Using It Up

I ran down to the freezer to get a bag of green beans and a wave of despair and dismay washed over me. There is so much food in this house! How are we ever going to eat it?

I feel guilty for saying this—there are so many people out there starving, and here I am fussing about my larder’s bounty.

Don’t get me wrong. I am very thankful for all that I have. This is how it should be at this time of year, after the harvest has been brought in; the shelves groaning under the weight of the jarred produce and freezers so full you can hardly close them. So it’s not that I’m ungrateful; it’s just that I’m daunted. I’ll need to stay super-focused and employ all my creative powers in order to use up the buckets of potatoes, baskets of apples, containers of pesto and grape pie filling and Swiss chard and strawberries.

As I worked in the kitchen this morning, mixing up a new batch of rosemary-olive oil bread, I pondered what I should make for lunch. The potatoes were weighing heavily on my mind, and I had a jar of creme fraiche in the fridge that I had made last week. Hmm, what to do with potatoes and creme fraiche? Then I recalled my Aunt Valerie saying that she sometimes grates up a couple potatoes and uses them for a quiche crust instead of the standard flour-oil crust. I consulted with Simply in Season and sure enough, they had a potato crust recipe—just some grated raw potatoes, the peels still on, and mixed with a little oil, and then pressed into the pie pan.

I went right to work, grating the potatoes and then, for the filling, mixing up some eggs with the creme fraiche. I added cheddar cheese, some browned sausage that I had in the freezer, and then, at the last minute, I sauteed up an onion and added that, too. The end result was a simple, hearty, flavorful meal that the kids (most of them, anyway) loved. I liked the edge of the crust best of all because the grated potato pieces got all crispy-crunchy, like stick potato chips. We nearly finished the whole thing off in one sitting—there’s only one little piece left over.

So, three potatoes down, about five bushels to go. I don’t think we can eat that much quiche, so I’m going to need some help here, dear readers. Please enlighten me: What smarty-pants ways do you employ in order to use up all those potatoes you have stashed down cellar? (Just so you know, that last line is not a typo—it’s how I talk.)

Sausage Quiche with Potato Crust
(The crust recipe is adapted from Simply In Season.)

3 medium-sized potatoes
2-3 tablespoons canola oil
5 eggs, beaten
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup creme fraiche (or a mixture of cream and milk)
1 onion, chopped and sauteed in a bit of oil
1 cup sausage, browned
salt and black pepper

For the crust:
Wash three medium potatoes, grate them, and toss with several tablespoons of oil, a sprinkling of salt, and some black pepper. Press the potatoes into the bottom and up the sides of a large pie plate and bake at 400 degrees, on the bottom rack (to make it good and crispy), for about 15 minutes.

For the filling:
Mix together the eggs, creme fraiche, cheese, onion, and sausage. Add some salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the hot potato crust and return the quiche to the oven for another 20-30 minutes, or until the center is set and the pie is golden-brown.


  • Sarah

    I too would love to see the Anti-Blogger Blog. It would be a great addition to my Blog Roll.

    As for potatoes, I like to make a Tortilla Espanola to use up lots of potatoes and eggs. I used to have them in Spain all the time and now I make them whenever we have potatoes. I don’t have a recipe I follow, but you can find information at the link below. They are especially good with spicy Aioli Sauce.


  • Anonymous

    This potatoe recipie is like reading The Brother’s K- you want nothing more and have no clue what to digest after it because it’s just so good:

    Julia Child’s Scalloped Potatoes

    1 1/2 to 2 cups heavy cream
    1 1/2 to 2 cups half and half
    1 large clove garlic, peeled
    salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 bay leaf
    2 to 2 1/2 lbs. boiling potatoes (6-7 cups, sliced)
    3-4 tablespoon grated Gruyere cheese

    Pour all the cream and about 1 c. of half and half into heavy sauce pan with heat on low. Add garlic, bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper. Slice potatoes about 1/8 inch thick, dropping into the cream. Make sure the potatoes are at least partially submerged. You can add additional half and half to cover them, if you’d like. Simmer the potatoes until just tender. Check during cooking to make sure they aren’t sticking. Correct seasonings to taste. Turn into buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese.
    About 20 minutes before serving set dish into upper middle level of the oven, preheated to 425 degrees. Cook until hot and bubbly (for about 20 minutes,) and lightly browned. Potatoes should be lush and creamy.

  • Anonymous

    One more bright idea, then I really must go to bed. I was just reading OCP’s Autumn 2008 Newsletter, which lists “Food we can use” on the Donor Opportunities page. The first item under Daily Staples is POTATOES!! How’s that for synchronicity?!


  • Anonymous

    HEY!!!! Close your eyes — brilliant idea coming here: Instead of a little donut party, how about a potato chip party? (Surely you can fry chips as well as you fry donuts?!) Ask your guests to bring their favorite (edible) dip.


    PS – If you use my idea, you are obligated to invite me.

  • Zoë

    I made a tasty potato dish tonight…it even brought praises from hubby!

    Potato Hash with Fried Eggs

    4 cups cubed potatoes, cooked in water til soft
    1 cup cooked kidney beans
    1 cup corn
    1/2 cup frozen green pepper
    1 t chili powder
    1/2 t salt
    2 t fat (half butter half EVOO)
    1/2 cup (or more) grated MoJack cheese
    4 eggs
    Melt fats in skillet. Add potatoes, corn, beans, pepper, chili powder and salt. Stir gently…heat through.
    In separate skillet, fry eggs sunny-side up, we like them runny. In a bowl, place some potatoes, then cheese, and then top with an egg. Yummy!

  • Anonymous

    No smarty-pants here, just basic favorites:

    An enormous pot of chunky potato soup, with a couple grated carrots for color and plenty of diced onion. Chicken broth and fresh cream make great flavor. Celery is nice too, and a few splashes of hot sauce. Sometimes I add steamed broccoli and/or cauliflower. Or corn.

    Simple oven fries — cut any way you like them, tossed in olive oil, sprinkled with salt. (This is how I make it for my youngest, who is averse to any other flavorings.)

    Tonight I made a ground beef curry with quartered sliced potatoes, onion, chinese cabbage. Served on rice with salsa verde (with cilantro).

    Or how about latkes? I use the recipe in Sundays at Moosewood.

    Do you make scalloped potatoes? I don’t much, but that would use a bunch at once.

    Ooo, the curried green bean recipe in Simply in Season is really yummy, with extra sliced potatoes.

    Hope this helps. Remember, you have nearly five months before anything fresh comes again. You’ll use most of it, if you can keep yourself from buying anything at the store…


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