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My Great American Road Trip – Idaho

July 22, 2020

I have some potatoes that I bought before jumping down this rabbit hole of a culinary road trip, so I was very happy to get to Idaho for the chance to use them up. Unknown.jpeg

But, of course, Idaho is not that simple. Among the iconic foods are huckleberries (I’m not even sure I can buy those in Florida), Idaho caviar (I don’t even like Russian caviar, so no way), and ice wine, which is very sweet and made from grapes that have been frozen on the vine. I love ice wine, but I still have some from a trip to the most beautiful little town of Niagara on the Lake, Canada (can’t wait to go back there) so, I don’t need that.

There is also the most wonderful sounding Ice Cream Potato! Vanilla ice cream is molded to the shape of a potato, dusted with cocoa powder to look like one and topped with whipped cream to look like sour cream. I love it, I want one, but I’m not making it.

The most interesting thing I learned about Idaho, a state I’ve longed to go to in order to visit the gorgeous national parks, is that there are more Basque Americans in Idaho than anywhere else in the US and therefore throughout Idaho, but especially in Boise, Basque food is iconic. They came over mostly in the 1830s to escape a war in Spain, and landed in Idaho because of the promise of silver.

Well – that is some food I can get behind. And with Basque food the gateway drug is tapas, and the first thing to order in any tapas place is croquettes. So here I go.

First you need to make mashed potatoes. They need to be super creamy. I am an expert at super creamy mashed potatoes and I make mine with butter, cream, and a lot of pepper (FYI – black pepper is the world’s most perfect seasoning). Into that one adds some grated cheese. Different recipes suggest different cheese options, I went for gruyere. Then you chill for about an hour in the fridge.

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When it’s cold, you take them out, form then into spheres or tots or whatever shape, shove some diced ham in there and dredge then in flour, egg, panko. Then into hot oil they go. It’s only a few minutes to crisp them up on all sides and warm the insides. I had a little trouble making my shapes hold, because my potatoes were too creamy – my potatoes were too perfect! Unknown-1.jpeg

But they were easy and delicious. a perfect snack for a super rainy night. I have to work on my precision, but I’d do them again.

And, I still long for a trip to Idaho and Yellowstone!

 

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