Category: Potatoes

Colcannon

colcannon

To celebrate St Patrick’s Day, we’re making Colcannon, an Irish potato side dish made with mashed potatoes and cabbage. It’s buttery and tasty!

Ironically, the corned beef and cabbage so ubiquitous in the States is not the traditional Irish St. Patrick’s Day dinner. Lamb is enjoyed on this day in Ireland and we have the perfect recipe for you that is delicious with this colcannon recipe: Garlic Rosemary Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb.

Erin go bragh!

colcannon

Place the potatoes, salt and enough cold water to cover by 2 inches in a large covered saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and tilt the lid to allow some steam to escape and to prevent the potatoes from boiling over. Cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes – timing varies depending on the size of the potatoes. Drain.

colcannon

While the potatoes cook, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the butter foams, add the cabbage, scallions, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the cabbage expels water and softens, about 3 minutes.

colcannon

Mash the potatoes with the warm milk until smooth. Stir in the cabbage and scallions to combine.

Garnish with a couple of twists of the peppermill and the reserved scallion greens.

colcannon

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Colcannon

colcannon
  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Category: Side Dish

Ingredients

2 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 teaspoons kosher salt
¼ cup unsalted butter
3 cups finely shredded green cabbage, ¼ of a head
7 scallions thinly sliced, greens included, reserve 1 scallion with green tops for garnish
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Ground pepper (10 cranks?)
½ cup warm milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Instructions

Garnish
Strew with the sliced scallions, a pat of butter and a couple of twists of the peppermill

Place the potatoes, salt and enough cold water to cover by 2 inches in a large covered saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and tilt the lid to allow some steam to escape and to prevent the potatoes from boiling over. Cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about x minutes – timing varies depending on the size of the potatoes. Drain.

While the potatoes cook, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the butter foams, add the cabbage, scallions, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the cabbage expels water and softens, about 3 minutes

Mash the potatoes with the warm milk until smooth. Stir in the cabbage and scallions to combine.

Garnish with a couple of twists of the peppermill and the reserved scallion greens.

Notes

Warm the milk and butter together before adding to the potatoes to keep them hot.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Goat Cheese

Mashed Potatoes

I remember serving these Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Goat Cheese for Thanksgiving one year. My Aunt Irene loves sweet potatoes. After dinner, she was complimenting me and I mentioned the goat cheese. She said “oh” and frowned. I never made them that way for her again, even though she loved them until she knew about the goat cheese!

I’m not sure when or why it occurred to me to add goat cheese to sweet potatoes, but I find the natural sweetness of the potato a little overwhelming. The tartness of a little goat cheese downplays sweetness in a balanced way. A ratio of 1 pound of sweet potatoes to one ounce of goat cheese works best.

Pierce the sweet potatoes three times with a paring knife to allow the steam to escape. The potato creates its own chimney when the internal water reaches boiling point and the potato pulp bursts through the hole everywhere. These slits allow the steam to escape without the drama.

Place aluminum foil on the middle shelf and place the pierced potatoes on the foil in a preheated oven (400 degrees F). The natural sugars become a syrup and leak through the slits and onto the floor of the oven. The foil captures those juices, saving your oven.

Bake for about an hour. The potatoes are done when a fork easily slides in.

Mashed Potatoes

Let sit for 15 minutes to cool for easier handling; peel.

Use a fork to combine the sweet potato, goat cheese, salt and pepper.

Mashed Potatoes

Pair these sweet potatoes with our grilled lamb chops.

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Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Goat Cheese

Mashed Potatoes

The tartness of a little goat cheese plays down that sweetness of the potato in this recipe for Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Goat Cheese. I find a ratio of 1 pound of sweet potatoes to one ounce of goat cheese works best.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups
  • Category: Potatoes
  • Method: Baking

Ingredients

2 pounds sweet potatoes, scrubbed and dried
2 ounces plain goat cheese, room temperature
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Pierce the potatoes three times and place in preheated oven on a sheet of aluminum foil.

Bake for one hour or until a fork easily slides through the potato.

Let sit for 15 minutes to cool for easier handling then peel.

Use a fork to combine the sweet potato, goat cheese, salt and pepper.

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Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Goat Cheese

The tartness of a little goat cheese plays down that sweetness of the potato in this recipe for Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Goat Cheese. I find a ratio of 1 pound of sweet potatoes to one ounce of goat cheese works best.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups
  • Category: Potatoes
  • Method: Baking

Ingredients

2 pounds sweet potatoes, scrubbed and dried
2 ounces plain goat cheese, room temperature
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

 

Pierce the potatoes three times and place in preheated oven on a sheet of aluminum foil.

Bake for one hour or until a fork easily slides through the potato.

Let sit for 15 minutes to cool for easier handling then peel.

Use a fork to combine the sweet potato, goat cheese, salt and pepper.

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Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Goat Cheese

The tartness of a little goat cheese downplays the inherent sweetness of the sweet potato. A ratio of 1 pound of sweet potatoes to one ounce of goat cheese works best.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups
  • Category: Potatoes
  • Method: Baking

Ingredients

2 pounds sweet potatoes, scrubbed and dried
2 ounces plain goat cheese, room temperature
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Pierce the potatoes three times and place in preheated oven on a sheet of aluminum foil.

Bake for one hour or until a fork easily slides through the potato.

Let sit for 15 minutes to cool for easier handling then peel.

Use a fork to combine the sweet potato, goat cheese, salt and pepper.

Mashed Potatoes

There is nothing as simple, yet comforting, as mashed potatoes. I like to use all kinds of potatoes for mashing, but Russet or Idaho potatoes are best when you want the fluffiest potatoes. Russet potatoes also do a great job absorbing gravy, another bonus.

Mashing Tools
  • There are a few ways to mash potatoes.
  • A traditional potato masher, my favorite, which allows me to leave little lumps.
  • The potato ricer for smooth mashed potatoes.
  • An electric mixer, which makes smooth mashed potatoes, but because of the high starch content of potatoes, Russets in particular,  the electric mixer quickly breaks down the starch makes the potatoes  pasty. Use carefully.

 

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Substitutions

Keep it light with skim milk, or use regular milk or half and half. Substitute olive oil or margarine for butter. Substitute stock or plain soy or almond milk for dairy. If serving gravy, reduce the mashing liquid by one-third to let the potatoes absorb gravy and not get too thin.

Variations

A couple of variations for mashed potatoes include eliminating the butter and substituting a cup of shredded sharp Cheddar cheese for a cheesy mashed dish. Or, substitute 1 pound of potatoes for another root vegetable, such as carrots, turnips, celery root or parsnips.

Seasoning

Taste the final mashed potatoes to decide if they need more salt, and taste the gravy  to determine seasonings. It’s unlikely the cheesy mash requires any more salt, but a healthy dose of freshly ground pepper complements the cheese nicely. I prefer black pepper with mashed potatoes, but there is the option of white pepper to keep them all white.

 

Method

Put the mashing liquid and butter in a small sauce pan or a microwaveable bowl. Heat to melt the butter while the potatoes are cooking.

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Peel the potatoes and cut lengthwise into three pieces.

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Turn and cut the potatoes into similarly sized pieces.

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Place the potatoes and salt in a covered, medium-size pot and add enough water to exceed the potatoes by two inches. Cover and bring to a boil.

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Tilt the cover and lower the heat a little and continue cooking, until very tender, about seven minutes. Drain.

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Potato Masher Version: Add the potatoes back to the pot and coarsely mash.

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Pour the warm mashing liquid over the potatoes and mash to your preferred consistency. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.

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Potato Ricer Version: Place the potatoes in batches in the ricer and press into the pot. Pour the warm mashing liquid over the potatoes and mash to your preferred consistency. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.

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How To: Mashed Potatoes

There is nothing as simple, yet comforting, as mashed potatoes. I like to use all kinds of potatoes for mashing, but Russet or Idaho potatoes are best when you want the fluffiest potatoes. Russet potatoes also do a great job absorbing gravy, another bonus.

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 35 mins
  • Yield: 4 - 6 portions

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Russet or Idaho potatoes, trimmed and cut into small cubes
  • Cold water
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup mashing liquid (dairy, stock, soy or almond milk)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Place the potatoes and salt in a covered, 4-quart covered pot and add enough cold water to cover the vegetables by two inches.
  2. Cover and bring to a boil.
  3. Tilt the cover and lower the heat a little and continue cooking, until very tender, about seven minutes.
  4. While the potatoes are cooking, heat the mashing liquid and butter in a small saucepan or a microwaveable bowl until the butter is melted.
  5. Drain the potatoes.
  6. Potato Masher Version: Add the potatoes back to the pot and coarsely mash. Pour the warm mashing liquid over the potatoes and mash to your preferred consistency. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.
  7. Potato Ricer Version: Place the potatoes in batches in the ricer and press into the pot. Pour the warm mashing liquid over the potatoes and stir to combine.
  8. Electric Mixer Version: Place the potatoes in the mixing bowl and beat on low to break them up. Add butter and half the liquid and combine. Scrape the sides of the bowl and beater and add the rest of the liquid. Beat just until smooth.
  9. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.

Roasted Smashed Potatoes

I’ve been making these Roasted Smashed Potatoes for years. My kids were always so excited to see them on the table. Last night my husband saw the parboiled potatoes “smashed” on the roasting pan and said
“Ooh, are we having smashed potatoes for dinner?” He was excited, just like kids were when they lived at home, so cute!

I like to use baby red potatoes or creamers for this recipe. They cook quickly and look better than large potatoes cut into pieces and smashed. This recipe is easy to make and can be partially prepared a day or two in advance.

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Ingredients:
1 bag (28 ounces) baby red potatoes, scrubbed and rinsed
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
cold water
2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground pepper

Garnish: 1 tablespoon minced fresh herbs, such as rosemary or thyme, optional

Set up:

Line a large baking tray (10″ x 15″) with foil.
Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Place the potatoes and salt in a large covered pot. Add enough cold water to exceed the potatoes by a couple of inches, cover the pot and bring to a boil. Once the water boils, tilt the cover to let steam escape, lower the heat a little and continue cooking until tender, about five minutes. Drain.

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Pour the olive oil onto the lined baking tray, add the potatoes and roll them around to coat with the oil.

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Once the potatoes are cool, about ten minutes, use the heel of your hand to push down and “smash” the potatoes.

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Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown and crispy on the edges, about 1 hour. Or, if making in advance, cover and refrigerate. Allow an additional ten minutes cooking time for the cold potatoes.

Season the potatoes with sea salt, pepper and fresh herbs, if using.

 

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Roasted Smashed Potatoes

I like to use baby red potatoes or creamers for this recipe. They cook quickly and look better than large red potatoes cut into pieces and smashed. This recipe is easy to make and can be partially prepared a day or two in advance.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 20 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 mins
  • Yield: 4 portions
  • Category: Potatoes
  • Method: Roasting

Ingredients

  • 1 bag (28 ounces) baby red potatoes, scrubbed and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • cold water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • Garnish
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh herbs, such as rosemary or thyme, optional

Instructions

  1. Line a large baking tray (13″ x 15″) with foil.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  3. Place the potatoes and salt in a large covered pot. Add enough cold water to exceed the potatoes by a couple of inches, cover the pot and bring to a boil. Once the water boils, tilt the cover to let steam escape, lower the heat a little and continue cooking until tender, about five minutes. Drain.
  4. Pour olive oil onto the lined baking tray, add the potatoes and roll them around to coat with the oil.
  5. Once the potatoes are cool, about ten minutes, use the heel of your hand to push down and “smash” the potatoes.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven until golden and crispy on the edges, about 1 hour. Or, if making in advance, cover and refrigerate. Allow for an additional ten minutes to make up for the cold potatoes.
  7. Season the potatoes with sea salt, pepper and fresh herbs, if using.

 

Latkes (potato pancakes)

 

I’m the Shiksa in the family. Never heard of potato pancakes, let alone latkes before I met my husband. My mother-in-law, Ruth, would make them for our Passover Seder table and for Rosh Hashanah.

She made her latkes as we sat at the table, missing much of the early conversation, which I know was a great frustration for her. However, her latkes were VERY much in demand and our accolades I think made it worth her while toiling over the hot stove and oil. The latkes came out in small batches and were offered first to my father-in-law, Sam, at head of the table, then my husband and I who sat next to him on the right and then his sister across from us. Others had to wait until the next platter came out and so it went. So much work on such special occasions.

Ruth passed away very young (64) and the traditions passed on to my sister-in-law (Passover) and me (Rosh Hashanah). Unfortunately, her recipes passed with her. It took many years before I finally got the thumbs up from Sam on various holiday recipes and it all came from one source. In 1990, the New York Times did a review of a cookbook, SPIRIT and SPICE: The Complete Jewish Cookbook (Lubavitch Women’s Cookbook Publications, Brooklyn NY), which I bought. The challah, stuffed cabbage, latkes, and honey cake, were all winners; the book has many, many pages with hand-written four stars and “Sam loves this!” It was such a pleasure to finally satisfy his food memories. Latkes are pretty basic, potatoes, onion, flour, eggs, salt and pepper. But I wanted to give the book a shout out as it helped me bring back a favorite to our traditional Jewish table.

Unlike Ruth, I don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen cooking while everyone is at the table. I also don’t want the house to smell like oil on the holiday and have to clean up the mess after everyone leaves. I make my latkes a week or two in advance, freeze and reheat. It makes entertaining over the holiday so easy.

This year we’re doing a “latke bar” for Christmas Eve dinner (remember, Shiska here; we celebrate it all). I’m making bite-size latkes with sides of applesauce, sour cream, diced red onion, and small pieces of lox; everyone builds their own.

The keys to success in making latkes are setting up properly before you start cooking, shredding the potato to the right size (too long and the ends  burn, too short and they’re pasty), draining the potatoes, using a high smoke-point oil, such as peanut or canola, heating the oil to the right temperature (350ºF) and keeping it clean (removing stray potato pieces from the oil before starting another batch).

Temperature control is essential  for properly cooked fried foods of any kind. Cook in batches, overcrowding the pot decreases the temperature dramatically, and the temperature drops quickly when the food is placed in the pan and needs to be adjusted throughout the cooking process. If the oil is too hot, the outside browns quickly and the inside is undercooked. If the oil is not hot enough, the outside doesn’t brown properly, the inside is raw and the starch absorbs more oil resulting in greasy, flabby fried food.

My go-to tool for frying is an electric frypan. It has a temperature gauge, which allows you to set a specific temperature and maintains it evenly throughout the cooking process. No worrying about turning the flame up and down.

Clean up as you cook. While waiting to flip the latkes, take advantage of the minute or two to load the dishwasher or wash and dry a tool or two. By the time you finish the batches, most of the clean up is done.

Set Up Before Starting

Large colander
Cheesecloth
Vegetable peeler
Chef’s knife
Food processor or food grater
Large mixing bowl
Whisk
Frypan
One tablespoon measuring spoon for mini latkes (1 inch diameter) or a 1/4 cup measuring cup for small latkes (3-inch diameter)
Fine mesh ladle strainer
Small tongs for mini latkes or spatula for larger latkes
Two (10″ x 15″) baking sheets, one lined with paper towel and one with foil or parchment paper
Wax paper or parchment to separate layers

Line the colander with two opened layers of cheesecloth long enough for the ends to drape over the side by about four inches.; one going north and south, the other east and west.

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Fill the frypan with a thin layer of oil. My pan is 11-inches wide and about 1 1/2-inches deep. I used 1 1/2 cups peanut oil to start. Later I added another 1/2 cup. At the end I had about one-half cup oil left.

Place the trays next to each other on one side of the frypan for easy access, with the mesh strainer on the paper towel-lined tray. Place the bowl with the latke mixture on the other side of the frypan.

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Line up Your Ingredients

2 cups high smoke point oil, such as peanut or canola
2 large yolks (you’ll use one whole and the yolk only on the second)
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground fresh pepper
7 Russet or Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut lengthwise into quarters
1 large onion, peeled and cut into 8 pieces
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

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I didn’t have a large onion in the pantry and used three small to medium sized onions.

Method:

Cut the onion and one potato into chunks and put in a food processor and chop up small. Dump this into the lined strainer.  Quarter the remaining potatoes lengthwise and shred in the food processor or with a grater.

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Place the shredded vegetables in the colander.

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Pull  the sides of the cheesecloth  up and together.

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Twist tightly until the vegetables begin to weep.

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Keep squeezing until no more water leaks out. Then wrap the ball in a towel to remove the outside water.

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In the meantime, heat the oil in the electric frypan set to 350ºF or in a large frypan over medium-high heat to 350ºF.

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Whisk the eggs, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl.

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Add the drained shredded vegetables and mix well.

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Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and toss; It’s important to wait until this point to add the flour. Adding directly to the beaten eggs causes the flour to clump.po

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Use your measuring tool to scoop up the latke mixture and gently drop into the hot oil, flatten larger latkes with the back of the tool and repeat until the pan is fairly full. There should be spaces between each latke to fry them properly.

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I usually fry a single latke first to taste and make sure it’s properly seasoned before doing large batches.

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Flip with tongs for mini latkes.

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Cook until brown, just a minute or two for these minis, flip and cook another minute or two.

Set on the paper towel lined tray to drain and sprinkle immediately with a little salt.

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Clean the oil with the mesh-lined ladle to remove any stray pieces of potato to prevent them from burning, which breaks down the oil and gives it a bad flavor.  These little tidbits are a great little treat for the cook!

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Transfer the latkes to the foil lined tray after you flip the next batch. Once the tray is full, place a sheet of wax paper or parchment on top to start another layer.

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Repeat this procedure until the latke mixture is gone. As you get to the bottom, there’s more liquid; press the vegetables into the measuring tool to drain before dropping into the cooking oil. The excess liquid causes much spattering.

Lay another sheet of wax paper over the top.

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Tightly wrap the tray of fried latkes in foil. If using within three or four days, refrigerate, otherwise freeze.

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Reheat

Preheat the oven to 400ºF and cook in single layer batches until hot and crispy, about 12 minutes.

Latke Potato Pancake Recipe
Serves: 75 mini latkes
The keys to success in making latkes are setting up properly before you start cooking, shredding the potato to the right size (too long and the ends burn, too short and they’re pasty), draining the potatoes, using a high smoke-point oil, such as peanut or canola, heating the oil to the right temperature (350ºF) and keeping it clean (removing stray potato pieces from the oil before starting another batch). Temperature control is essential for properly cooked fried foods of any kind. Cook in batches, overcrowding the pot decreases the temperature dramatically, and the temperature drops quickly when the food is placed in the pan and needs to be adjusted throughout the cooking process. If the oil is too hot, the outside browns quickly and the inside is undercooked. If the oil is not hot enough, the outside doesn’t brown properly, the inside is raw and the starch absorbs more oil resulting in greasy, flabby fried food. My go-to tool for frying is an electric frypan. It has a temperature gauge, which allows you to set a specific temperature that it maintains pretty evenly throughout the cooking process. No worrying about turning the flame up and down. I use it for panfrying, such as the latkes or chicken cutlets and deep frying, such as French fries and fried chicken. Clean up as you cook. While waiting to flip the latkes, take advantage of the minute or two to load the dishwasher or wash and dry a tool or two. By the time you finish the batches, most of the clean up is done.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups high smoke point oil, such as peanut or canola
  • 2 large eggs (you’ll use one whole egg and only the second yolk)
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground fresh pepper
  • 6 Russet or Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut lengthwise into quarters
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into 8 pieces
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Instructions
  1. Cut the onion and one potato into chunks and put in a food processor and chop up small. Dump this into the lined strainer.
  2. Quarter the remaining potatoes lengthwise and shred in the food processor or with with a grater.
  3. Place the shredded vegetables in the colander and pull the sides of the cheesecloth up and together; twist until the vegetables begin to weep. Keep squeezing until no more water leaks out. Then wrap the ball in a towel to remove the outside water.
  4. In the meantime, heat the oil in the electric frypan set to 350ºF or in a large frypan over medium-high heat to 350ºF.
  5. Beat the eggs, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl.
  6. Add the drained potatoes and onion and mix well.
  7. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and toss; It’s important to wait until this point to add the flour. Adding directly to the beaten eggs causes the flour to clump.
  8. Use your measuring tool to scoop up the latke mixture and gently drop into the hot oil, flatten larger latkes with the back of the tool and repeat until the pan is fairly full. There should be spaces between each latke to fry them properly.
  9. Cook until brown, just a minute or two for these minis, flip and cook another minute or two. Larger latkes will take three or four minutes. The latkes should be golden brown and crisp on the outside.
  10. Set on the paper towel lined tray to drain.
  11. Clean the oil as needed with the mesh ladle to remove any stray pieces of potato to prevent them from burning, which breaks down the oil and gives it a bad flavor. These are great little treats for the cook!
  12. Transfer the cooling latkes to the foil lined tray after you flip the next batch.
  13. Once the tray is full, place a sheet of wax paper on top to start another layer.
  14. Repeat this procedure until the latke mixture is gone. As you get to the bottom, there’s more liquid; press the vegetables into the measuring tool to drain before dropping into the cooking oil. The excess liquid causes spattering.
  15. Place another sheet of wax paper on top and tightly wrap the tray of fried latkes in foil. If using within three or four days, refrigerate, otherwise freeze.
  16. To reheat:
  17. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and cook in single layer batches until hot and crispy, about 8 -12 minutes, depending on the size of your latkes.

 

 

 

Baked Potato

The potato is a versatile vegetable. Bake it, fry it, sauté it, grill it, or roast it. Add herbs and spices, cheese or just salt and pepper and a potato is delicious. Here’s a little primer on potatoes and my recipe for a Baked Potato.

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Types of Potatoes

Potatoes grow in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors and the flesh ranges from starchy to waxy. They can be cooked using both moist and dry heat, though some types are more suitable to one than the other. Select potatoes that are firm, smooth, with no or few eyes, good color, and no blemishes. Look for similarly sized and proportioned potatoes for even baking and round or oval shape for easier peeling.

High-Starch Potatoes

Russet or Idaho Potatoes: These potatoes have a thick, brown skin and white flesh. The high-starch cells absorb more water than medium- and low-starch potatoes and separate during cooking into a crumbly or mealy texture, perfect for baked or mashed potatoes and crispy French fries. Because of this mealy texture, Russets don’t hold up well in salads.

Medium-Starch Potatoes

Waxy Potato or All-Purpose White Potato: This is the potato you see in every grocery store year round. It has a slightly lower starch content than the Russet, is good baked whole, cut into slices in a casserole or gratin or cut into steak fries or smaller chunks and roasted.

Yukon Gold; These potatoes have a golden-hued flesh, creamy texture and a natural buttery flavor, also good for baking or mashing.

Low-Starch Potatoes

There are many varieties of low-starch potatoes. They absorb less water, stay firm and have a waxier texture. They can be steamed, boiled, roasted or grilled, and are ideal for recipes where the shape of the potato is essential, such as salads.

Varieties include: red potatoes, fingerling potatoes, which resemble a plump finger with a yellow flesh and butter flavor, long white potatoes with a thick, light tan skin and firm creamy texture; or blue and purple potatoes. The latter can have a flesh color that ranges from lavender to purple, however, the color leaches out into cooking water and the cooked potatoes are not as vibrant.

New Potatoes: Anything referred to as a new potato is freshly dug, sent directly to market, and has a thin skin and waxy texture.

Creamers: Small baby potatoes, either white or red skinned, harvested prematurely at about one-inch in diameter.

Storage

Store potatoes  in a dark, dry, cool place for up to two weeks to prevent sprouting and excessive moisture loss. Potatoes are members of the nightshade family (tomatoes, bell peppers and chili peppers), and exposure to light may cause green spots to appear on the potato, an indication of the alkaloid solanine, which has a bitter taste and can be toxic in large quantities. No need to toss the entire potato, just cut away any green portions before cooking.

Discoloration

Peeled potatoes oxidize, or turn brown, when exposed to the air; simply keep them submerged in cold water to keep them white.

Hard water, which has a high alkali content, may cause potatoes to turn pink or yellow; to counteract, add an acid, such as lemon juice or vinegar to neutralize. The recommended amount is about 1/2 teaspoon of the acid to a gallon of water.

Cooking

Always scrub potatoes with a vegetable brush to remove dirt. Cut away any eyes or a crevice the brush can’t reach. Potatoes can be cooked with the skin or peeled. There are many nutrients in the skin and they’re delicious. I always eat the skin on my baked potato. Mash red potatoes with skin on. Serve potato salad with skins on. Potatoes also hold their shape better when cooked with skins on; if you want skinless potato salad, peel them after cooking.

One of the simplest ways to cook a potato is to bake it or microwave it. After washing, dry thoroughly and pierce three times with a paring knife along the top to allow steam to escape during cooking. The potato makes it’s own chimney while cooking, which may lead to messy pieces of burst potato on your appliance walls, so don’t forget to pierce it!

Baked Potato Recipe

Potatoes can be baked in the oven or cooked in the microwave. The microwave version has a soft skin. For a crisper skin, baking in the oven is optimal. Rubbing a little olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper over the potato before cooking is a way to infuse more flavor into the potato  and get a crispier skin. Or, just toss the cleaned, dried and pierced potato in the oven with nothing else.

There are many delicious toppings: melted butter, yogurt, sour cream, chives, shredded cheese or a combination of a few of these ingredients. Don’t hesitate to top your baked potato with beef or chicken taco mixture or beef stew. Let your imagination run wild!

Ingredients

1 medium Russet potato per person
1 teaspoon olive oil, optional
Kosher salt
freshly ground pepper

Set up:

Preheat the oven to 425ºF.

Wash, dry and pierce the potato three times along the top.

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Aluminum foil for oil rubbed potatoes.

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Method:Bake until a fork easily pierces the potato, approximately 60 minutes for a medium potato.

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Note: To microwave, follow the above procedure, and cook until a fork easily pierces the potato. The timing will depend on the power intensity of your microwave, anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes.

To serve: Slit the potato lengthwise and horizontally down the center. Push the ends with your hands to crack the potato open and create a hole to fill with the topping of your choice.

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Baked Potato Recipe

Potatoes can be baked in the oven or cooked in the microwave. The microwave version has a soft skin. For a crisper skin, baking in the oven is optimal. Rubbing on a little olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper (lots of pepper for me) before cooking is a way to infuse more flavor into the potato during cooking and get a crispier skin. Or, just toss the cleaned, dried and pierced potato in the oven with nothing else.

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 60 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 medium Russet potato per person
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil, optional
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
  2. Wash, dry and pierce the potato three times along the top.
  3. Aluminum foil for oil rubbed potatoes.
  4. Method:
  5. Bake until a fork easily pierces the potato, approximately 60 minutes for a medium potato.
  6. Note: To microwave, follow the above procedure, and cook until a fork easily pierces the potato. The timing will depend on the power intensity of your microwave.
  7. To serve: Slit the potato lengthwise and horizontally down the center. Push the ends with your hands to crack the potato open and create a hole to fill with the topping of your choice.







Haricots Verts in Garlic Butter

My plans for dinner, grilled pork chops with haricots verts in garlic butter and mashed sweet potatoes with goat cheese were spoiled by the weather.

It’s a dreary, snowy-rainy, rainy-snowy day. I shoveled this morning, something I usually enjoy, but the snow is heavy and I finished, an hour later soaked and cold to the bone. The snow continued and the shoveled parts were clogging up with slush again. What is really bugging me are the thick pork chops for dinner that I was planning on grilling. But who wants to go out in the rain and slush to cook. Believe me, I have gone out in many a bad weather, but this one just makes you want to hunker down and avoid the cold, chilly, rain and the slippery deck.

The options are to broil or pan roast the chops. The nice thing about pan roasting is you can make a quick sauce from the fond in the pan.

Haricot vert in Garlic Butter

serves 4

Take 1 pound haricot vert, snap off the stems and rinse thoroughly. Fill a small pan with one-inch of cold water and 1 teaspoon Kosher salt. Place steaming basket inside, fill with the beans, and cover. Steam over high heat for 4 minutes. While these are cooking, mince 2 garlic cloves and slice 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter (1/3 of a tablespoon). Drain the beans, remove the steamer basket, and add the garlic and butter. Stir (the residual heat of the beans melts the butter and softens the harshness of raw garlic), season to taste with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve in warm bowl.

Sweet Potatoes with Goat Cheese

Serves: 4

Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Set 1 1/2 ounces of goat cheese on the counter to warm while the potatoes are baking. Scrub 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 10 ounces each) to remove dirt and grit. Dry and poke each 3 times with a sharp knife to allow steam to escape while baking. Bake 45-50 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork. Remove to a cutting board and slice each potato in half lengthwise. Scoop the flesh into a warm serving bowl. Stir in the goat cheese (if you forgot to warm the cheese, put in the microwave and soften just a little), mix well, and serve.

 

Cut baked sweet potatoes in half lengthwise.

 

 

 

Scoop potato flesh into warm serving bowl.

 

 

Combine potato and goat cheese

 

Pan Roasted Pork Chops

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

4 pork chops

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 small onion, minced

2 teaspoons dried bouquet garni

1/2 cup dry red wine

1 cup broth or stock (vegetable, chicken, or beef)

Method

Preheat oven to 350 ºF.

Pour oil into a large skillet with an ovenproof handle and place over high heat.

Season each chop, both sides, with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

Place the chops into the hot pan (cover with a spatter screen) and sear for about 2 minutes. Turn when the chops are nicely browned, and sear for another 2 minutes.

 

Seasoned chops in hot skillet with oil.

 

 

First side seared, chops turned and searing again.

 

 

Place seared chops into preheated oven and cook until internal temperature reads 145ºF for medium (the chops will be slightly pink inside) or longer if you want them well done. The timing will depend on how thick the chops are and if they came directly from the refrigerator (cold) or sat on the counter for a short time (less cold).

Remove chops to a warm serving plate and place hot pan over medium-high heat on the stovetop.

Pan roasted chops – remove to heated plate and place hot pan on stovetop.

Add the onions and herbs and stir for a minute or two – don’t let them burn. Pour in the wine and reduce to a couple of tablespoons.

Reduce the wine to a couple of tablespoons.

Now add the stock and cook until it thickens a bit. Season with salt and pepper and pour sauce over chops. Serve.

Internal temperature of 145 ºF has a pink, moist center.