Tag Archives: Potatoes

More Food Porn: Potatoes

Posted because I love how this picture turned out.


Champ is an Irish recipe that, once you hear the ingredients, makes you think “I didn’t know there was an “official” recipe for this. I mean, c’mon…it’s essentially green onions mixed into mashed potatoes, something that a great majority of mashed potato fans have been doing for years, never knowing that their recipe had Irish roots…so to speak.

Oh, and while I’m raining on the parades of various mashed potato aficionados, adding grated cheddar cheese isn’t a new thing either. Sorry.

Champ is traditionally served with a well in the middle that has a dab of butter melting in it. The potatoes are then eaten from outside in, with each forkful of potatoes getting dipped into the melting butter.

  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) Heavy cream
  • 3/4 cups scallions, chopped
  • 2 1/2 pounds redskin potatoes, skinned and diced into 1″ pieces
  • 8 tablespoons butter, diced
  • Salt and white pepper to taste
  • 1 pat of butter per each serving

In a small bowl, combine the onions and the cream. Set aside.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Place in potatoes and cook for 15 minutes, allowing the potatoes to become soft. Drain and place in a bowl. Add the butter, and pour in the cream and onions. Mash together well. Salt and pepper to taste.

When serving, spoon onto a plate and create a small well in the center of the potatoes. Place a pat of butter into the well.

Serves 6-8

tags technorati : recipes, mashed potatoes, champ, potatoes

Potato Tips and Hints

And now, some bits about Potatoes…

  • Choose potatoes that are firm, smooth and fairly clean
  • Choose potatoes that are blemish free.
  • Avoid potatoes with green coloring, or, barring that, remove the green bits from the meat of the potato.
  • Aviod potatoes with wrinkled or wilted skin.
  • Avoid potatoes with soft spots or cut areas.
  • Store potatoes in cool, well vented locations for two weeks.
  • Storing potatoes near onions can cause the potatoes to rot more quickly due to the interaction of the gasses that both products produce.
  • Prolonged exposure to light may cause potatoes to turn green.
  • Storing potatoes below 40 degrees F will allow the potatoes to have a sweeter taste, yet will result in a darker look when cooked.
  • Prolonged storage encourages sprouting and shriveling.
  • Trim off any sprouts or green areas before using.
  • When cooking more than one potato, make sure that the same sized potatoes are used to ensure uniform cooking times.
  • A teaspoon of lemon juice in the cooking water will keep of the potato white.
  • The water used to cook potatoes makes an excellant base for vegetable stock, as potatoes lose much of their vitamins when boiled.
  • If baking a potato, wrap in aluminum foil to have a soft skin. Bake without foil to have a crispy skin.
  • Pierce potato with a fork several times before baking to allow steam to escape.
  • Oiling the skin of a baked potato prior to placing in the oven will ensure a crispy skin.
  • Russet potatoes are best for baking.
  • For Mashed Potatoes, adding cream, butter, olive oil or sour cream adds flavor and richness, while non-fat or low-fat milk creates lighter, fluffier potatoes. Other options include buttermilk, water and white wine.
  • Potato skins contain both flavor and nutrients, and should be used as often as possible
  • Leftover mashed potatoes make great thickeners for soups and sauces.
  • Flavors that work well with potatoes include: Black Pepper, butter, chicken, dill, garlic, mayonnaise, olive oils, onions, pork, rosemary, sage, salt, shallots, sour cream, thyme, vinegar, and yogurt.

Technorati Tags: Food, Potatoes, Food Tips, Food Hints

Potatoes and Vodka

As I am in the midst of doing several posts on Potatoes, I figured now was as good as time as any to discuss vodka. Of course, I was working under the assumption that potatoes made great vodka. Of course, I was working under what is known as a misapprehension.

It seems that vodka cab not only be made with potatoes, but also with rye, wheat, barley, corn, molasses, even onions or beets. In fact, as long as you have water, yeast, and some sort of carbon based product that ferments in water and yeast, you can pretty much make vodka from anything.

When the Russians called Vodka “little water”, they really weren’t far off the mark. Although there is a contigency of vodka fanatics who claim that the purer the vodka the better, as with water it’s the impurities of the liquid that gives each variety its unique character. The real question surrounding vodka is which characteristics are worth keeping and which are worth filtering out.

At its core, and at it’s perfect best, vodka is simply 40% ethanol and 60% water. The quality is then determined on how pure the ethanol and how pure the water. The lesser quality of water, the lesser quality is the vodka as a whole. However, if you have a Brita filter, it is said that you can remove the impurities and improve the quality of the vodka by running it through a filter a few times.

There are people who can tell the difference between a Skyy Vodka and a Ketel One vodka. The difference in taste is so subtle, that few people can do this and do this well, especially when they compare the purer vodkas against one another. Tasting brand differences is made more difficult when you mix the vodka with any number of mixers. My guess is that very few people can tell the difference between a screwdriver made with Grey Goose and one made with Absolut. If you are one of these people, I would like to see it first hand.

I like vodka, for a variety of reasons. But I know that I’m not one of those people who can discern the subtle variations between brands. I can tell good vokda from bad, but that’s about as far as it goes.

Technorati Tags: Drink, Vodka

Potatoes Lyonnaise

Potatoes Lyonnaise

When I think of brunches, I think of Potatoes Lyonnaise. The egg/meat combination may change, but Potatoes Lyonnaise will always be my strach of choice for brunch. For one, they are fairly simple to make. For two, they are versatile. These potatoes can easily be made with any variety of green peppers, bacon bits, or even different herbs, if your heart so desires.

The basis of Potatoes Lyonnaise comes down to four ingredients: Butter, onions, potatoes, parsley. I’ve found that the ratio of ingredients is fairly easy to remember: one serving equates to 1/2 lb potatoes, 1/4 onion and one tablespoon butter – parsley to taste. Master this ratio, and you’re well on your way to elevating your Potatoes Lyonnaise game.

Here is what I used for my own version of this dish:

  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs Yukon gold potatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon basil, chopped

Place a large skillet over medium heat. Place in 3 tablespoons of butter and allow to melt. Once melted, add your onions and garlic.

While the onions and garlic are cooking, pierce your potatoes. Place them in the microwave and cook for 8 minutes on high. When done, remove from microwave and cut the potatoes into slices. Place in the skillet when the onions are translucent. Add final tablespoon of butter.

Fry in the skillet until the potatoes just start to brown around the skins (7-12 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste, and then plate.

Sprinkle parsley and basil over potatoes and serve.

Serves 4

Technorati Tags: Food, Recipes, Potatoes, Brunch, Potatoes Lyonnaise

Potato Varieties

There are hundreds of varieties of potatoes worldwide. Luckily for us, the majority of US supermarkets have seen fit to lower our options to three, generally a baking potato, a boiling potato and one that works in both arenas fairly well.

But, as we are humans, and humans are a visual creature, we tend to categorize potatoes by the color of their skin. There are Russet-skinned varieties, red-skinned varieties, yellow-skinned varieties, white-skinned varieties and blue-skinned varieties. But really, a potato should not be judged by what’s on the outside. Rather they should be judged by what is on the inside.

What is on the inside that’s so important anyways? Two things really -

  • amylose
  • amylopectin

These two polymers are the basis of starch, and help determine how starchy or waxy a potato will be. If you have a potato that has more amylose, than amylopectin, you’ve got a great baking potato. They make also great creamy mashed potatoes and they’re also the best potatoes to use in french fries.

If you’ve got a potato that has less amylose than amylopectin, then you have a waxy potato. These potatoes are good for roasting, or in use for soups, casseroles, and potato salads.

Then there are the oddball potatoes, those with relatively equal amounts of amylose and amylopectin. They are particularly well-suited to roasting, soups, stews, and gratins. I find them particularly good in making breakfast potatoes, fried in a cast iron skillet.

Once you decide on how you’re going to use a potato, then and only then should you decide which kind of potato to purchase.

Baking Potatoes:Russet Burbank (this is the most popular variety in the United States), Russet Arcadia, Norgold Russet, Goldrush, Norkotah, and the Long White.

Waxy Potatoes: Carlingford, Nadine, Round White, Round Red, Yellow Potato, Red Potato, Salad Potato, La Soda, Red La Rouge, Red Pontiac, Red Nordland, Red Bliss, Yellow Finnish, Ruby Crescent, and Australian Crescent.

All-Purpose Potatoes: Charlotte, Nicola, Maris Peer, Yukon Gold, Peruvian Blue, Superior, Kennebec, and Katahdin.

Technorati Tags: Food, Potatoes

Kale, Chorizo and Potato Soup

Kale, Chorizo, Potato Soup

Potatoes can be used either for flavoring or as a thickening agent. This soup uses potatoes as a thickening agent, as the peppers, kale and chorizo easily dominate. In my opinion, it’s easily a winter soup yet uses no cream.

We won’t hold the lack of cream against this recipe.

I liked this dish, but Tara came out against it. The lack of potato taste was mentioned as one of the reasons for the negative reaction. However, if you like spicy, this dish is one that should be tried.

  • 3 links chorizo sausage
  • 1 1/2 lbs red potatoes, skinned and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 lb Kale, chopped
  • cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp ground bloack pepper
  • 12 slices french bread, toasted

Pierce the sausages and place them in a skillet. Add just enough water to the skillet that the chorizo is barely covered. Bring the water to a simmer (185 degrees F). Cover the skillet with a well fitting lid, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the skillet, and slice into 1/2″ pieces. Set aside.

In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook those for 15-17 minutes. Drain, saving about a ladle-ful of the water. Mash the potatoes well, and add a little of the saved water and stir into a paste. Add more water if needed. Set aside.

In a large stock pot, bring the chicken stock to a rolling boil. Add the chopped kale and slices of sausages and lower the heat, bringing the water to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes.

Stir in potato paste slowly, until all has been used. Simmer for another 20 minutes. Add the ground pepper and cayenne and stir in well.

Place a slice or two of the toasted bread into the soup dish. Ladle soup over top. Serve.

Serves 6-8

Technorati Tags: Food and Drink, Recipes, Soups, Kale, Chorizo