Holy Potato!! My Corgi Tank was incredulous – as was my husband who hauled these 18-pound boxes into the house for me. There were classic Russets, round Reds, Klondike Rose (oblong reds), Klondike Goldust, Purple, and Klondike Brand’s newest variety Klondike Royale – yellow, kissed with purple. And what was the reason for Pandora’s box(es) of potatoes? One good turn deserves another and I was happy to receive this bounty and bake a bunch of them for Klondike Brands, my sponsor and a sponsor of this year’s Camp Blogaway.
Barbara Keckler’s presentation went beautifully and campers were able to experience the differences in taste and gain potato knowledge to bring into the kitchen. For instance:
** The Russet Burbank is the oldest variety of potato and the most readily available. It has a higher specific gravity (meaning they are more solid and have less water) which makes them excellent for frying. Norkotahs are the second most common variety of russets – they taste the same but have lower specific gravity making them excellent for baking, mashing, and roasting.
** Red potatoes are widely used in potato salads and are also good grilled or roasted. Their low specific gravity gives them a creamy buttery taste.
** Yellow potatoes have many of the same attributes as red potatoes. The Yukon Gold has a higher specific gravity which makes it an excellent frying potato.
** Purple potatoes are touted around the world as more healthful because of their rich color an indicator of high antioxidant value.
So now that you’re equipped with more potato know-how. Let’s get out of the baked potato, mashed potato, french fry routine and take a look at other ways to enjoy the nutritious, low calorie, fiber-rich and naturally gluten free spud.
Insanely delicious: Klondike Rose Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce
My fondness for all things potato sprouted from deep within my English/Scottish genes and, with generations of DNA imprinting – going back to the Mayflower, my grandmother would tell you, attempts to smother my cravings for more than a month or so have always been futile. French fries and potato chips are my nemesis and at times I have given them up in the name of losing that perpetually stubborn 5-10 pounds.
After attending a Potato Harvest with the Idaho Potato Commission in October, I’ll never look at a potato in the same way. It may sound cliche, but once you dig potatoes with a farmer; see young ladies operating state-of-the art machinery in the fields and monitoring computers that control the sorting of millions of potatoes; and have a 4th generation farmer show you how to knead a potato to ensure a tender, fluffy, “blooming” baked potato every time – you would be right there with me. I guarantee it.
Not only that, the sheer number of creative ways we enjoyed potatoes was mind boggling and taste bud awakening. Feast your eyes on this smorgasbord of delightful spuds.
Clockwise from top left: New Potato Sous Vide Bison Short Ribs, Local River Trout Latke, Chive Potato Glass with Idaho Goat Cheese and Yukon Beignet with Chipotle Chocolate.
Two über talented corporate chefs accompanied us on this tour (everyone should travel like this, yes?). While we donned hard hats for a tour of the state-of-the-art processing plant at Idahoan, Adam Moore and Todd Downs were whipping up some creative potato art.
One of my favorites because it involved chiles was Adam Moore’s take on Peruvian Causa with Aji Amarillo.
We learned that tossing fingerlings in cider vinegar before roasting made the colors pop. Woodsman’s Hash with mushrooms and topped with eggs.
Todd Down’s Potatoes Terroir – red potatoes roasted with herbs in terra cotta, packed in soil from the fields and decorated with rosemary and potato roots was a work of art.
4 more ideas: Potato Croquettes, Potato Crust Pizza, Potato Frittata, and, once more, the Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce.
Croquettes, pizza, frittatas and even the cheesecake are all approachable dishes that the home cook can make. The photos are from our visit to the corporate offices of Potandon – the parent company of Klondike Brands, Sunfresh, and Green Giant Fresh™ where we tasted an amazing array of potato dishes cooked up in their corporate kitchen by an animated Chef Bryan Woolley who described each dish while signing copies of the Klondike cookbook for us. Besides eating, we also learned about the selection process for new varieties and how long it takes to get them to market (10 years), watched an interesting and informative presentation that took us from planting to the marketplace, and participated in a lively Q & A discussion of topics with Quality Assurance Manager Jack Kelley.
That’s not quite 25, so here are nine recipes that I developed for the Idaho Potato Commission (where I am the featured blogger for May, thank you very much :))
Want more? See the Potatopalooza Party that Erica Kerekes hosted in February.
Rainbow Potato Pizza
So let’s get cooking with potatoes!! The potato farmers of America thank you!
Disclosure: I received no compensation for writing this post. All opinions are my own and I would like to say “thank you” again to Potandon/Klondike Brands for sponsoring me to Camp Blogaway.