First Potatoes

A Handful of Beauties

I made a summer gratin last night–fresh zucchini we picked yesterday, onions, tomatoes, garlic I dug up right before mincing, and potatoes. I had asked my wife to grab some potatoes at the market when she went out. She came home without them, however, as there were no local tubers to be had, and she just couldn’t bear to buy some from California in the summer. So I had the thought that I might find a few out in the garden. I was richly rewarded.

Let me say that the gratin came out well. Hot and saucy and flavorful, with fresh herbs in the mix. The potatoes were the game maker, however. I stuck my hand in the dirt and–BOOM!–potatoes. One plant yielded all I needed, and we have many many plants. We will not have to purchase potatoes for a long time. While I was washing them and parboiling them and slicing them and then eating them, I kept thinking how incredible it is that one can pop a chunk of root into the ground and it turns into a plant that yields ten times what you planted.

These pictured are Purple Viking. I also planted Yellow Finn, which are white. I will go out soon and dig up some of those to see what we get. I’m thinking breakfast tomorrow, maybe, some home fries with eggs? That could work.

Still, I am amazed at how I can plant something and it grows and then we have food. I paid a total of 30 dollars for seed potatoes. I will without question get my money’s worth. If I save some of them to plant next year, I will double my investment. For the moment, however, I don’t want to think about next summer. I just want to savor the yumminess of this crop. And have a great breakfast. Or two or three.

Zucchini Bread Recipe

Fresh From the Oven

As I write, a large loaf of zucchini bread finishes up its baking. We did give four squashes to a neighbor today, and I figured I had to make more bread. We do need to use up this squash, but this bread also happens to be tasty. Here is the recipe:

Prep time is about 15-20 minutes and baking time is 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.

Mix:

  • 3 cups fresh shredded zucchini1
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 large eggs

Slowly add to this mixture:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

I use a large loaf pan (9″) and bake it for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 375 degrees. You can also use two small loaf pans (8″) and bake for 50-60 minutes.

Let cool and slice her up.

Waffle Cabin

Up at Bolton Valley they have a Waffle Cabin, a shack outside the main lodge that sells, uh, waffles.  It was not open when we were there yesterday in the afternoon.  Not sure what was up with that.  Why wouldn’t you have this unique snack shack open on a beautiful day during school break?  Seemed like a missed opportunity to me.

We went up for night skiing tonight.  The kids wanted to try it and this was as good a time as any.  It was pretty much perfect–warm, soft snow, not crowded at all.  The corporate race event was happening and they got a kick out of that.  They had so much fun they did not want to stop.  Twice we did just one more run, then we had to get home for bed.

We checked when we got there to make sure we would get a waffle before the hut closed.  We had plenty of time to ski before then so we got in a few runs first.  My daughter is shredding it up these days.  She has gained a lot of confidence and so is really having lots of fun now.  We could say I told you so, but what would that accomplish?  Our little guy has lots of ground to cover.  Maybe next year he will get it.

The waffles were dang good.  Crispy and fatty and covered in chocolate.  And warm.  They had been recommended by a friend so highly that we had to try them.  I had seen the building and was curious, but could take it or leave it.  Then Nicole talked it up, telling us she would look forward all day to having one of the waffles when she knew she would be up there.  She was right about them.  I want another one.

It is the perfect example of word of mouth marketing.  The place has high visibility but no real flash.  It does smell good when things are cooking and word has now spread.  Knowing this now, I really can’t figure out why they would not have been open yesterday.  We may go up again tomorrow (the kids are now eager to hit the slopes again) and that place better be open if we do.  I’m already jonesing.