Here are some tips for cooking and preparing potatoes.
- Stand potatoes on end in muffin tins if you're baking several.
- Skewer a potato with an aluminum baking pin to cut baking time in half (not in a microwave oven).
- For crispier skins, bake at 425 degrees F for 45 to 60 minutes.
- Bake extra potatoes and use leftovers for hash browns the next day.
- Rub a little oil, butter, or bacon drippings on potatoes before baking for crispier skins.
- Cut leftover baked potatoes into 1/2-inch pieces and brush with olive oil and seasonings. Bake at 425 degrees, turning occasionally, for about 35 to 45 minutes.
- Cut leftover skins in strips and brush with olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes, until crispy. Season to taste and use as a snack with dip or crumble on soups or salad.
- Top baked potatoes with chili, cheese, sour cream, light cream cheese and chives, vegetables and cheese sauce, chicken a la king, spaghetti sauce, pizza toppings, etc..
- Allow 1 potato per person when making French fries.
- After cutting potatoes, soak in cold water for at least 30 minutes.
- Dry potatoes thoroughly before frying.
- After frying, drain fries on a double layer of paper towels, and keep warm in a low (250 degrees) oven while frying the remainder.
- Reheat oil between batches.
- For crispier fries, fry twice. First fry until golden in 340 degree oil, then drain and let cool at room temperature. Just before serving, fry in 375 degree oil in batches until golden brown; transfer to paper towel-lined baking sheets and keep in warm in a low oven while frying the rest.
- Cook the potatoes in milk for extra richness.
- Cook the potatoes with several peeled garlic cloves, then mash with garlic as usual.
- Use baked potatoes for mashed potatoes instead of boiled.
- Add evaporated skim milk instead of whole milk.
- For lighter mashed potatoes, beat in more milk and leave out the butter.
- Don't overbeat - overbeating can cause starchy, sticky mashed potatoes.
- Use leftover mashed potatoes to thicken soups and sauces, or dip in beaten egg and crumbs, refrigerate for an hour, and fry until crispy.
- Beat in herbs, seasonings, roasted garlic, minced vegetables, or grated cheese for added flavor and color.
- Toss potatoes (small halved or medium to large ones cut in quarters or eighths) in olive oil, or a melted butter and oil combination. Roast for 1 to 1 1/2 hours in a preheated 375 degree F oven, or until golden brown outside and fork-tender inside.
- Turn often for uniform browning and crispness.
- Use pan drippings, bacon drippings, or lard for extra flavor.