Tag Archives: potatoes

Kitchen Hack: Easier way to peel potatoes and stop them from Discoloring

potato and peeling

Nobody likes black potatoes! Here’s how to stop it.

As if you need a reminder – we’re coming up on the holidays and in my house that means a whole lot of potatoes! I’m not too fond of the yucky colors my potatoes have been known to turn before they’re even cooked so I’ve found a great hack to avoid just that.  You know, hacks are those little kitchen “tricks” that you learned from your parents. Nowadays, we call them “hacks” because everything that makes life easier is a hack? Right?

In my case, I learned most of my best kitchen hacks from chefs, friends, and twenty-plus years owning restaurants. After a while, they start accumulating.

Some hacks are like the one I’m going to share with you in a bit – someone gets inspired after doing a task over and over. Other hacks are like the ones I’ve shared before, the practical idea of turning leftover wine into ice cubes. That’s a favorite. Then again, there’s the one my friend discovered. He never peels his garlic by hand. No, he breaks the cloves apart and tosses them into a plastic covered container and shakes it hard for about 10 – 15 seconds. Apparently, all that banging around in the plastic container does the job for him. I’m trying that one the next time I need peeled fresh garlic.  Sounds a whole lot easier than how I’ve been doing it.

The hack that I’m about to share with you now is on that same level. As we all know, potatoes can be hard to peel – and once peeled can change to an unappetizing color. Your everyday Russets will turn brown or gray; sweet potatoes will turn black. Oxygen in open air triggers the acids in potatoes; as the acid oxidizes, the meat of the potato begins to discolor. The more sugar in the potato, the darker it’ll become.  The trick is to get that potato peeled as quickly as possible and stop the oxidization process before it starts.

If you’re going to mash them, and you have enough time, I suggest you lightly score the skin (be careful not to cut into the flesh of the potato) and boil them whole.  Once they’re cooled the skin will simply slide right off and you’re ready to mash.

But, if you’re going to use them to shred for a potato pancake or slice them and use them in other dishes you will need to work quickly to avoid having your beautiful potatoes turn those horrible colors.

Get two bowls – large enough to hold all your potatoes. Fill the bowls with cold water.

  1. Place washed whole potatoes in one bowl and let the potatoes stand for 10 to 15 minutes. The soaking will help with the actual peeling of the potato.
  2. Peel as usual and immediately put the peeled potato into the second bowl of cold water. Make sure that the bowl is large enough (and there’s enough water) to completely cover the potatoes.

The hard-earned secret to the hack? The water stops the oxygen from coming in contact with the potatoes. This hack will give you extra valuable minutes to finish peeling everything. Now your Russets will be white as snow and your cooked sweet yams will look as pretty as they are delicious.

Have fun!

Recipe for Noodle Kugel – Good Anytime

kugel recipe

I Love Good Noodle Kugel

I think this recipe from Smitten Kitchen’s Deb Perelman (apparently her Mother’s own family recipe) first published October 2008. I’m thinking of using this recipe to serve at a dinner party this week. But you can make this anytime for any occasion. Actually, I love anything with noodles. Traditionally, we make kugel for Chanukah.  Kugel is a traditional Ashkenazi Jewish recipe for a baked pudding or casserole – using either egg noodles or potatoes.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound wide egg noodles
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar (Mom uses 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 pounds full-fat cottage cheese, creamed or large curd
  • 2 sticks (1 cup or 8 ounces) melted unsalted butter or margarine (Mom uses 1 1/2 sticks butter)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Dash of salt
  • Optional: 2 cups canned cherry pie filling (Comstock is specified)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Parboil the noodles (five to seven minutes).
  2. In a very large bowl beat eggs until fluffy. Add the sugar gradually, then the cottage cheese, margarine or butter and vanilla. Stir in the drained noodles.
  3. Pour into a 9×13-inch pan. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until kugel is set. If using the cherry pie filling as a topping, pour it over at the one-hour mark, then bake it for an additional 30 minutes.
  4. Deb note: Your baking time may, of course, vary. Check for doneness at one hour and go from there. Our oven, always running cool, took almost two hours to bake this. At home, my mothers inferno of an oven does it in an hour.
  5. About the topping: Okay, so apparently, the original version of this recipe has the cherry pie filling (from! a! can!) as a topping. Should you want to try some version of this but avoid the mystery-in-a-can stuff, a quick cherry pie filling can be made with a bag of frozen sour cherries cooked with half a cup of water in a saucepan for about 10 minutes. Mix 1/2 cup of sugar with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and stir these into the pot. The mixture will thicken within a couple minutes. Cool before using.