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Hot Potato

January 12, 2016

Even though this winter is milder than any I can remember since moving to New York, it’s still the time for winter cooking. For me, that often means boiling or simmering pots on the stove, and other dishes that cook low and slow over longer periods of time.

The goals here are simple. Stay warm, eat well, and be happy. Winter has a way of throwing even the most grounded person off their game. Comfort food is what the season demands. And lately, I’ve been finding comfort in a rather unusual place.

Boiled potatoes.

Holy cow, I can’t even tell you how much I love those hot, dense, and creamy bundles of happiness. There’s so much to love.

For starters, you get to boil a big pot of water for a while. That not only warms up the kitchen, but it also helps to add humidity to the air. In this season of hand cracking, I’ll take additional moisture wherever I can find it.

But the main reason is the food itself. I love the sweet and earthy smell that potatoes release from the pot when they are on the verge of being done. I love handling the impossibly hot potatoes that just refuse to release the heat they have gained. And perhaps more importantly, I love dragging them through mayonnaise, and topping them with a pinch of crunchy sea salt flakes.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I have been using the Just Mayo vegan mayonnaise substitute these days. And sometimes I’ll fake an aioli by pressing a clove of garlic into the mayo.

Seriously, I love these as a snack so much, that I wolf down a potato in minutes while standing up. I could eat several at a stretch, but I try to limit myself to just one. Or sometimes two. But man, it’s hard.

Whenever I’m boiling potatoes though, I make sure to cook as many that as fit in a single layer in my pot. The ones that don’t get immediately eaten get cooled. And those can turn into a variety of tasty treats. Although these days most likely leftover potatoes will be turning into some kind of meat scrap hash.

There was an old story in Prevention a couple years back about foods that make you happy: Potatoes, grassfed butter, coffee, chili pepper, and eggs. I have another name for these foods. Breakfast.

But we’ll talk more about leftover potatoes tomorrow.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. -R. permalink
    January 12, 2016 11:08 am

    I’m afraid I’ll have to disagree: I absolutely loathe boiled potatoes. These starchy, bland tubers do nothing for me. For a potato to have any appeal whatsoever, I need to beat the shit out of it: baked until the skin is crunchy then slathered in butter or sour cream; deep fried and condimented; scalloped, au gratin or disguised in a salad but under no circumstances plain. Potato pancakes/latkes/hash browns? Fine. I’ll even do mashed, just don’t put an unadorned boiled lump of starch on my plate, sprinkle some dried parsley on it and call it good. Salt potatoes make me fly into an uncontrollable rage…I guess I don’t understand.

    • January 13, 2016 12:06 am

      If you don’t like the “plain” taste of boiled potatoes, try boiling them in a mixture of water, milk, butter, diced onions, and a few chopped garlic cloves. They take on whatever they are cooked in, so when youi boil them this way, they get a little flavor. When you drain them, save some of the liquid to re-Incorporated when you are mashing. No need to waste flavor! <3

  2. boya3706 permalink
    January 12, 2016 11:33 am

    Wait, you add mayo to boiled potatoes? I’ve never heard of them prepared in any way other than just add butter. Is there a recipe or is this just a big blind spot of prep for this dish I’m missing?

  3. January 13, 2016 12:03 am

    A. and I used to always gain weight in the winter in our “pre 20’s” because it was cheaper to use the oven than turn on the heat. There were so many days I made huge pots of stock or sauce, and baked dozens of cookies just to have something on, and a reason to be using the stove.

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