It is so easy to get stuck in a food rut, especially when it comes to cooking weeknight meals. We all have our old recipe standbys that we seem to cook over and over again; sort of like a CD that is stuck on repeat in a stereo. Week in and week out, that one chicken dish or that one pasta sauce recipe is resurrected and another same-old meal is had.
I was having one of those stuck-in-a-food-rut episodes recently and on a recent stroll through the produce department of my local market I discovered blue potatoes. A potatoes potential, culinarily speaking, is limitless. From mashed potatoes to baked potatoes, to roasted potatoes to gnocci, potatoes are culinary building blocks. But despite this, I have always treated potatoes rather simply, sticking to mashed or roasted potatoes. Boring? Maybe. But for quick and easy cooking, discovering blue potatoes certainly made my go-to recipes a little more interesting!
There are so many different varieties of potatoes, from the well-known Russet potato, to the various whites, yellows, reds and purple potatoes. Blue potatoes are fun little heirloom potatoes that have a deep blue skin and a vibrant purple flesh. For those of us who eat with our eyes, their color may actually fool you. A blue potato does not have, to my novice palate, a flavor that is all that different from a Yukon Gold, for example. While there is a bit of a distinguishing sweetness in a blue potato, they offer more of a sex appeal for your plate rather then your mouth, which is exactly what we need sometimes to pull us out of a cooking rut.
Blue potatoes can easily turn your everyday mashed potatoes into something new and different. Rather than mashing Russet potatoes recently, a side dish that I have made for years, I mashed garlic infused blue potatoes and found them to be gastronomically cathartic. It was an easy switch that made a familiar side exciting and inspiring. Blue potatoes also roast very well. Roasting blue potatoes with a little olive oil and coarse sea salt is very satisfying and once again, makes a go-to side dish seem like a new culinary experience.
Discovering blue potatoes was exactly what I needed to pull myself out of my cooking rut. I realized that I don’t have to reinvent my weekday menu to overcome a cooking malaise, but simply using a different variety of a vegetable, or in my case a potato, can make all the difference.
Until next time…