April 2000   Vol. 1   No. 4
 
Potatoes

Potatoes are comfort food for many people.  I always have many varieties of potatoes in my pantry.   Starchy potatoes (baking potatoes) have a thick brown skin and white fluffy flesh.  These are good for baking and mashing.  Yellow Finns and Yukon Gold potatoes have a thinner skin and a creamy yellow flesh.  There are also white potatoes with smooth thin skin and a creamy white flesh.  These potatoes may be used for roasting, mashing, soups and salads.  Red potatoes and new potatoes have smooth skin and a firm texture.  These are good for salads, roasting, steaming and soups.  I also like to mash these types of potatoes with the skins on for a delicious variation of mashed potatoes.   Leave some chunks in the potatoes when mashing and be careful not to over-beat or they tend to become gummy.  Never use a food processor when mashing potatoes.

Store potatoes in a cool, dark place for best results, but not in the refrigerator.   Potatoes should have smooth skin, without wrinkles.  If your potatoes have been stored too long and have begun to develop sprouts, be sure to trim sprouts and eyes before using.  After peeling or cutting, potatoes will discolor.  Place them in cold water to cover to avoid this if you do prepare them ahead.

We have mashed potatoes very often because the whole family likes them.   The following recipe is a favorite way to use the leftover mashed potatoes.

SHEPHERD’S VEGETABLE PIE
Preparation Time: 35 minutes (need mashed potatoes)
Cooking Time:  1 hour
Servings:  6

3 cups vegetable broth
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
½ teaspoon minced bottled fresh garlic
½ teaspoon sage leaves
½ teaspoon marjoram
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 ½ cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 ½ cups cauliflower florets
1 cup thinly sliced cabbage
1 cup green beans, cut in 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed in 1/3 cup cold water
freshly ground pepper to taste
3 cups mashed potatoes
paprika to garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place ½ cup of the broth in a large pot with the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes.  Stir in sage, marjoram and soy sauce.  Add the remaining vegetable broth and the carrot, mushrooms, cauliflower, cabbage and green beans.   Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the cornstarch mixture and stir until thickened.  Season with pepper to taste.   Transfer to a casserole dish.  Cover vegetable mixture with mashed potatoes and sprinkle with paprika.  Bake for 30 minutes until potatoes are slightly browned. 

Hint:  Thin the mashed potatoes with a little soy milk or vegetable broth if they are too stiff to spread.  Put them in a bowl, add a small amount of the liquid and beat by hand or with an electric beater until they are spreadable.

POTATO BOATS
Servings:  5
Preparation Time:  15 minutes
Cooking Time:   1 ¼ hours 

5 large baking potatoes
1 ½ cups soymilk
1 cup each:  frozen peas, corn, lima beans, thawed
¾ cup grated soy cheese
paprika

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. 

Scrub potatoes and prick all over with a fork.  Place on medium oven rack.  Bake for about 1 hour until tender.

Thaw frozen vegetables under cool water and drain.  Set aside. 

Remove potatoes from oven.  Cut off  a small portion of the top lengthwise and scrape off excess potato from the skin.  Discard top.  Scoop out potato center  from  the remaining part of the potato, leaving a small edge next to the skin.   Reserve.   

Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees. 

Place the potato centers in a bowl and mash with a potato masher or electric beater, adding a small amount of soymilk at a time, until smooth.  Stir in vegetables and soy cheese.  Place the potato mixture back into the potato shells, mounding it as high as necessary to use all of the mixture.  Place on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with paprika.  Bake for 15 minutes, then broil on low for 2-3 minutes to brown slightly.

Serve plain or with a gravy or sauce. 

Hint:  These potatoes reheat well.  Great for lunch or a snack.  For less servings, reduce the amount of potatoes, vegetables and soymilk accordingly. 

The following recipe is by Heather McDougall.  It is a delicious way to use potatoes and parsnips for a creamy, earthy soup.   Many people are unfamiliar with parsnips.  They can be found in your produce section and they look like carrots except they are white in color. 

POTATO AND PARSNIP SOUP
Servings 4-6
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time (without garlic): 35 minutes
Cooking Time (with garlic): 45 minutes

6 cups vegetable broth
1 onion chopped
4 medium parsnips, peeled and cubed
2 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Saute onion in ½ cup vegetable broth until soft, about 5 minutes. Add remaining broth, parsnips, potatoes, and carrot. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook for 25 minutes, or until all vegetables are soft. Turn off heat and prepare to puree soup. Using a blender, puree small amounts of soup at a time and transfer to another medium saucepan. When finished, heat soup on low for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, add lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Top with Roasted Garlic Bread (see recipe below) and parsley.

ROASTED GARLIC BREAD
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Roasting Time: 45 minutes

1 baguette, sliced on the diagonal
1 head garlic
4 tablespoons vegetable broth
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut top of garlic head off and drizzle 2 tablespoons of broth over the top. Wrap in parchment paper, then wrap in foil and place in oven for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Place bread in oven on a baking sheet and bake until light brown.  Watch carefully.   Squeeze out garlic from cloves, add remaining broth and salt, and mix until smooth. Spread on toasted bread.
 

Heather McDougall with a degree in English and a love for cooking, especially with her mother, will be a frequent contributor to the newsletter.

2002 John McDougall All Rights Reserved
 

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