potatoes

Mashed Potatoes, Two Ways (dairy-free and dairy-loaded)

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In our nuclear family of 11, there are the pro-potato people and the no-potato people.

I am a top level pro-potato person.

And as you can see from the photos, so are two of my grand daughters, who helped me make some mashed potatoes for dinner a while ago.

The recipe we made was a butter-cream-cheese-sour-cream indulgence. (It could be a meal in itself!) But we’ve also made dairy-free versions. Pro-potato people like it all ways.

Are mashed potatoes on your menu for Thanksgiving? If so — or any other time — check out both recipes, dairy-loaded and dairy-free.

dairy-loaded Mashed Potatoes

  • 2 pounds boiling potatoes (such as Yukon Gold)

  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks

  • 4 tablespoons cream cheese, cut into chunks

  • 1/2 cup dairy sour cream

  • 1/4 cup warm milk, approximately

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks. Cook them in lightly salted simmering water for about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and return the potatoes to the pan. Cook briefly over low heat to evaporate the excess moisture. Mash the potatoes with a ricer or potato masher. Add the butter and cream cheese and mash them in thoroughly until the butter and cheese are completely blended in. Add the sour cream and blend in thoroughly. Mix in enough milk for desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 6 servings

 

DAIRY-FREE Mashed Potatoes

  • 5 medium all-purpose potatoes such as Yukon Gold

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1 small onion, chopped

  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 3 tablespoons chicken or vegetable stock

  • salt to taste

  • pinch or two of cayenne pepper

  • 3 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel the potatoes, cut them into chunks and cook them in lightly salted water for about 15 minutes, or until they are fork tender. While the potatoes are cooking, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan and add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes, then add the garlic. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until the vegetables are beginning to brown. Set aside. Drain the potatoes and mash them with a ricer or potato masher until the lumps have disappeared. Add the vegetables and olive oil and stir them in gently. Stir in the lemon juice, stock, salt and the cayenne pepper. Place the mixture in a baking dish. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the top is crispy and brown.

Makes 6 servings

Sweet Potato "fries"

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I know that for many people, including my family, Hanukkah is a fried-food-fest. That once-a-year indulgence we look forward to with glee. Whether it's the fried latkes, the doughnuts, the chicken -- whatever -- it's the fried part that counts for us. That crunch! That crust! That crisp!

Oy.

So, sure, let's enjoy that first round of classic holiday favorites.

But Hanukkah is an 8-day holiday! So -- how about what I like to call "sort-of-fried" for the remaining days (and anytime after).

Mock fried.

That is, food cooked at high heat that gets crispy, liked fried food, but without the calories, the mess, the fuss and the smell. 

I realize it is NOT THE SAME AS FRIED FOOD.

I get it.

But it is still really tasty, and with the proper crispiness.

Like these sweet potato "fries."

Try these the next time you want something resembles fried without the frying.

Sweet Potato Fries

  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or to taste (or use cayenne pepper)

Preheat the oven to 425F degrees. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into julienne strips about 1/4-inch wide. Place the strips in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Pour the olive oil over the strips and toss to coat them all. Sprinkle the sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper on top. Bake, tossing once or twice, for about 15 minutes, or until the strips are browned and crispy.

Makes 4-6 servings.

 

Roasted Potato Salad

Although my Mom was a really good cook, there were a couple of recipes of hers that I absolutely didn't like. For example, her potato salad, made with cooked, cut up all-purpose Eastern potatoes mixed with onions and Miracle Whip.

And because I didn't like that potato salad or even that style of potato salad, I have spent years experimenting with different recipes.

A while ago I tried making potato salad using roasted potatoes and it opened up a whole new range of options. Roasting gives an entirely different texture and flavor to potatoes and, of course to any salad you create with them.

There's a wonderful recipe for Roasted Lemon-Rosemary Potato Salad in my book, The Modern Kosher Kitchen.

This one was a big hit recently at a buffet get-together at my house. A good choice for a Labor Day picnic.

Roasted Potato Salad

  • 2-1/2 pounds small red bliss or baby Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2-3 teaspoons chopped fresh herbs such as thyme, savory, rosemary, marjoram (or a mixture)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Wash and dry the potatoes and cut them into bite size pieces. Place the potatoes on a baking tray. Pour 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over the potatoes and toss to coat them. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast the potatoes for about 25 minutes or until tender. Remove the tray from the oven and place the potatoes in a bowl. Add the red onion and pour in the white wine. Toss the ingredients and let cool slightly. Whisk the remaining olive oil, white wine vinegar and mustard and pour over the potatoes. Add the parsley and herbs, toss and let stand for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 servings

Eggplant, Mashed Potato and Portobello Gratin

Whenever I need a meatless or dairy meal -- for a meatless Monday (or any other day of the week when I am not in the mood for meat), or for during the Nine Days, or a Yom Kippur Break-the-Fast, or during Passover -- this is one of the recipes I turn to. It's filling enough for dinner (served with a salad) yet not heavy.

Another benefit? Set it up ahead and bake just before you need it.

I change the recipe occasionally, because -- why not! This dish is versatile. Sometimes I use zucchini instead of or together with eggplant. Sometimes I add feta cheese or a layer of cooked kale or spinach or some cooked carrots. But basically this is it.

 

Eggplant, Mashed Potato and Portobello gratin

  • 2 large Yukon gold potatoes
  • 3/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 large eggs
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 medium eggplant (or 2 medium zucchini)
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large Portobello mushroom caps
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven broiler or outdoor grill. Peel the potatoes, cut them into chunks and cook them in simmering water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and mash them in the pot. Stir in 1/2 cup of Swiss cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and the eggs. Season lightly with salt and pepper. While the potatoes are cooking, trim the ends from the eggplant. Slice the eggplant lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices. Brush both sides with the olive oil. Broil or grill the eggplant for 2-3 minutes per side or until softened and lightly browned. Place half the eggplant slices in a rectangular baking dish. Cover with the mashed potatoes. Layer the remaining eggplant on top. Slice the mushroom caps about 1/4-inch thick and place them on top of the eggplant. Slice the tomatoes and place them over the mushrooms. Scatter the basil and parsley on top. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook for 45 minutes or until crispy and lightly browned on top.

Makes 8-10 servings

 

Potato Cheese and Spinach Kugel

Tell me Shavuot is coming and my first thought is cheesecake.

Of course. Cheesecake the dish most associated with the holiday. I love it. Make all kinds. Some plain. Some spiced. Some covered with fruit. Some with chocolate.

On the other hand you can't just eat cheesecake. 

Shavuot is generally a dairy holiday.

I love dairy.

Especially if there is a potato involved.

Like in this kugel, which is a wonder all by itself. But also good with salad, other dairy dishes or served with sunnyside eggs on top.

Perfect dish for the holiday.

 

Potato Cheese and Spinach Kugel

  • 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1-1/2 pounds)
  • 8-10 ounces fresh spinach
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 6 large eggs
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup panko crumbs
  • 2-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish. Peel the potatoes, cut them into chunks and boil them in lightly salted water for about 15 minutes or until tender. Let cool and chop into small pieces. Place the potatoes in a bowl. While the potatoes are cooking, wash and dry the spinach and chop it coarsely. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 3 minutes or until softened. Add the spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes or until wilted (if there is liquid in the pan, raise the heat and cook until it evaporates, or drain using a strainer). Add the spinach mixture, the feta cheese and dill to the potatoes and mix gently to distribute the ingredients evenly. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Mix in 3 tablespoons of the melted butter and pour over the potato mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Gently mix the ingredients. Place the mixture inside the greased baking dish. In a small bowl, mix the panko, the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter and the Parmesan cheese and sprinkle over the ingredients. Bake for about 30 minutes or until hot and crispy.

Makes 8-10 servings

 

 

Mashed Potato Pancakes

It has been said that on St. Patrick's Day everyone is Irish.

That's okay by me! I've been to Ireland. It's gorgeous. The people are friendly, the sites are interesting, the weather is glorious, the food is awesome. What's not to like?

The potato dishes are especially good.

Like mashed potato pancakes. You absolutely cannot go wrong making these. A terrific side dish with fish or at a vegetarian dinner. But, ya know, I've had these for dinner just by themselves, topped with sunnyside eggs (and served with some grilled tomatoes) and that's a perfect meal as far as I am concerned.

 

Mashed Potato Latkes

  • 2 pounds boiling potatoes (such as Yukon Golds)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, optional
  • 1 large egg
  • Panko crumbs
  • vegetable oil for frying

Wash the potatoes and cut them into chunks. Bring them to a boil in a large pan in lightly salted water. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Drain and, when cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes. Mash the potatoes in a bowl using a potato masher or ricer. Add the butter and the milk and stir them in. Stir in the chives, if used, and the egg. Make flat cakes, about 1/4-inch thick out of the potato mixture. Press each side of the cake into Panko crumbs. Heat about 1/4" vegetable oil in a cast iron or other heavy heat retaining skillet over moderately high heat. Fry for 2-3 minutes per side or until the pancakes are golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels.

Makes about 12

Potato Chips May Save the Day

When I feel stressed I want potatoes.

Any kind.

Baked, boiled, fried, mashed, cakes, salad, pierogi, kugel, soup.

This election is giving me stress.

I know a lot of people who are freaking out. So it's not just me.

But I definitely need some sort of potato to calm me down.

So tonight, when I have people over for my first debate watch gathering, I am serving homemade potato chips. These:

Rosemary and Sea Salt Potato Chips

  • 3 medium russet type potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped rosemary (or use dried, crushed rosemary)
  • sea salt, preferably coarse, freshly ground salt

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Wipe the potato slices dry. Pour the olive oil into a bowl. Add the potato slices and toss them to coat on all sides. Place the potato slices in a single layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with rosemary and sea salt. Bake for 15-18 minutes, turning the slices once.  

 Makes 4 servings

 

 

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Potato Salad with Lemon-Oregano Vinaigrette

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Some people say potato salad comes from German cuisine. Others tell you it is French. Or from some other European country.

But I think potato salad is actually thoroughly American.

Potatoes are a "new world" plant. Back in the 16th century, before Europeans ever knew there was even another continent, Spanish explorers sailed to what would later become the "Americas." They were looking for gold and plenty in the mythical kingdom of El Dorado. 

Surprise!

What they found were plenty of potatoes, and that was their real treasure.

They brought potatoes back to Europe, where it met with mixed reviews, especially because so many people thought potatoes were poisonous. Others refused to eat potatoes because they weren't mentioned in the bible. 

Fortunately potatoes are nourishing and easy to grow, so in the poorer European communities the people were obliged to eat them or starve. 

And so by the time Europeans settled in what would become the United States, potatoes were a staple part of the diet.

With all this in mind, I say again: potato salad is an American food, because -- it all started with the potato. And so it's the perfect side dish for a 4th of July picnic, barbecue or any other sort of get-together.

For my money -- potato salad is best when served at room temperature. Not hot, not cold. There are a zillion versions. Here's one:

Potato Salad with Lemon-Oregano Vinaigrette

  • 2-1/2 pounds small red potatoes        
  • lightly salted water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped        
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (1-1/2 teaspoons dried) 
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, or salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the potatoes in a saucepan, cover with lightly salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain under cold water and peel, if desired. Cut the potatoes into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl. Pour in the olive oil and lemon juice and toss ingredients gently. Add the scallions, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper. Toss gently. Let rest at least 1 hour before serving.

Makes 4-6 servings

 

 

 

Oven Roasted Cheesy-Crusted Potato Sticks

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If someone mentions Idaho the first thing you're likely to think is: potato.

Of course.

Potatoes are Idaho's leading crop and Idaho is also first in the nation in potato production.

Why do I tell you this now?

First because of all foods on earth, my favorite is the potato. I've written about it before. 

But also because as I have said, I love the political scene and keep track of all the state primaries and caucuses. Idaho's is coming (Republicans today, Democrats on March 22). And that fact reminded me of potatoes.

As if I needed any reminding.

I decided that no matter which political party or candidate you prefer, if any, at primary/caucus time a good dish to honor Idaho would be this particular recipe for crispy cheesy-crusted oven roasted potato sticks. I could make this dish into dinner all by itself. Maybe with some sunnyside eggs. They're nice as part of a vegetarian/meatless Monday dinner too. 

Oven-Roasted Cheesy-Crusted Potato Sticks

  • 1-1/2 to 2 pounds potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1/2-inch thick strips. Place the strips in a single layer on the parchment paper. In a bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, thyme and paprika. Pour over the potatoes and toss the strips to coat them completely. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Scatter the cheese evenly over the potatoes. Roast for about 30 minutes, turning the strips once or twice.

Makes 4 servings 

 

 

The Vegetable that Looks Like a Creature from Outer Space

Have you seen this vegetable with its big bottom bulb and leafy-topped stalks sticking up like the antennae of a creature from outer space? It's not very popular and not very familiar, but should be, because it tastes so good and has such a terrific crunch when eaten raw.

I think people may avoid it because they don't know what it is or what to do with it. 

Basically it's this, a cabbage variant. The name means "cabbage turnip." You can eat the bulb and the leaves. (Cook the leaves like any green leafy vegetable.)

The bulb takes some work. You have to peel them as you would broccoli stems. Underneath the thick skin you might also find some fibrous strings, which you should also remove. Then you're left with the crispy, juicy, tender flesh, which you can eat raw (good for crudites), or make into cole slaw or as a substitute for cucumber in tea sandwiches and salad. 

On the other hand, kohlrabi can be cooked too, and, like all cabbage is especially perfect with potatoes. Mashed potatoes are lighter, sweeter and amazingly interesting when you mix them with mashed kohlrabi. For this recipe I've also included parsnips and apples. It's a terrific side dish for fish, poultry, meat or as part of a vegetarian dinner.

 

Kohlrabi, Parsnip, Potato Mash

  • 1-½ to 2 pounds kohlrabi bulbs, peeled, chopped into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 pounds parsnips, peeled and sliced ½-inch thick
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold or all-purpose potatoes, peeled and chopped into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 large tart apple, peeled, cored and chopped into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons butter, margarine or olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Place the kohlrabi in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the parsnips and potatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Add the apple and cook for 5-6 minutes or until all the ingredients are tender. Drain and place the ingredients in a large bowl. Add the butter and mash until smooth and thoroughly blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve topped with chopped parsley.

Makes 8 servings