Thursday, February 16, 2006
Potatoes Are Not The Enemy
Potatoes have gotten a bad rap lately. It's no wonder, with all the no-carb/lo-carb diets that are going on, the potato has been shunned. I urge you to take a second look. These little spuds are not so bad for you after all.
The potato story starts high in the Andes with the Inca Indians who were
the first to cultivate the tuber. Once the Spanish Conquistadors conquered
Peru in 1536 though, the potato took off for Europe and Sir Walter Raleigh was the first to introduce the potato to Ireland in 1589.
Potatoes eventually made their way back across the Atlantic to the Colonies in
1621 in cedar chests sent to Governor Francis Wyatt of Virginia at Jamestown by
the Governor of Bermuda, Nathaniel Butler. It took nearly a hundred years for the
first permanent potato fields to be cultivated in North America; 1719 in New
That is the VERY short history of the potato in America but, you get the idea.
Potatoes have been used for everything from currency to folk remedies and nowadays
you can find more than the usual white variety at almost any supermarket.
From www.oregonspuds.com :
Potatoes are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. They have fewer calories than a grapefruit, more potassium than a banana and more usable iron than any other vegetable. They are also high in fiber, rich in vitamins and minerals
and contain no fat or cholesterol.
Potassium is a mineral that is in every cell in the body. Potassium has been shown to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke. A deficiency in the mineral can make a person feel weak or fatigued.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that neutralizes pollutants in the body, helps to prevent cell damage and produces the collagen which makes healthy cartilage, joints, skin and blood vessels.
Fiber benefits the digestive system and helps to increase the feeling of fullness between meals. A diet rich in fiber is helpful in relieving constipation and helps to prevent breast and colon cancer, diabetes and obesity.
Iron is a mineral that is essential for an energetic body, a sharp mind and a strong immune system. Iron helps blood and muscles supply oxygen to the body. A diet rich in iron can prevent anemia which can cause ulcers and stomach or colon cancer."
When I was pregnant with my second child my one craving was baby red potatoes. No salt, no butter, no nothing; just boiled or steamed. They were so good and still are my favorite potato.
I'm not advocating hashbrowns for breakfast, vichyssoise for lunch and a baked potato for dinner (though wouldn't that be lovely?) but a potato dish or two a week won't hurt anyone. The best diet always has been and always will be, variety and moderation. Kind of like life.
Just in case you're drawing a blank~here are some potato recipes.
Niçoise Potato Salad
10 red bliss potatoes cooked and cubed
1t dried dill
1t onion powder
1 anchovy fillet-mashed
1c fresh green beans-cooked lightly
1 6oz can tuna-drained
2 hard boiled eggs-diced
1 tomato seeded and chopped
1/2 c black olives-pitted and sliced
Combine mayo, dill, onion powder, and anchovy. Mix well.
Toss with remaining ingredients and chill. Serve on
lettuce leaves if desired.
Cutuflin Glace - German Potatoes and Dumplings
Potatoes (quartered, Boil till firm)
One cup flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
pinch of sugar
salt to taste
add water slowly til a firm dough forms
Roll dough on floured flat board. Slice in bite size
pieces, Let sit twenty minutes. Add to boiling potatoes.
Sour cream sauce:
1 stick butter
1 eight ounce tub sour cream
White pepper to taste
In sauce pan on very low heat melt butter, add
sour cream, and white pepper. When dumplings are firm
drain potatoes and dumplings.Pour sauce over and serve.
Potato LatkesPrintable Recipe
Yield: 8 servings
3 c Grated, drained potatoes
4 T Grated onion
1 t Salt
1/4 t Pepper
5 T Matzo meal
Oil for frying
Beat the eggs and add the rest of the ingredients. Blend well. Fry in hot oil,
being careful not to use too much oil.
Serve with applesauce, or sour cream.
I made potato pancakes last night but I add garlic, nutmeg, and Parmesan cheese.
Reader's Digest Potato Skin Nachos
4 large baking potatoes, scrubbed
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 single 8 oz jar of taco sauce
1 1/2 cup Monterey jack or cheddar; shredded
2 single jalapeno peppers, seed/chop
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoon fresh parsley
1) Preheat the oven to 400 F. Bake the potatoes in the oven for 1 hour.
Remove, leaving the oven on and let cool until easy to handle.
2) Halve the potatoes lengthwise and scoop out the pulp, leaving shells 1/8
of an inch thick. Half each potato shell lengthwise then half each piece
3) Arrange the potato skins flesh side up on an ungreased baking sheet.
Sprinkle with the chili powder and salt. Bake uncovered for 10 minutes or
until heated through.
4) Meanwhile combine the taco sauce, cheese, peppers, garlic and parsley in
a small bowl. Spoon the mixture onto the hot potato skins. With the oven
rack set 4 inches from the heat, broil the skins for 1 to 2 minutes or
until the cheese melts.
Bernese Potato Soup
1/4 c Butter or Margarine
1 md Onion, chopped
1 sm Carrot, chopped
1 stalk Celery with Leaves-Chopped
1 clove Garlic-minced
1/4 ts White Pepper
1/4 ts Dried Marjoram
1 pn Ground Nutmeg
1 1/2 lb Smooth-Skinned Potatoes-Peeled and diced
3 1/2 c Chicken Broth
1 c Milk
1/4 lb Swiss Cheese, shredded
In 3-4 quart saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add
onion, carrot, celery and garlic, and cook, stirring
often, until soft but not browned. Mix in pepper,
marjoram, nutmeg, potatoes and broth. Bring to a boil,
cover, reduce heat slightly, and boil gently until
potatoes are tender, 25-30 minutes. Puree soup, about
half at a time, in blender or food processor until
smooth. Return to cooking pan. Gradually blend in milk
and reheat until steaming hot. DO not boil. Stir in
cheese, about 1/4 cup at a time, until it is smoothly
melted into soup. Taste, and add salt if needed.
Serve immediately.8 Servings
From: Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath
"When I asked Miss Bowzer for a recipe for shepherd's pie,
she laughed hollowly. She said that shepherd's pie was
designed to be a hodgepodge of things leftover.
A thrifty recipe. However, when pressed, this is what
she suggested: Brown a pound of ground beef, with a cup
of chopped onion. Add whatever you have around, some
frozen mixed vegetables, some peas, some corn, whatever.
Also add 2 tablespoons of flour and some water and some
Lipton onion soup mix so that you have gravy. Then
season with whatever you like, some teriyaki sauce, some
soy sauce, some steak spice, garlic, thyme, dill, just
toss it all in. Take about 3 cups or so of mashed
potatoes (if you don't have those around you'll have to
make them), add a couple of eggs, about 1/2 cup of flour,
a teaspoon baking powder, salt and pepper, and mix it
all up, and then spread it on top of the meat mixture,
right on the skillet if you have an ovenproof skillet.
Bake in a 350-degree oven until the top puffs up, browns,
and cooks. Don't get confused and put ice cream on it.
That was her little joke."