Janet's Notebook
You Say "Potato", I Say... "Yes, Please!"


Judy Few's Sweet Irish Gems


Potatoes are one of those funny foods that are just as suited to a lazy Saturday breakfast at home as they are a gussied-up fine-dining menu. Now, how often can you say that? It's a special ingredient, indeed, that finds itself so universally appreciated. In other words, they're just plain yummy! Purists may prefer them straight out of a hot oven, but more adventurous eaters can slice, dice and souffle their way to a veritable high-end masterpiece.

Florida cook and restaurant owner Ed Grabusic learned this appeal first-hand when folks started buzzing about his Loaded Baked Potato Soup. What began out of necessity as a convenient way to use the restaurant's leftover baked potatoes, quickly became the talk of the town... and a signature dish for Ed and his restaurant! The recipe's simple ingredients combine to be so much more than the sum of its parts. How comforting to know that with a sprinkling of cheese and crispy bacon you, too, can create a soul-warming break to your day.

Now, Michigan gal Lynn McClean has taken her own loaded spud love and created a comforting casserole.

"I love potatoes," confesses Lynn. "I need to live in Idaho where they grow them!"

It seems to us that it's Lynn who may be able to a few Idahoans a thing or two! Her recipe for Mashed Potatoes... the Loaded Way is as simple or as complicated as you choose to make it. Think of it as giving regular, old mashed potatoes a daring face-lift. Stick to the bacon, cheese and sour cream Lynn suggests, or mix-it up with mix-ins of your own! Onion, peppers and jalapenos would all be terrific additions, so get creative and prepare wow even the pickiest of broods.

Something new and surprising to us in the Test Kitchen has been the many great recipes being shared for potato desserts! From cookies to cakes to candies, potatoes are popping up in the most unexpected (and delicious) places!

Elaine Brauda's Blue Ribbon Potato Chip Cookies are truly a child's dream treat! Combining the flavors of sweet brown sugar and honest-to-goodness salty potato chips, these cookies are decadent to their very core. Elaine tell us that her mom used to make them as an after school snack. Well, I can just imagine the smiles around that table!

Judy Few has also been creating smiles with a potato recipe gem of her own. Her sweet Irish Gems turn coconut, chocolate and leftover mashed potatoes (of all things!) into cravably delicious candy!

"[I've] been making these for 40 years," says Judy. "[They're a] big hit with coconut lovers!"

The flavor is very much like that of a favorite store-bought candy bar, but with the added goodness of being homemade. This recipe is tops in both flavor and ingenuity. Boy, oh boy, I don't recall when leftovers have ever tasted so good!

It's no wonder that potatoes have been such a big part of our culinary past. Whether cooked over a campfire or served on a silver platter, this humble food was clearly meant to be a star... All we have to do is choose a recipe and let 'em shine!



More Stories... Subscribe to RSS


33 Comments
bunnymay
kim braswell - Apr 20, 2011
Before Hurricane Katrina I visited a Louisiana restaurant that served the MOST AMAZING sweet potato hush puppies. I can't recall the name of the place... If anyone has a recipe for this delightful potato twist, please do share!!!!!
Kat19702
Katrina Freed - Mar 22, 2011
I think there must have been potatoes in my baby formula
annavandenhazel
Anna Vandenhazel - Mar 22, 2011
Katrina, my son said that yesterday - and for the first 10 years of his life he didn't even LIKE potatoes. :)
Kat19702
Katrina Freed - Mar 21, 2011
I think I could live on potaoes
homecookinrocks
Victoria McLacklin - Mar 20, 2011
I've never liked parsnips or rutabager(sp) ot turnips. My mother would hide them stews to get us to eat them. Potato's are my love, I would eat them for every meal if I could. Hubby gets tired of them even if there cooked different ways.
Kat19702
Katrina Freed - Mar 18, 2011
too funny!
annavandenhazel
Anna Vandenhazel - Mar 18, 2011
Timmy actually loved potato skins, which I'm still not fond of. When I was making twice-baked potatoes one time, I turned my back for a second and he snatched one of the empty skin shells and started eating. I convinced him to put it back so there would be a place to put the insides, and made sure that particular potato went to him.
Kat19702
Katrina Freed - Mar 18, 2011
LOL!!!!! Love the son eating the potatoes line
annavandenhazel
Anna Vandenhazel - Mar 17, 2011
My mom used to make potato pancakes on occasion - she would make the batter like normal and then add leftover mashed potatoes, they were yummy! I tried doing the same thing later, it worked great the first time, but on the 2nd attempt I apparently added too much potato and I'm afraid they weren't very good. And after our oldest son was big enough to eat potatoes, we never had leftover mashed potatoes again, LOL!
Kat19702
Katrina Freed - Mar 17, 2011
And Donna you sound like me!! I don't buy frozen potatoes either! I make my own. It is so quick and easy to boil a few potatoes ahead of time. I have them in the refrigerator almost always
Kat19702
Katrina Freed - Mar 17, 2011
I knew it! LOL I thought I saw coconut! Potatoes for dessert! Did I mention that I very often do not see things right in front of me. I miss a detail or two... LOL
annavandenhazel
Anna Vandenhazel - Mar 17, 2011
Katrina, the picture is of Judy Few's "Irish Gems" (see link in the post at the top of the page), so you are seeing chocolate over potatoes mixed with coconut.
Angelfoodie
Donna Thiemann - Mar 17, 2011
@katrina, I would join. I just love potatoes and fixing them different ways. Even when a recipe calls for frozen I will boil potatoes in their peels for 15 minutes and cool them quick in cold water. Then peel and dice for fast recipes.

When I prep food for the week I often will prep a 5lb bag of spuds by boiling in their jackets(peel) and save in the fridge for fast hash browns and cubed with butter and add hot milk and mash!
Kat19702
Katrina Freed - Mar 16, 2011
chocolate over coconut even.... I think you need a picture that looks more like potatoes. ;
Kitty's Mashed Potatoes
Kat19702
Katrina Freed - Mar 16, 2011
Is it just me or does the gravy in the above photo look like CHOCOLATE!