Nov 5, 2012

Potatoes In Hawaii

Yukon Gold Potatoes
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Potatoes have become an integral part of much of the world's cuisine. It is the world's fourth-largest food crop, following rice, wheat and maize. China is now the world's largest potato-producing country, growing nearly a third of the world's potatoes.

Taro was the starch of choice of the ancient Hawaiians. Eventually the Germans, Portuguese, and Chinese arrived to work in sugarcane fields here in Hawaii. The Germans and Portuguese brought potatoes, and the Chinese brought rice. Today, rice is the starch of choice in Hawaii, followed by potatoes. For me, potatoes will always be my favorite starch. 

Over the years I have discovered that the real trick to creamy, buttery, heavenly potatoes is to use Yukon Gold potatoes instead of Russets or red potatoes. It's a little smaller than a Russet potato, with a smooth eye free skin and a pale yellow flesh. This variety of potato was developed in Canada in 1966, but has only been on the market since 1980. Unlike some other potato varieties the Yukon Gold can stand up to both dry heat and wet heat cooking methods. Its waxy moist flesh and sweet flavor make it ideal for boiling, baking and frying but these potatoes will also stand up to grilling, pan frying, and roasting, making them the chef-preferred potato. If you haven't tried them, you should. Here are a few delicious potato recipes:

Hot German Potato Salad
The first Germans came to the Hawaiian Islands with Captain Cook, in 1778. Later, Hawaii's German immigrants played an important role in the growth of the Islands' sugar industry, and in the growth of Hawaii's multi-cultural culinary arena. The traditional German diet consisted of meat served with potatoes, bread and beer. I love this tangy, bacon-potato recipe that is served warm with pork and a slice of rye bread.

9 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut in half
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
9 slices bacon sliced into 1/4" pieces
3/4 cup chopped onions
2 stalks celery, chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup chopped green onion tops or chives

Cook potatoes until just tender (about 8 minutes from when the water starts to boil). Drain and cool under cold running water. Slice the potatoes about 1/4" thick and place in a large bowl. Add eggs and mix well. Cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Remove bacon from the skillet and drain on paper towels. Remove all but 3 tablespoons of the bacon drippings. Cook and stir onion and celery in bacon drippings until tender, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add flour, sugar, salt, pepper, dry mustard, garlic powder. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until bubbly. Stir in water and vinegar. Heat to boiling for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Fold the sauce into the potato and egg mixture, add the green onion tops and bacon, and combine thoroughly. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 6 servings.

Portuguese Roasted Potatoes with Sausage
3 cups water
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 medium sweet white onions, chopped
1 1/2 large tomatoes, seeded & chopped
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
6 large Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed & cut into 2-inch chunks
1 1/2 pounds smoked Portuguese sausage, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 375°F. Pour water into a roasting pan. Add vinegar. Sprinkle paprika and sugar over the water; mix to remove the lumps. Add salt, pepper, onion, tomato, parsley, potatoes and sausage. Toss and mix well. Bake, uncovered, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Stir a few times while cooking.

Portuguese Kale Soup
1 pound kale
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes
1 pound smoked sausage (linguica or chorizo)
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped carrots
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 quarts chicken broth or a combination of beef and chicken
3 pounds peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 cups cooked kidney beans (I use 1 15-ounce can,drained and rinsed)
salt and freshly ground pepper

Strip the leaves from washed kale, and cut diagonally into wide slices. You should end up with 6 to 8 cups of lightly packed kale. Wash, peel, and chop potatoes, and keep in cold water. Prick sausage; blanch in boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes to release fat. Drain; cut into 1/2-inch slices; set aside. In a large saucepan, saute onions, carrots, and garlic in oil and butter, cooking until softened, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes and broth, and simmer, partially covered, for 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are cooked. Mash the potatoes against the side of the pot (or puree with some of the broth and return to the pot). Stir in tomatoes and kidney beans, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the kale and sausage, cook 5 to 10 minutes longer, and season to taste. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Hawaiian Potato Macaroni Crab Salad
1 small package macaroni
6 small Yukon Gold potatoes
3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1/2 pound shredded imitation crabmeat
1 (2.25 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
1/2 carrot, grated
1/2 cup mayonnaise, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Boil macaroni but do not over cook, drain & cool. Place potatoes into a large saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook over medium-high heat for 30 minutes, or until tender. Drain, peel and dice while still hot. Cover and refrigerate until cold. In a large serving bowl, toss together the macaroni, potatoes, eggs, crabmeat, black olives and carrot. Sprinkle with sugar, and stir in enough mayonnaise to moisten. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill until ready to serve. Makes 10 servings.

Tangy Potato Salad 
with Buttermilk & Feta Cheese
4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
8 ounces green beans, stem ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch lengths
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Simmer potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water for about 12 to 15 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add green beans and cook 2 minutes longer. Drain. In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. Add potatoes and green beans and toss gently to coat. Add cucumber, tomatoes, red onion and dill; tossing gently. Cool to room temperature. Serve at room temperature or cover and refrigerate before serving. To serve: Divide onto 4 serving plates; garnish with the feta cheese. Makes 4 servings.

Herb Roasted Steak Fries
4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and rinsed
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced and mashed against the cutting board with the flat of a knife
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 425˚F. Cut each potato in half lengthwise. Cut each half, lengthwise, into 4 equally sized wedges. Add the potato wedges to a large mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Toss meticulously to coat the potatoes evenly. Line a sheet pan with foil. Place the potato wedges, skin side down, on the foil. Be sure to space evenly, so they cook uniformly. Bake for 35 minutes, or until well browned, crusty edged, and tender. Serve immediately, sprinkled with more salt if desired. Makes 6-8 servings.

Mashed Potatoes with Garlic, Rosemary and Parmesan Cheese
6 medium (about 2 pounds) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 large cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried
salt and ground black pepper to taste

Place potatoes, garlic, and rosemary in large pot. Cover with cold water and add 1 teaspoon of salt, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 15 to 18 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Drain and return potatoes to pot. Meanwhile, heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan, making sure it doesn't boil. Set aside until the potatoes are done. Mash potatoes with a potato masher until combined. Slowly whisk in just enough of the hot milk/butter mixture until fluffy by not too wet. Add sour cream, cheese and parsley; beat until smooth. Taste for seasoning and serve hot. Makes 6 servings.
Note: You can use chopped chives instead of parsley if desired.

Scalloped Potatoes with Cheese
I love this recipe, so simple, and it turns out great every time. If you have leftovers, they are great reheated for another meal.

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup undiluted
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
1 medium onion, sliced thin
3/4 cup Ritz crackers (about 18 crackers, crushed)

Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Grease a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. In a large bowl, stir together the soup and cheese. Withe a serving spoon, fold in the potatoes and onions until thoroughly coated. Scrape into the prepared baking dish. season with salt and pepper. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake until the potatoes are tender, about 40 to 50 minutes. Remove the foil. Sprinkle the top with the cracker crumbs. Bake until the top is golden brown, another 5 to 10 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Makes 8 servings.

Tortilla Espanola
Basically a Spanish omelette, served warm, cool, or at room temperature. It makes an excellent breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack or crowd-pleasing tapa.

3/4 cup olive oil (not extra virgin)
1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced to 1/8" thick
2 cups sliced yellow onions
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 whole eggs
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the potatoes, and cook, turning frequently, for 10 minutes. Stir in the onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Continue to cook for 25 minutes until vegetables are tender. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the oil and transfer the vegetables into a bowl. Wipe the skillet clean. Beat the eggs, paprika, and remaining salt and pepper together and stir in the vegetables. Heat 1 tablespoon reserved oil in the skillet over medium-low heat. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet. Cook until jut set - 5 to 7 minutes. Loosen the sides with a spatula, place a heat-proof plate face down over the skillet, and invert the tortilla. Heat remaining oil in the skillet over low heat. Slide in tortilla, cooked side up. Cook for 3 more minutes. Slide tortilla onto a plate. Cool slightly before serving. Make 12 tapa servings

Sweet Potato Bread
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and grated
1 large banana, peeled and cut in 1 inch pieces
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 ounces evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
rind of 1 lemon, grated
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
3 teaspoons butter

Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Grate sweet potatoes into mixing bowl and mash the banana into sweet potatoes. Add all ingredients (except 1 tablespoon brown sugar) mixing each ingredient at a time until fully blended into the mix. Spread evenly into 9x13 inch baking pan and sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar over the top of the batter. Bake for 1 1/2 hour or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Makes 1 loaf.

Coconut Sweet Potato Puffs
2 pounds sweet potatoes or yams
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter
2 eggs, separated
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Wash and scrub the potatoes (grease the potatoes prior to baking as this makes peeling easier). Bake for 45 minutes or until tender. After baking, peel the potatoes and discard the skins. In a large mixing bowl mash the potatoes. Add the salt, sugar, cinnamon, butter, and the egg yolks. Blend the mixture well. Cover and chill. After the mixture has chilled, form it into three-quarter-inch balls and roll the balls in flour. Chill the puffs. Whip the egg whites and add enough milk to equal 1 cup liquid. Dip the floured puffs into the milk and then roll them in the shredded coconut. Fry at 375˚F until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Makes 6 servings.

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