Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Food

January 3, 2012

Loving the spud: Good reasons to love potatoes, good recipes to try

ASHLAND — Potatoes have gotten a bad rap recently, with health-conscious dieters’ concerns about carbohydrates.

However, potatoes have minimal sodium or fat, offer a good deal of fiber and has one of the highest amounts of vitamin C of any vegetable common to the North American diet. They also are a good source of niacin, B6 and potassium, They have kept many an individual from starving to death down through the years and most people love them.

Kathleen Sloan-McIntosh recognized these facts and wrote a cookbook all about the potato.

“300 Best Potato Recipes: A Complete Cook’s Guide” includes a near-mind-blowing variety of  unique recipes and tasty variations on some old favorites.

SLOAN’S LAMB STEW WITH SPUDS AND STOUT

3 pounds bone-in shoulder lamb chops, trimmed of excess fat

All-purpose flour

3 tablespoons bacon drippings or butter

4 onions, quarted

2 cups beef broth

1 cup Murphy’s Irish Stout or other dark beer

salt and freshly ground pepper

10 to 12 small all-purpose potatoes, peeled or un peeled

1 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley leaves

Pat chops dry with paper towels. Lightly dust with flour, shaking off excess. In a large , heavy pot, melt bacon drippings over medium heat. In batches, sear chops on both sides for about 10 minutes in total or until browned. Return chops to pot and add onions, broth and stout, lifting chops so liquid flows under and over them. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Arrange potatoes over chops, pressing down to slightly submerge in liquid. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 2 hours or until potatoes are coked through and chops are quite tender. Using a slotted spoon, place a quarter of the meat and vegetables in each of four warned individual shallow serving bowls. Quickly swirl butter into cooking juices in pot, then ladle over each serving. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

SOULVAKI WITH LEMON POTATOES

6 soaked wooden skewers, at least 6 inches long(15cm) (see tips )

1 1/2 pounds boneless pork, cut into chunks

1 1/2 pounds small red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed

1 teaspoon salt

fresh lemon wedges

Place pork in a large plastic bag. Add marinade (see tips) Seal and massage marinade into pork. set aside

Place potatoes in a large sauce pan and add boiling water to barley cover. Add salt, cover loosely and bring to a boil over high heat.reduce heat and parboil for 10 minutes or until potatoes are just tender. Drain well and rinse under cold running water until cooled (make sure potatoes are well cooked before proceeding). Using the tines of a fork, pierce each potato a few times, then transfer to bag with pork. Seal bag and turn and massage to coat pork and potatoes with marinade. refrigerate for at least 2 hours or preferably longer, for up to 12 hours. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Lightly oil grilled and preheat to high. Set a colander over a bowl and pour pork mixture into colander, collecting marinade in bowl. evenly divide pork and potatoes among six skewers. In a small saucepan, bring marinade to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Reduce grill heat to medium and grill skewers, turning to brown all over and basting with marinade, for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender and pork is justly barely pink in the center. Remove from grill and serve immediately with fresh lemon wedges.

Tips: Marinade in a small bowl, whisk together 4 cloves minced garlic, the finely grated zest of 1 lemon, 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, 3 tbsp. olive oil, 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano and 2 tsp. sweet paprika. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Usually meat and potatoes are cooked on separate skewers when grilling, because of their different cooking times. But in this case the potatoes receive a little precooking so they can be teamed with pork on the same skewer. Use wooden skewers (presoaked) to ensure that the meat and potatoes stay in place while cooking.

A.M. POTATO CHEESE MUFFINS

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoons sweet paprika

3 large eggs

2 cups dry-mashed potatoes

1 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup butter, melted

2 cups shredded sharp (aged) cheddar cheese

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and paprika. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat eggs, using a wooden spoon, stir in potatoes until blended. Stir in buttermilk, melted butter and cheese until blended. Stir in flour mixture until just combined (do not overmix) Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Bake in 350 degree preheated oven for 25 minutes or until tops are browned and a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Serve immediately.

Variation: Add about 1/2 cup chopped ham or crisp bacon bits along with the cheese.

Tip: For easier clean-up, line your muffin pan with paper baking cups, if you have bake muffins or cupcakes often, invest in silicone muffin pan liner.

CAROLINA SWEET POTATO PIE

Pastry

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup lard or vegetable shortening, chilled and cut into small pieces

5 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

1/4 cup ice water

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Filling

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/4pound butter, softened

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 large eggs, separated

finely grated zest of 1 small orange

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1/2 cup table cream

In a bowl , combine flour and sat. Using a pastry blender or a large fork, cut in lard and butter until mixture is crumbly, In a small bowl, whisk together ice water and egg. then stir a little more than half into flour mixture until blended into dough (add more egg mixture of dough still looks too crumbly and does not hold together when pressed between your fingers). Divide dough in half and gently flatten each portion into a disk. Wrap separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate one disk for about 2 hours (freeze second disk for another use. Uncooked pastry can be frozen for up to 3 months if properly wrapped and sealed. When your ready to cook, preheat oven to 425. On a lightly floured surface, roll our dough to fit pie plate. transfer to pie plate, trimming the edges. Set aside

Place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan and add cold water to barley cover. Cover loosely and bring to a boil over high heat. reduce heat and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are just tender. Drain well. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool fro 1 to 2 minutes. Using a potato masher, mash. Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, cinnamon, salt, ginger and nutmeg and mash until blended. In a separate bowl, throughly whisk egg yolks. Using a wooden spoon, beat into mashed sweet potatoes along with orange zest, orange juice and cream until blended. In another bowl, using a handheld blender, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold into sweet potato mixture (do not over mix) Scrape into pie shell, gently smoothing top. Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 and bake for about 35 minutes or until filling is puffed. crust is golden and a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

Tip: If time is not a factor, cook the sweet potatoes whole, in their skins, for maximum flavor.

DARK CHOCOLATE AND ORANGE POTATO CHEESECAKE

Chocolate Crust

3 cups chocolate cookie crumbs

1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2/3 cup butter, melted

Filling

2 packages cream cheese, each 8 ounce

1 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups cooled dry-mashed potatoes

3 eggs

10 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped, melted and cooled

1 tablespoons orange zest, finely chopped

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

In a bowl, stir together cookie crumbs, cinnamon and melted butter until crumbs are completely moistened. Press over bottom and halfway up the sides of springform pan. Center pan on a large sheet of foil, then gather foil and wrap around base and sides. Transfer to preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack, leaving foil intact. Reduce oven temperature to 325.

Tip: Use cream cheese that comes in a block, not the spreadable kind, because the patter has less volume owing ot the air that is whipped into it to make it easily spreadable. For this recipe you need a more solid cream cheese.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat cream cheese and sugar until blended. Beat in mashed potatoes until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in melted chocolate, orange zest and orange juice until incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, scrap into chocolate crust. Place springform pan in roasting pan. Pull out center oven rack and set roasting pan to come halfway up sides of springform pan. Return rack to preheated oven and bake for 50 minutes or until filling is set around edges but still a bit wobbly in center. Turn off oven and let cheesecake cool in oven for 1 hour. remove from oven. Transfer from roasting pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Cover cheesecake and refrigerate for 4 hours. remove pan sides. Before serving, fill a measuring cup with boiling water. Dip a sharp knife into the water, wipe it dry, then slice cheesecake, wipe blade clean, dip it, dry it and slice again.

Tip: When making cheesecake, avoid opening the oven door, as drafts can cause the cheesecake to crack. Also, dont over-bake, cheesecake is done when the edges are slightly puffed and the center still appears a bit soft and moist. It will firm up on cooling. Run a thin-bladed knife around the outside edges of the cheesecake to loosen it from the pan after removing from the oven, to prevent cracking as it cools and contracts.

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While I don’t claim to be an expert cook, I do like to cook and love to eat. Readers are encouraged to send questions about food and cooking; I’ll try to find the answers. Also, if you’re looking for a specific recipe, send your request, or if you can offer a recipe to someone looking for something specific, please send e-mail to lward@dailyindependent.com.

 

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