Updated: Mar 18, 2022
I grew up in a good Midwestern family, with a mother who loved to experiment in the kitchen, and a father who only wanted to eat meat and potatoes. It was always an interesting mix of creative flavors and standard farm fare. Now that I have my own kitchen, I follow more of my mom’s lead, and I experiment with different ingredients, spices, and foods. I serve dishes like shredded Brussels sprouts sautéed with garlic and #fennel, chia seeds soaked in banana #oatmeal overnight, and quinoa-zucchini cakes cooked in #coconut oil. And all of those awesome superfoods that I put on the table make me feel like I’m doing the right thing for my family, but I have to say, there is nothing quite like the taste of a good ol’ plate of steak and potatoes. Insert my father’s “I told you so” here.
The white potato has gotten a bad rap in the past decade, but don’t be too quick to shun the spud. One of the most #nutritious vegetables in the world, the white potato offers a filling of 110 calories per six ounces and has more potassium than a banana or a cup of #broccoli. It also provides 35% of our daily value of vitamin C, a fair amount of B6 is fat-free, cholesterol-free, and a great source of fiber. Obviously, nothing to be scared of there.
Next time you’re in the produce aisle or at your local farmer’s market, do your diet a favor and buy a few russet potatoes to enjoy for dinner this week. Look for potatoes that are firm with no soft or dark spots. A green tinge is a sign that the potatoes have been exposed to too much light, and can possibly be toxic, so leave these in the bin. If you see #sprouts, then the potatoes are too old. And, if you go for the biggest bang for your buck and buy potatoes in bulk, open the bag as soon as you get home, and make sure none of the potatoes are rotting. One bad spud can spoil the whole bunch.
Store potatoes in a paper bag in a location that is dry, cool, and dark. Don’t refrigerate them, or the starch will convert to sugar and affect their flavor, texture, and how they cook. And be sure not to store potatoes next to #onions. They may be greatly mixed together in homemade hash browns, but both release moisture and gases that will make the other spoil faster.
Potatoes are easy, affordable, filling, fast and versatile, and just about as delicious as comfort food can get. Go lean on the red meat, and light on the #butter, sour cream, and salt. It might not be the same rib eye and loaded twice-baked potato my dad used to make, but it sure does make me smile and remember some delicious family dinners around my parents’ warm and inviting kitchen table.
Try the following recipe, and welcome this stud spud back into your life. All you need is three simple ingredients and a little bit of time. Enjoy!
THE CLASSIC BAKED POTATO
(recipe adapted from Alton Brown)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Wash potato (or potatoes) thoroughly with a stiff brush and cold running water. Dry potatoes, and poke ten to twelve deep holes all over so moisture can escape during cooking. Place in a bowl and coat very lightly with oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt and place potato directly on middle oven rack. Place a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil on the lower rack to catch any drippings.
Bake for one hour, or until skin feels crisp but potato flesh feels soft. Serve by creating a dotted line from end to end with your fork, then squeezing the ends toward one another. It should pop right open, but be careful of the steam!
If you’re cooking more than four potatoes, you’ll need to extend the cooking time. Start with fifteen minutes, and increase from there.
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