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September 2002 Issue
Spuds on Parade
by Rossana S. Tarantini
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While the theme for this month is a bit off, it's still fairly appropriate I think. Let me explain. The date that articles are due here at Seasoned Cooking is the 10th of the month previous to publication. That means that the September column will actually be due in on August 10th. So, with that being the case, my mind went directly to potatoes.

I can see I need to do some more explaining.

What you need is some background, I guess. I live in a small village called Hockley Village located in Ontario … north of Toronto. About 15 minutes north of us is the potato capital of Ontario, also known as Alliston. It's a nice town. I do my shopping there.

The thing is this -- the weekend that I'm due to send my column in is the weekend of the famous Alliston Potato Festival. Getting the connection now?? Good!!

So this month's column will feature, yep, you guessed it, POTATOES!!! Some useless . . . Err . . . useFUL facts and information and some recipes. There are ALWAYS recipes in my columns!!!

    During the Alaskan Klondike gold rush, (1897-1898) potatoes were practically worth their weight in gold. Potatoes were so valued for their vitamin C content that miners traded gold for potatoes.


Little Havana Grilled Beef Salad

  • 1 beef top round steak cut 1 inch thick (about 1 1/2 lbs)
  • 2 pounds medium unpeeled potatoes (I like to use Yukon golds)
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3/4 cup of a vinaigrette made with white wine (my recipe uses two parts virgin olive oil to one part wine vinegar and for this amount of dressing I would use 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper and 2 tsp. ground mustard, shake well in a jar with a tight fitting lid)
  • 2 - 15oz. Cans black beans, rinsed and drained
Cut potatoes crosswise in half; place them in a microwave-safe dish with one cup water. Cover and microwave on HIGH 10 to 14 minutes or until almost tender, rearranging them once. Immediately rinse under cold running water; drain well.

Meanwhile, combine cumin and salt and pepper and press evenly into the steak. Place steak on the bbq over medium heat and grill, uncovered, 16 to 18 minutes (medium rare) turning only one or twice. Remove from bbq and let stand 5 minutes.

About 5 minutes before steak is done, brush potatoes with some of the vinaigrette. Place on the bbq around steak. Grill 5 to 7 minutes or until golden brown, turning occasionally.

Carve steak into thin slices. Combine beef, potatoes, beans, cilantro and remaining vinaigrette in large bowl and toss gently. Serve immediately with a nice crusty bread and a good merlot.

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes


Mushroom Tart in a Potato Crust

  • 4 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
  • 6 green onions, sliced
  • 2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 8 ounces assorted mushrooms (such as oysters, cremini, button, Portobello, shitake) sliced (about 3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
Put a baking sheet on the middle shelf of the oven and heat the oven to 475ºF. Generously butter a 12-inch tart pan with removable bottom or a 12-inch pizza pan. Combine the potatoes, half the green onions, half the Parmesan and some pepper in a large bowl. Stir in half the eggs and mix until well blended.

Spread the potato mixture evenly on the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Put the tart on the preheated baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven.

Reduce the oven temperature to 375ºF. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat, add the mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the feta, milk, thyme and the remaining green onions, Parmesan, pepper and eggs.

Pour the mushroom mixture into the potato crust. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until set. Serve with a salad and a nice baguette for a wonderful brunch of lunch menu.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

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