Creamy Scalloped Potatoes

Homemade creamy scalloped potatoes with cheese recipe - simple, easy comfort food.

Scalloped potatoes were a holiday tradition when I was growing up.  Every Christmas Eve we would have fried fish, scalloped potatoes and oyster stew, along with an assortment of other homemade goodies.  Holidays were a time of celebration and plenty.  No matter how many people showed up, no one ever went home hungry.

The scalloped potato  recipe I use is similar to the one my mom used to make.  I hope you enjoy it, too. [Read more…]

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Potato Pancakes Like Grandma Used to Make

Potato Pancakes Like Grandma Used to Make - This recipe for homemade potato pancakes makes a quick, easy and inexpensive weeknight meal.

When I was a little girl, I remember my grandmother making potato pancakes quite regularly, usually on Friday nights.  (Potatoes were cheap, and stored well in grandma’s unheated basement.)  Mom made them sometimes, too, for the same reason.  Both mom and grandma always served their pancakes with homemade applesauce (and I do, too :-).

When I was flipping through my copy of The Garden Fresh Vegetable Cookbook by Andrea Chesman, I came across her recipe for potato latkes, which were pretty darn similar to grandma’s potato pancakes.  Now that the days are getting cooler and the new crop of potatoes are coming in, I thought it was a perfect time to share my favorite recipe for potato pancakes, which is somewhat of a hybrid of Andrea’s and my grandma’s. [Read more…]

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Leftover Mashed Potatoes? Make Potato Bread

Potato Bread Recipe Using Leftover Mashed Potatoes - easy to make, great sandwich bread.  Recipe can be doubled, freezes well.

Quite often when I make mashed potatoes for supper, I end up with just a dab (less than a cup) of potatoes left – not really enough for another meal.  So how do you stretch a small amount of potatoes into another meal sized portion?  One option is chicken and gnocchi soup, another favorite option is potato bread.

Most of the “potato bread” recipes I’ve seen used powdered mashed potatoes – not something I keep in my pantry  My husband used to be a fan of store bought potato bread when we were first married – you know kind that resembles cotton candy in bread form?  (Pretty sure they use potato flakes…) I was tickled to finally find a recipe that uses real mashed potatoes.  I throw mine in just the way I serve them – butter, milk, salt and pepper included. [Read more…]

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Root Cellars 101- Root Cellar Design and Use

Root Cellars: The Low Cost Way to Store Over 30 Fruits and Vegetables Without Electricity.  How to design a root cellar?   What can I store in a root cellar?

We built a root cellar under our front porch.  Typically, if you’re building new your porch floor is formed out of a concrete slab, you need to put a foundation wall under it anyway, so why not put this area to good use?  Even if you can’t deal with (or don’t want to deal with) traditional root cellaring (storing vegetables and fruit), you could use the space as a wine cellar, gun cabinet, place to brew beer, a battery room for your PV/Wind system or simply more storage.  I highly recommend including a root cellar as part of your emergency preparedness planning if you can, as it’s a great low-cost, no-energy way to store food and extend the shelf life of fresh produce. [Read more…]

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Small Purple Rocks – Peruvian Purple Potatoes

purple potatoesMy grandmother Catherine always said, “Try it, you’ll like it!” I’m not quite sure what she’d say about the latest culls from the garden. This year I had a number of volunteer potato plants show up (I guess we weren’t quite as thorough as we should have been last fall). Never one to pass up easy to grow food, I let the little seedlings wander on their way.

UNTIL – the seedlings were no longer little, and were on their way to turning into an impenetrable thicket, threatening to completely smother the plants that I actually wanted to grow in those beds (in this case, ground cherries, peas, broccoli and petunias).

Time for some tough love – out they came. There were around a dozen plants, but it’s been really dry, so I only ended up with a few pounds of what resembled nothing so much as small purple rocks. These are Peruvian Purple potatoes – dry little fingerlings that produce no matter what kind of weather you throw at them. Hot, cold, wet, dry – bring it on! I freely admit, they are not my favorite potato in terms of taste – that honor goes to Yukon Gold – but they are tough. I plant one small bed and have enough for us and for our friends and to share with the local food pantry.

Often strangely phallic in shape when fully mature (but that’s a story for another post), these heirloom fingerlings are a deep purple color all the way through. It can be a bit disconcerting, as they sometimes cook up purple and sometimes cook up blue, depending on the dish. It gives one the bizarre impression of eating muppet chow. They make a perfectly functional potato salad or scalloped potatoes and are good for roasting. I had a taste for German Potato Salad, which was a little dry (these are a very dry potato, not a waxy, which was recommended by the recipe), but it sure looked pretty. There was fresh parsley and celery from the garden, coupled with bacony goodness….mmmm….bacon.

cooking purple potatoes

Here’s the recipe if you’d like to give it a try.

German Potato Salad from the Garden Fresh Vegetable Cookbook by Andrea Chesman

2 pounds waxy potatoes, scrubbed, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
4 ounces bacon, diced
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 tablespoons white wine or red whine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
2 celery stalks, diced
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Combine the potatoes with 6 cups salted water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid and drain. Transfer the potatoes to a large mixing bowl and keep warm.

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until brown and crisp, about 4 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and transfer to the bowl with the potatoes. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease.

3. Add the shallot to the skillet and cook until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the reserved cooking liquid, oil, vinegar and sugar. Brign to a boil. Pour the mixture over the potatoes and toss to coat. Add the celery, parsley,and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6 (I made about half a batch in the photo).

Expand your culinary horizons, eat a rainbow – eat some little purple rocks…try it, you might like it!

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