Potatoes

I was so inspired by the character Mark Watney in The Martian, that last spring I grew a couple successful potatoes. I put in a second crop last September, and that hard freeze last week did them in so I had to harvest and figure out something to do with them.

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Scalloped Potatoes

Just an update on the pressure cooker: made two more things this weekend.

Ham and Navy Bean Soup

Found a recipe that used 1 ½ cups dry navy beans (should have just used 2 cups, because I’ve got just a few left from the bag) and 5 cups chicken stock. I sautéd an onion with some diced-up ham, added the beans and a few 3 sprigs of thyme.

The fun part was that I found a recipe that suggested using ham hocks so I found some of these strange large “knuckles” at the grocery store and put two into the pot. The recipe also called for a ham shank, but I had some cubed ham from a ham steak, so I didn’t bother with that.

At the end of 30 minutes pressure cooking, I just pulled out the thyme sprigs, the ham hocks, and added a bit of black pepper to taste—I would guess I used 1/2 tsp. As I’ve always found with recipes using ham, I never seem to need salt because enough of it comes off the ham into the soup.

Scalloped Potatoes

I was so inspired by the character Mark Watney in The Martian, that last spring I grew a couple successful potatoes. I put in a second crop last September, and that hard freeze last week did them in so I had to harvest and figure out something to do with them.

I found an Internet recipe that I mostly followed that calls for about 2 pounds of potatoes (7-8 medium-small) sliced about 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick. I sautéd half an onion with (optional) few strips of ham (had some left over from the ham steak I’d bought for the other recipe) in a little butter in the pressure cooker and then added just one cup of chicken stock. I put in the potatoes and cooked for only 5 minutes at pressure and did the quick release.

As a note: the recipe suggested only 1 minute at pressure, but my machine doesn’t have that option. It might have been an idea to manually stop the cook at 3 or 4 minutes, but overall the potatoes were still really good.

The final part of the recipe goes like this:

  • Turn the broiler on the moment the pressure cooking is done.
  • With a slotted spoon, remove the potatoes (and onions and ham) and put them in a pie pan or a glass baking dish.
  • Turn the pressure cooker onto sauté mode and add the following to the remaining liquids:
    • 3 Tbsp heavy cream
    • 6 oz shredded cheddar cheese (grate 8 oz and reserve the last 2 oz that I’ll mention in a second)
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Stir and cook the mixture until the cheese is melted and everything is nice and bubbly
  • Pour the cheesy sauce over the potatoes (in the pie dish) and sprinkle the last 2 oz over the top
  • Broil for 4-6 minutes until the cheese browns and everything is bubbly
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Author: Murray Todd Williams

I’m a computer professional residing in New York City. I currently work for Accenture Interactive. I’ve been programming computers since 1978 when I was eight years old, which means I’ve been doing this stuff for almost 35 years. (I’m rounding up.) I’m also a member of the Screen Actors Guild and a liberal.