Locally, Keuka Gold potatoes are available only from October to February.
Bake two medium-large Keuka Gold potatoes in a 400 F preheated oven on the middle rack until fork tender. Depending on the oven, typically about 45 minutes to an hour.
Poke each raw potato with a paring knife before baking to allow for heat expansion. If you intend to eat the skins, rub each potato with unsalted butter before baking. Some people wrap the potatoes in foil. I’ve never done that.
When fork tender, remove from the oven and split each potato in half. Spoon out the contents onto a large flat plate or platter, depending on how many potatoes you bake.
Two medium potatoes will serve two people generously.
Mash using a dinner fork or you could run through a food mill; never use a food processor. Sprinkle salt and pepper and just a pinch of nutmeg. Let any steam moisture evaporate. Stir in a very generous knob of real, unsalted, butter about the size of a half potato, when making for two. That’s a lot of butter but is what makes these potatoes a spin off of the French aligot.
If you have a collection of my compound butter pucks you might choose a herbed compound butter or a unique combination even using my lobster compound butter coins, depending on what you are serving with the faux aligot. Serving with fish, you might incorporate one of my citrus compound butter mixes into the potato mash. Make sure to use what seems an excessive amount of butter for this special mock dish.
Add two tablespoons of full fat sour cream and mash in four marinated plain Celebrity cream goat cheese coins. Gradually add warmed half-and-half cream until the potatoes are nearly a runny consistency, all the while mashing with a dinner fork. This combination won’t work well in a machine. It will get gooey. Mashing by hand with a fork allows all the steam to escape. Keep your touch light as you enfold.
Smash a clove of raw garlic with salt and mince. I use a raw garlic clove from my Celebrity cream goat cheese coins marinating jar, nearly always available on my counter. My marinated cream goat cheese has all sorts of herbs and spices.
Keep mashing with the fork until all the cream is absorbed, scooping into a mound on the plate. Let rest just briefly. You can reheat quickly for just minutes in a hot oven when ready to serve.
Although this is not the original French aligot that has a pulling consistency due to the kinds of cheese used from a particular area in France, it is amazing nonetheless. The potatoes should be about the loose consistency of my chicken broth polenta before it sets, a little like a thick pudding.
Serve this very special mash alongside braised brisket or my oxtail ragout from the 1970s.
My crispy Caesar salad is a nice side, enhancing and balancing the faux French aligot powerful raw garlic. I rarely use raw garlic but its fire power really speaks in this dish. If you enjoy horseradish, stir a little into the sour cream and add to the potato mash.
You might like to create a whole different flavour and texture by substituting gooey room temperature camembert for the cream cheese. Slice it thinly and if you have a real French label there is a slight tang to the wonderful real French cheese. French brie is a little more mellow and almost sweet. I would choose the camembert over the brie in this mix.
Green beans on the side
I usually cook green beans starting them in salted, cold water, bringing them to a boil until fork tender. But for this recipe, I boiled the water first in a covered pot. Salt the boiling water. Toss in “frenched” green beans. Frenched is simply split each green bean, individually, lengthwise, top to bottom, so you have a bowl of green bean strings.
Par boil. Using tongs, remove the quickly cooked green beans and transfer them into a bowl of ice cube-filled water. Watch the green colour come to life.
In a skillet in the few minutes it takes to cook the green beans, sauté chopped shallots in hot, but not brown, sizzling butter just until translucent. Add a little white refrigerated solidified reserved bacon fat. Sprinkle with salt, fresh ground peppercorns and chopped fresh mint. Toss the iced frenched green beans into the sautéed shallots to mix and heat through.
Remove and put the mixture into a warmed-in-hot-tap-water serving bowl or onto a large platter. Drizzle with a bit of my watercress pesto and top with coarsely chopped homemade candied walnuts or candied whole hazelnuts from your pantry jar.
Sprinkle with minced citrus rinds from your panty citrus sugar jar. Sprinkle just a few grains of the citrus sugar from the jar over top and a sprinkle of salt. Do not toss or stir.
This fresh, crunchy vegetable green bean side can be served with many entrees. Enjoy!
To serve the frenched green beans as a salad, refrigerate when completed and bring to the patio to serve with your barbecued steak or tender delicious fish cooked in a barbecue papillote. You might like to sprinkle the finished salad, just when ready to serve, with hot chilli flakes, as much or as little as you prefer.
This faux French aligot can be eaten all by itself. Tempting to eat too much. You are sure to enjoy this unusual potato mash.
Faux aligot Napoleons
Using a round burger shaper circle, brush the ring insides with butter to ease release and fill the round with a half-inch of the potato cheese mix. Tap it down a little. Add an inch of braised beef or pork as you would make for a pot pie. Add another layer of the faux aligot.
You could choose the middle layer as thick creamy button mushrooms. Maybe even choose my thick creamed baby green peas.
Top with seasoned breadcrumbs and a flutter of parmesan cheese. Put a baking sheet tray parchment-lined with the released Napoleons under the broiler for just seconds. Serve immediately with a generous dollop of cold full fat sour cream on the side and a serving of this salad.
My potato dumplings (early 1980s)
Boil six firm floury (not waxy) medium potatoes in cold generously salted water with a tiny spoon of granulated sugar, until fork tender. Drain well. Let the drained hot potatoes rest in the colander briefly to expel as much steam as possible. Let the potatoes cool a little so you can work with your hands.
Return to the cooled boiling pot. Mash well. Add a generous dollop of cold butter, a little pepper and just a pinch of nutmeg and a tiny sprinkle of dry mustard. Stir in one whisked egg. Not necessary, but if you love mild garlic, mash a few poached-in-chicken-broth garlic cloves from your refrigerated storage jar, and work into the potato mash.
Add a generous sifted cup and a half of all-purpose flour. Work together well. Using your hands, form large size balls, about one-cup size. Dredge the potato balls, one by one, loosely in additional flour. Let rest on a clean cotton kitchen tea towel on a baking sheet until ready to poach.
Bring several cups of homemade chicken broth to a simmer. Using a large slotted spoon, tip the dumplings into the broth. Simmer, uncovered for 15-20 minutes. Rotate the dumplings occasionally while they cook. Drain quickly on a white kitchen paper towel. Place the dumplings into a warmed chafing dish over hot water, covered at a tilt to let steam escape.
Using a syringe or an eye dropper, inject each dumpling with a little Bacardi Vodka (related to potatoes of course) or Bacardi LIME. Serve two dumplings on each dinner plate. Split the dumplings in half, pulling them apart with two forks. These dumplings are a perfect complement to sauerbraten or my special beef rouladen.
But for those who have frozen venison, or even fresh in hunting season, two dumplings served alongside either steaks or roasts, drizzled with natural jus from the roasting pan deglazed with cognac Asbach Uralt or Offley Ruby Port, this is a memorable meal indeed. (Fond memories of my deceased English friend Ann and her hunter German husband, who were Realtors. Another time, another place. Another life.)
For something a little different, a special treat: mash cooked chestnuts in a little cream (or whir in a small kitchen machine) or buy chestnut purée, available at specialty counters. Add a half cup of the chestnuts to the dumpling potato mash just before adding the flour. Proceed with the recipe.
This dumpling is particularly good served with poultry such as rock Cornish game hens, roasted standing up, side by side in a just-right-size roasting pan. (You might enjoy my potato dumplings with duck, partridge, rabbit or other hunt acquired gems).
Any of my potato recipes pair well with a Canadian Bloody Caesar (it’s nothing like a Bloody Mary.)
Some readers might recall what someone named my special whipped mashed potatoes saying they were orgasmic. Prepare whipped mashed potatoes and when ready to serve, to change the texture remarkably, fold in a few tablespoons of Luksusowa Vodka as an upscale flavour enhancer.
For an aperitif you might enjoy equal parts Martini and Rossi Vermouth, Hendricks gin and Bacardi Fiero Vermouth with its special orange kick. Serve over crushed ice and park a fresh peach slice on the rim alongside one of my homemade candied citrus rinds from your sugar jar, sprinkled with flakes of crunchy finishing salt. Put a pinch of fresh grated black pepper only on the peach slice.
Marinated goat cheese coins amuse bouche
Due to having marinated the goat cheese, it has nutmeg and bay leaf, sweet paprika, dried parsley, basil and thyme, fresh ground pepper, a little garlic salt and an unopened skin removed raw garlic clove. And of course, oil. I mostly use Mazola Corn Oil but have made the marinated goat cheese coins using olive oil.
The ones made using corn oil can be refrigerated but I mostly leave the jar on the counter. The coins don’t last long in my kitchen as a treat. If you make the goat cheese coins using olive oil, the olive oil solidifies when refrigerated; just leave on the counter before enjoying and gently shake the jar.
Pop a goat cheese coin on a grated parmesan cheese or romano tuile with a homemade roasted candied walnut or hazelnut and it’s a great amuse bouche. But it must be eaten immediately. For entertaining, provide in separate dishes with a cheese pick for each coin and let guests make their own.
For something a little different you might fill an eye-dropper with any leftover molasses Bacardi Black (Puerto Rico) rum from marinating golden raisins and poke a very tiny drop into the centre of each goat cheese coin, and even put three rum-soaked raisins on each coin. But you can only do that right before eating because you don’t want excess moisture on the tuiles. They will get soggy.
© Spirits in My Kitchen: Lady Ralston – Canadian Cooking with Bouquets and Aromas – Good Food Made Better Adding Spirits