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I’m growing potatoes again this year, in a few condos (collapsable vinyl containers and a two dollar plastic laundry basket-it doesn’t look as terrible as it sounds) in the back. I adore potatoes in all their forms, but particularly now when you can pick up small new ones at the market, or dig them out of your own dirt. A year ago, Dirty Food went to print, and in it a fairly classic technique for boiling, crushing and roasting potatoes topped with garlicky oil and Parmesan cheese. It’s one of my favourite things to do with potatoes, and one of the most versatile, if you consider how many flavours you could add to the oil or sprinkle over the spuds as they roast.

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I could live on potatoes and cheese, I think—or bread and cheese, pasta and cheese… anything and cheese, provided it’s the buttery, meltable kind. So when the folks from Jarlsberg asked if I’d be wiling to come up with another way to use their creamy, nutty cheese, I was more than happy to oblige. This is one of the best parts of my job. Since Jarlsberg is a Swiss style cheese, I thought I’d make a rösti—a substantial potato pancake, crispy on the top and bottom, and in this case stuffed with melty Jarlsberg. If you’re not familiar with it, you may recognize the yellow patterned rind—Jarlsberg came to be in a small Norwegian village called Ås in the fifties, as a group of students conducted experiments using various cheesemaking techniques typically used with Gouda and Emmental. Because it’s so creamy and meltable, it’s fantastic in fondue and mac & cheese, and really anything you’d like to be a bit gooey. It’s fab on aContinue reading

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I’ve been loving the charred cabbage dishes I’ve had at restaurants lately (try the charred hakka cabbage at Two Penny, charred cabbage with walnut vinaigrette and manchego at Ten Foot Henry, and the charred cabbage with Mimolette cheese and jalapeño cream at Pigeonhole), and figured it’s about as easy as it gets to make at home. I use thick wedges or inch-thick cross-sections of green cabbage and cook them in oil or ghee in a very hot cast iron skillet until they’re charred on both sides and tender all the way through (cover the pan for a few minutes if you need to, and you could even add a splash of stock or water to create some steam), but you could also drizzle it with oil and roast in a hot oven until tender and charred on the edges.

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There are plenty of delicious things to be done with a new potato. If you haven’t tried forking them yet, you must – cooked new potatoes are squished with a fork (or use your hand) to flatten them, then cooked in a hot pan until golden and crispy-edged. The quick lemony vinaigrette elevates them to a whole new level that’s perfect for summer supping. This is what I would make if I lived in a French farmhouse or Italian villa, and serve them outside on one of those long rustic tables that instantly make you think of Martha Stewart or Pinterest. With plenty of wine, natch. Either that or I’d serve them for dinner with pan-fried fish and sliced cucumbers on the living room floor to a little boy who needs a bath after cleaning up his Lego and picking up his socks.

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I went to W’s school this morning and built a potato condo with his kindergarten class. I highly recommend doing this if your kids’ teacher lets you – I brought a copy of Two Old Potatoes and Me to read beforehand, then the kids got to scoop dirt and plant potatoes, and all thought it was very cool. I love that the knowledge of how to grow their own potatoes is now somewhere in their wee brainpans. Maybe some of them will go home and ask their parents to grow their own potatoes in their own backyards or on their balconies. Maybe they’ll teach their kids how to grow potatoes. And so on. We made our own last week, which once you drill holes in the bottom of your garbage bin takes all of about five minutes. I keep eluding to it on twitter, and people keep asking what the hell I’m talking about. So let me explain the concept of a potato condo, andContinue reading

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