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Potatoes, My favorite techniques
Potatoes, so many techniques, where do you begin?
Potatoes have to be one of the best foods in existence. The versatility that we have when it comes to cooking potatoes sometimes seems nearly endless. Here are some of my own personal favorite ways to prepare potatoes. I would love to hear what your favorite techniques are for cooking potatoes, or even what is just your favorite to eat!
Baked French Fries
I remember being newly married, and wanting to learn to cook more, and hearing about baking homemade french fries, instead of deep frying them. I wondered if they would be any good? They were! They are no less crispy and delicious, in my opinion, and so much healthier. Idaho and Russet potatoes are good for this. In short, after washing your potatoes, cut them into strips, that are about one quarter inch thick. No need to submerge into oil. If you cut them into larger or smaller strips, just adjust your cooking time accordingly. Before cooking, decide what oil you want to use. Canola or cooking spray is fine. In short, you will pop these into the oven, set to 425 degrees and bake them until they are golden. You can find all kinds of recipes for these online, and different toppings to add. I don't bother with peeling the potatoes either, and I like the added nutrition and "character" this gives them.
Baked Potatoes One of the easiest, and tastiest ways to prepare the potato! Its too easy really! In our house, we have potatoes around all the time, and my growing boys have been known to make a quick meal out of potatoes by microwaving them whole, for a quicker potato. They prepare it as if they are from the oven. When we bake our potatoes, we sometimes use foil, but sometimes rub them with some oil, prick holes with forks, and just bake them until finished. Having the "fixins" on the side is what makes them such a great snake, small meal, or side dish.
Potato Salad My Aunt Betty has the greatest potato salad, and we always love it. I think adding enough flavor to potato salad is the key to making a great one. The best potatoes to use for a salad are the firmer textured ones. The lower starch, almost waxy potatoes, like a Yukon gold, tend to hold up better in a potato salad. Even fingerling potatoes are great for salads. A good tip I heard once, was to add as many of the flavors as you can, while the potatoes are still warm. This allows for more flavors to be absorbed.
Potato Soup Some say that red potatoes are good for potato soup. I love a potato soup on a cold day, and there are many variations on this you can do. I had a friend in college, that every time she got sick, this was all she wanted. She had grown up having potato soup whenever she felt badly, and it always made her feel so much better. I had a good friend in Texas, whose boys and my boys were friends. My boys came home one time after being there, and went on and on about this lady's amazing potato soup. So for me, this is what really inspired me to get going on the potato soup idea!
Fried Breakfast Potatoes, or Hash browns My husband, makes some "to die for" fried breakfast potatoes. Those little diced potato squares, and all that he does to them, could be a meal in themselves. He just cooks them in oil, with all his spices and "magic" and before you know it, they are sizzling and done! Hash browns aren't all that different, but I like them just a little less than the diced variety. All are good, and especially on those nights when its a "breakfast for dinner" night.
Mashed Potatoes Have mashed potatoes yet been nominated for the greatest comfort food? If not, why not? Seriously though, a good mashed potato recipe is indispensable to the cook that seeks to have great side dishes. My husband, a few years ago, decided he wanted to make is mashed potatoes better. No matter where we were, in a restaurant, or at a pot luck, etc, he would challenge himself to make a better mashed potato than the one he was currently having. He seems pretty happy with his current recipe, adapted over time, and it shows up at Thanksgiving every year now. To me, it could almost be a meal in itself, its so good.