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Archive for March 17, 2016

FOOD FUN: Idaho Potatoes

Idaho potatoes are not a variety of potato; the term refers to any potato grown in Idaho.

Idaho became known for its quality potatoes thanks to a growing season of warm days and cool nights, plenty of mountain-fed irrigation and rich volcanic soil. These factors combine to give Idaho potatoes a unique texture and taste.

While some people think of Idaho potatoes as russets (bottom row), four key varieties are grown in the state:

  • Fingerling potatoes in red (French Fingerling variety), purple (Purple Peruvian) and yellow (Russian Banana), top 3 rows
  • Red potatoes (Cal Red, Red La Soda and Norland varieties), fourth row
  • Gold potatoes (Yukon Gold and Yukon Gem varieties), fifth row
  • Russet potatoes (Burbank and Norkotah varieties), bottom row
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    Discover more, including lots of recipes, at IdahoPotato.com.
     
    FOOD TRIVIA: WHY ARE POTATOES CALLED SPUDS?

     

    Idaho Potatoes

    The Idaho Potato Commission created this collage of potatoes in the shape of Idaho.

     
    Originally, a spud was a short knife or dagger, probably from the Dutch spyd. The first written reference we have dates to about 1440.

    The term evolved to include a sharp, narrow spade used to dig up potatoes and other root crops. In the mid 18th century, the term caught on as slang for the potato itself.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Corned Beef & Cabbage Sandwich

    Sliced Corned Beef

    Top: A Corned Beef & Cabbage panini sandwich from Dietz & Watson. Bottom: Sliced corned beef. Photo courtesy Cascal Soda.

     

    You may look forward to Corned Beef & Cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day? How about a Corned Beef & Cabbage Sandwich?

    If it sounds strange, remember that cole slaw is simply sliced cabbage with dressing, and that the Reuben is a grilled or toasted sandwich on rye or pumpernickel with corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian Dressing.

    In this recipe from Dietz & Watson, they cabbage is simply steamed, but nothing’s stopping you from serving the sandwich with a side of slaw. Or a cold beer.

    This photo shows the sandwich made on a panini press, but you can make a conventional sandwich as you prefer.

    This sandwich is a relative of
    In addition to corned beef hash, this is one of our favorite uses for leftover corned beef.

    RECIPE: CORNED BEEF & CABBAGE SANDWICH

    Ingredients Per Sandwich

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 cup green cabbage, julienned finely
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 slices rye bread or substitute
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon or grainy mustard
  • 6 thin slices corned beef
  • 2 ounces Cheddar Cheese
  • Optional garnish: pickles
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    Preparation  

    1. BRING 1/4 cup of water and 1 tablespoon oil to a boil in a medium pot over high heat. Add the cabbage and reduce the heat to low. Steam the cabbage for 15 minutes but do not overcook; the cabbage should still remain crisp. Drain and pat with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    2. LAY two slices of bread on a flat work surface. Spread 1 teaspoon of mustard on each slice. Pile the corned beef, Cheddar and cabbage on one slice. Add the top slice of bread. Grill on a panini press or serve as is.

     

     
    WHAT IS CORNED BEEF?

    Corning refers to curing or pickling the meat in a seasoned brine. The word refers to the “corns” or grains of rock salt (today, kosher salt) that is mixed with water to make the brine.

    Typically, brisket is used to make corned beef; the dish has many regional variations and seasonings. Smoking a corned beef, and adding extra spices, produces pastrami.

    Corned beef was a staple in middle-European Jewish cuisine. Irish immigrants learned about corned beef on New York’s Lower East Side from their Jewish neighbors, and adopted it as a cheaper alternative to Irish bacon. Bacon and cabbage is a popular Irish dish. (Irish bacon is a lean, smoked pork loin similar to Canadian bacon. Here are the different types of bacon.)

    Cattle in Ireland were not used for meat but for dairy products. Pork, an inexpensive meat in Ireland, was a dinner table staple.

    But in the U.S., pork was much more expensive than the American staple meat, beef; and brisket, which required several hours of cooking to tenderize, was an affordable cut. Irish-Americans substituted corned beef for the bacon, and and Corned Beef & Cabbage was born.

     
      

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