Week Seven: Preparing for Easter

I’ve counted out the remaining potatoes and decided, after a good bit of back and forth, that yes, from the estimated 27 remaining kilos (60 remaining pounds) we can spare three or even four potatoes for a springtime art project. The toddlers were ecstatic. And, honestly, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. I had assumed that as soon as we started I would be wondering why I wasn’t using those potatoes to make vodka instead. In the end it was good, messy fun. This is, of course, likely due to my grandparental back-up, Oma Christa, who “guided” Noah through the process. In fact, despite our success I wouldn’t recommend attempting anything involving paint and toddlers without dedicated reinforcements.

We didn’t produce any submissions to the Louvre, but there’s always next time…

Potato Easter stamps!

And now time to feed the young artists…

Potato Bread

Confiture de carottes aux zestes d’orange et pistaches (Carrot-orange-pistachio jam)

Potato Bread

A more practical use for four extra potatoes, and more family-friendly than vodka, is potato bread. If you have leftover mashed potatoes on hand and the patience to hold out 24 hours while the dough chills in the refrigerator, this is a great recipe. It’s extremely easy to put together, especially with the help of the baking parent’s best friend, Monsieur Kitchen A. Mixer.

It hasn’t yet been proven but I suspect that the dough would make a great base for other bread-y creations, like a cinnamon-swirl loaf or raisin bread.

The recipe was submitted by a loyal reader and the first bread baker I ever knew. It’s from the King Arthur Flour company in Vermont. The recipes are the real deal: tested, updated, perfected and easy to follow. Even if you don’t believe in everything coming out of Vermont these days, you should believe in King Arthur. Thanks for the tip, Dad.

Instant yeast, 1 Tbsp.

Sugar, ½ cup (100 g)

Water, lukewarm or potato water (from boiling the potatoes), 1 ¼ to 1 ½ cups (280-340 ml) (Use more water under dry or winter conditions and less water in the summer or under humid conditions.)

Butter, 12 Tbsp. (170 g)

Salt, 2 ½ tsp.

Eggs, 2

Mashed potatoes, 1 cup (200 g)

Flour, (King Arthur, naturally), 6 ½ cups (780 g)

  1. Give Monsieur Kitchen A. Mixer the flat beater and let him at all of the ingredients thrown in together for 4-5 minutes, with medium-high intensity. The dough will be smooth and shiny.
  2. Change to the dough hook and keep him kneading for an additional 7 minutes. Scrape down the sides now and again so it actually feels like you’re making yourself useful.
  3. Make the dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours. No shortcuts here. If the guests are arriving at 8 pm and you’ve just gotten home from work, best you run out to the boulangerie (bakery) and pick up a few baguettes instead.
  4. Once well chilled, remove the dough, divide in to two and shape into loaves. Place into 2 lightly greased 9 in. x 5 in. (22 cm x 12 cm) loaf pans.
  5. Cover with greased plastic wrap or a light dishtowel and let the dough rise. Since you’re starting from cold, this will take about 2-4 hours. As in, don’t plan to do anything today besides wait for your dough to crown the pan.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Bake the loaves for 25 minutes. Tent with aluminum foil. (Yes, you read that correctly—stick your head into a hot oven and carefully wrap 350°F bread pans with aluminum foil. Do not let the children watch. On a related note, toothpaste, applied straight out of the tube, is a great cure for burned fingertips.) Bake an additional 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
  3. Remove from oven and cool in-pan for 5 minutes. Then turn out loaves.
  4. Cool for as long as you can resist the tempting scent of freshly-baked bread wafting through your kitchen.
  1. Then slice and enjoy with your homemade Confiture de carottes aux zestes d’orange et pistaches. None on hand? Keep reading.

Potato Bread

A more practical use for four extra potatoes, and more family-friendly than vodka, is potato bread. If you have leftover mashed potatoes on hand and the patience to hold out 24 hours while the dough chills in the refrigerator, this is a great recipe.
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • Instant yeast 1 Tbsp.
  • Sugar ½ cup (100 g)
  • Water lukewarm or potato water (from boiling the potatoes), 1 ¼ to 1 ½ cups (280-340 ml), see Note below
  • Butter 12 Tbsp. (170 g)
  • Salt 2 ½ tsp.
  • Eggs 2
  • Mashed potatoes 1 cup (200 g)
  • Flour (King Arthur, naturally), 6 ½ cups (780 g)

Instructions

  • Give Monsieur Kitchen A. Mixer the flat beater and let him at all of the ingredients thrown in together for 4-5 minutes, with medium-high intensity. The dough will be smooth and shiny.
  • Change to the dough hook and keep him kneading for an additional 7 minutes. Scrape down the sides now and again so it actually feels like you’re making yourself useful.
  • Make the dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.
  • Once well chilled, remove the dough, divide in to two and shape into loaves. Place into 2 lightly greased 9 in. x 5 in. (22 cm x 12 cm) loaf pans.
  • Cover with greased plastic wrap or a light dishtowel and let the dough rise. Since you’re starting from cold, this will take about 2-4 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Bake the loaves for 25 minutes. Tent with aluminum foil.
  • Bake an additional 25-30 minutes until golden brown.Remove from oven and cool in-pan for 5 minutes. Then turn out loaves.
  • Cool for as long as you can resist the tempting scent of freshly-baked bread wafting through your kitchen.
  • Then slice and enjoy with your homemade Confiture de carottes aux zestes d’orange et pistaches.

Notes

Water: Use more water under dry or winter conditions and less water in the summer or under humid conditions.

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Confiture de carottes aux zestes d’orange et pistaches (Carrot-orange-pistachio jam)

Never heard of carrot-orange-pistachio jam? Outrageous!

When I started out on my first foray into the world of making jam from unusual ingredients, I too was a bit skeptical. My general opinion on rare food combinations is that if Smuckers (American “Bonne Maman” (French “Smuckers”)) hasn’t added it to their offering, there’s probably a good reason for it. And my skepticism grew as I poured my concoction into the Mason (American “Le Parfait” (French “Mason”)) jars. No, Confiture de carottes aux zestes d’orange et pistaches is not your typical jam. To start it’s not exactly “spreadable” but a bit of patience with laying out the sweet carrot slices is quickly rewarded. No spoilers. You’ll have to hassle a brunch invitation out of Jan so you can try it for yourself.

The recipe is from a set of books called “Recettes de Grands-meres”, as it is widely known that only grandmothers have the time and patience for making jam out of carrots.

Carrots, 2 lbs. (1 kg)

Oranges, 4, untreated with a thin skin

Sugar, 3 ¾ cup (750 g)

Pistachios, shelled, unsalted, 1.75 oz. (50 g)

  1. Peel the carrots and slice thinly using a food processor (fun with foreign languages note: in French a “robot”).
  1. Wash and dry the oranges. Zest and juice.
  2. Layer into a wide-bottomed pan (one for making jam if you’re a jam maker and so equipped, otherwise for the rest of us it seems to me that any pan will do): the carrot slices, the sugar, the orange zest and the pressed juice.
  1. Cover with a cloth and let macerate for 12 hours.
  1. Bring the pot of sugared carrots to a boil and cook for 20 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  2. The jam is ready when a single drop on a cold plate does not spread.
  3. Add the pistachios and let boil shortly.
  4. Pour the jam into the jars, close the covers tightly and leave upside down to cool.
  1. Turn back over when cool.
  2. Give jars away to visitors and friends who can’t refuse them. Chuckle silently at the thought of what they are really thinking as they graciously accept a jar of “carrot jam”.

Confiture de carottes aux zestes d’orange et pistaches (Carrot-orange-pistachio jam)

The recipe is from a set of books called “Recettes de Grands-meres”, as it is widely known that only grandmothers have the time and patience for making jam out of carrots.
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • Carrots 2 lbs. (1 kg)
  • Oranges 4, untreated with a thin skin
  • Sugar 3 ¾ cup (750 g)
  • Pistachios shelled, unsalted, 1.75 oz. (50 g)

Instructions

  • Peel the carrots and slice thinly using a food processor.
  • Wash and dry the oranges. Zest and juice.
  • Layer into a wide-bottomed pan (one for making jam if you’re a jam maker and so equipped, otherwise for the rest of us it seems to me that any pan will do): the carrot slices, the sugar, the orange zest and the pressed juice.
  • Cover with a cloth and let macerate for 12 hours.
  • Bring the pot of sugared carrots to a boil and cook for 20 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  • The jam is ready when a single drop on a cold plate does not spread.
  • Add the pistachios and let boil shortly.
  • Pour the jam into the jars, close the covers tightly and leave upside down to cool.
  • Turn back over when cool.
  • Give jars away to visitors and friends who can’t refuse them. Chuckle silently at the thought of what they are really thinking as they graciously accept a jar of “carrot jam”.

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And finally, Happy Easter to family and friends, near and far!

Not yet sick of potatoes? Stay tuned for these early-spring hearth-warming specials:

Hasselback Potatoes

Himmel und Erde (Heaven and earth)

Potato Soufflé

(Mock) Irish stew

Sick of potatoes, apples and carrots? Try this:

Poisson en papillote (Fish in parchment paper)

Last call for carrot recipes! The carrots are turning the proverbial corner fast so if you have any fabulous recipe ideas, don’t delay. (Sign up for posts by email and leave comments below.)

2 Comments

  1. Love the recipe for the Potato Bread! Wonderful blog! 🙂 I’m curious, where did you find the King Arthur flour here in France? Also, what kind of King Aurthur flour did you use? (If I can’t find KA maybe I can substitute with something close!) Thanks!! Xxx

    1. Hey Rachael, Thanks! I didn’t really use King Arthur flour (just giving credit where due!). Generally for baking here in France, I use Bio flour (Francine or whatever I find, type 55). I heard once that it’s the closest to all-purpose flour in the U.S. Let me know if you try the bread. Even the Boul’ange can’t beat a freshly-baked loaf!

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