Comfort and potatoes

by Chie

Right now, we have some Yukon Golds, red, and fingerling potatoes from our garden. For my son, it’s like treasure hunting. It’s fun to taste the differences. The creamy Yukons, the fluffy reds, the sweet fingerlings.

We often cut our potatoes into wedges or dice them large and toss in extra virgin olive or coconut oil, sea salt, and curry powder or freshly ground black pepper. Sometimes I add roasted fennel seeds to my salt grinder and sprinkle that on for a fragrant touch. What a treat.

A medium for various flavors, there are so many things we can do with potatoes – au gratin, soups, salads, braised, roasted, baked. I love to have them with butter and tamari, what a comforting combo. (In Japan, butter and soy sauce is a potato chip flavor.)

Potatoes and Chard Au Gratin

1 bunch Swiss chard, rainbow or any variety
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
½ lb crimini mushrooms, sliced (optional)
¾ c Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated
5 sprigs fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 T unsalted butter or coconut oil
3-5 medium potatoes, Yukon golds preferred
2 c cream or milk depending on richness preference (hemp or almond will work as well)
1 tsp sea salt

Wash the chard and detach the stem.
In a medium pot with a lid, place the chard along with the stem
and steam in it’s liquid left over from washing.
Remove as soon as it wilts and cool. Squeeze lightly
to rid of excess water. Chop to bite size.

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Saute the onions with the oil until transparent, add the mushrooms and garlic.
Saute until cooked through and fragrant.
Place in a medium bowl and toss with the chard, 1/4 c Pecorino Romano, and herbs.

Slice the potatoes about 1/6 inch wide. A mandoline is handy to use for this,
but it will work fine by hand. Grease a 9 by 12 glass pan to layer the potato then a layer of
the chard and mushroom mixture. Repeat, ending with a final layer of potato slices.

Heat the cream or milk with the salt to dissolve. Pour over the layers and
gently press to submerge the layers. Sprinkle ¼ c Pecorino Romano on top.

Bake until the top is golden and potatoes are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Enjoy warm.

Japanese Style Braised Potatoes

I have a recipe for a popular Japanese potato dish which is usually cooked with
thinly sliced pieces of beef. This version is simply with onions and ginger,
getting me ready for the coming autumn.

3 medium potatoes, Yukon gold is preferred
1 yellow onion, sliced
¼ lb Shiitake mushrooms (optional)
¾ c broth or water
2 ½ T tamari (can substitute soy sauce)
1 T honey (optional)
1 inch ginger, peeled and sliced thin
1 T coconut oil or unsalted butter
½ c snow peas

Cut the potatoes into 1-inch chucks. I like to use the skin for its texture and nutritional value.
Traditionally in Japan, the skin is peeled. Place in water to rid of starches.

Saute the onion and ginger in the oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms if using.
When fragrant, add the drained potatoes and toss around to heat through.
Add the broth and seasonings then cover. Add the snow peas just to cook through.
Cook potatoes until tender and enjoy!

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