Joining in with The Gluten-Free Homemaker’s Gluten-Free Wednesdays.
Potatoes are rarely the star of the show but they’re able to step in and play many supporting roles. Choose to boil, mash, bake, put in a casserole or even in dessert. The humble spud is simply part of our lives but where did it come from?
Almost five centuries ago, Spanish explorers saw potatoes being farmed high in South America’s Andes Mountains. They ignored them for several decades then someone decided to bring a sample home to Spain. The potato spread through Europe, but people didn’t think much of it. That’s partly because it was tiny and not obviously delicious. People also feared the strange plant. One reason was that, as every vegetable gardener knows, new plants grow from another potato, not the normal seed. Some even believed the potato caused leprosy.
Eventually it became an accepted food. Ireland planted the potato in the 17th century. It became a fairly common food in England in the 18th century. While Napoleon ruled France in the early part of the 19th century, potatoes became a more popular food in France. America’s founding fathers planted potatoes so they were embraced in the U.S. early.
On a side note, sweet potatoes were immediately loved by Europeans. Henry VIII even thought they were an aphrodisiac.
There are many, many varieties of potatoes: some starchy, some waxy, some even blue. Potatoes are a member of the nightshade family with other edible members including the tomato, tomatillos, and eggplant, paprika and chili peppers. Remember to store them in a cool, dry, dark place. If they stay in the light, they will develop green skin. There seems to be debate as to whether or not this and any “eyes” or sprouts are harmful, but the USDA advises that green skin be peeled and sprouts cut off before cooking. The green will give a bitter taste to the cooked potato.
Potatoes have a good amount of fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and even some calcium and iron. One baked potato also comes with 37 grams of carbohydrates, something to know if you’re having to watch carbs for blood sugar.
To keep your baked potato fluffy inside, the Idaho Potato Commission tells us to never cut them down the middle but to pierce with a fork once each direction then press from the ends to open it up.
On to delicious sweet treats. My first bag of teff flour arrived from iherb last week. I’ve been wanting to try it in something so I decided to combine teff with potatoes for January’s potato theme at Gluten-Free Wednesdays. Since I’m also trying to bake more without refined sugar, I used maple syrup. (Note: This surprisingly didn’t give them a true maple flavor.) These muffins have a light texture and a nice spice flavor. Whether from the potato, the teff or both, they’re are so light that they would be called cupcakes if frosted (white, cream cheese, or maple frosting would be delicious).
Potato Teff Spice Muffins
¾ cup teff flour
½ cup brown rice flour
½ cup tapioca flour
2 teaspoons baking powder*
1 ¼ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted if solid
¾ cup real maple syrup*
1 cup mashed potatoes*
Preheat oven to 350°. Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, beat eggs, coconut oil and maple syrup until eggs are frothy. Mix in mashed potatoes. Add half of the dry ingredients and beat until combined, scrape bowl, then add the remainder and beat well. Scoop into mini muffin cups. (I line with If You Care paper baking cups). I made 4 dozen bite sized muffins so I could have a small treat but if filling the cups the total would be closer to 3 dozen. These baked for 11 minutes but they’re done when a toothpick comes out clean. (For newer bakers I’ll add that you should never trust the time in a recipe. Different altitudes, ovens, and even pans can make big differences. I always set the timer for less time and check.)
*I made baking powder with ½ teaspoon cream of tartar and ¼ teaspoon baking soda equaling one teaspoon of bought baking powder. The mashed potatoes were made specifically for this recipe so they are plain potatoes with nothing else added. I used the grade A maple syrup you’d use for pancakes because that’s what I had but next time will try the darker grade B which should give these more of a maple flavor. My husband likes things sweet and these aren’t quite sweet enough for him. If you’re like him, maybe add some stevia to give sweetness but not change the texture.
Please comment if you try them. And I hope you will J