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Well-dressed potatoes.

Sack those old potato recipes-it's time for spuds to let their hair down and reveal their chic and sexy nature,

Potatoes are like librarians. For too long they've been taken for granted. They've been perceived as steady, reliable, thrifty, sensible, and even somewhat plain. But beneath that modest surface lurks a secret soul, both worldly and glamorous, at home in even the most elegant surroundings, and always ready for another adventure.

Moreover, this versatile vegetable manages to combine sophistication with virtue-a knockout merger. A single medium potato, which is nearly fat free, contains only about 4 percent of the calories needed for daily adult nutrition, but 35 percent of the vitamin C. Potatoes are rich in potassium, and potato skin is a wonderful source of dietary fiber. You could, as the Irish once did, almost live on the potent potato alone. As part of the daily diet, it can provide more iron than any other vegetable. And, to top it off, potatoes are among the most economical foods around.

Whether baked, riced, diced, mashed, hashed, broiled, or boiled, potatoes are a perfect partner to a main entree, or they can be the main entree themselves. The spunky spud can fit comfortably into breakfast, snacks, lunch, or dinner.

Experiment with these menu suggestions at the next opportune occasion, whether it's a lavish party or a simple intimate dinner for two. Dinner parties are excellent times to explore some of the more exotic outposts of the potato empire. Since potatoes were first brought by the Spanish from the Incan empire to Europe in the 16th century, they have spread to more than 120 countries around the world and have become an essential part of most of the great cuisines. In fact, they even have crept into some languages. Because they are so versatile, the word for jack-ofall-trades in India is potato.

The potato's noble past aside, there is no better time than the present to appreciate the simple vegetable-and no better ways to dress up the spud than in the recipes that follow.

Handwarmers

Micro-bake as many potatoes as you wish, whatever size you wish. To bake, wash potatoes and pierce with fork. Place in microwave oven on rack or paper towel. Microwave at High (100%) 4-6 minutes for each potato; turn at least once during cooking. After removing from oven, let stand 2 minutes,

Cut 1/2 "slice from small end of each potato, or halve potatoes. Carefully scoop out pulp; leave skins intact. Coarsely mash pulp with fork. Fill potato shells with one of the following recipes.

Chili-Cheese Handwarmen

For each cup of potato pulp, mix:

2 tablespoons canned, diced green chilies

1/4 cup shredded Monterey jack or cheddar cheese

Salt to taste, if desired

Pack into potato shells, mounding tops slightly. Microwave at High (100%) about I minute for each potato to heat through. Wrap each potato in napkin to eat out of hand.

Flamenco Handwarmers

For each cup of potato pulp, prepare:

2 ounces extra-lean ground beef

2 tablespoons chopped onion

1 small clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/4 cup sliced pimientostuffed olives

1/4 teaspoon hot-pepper sauce

Salt to taste, if desired

Cook ground beef, onion, and garlic in microwave dish, covered, at High (100 %) until beef loses its pink color. Stir in tomato paste, olives, hot-pepper sauce, and salt. Add potato pulp; mix and cook at High about I minute per cup of mixture to heat through. Pack into potato shells, mounding tops slightly. Serve immediately, wrapped in napkin to eat out of hand.

Garden-Salad Handwarmers

For each cup of potato pulp, mix:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1-1/2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar

2 tablespoons chopped red onion

2 tablespoons chopped red bell pepper

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Salt and pepper, if desired

Mix together all ingredients, Salt and pepper to taste. Pack into potato shells, mounding tops slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature in napkin to eat out of hand.

Note: Filled potatoes may be wrapped and refrigerated up to two days. Wrap loosely in plastic wrap and reheat at High (100%) 2-3 minutes per potato.

Thai-Style Salmon Potato Topper

(Makes 4 servings)

1/2 cup vertically sliced onion

1 tablespoon slivered fresh ginger root

1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 pound Alaska salmon, thawed if necessary, skinned, -boned, and cubed

2 cups broccoli florets

1 cup each pea pods and tofu cubes

1 cup vertically sliced cucumber, seeded if desired

2 shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and thinly sliced (about 1/4 CUP)

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup vinegar

4 teaspoons packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Salt and pepper to taste, if desired

4 (about 8 oz. each) Washington Russet potatoes, baked

Saute onion, ginger root, and red pepper in oil until onion is tender; add salmon and cook 3 minutes. Add broccoli, pea pods, tofu, cucumber, and mushrooms; cook until vegetables are crisp-tender. Combine water, vinegar, brown sugar, cornstarch, lemon peel, salt, and pepper; stir into vegetables. Cook until mixture thickens and boils. Slit baked potatoes lengthwise and open by gently squeezing from bottom. Spoon 1/4 salmon mixture over each potato.

Entree Potatoes with Stir-Fry

(Makes 2 servings)

2 (about 8 oz. each) Washington

Russet potatoes

oil

6 ounces thinly sliced chicken breast or white-fleshed fish, cut into chunks

1/2 cup each sliced mushrooms and green pepper

1/4 cup sliced onion

1/2 cup chicken broth

2 teaspoons each cornstarch and soy sauce

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root or 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

3/4 cup bean sprouts

1 tomato, cut into wedges

Scrub potatoes; rub lightly with oil. Pierce several times with fork, Bake at 400' F. 50-60 minutes or until tender. Saute' chicken in I tablespoon oil until barely cooked and tender; remove from skillet. Saute' mushrooms, green pepper, and onion until crisp-tender. Combine broth, cornstarch, soy sauce, lemon juice, and ginger root. Add to vegetables with chicken, sprouts, and tomato. Cook and stir gently until sauce is thickened. Cut or pierce tops of potatoes lengthwise; squeeze ends and push toward center to open. Spoon 1/2 cup chicken mixture into each potato; pass remaining chicken mixture.

Crispy Half-Baked Potatoes

(Makes 4 servings)

2 medium potatoes (about

2/3 pound)

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Coarsely ground pepper to taste

Halve potatoes lengthwise; brush surfaces with oil. Coat with cheese. Place in microwave baking dish. Microwave at High (100%) 4-6 minutes. Brown under broiler. Sprinkle with pepper.

Variations: Add 1 teaspoon lemon juice to oil before brushing potatoes. Add herbs of your choice to cheese before coating potatoes.

Conventional directions: Halve potatoes lengthwise; brush surfaces with oil-and-lemon-juice mixture. Coat with cheese; sprinkle with pepper. Place on cookie sheet, and bake at 375'F. 25 -30 minutes.

Savory Herbed Potatoes

(Makes 4 servings)

1-1/2 pounds (4-5 medium) potatoes, thickly sliced

1 cup canned whole peeled tomatoes, drained

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup whole- wheat bread crumbs

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1 bay leaf In 2-quart microwave dish, layer potatoes, tomatoes, onion, and garlic. Sprinkle top with bread crumbs and thyme. Tuck bay leaf into middle of mixture. MiCrowave at High (100%) 10-12 minutes; turn 1/4 turn 3 times. Remove bay leaf.

Washington Potato Bread

(Makes 1 loaf)

3 cups flour, divided

1 package active dry yeast

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cooked, mashed Washington Russet potatoes

1/2 cup low-fat milk

1/4 cup margarine

1 egg, beaten

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in large mixing bowl; set aside. Heat potato, milk, and margarine until warm (110'F.). Margarine does not need to be melted. Add to flour mixture; blend well. Add egg; beat with mixer 3 minutes at medium speed. Gradually stir in remaining flour to make firm dough. Knead 3-5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl; turn to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm place about 1 hour or until doubled in bulk. Punch down; form into ball and let rest 10 minutes. On floured surface, form dough into loaf shape to fit 8-1/2" x 4-1/2" x 2 1/2 " loaf pan. Let rise about 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk. Bake at 375'F. about 50 minutes or until golden brown and bread makes hollow sound when tapped on bottom. Remove from pan and cool.

Fish Soup Saint Tropez

(Makes 6 servings)

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 onions, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 green peppers (or better yet, 1 green and 1 red)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 can (28 oz.) whole peeled tomatoes

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon dried redpepper flakes, crushed 3 strips orange peel each about 1/2" x 3"

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

1/2 teaspoon thyme

3 medium potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and cut in 1/2 "cubes

3 cups water

1 cup dry vermouth or white wine

2 pounds fresh or frozen fish (snapper, cod, bass, blackfish, or halibut), partially thawed, if frozen, and cut in chunks

1/2 cup minced fresh parsley

Salt and pepper, if desired

Heat oil in large pot or kettle and sauti onions, carrots, peppers, and garlic in hot oil until tender. Add tomatoes, bay leaf, crushed pepper, orange peel, fennel seeds, and thyme. Bring to boil. Add potatoes. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Add water and wine and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 5 minutes. Add fish and parsley and cook 2-5 mintues or until fish flakes easily (don't overcook). Remove orange peel and bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve warm in bowls.

Harvest Potato Soup

(Makes 6-8 servings)

1 tablespoon margarine

1 onion, chopped

1/2 cup chopped green onion

4 cups chicken broth

3 cups pared, diced Washington Russet potatoes

2 medium carrots, pared and thinly sliced

1 cup thinly sliced zucchini

3 cups finely shredded fresh spinach

Salt, if desired

Melt margarine in saucepan; add onions. Cook, covered, over low heat about 5 minutes. Add broth, potatoes, and carrots. Simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Add zucchini; simmer 5 minutes. Add spinach and salt to taste; heat thoroughly.

Rainbow Potato Purees

(Makes 4-6 servings)

1 pound (3 medium) potatoes, peeled and cubed

1/2 pound peeled and chopped vegetables (your choice of beets, broccoli, carrots, parsnips, zucchini, or pumpkin)

1/4 cup water

3 tablespoons low-fat yogurt

Place potatoes, vegetables, and water in 2-quart microwave dish covered with plastic wrap. Microwave at High (100%) 8-9 minutes; let stand 3 minutes. Remove plastic wrap; add lowfat yogurt. Mash with potato masher, leaving vegetable texture.

French Potato Scallop

(Makes 6 servings)

1 can (1 pound) stewed tomatoes

1 teaspoon grated orange peel

1 teaspoon salt, if desired

1 teaspoon basil

1/4 teaspoon pepper

4-5 medium potatoes (about 1-1/2 pounds), sliced 1/8 "thick

1 pound lean ground beef, crumbled

1-1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

Watercress sprigs of chopped parsley

In shallow 2-quart microwave dish, mix tomatoes, orange peel, salt, basil, and pepper. Add potatoes. Spread in even layer. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Microwave at High (100%) 8 minutes. Stir, cover, and microwave at High 8 minutes more. Stir in beef and 1/2 cup cheese. Cover and microwave at High 10 minutes. Stir. Cover with remaining cheese. Microwave, uncovered, at High 5-8 minutes until potatoes are just tender. Let stand 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley.

Halibut Creole Potato Topper

(Makes 4 servings)

1 cup diced carrots

1/4 cup chopped onion

4 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon margarine

1 can (16 oz.) diced tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped green pepper

1/2 teaspoon each thyme, crushed, and chili powder

1/4 teaspoon salt, if desired

1 pound Alaska halibut, thawed, boned, skinned, and cubed

Pepper to taste

4 8-ounce potatoes, baked

Saut6 carrots and onion in oil and margarine until crisp-tender. Stir in tomatoes, green pepper, thyme, chili powder, and salt. Bring to boil; add halibut and cook until halibut flakes when tested with fork. Season with pepper. Slit baked potatoes lengthwise and open by gently squeezing from bottom. Spoon 1/4 halibut mixture over each potato.

Lean Marathon Stuffed Potatoes

(Makes 2 servings)

2 medium potatoes

2/3 cup low-fat cottage cheese

1 tomato, chopped and drained

1/4 cup minced parsley

2 tablespoons minced chives

or green onions

1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

Dash dill weed, crushed

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

Bake potatoes at 400' F. 50-60 minutes or until tender. Remove lengthwise slice from each potato; scoop out pulp, leaving 1/4" shell. Mash pulp; stir in cottage cheese, tomato, parsley, chives, salt, pepper, and dill weed. Fill shell with mixture; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 400'F. 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Saturday Evening Post Society
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Jan 1, 1989
Words:2154
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