10 Ways Tuesday: Potatoes

1.  Wrinkled Potatoes, Canary Island Style

If you flip through Made in Spain, by José Andrés, you’ll find a recipe for Wrinkled Potatoes, Canary Island Style that I’ve cooked here. I could go for these instead of french fries any day. The small potatoes (in their skins) are boiled in very salty water. Once tender, pour out most of the water and continue cooking the potatoes until the salt covering them crystallizes. Serve the potatoes with traditional mojo sauce.

2.  Sister Frances’ Potatoes

The Canal House ladies share a recipe for Sister Frances’ Potatoes in Canal House Cooking Volume 2 that involves poaching peeled, cubed russet potatoes in butter and half-and-half. Topped with freshly ground pepper and chives, it looks like the perfect comfort food. They write, “The preparation is simple and the finished dish elegant and delicious.” Remember what Julia Child said, “If you’re afraid of butter, just use cream.”

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Ingredient of the Week: Potato

Ingredient Of The Week: Potato (c)2011 LaDomestique.com

Why don’t we welcome fall with the humble potato? I think it’s perfect- satisfying and comforting for cooler days and bigger appetites. The potato is a simple root tuber, not much to look at. Combine it with fat, in the form of cream or lard, and the potato is transformed into something special. Potatoes have an earthy flavor and creamy texture that brings us back to mom’s cooking. Serve them a myriad of ways: boiled, baked, roasted, or fried. This week at La Domestique, we’ll explore the many potato varieties and how cuisines across the world cook with them. Learn new techniques beyond your basic baked potato in 10 Ways Tuesday. I’ll have recipes to share throughout the week. On Thursday, learn the story behind the potato: growing, storing, cooking, and flavor pairing. The farmers markets are still full  of interesting varieties to try. I invite you to cook in the moment with me.

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This Past Week: Olives

This past week at La Domestique we wrapped up the summer pantry with olives. It was fun to explore the many different varieties from all over the world. The briny flavor of olives brings complexity and depth to many dishes, like pastas, salads, and stews. Olives combine beautifully with the produce of late summer, such as tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant. I hope this week inspired you to try new varieties- we have more choices at the grocery store than ever before!

 

In case you missed anything, I’ve got a recap for you:

 

I’m honored that LaDomestique.com was featured on Food52 as “one of the most pleasant and attractive places in the food blogosphere.” Take a look at the write-up by clicking on the icon below.

 

 

Monday:  Announcing olives as the ingredient of the week.

Tuesday:  10 Ways Tuesday! Creative ideas for cooking with olives.

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Pissaladière

Pissaladière is a French dish from the Pays Niçoise, an area bordering Italy. It’s easy to see the Italian influence in this flatbread decorated like a pizza. I read in Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook that Pissaladière is named for pissalat, which means “salted fish”. It’s a sauceless pizza topped with slow cooked onions, sliced tomato, olives, and anchovy. Niçoise olives grown near the city of Nice in Provence are traditionally used in Pissaladière. These small olives with big pits are harvested fully ripe and have a dark purplish-brown color. Niçoise olives are less salty than others. They have a mellow, nutty flavor that goes well with the onions and anchovies. I just can’t follow one recipe, it’s not in my nature. The Pissaladière I made for today is a marriage of two different recipes: Anne Willan’s from The Country Cooking of France and Martha Stewart’s from her Baking Handbook. I wanted to follow Martha Stewart’s instructions for the dough, and Anne Willan’s suggestions for the toppings (and make my own tweaks, of course).

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Storyboard: Olives

Olive StoryBoard (c)2011 LaDomestique.com

Growing & Curing

Olives grow on gnarled, silver-leaved trees. Originally, the olive tree is from the Mediterranean. These days olives are also grown in the United States (California, New Mexico, and Arizona), as well as South America. According to the reference, Starting with Ingredients, olive trees live an average of 300 to 600 years. I learned from Mark Bittman that olives contain a chemical called oleuropin, which has a very bitter flavor. Curing eliminates this problem. The longer an olive is allowed to cure in its brine, the more complex and deep its flavor becomes. An immature olive is green, and darkens as it ripens, eventually turning black. Often, olives are picked green for curing, while the ones meant for olive oil are allowed to ripen fully and turn black.

Varieties

Here are six varieties that are widely available in the U.S.  I hope this inspires you to explore the many other varieties of olives from all over the world.

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