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One Potato Two Potato

 

One potato, two potato,
Three potato, four,
Five potato, six potato,
Seven potato, more!

Why stop at seven? Today there are over 200 varieties of potatoes.

Not bad for a tuber that was once thought to be poisonous and banned in many countries.

Potatoes are hardy, nutritious, and very versatile.

Potatoes were first cultivated in Peru possibly as far back as 500 B.C. The Incas worshipped them. They grew them, ate them, and buried their dead with them.

It was the Spanish conquistadors who brought potatoes back to Europe in the 16th century. But Europeans did not take to the potato. According to WhatsCookingAmerica, “Wherever the potato was introduced, it was considered weird, poisonous, and downright evil.” The potato was even banned in some places.

That all changed with a little bit of trickery.

Source: Wikipedia

A French military pharmacist, Antoine-Augustin Parmentierpers, persuaded King Louis XVI of France to let him cultivate potatoes on some useless land outside Paris. Soldiers were ordered to guard the plots at night; thereby arousing the curiosity of the peasants, tricking them into thinking that anything the King guarded that carefully must be pretty valuable.

One night Parmentierpers told the guards to go home. As he hoped, local farmers went into the fields and ‘stole’ the potatoes and planted them on their own farms. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Now we have French fry stands on nearly every corner in America and more than 200 varieties of potatoes to choose from in supermarkets. Quite the success story considering its humble beginnings.

And there’s the rub.

Because there are so many varieties of potatoes to choose from it can be daunting and a bit confusing to choose the right potato. The recipe said potatoes, but there are so many to choose from. Which one do I buy?

Simple. Just use…….

Roberta’s Simple Quick & Handy Dandy Potato Guide

Basically there are three kinds of potatoes. There is your baking potato. Then there is your boiling potato. And there is also an all-purpose potato.

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Baking potatoes are high in starch.

Baking Potatoes are best used for baking, mashing, and frying.

Baking Potatoes are usually long and have rough, coarse looking skin.

Baking Potatoes common names are: Russets, Idaho’s, and Long Whites.

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Boiling or waxy potatoes are low in starch

Boiling Potatoes are best used for roasting, steaming, barbecuing, potato salad, soups, and casseroles.

Boiling potatoes are all different shapes and sizes, and have thin smooth skins.

Boiling potatoes common names are: Red potatoes, round whites & reds, yellow potatoes, Red bliss, and huckleberry. Fingerling potatoes fall in this category as well.

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All-purpose potatoes kinda fall in between. They are all purpose potatoes.

All-Purpose Potatoes are best used for roasting, boiling, and pan frying. They can be used in soups and stews. They are not as good baked, mashed, or fried.

All-Purpose Potatoes common names are:  Yukon Gold, Peruvian Blue, and Kennebec.

What is a New Potato?

A new potato is ANY potato that is harvested in late winter or early spring or before it is fully mature. Think of New Potatoes as baby potatoes. The skins on new potatoes are thinner than on other potatoes. Tip: Many red potatoes are commonly mislabeled in stores as new potatoes, when in actuality they are fully mature. And many times it is hard to tell the difference.

Buying Guide

When buying, look for potatoes that have no sprouts growing from the eyes. Wrinkling of the skin indicates an old potato. There should be no cuts or dark spots. Also avoid potatoes that have a greenish hue. They have been exposed to too much light and will have a bitter taste.

Featured Recipe           Sautéed Potatoes

Found this relatively easy DELICICIOUS potato recipe in a cookbook I picked up off a sale table several years ago. Besides the price ($4.99) the “30 Minutes Or Less,” in the book jacket caught my eye. That phrase appeals to my lazy bone like you would not believe!!

It was one of  a series of books with that phrase in the title.This specific one is Favorite Foods. The publisher is Paragon Publishing from Bath, Great Britain.   

Not only do these potatoes look pretty, the outside is nice and crisp but the insides are moist and tender.  My heart palpitates at the mere thought. And my mouth waters like it was Niagara Falls. In case you never noticed before, I have an on-going love affair with food.

These potatoes go with anything; beef, chicken, pork, or lamb. They also make a decadent midnight meal served with a small salad too!

This is what you will need for 3-4 people:

1 pound of boiling or waxy potatoes*

2 tablespoons clarified butter**

Salt and pepper to taste

Parsley

* I used Yukon Gold

** Clarified butter is unsalted butter that has been slowly melted, thereby evaporating most of the water in the butter and separating the milk solids. It has a higher smoke point than regular butter and therefore may be used to cook at higher temperatures.  (Source: Answers.com)

If you cooked the potatoes in regular butter, the butter would burn before you could get the potatoes browed well. So clarified butter is needed to get the potatoes nice and brown.

You can make your own clarified butter if you want; recipe here. It can also be found at some grocery stores as well. Ghee is another name for clarified butter. I get mine at the grocery store. As lazy as I am you really didn’t think I would make my own did you?????

Clarified butter also has a divine, and I mean D*I*V*I*N*E  flavor. I mean made in heaven flavor. I think the angles make it.

Recipe can be easily doubled.

Here is what you do:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.

Peel the potatoes.

Cut the potatoes into big chunks.

When the water has come “to a boil”  that is, there is a lot of steam and small bubbles rising in the water;  but not a roiling boil with big bubbles, add the potatoes.

As soon as the water returns “to a boil” drain the potatoes. Do not cook the potatoes through. You are only partially cooking the potatoes at this point. If you boil too long the potatoes will be come mushy. You don’t want that.

Pat the potatoes completely dry with paper towels.

Melt the clarified butter or ghee in a large pan or skillet with a tight fitting lid, over medium high heat. You do not want too much butter. A thin layer of butter will do very nicely. You can add more later if the pan gets a bit too dry.

When the butter is melted add the potatoes and cook, turning frequently for about 4 minutes, or until the potatoes start to turn golden.

Now reduce the heat to very low, then cover and cook the potatoes for 15-20 minutes. Shake the pan occasionally, or as I do, stir frequently. If needed, add a bit more clarified butter. Cook until the potatoes are golden brown and offer no resistance when pierced with a knife.

While you wait for the potatoes to brown chop the parsley.

When the potatoes are nicely browned, add some salt and pepper and the parsley.

The potatoes should be nice and crisp on the outside, and soft and tender on the inside. I melt a little more clarified butter and pour it over the potatoes when I serve.

I know. I know!!!! The food and fat police will be all over my case. But they have never eaten these delectable little morsels. And that is a good thing ’cause then there are more for me!!!!

Bon Appetit My Dear Friends!!!

Cost

1 pound waxy potatoes                $4.59

2 tablespoons clarified butter        $0.75

Salt and pepper to taste               $—–

Parsley                                       $0.11

Total cost =  $5.45

Cost per person =  $1.36

Quote of the Day

God doesn’t require us to succeed, he only requires that you try.  
 
Mother Teresa

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