Sweet, Sweet Sunday

What’s Next?

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.

These include…

  1. Assorted baked breakfast breads…croissants, muffins, toasts
  2. Assorted cereals and dried fruits 
  3. Beverages
  4. Breakfast Meats
  5. Eggs
  6. Potatoes
  7. 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.

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Meat and Taters Around the World—Switzerland

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.

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THE INGREDIENTS

  • 4 medium-sized potatoes…(Note…Waxy potatoes seem to maintain their shape better than starchy potatoes…and also produce a crunchier cake.)
  • 3Tbsp butter
    Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • Optional ingredients…such as bacon, parsley, onions, nutmeg, pepper, or ground paprika, scallions

 

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 


FLIP

Once your potatoes have cooked on the bottom, it’s time to flip your pancake so that the other side can cook also.

This can be challenging.

But here’s how…

Using oven mitts, place a large plate bottom side up over the skillet. Invert the pan so that the pancake sits, cooked-side-up on the plate. Now flip the other side into the pan first so that side can cook also. 

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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.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Meat and Taters Around the World—Sweden

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…

HASSELBACK POTATOES

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. 

 

 

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PREP

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.

 

 

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SLICE

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.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Meat and Taters Around the World—Spain 

orange yellow green and blue abstract painting
Photo by Steve Johnson on Pexels.com

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 sandwichas 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.

 

 

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The Potatoes

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.

Mix well..

 

 


The Onions
Slice the onion into thin slices. Cook the onions in 2Tbsp olive oil for about ten minutes over medium low heat…until the onions are very soft and slightly golden. Once the onions are caramelized, drain off any excess oil. and add to the egg mixture.

 


Additional Ingredients

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.

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Cooking the Potatoes and Onions

The PanYou will want to cook this dish in a 10″ non-stick frying pan over medium heat.

The OilUse a high quality olive oil, because the potatoes will absorb quite a bit of the oil.

Cooking…

  1. Heat 1-1/2C olive oil on medium-high heat. 
  2. 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
  3. If your heat is too high, your potatoes will brown rapidly on the outside but will still be raw on the inside.
  4. 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.
  5. Cook, turning occasionally, until crisp-tender, 10–15 minutes.
  6. 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.
  7. Check the potatoes occasionally to make sure they are not taking on any color. If so, turn the heat down a bit.
  8. When the potatoes are almost done, check for seasoning.
  9. Once you can easily break a piece of potato in half with a spatula, your potatoes are done.
  10. Season potatoes and onion with salt and pepper.
  11. 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.

 

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The Omelet

  • 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.
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Meat and Taters Around the World—France

Okay…I’ll admith…I have been on another of my tangents away from the main purpose of this blog—crawling my way up the Raw Foods Pyramid bit by bit—to taslking about such forbidden topics as deep frying and beef stew…

But potatoes are a vegetable, and vegetables are a major element of the Raw Foods Pyramid…

And deep frying is a cooking method…and another of our goals right now is to learn more about the dfifferent cooking methods…even though we are using the Raw Foods Pyramid as a guide…(don’t ask…just go with it).

Baeckeoffe is a hearty casserole or stew that consists of a simple mixture of lamb, beef, pork and potatoes that is typical in the French region of Alsace, which is situated on the border between Germany and France.

Legend has two reports of ho this dish originated…

First of all, many say that the housewives of this region made the dish on Mondays, the official designated “laundry day,”…(hey wait, lucky them, seems like every day around here is laundry day)… when they knew that they would have no time later that day to cook dinner and the took the dish to the baker who then sealed the pot with a flour-and-water paste and slow-baked in in the falling temperatures of his wood-fired oven after he finished baking his bread.

Others claim that the women would prepare this dish on Saturday evening and then leave it with the baker to cook on Sunday while they attended the typically lengthyLutheran church services of that day…(guess the Baptists and Methodists beat the Lutherans to Golden Carral and left them nothing on the buffet)…They would then pick up their casserole along with a loaf of bread on their way back from church…providing their family with a meal that was in line with the strict Lutheran rules of the Sabbath.

The term literally translates to the words “bake oven.”

The perfect baeckeoffe is a rich, warm, and aromatic casserole which containes the perfect combination of potatoes and vegetables, herbs, and perhaps marinated meat—such as pork, beef or mutton—that has been tightly sealed with a ring of dough, then simmered in the oven until juicy and tender.

 

Honestly this can be a rather time-consuming task…and actually a two-day ordeal…but it’s well worth it.
So here’s what to do on the day before…
Mix all your spices—such as garlic, bay leaves, juniper berries, thyme, parsley, 1-1/2tsp salt, and 1tsp pepper—with the white wine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THE POTATOES

Wash and peel your potatoes. Slice about the thickness of a quarter or your thumb. Set the peeled and sliced potatoes in a bowl of cold water so that they will not turn brown.

 

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THE VEGGIES
Cut your veggies…
Artrichokes
Break the stems off and remove the hearts by using a very sharp knife to peel the bottom of the artichokes around the stem and then pullnug the large leaves away from the base of the artichoke. With the knife, remove the large leaves, slice the perimeter, and slice the small tender leaves above the choke. Remove these small leaves so that only the base of the artichoke remains and squeeze lemon juice on top to prevent browning.
Carrots
Peel and dice.

Herbs…such as fresh parsley, thyme, and rosemary
Rinse.
Leek
Trim and wash. Dice.
Lemon
Rinse in cold water. Remove the white part, keeping only the peel. Cut the peel into large squares. Bring the water and sugar to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved, to make a syrup. Place the squares of preserved lemon into the syrup and let them cook for 10 minutes. Remove and drain of excess syrup.
Onion
Chop into rings.
Tomatoes
Remove the stems. Cook the tomatoes in boiling saltwater for about fifteen seconds. Then peel, and cut them into quarters, removing and discarding the seeds.—such as onions, leeks, carrots—into small pieces. and
Combine these chopped veggies with your spices in a large bowl or very large Ziploc bag.
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THE MEAT
Cut the meat—your choice of beef, pork, pig’s feet, oxtail
You could also leave out the meat and make this a vegetarian-friendly dish if you’d like.or lamb—
into bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl or bag…(Plan on using about a third to a half pound of meat per person)…
MARINATING
Pour white wine over the top of the ingredients until covered.
Cover the bowl. R
Refrigerate overnight, stirring or flipping the bag over occasionally while marinating..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE LAYERS

Layer the ingredients into a 4″ deep Baeckoffe terrine,…oops…I forgot to pick one of those up the last time I went to Walmart, right?!)  in the following order…

  • potatoes…making sure each potato overlaps the last
  • ¼C of the vegetables
  • salt, pepper and parsley
  • 4oz meat

Repeat the layers one more time.

Then finish layering with potato and two tomato slices.

Pour wine to cover.

Salt and pepper every layer, especially the ones with the meat and the potatoes.

 

 

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THE SEAL

Now traditionally is the time to make the seal of dough to put around the edge of the dish. This helps to keep the aroma of the wine from escaping and the cooking liquid from evaporating.

To do this, mix together enough flour and water as necessary to form a firm dough.

Roll the dough out into a long rope….long enough to wrap around the casserole.

Place the lid of the casserole over the dish. Press the dough around the joint between the lid and the casserole…making sure it tightly joins the casserole dish and lid.

Brush the egg yolk over the dough.

You could also use a band of heavy aluminum foil…(much easier, right?!)

 

 

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Cooking

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook for an hour.

Lower the oven temp to 300. Bake for an hour to an hour–and-half.

 

Place the sealed dish on the center rack of the oven. Cook for three hours.

Reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Cooki for 1-1/2 hours more.

Melt butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the meat. Cook for about five minutes or until browned all over. Transfer to a bowl.

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SERVING
Serve from the same casserole dish that you baked it in…along with salad. a loaf of crusty bread, and the rest of the white wine that you used for making the marinade….assuming you still have some left and haven’t already downed it while cooking the dish

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Mr. Potato Head’s Other Produce-Bin Buddies

So far we have looked at two types of potatoes—waxy potatoes such as the Russet, and all-purpose such as the Yukon Gold.
There are two more categories of potatoes that I would like to look at…waxy potatoes and sweet potatoes.
So what are the characteristics of a waxy potato?
  • 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.

 

 

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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…

LaRette

  • Flavor…nutty
  • Texture…silky

Red Thumb

  • Flesh…pink flesh
  • Skin…bright red skin

Rose Finn Apple

  • Skin…pink, often knobby skin
  • Flesh…golden buttery yellow
  • Flavor…earthy flavor

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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
  • Taste…sweet,
  • Uses…boiling, steaming, roasting…not for baking….

 

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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
  • Flesh…lavender
  • 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
  • Flesh…white
  • Size…small
  • Skin…dark purple
  • Texture…creamy and moist texture.
  • Uses…roasting, boiling, casseroles and gratins…but not for soups….

 

 

 

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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
  • Skin…red
  • 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
  • Flesh…yellow
  • Taste…mild and earthy
  • Texture…firm and moist

 

 

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5. Yellow Potatoes

Our final category of potatoes is the yellow potato. Two types of yellow potato are…

  • Carola
  • Shape…oblong
  • Skin…yellow
  • Flesh…yellow
  • 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
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Potato Salad

Just in time for all the upcoming summer cookouts—such as the 4th of July—next on the perfect potato recipe agenda is making the perfect potato salad.
The perfect potato salad will be super creamy with the perfect potatoes creamed with the perfect dressing and combined wit just the right amounts of boiled eggs, sweet onion, sweet pickle relish, celery, and anything else you might like to add.
The following potato salad recipe is very simple to make and will make sure that the potato salad that you serve at all the upcoming summer festivities with be truly delicious and the perfect accompaniment to your hamburger, grilled ribs, and anything else on the menu.
(Before we even get started though, let me remind you that you need to make your potato salad ahead of time so that the flavors can all meld together.

 

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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

 

 

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How do I cook the potatoes?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Cook the potatoes for 10-15min or until you can easily pierce the potatoes with a fork.
  5. Drain the potatoes.
  6. Set them in a bowl of ice for a couple of minutes to keep them from cooking even more.
  7. Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them and cut into large diced pieces.
  8. Put the warm potatoes to a large bowl.
  9. 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
  10. Allow the potatoes to cool for at least 15min before adding your dressing.

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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

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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…

  • chives
  • cilantro
  • dill
  • parsley
  • tarragon

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?

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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…

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Mashed Potatoes

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.

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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….

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Hash Browns

potatoes fun knife fork
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Hash browns are standard breakfast fare, second only to grits in the back woods of Mississippi where I am from, and an ultimate comfort food.

So what are the “perfect” hash browns…and how do you make them at home?

The perfect hash browns will be perfectly and evenly golden-brown—extra crispy, crackly, and buttery on the outside…and creamy and fluffy on the inside.

Soaking Your Potatoes

  • Scrub your potatoes clean. Do not peel the potatoes.

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect French Fries

Homemade French Fries…why even bother when it would be so much easier either to drive thru McDonald’s or grab a bag of frozen fries out of your freezer…the one that’s probably been hiding in there for the last couple of years at least…goal for today—clean out freezer!!!

Because we are talking about the deep frying cooking methods and potatoes, and of course the topic of French fries would eventually come up.

The perfect French fries are extra astonishingly crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside.

French fries are actually very easy to make ahead and store in your freezer that you may never buy another bag of frozen fries ever, ever again…

 

 


The Potatoes

Which potatoes?

  • Yukon Gold…that’s why we’re learning about making French fries while we are on the topic of Yukon Gold potatoes…go figure, right?
  • Choose the largest ones you can find.

Why are Yukon Gold potatoes better?

  • …because they are less starchy and will turn out much crispier than any other type of potato.

How many potatoes?

  • Figure on two potatoes per person.

How do I slice the potatoes?

  • Slice the potatoes into ½” thick sticks. The thinner you cut your fries, the crispier they will be.
  • Wash the potatoes.
  • Peeling them at this point is purely a matter of personal preference.

Soaking Your Potatoes

Soak the potato slices in cold water for at least one hour, perhaps even overnight. The longer, the better.

Soaking your potatoes removes the starch and will end up making your French fries extra crispy and keep them from sticking to each other when you are cooking them.

 

 

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Cooking Your French Fries

 

Most cooks and chefs agree that the best way to getting those perfectly crispy fries that you’re craving is to double fry your potatoes—first for five or six minutes at 300° to cook the middle of the potato, and then frying them a second time at 400° to cook the outside.

Using a deep-fat thermometer will help ensure that the oil is at the proper temperature before you start adding your potatoes to the water.

Drain the potatoes.. Pat them dry with paper towels or a clean dishcloth.

Be sure to use a pot that is large and tall enough—such as a tall 8-quart soup pot, to contain the oil without overflowing when the potatoes are slipped in.

Pour enough oil into the pan that it measures about 1-1/2″ deep.

Heat the oil over high heat until it reaches 300.

Carefully drop small batches of potatoes to the hot oil. Frying too many French fries at once makes them less crispy.

The oil should bubble lightly.  The temperature of the oil will drop to about 260 F after the potatoes are added.

Gently stir the fries to ensure that they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan or stick to each other.  

Fry for about five minutes.

Remove from the oil using a pair of tongs or a slotted metal spoon.

At this point we’re only heating the potatoes, so don’t be disappointed if they’re not crisp yet.
Place the cooked potatoes on a paper towel lined plate.

 

Increase the heat to 400 degrees.

Fry a second time in batches about five more minutes, until they are crisp and golden-brown.

Remove them onto dry paper towels.
Sprinkle with salt as soon as they come out.