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The humble Potato.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Menolly wrote:
Wow. You've stumped me Vader.

I hear that a lot. It's all in a day's work.

Menolly wrote:
First, what is Hallows Eve? I know All Saints Day is preceded by All Hallows Eve, but that was over a month ago.


I'm not a native speaker and I just confused your holidays. It was meant to be Christmas Eve ("Holy Evening" in German). That's when Santa comes to us before going over to fill stockings elsewhere.

Menolly wrote:
Second, my knowledge of French cuisine is pretty much nil. How are each of the French named potato dishes prepared?


- gratin dauphinois: The Classic. The Divine The Rolls Royce of potato dishes - thin slices of potato, salt, pepper, thyme go layered into a caserole that has been buttered and rubbed with gartlic. Mix cream, a dash of milk, salt and pepper and pour over potatoes until about covered. Cook in the oven until potatoes are soft, surface is golden brown and cream has got firm (cover if it gets too dark before potatoes are cooked. No cheese or egg needed.)

- gratin savoyard: basically the same, just instead of cream and milk you use stock and put some grated cheese on top.

- pommes de terres de boulangères - caramalize onions and cook and layer them into a casserole with thinly sliced potatoes. First a layer of potatoes, than a layer of onions, and so on. Add stock and cook in the oven until stock has been completely absorbed and potatoes ar cooked.

Menolly wrote:
Third, I love a good potato dumpling, but had no idea they were difficult to make, as I've only had them in German-style delicatessens in Florida. Would matzah balls work for variety?


No idea what matzah balls are, but I will find out just now.

If you make potato dumplings from sratch there are a few traps. Potato mix not outbalanced, potato mix too cold or boiling water too hot - they'll all fall apart and you end up with but a nice potato soup.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

By potato dumpling, I'm taking it that you don't mean gnocchi... or do you?

Potato dauphinoise is indeed delicious, but it's also sadly a heart attack on a plate - serve sparingly as it's incredibly rich. I don't make it often since I've been banned from using our mandolin. Unsurprisingly though, since I've spilled just too much impatient blood in the kitchen. Honestly, those things should be banned by the Geneva Convention. They're way WAY past lethal.

Potatoes boulangère I can take or leave - I find them a little bland. You need to use an incredibly intense beef stock to get flavour in.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheFallen wrote:
I don't make it often since I've been banned from using our mandolin. Unsurprisingly though, since I've spilled just too much impatient blood in the kitchen. Honestly, those things should be banned by the Geneva Convention. They're way WAY past lethal.

One of these day's I'm going to follow Alton Brown's suggestion for using a mandolin safely.

Quote:
AB: Now I need to knock these down to about an eighth inch in thickness, and the best tool for that is, of course, a mandoline or a v-slicer. Now the tricky thing ...

Itchy (IT) & Twitchy (TW): [enter quickly]

AB: How did I know my lawyers would show up? Why? Because they want me to use this cursed hand guard because it keeps you from cutting your hand to ribbons. The problem is, I hate these things!

AB: Fetch. [throws it]
IT: [goes to retrieve it]

AB: There's got to be an alternative.

AB: [to TW] There's got to be an alternative.
TW: [opens his briefcase and hands AB a glove]
AB: There is an alter ... Whoa! A glove. A Kevlar glove! Ideal.

That'll keep me from cutting myself to ribbons.

AB: Thank you. Fine.

So pick yourself up one of these snazzy guys or you'll have to use the hand guard.


You can see this scene on the Good Eats episode Orange Aid.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I cut the potatoes with my knife - much safer. And no, potatoe dumplings are not gnocchi. They are regular dumplings the size of a tennis balls.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting point relating to an earlier issue I raised with Av pertaining to the 'perfect roast potato'. I mentioned that in the supreme example it was possible to detect an almost waxy quality in the flesh of the crisply cooked 'roastie'. It's very rare [though as I said, my mum seemed to achieve it a lot of the time], but last week my wife cooked some roasties and there it was again. It transpired she had used a variety of potato known as 'blue belle' and charachterised by a waxy skin with large red blotches on it. Over the weekend I tried to replicate the effect with some sucess, so it would appear that the variety of potato used is of significance here. Be that as it may I thoroughly reccomend seeking this variety out and giving it a try - I think it may be the best variety I have ever used for the making of roast potaoes.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Over here we usually distringuish between three potato categories.

The German terms (tarnslated) are:
firm (=waxy)
mostly firm
floury

According to this ranking blue belle would be semi firm/waxy. Maybe it's the best of both worlds phenomena?
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Could be Vader. I'm still in the first flush of love with my new found and firm fleshed belle. I haven't looked at another potato since posting this last post and still she delights and delivers in spades. How long can it last I wonder?
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Irishman's Dilemma:

Eat the potato now, or drink it in a fortnight when it's fermented?
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing Given most of the Irishmen I know I think I know the answer to that one!
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The following refers back to my first post in this thread on the perfect roasting method for potato's and must serve as an example of the strange fusion of chemistry, alchemy and magic that is cooking.

For the last two times I have roasted potatoes [using my above described method to the letter] thay have been a dissaster. Why, only the God's can say for I surely can't. Oh, they have been edible for sure, even good - but edible is not what we are after here; perfection or nothing.

Odd as it seems, my wife [who I love dearly, but who puts about as much attention to detail into her cooking as she does into her skills as a trapeze artist - ie none] has concurrently served me two of the best plates of roast potato's I have ever eaten. Gibbering with envy I questioned her in depth on her method. Somewhat bemused on my sudden interest in her culinary tecniques [after 22 years of disinterest] she yeilded up her tecnique.

She got some spuds from the cuboard. Peeled and chopped them [fairly small]. Washed them, boiled them in salted water, drained them and put them into a glass baking tray. She doused them in olive oil and then roasted them at gm5 untill done.

Now I think the olive oil bit was significant. Olive oil is obviousely lighter than lard and will penetratr the potato flesh better during the cooking. Anyhows - the potatoes came out with that indescribable slight 'waxyness' in the flesh that I consider to be the acme of roast potato eating. But then - thats my wife for you. She does without thought what I agonise over for weeks. Laughing
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is this thread about U's new spudsona? Or something else?
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it isn't it certainly should be! Wink
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok - I did it above for roast potatoes and now I'm gonna do it for chips! The tecnique for making the perfect plate of chips is not infact massively different to that of roasting potatoes, but there are some subtle differences. First, get your spud - once again a waxy skinned variety is best - and peel it [a big spud makes a pretty good serving]. Cut the chips thick, they'll hold together better and not too long. Now, really importantly, wash then thoroughly under cold water to wash out the starch - I wash and drain them in the saucepan probably five or six times untill the water is absolutely clear of any cloudyness. Now place them in a good quantity of water [ie dont have them too tightly packed] and salt the water well; these chips will be seasoned in the cooking and will not need aditional salt on the plate. Bring to the boil on a high heat and continue boiling for a few minutes. Keep checking the chips with a pointed knife and when the point will just slip into the chip surface remove from the heat. [Nb If you over boil the chipped potatoes they will fragment in the oil, so carefull here.] Now drain the chips and add some butter to the saucepan, enough to coat the chips well. Melt in the hob briefly and then swirl the chips in the saucpan, giving them a good coating with the butter. Pour the chips/butter into a glass [if possible] roasting dish - one that is big enough for them not to be too crowded - and drizzle some olive-oil [a few tablespoon fulls will do] over the chips. Now put into a pre-heated [gas mark 5] oven and leave for 20 mins. Take out and turn with a spoon after this time and return to oven for a further 20 mins. By now the chips will be pretty well done, but if you think they could use some more browning you can a] just leave them in a little longer [after turning them in the oil again] or b] finish them in a frying pan, which gives a good result as well [just turn the contents of the tray in to the frying pan - no new oil should be needed]. And that my friends, is how it is done. Try that and tell me thats not the best plate of chips you've ever eaten! Wink

[nb In restaurants they call this 'three time cooked' chips]
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I trust Kenji of The Food Lab indubitably. You may wish to give this version of roasted potatoes a try:

Extra-Crispy Herb-Roasted New Potatoes
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 2:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gratin dauphinois sounds like what we'd call "potatoes au gratin" here in the US. I never liked them when my mom made them -- I objected to most sauces and gravies back then, and I still tend to avoid 'em most of the time.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 4:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

aliantha wrote:
Gratin dauphinois sounds like what we'd call "potatoes au gratin" here in the US. I never liked them when my mom made them -- I objected to most sauces and gravies back then, and I still tend to avoid 'em most of the time.
You really need to have a good recipe (and cook!) for potatoes au gratin... otherwise, you just end up with what we called "funeral taters". Just an easy dish to bring to a funeral so the living would envy the dead Confused
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that one Menolly - will definitely give them a go!

The thing with dauphinouse potatoes is that the cheese sauce has to be made with a really good [strong] gruyére and it has to be browned well on the top as well. The dish will always be a 'side' accompaniment in my book, but it can sit well next to a dry meat where some sauce is needed.

[Ali, Ali, Ali! Sauces are the glory of the kitchen; food without sauce is like a beach without the sun! Wink]
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Orlion wrote:
aliantha wrote:
Gratin dauphinois sounds like what we'd call "potatoes au gratin" here in the US. I never liked them when my mom made them -- I objected to most sauces and gravies back then, and I still tend to avoid 'em most of the time.
You really need to have a good recipe (and cook!) for potatoes au gratin... otherwise, you just end up with what we called "funeral taters". Just an easy dish to bring to a funeral so the living would envy the dead Confused

Laughing

I was one of those kids who would eat one food on my plate at a time until it was gone, and then move on to the next thing. Dunno why. Wanted to fully taste each food, I guess. Anyway, the sauce or gravy from one thing would almost inevitably end up on another thing, which would mess up the flavor for me. I even objected to cole slaw; my mom would set aside some of the ground raw cabbage for me before she mixed the rest in the dressing.

I'm better about it now, especially when it comes to Mexican food. But I'm still not a big fan of gravy.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well food is a thing in which there are no rights and wrongs [though the requesting of a steak 'well done' is a thing I will never understand Wink].
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
Well food is a thing in which there are no rights and wrongs [though the requesting of a steak 'well done' is a thing I will never understand Wink].


'tis a crime against nature.
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