I did an experiment this year, planting some organic potatoes I had purchased that had sprouted eyes. Nothing to lose as though would be composted otherwise and not at risk of growing some weird GMO capsule, I put my sprouted potatoes in pots, and covered with dirt. Once the plants starting growing, I just covered up most the green leafy plant, repeating this until recently when the plants began to die back. When growing potatoes be careful to not over water and caution with free planting in a bed, you might have potatoes forever, they are harder to harvest and you risk slicing them with a shovel. Planting in a pot was really easy. I haven’t harvested them all, I could feel around in the dirt a few are still pretty small but so far, I have recouped at least the same number I planted and NO they aren’t the same ones. [sheesh!] I’d call it a win. Here’s an alliteration with more details –
Potato Process in Pictures
Sprouted potatoes, not all ended up growing
Big pot, layer of dirt and chicken supervision
Also planted them in a green ceramic pot, sprout/eye side up.
No, you do not need to use a cage for the plants, these are in the pots to keep the chickens out. They love digging up anything I just plant.
Now just wait…. And cover most of green plant with dirt. Wait. Cover. Water every now and then.
Viola! Not too shabby, although in total, not near as many potatoes as with real seedling potatoes. If it is potato planting time and I have some on my counter with eyes I will put them in the ground, but likely add in some official seedlings for greater yield. I am expecting about 3-5 lbs from about 1 lb of seedlings. Have you experimented with potatoes? There are so many ways to grow them….
Inspired by my continued soup successes and the food in my kitchen, I cooked up a quick recipe for healthy kale potato soup. After topping it with homemade yogurt and some truffle oil, it was still pretty darn healthy, full of flavor and a nice smooth mouth feel.
Simply Health Kale Potato Soup Recipe
Ingredients – makes about 5 cups
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound potatoes, chopped and peeled (parsnips would work too)
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
4-6 cups chopped kales leaves (about ¼ lb but this is flexible)
Prep the potatoes, onion, kale and garlic. Peel and chop the potatoes, I chopped them pretty small so they would cook faster. I also used fingerling potatoes because that is what I had handy, but baby red potatoes or just about any other kind would be fine. Parsnips would work too. For the kale, I cut off the really course bottom stems.
Heat a large sauce or fry pan over medium heat. Add the butter, onion, potatoes and garlic. Cook for a few minutes, about 5, until just beginning to brown.
Add about 1 cup of chicken broth, keep cooking for another few minutes.
Add the chopped kale to the pan and stir around, continuing to cook for a few minutes.
Add the garam masala, or whatever other spice you might want to add. Pour in the rest of the broth.
Cook at a boil for 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes begin to soften and kale is wilted. Test the potatoes with a fork
Add about a cup of mixture in the sauce pan to the blender. Starting with just easier on my pour little blender. Blend on high until pureed. Continue to add ingredents, about a cup at a time, blending inbetween, until you have all the contents from the pan in the blender. Once it is pretty well blended, stop and taste the soup. Here is when you will add the salt. I would add 1 tsp first, blend for another minute or two, then taste again. If it needs more to your liking, add some more and blend again.
Once you have blended it nice and smooth, to a texture that suits you, it is all ready to serve.
Serve with a variety of toppings, maybe with some bread or crackers. Enjoy!
I would love to hear about your go to kale recipes!
The Botany of Desire: Plant’s Eye View of the World by Michael Pollan
I listened this book by Michael Pollan, which suits it well as it is really a book of four short stories. The chapters include an in depth look at the evolution of the apple tree (and Johnny Appleseed lore), marijuana, potatoes and tulips. I certainly learned a few things but did find that Michael overused some two words, that got on my nerves: hubris and variations of Dionysus.
Hubris: a great or foolish amount of pride or confidence (thanks Miriam W!) hmm.
The big themes touched on near deadly sins (the desires): sweetness, control, intoxication and beauty. My favorite chapters were Potato and Johnny Appleseed: both eye opening and certainly reinvigorated my plans for potatoes this year, albeit organic, natural, non-GMO, non-Monsanto. The more I learn of Monsanto and its power over common sense farming, the more concerned I become. Yes, I will undoubtedly eat McDonald’s fries again (they TASTE so good, hot and fresh, infrequent) but not without lecturing those around me about how, EVEN THOUGH Ronald brags the potatoes are “local”, they are near alterna- worldly. Perhaps the best part of the book is its opening sequence, featuring everyone’s favorite pollinators: bees. But as you make your way through the book, you will ponder time and again who is serving who in terms of carrying forward the plant race. Don’t hate the player hate the game???? But who’s game is it?
While the audio book was decent and I am sure the print version is on par – PBS has created a mini-series allowing you to consume each section in its entirety with your eyes, ears and mind. Check it out!
Tweeterpated, twitterish, tweetastic, twitterific, tweepstakes….. For the longest time, I avoided Twitter, basically because I had no desire to follow #bieber, #littlemonsters and felt silly to even think about publically typing something like #LesNipplerables. Besides, it was the darts in the dress people.
What changed? Two things 1) wanting to grow my Facebook, blog and Etsy traffic (with the hopes of someday quitting my day job) and 2) Martha Stewart showed me how easy yet empowering it is on the new Macy’s Commercial. She basically tells Marcus Samuelsson what’s what about coriander – devilishly in less than a 140. So simple. So powerful. So Martha. I long to wield such power… Thank you #marthastewart.
Don’t worry, it won’t be a play by play of my doldrum day, but much like how I decided to start blogging (again coming from a place of denial), I have things I want to say or share. Now I can share them even if not worthy of a blog post. Something new to learn too – so much more than useless LiLo tweeting (Hurricane Sally?). I came across this post on the 7 Deadly Sins on Twitter. On day two, I have already committed a twittersin or two – mostly out of ignorance. First sin – Voracity, I just got excited and tried different approaches, resulting in a lot in a little. There was also more self-promotion than ideal (but hey, I had to start somewhere, and it was ONE day. Second sin, although not on the 7 list – inappropriate hashtag applications. In theory anyone can hashtag anything, nothing is stopping you. And so I did, jumping right into Twitterdom. However, I am law abiding and decided after the fact to educate myself about these pound-sign-preceded-string-of-letters.
Key Hashtag Points –
There are “official” hashtags. While going rogue is “ok”, you aren’t going to start trending unless a superfamous with millions hanging on each precious letter or First Lady #bestdressed #michelleobama
Hashtags.org is a real site. Helps with trending and defining
You can and should define your hashtags in a tweet, especially if inventing new ones
Don’t overuse them, it benefits no one and #how #canyou #readif #tweet #looks like this? #OMG
They should add VALUE to your message
Pick a single hashtag early for special events or themes
Unless reading a tweet, don’t start saying “hashtag” or making some hand gesture to suggest the emphasis
Tomorrow is a new Twitter day. Now on to hash browns… the thought conceived on the bus ride home from work, pondering how to blog about Twitter but not lose my “voice”. I just let my mind wonder while watching a lady make and fly paper airplanes crafted out of bus schedules, while asking people to stop talking because her mind was full. I know the feeling.
Another vintage cookbook gem: from the 1950s – Gourmet Cookbook (a la Gourmet Magazine). I also flipped through my new, but old, Duncan Hines Adventures in Good Cooking book but didn’t come up with anything tonight other than apparently oat cake on page 48 “stinks” (see picture). Chuckle but I’ll take their word for it.
To accompany dinner tonight, I looked for a starch, #fancypants hashbrowns to be exact – Pommes de Terre Dauphinoise (aka potatoes baked with cheese) – not exactly hash brown, but yummy and deceivingly easy. Although filed in the Vegetables-Molded Potato section (potatoes are borderline vegetables), it was spot on. Looking at the recipe and seeing a 45 minute bake time, I knew I could cram in something else. Enter Onion Biscuits. Meal was delish, although maybe a bit disjointed with grilled peppers, though they added a nice pop of color albeit more Bobby Flay than Gourmet. Enjoy my interpretations!
Pommes de Terre Dauphinoise (potatoes baked with cheese)
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
Salt and pepper, to taste
Nutmeg, to taste
1 cup milk (note – I didn’t have regular milk but had some goat milk I was waiting to try, worked like a charm!)
Few onion slices (I used the rest in the following biscuit recipe), probably not a deal breaker if you don’t have any on hand
Butter for pan, 2 T to dot on the top
Garlic for pan (preferably whole cloves to rub on the bottom – I only had minced, turned out just fine)
Gruyere cheese, about 1 cup grated, more if you want
Heat oven to 350 F. Prepare a baking dish or individual baking dishes by rubbing the bottom with butter and garlic. I just spread a tiny bit of minced garlic on the bottom since I didn’t have full clove to rub.
Scald (bring to boil) 1 cup of milk with a few slices of onion in it. Pick/strain out onions
Put peeled and sliced onions in a mixing bowl and add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. I basically put salt, pepper and nutmeg (such a fun ingredient!) on all over then mixed the potatoes around to “expose” the slices to the seasoning, then added a bit more pepper and nutmeg (I didn’t do more salt, always cautious to not over salt) until it looked good to me. I also though my nutmeg might be less potent and did one last pinch for good luck. Hopefully the picture helps guide you. Remember you can add it at the end if not enough
Add the milk to the potatoes, and then add in the beaten egg. Mix. Mix
Pour into baking dish(es).
Cover generously with grated Gruyere, dot with butter and top with another slight sprinkley of nutmeg
Bake for 30-45 minutes and watch that cheese brown up. Yum, burnt cheese bits!
Onion Biscuit Squares
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
4-6 tablespoons shortening
¾ cup of milk (again, I use the goat milk I had on hand, worked like a charm)
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups onions sliced
Salt, pepper to taste
¾ sour cream (I used my plain homemade yogurt, as I always have it on hand)
Cayenne pepper, couple pinches, depending on your level of “kick”
Heat oven to 400 F
Thinly slice onions and brown in pan with butter. Stir them (or find someone to stir for you) frequently. Add salt, pepper and cayenne. Goal is caramelized. If you just want plain old biscuits, don’t do anything with onions….
Sift 2 cups flour into a bowl with 1 tsp. salt and 2 tsp. baking powder.
With fingers or pastry cutter, work in 4-6 tablespoons shortening.
Stir in ¾ cup of milk to make a soft dough
Turn dough out onto floured counter and need for about 30 seconds.
Now, if you just want biscuits, stop here. Roll out dour to about ¼ -1/2 inch, cut with a biscuit cutter or knife and bake for 12-13 minutes until nicely browned
Flatten dough and place in a pan 10 in square or so. I had a 6 x 11 or some odd size that worked fine; I just kept out some of the dough. I don’t think the pan size, if larger, is really critical, just different.
If lots of grease, drain off. Spread the cooked onions on top of the biscuit dough.
Beat one egg with ¾ cup sour cream (or yogurt), season with salt and pepper. Pour over the onions.
Bake in hot oven for 20 minutes until nicely browned.
Cut into squares and serve hot
Tasty for dinner but I think would be delicious for brunch too. Left overs here we come!
Any Twitter sins you have committed? Do you Tweet? What do you want to see or hear from me?