12 August, 2015

Potato Delights

I've been investigating starches seriously for some time. I eat 'em. Grow 'em. Cook em. Starches are, in my ambit, the tubery things that grow under the ground....Yams. Sweet Potato/Kūmara.Standard spuds. Arrowroot. Taro. Cassava. Oca (NZ Yams). ...
Compared to grains, the potato family is awesome tucker.You are sure to get so much more nutrition out of a spud than a slice of bread. And sweet potatoes are a fashionable super food. (You can live off both types of 'potatoes' with very few supplementary requirements).
Wheat consumption is falling -- not that you'd know it from takeaway options -- and while other grains and pseudo grains (like Quinoa) are displacing wheat preferences, there's a lot you can do with potatoes.
Indeed, even cold, spuds are versatile.
Now with many more varieties being marketed, the culinary options offered by Kumera and potatoes are becoming more accessible.And when you consider their nutritional attributes you can see why whole societies thrived so well on them.
To eat them cold -- all you need do is cook more than you need for the one meal. Cold potatoes are also an excellent source of 'resistant starch' which is all the internet rage for gut health. Unlike rice they don't have contamination reheat issues (ie: C.cereus ).
Potatoes also need less water to grow than rice or wheat, and they yield far more calories per acre. Sweet potatoes are even projected as the replacement 'futures' crop for wheat as climate change takes over more Australian farm land.
And anyone can grow potatoes. You can even grow them in chaff bags on a patio.There's no processing. Just dig 'em up, cook and eat 'em.
So here's a great selection of recipes for cold potatoes:Cold Boiled Potatoes
I don't eat pasta (much as I'd like to) but if you want to stay away from the grains and still indulge , here's a brilliant work around with spuds for gnocchi:Flour- (and gluten) free gnocchi! (Italian potato dumplings)
To add to the possibilities in the potato universe, here's a Chinese way with raw spuds;Cold Fresh Shredded Potato
My favorite breakfast dish -- which I eat VERY often -- is a cracked egg poached on a bed of cold mashed or crushed cooked potatoes in a ramekin. It's a form of coddled egg.Mash does the dish the best service. Absolutely delicious. While you ablute it cooks happily away.And all you do is spoon in the spud, crack the egg and boil up the water (half way up the wee ramekin sides) in a lidded pan.
 This is the 'poached egg dish when I used to use glass jars.Unsealed Ramekins work better.
At the moment I'm trying to keep cooked spuds in reserve all the time to see what I can get up to with them. Every spud gets eaten in our house. What  with bubble and squeak  and my breakfast options, no potato survives.I'm setting aside a container in the fridge just for cold/leftover spud storage.
So if you are growing spuds -- consider your culinary options.
The greatest potato dish, in my estimation, comes from Sweden:Jansson's Temptation
Here we always use anchovy fillets...the more the better.But hey! easy dish to make.
Then there is the hash brown world, especially Swiss style  --Rosti.
There should be certificates offered in hash brown making. A real skill.
Of course there are 'old' and 'new' potatoes; many varieties and different cooking  approaches, but Delia Smith has a great DIY for steaming them that warrants study or consideration:How to steam potatoes.
If you are going to grow your own spuds, you need to make sure you celebrate your effort with the best cooking methods. Any leftovers: waste not/want not.