Vegan Potato, Sweet Potato and Onion Latkes

I adapted and veganized this old Martha Stewart recipe that I’ve been meaning to try for years, and it came out great.  It’s simple, and I like that you get that deep-fried effect with only a few Tablespoons of oil.  I increased the onion just a bit to get a better potato/onion ratio.  Replaced the egg and followed a couple of Latke Tips from other web sites.  Now we’re able to make these ahead, and reheat them in the oven to an even crisper effect.  These little vegan Latkes are special due to incorporating the sweet potato, and the Martha recipe advises that you could also use carrots and parsnips.  I don’t think I’d eliminate the white potato altogether, however, for structural reasons.  There are many latke videos on youtube and I chose this one from the Culinary Institute of America to share with you here.  The C.I.A. also does an eggless latke, and I knew you didn’t need the egg after making this egg-free potato galette.  After doing some reading, I realize these are not kosher for Passover due to the small amount of flour in them, but they’d be great for Hanukkah.  Supposedly, you can simply substitute matzo meal to make them kosher for Passover, but I can’t vouch for that because I haven’t tried it myself.  But then again, I’m not Jewish, I just like Latkes.  I made a quick dill sour cream with some softened Tofutti and chopped fresh dill, and it was perfect with these, and I threw some organic applesauce on the side too, which played off the sweet potatoes.  Now we can have excellent Latkes at home, and serve them to guests without having the hot-oil fuss going on.  These would be great for a breakfast, brunch, luncheon, or side dish with supper.
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Vegan Potato, Sweet Potato and Onion Latkes

Makes 18 small Latkes

INGREDIENTS
1 all-purpose Yukon Gold potato (about 10 ounces), peeled
1 sweet potato (about 10 ounces), peeled
1/3 large white onion, peeled
1 Tablespoon dry Ener-G Egg Replacer
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour, or rice flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt (no kosher salt)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil for frying (not canola) (use olive, peanut or safflower, etc.)

DIRECTIONS
Put filtered water in a large non-reactive bowl (I like glass).   Add a Tablespoon of fine sea salt to this water and stir to dissolve (this will keep the potatoes from going brown).   Grate both potatoes using the largest holes of a four-sided grater, immediately placing the grated potatoes into the salt water as you go.   Let the grated potatoes sit in the salted water for about 20 minutes while you work.

Grate the onion and place it in a small dish and cover it with a napkin (to spare yourself from the fumes).   Dry whisk flour, egg replacer, sea salt and pepper to thoroughly combine.   Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.   Place grated potatoes into a sieve or fine colander, let drain and press the water out well.   Rinse your mixing bowl and wipe it dry.

Place a Tablespoon of the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, and let it heat.
Place potatoes back into the dry mixing bowl and stir to combine thoroughly with the grated onions.   Add in the flour mixture and stir thoroughly again.

With a heaping Tablespoon, shape Latke mixture into discs and place into hot oil in skillet, and do not crowd the pan.   Let latkes cook for three minutes and then turn them only once.   Flatten latkes lightly with a spatula and let cook 3 minutes on second side.  If skillet becomes dry, add a Tablespoon of oil, but you should only need 2-3 Tablespoons total by the time you’re done.   Place finished latkes on paper towels.

Keep warm in a 250 degrees Fahrenheit oven, until ready to serve.
Or, you can place cooled latkes in the fridge and then reheat in the oven on 350 degrees Fahrenheit, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, for 10-15 minutes.
If you must freeze them, reheat from frozen.

Notes:  The pale yellow color of the Yukon Gold potato fools the eye into thinking there is more oil in the latkes than there actually is.  The acid in the onion helps keep the potatoes from turning brown.  The salt water also helps the latkes crisp up, and it helps keep the latkes from browning too quickly in the pan.  Baking latkes after frying them actually creates a crisper latke.  The best ratio for latkes is 5 parts potato to 2 parts onion.  Have a few spidery “legs” sticking out of your latkes, so they’re not too round and perfect, to increase the texture variation, and give some good crunchy bits.  Turn latkes only once in pan, to reduce oil absorption.  My own preference is not to use canola oil for frying because even fresh canola oil can sometimes taste metallic or fishy on high heat.  My own preference is not to use kosher salt due to its metallic, chemical taste.  Supposedly, you can substitute part of the potato for any starchy vegetable, such as beets, zucchini, etc.

Purple Mashed Potatoes

This is not really a recipe, I just wanted to show these outrageously beautiful purple potatoes i found at Whole Foods a few days ago.  i was debating what to do with them, but in the end, I wanted to make them look like the little lavender sea urchins I used to see when I snorkeled.  So I whipped them and then piped them through a bag into a  casserole dish.  They were a vision in lavender on the table and delicious to boot.  Dr. Seuss would be proud.  These are just as pretty as my green cauliflower.  Additional photo below:

Mustard Roasted Potatoes

This quick, easy and delicious dish is supposedly an Ina Garten recipe, and you can see it all over the net. Wow, it’s good. The onions make it, so don’t be shy with them.   They sort of caramelize while the potatoes crisp, and add depth.  Don’t worry, the mustard is not strong, it’s just right or could even be a bit stronger if you like.  The only thing I changed was the process, in order to achieve a more-uniform flavoring over the potatoes.  Whereas the original recipe calls for drizzling oil over the pan, I whisk the oil in with the mustard and spices before tossing and baking.  These are also my spice measurements because some of the net recipes were vague or had too much pepper.  Hurricane Irene is coming our way, so I didn’t bother with the parsley tonight.  Here we go:
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Mustard Roasted Potatoes

INGREDIENTS
1.5 to 2 lbs. of small red potatoes, washed and dried
2 yellow onions
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons whole grain mustard
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 Cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (if you have it)

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut potatoes into quarters, or even a bit smaller if the potatoes are not really small to begin with.
Slice onions into thick half rounds.
In a very large bowl, whisk oil, mustard, salt and pepper.
Add potatoes and onions to mustard mixture and toss well to coat.
Bake for one hour.
If the potatoes don’t look nice and crispy, bake another 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with parsley.

Notes:  Supposedly, you can make these ahead and then warm them in the oven for 15 minutes.

Here are the raw potatoes and onions, prior to baking.

Spicy Lebanese Potatoes – Batata Harra

According to Wikipedia, Batata Harra can also be a Syrian dish if made with red peppers, coriander and chili.  There’s an Indian version as well, but here we have a Lebanese dish.  Since the cilantro is briefly sauteed, it’s milder in flavor, and so might even appeal to those who have not yet acquired a taste for cilantro.

Batata Harra – Lebanese Spicy Potatoes

INGREDIENTS
6-8 medium-to-large red potatoes, or fingerling potatoes to equal
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Cup washed, chopped fresh cilantro, with stems removed
4 cloves garlic, pressed, or crushed and minced
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS
Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.   Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Do not peel potatoes.   Chop potatoes into small cubes, maybe 1/2 inch dice.
In a large bowl, toss potatoes with only 2 Tablespoons of the oil, and half of the salt.
Spread potatoes onto lined baking sheet, and bake for about 20 minutes, stirring them halfway through, until golden.
In a frying pan or wok, sauté garlic in remaining Tablespoon of olive oil for a minute or two.  Add potatoes and stir and saute for another minute or two.  Add in cilantro, remaining salt, cayenne and freshly ground pepper, and stir in pan before serving.

Notes:  Some cooks deep-fry the potatoes.  If you’re using potatoes with thicker skins, such as russets, you could mostly peel them.  Best served hot, but fine at room temperature too.

Vegan French Red Potato Salad


My lovely friend Chris and her husband had us over to dinner a few years ago.  It was summer and she served this potato salad; an old recipe of her Mom’s.  It was rich and creamy but had a slight tang to it.  I’ve never been a fan of potato salad but this won me over.  The recipe calls for making a separate red French dressing.  The resulting salad is a pleasing peachy color, and I’ve flecked mine with capers and my own pickled red onions.  Chris was kind enough to give me permission to share my version of it here.  So, I’m saying a big thank you to Pat (Chris’ Mom) for my religious conversion to potato salad.  If you can serve it just after you’ve mixed the dressing with the hot potatoes, it’s extra good, but it’s delicious cold too.  To save time, I wash the potatoes and make the dressing the day before.  I’ve always got the pickled onions on hand.

French Red Potato Salad

INGREDIENTS
2 lbs. potatoes (I like red potatoes, or fingerlings with thin skins, but you could also use Yukon Golds)
2-3 stalks celery, chopped fine
Small red onion, chopped fine (or I use my pickled onions)
3-4 Tablespoons sweet relish from a jar
1 to 2 Tablespoons lightly chopped capers
¼ Cup Vegenaise mayonnaise (with the green cap)

DIRECTIONS
Make your pickled onions the day before if you can, if using.
Make your French Dressing (see recipe below).

Cut well-scrubbed potatoes into bite-sized pieces, do not peel.
Place potatoes in cold water, add a teaspoon of salt, bring to a boil, and then continue at a low boil for about 8 minutes more.  Do not cook fully.  You should be able to pierce them with a fork but they shouldn’t fall apart.

Into a large bowl, put the celery, onions, chopped capers, sweet relish and Vegenaise, and mix.
Add French dressing to relish mixture and stir to combine.
Put hot potatoes into the dressing mixture and gently fold in with a wooden spoon until well mixed.
Serve immediately or chill and serve later.

Red French Dressing
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire (I like Wizard’s brand)
4-5 drops Tabasco
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon sweet basil
2 Tablespoons ketchup
2 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (I like Alessi brand from the supermarket, and it’s not expensive, and has different flavors)
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed or minced

DIRECTIONS FOR FRENCH DRESSING
Mix all dressing ingredients and shake well or use a cafe latte frother to emulsify dressing.  Chill until ready.
Notes:  Chris’ Mom also used radishes, which would make it even prettier.  This makes a lot, so it’s good to take somewhere.

Potato and Leek Galette with Watercress

This recipe is from Martha Stewart.  In light of her recent Vegan Show, I’ll put it here.  There are three separate video clips on that show, that you can watch.  I made this as a side dish to lunch.  I ate galettes in Paris years ago because they were cheap and good, so wanted to try this.  This recipe is not exceptional, but good.  Use the freshest potato and get it onto the plate when it’s very hot.  You should really serve it when it’s still sizzling, in my opinion.  I have a note at the bottom to put it in a hot oven if you can’t serve it right away.  One thing I learned is that with the nonstick pan, I could have put the heat higher as directed in the recipe.  I was afraid it would burn, so kept it on medium high heat once I flipped the galette.  So next time, I won’t be afraid to follow the directions and crank it up to medium-high.  I have an electric stove top, but if you have gas, you’ll want to check it more often, of course.  I think it could have been even better if it was browned a bit more.  The coolest thing is how this stuck together without any eggs or anything.  It’s slick and very French and accidentally vegan to boot!   An added note is that there are a bunch of cool videos on youtube that show how to cut and clean leeks.  They’re all different, because there are different methods.  I have a wonderful book on cooking vegetables that I used, and it’s called Vegetables by James Peterson.  There is some meat in this cookbook but it has really given me the confidence to try a lot of different vegtables over the years.  Yes, this was my first time using leeks, and I’m not kidding!  It was a snap, too.
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Potato and Leek Galette with Watercress

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS
1 large russet potato, peeled and grated (1.5 cups)
1 small leek, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced crosswise and rinsed well
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pinch of ground or grated nutmeg (1/16th teaspoon)
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
1 cup watercress, rinsed and trimmed well
½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice

DIRECTIONS
Place grated potato immediately into a bowl of cold water and let it soak for 10 minutes.  This will help prevent browning.
Combine flour, nutmeg, salt and pepper, and set aside.
Combine lemon juice with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and set aside.
Drain potatoes well and squeeze in a clean kitchen towel to remove excess water.
Combine potato, leek and flour mixture, and stir gently but thoroughly.
Heat 2 Tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
Scatter potato mixture in skillet and press lightly with spatula to make sure it holds together.
Cook until underside is golden, about 6 minutes.
Flip the galette. I flipped mine onto the back of a baking sheet and then slid it back into the skillet.
Raise heat to medium-high and cook until underside is golden, 4 to 5 minutes.
Turn out galette.
Toss prepared watercress with lemon juice and oil, and scatter on top of galette.
Slice into 8 wedges and serve immediately.

Note: If you cannot serve the galette immediately, put it in a 275 degree Fahrenheit oven to keep it hot for a short time, but do this BEFORE sprinkling on the watercress.

Old Bay Potatoes with Malt-Balsamic Reduction

Upon finding some really little  white potatoes at the grocery store yesterday, I decided to try my own version of a recipe I had torn from a magazine.  Just look for very small potatoes (red or white), and they might be labeled as “new potatoes.”  They’ll have a refined, soft-looking thin skin on them and usually they’re cleaner than large potatoes too.  The biggest thing I learned from this is how a balsamic reduction works; it’s pretty cool.  It seems every other restaurant dish nowadays comes with a miserly little drizzle of rich, syrupy balsamic reduction.  Decent balsamic is a bit expensive, but malt vinegar is cheaper, and malt vinegar is perfect for potatoes, so I’ve blended the two vinegars and come up with this reduction, which is delicious.  And just so you know, the Old Bay Seasoning is very faint in this recipe.
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Old Bay Potatoes with Malt-Balsamic Reduction

Serves 3 to 4

INGREDIENTS
8-12 very small white (or red) potatoes (3 cups diced small)
3 Tablespoons oil (safflower or canola)
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
For the Glaze:
1/4 Cup balsamic vinegar  (Trader Joe’s makes a well-priced one)
3/4 Cup malt vinegar (such as the very common Heinz brand)
2 Tablespoons sugar

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fill a large bowl half full of cold water.
Wash potatoes and cut into half-inch pieces and put directly into the cold water.
Let potatoes soak for 30 minutes.
Line a baking pan with parchment paper (or the potatoes will stick).
In a very small dish, mix oil, salt, and Old Bay Seasoning.
Drain potatoes and let sit in a colander for a minute, to drain.
Dump potatoes on a clean dish towel and wrap gently to dry further.
Dump potatoes into a dry bowl, add the seasoned oil, and toss gently until well coated.
Place potatoes on papered pan, and bake for at least 45 minutes, turning 2 times.
For the glaze:
In your smallest saucepan, bring vinegars and sugar to a simmer, on medium-low heat.
Simmer vinegars for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
Let vinegar reduction cool and it will thicken as it does so.
Serve Malt/Balsamic Reduction sauce on the side, or drizzle over potatoes before serving.
Put a little shaker of sea salt on the table for those who want more.

Vegan Twice Baked Stuffed Potatoes

IMG_3042     These vegan Twice-Baked Stuffed Potatoes are one of those classic things you can prepare the day before and even take somewhere (as long as you can use the oven at your destination).  I developed this potato one Thanksgiving when 30 people were coming for supper, and I knew the last-minute scramble before serving would be a nightmare if I had to mash potatoes too.  This is not the gloppy, cheddar-cheese-filled concoction of the 1990’s, but (while still rich) a lighter, creamier addition to the plate.  It’s forgiving, in that the final baking can be done in the oven alongside anything else, on almost any temperature, for varied lengths of time.  I like to use only onion, and some vegan sour cream to make the texture silky.  A perfect dusting of paprika is achieved when you put a bit in a very fine sieve and hold it high above the potatoes and tap gently with one finger.  Here, I did pipe the potatoes through a pastry bag, but these look strikingly rustic when you simply fork the whipped potatoes into their little jackets any which way.  You can also rake the fork over the top of the potatoes (like plowing a field) to make little ridges that will crisp, and little swales that will hold that pooling pat of Earth Balance vegan butter.  I leave the salt out of the recipe, because you can taste it better if you put a finishing sprinkle of sea salt at table.

VEGAN TWICE BAKED STUFFED POTATOES

Makes 8 generous servings, and they freeze well too.

INGREDIENTS
4 white baking potatoes,  such as Russets or Idaho
One white onion  (or yellow, or shallots)
4 Tablespoons vegan sour cream

DIRECTIONS
Wash potatoes well.    Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place potatoes directly on lower-middle oven rack, and bake 30 minutes.
Dice the onion fine, and place into a large mixing bowl.
When 30 minutes is up, pierce each potato (deeply) twice with a dinner fork, along one long sideIt’s important where you poke it, because when you slice the baked potatoes open to hollow out the jackets, you’ll run your knife along the horizontal fork perforations on the one long side.

Put pierced potatoes back into hot oven and bake 30 minutes more, and then remove all from the oven.    Let potatoes cool only slightly, maybe 15 minutes.
Measure out the vegan sour cream into the onions bowl (this will allow the sour cream to soften slightly while you do the rest).
Using a potholder or clean dish cloth to protect your hand, slice potatoes open the long way, along the fork holes.   Taking care to reserve the empty potato skins intact, scoop out the potato innards into the onions bowl.

Mix all with an electric mixer a minute or two, until a thick-but-creamy mixture is attained.    Determine here if you wish to add another tablespoon or two of the vegan sour cream, and complete mixing.    Pipe or stuff the whipped potatoes into the empty potato jackets.    Dust with paprika from on high, through a fine mesh sieve.
Cover and refrigerate until it’s time to do the second baking.
Put any extra, stuffed potato boats in the freezer (they freeze well).
When you’re ready to do the final baking, place stuffed potatoes in the oven on a baking dish, and heat to whatever temperature you are using for your main dish.  You’ll know when they’re done by their golden  appearance.  A guideline would be 35 minutes on 350, or 30 minutes at 400, etc.  No worries, just as long as they’re good and hot.
Don’t forget to serve with a pat of Earth Balance Organic Whipped Butter, and a sprinkling of fine sea salt.

Home Fried Potatoes from "The Vegan Table" cookbook

I had a couple of russet potatoes sitting on the counter and no time to use them in their intended dish, since I’ve got to be in Annapolis tomorrow.  So, I found this recipe in The Vegan Table cookbook.  The recipe calls for yellow potatoes, such as Yukon Gold, but I just used the russets, and this dish came out  great anyway.  I omitted the garlic since I didn’t want it to burn (I was juggling other dishes too).  I like the recipe’s technique where you just quarter the potatoes and put them in a steamer for 14 minutes and then cut them up and fry them with the spices and onion.  I don’t have an electric steamer but I do have a big stock pot with a steamer insert that I use all the time.  And then since I had all that hot water in the steamer, I went ahead and steamed some vegetables while the potatoes and other things were cooking, and I recommend doing this as it saves water and energy and time.  The recipe calls for adding a third tablespoon of oil at the end, but I did not add it, and it was great without it.  I only had dried parsley, and am sure fresh would be better and prettier too.  This is a forgiving dish, it can cook away on low heat while you do other things, but we like our potatoes crispy with some burnt edges, so that’s how they look.  We don’t have white potatoes very often, so this was a real treat.

Baked Potato Slices with Salt and Vinegar

I got this recipe out of an old Martha Stewart magazine, and it was actually written for outdoor grilling.  However, I’ve adapted it here for indoor oven use, and reduced the salt just a bit.  This actually calls for white fingerling potatoes, which are perhaps perfect for this recipe.  With the white fingerlings especially, you get a salt and vinegar potato chip flavor.  But, last weekend I picked up some organic fingerling sweet potatoes and needed to use them up.  I served these for lunch today with hummus wraps, but I think they’d go great alongside a lot of other dishes.

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Baked Potato Slices with Salt and Vinegar 

INGREDIENTS

1 pound potatoes, fingerling or otherwise, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
2-3 C white vinegar
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp coarse salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

DIRECTIONS

Bring potatoes and vinegar to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan (vinegar should cover potatoes).
Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until just fork tender, about 5 minutes.
Let potatoes cool in vinegar for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line a sided baking sheet with tin foil to cover sheet completely.
Drain potatoes well, and gently toss with oil, salt and pepper.
Bake in the oven, on the foil-lined baking sheet, until potatoes begin to crisp, approx. 30 minutes per side. You can decrease the time by increasing the oven heat to 425, but watch them closely so they don’t burn.
Sprinkle lightly with sea salt to finish them off.
Serves 4 
Note:  For outdoor grilling, preheat grill to medium high. Grill potatoes in a single layer in a grill pan, until browned on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Sprinkle with more salt if desired.

Crispy Smashed Roasted Potatoes

Sometimes, there’s something  sublime about truly crispy, savory potatoes.  As someone who only goes out to breakfast when on vacation, I like to prepare breakfast for supper a couple of times a year.  This is a recipe from Fine Cooking that I’ve been meaning to try forever, and can be partially cooked 8 hours ahead.  Come suppertime, you simply drizzle the oil, sprinkle the salt and pop the whole shebang in a hot oven.  I followed the recipe preparation exactly except for three things.  1) I used safflower oil instead of olive oil, due to the high oven heat.  2)  I used only half the amount of oil, and it was plenty.  3)  I used only one teaspoon of the kosher salt, and they were plenty salty.  And let me just say, these potatoes are easy and came out goooood, despite my modifications.   I got the big nod of approval from Lars who said, “The potatoes are good.”  And so, I knew this recipe was a keeper.  I also made the Sleepy Sunday Morning Scramble from the La Dolce Vegan cookbook by Sarah Kramer.  The smoking point of olive oil is always a question, so I found this article online.  As a side note, the leftover eggz are really good in breakfast burritos the next day, using Tofutti Sour Cream, and salsa, and just a little Daiya cheese.