Saturday, July 12, 2014

A plethora of potato

You know the only problem about having a Chef'Store in your town?  It's when you go with someone who convinces you that for only $17 and some change the two of you can surely figure out how to use 50 lbs of potatoes.  Seriously.  Mom and I had an open house coming up and we were doing a baked potato bar.  We might have needed 4 potatoes, maybe 12.  One never knows.  But you can't buy potatoes that way at the Chef'Store.  Nope, it's like being at Sam's.  

Fifty pounds.  At first, my mind, like any other sane person's, said "50 lbs?  Are you crazy?  Of course not!"  But then I started doing the math.  Oh, curse you trusty calculator!  Turns out $17 and some change for 50 lbs of potatoes is a damn good deal.  As we unloaded that giant box from the car later, I began having some of that We-just-over-bought-out-the-ying-yang anxiety. What in the world was I going to do with all these pommes de terre? 
Good sized potatoes too!
 Well, first off, I baked a lot of them for the open house.  Unfortunately not many people showed up, so I brought many of them home. No worry...potato soup for dinner.  But there was that huge cardboard box sitting on the table just staring at me. I thought. I contemplated. I consulted cookbooks.  Finally I had a plan.  The freezer was going to be getting lots of new temporary friends. I spent one long morning dispensing with these spectacular spuds.  

I grated, rinsed, blanched and rinsed again about 20 cups of hash browns then bagged them all up in freezer bags.  The rest I baked then created 3 types of "twice-baked" potatoes: sour cream & chive, broccoli & cheddar and cheddar & ham.  I wrapped each in plastic wrap so they could be taken out of the freezer as individual portions then bagged and labeled.  

Just like the Waffle House!

Since I put all of this in the freezer, we tried the hash browns first.  Simply put, they worked perfectly!  All of the rinsing & blanching has caused them to keep their color (or lack thereof) and they cook up nice and light and crispy.  Last night we had Alaskan snow crab legs with our sour cream & chive potatoes for dinner.  The potatoes are packed with flavor and the edges of the skins got browned and toasty.  It was a good combo with the sweet crab and butter. 

These are the broccoli and cheddar twice-baked potatoes

You probably know this about me by now, but I'll say it again.  I just sleep better at night knowing that I have good things waiting in our freezer.  It's so comforting knowing that on a busy school night, or after a hard day, or on a day when I still haven't gotten around to going to the grocery store, we have dinner available in the big cold box.  Over recent years, I've also made a goal to become as resourceful as possible.  Once upon a time, I'd have thrown out all of the potatoes I just didn't get cooked before they went bad.  Today's me would have a heart attack instead!  This is why all our stale bread becomes bread crumbs stored in the freezer, old shrimp and crab shells stay frozen until we need to make stock, and and leftover chicken tips from Zorba's get turned into chicken salad!

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