October 2012

Interesting and fun uses of potatoes

The Incas used to use potatoes for healing:

– Raw slices placed on broken bones to promote healing.
– Carried to prevent rheumatism
– Eaten with other foods to prevent indigestion.

Various folk remedies use potatoes to:

– Treat facial blemishes by washing you face daily with cool potato juice.
– Treat frostbite or sunburn by applying raw grated potato or potato juice to the affected area.
– Help a toothache by carrying a potato in your pocket.
– Ease a sore throat by putting a slice of baked potato in a stocking and tying it around your throat.
– Ease aches and pains by rubbing the affected area with the water potatoes have been boiled in.

Some of the most famous potato dishes we enjoy today were created by mistake Collinet, chef for French King Louis Phillipe (reign 1830-1848) unintentionally created souffl├ęs (or puffed) potatoes by plunging already fried potatoes into extremely hot oil to reheat them when the King arrived late for dinner one night. To the chef’s surprise and the king’s delight, the potatoes puffed up like little balloons.

In 1853 railroad magnate Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt complained that his potatoes were cut too thick and sent them back to the kitchen at a fashionable resort in Saratoga Springs, NY. To spite his haughty guest, Chef George Crum sliced some potatoes paper thin, fried them in hot oil, salted and served them. To everyone’s surprise, Vanderbilt loved his “Saratoga Crunch Chips,” and potato chips have been popular ever since.

Source: Potatohelp.com

Like it spicy? … Try MUSTARD!

The Main Mustard Ingredient

The main ingredient for any mustard is mustard seeds. There are white, yellow, brown and black seeds which come from the mustard plant. The most commonly found is the creamy yellow type, which is the least pungent. The brown type (or Indian mustard) is stronger in flavour, while the black mustard seed is the most powerful of all.

Whole mustard seeds have a pleasant nutty bite to them and can be used to add piquancy to salad dressing and hot sauces. They are especially good when served with fish, chicken and pork and are also delicious added to creamy potato salad, pickles and chutneys.

If you are new to using mustard seeds(especially the two hotter varieties) try with discretion to begin with, increasing the amount as you become more familiar with the flavours.

Dry mustard can be used as it is in cooking, or it may be mixed to a paste with a little warm water. Once mixed it should be left at least 10 minutes to allow time for the flavours to develop. It is only when the powder is mixed with a liquid that the essential oils are released, giving mustard its pungency and sensation of heat.

Types of Mustard

The variety of ready-prepared mustards come in a bewildering number of mouth-watering flavours. These can be made from milled mustard flour or from coarsely crushed seed (the proportions of which vary depending on the type). Some are mixed with vinegar, others with grape juice or wine (and sometimes beer), and often contain various spices, herbs and seasonings, such as honey and horseradish.

English mustard is made from the yellow seed processed with black seeds, wheat flour and turmeric.

German mustard, which is mild and sweet-flavoured, is a mixture of brown and white mustard flour moistened with vinegar and flavoured with various spices.

The mild-flavoured American mustard, popular with children, generally uses only yellow mustard seeds with the addition of sugar, vinegar and salt.

Dijon mustard is made from milled, husked black seeds, flavoured with wine and spices.

The pungent and spicy grainy types of mustard are a mixture of whole, crushed black and yellow seeds with additional flavourings added for individuality.

Mustards of all types can be used to great effect, not only as a condiment, but also as a culinary ingredient. They add bite and piquancy to all types of savory dishes from scrambled eggs, sauces and dressings to barbecued food, soups, casseroles and cheesy biscuits.