Mashed Potatoes with Nutritional Yeast Gravy

A few weeks ago I wrote about how organic potatoes made creamiest baked potatoes I’ve ever had. This week we discovered this is also true of mashed potatoes. A couple nights ago I made mashed potatoes from some organic potatoes I bought from New Leaf Market. I decided to serve the potatoes with broccoli my parents grew and nutritional yeast gravy using the recipe from The Grit restaurant in Athens, Georgia.

A quick sauté to the home grown broccoli and  I had delicious, tender florets with just a little crunch in the stalks.

Fresh Broccoli
Fresh Broccoli

The nutritional yeast gravy, a copyrighted recipe available in The Grit Restaurant Cookbook, is an easy sauce that goes well with mashed potatoes, vegetables, or tofu. Nutritional yeast, a deactivated yeast, is a popular ingredient with vegans and vegetarians because it provides vitamines and protein. I like the nutritional yeast gravy because it has a slightly nutty, cheesy flavor.

Nutritional Yeast Gravy
Nutritional Yeast Gravy

Together, the mashed potatoes, broccoli, and nutritional yeast gravy made a great tasting comfort food dinner packed with minerals from the potatoes, vitamin C and dietary fiber from the broccoli, and protein and B-complex vitamines from the nutritional yeast. The creaminess of the potatoes with the added texture from the broccoli was perfectly finished with the cheesy, saucy nutritional yeast gravy.

Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli, and Nutritional Yeast Gravy
Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli, and Nutritional Yeast Gravy

Baked Potatoes

With a bag of potatoes left after making the Friday Night Potato Galette, Jill and I decided to have baked potatoes for a couple of dinners. As you can tell from the photos below, Jill and I each have our own variations on the baked potato.

Baking potatoes is simple. I like to wash my potatoes well, stab them with a fork a few times, coat them in olive oil, sprinkle them with salt, and bake them directly on  the oven rack at 350 degrees (Fahrenheit) for an hour. I put a baking sheet on the rack below the potatoes in case any of the oil drips off of the potatoes. Baking potatoes this way gives the skins a crispy texture with a slightly salty flavor that I really like since I eat the potatoes, skins and all.

Once baked, the potato is an empty canvas ready for your creative food masterpieces.

Baked Potatoes
Baked Potatoes

Jill opted for baked potatoes smothered in sautéed broccoli and topped with grated cheddar cheese and a spoonful of sour cream.

Jill's Baked Potato
Jill's Baked Potato

I followed suit with the broccoli, cheddar, and sour cream, but added left over pulled pork from Piggy’s BBQ.

Artie's Baked Potato
Artie's Baked Potato

The baked potatoes were so good, we decided to make them again for dinner the following night.

Like last time, Jill topped her potato with broccoli, cheddar, and sour cream, but this time added sautéed mushrooms and goddess salad dressing.

Jill's Potatoes
Jill's Potatoes

I went with broccoli, cheddar, sour cream, mushrooms, and salsa.

Artie's Potatoes
Artie's Potatoes

Although the potatoes are blank canvases for a variety of delicious toppings, they are quietly the star of the show. After reading that potatoes are one of the most likely vegetables to contain residual pesticides, I decided to buy organic russet potatoes from Earth Fare. Once baked, these potatoes were the creamiest potatoes Jill and I have ever eaten.

Friday Night Potato Galette

Being on the road a good bit lately, I’ve unintentionally ignored the blog primarily because of a general lack of cooking at home. I am not yet in the habit of photographing the food I order when I eat at restaurants, but it is something I may consider in the future. I could definitely write several posts about the places I’ve eaten lately, including the Front Porch Restaurant and Pie Shop in Dunnellon, Florida. The fresh blueberry pie was nothing short of incredible.

Growing tired of continually eating out, I promised Jill that I would cook dinner at home last Saturday. With “The Big Game” as inspiration, I thought it would be good to create a more gourmet version of one of my favorite game day snacks — potato skins.  So, here is my recipe for what I call Friday Night Potato Galette. I made this recipe up as I went along, so I am approximating the measurements.

I started by peeling and shredding four small baking potatoes and pressing the shreds between a few layers of paper towel to squeeze out excess moisture. I then tossed the shreds with about a half cup of chopped flat leafed parsley and a half cup of finely sliced green onions. I mixed in about a teaspoon of salt and a quarter teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.

Potatoes with Parsley and Chives
Potatoes with Parsley and Chives

After mixing the potatoes, parsley, chives, salt and pepper together, I heated about two tablespoons of olive oil in a 12 inch non-stick skillet on high until the oil was very hot but not smoking. I then quickly tossed in the potato mixture and pressed it into a large potato pancake in the skillet. I turned the temperature down to medium heat and let the potatoes cook for about three minutes.

Potatoes in Nonstick Pan
Potatoes in Nonstick Pan

After about three minutes, the edges of the potato galette began to pull away from the edge of the skillet slightly.  I then placed a large, round platter on top of the skillet and, in one quick motion, inverted the skillet and platter so that the potato galette ended up on the platter with the browned side up. I don’t have a photo to illustrate this because both of my hands were utilized during this maneuver. I slid the potato galette back into the skillet, browned size up, and cooked the potatoes over medium low heat for about 20 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure the bottom browned up as well.

Flipped Potato Galette
Flipped Potato Galette

While the potato galette cooked, I pulled together the toppings. I trimmed the florets off two crowns of broccoli, then peeled the stalks and thinly sliced them. Why waste perfectly tasty broccoli stalks? I quickly sautéed the broccoli in a little olive oil over medium high heat and seasoned it with a dash of salt and pepper.

Sautéed Broccoli
Sautéed Broccoli

When the bottom of the potato galette was sufficiently browned, I slid it back onto the platter.

Potato Galette
Potato Galette

I topped the potato galette with a layer of freshly shredded cheddar cheese and the sautéed broccoli.

Potato Galette with Broccoli and Cheddar
Top with Broccoli and Cheddar

I then added several handfuls of fresh arugula and more cheddar cheese.

Add arugula and more cheese
Add Arugula and More Cheese

After slicing the potato galette like a pie, I topped each portion with a big spoonful of sour cream. The combination of flavors satisfied my craving for the traditional game day snack, but the dish had a somewhat more sophisticated presentation and was substantial enough to serve as a meal. Now I can’t wait until Jill makes Shannon’s Bean Dip to eat while we watch the game tomorrow.

Finish With Sour Cream
Finish With Sour Cream

A Bowl Full of Good-for-You

As happens every year, the official sign of the Fall season has arrived — Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes. But Starbucks isn’t the only variety of pumpkin I like to enjoy. With Jill’s brother working to start a farmers’ market in Winter Haven, I was able to come into possession of a couple of the Volpe’s debut crop: Jamaican Pumpkins.

I honestly had no idea what to do with Jamaican Pumpkin, so I looked online. Neither of the two dishes I found, Jamaican Pumpkin Soup or Pumpkin Rice, appealed to me, so I decided to create my own Jamaican Pumpkin Dish. I didn’t come up with a name for the dish, but midway through dinner I said “This is just like a bowl full of good-for-you.” Jill thought my exclamation would make a good blog post title, so here it is. As a bonus, I am including an extra variation on this recipe.

This recipe calls for:

1/2 Jamaican Pumpkin, chopped into half-inch cubes
12 oz bag broccoli
Red quinoa
Dashes of salt, turmeric,  coriander, cinnamon, red pepper, and black pepper
Olive oil

Optional:
15.25 oz can black beans
Turkey sausages, cut into 1/4 inch disks

 

Ingredients
Start with good ingredients

 

Slice the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, and slice the pumpkin flesh into half-inch cubes.

 

Jamaican Pumpkin
Jamaican Pumpkin

 

Drizzle the cubed pumpkins with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, turmeric, coriander, cinnamon, and red pepper.

 

Roasting Pumpkin Cubes
Roasting the pumpkin

 

Roast the pumpkin in a 450 degree oven for 20 minutes or until tender.

 

Roasted pumpkin
Roasted pumpkin

 

Toss the broccoli florets in a bowl with olive oil, salt, and black pepper until the broccoli is lightly coated with oil. Roast the broccoli in the 450 degree oven for 15 minutes.

 

Broccoli for roasting
Coat the broccoli lightly with oil

 

Prepare four servings of red quinoa according to the instructions on the packaging. I used the red quinoa from Trader Joe’s.

 

Boiling the quinoa
Boiling the quinoa

 

Serve roasted veggies over the quinoa.

 

A bowl full of good-for-you
A bowl full of good-for-you

 

To give this dish a bit more flavor, and to make good use of turkey sausages left over from dinner on Saturday (while watching Florida State beat Miami!), I sliced two and a half turkey sausages at a slight angle into disks. I sautéed the sausages in a on-stick pan with a little olive oil (about a teaspoon) until slightly caramelized on the surfaces.

 

Turkey sausage slices
Turkey sausage slices

 

I then added a can of black beans to the sausages and cooked until hot.

 

Black beans and turkey sausage
Black beans and turkey sausage

 

I topped the “bowl full of good-for-you” with the black beans and turkey sausage.

 

A bowl full of good-for-you with black beans and turkey sausage
A bowl full of good-for-you with black beans and turkey sausage

 

This dish is very simple, allowing the flavor of the pumpkin and the texture of the quinoa to come through. The dish is also, as its moniker suggests, very good for you. The roasted vegetables provide fiber and vitamins and the quinoa provides a gluten-free source of protein, fiber, and minerals. The orange pumpkin, red quinoa, and black beans enrich this dish with fall colors. Best of all, it tastes so good.