Always grateful for our boxes of storage potatoes, onions, and garlic from Laughing Crow Farms, winter is naturally the time to indulge in those ingredients. Betsey’s potato varieties are all tasty and different. I like to use the Alby’s Gold for gratins, the German Butterball for mashing, and the Red Bliss for roasting. (Of course this is just a matter of personal preference – they’re all interchangeable per your taste.) As with any dish, when you start with really high quality, fresh ingredients, assembling even the simplest of recipes scan result in something wonderful. If you’re used to buying the ubiquitous grocery store varieties, choosing a few new potatoes from your local farmer will elevate your meal, even if it’s just a baked potato! Do get out, brave the elements, and explore the potatoes at your winter market.
Isn’t this a beautiful gratin presentation? When it’s dark and winter, who doesn’t want a dish of baked potatoes for dinner? Here are a few variations for you to work through.
Turning the potato slices on their sides creates a whole new look for this standard dish. Find the recipe here. I adapted it only by reducing the amounts and baking it in a 1/2 quart gratin dish (pictured). We found that this was just the right amount for a family of 3.
For a similar look without all of the cheese and cream, I’ve also had success with this version.
And lastly, I will never shrug off my favorite recipe for scalloped potatoes. Give it a try using the ‘sideways’ potato technique.
This month’s guest post comes from Rebecca K., island mom, artist, and home baker. She turned wintertime’s abundant storage squash into a healthy staple for her family. Thank for sharing, Rebecca!
Squash and Veggie Sandwich Bread
EVERY MOTHER NEEDS TO KNOW! Your children will eat and enjoy vegetables, given they can be properly hidden. This bread is loaded with nutrition from veggies to whole grains. If any of your children eschew the goodness of veggies, keep them well-stocked on this bread. The recipe is a modification of Small Potato’s Oatmeal Bread recipe, so follow the steps of that description with a few tweaks.
4 tbsp. melted butter
2 tbsp.—1/4 cup brown sugar (depending on taste)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour
1 cup rolled oats
¼ cup wheat bran
¼ cup nonfat dry milk
2 generous tbsp. vital wheat gluten
2 ½ tsp. instant yeast
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 ½ cup pureed butternut squash*
Mix the melted butter and brown sugar together until the brown sugar is incorporated.
Add in the dry ingredients and mix together.
Ensure your squash puree is lukewarm and mix into the bread. If you have a good mixer with a dough hook, I just let it do the rest of the job and set it on a low setting. Let it go at it for about 5 minutes. This is where you have to watch the dough a bit. You want it to be soft and a bit sticky but not so much as a sweet bread or cinnamon roll dough…it should hold its form and ball up. Depending on the water content of your squash puree, you may need to adjust your flour content by 4 tbsp. to achieve the right consistency.
Oil your bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rise 1 hour than punch down dough, roll out into a rectangle and roll to fit in your loaf pan.
Cover and let rest for about 1 hour.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Bake bread for 40 minutes then cool on wire rack.
I have also done a mix of pureed carrots and squash with great success.
I always keep butternut squash stocked in our house because it is so conducive to use in many breads. I’ve used it in cinnamon rolls, waffles, and pancakes and not seen any reduction in the rate of family gobbling. Just assume it is equivalent to most liquids you might use and substitute.
Have you been on a baking binge? Tis the season! Well, here’s a recipe that you can make if your ingredients are running low. Out of eggs? Out of butter? Turn to gingerbread. Of course, there are a lot of other reasons to make this cookie – it looks beautiful, adds a little nostalgic spice to your cookie platter, and goes well with eggnog.
For me, it’s a cookie that I make every year. It’s the cookie that, as a kid, I used to look forward to getting in the mail from my grandma. I wrote down the recipe a long time ago in my middle school handwriting on a piece of looseleaf paper. This year, I had my own helper and, as we worked side by side in the kitchen together, I looked over at this fourth generation cookie baker and felt a little amazed.
The type of molasses that you choose really informs the flavor of this cookie. A dark molasses will produce a very bold type of cookie. While delicious (and my preference), it might not appeal to everyone. A milder molasses produces a gentler cookie that doesn’t have as much zing, but will probably appeal better to children (and finicky grown ups.)
1 1/3 c. shortening, room temperature (I use palm oil shortening.)
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 1/2 c. dark molasses
2/3 c. cold water
6 c. AP flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
With an electric mixer, cream shortening, brown sugar, and molasses together until fluffy.
Mix in cold water.
Whisk dry ingredients together.
Gradually add dry ingredients to wet.
Roll the dough out on a floured surface to 1/2 inch. Cut shapes and place on baking sheet covered with parchment.
Bake at 350F for 8 minutes.
If you’d like glazed cookies, you can pour it on when the cookies are warm to make a light glaze. Dipping your cooled cookies makes a pretty effect.
2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
3 tbls. cream
Whisk together and thin with a couple of drops of water, if needed.
Cut a piece of cardboard in the shape that you want. Place it on top of the dough and cut around it with a knife. No cookie cutters necessary.
To make large gingerbread boys, add 1 more cup of flour. This makes the dough stiffer. Display these like decorations or eat them up.
Please pardon me if I brag a little about my new favorite party trick. It’s just so…beautiful.
This dish went together super fast and was a crowd pleaser. With the bits and pieces left from our generous Tani Creek Farm Fall CSA and starring some of Laughing Crow‘s potatoes, I was able to put together an appetizer in under 30 minutes without having to buy a thing. This healthy option can hold its own on the table next to all the breads, cookies, and cheesy concoctions.
Preheat oven to 425F.
Scrub veggies with a vegetable brush. Slice, if you like. If using squash, halve, remove seeds, and slice.
Group each vegetable by type on a parchment-lined baking sheet.(Wrap beets in foil so that they don’t taint everything else with their vibrant red drips.)
Drizzle on olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake for 25-35 minutes. Begin to peek in around 20 minutes. You may want to use tongs to flip harder to cook vegetables (like carrots and parsnips.)
Garnish with greens and herbs.
Serve at room temperature with a dressing for dipping.
In a jar, add 1/4 c. sherry vinegar (or other mild choice), 3/4 c. olive oil, 2 tsp. whole grain mustard, 1 tsp. kosher salt, 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper, and 1 tbls. fresh thyme leaves. Shake. (This will keep on the counter at room temperature and gets even better as the thyme steeps.)
For this platter, I used parsnips, small carrots, turnips, beets, potatoes and delicata squash.
Each month, Small Potatoes will be inviting a guest blogger to share stories, recipes, and relationships to their food systems. Enjoy this first one from Diane at The Buffer Zone. Would you like a side of dysfunction with that turkey? … Continue reading →
Barley flour adds a delicate touch to cookies (and other baked goods.) This flour and recipe came from the Eugene, OR, farmers’ market when we last passed through there. These snappy cookies are sturdy enough to live in your cookie jar without crumbling but wouldn’t be good for mailing or travel.
I made a batch of these for a fall cookie platter that also included chocolate peanut butter oat cookies, iced oatmeal, and pumpkin spice. There are also a few residing in my deep freeze, waiting to see if they make the Christmas cookie list.
1 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 c. molasses
2 1/4 c. barley flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
about 1/4 c. white sugar for rolling dough in
Preheat oven to 350F. Cover baking sheet with parchment.
Cream the sugar and butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Add egg and molasses. Mix until blended.
In a separate bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients together.
Add dry mixture gradually to wet mixture, with mixer on low.
Pour the white sugar on a plate, cutting board, or counter.
With a cookie scoop (or two spoons), plop a 1 inch ball into your hand. Roll gently. Then, roll in sugar. Place on prepared cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. (This dough will spread.) When your sheet is full, flatten each ball gently with two fingers.
Once, a long time ago when I was just beginning to learn to cook, I got a book from the library that contained something like a mind-blowing 150 recipes just made with potatoes. A few of those dishes that I learned then are still with me today. This dish, pommes anna, is a very classic french preparation and usually only uses two ingredients: butter and potatoes. I worked up an alternative version for a dairy-free friend. It was easy and yummy and served another important purpose. Our csa has been giving us handfuls of different potatoes each week. Varying sizes and types challenged me to think of a way to make them all into a cohesive dish. I scrubbed them up with our new favorite kitchen tool and then un-artfully stuffed them all in the top of the food processor. And there you have it – a quick potato side without any butter.
Makes 1 potato cake, serving about 4-6
about 3 handfuls of mixed potatoes
salt and pepper
Prepare your pan. Use a 10 1/2 (or similarly sized) springform pan. Drizzle a little oil in it and smear it on the bottom and sides. Wrap the bottom in a piece of foil. Preheat oven to 375F.
Slice your potatoes with the 2 mm. slicing blade of your food processor.
Fill a large bowl with water and add potato slices. Swirl and rinse the extra starch off. Dry the potatoes with a dishtowel.
Begin to layer them in your oiled pan. When you have a complete layer, drizzle a little more oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. (It will cook up fine even if your layers are just approximated – no need for perfect overlapping circles.) Layer until you have about an inch of potatoes in the pan. Press down with your hand.
Cover your pan tightly with foil. Place the pan on a baking sheet in the oven. Bake at 375F for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until the top is brown (about 15 minutes more.)
Unhinge your springform pan and slide the cake off the bottom. Slice and serve.