When temperatures hover below freezing and snow and ice cover the ground in some parts of the country many folks are home bound and cooking or gathering in the kitchen often feels comforting. Kitchens are traditionally warm, inviting places for folks to gather. In many cases the kitchen is the warmest and the coziest room in the home. In that setting comfort foods are often the first things that cross our minds. For some folks the simple potato sends comfortable signals. The recent cold and wet weather caused me to think of one of my favorite comfort foods, the potato. Potatoes are a staple in most pantries, they are versatile, fairly quick to prepare and are comforting. Potatoes can be a side dish or the main dish. Some of my family‘s favorite ways of preparing potatoes are potato pancakes, potato soup and a simple potato casserole. The potato casserole was shared by my son-in-law and the potato pancakes were often served by my mother as a way of using up leftover mashed potatoes. All three recipes are simple and rely on ingredients that are very readily available.
• 4 potatoes, sliced (peel them if desired)
• 2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
• 1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh dill
• ¼ cup olive oil
• Salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Toss to coat with oil and seasonings. Pour coated potatoes into a 9 inch square Pyrex baking dish.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Enjoy!
This can also be baked at 325 degrees for an hour.
Cream of Potato Soup
• 4 medium potatoes, pared
• 2 bacon slices, diced
• ¼ cup minced onion
• 2 Tbsp. parsley
• 2 tsp. salt
• 2 Tbsp. butter
• ½ tsp. nutmeg
• dash cayenne pepper
• ¼ tsp. dry mustard
• 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
• 3 cups milk
• ½ cup grated Swiss or Cheddar Cheese
Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender; drain. Sauté bacon and onion over low heat until bacon is crispy and the onion is translucent and tender. Mash potatoes; add bacon, onion, butter, parsley, salt, nutmeg, mustard, cayenne and Worcestershire. Stir in milk. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until the soup reaches the desired serving temperature. Sprinkle with cheese and serve at once. Serves four.
• 1 ½ cups leftover mashed potatoes
• 1 egg
• 1 to 2 Tbsp. flour
• Salt and pepper to taste
Stir the potatoes and egg together until well blended. Add the flour one tablespoon at a time until the mixture resembles a stiff pancake batter. Stir in salt and pepper and one or more of the add ins as desired. Drop mixture on to a greased skillet or griddle that has been pre-heated to a medium high temperature. I use a ¼ cup measure to insure uniform size of the pancakes.
Add ins: finely chopped parsley; grated parmesan or cheddar to taste.
I hope you and your family enjoy these comforting and warming foods when the weather is cold and dreary.
Jan Duggan is a retired senior manager with over 30 years in the high tech electronics industry. He and his wife Mary are fulfilling a decade’s long ambition of running their own business. Their website (http://www.mycookwareshop.com) offers a variety of quality cookware, cutlery and dinnerware from nationally recognized manufacturers, and features some of their favorite recipes from around the country. They have 2 married daughters and 6 grandkids which keep them busy and youthful. Both Jan and Mary enjoy cooking and entertaining and love to travel in any spare time they find.