365 Things to do with Potatoes, Episode 13

Roasted potatoes.

One of the easiest ways to prepare them in my opinion. Highly underrated.

Take one large russet potato per person, slice it in half lengthwise,
slice the half in half
and then chop into 1-2 bite size bits. Usually I get 4 out of each. 6 out of the bigger ones.

Now take a sheet pan, and drizzle over it some oil. Today I used Italian Dressing, because it’s a cooking lube, and also has some of my favorite seasonings already mixed in. It’s my shortcut sauce.

If you don’t have/don’t want to use Italian Dressing, olive oil with salt and pepper and rosemary is amazing to. Or really ANY combination of seasonings you like.

Periodically poke your nose in the oven and give ’em a stir so they have a chance to cook from every angle and get coated in the seasonings. Also so they don’t stick. A tip I figured out was if you put the oil on before the potatoes, you’ve got better chance of non-stickage. It helps, and it matters, sorta.

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365 Things to do with Potatoes: Episode twelve

Episode twelve, potato cakes.

Sometimes called Latkes. But, those are traditionally a kosher dish eaten at Hanukkah. My version involves kosher salt, but it also usually involves bacon, which is not kosher.

A traditional latke is described as “Latkes are potato pancakes that are perhaps best known as traditional Hanukkah food. Made with potatoes, onion and matzah or breadcrumbs, these crispy treats symbolize the miracle of Hanukkah because they are fried in oil.” By Judism.about.com

I didn’t really fry mine in oil either…I did have some in there, because olive and vegetable oil have much higher smoking temperatures than butter and bacon fat. All of which found their way into my frying pan.

 

I love potato cakes, at least the way I do them because I don’t even try with raw potatoes. Last time I attempted to shred a raw potato I broke my cheese-grater. Right. in. half.
Screw that noise.
So, as part of my “shortcuts to being supermom” thing I’m trying. I keep pre-baked potatoes in the fridge at all times. They never last longer than a week, and it cuts down on SO MUCH PREP TIME.

Please see our first episode on how to bake potatoes.

Don’t wrap them in foil though. Bad stuff happens when you do that. Stuff that happens to the miracle of can foods happens when you leave potatoes in foil. (And unless you’re grilling, why are you doing that anyways???)

So you can use pretty much any kind of potato you have. Thaw some frozen hashbrowns, left-over mashed potatoes, prebaked. I [had my roommate] shred some of the pre-baked potatoes, while I made sure the bacon got cooked, chopped the onion (I used a sweet onion, which is generally the only kind I use when I need one of the big ones. I prefer green onions, they have the same onion taste and some of the moisture, but the texture is better and they’re smaller).

Once the potatoes are shredded and the bacon is cooked, the onions chopped, combine them all in a bowl and fold them together pretty gently.

Now, add an egg, or two, and some matzah, breadcrumbs, or if you’re me, straight up flour.

Then seasoning. Because potatoes really. really. like to drink it up.

I used low-sodium bacon, and definitely didn’t compensate accordingly with the other seasonings. So make sure you use enough. Salt. Black pepper. I’m not a big herbs fan, but herbs are great, cilantro especially, and then some crushed red pepper for some heat.

Let your “batter” sit for a couple minutes while you’re heating up your oil/butter/stew of grease for frying. I don’t recommend deep frying it.

Make sure there’s enough oil to cover the bottom of your pan, probably about a quarter of an inch deep. If you happen to have an electric skillet that is temperature controlled, use that. At about 350. If you have a thermometer, use that, at about 350. If you have yet to unlock either of these achievements, get your hand wet, and splash JUST A FEW DROPS I CANNOT EMPHASIZE THIS ENOUGH. If it sounds like a lovely summer rain, it’s right, if it sounds like a cliche boiling sound, turn that shit down and possibly cover it with a lid.

Grease fires aren’t cool.

You’re looking for a rain sound, a lovely, soothing, rain sound.

Put spoonfuls of the batter in and kinda spread it out so they’re flat-ish. They can be anywhere from tater-tot size to the size of the pan. But I like to do them just smaller than the size of my spatula, for, you know, convenience.

Let them sit for about 45 seconds, doing their thing. Remember, in this scenario we used already cooked potatoes, the only thing we need to cook right now is the egg.

Once they’re brown on one side, go ahead and flip and wait til they’re brown on the other.

Pull them out, let them drain off some of that oil on a rack or paper towels, and add just a little bit more salt on top while they’re still hot.

Serve. With, gravy, or cheese, or…ranch…I don’t know.

365 Things to do with Potatoes, Episode 11

The potato crustini.

We also call it “super fancy bar food.”

This one is actually really really easy and incredibly customizeable. Perfect for when you’re trying to feed an army and they’re all picky.

Take a potato, for 2 people, 1 potato is pretty perfectly sized. You need the potatoes that look like they ATE the other potatoes in the bag. You want them to be able to slice long-ways and be approximately the size of a slice of crusty french/italian breads around. But thinner than you’d use for a traditional crustini. No bigger than 2/3 an inch thick. Otherwise there is too much potato.

Drizzle olive oil over a cookie sheet, place the potatoes on that, more olive oil on top of them, salt, pepper, and place in a 450 degree oven. Time is going to vary depending on how crispy you want the outer potato, how thick the slices are, and how often you flip them.

Then you make your sauce. I recommend using velveeta cheese for your base. Add some butter, milk, hot sauce, and pepper. Melt and combine the ingredients over low heat, so you don’t scorch your cheese. And if you feel like it’s getting too bland or too thick, throw in some beef/chicken broth.

Cover that and keep it warm.

Meanwhile, take your chicken/ground beef/super finely diced chunk of dead furry/fluffly animal thing salt and pepper it, and brown it in a pan with butter. Always butter. Always. Butter.

De-glaze the pan with soy/teryaki sauce, and some fresh herbs and spices to your preference. Drizzle on a DROP of honey to eliminate the bitterness.

Layer potato, sauce, meat
and feast.

365 Things to do with Potatoes: Episode 10

Scalloped potatoes and ham

Scalloped potatoes on their own are good, but without the ham, they lack a little “sumfin-sumfin”.

To create 6 servings, you’ll need 5 russet potatoes. Good medium sized ones, not too big and not too small. And you’ll need a mandolin. Not the musical instrument mind, the incredibly sharp blade kergigger that you used to make potato chips. Slice up the potatoes into fairly thin slices and separate them. You don’t need to soak them in salt water though, just set them aside for now.

Grate some cheese, a combination of whatever kind of grateable and meltable cheeses you like. And dice up some bits of ham so that they’re just under bite-sized. Big enough to alter the texture but yet small enough to make it easy for you to scoop up out of the pan.

Now preheat the oven to 350.

Get a sauce pan going on the stove with half a stick of butter, half an onion, and some salt and pepper. Once the butter is melted and the onion has sweat quite a bit of the liquid out, sprinkle about a quarter cup of flour over the top of it all and stir together to make a roux.

Cook that for a minute then add a cup of milk, and a cup of half and half, and probably some more salt and pepper. And simmer that for a few minutes until it starts to tighten up.

Alright, now is time for the assembly! Grease up a casserole dish that looks like everything will fit into. Just rub the other half of the butter stick around in it. Then layer half the potatoes you sliced on the bottom, next half the ham, half the cheese, and half the sauce. Then simply repeat this process, potatoes, ham, cheese, and sauce. Maybe more cheese to top it off at the end, but that’s not 100% needed (yes it is, who am I trying to kid?)

Cover it with tinfol and bake for about 40 minutes like that. Remove the tinfoil and finish baking for 20.

Let cool enough to eat, and then enjoy!

365 Things to do with Potatoes: Episode Nine

Poutine.

It’s one of those things that no matter what you do to it, it pretty much looks like dog food. But, when you try it. It tastes like heaven.

Poutine is basically three components:

French fries

Gravy

Cheese Curd

I do a really bastardized version. If you follow this link:

http://www.montrealpoutine.com/recipes.html

to get a very. very legit poutine recipe.

But, if you’re not Canadian, or into the very legitness of things, follow my instructions for VERY cheap and delicious poutine.

French Fries. Crispy ones, like, go to the Dollar Tree and get the steak-cut french fries there and deep fry them.

Then add gravy. Chicken gravy, brown gravy, turkey gravy, doesn’t matter. Add as much or as little as you want, you can treat the gravy like ketchup or seriously put enough in to make it like soup.

Then you drop your cheese on top. I’m a really big fan of Cheddar, which I think is the kind of cheese curd you’re supposed to put on it.

Then broil it and get the cheese melty.

Beware, the bowl will be hot.

365 Things To Do With Potatoes: Episode 8

Fried potatoes.

Nearly chips, but more dinner-ey. Where with potato chips it’s just that salty satisfying crunch, fried potatoes still have the potato taste. They can still have crunch, but it’s not so noisy.

For every person take a potato.

Heat up a non-stick or cast iron skillet to medium high, if you want you can spray it or drop a glob of butter in there.

While your pan is getting hot, slice up the potatoes. I wouldn’t recommend using a mandolin for this, they’ll end up too small and just get mooshey. Slice them in half long ways, and then slice in small little half-discs. Don’t fret too much about how equal the sides are, one of the greatest parts of these is the variation. I wouldn’t let any get bigger than half an inch thick though.

Variety is actually good for the flavor and texture profile here. (See what I did there? See? I used a real culinary phrase! The endless hours of watching the food channels are paying off! +1 cooking skills for me)

Once all your potatoes are sliced, drop them into the hot pan. Spread them out so as many are touching the bottom of the pan as possible. Let them sit like that until they’re brown and even a little blackened on the bottom. Trust your nose, if it smells burnt, it probably is. Toss them around until they’re brown and crispy on both sides.

When they’re brown and crispy on both sides, go ahead and turn the heat off. While they’re still hot and in the pan, go ahead and add the salt. Doesn’t need much more than that. Remember, some are going to be crispy all the way through (the thinnest ones) but most of them should have a crispy exterior and on the inside still be soft and full of potato goodness.

Serve!

 

I want to take a minute to thank everyone for following my blog, I know I’ve been lacking in updates lately. I blame company, followed by illness, followed by mild depression caused by being ill for two weeks and the apartment turning into a disaster zone worthy of hazmat suits. But school is starting up again, I’ve got my classes all set, I’m volunteering / being mentored at the schools library, and an internship with the schools galleries. Being busy is good for me, I’ll have more updates soon.

365 Things To Do With Potatoes: Episode 7

Finally. Finally I will get to it. Today, we’re making Mashed Potatoes.

There are instant mashed potatoes, which to me, are for coating chicken and burgers and cheap steaks. Sometimes though, the urge to eat potatoes grows so much, and my ability to get to real ones so limited, I just go ahead and make some instant mashed potatoes, add a bunch of salt, butter, garlic powder, and bacon bits, until I can pretend it tastes like real potatoes.

http://idahoan.com/products/butter-and-herb-flavored-mashed-potatoes/

This brand though, this particular one too, is acceptable. I don’t feel compelled to add bunches and bunches of crap to these.

 

The best, absolutely the best, is real potatoes.

Take 3 to 7 potatoes, figure between one and two potatoes per person. Cut them up into small chunks and boil them in standard water until they’re done. This can take anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes, the volume, and how hard you want to boil them.

Once they’re done drain the water out of them.

Splash a little water, drop some butter, maybe if you’re feeling adventurous some garlic or some greens. Not Lettuce. Lettuce will not work, or any lettuce like green. Spanish like greens, the kind that wilt like that, those are good.

Then, mash. Mash until they’re as chunky or creamy as you like. Personally, I like mine chunky so I can tell I’m eating potatoes that really came out of the ground.

Mashed potatoes are good on their own with salt, maybe gravy, or as ingredients for many of the other things that are to come!

 

I’m so excited! Today I sat down and wrote out the next 27 recipes for this project. Several I’ve never even tried before! Do not fear, I am not just going to throw out recipes.  I am going to do each and every one before I blog!