Sunday, October 22, 2017

Cooking 2.0

I bought a twenty pound bag of potatoes for $2. What a deal. The challenge now is how to get through the bag, feeding two, over the next twenty days. Hashtag #20lbs20days. I'm logging and instagramming and documenting the project all over the 'net to show off to my fellow toastmasters how Web 2.0 has changed cooking. So here we go. Let's see how fun and photogenic we can get with a bag of potatoes.

Here's my YouTube introduction to the project.

The first project was a potato pickle, using up spare sweet and sour syrup from my bread-and-butter project. It will be hard to get through the whole bag without spoiling some, so I thought it smart to preserve a few right off the bat. The potatoes came out crisp and chewy, just as we hope to get from a good pickle. 

This being 2.0 Cooking, the next step was to stage the pickles, take a pic, run it through a few filters, and post to instagram. Tag the pic with a few keywords. 

Posting on Instagram allows me to link also on Twitter and Facebook. No "likes" for the pickles, but one comment. 

While we're at it, let's post the recipe up on a sharing site. 

Now that I have a web based recipe, let's have a little more fun. How many calories a serving? Cruise over to My Fitness Pal and import the recipe. 

Saved and logged, I find out that a single serving of pickles is thirty calories, 5 carbs. Information. Power. But not popular...yet. 

So off I go, for two months I prepare, pic, and post potatoes in every way I can imagine. It took longer than twenty days, and I didn't make it to twenty recipes, but I got through the whole twenty pound bag, feeding the two of us at home and a few extras. (The potato roses came out especially nice and I made them a couple times for socials.) 

I was helped along with some great cutting tools. Pictured here are a regular shredder, knife, peeler, and in the upper left corner, my beloved ceramic Mandoline. Here the lowly potato shows of it's great versatility. The wide variety of meals and presentations practically guaranteed we didn't die of boredom. 

Savoury potato pancakes with a side of cottage cheese. Always hearty, always satisfying. 

Wedgie fries made in my Actifry. Just a tablespoon of oil and we have crispy wedges nearly as perfect as what we get in the restaurant. 

My Mandoline again. It makes quick work of the potatoes. 

Sliced thin, they make a killer scalloped potato. I added bacon bits for colour, and to make this a meal. 

Mashed potatoes of course. I added a little cream cheese as I had it on hand.  

This is a Saturday afternoon affair; home-made perogies. I've decorated these with my caramelised onions. I think I used this recipe. The attraction here is not in the fancy ingredients but in the time invested to make them. These garnered the greatest number of likes; 8. 

Potato soup. A meal like this is practically free, a concept that is quickly being lost on this generation. I took leftover roasted potatoes, peeled them, added a little chicken stock, and took the immersion blender to them. I added a little extra roast chicken and caramelised onion. This is the only way I'll eat soup; thick and savoury. I garnished with a little rosemary from my windowsill. All the food is left over from the roast dinner the night before. 

This made far more soup than I could use up. 

Julienned. I firmed up the potatoes by salting them, pouring on a little vinegar so they wouldn't brown, and patting them dry. Combined with the other vegetables, I end up with a generous stir fry. 

Here is the finished stir fry, with baked tofu. This meal provided leftovers for many lunches. 

My potato roses. I used my trusty Mandoline again, then treated the slices as rose petals. I stuffed these, delicately, in to mini muffin tins. The middle petals were a single slice folded in quarters. I poured a little egg and milk in to the cups, and baked. 

Crustless quiche, using up some of the extra vegetables from the stir fry. 
Twice-baked potatoes with extra-fine shredded cheese. The extra-fine shredding can reduce calories without sacrificing taste.

And, what twenty day potato challenge can go by without including potato salad? I take it as a personal challenge to make a potato salad as good as what we get in generous tubs in the store. It's not that much work, really, and it is so good. 

Every good project ends with a Lessons Learned session, so here we go:

  1. The potato pickles were prepared October 1st, and the twice-baked potatoes on December 5, when the bag was finally finished - 66 days. 
  2. Total number of unique recipes; thirteen. 
  3. If you see a black cat today, don't let it cross your path. If you saw a meteor this week, chalk it up so "science". 
  4. Twenty pounds of potatoes feeds two people for far longer than twenty days. We were eating lots of other things along the way, of course. 
  5. I should not have worried about the bag going bad before I finished. 
  6. Producing a quality YouTube video is Really Hard and a whole other skill-set I have barely mastered. The video is pretty but the sound is horrible. Practice will make perfect. 
  7. I'd give a whole afternoon just to video editing. I suspect this is the WORK component of You-Tubing and I have a whole new level of respect for home-grown videographers out there. 
  8. Staging, photographing, filtering, and posting really doesn't take that long. This is another example of practice perfection. I've been staging Pancake Sunday for over eighteen months already.