All Kinds Of Potato Recipes
Potatoes are coming into season full flush right about now, so it’s their turn to be in the spotlight. They are a humble vegetable, but their chameleon like ability to blend into so many dishes, lends them a dignity rivaling that of the tomato. Instant Mashed potatoes are available cheaply in most areas, and I heartily recommend their use, especially by folks who are really pressed for time, but are still trying to save money. For those who have a little more time to devote to meal preparation, let me re-introduce you to the Potato. It is good baked, with margarine and Homemade Yogurt. It is divine with Broccoli in Cheese Sauce poured over it. Sliced and fried, potatoes have been a standard part of hillbilly breakfasts since the first one set eyes on the hills. Peeled and sliced or diced, potatoes can go into soups, salads, stews, casseroles, and be turned into that most coveted of dishes, Real Mashed Potatoes (see recipe below).
I usually buy them in 10 pound bags at the supermarket when they go on sale for less than 30¢ a pound. This is about $3.00 for a 10 lb bag. I like to buy about 2 to 4 bags, or enough to last a while. At home, the potatoes get sorted into two categories; small ones, for slicing and dicing, and larger ones for baking. Each size goes into it’s own big plastic tub. Then I store them, uncovered, on my unheated back porch for most of the fall and winter. The porch never gets below freezing, because it is well insulated and enclosed. It stays cool all season long, so the potaotes have pretty much optimal storage conditions, or at least as close to it as I can manage. Potatoes must be sorted about every couple of weeks or so. Some of them will start to get soft, and others will develop peculiar molds or dark spots. These rogue ‘taters must be segregated from the others before they cause any mischeif, or turn the good potatoes into bad eggs. Use your best judgement about using the the potatoes you remove from the rest. Some may be salvagable in part, but some will have to be tossed into the compost pit. One way or the other, potatoes are delicious, and nutritious, and worthy of any table, from the finest, to the most frugal.
Baked Potatoes: Pick out uniformly shaped potatoes, as many as you want to use, or one for each person. Wash them well in clean tap water. Poke each one with a fork. Allow them to dry off, and then rub their skins with margarine or bacon grease if you like. This step isn’t necessary, but it makes the skin taste really good. Put them into the oven at 400° and bake for an hour. If you are baking other things in the oven at a different temperature, then bake the potatoes along with them, adjusting the cooking time accordingly. At 350°, the potatoes need an hour and a half, at 450° they need about 45 minutes. Some folks wrap their potatoes in tin foil before baking. This makes the potatoes steam in their own moisture, instead of actually baking. The cooking time is the same, either way.
Boiled Potatoes: Peel and cube as many potatoes as you wish to cook, or one for each person. While you are preparing the potatoes, fill a big pot half full of water. Add a teaspoon of salt to the water for flavoring. Drop the potatoes into the boiling water and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, or until they are tender when you poke them with a fork. Drain off the water, saving it for soup, or to make yeast bread. Put the potatoes back into the pot and shake them over the hot eye for a few minutes to dry them out a little and make their texture fluffier. Serve with a little margarine and a dusting of pepper.
Mashed Potatoes: Prepare the potatoes as directed above for “Boiled Potatoes”. After drying them out a little they are ready to mash. For 6 potatoes add 3 tablespoons of margarine and 1/3 to 1/2 cup of milk. Mash the potatoes and seasonings together until smooth. You can use a fork, or a potato masher, or a whisk, or electric beaters. Serve hot.
Creamed Potatoes: Prepare the potatoes as directed about for “Boiled Potatoes”. After drying them out a little, cover them with White Sauce. For 6 potatoes, you will need 2 cups of prepared white sauce. You may add a few mushrooms or peas if you like, but it isn’t necessary. Serve hot with meatloaf or fried chicken.
Hash Browns: Wash as many potatoes as you want to use, or one for each person you are serving. I seldom bother to peel them for this recipe but you could if you wanted to. Shred the potatoes on a coarse cheese shredder, or in a food processor. Heat a skillet over medium high heat with 2 to 3 tablespoons of bacon grease or margarine in it. When the pan is hot, add the shredded potatoes and pat them down so they cover the pan evenly. Fry without the lid on for about ten minutes. Carefully pry the browned bottom up and flip the potatoes over in largish chunks. Add more fat if you need to, about 2 more tablespoons worth. Fry again for another 8 to 10 minutes and serve with catsup. If desired, you may cook a chopped onion along with the potatoes.
French Fries: Peel a potato for each person you are serving, or as many as you’d like to use up. Cut the potatoes into finger sized pieces (the size and shape of commercial french fries). Soak the potatoes in a bowl of cool water for at least 20 minutes, or as long as several hours. You must do this step in order to make home made french fries. I used to try to skip this step to make the work go faster, and my results were never as good as I wanted them to be. Soaking the potatoes removes part of their starch, crisps them up some, and makes them fry up the way french fries are supposed to. After soaking the potatoes drain them very very well. Heat your oil or shortening to about 370°. Use a deep fat thermometer, if you need to. At this temperature, a one inch cube of white bread will turn golden brown in about 50 to 60 seconds. If it takes longer for your bread to brown, turn up the heat. If the bread browns in less time than that, turn the heat down. Carefully drop the dry potatoes into the hot fat, the fat should cover them completely. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until they are just beginning to turn brown. Drain on paper towels or a brown paper bag. Salt liberally and serve with catsup. These are delicious.
Oven Fries: Peel your potatoes, or not, as you see fit. Cut them into french fry shapes, or thin slices. For each potato you will need about a tablespoon of oil. Put the potatoes into a plastic bag with the oil. Shake them up, coating the potatoes liberally. Arrange them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake at 450° for 10 to 15 minutes. Depending on how thickly they were cut, it may even take up to 20 minutes. Salt liberally and serve hot. These are good with seasoned salt too. Serve with catchup.
Fried Potatoes: Use cooked or raw potatoes, which ever you have on hand. Cut them into slices about 1/4-inch, or less, in thickness. Heat a little fat in a skillet. Add the potatoes, arranging them in layers if necessary. Cover the pan if the potatoes are raw, but if they are already cooked, you needn’t bother with this step. For the raw potatoes, steam them in their own moisture for about 15 to 20 minutes. When they are nicely browned, turn and brown the other side. Add a little more fat if need be, for browning the second side. To fry the cooked potatoes, simply brown them in the pan for about 10 minutes, and then flip to brown the other side. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.
Scalloped Potatoes: Peel and slice about 6 to 8 potatoes. In a cereal bowl combine 1/3 cup of flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Arrange a layer of potatoes in a well oiled casserole. Sprinkle on a liberal amount of seasoned flour. Repeat the process until you run out of ingredients. Pour milk into the dish until it barely reaches the top of the potatoes. Dot with margarine and bake at 350° for about 45 minutes to an hour. The potatoes will be tender when poked with a fork. The flour thickens the milk as it bakes. Allow the dish to sit for a few minutes before serving.
Au Gratin Potatoes: Prepare “Scalloped Potatoes” above. When layering the potatoes and seasoned flour, sprinkle on a little shredded cheese too. Use about a cup of shredded cheese for the whole dish. Make sure to leave some to sprinkle on top before baking. Delicious.
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