
- Dill or Sweet Pickle
- Onion…6 diced green onions or half of a sweet onion…This will add sweetness and crunch …but make sure that the onion doesn’t overpower the the flavors of the rest of the salad ingredients. You can help take the raw edge off the onion by putting the chopped onion in cool water for about ten minutes.
Finally you might want to add fresh Herbs…Herbs most commonly used in potato salad include…
Finally after combining the potatoes, the dressing, and the “stuff”…sprinkle some paprika on top….just because that’s probably how your grandmother and mother would have done it…not sure it actually adds anything to the salad except for color, right?
Now cover your salad with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least four hours.
Your potato salad will stay good in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days…assuming it hasn’t been eaten by then, of course…
Mashed potatoes are to dinner fare what hash browns are to breakfast fare…and in this post, we’re gonna learn how to make the best mashed potatoes ever.
The perfect mashed potatoes are rich, super-creamy, and thick…and flavored with butter, sour cream, garlic and Parmesan cheese.
Which type of potatoes should I use?
The best variety of potato to use when making mashed potatoes is Yukon Gold….(that’s why I put mashed potatoes in this section on Yukon Gold potatoes…go figure)…because they give your mashed potatoes an even creamier texture….
Should I Cut or Peel My Potatoes?
First of all, whether or not you peel the potatoes before cutting them is purely a matter of preference. Some people like the texture that the skin adds,while other don’t…Just remember that the skin is where all the extra nutrients and flavor.s are.
Regardless if you peel them or not, you will need to cut your potatoes into evenly-sized chunks, about an inch or so thick. You do not want to boil whole potatoes Now transfer the potatoes to a large stockpot full of cold water until all of the potatoes are cut and ready to go.
How do I cook my potatoes?
Place the potatoes In a 6-quart stockpot, and cover with enough cold water that the water line sits about 1″ above the potatoes. Add 1Tbsp salt. You do not want to boil or heat the water before addiong the potatoes because they might not cook evenly.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat down to medium-low. Cook about 15min…until you can stick a knife into the middle of the potato with almost no resistance.
Draining and steaming to finish helps pull out any remaining water for a fluffy final texture. …Whether or not you cook them without peeling them first is a matter of personal preference.
So carefully drain out all of the water.
Return the drained potatoes into the hot stockpot. Set back on the stove over low heat. Gently shake the pan for about a minute to release some of the steam and moisture from the potatoes.
Remove the pan from the heat.
Set them aside until you are actually ready to mash your potatoes….this will make sure that all the liquid is evaporated.
Now what do I do?
Heat 1/3C salted butter, 1C milk, and 2tsp salt together either in a small saucepan or in the microwave until warm…but avoid boiling the milk. Set aside until ready to use. This keeps the potatoes hot and absorbs better.
Return the potatoes to the hot stockpot. Place back on the hot burner, but first turn the heat down to low. Using two oven mitts, carefully hold the handles on the stockpot and shake it gently on the burner for about a minute to help cook off some of the remaining steam within the potatoes.
Mash the potatoes with a potato masher, strong wooden spoon, or electric beaters until smooth, adding a little extra milk if needed…but be careful not to over beat or they will become gluey.
Add warm milk mixture, a little bit at a time, to the potatoes until they reach the desired consistency is reached.
Stir in 3 cloves garlic, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, 1/2C sour cream, fresh herbs, onion, shredded cheddar, cooked bacon bits, chives…whatever you want.