Flashcards in CONCEPT 25: NOT ALL POTATOES ARE CREATED EQUAL Deck (63):
Are there more than 200 species of potato?
Potatoes consist mainly of what two things? Along with...
Starch and moisture (along with small amounts of sugar, fiber, minerals and protein).
The density of a particular potato correlates to what?
Range of starch content in potatoes.
16 to 22 percent.
Less starch gives you what texture?
Firm and waxy.
More starch gives you what texture?
A crumbly, mealy texture.
Name a popular middle of the road potato.
Name two waxy potatoes.
French fingerling and Red Bliss.
Starch occurs in potatoes as microscopic what?
What happens to granules when potatoes are cooked?
They absorb the moisture from within the potato and swell like balloons, causing the cells that contain them to expand, separate and eventually burst.
Does more starch translate to more bursting potato cells? What does this mean for structural integrity while cooking?
Yes, this translates to a potato that falls apart during cooking.
Russets contain how much more starch than Red Bliss?
Two types of starch molecules.
Amylose and amylopectin.
Amylose molecules are shaped like what?
Do amylose molecules easily escape from swollen starch granules when cooked? How does this affect absorption of water?
Yes, resulting in the capacity to absorb more liquid.
Amylopectin molecules are shaped like what?
Much larger, highly branched shape that holds together when cooked.
Better potato for mashing, russet or Red Bliss? Why?
Russets contain more amylose and, because of these molecules, absorb more liquid and fall apart more readily.
Describe American-style potato salad.
Crumbly, cohesive chunks of peeled potatoes bound with mayonnaise.
Describe a French-style potato salad.
Slices of skin on potatoes dressed with garlicky, herby vinaigrette.
Mayonnaise rich dressing for potato salad should be punctuated with what?
Onion and celery.
Which type of potato can soak up a lot of flavor?
Russets, especially while they're hot.
Will russets crumble a little in potato salad? Is this a bad thing?
Yes, but the traits really depend on your liking; there's no wrong way.
When is the best time to season potato salad? What about the mayonnaise?
When it's hot; this maximizes flavor. Mayonnaise should be added later unless you want the dressing to turn oily and thin.
What do celery, onions, celery seed, dry mustard and pickle relish add to potato salad?
Celery adds crunch, onion adds flavor and color, pickle relish adds subtle sweetness, celery seed adds underlying complexity and depth, dry mustard adds pungency.
How do you prevent excess mixing of a potato salad?
Make the dressing in a separate bowl so ingredients aren't added one at a time.
Should you cook potatoes starting in cold water?
In a word: yes. However, test kitchen showed that whole potatoes for a mash and cubed potatoes for salad indicated no difference. The whole potatoes used for sale did, however, seem to be softer on the exterior than interior; texture wasn't as pleasing.
Why would starting potatoes in cold water be better for cooking?
Allows their temperature to gradually increase, preventing excess softening of the exterior.
Which takes less time, starting potatoes in cold water or boiling? Why?
Cold water takes a few minutes less because, although boiling water cooks them faster, you have to wait for the water to hit a boil.
Traditional potatoes for French-style potato salad.
Small red potatoes.
To keeps color and flavors of herbs bright and vibrant, when should you fold them in to a potato salad?
Right before serving.
One way to prevents the ugliness of torn skin and broken potato flesh for potato salad.
Slice and boil. Also saves you from a burnt hand while slicing.
What ratio of oil to vinegar did test kitchen use for potato salad? Why?
3:1 rather than the tamer 4:1 because bland potatoes can handle the extra acid.
As described by the book, what type of flavor notes does champagne vinegar add?
Sharp flavor notes.
Julia Child's remedy for a dry potato salad. Why?
Save some cooking water, it's nicely seasoned and readily available; others add stock or wine.
How do you tame raw garlic's overpowering flavor?
Blanch for a minute on metal skewers tones it down.
Best way to dress potatoes.
Spread and dress. After being thoroughly drained, spread them on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle evenly with vinaigrette. This also prevents residual cooking and potential mushiness.
Main ingredients in mayonnaise.
Raw eggs, vegetable oil and acid.
Have the eggs in commercially made mayonnaise been pasteurized to kill salmonella and other bacteria?
What spoils potato salad, mayonnaise or potatoes? How?
Why doesn't mayonnaise spoil potato salad?
Besides commercial mayonnaise being pasteurized, its high acidity doesn't fare well for bacterial growth.
Bacteria usually responsible for spoiled potato salad.
Bacillus cereus and Staphylococcus aureus (commonly known as staph). Both are commonly found in soil and dust.
Where are Bacillus cereus and Staphylococcus aureus found? Where do they thrive?
Both are commonly found in soil and dust. They thrive in starchy, low-acid foods like rice, pasta and potatoes. An unwashed cutting board or contaminated hands can be the culprit.
Green patches on your potatoes are a sign of what?
A naturally occurring toxic alkaloid called solanine that can cause illness.
Exposure to light or improper storage can cause what on your potatoes?
Green patches from solanine.
Digesting solanine can lead to what?
How far down should you cut green patches when cleaning?
How should you store potatoes?
In a well-ventilated, dark, dry, cool place.
If left on the counter, potatoes can begin to turn free in how long?
As little as one week.
Potato used to create the ultimate creamy, smooth puree.
Potato used to create rustic, chunky "smashed" potatoes.
Russet potatoes make a fluffier mash, but Yukon Golds have an appealing what?
Potato that has earthy flavor coupled with mild sweetness.
Why is peeling and cutting before boiling a poor method?
Peeling and cutting increases the surface area through which the potatoes lose soluble substances (starch, proteins and flavor compounds) to cooking water. This also enables lots of water molecules to bind with the potatoes' starch molecules; this causes watery, bland mashed potatoes.
Why is boiling potatoes whole the best method?
They absorb less water, so they can soak up more cream and butter; their potato flavor is much stronger, not washed out.
Best way to peel hot potatoes.
Use a pot holder to stabilize potato and pairing knife to remove skin or cut them in half and scoop with a spoon.
What produces a much smoother mash than a potato masher?
Ricer or mill
Why is adding hot butter to mashed potatoes important?
Fat coats the starch granules and released starch molecules, inhibiting their interaction with the water from other products and thereby yielding silkier, creamier potatoes.
If stirred in before butter, what will half-and-half do to mashed potatoes?
The water in half-and-half works with potato starch to make the dish gluey and heavy.
Benefit of using melted butter instead of cold or room temperature.
As a liquid, it coats the starch molecules quickly and easily. This buttery coating affects the starch molecules' interactions with half-and-half AND each other.
Is temp of cream and butter for mashed potatoes important?
Why would you have cooking liquid to smashed potatoes instead of more cream?
Cream will dull flavor of an extra element, seasoned poaching liquid won't.
Why use cream cheese in mashed potatoes instead of sour cream?
Cream cheese has tang but creates a more creamy texture.