Monday, February 15, 2010

You say Potato, We say Potata!

That's right, it's Food Tasting Time again and this month we're tasting potatoes. If you think they all taste the same, think again.

Karen was our fabulous hostess this month and she started us out with some stellar Potato Pancakes, with a little help from Patty! We all came hungry and ready to eat, so they were gone in a flash. Once those little "appetizers" were gone, it was time to move on to the main event - the tasting.

We started with the sweet variety, which was the Garnet Yam (pictured above) and boy did the girls like this one!

"It's so sweet and moist...tastes like candy!"

Which is exactly why I didn't like it. I have this weird thing about my potatoes being sweet. I could tell the flavor was good, I'm just not comfortable with a sweet potato.

Bake, roast, boil, steam, candy, scallop, or mash this beautiful garnet yam - whatever your heart desires - you won't be disappointed if sweet yams are your thing.

Next, we sliced up a Jewel Yam, (pictured above) which was also well received, but everybody was quick to point out that it wasn't as sweet as the garnet. It was described as a much earthier yam. Three of the girls were still crushing on the garnet, but Patty liked the earthy quality of this sweet yam and put it at the top of her "Love List."

This Jewel can be baked, broiled, or fried to make crunchy chips, grated or steamed. They're perfect for flavoring cakes, breads, and muffins.

And then, we tasted an actual sweet potato. Compared to the two yams, the "sweet" potato didn't taste so sweet, which was why I liked it! For everybody else, this potato could not compete with the yams, but I liked it as much as I can like a sweet potato.

By the way, are you wondering how we went about tasting these potatoes? Well, Karen baked each one wrapped in foil to keep the peels nice and moist. She simply sliced each one and allowed each of us to sample a slice. Some of us ate the potato pure, while others chose to dab our slice with a touch of butter. It was important to all of us to get a true sense of the flavor of each potato.

With that said, our desire for a true tasting served us well when it came to tasting the potato simply called, "the white potato." We were all a little stunned by the complete lack of flavor in this potato, whose boring name seemed quite appropriate considering it's lackluster flavor. I think I speak for all of us taste testers when I say this potato was "blaaaah."

Moving on.....

Bouncing back from that tasteless little spud, we moved on to the Russet Potato. He's a good potato for mashing and his flavor was much more appealing and evident than the white's. We all agreed we had a good well-rounded flavor for your average potato.

And then there's the Red Potato - who doesn't love the Red Potato? His flavor was the best in my book. Because of the low starch content, they hold their shape well after cooking - which makes them perfect for potato salad. Patty, who helped make the Potato Pancakes we ate before the taste testing began, noted that the red potatoes seemed to work better than the average white potato because they had less moisture, which worked best for the pancake batter. Karen also chose red potatoes for the fabulous soup she served as the party's finale. Most of us agreed that red potatoes are the best choice for dicing and roasting.

For all you diabetics out there or those of you concerned about glycemic indexes, our next potato, the Yukon Gold is the lowest on the glycemic scale. We all agreed it tasted the most similar to the red potato, so that made it a winner in our books. Actually, as everyone made out their "Love List" the Yukon took second place behind the Garnet Yam for most of the testers, so there you go!

Yukons are considered medium starch and medium water, so perfect for mashed potatoes. Many argue that they are the better choice for mashing than the Russet, but who's to say, right?

Overall, the Garnet Yam was a big hit, so you might want to check that out the next time you hit the grocery store. And as far the traditional potato goes, Yukon seemed to be the favorite, so do with that information as you please!

As we mentioned earlier, Karen closed this party out with a heavenly Southern Potato Soup. It had wonderful flavor and healthy chunks of potato throughout. Don't worry, the recipe will follow in the next few days, as will the Potato Pancakes, because we know you're dying to try them.

And as always, there were drinks! Teri, our favorite wine connoisseur hooked us up with some wine, but not just any wine. She reasoned that since our party started early this Sunday....11:00 a.m......we should drink Champagne Wine. What a brilliant idea! I don't know why that's just sounded like fun!

So, as you can see below, she choose one red and one white. I preferred the white and Carrie drank the whooole bottle of red! Kidding! But she really did like it a lot!

The Ravenhurst is local to Ohio and really tasted like red wine mixed with champagne - go figure! The white wine was not as obvious about the crossover taste, but it was light and refreshing. I don't remember which one Teri liked better, but I do remember she had two glasses at her place setting and they were both filled with each of the for each hand.....

Did you notice that there was no mention of Jen during this party? That's because she was visiting her home away from home - Disney World- which is the only excuse acceptable for missing a Food Tasting Event! She loves her Mickey Mouse and all his friends, but we missed her here. No worries, she will be attending the next event.

What's next, you ask? Well, ever since our first Cheese Tasting in April of last year, we've been salivating over the thought of having another cheese party because that world is so vast that it will take many, many parties to eat them all...and I assure you, we are ALL up for that task!


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