Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Homemade Potato Chips

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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
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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.
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Baked Potato Soup

A third dish that you can make with extra baked potatoes is Baked Potato Soup.

The perfect Baked Potato Soup will be  a creamy, hearty soup chock full of cheese, onion, sour cream and bacon.

So let’s get cooking…

 

 


The Potatoes

4 large russet potatoes—baked, peeled and cubed)

As we have been talking about on the last two articles about baked potatoes, Russet potatoes are the best potatoes to use whenever you are baking potatoes. Russet potatoes  contain enough starch that they will break down while they cook, making your soup creamier than any other type of potato would.
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The Bacon

 


The Veggies

4 tbsp unsalted Challenge Butter

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4C onion, diced

 

Melt butter i n the skillet with the bacon grease in a Dutch oven or stock pot.

Saute the onions and garlic in the butter and bacon grease over medium heat until the onion becomes translucent….about two or three minutes.

 

 

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The Roux 

1/2C flour 

4C milk

3 cups chicken stock

1C half and half

 

Turn the burner that you used to cook the bacon down to low.

Whisk in flour until smooth. Cook for about a minute or two.

Stir in milk, chiicken broth,  and half-and-half, whisking constantly until smooth and thick,

Bring to a light simmer.

Whisk in the salt, garlic salt and pepper.

Simmer for 6min, until the mixture has thickened slightly.

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Cooking

1C sour cream

1tsp salt

1tsp pepper

2C shredded cheddar

¼X chopped green onion or green onions

Stir in potatoes. Use a potato masher to mash some of the potatoes a few times to break them up a bit.

Increase the stove temperature slightly to bring to a boil, stirring frequently.

Reduce heat.

Simmer 10min.

Mix in sour cream, 1C cheddar cheese, some of the bacon (save the remaining cheese and bacon for topping).

Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until cheese is melted, stirring frequently.

If your soup is too thin and watery, add more half-and-half or instant potato flakes.

If your soup is too thick, add more chicken broth.

Remove the pot from the heat.

 

 

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Serving

Remove from heat.

 

Top individual servings with remaining cheese, remaining bacon, green onion, and sour cream.

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Baked Potatoes

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Russet the Rascal

So let’s check our Mr. Potato Head and his fellow companions….actually the group has two different cliques—each based on the amount of  starch and water that they contain.

These groups are the following…

  • Starchy
  • All-purpose
  • Waxy

Let’s look at the characteristics of a starchy potato…

  • absorbent almost all of the butter and cream that you place on them…yum…
  • break down easily when cooked
  • don’t hold together very well when cooked
  • flesh coats your knife with a white, milky film when you cut into it

  • high in starch
  • low in moisture

The most common type of starchy potato is the russet potato, also known as an Idaho potato or Burbank potato.…russet potatoes are in fact the most common type of potato grown in the United States. Russet potatoes are the type of potato most people think of when they think about buying potatoes in the grocery store.

There are actually numerous varieties of russet potatoes. A few of their characteristics are…

  • brown
  • easily absorb butter and milk making them ideal for mashed or baked potatoes
  • just a few shallow eyes
  • light, fluffy texture
  • medium-to-large size
  • oblong or oval shaperough net-like skin that becomes chewy when cooked
  • white flesh

Cooking methods that are best for starchy potatoes include…

  • Baking
  • Deep Frying
  • Pan Frying
  • Roasting

These cooking methods create a crisp crust and keep the interior moist.

Starchy potatoes are not good for dishes that require the potatoes to hold their shape.—such as potato salads, soups, stews, and potatoes au gratin—because the flesh flakes and easily separates after cooking.

However, these potatoes are great for making…

  • baked potatoes
  • French fries
  • potato chips
  • gnocchi
  • mashed potatoes

So let’s start actually cooking by using the cooking method that we are currently talking about—deep frying—by frying up some potato chips and French fries..

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Baking from Scratch 101

The first breading that we are going to look at is for…

Baking Soda Batter…

Why?

Because most of us have had it sitting in our pantry or fridge for how long without knowing what to do with it?

There is sits, day after day, week after week…sad and lonely.

Yet this big yellow box contains hidden secrets lurking beyond its cardboard…

  • Beauty uses—such as cleaning your face…
  • Health uses—such as calming indigestion, treating heartburn, soothing canker sores, and whitening your teeth.
  • Household uses—such as neutralizing odors, cleaning, and removing tough stains,

And of course the obvious…Baking.

But baking soda can also make a great batter for frying seafood, chicken, meat and vegetables.

 

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Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder

Both baking soda and baking powder are leavening agents primarily used in baking. This means that whenever they reacts with an acidic compound—such as molasses, cream of tartarlemon juiceyogurtbuttermilkcocoa, and vinegar—.carbon dioxide is released.

This carbon dioxide being released serves many purposes, such as…

  • causes the batter to expand
  • adding a lightness to the final fried product
  • enhancing crispness
  • allowing passages for steam to escape
  • keeping the breading from being blown off during cooking.

 

 

 

But what IS the difference between the two…and which should you be using?

Baking powder is actually baking soda…but combined with cream of tartar and about one-third as strong as baking soda.

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How Do I Use Baking Soda?

Being the minimalist that I am…and given the fact that baking soda can last quite a long time whereas baking powder can ruin within three month.

So throw away, or don’t buy baking powder…just substitute baking soda for baking powder whenever called for in a recipe.

 

 

 

In order to substitute baking soda for baking powder, you must use more of your acidic ingredients and less of your baking soda that you would have used in baking powder because baking soda is about three times as powerful.

Plan on using 1tsp vinegar or lemon juice for every 1/2tsp baking soda. For example, if your recipe calls 1Tbsp baking powder, use 1tsp baking soda instead.

 

 

 

Another choice is to make your own baking powder ahead of time and store it.

To do this, you will need to first buy “cream of tartar” from the spice section of your grocery store…(or, if you’re like me, find the canister that has been sitting in your spice cabinet unused for how long now…

Mix one part baking soda and two parts cream of tartar.

If you will be storing your homemade baking powder instead of using it right away, add 1tsp cornstarch.

Finally, to test your baking soda and makre sure that it is still good, put some in a small bowl and add a little vinegar. If it bubbles up, it’s still good.