POTATO

Solanum tuberosum

Potatoes, native to the Andean Mountains of South America, are now the most grown vegetable in the world.  They have been cultivated since 3000 B.C.  This must be why it is so hard for us to imagine a culinary world without the potato.  A typical american eats about 75 lbs of potatoes a year, most of which is in the form of french fries and potato chips.  This is why this highly nourishing tuber has gotten such a bad rap.  Let go of that bag and eat a real potato!  Potatoes are filled with complex carbohydrates and minerals (especially when the skin is consumed, which being organically grown, we highly recommend) and is a good source of vegetable protein.  When combined with meat, dairy, or grains, potatoes form a complete protein.  To store your potatoes for up to two weeks, just keep them at room temperature and out of the light.  For longer storage, keep at 45-50 degrees, in darkness and with high humidity.  We keep ours in the refrigerator veggie drawer for months at a time.  Soon we may start giving you more potatoes than will fit in those little paper bags.  They may start coming in plastic ones but DO NOT store them in the plastic bag.  They need to breath.

We grow many varieties of potato: cranberries (red skin, pink flesh), red dales (red skin, white flesh), carolas (yellow skin and flesh and our all time favorite), all blues (purple skin and flesh) , russian banana fingerlings, and buttes, which are a russett.  If there is a potato variety you are in love with and want us to try, we will!  Just let us know.

2008 was a rough season for the potato here at Summit Springs Farm.  With so much rain and poor drainage, plus those darn little potato beetles, we lost between 30% and 40% of our crop.  Still, we over-planted like any good farmer should, and we still have a bunch left.

Besides the recipe below, try combining your mashed potatoes with some mashed kohlrabi.  We tried it recently and really loved it!  Just peel and cube the kohlrabi (pretty small…I found it to take longer to cook than potato) and boil until tender.

Also, we simply must include a plug here for The Potato Museum, an entity founded over thirty years ago in Belguim by John’s aunt and uncle, Meredith and Tom Hughes.  Uncle Tom was a teacher in Brussels.  He and his students did a project on the potato one year, and the more research he did into this amazing crop, the more fascinated he became.  As he continued researching the potato’s history and world-wide impact, and as he began collecting potato-related tools and other ephemera, a simple educational project evolved into The Potato Museum.  To learn more, visit http://www.potatomuseum.com/.

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Potato Crust Quiche
From From Asparagus to Zucchini

3 medium potatoes (to make 1 1/2 cups mashed) *
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 cups mixed, chopped, cooked veggies
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 eggs
1 can (5.3 ounces) evaporated milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 cup bread cubes (optional)

Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender; drain.  Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Mash hot potatoes with butter.  Line bottom and sides of 9-inch pie plate with potato mixture.  Spread vegetables over potatoes; sprinkle cheese over vegetables.  Beat eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in bowl.  Pour over quiche; top with bread cubes, if desired.  Bake 40-50 minutes.  Makes 8 servings.

* I NEVER make pie crusts…it was just something I was never taught how to do and for some reason have not taught myself.  This is genius, and since I’ve learned about it, I use it for all kinds of quiche recipes.  It’s especially great when you’ve got some left over mashies hanging out in the fridge.  Enjoy!!!

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Skinny Fries
from Wood Prairie Farm

4 medium potatoes, unpeeled
2 tsp vegetable oil
3 sprigs snipped fresh rosemary

Slice potatoes lengthwise into 1/4″ strips or wedges and place in a bowl.  Drizzle oil over potatoes and toss to coat.  Spread on a cookie sheet one layer thick.  Season with herbs.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.

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Russian Banana Fingerling Potatoes
These just might be the best potatoes you have ever had.  This specific variety of fingerling was first grown by early Russian settlers.  These savory, finger-sized (hence the name) yellow tubers with cresent-shaped tapered ends, are exquisite baked, boiled, or in salads. Fingerlings have become all the rage recently in gourmet restaurants, but you get to have them right at home!  Enjoy!

Oven Roasted Parmesan Fingerling Potatoes

From Mountain King

Serves 4-6
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

1 1/2lbs fingerling potatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 stick butter (or you can substitute 3 tbs. of olive oil)
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375° degrees.
2. In small plastic bag, put flour, cheese, salt and pepper to taste and shake to mix together well.
3. Wash the fingerling potatoes and drop them into the bag of mixture. Shake the bag to coat the fingerling potato pieces on all sides.
4. Melt better and pour on flat baking dish, arrange fingerling potato pieces on the dish. Cook 375° degrees for approximately 15 minutes, turn each piece and cook additional 15 minutes until golden brown.  Serve immediately.

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Horseradish Mashed Potatoes and Celeriac
based on a recipe from From Asparagus to Zucchini

1 lb celeriac, peeled and cut into chunks
1 lb potatoes, cut into chunks
1 bay leaf
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup milk
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp horseradish
salt and pepper to taste

Combine celeriac, potatoes, bay leaf, and garlic with water to cover; boil until just tender, about 20 minutes.  Drain, remove bay leaf, and return vegetables to pot.  Add milk, butter, and horseradish.  Mash and season with salt and pepper.  Makes 4-6 servings.

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Potato Pancakes with Applesauce
From Wood Prairie Farm

1 large yellow onion
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 eggs, beaten
2 lbs potatoes, peeled
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/8 tsp baking powder
oil for frying

Using the large holes of a grater, grate the onion into a bowl.  Add lemon juice and eggs, and mix well.  Using the same grater, grate the potatoes into the bowl.  After each potato is added, stir to mix well.  The lemon juice should keep the potatoes from darkening.  When the potatoes are grated, add salt and pepper to taste.  Add the baking powder just before frying.  Add oil liberally to a heavy skillet (olive oil is best for this).  Heat the oil on medium high until it is just below the smoking point.  Use a large spoon to drop the potato mixture into the hot oil, about 1/4 cup at a time.  Flatten the cakes gently with the back of the spoon.  Fry on one side until brown and crisp, then turn and fry on the other side.  Remove from the pan and dry on paper towels.  Add a dollop of applesauce and serve.

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Tex-Mex Potato Salad
From ’09 apprentice Kate Jones and her mom

2 lbs small red potatoes – steam w/salt until tender, cool, cut into the size you want to eat. I don’t know if it will work with all potatoes, but let them cool some before mixing with rest of ingredients, otherwise it could be potato mush.

Next, you’ll need the following:
1 T minced garlic
1 tsp bottled chili paste
1 T paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne (you can use less depending on your taste)
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander seed
2 tsp ground white pepper…black pepper works if you don’t have white
3/4 c olive oil

Heat the oil in a skillet, then add spices to hot oil for 15 seconds. Add the mixture to the potatoes, and then add the following:
2 tsp salt (or to taste)
3/4 c chopped scallions
1/2 c chopped fresh cilantro
1 c freshly grated cheddar cheese (sharp is best but use whatever you have)

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