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Italian Baked Potatoes

Peel 4 1/2 pounds of raw potatoes. Cut them in medallions and boil them for 10 minutes in salted water. Drain them well and layer them with melted butter & grated cheese. Place them in an oven-resistant serving dish, seasoning them with salt & pepper as you layer them. Pour a cup of fresh cream over them and bake until they are tender and golden. Serve them hot.

Note: If you're making a roast with these potatoes, mix some of the juices in with the fresh cream. That makes them even better.

Potatoes & String Beans

Peel 1 potato and cut crosswise in 1 1/2 inch pieces. Pour enough cold water over the potato in a large saucepan to cover by 3 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat slightly to a gentle boil and cook 8 minutes. Stir in the string beans and continue cooking until both vegetables are tender - about 7 to 8 minutes. Drain the vegetables well in colander. Heat 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil in wide skillet over medium heat. Scatter 4 garlic cloves over the oil. Cook, shaking the pan, until golden, about 1 minute. Slide the drained vegetables in to the skillet. Season with salt & pepper and cook, stirring or mashing the potatoes at the consistency you desire. Drizzle additional olive oil in to the vegetables and mix just before serving. Makes 4 servings.

Note: For non string bean lovers (though what's not to love about string beans) other vegetables can be used instead. The rule should be about 60% veggie to 40% potato.

Potato Pancakes

Peel 2 medium potatoes (about 2 cups) & squeeze to remove extra moisture. In a mixing bowl combine 3 lightly beaten eggs, 1 tablespoon chopped onions, 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vegetable oil & mix well. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil on a griddle over medium heat until hot. Pour 1/4 cup potato mixture onto griddle, spreading evenly. When one side is golden, turn & continue cooking on the other side. Remove from griddle & repeat with the remaining batter. Serve with applesauce or sour cream. Makes 4-6 pancakes.

Cheesy Potato Cups

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pierce 6 large potatoes with fork. Bake 1 hour. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut potatoes inhalf crosswise; scoop out the centers, leaving 1/8-inch thick shells. Place the potato center in a large bowl. Add 1/3 cup of butter, 3 tablespoons milk and beat with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy (If dry add a little more milk). Spoon evenly into shells. Lightly press 1, 1 inch cheddar cheese cube in the center of each potato. Place potatoes on muffin pan. Bake 30 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle each with 1/2 teaspoon of bacon bits & top with broccoli (to make it healthy). Serves 12

Note: The kiddies like this one but will probably throw away the broccoli, so why even bother.

Italian Potato Salad

Boil a large pot of salted water. Add 5 large potatoes, peeled & chopped. Cook until tender but still firm (about 15 minutes). Drain, cool, & chop. In a large bowl, mix together 2 cloves of minced garlic (this is what makes it Italian), 2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 cup of white wine vinegar & 1/3 cup of chopped fresh parsley (if you dig parsley, but you can do it without). Add potatoes and toss to evenly coat. Cover & refrigerate overnight. Serves about 8.

Note: Great for a barbecue or picnic & this is an easy one but you have to start the day before you need it.

Potato Gnocchi

(pronounced nee-yoki)

Steam (not boil) 2 1/4 pounds of mealy, peeled, potatoes (don't have a clue what a mealy potato is but I'm sure if you're going to actually make your own gnocchi you probably know) for 30-45 minutes, when a skewer can penetrate the potato but they are still firm. Mash while they are still hot (use a potato ricer if you have one). Season the potatoes with a pinch of salt and slowly knead in enough flour to obtain a fairly firm, smooth, non-sticky dough—exactly how much flour will depend on how moist the potatoes are so have at least 1 3/4 cups on hand. Roll the dough out into snakes about as thick as your finger (unless you have huge fingers). Cut the snakes in one inch pieces and gently score the pieces crosswise with a fork or gently press them against the inside of a curved cheese grater.

The object is to obtain a curved shape with a depression on one side. So whichever way is easier for you. You choose. Cook the gnocchi in a huge ammount of boiling salted water, removing them with a slotted spoon a minute or two after they rise to the surface. Drain them well and serve them with melted butter & parmigiano cheese OR any tomato or meat sauce. This will serve 4 as a main course or 6-8 as a first course or side dish.

Note: The flour serves to bind the gnocchi, so make sure you use enough otherwise the gnocchi will dissolve when you put them in the boiling water and after all this work, this will upset you.

Potato Wine

Use 10 pounds of potatoes. Wash and scrub them clean. Slice up potatoes and boil in water just until tender. Strain out juice, remove potatoes and pour the boiled mixture into primary fermenter. If you have a nylon straining bag use this to contain potatoes while boiling. Stir in 2 1/2 pints of white grape concentrate, 35 pints water, 11 1/4 pounds sugar, 15 teaspoons acid blend, 2 1/2 teaspoons tannin and 5 teaspoons nutrient. Cover primary. When mixture cools (below 85 degrees) add 1 package of wine yeast. Cover primary. Stir daily, check specific gravity. When fermet reaches S.G. of 1.040 (about 3 to 5 days) strain juice, siphon wine off sediment into 6.5 gallon glass carboy secondary. Attach airlock. When ferment is complete (S.G. has reached 1,000-about 3 weeks) siphon off sediment into clean 5 gallon glass carboy secondary. Reattach airlock. To aid clearing siphon again in 2 months and again if necessary before bottling.

Potato Croquette

Boil 5 lbs of potatoes, leave them slightly hard. Drain & cool. Mix 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/8 chopped parsley, and 6 oz of grated cheese. Add to potatoes & mash potatoes (not too soft). Put bread crumbs on a dish and roll potatoes into balls & roll in bread crumbs. Set aside on plate for about 2 hours (while bread crumbs settle). Then fry the potatoes in oil - flip them from one side to the other. Take out of oil and drain on dish with paper towel.

Potato Salad

Boil 3 lbs peeled potatoes. Drain them in cold water. Mix in a bowl: potatoes, mayonaise, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon parsley, 1/2 teaspoon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar, and chop up 1 small onion. Stir everything and add additional mayonaise if needed.

Three Cheese Potatoes

Put 5 lbs of potatoes in a tin and add 2 sticks of butter and 3/4 cup oil. Cook the potatoes in the oven at 350 degrees until they are soft (test after an hour to see if they are soft enough). Take out of oven and add a sprinkle of salt & pepper, 1/4 Romano Cheese, 1/4 mozzarella cheese, 1/4 swiss cheese. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees until the cheese melts.

Potato Doughnuts

Mix together: 2 eggs, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, 4 tsp. melted lard, 1/2 tsp. ginger, 1 cup milk, 1/2 tsp. salt, 4 cup flour, 5 tsp. baking powder, 1 1/3 cup sugar & 1 cup mashed potato. Then roll, cut and fry in hot fat.

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