There’s an interesting political history behind the lowly potato. It’s not so lowly, really, when you consider the clout it has.
While watching the 2017 Super Bowl, there may be some upset when reaching for the bowl of guacamole. There may not be any. Guacamole, salsa, and corn or bean chips, seem to define the elements of a well-planned Super Bowl party. I have to be in the right mood for guacamole and Super Bowl Sunday seems to be that mood. This year, however, the question arises over whether we will have avocados for guacamole making. Avocados have the propensity to be scarce this year, at least for the time being. What does this have to do with potatoes? I’m glad you asked.
In January, the US Department of Agriculture called for a temporary block on avocados from Mexico. making for possibly the first casualties of America’s altered trade policy. Five trucks, with a total of 100,000 tons of this single-seeded berry were not allowed to cross the border into the US, because Mexico had called for a temporary halt on importing potatoes from the United Sates. All of this seems to be related to a proposed tax on imported products from Mexico and a well- organized program by Mexican potato growers to protect their industry. For the United States to not allow avocados into the United States is a violations of an agreement made last year to allow export of avocados from all Mexican states. Previously, importation of avocados were only allowed from the Mexican state of Michoacán. The bottom line appears to be that if Mexico won’t open the potato market to the United States, the United States won’t take Mexico’s avocados. Another point for proving food shortages are more about politics than they are about not enough food being produced.
Politics and avocados aside, Maine potatoes make awesome potato chips. Potato chips go with everything, so this week, just in time for our Super Bowl celebration, I’m sharing my recipe for homemade potato chips. They’re super easy to make and I think more interesting than the typical pre-packaged potato chip.
Homebaked Potato Chips
2 medium-sized Yukon Gold or Kennebec potatoes (medium-high starch content) 3 tablespoons olive oil Himalayan Salt Black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Slice the potatoes no more than 1/8 inch thick. Put these into a bowl and toss with the olive oil. Do this immediately, before the potatoes start to turn brown. Arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet and season with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven 12-15 mins. Halfway through, turn potato slices over, so they baked evenly and crispy to a golden brown. Remove from oven and transfer chips to a cooling rack. If you like to have them more flavorful, right after removing from the oven and before the oil has had a chance to cool and be absorbed by the potatoes, sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese or your favorite seasonings.
It’s possible to use this same method with Jerusalem artichokes. Warning though, there’s a high concentration of inulin in Jerusalem artichokes, which may be cause for gas and bloating when the carbs break down into sugars.
Did I hear a call for dip? Gorgonzola cheese may be my favorite dip. If other veggies and fruit selections are also to be served, this dip is the perfect choice.
Gorgonzola Cheese Dip
1 cup mayonnaise 1 cup plain yogurt 4 ounces crumbled gorgonzola Dash of Worcestershire sauce 1 tablespoon Maine wildflower honey Himalayan Salt Black pepper to taste
In a medium size bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, and honey. Fold in gorgonzola, Worcestershire sauce, Himalayan salt, and black pepper.
I prefer to warm this dip just enough to make the cheese a little melty. For this result, transfer the dip to a baking dish, cover, and bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 30 mins. Serve immediately.
May I suggest pairing with a Cabernet when choosing a spicy gorgonzola? A sweet white wine, like Riesling or Muscat works well with a creamy gorgonzola. Beer options would include classic Belgian abbey for spicy gorgonzola or a double-malt lager beer with a soft gorgonzola.
In all honesty, though, there should be no issue in securing avocados for this year’s 2017 Super Bowl festivities. According to Ramon Paz, advisor to Mexico’s Avocado Producers and Exporting Packers Association, 70-80% of the avocados needed to satiate American’s guacamole appetite have already been imported to the United States. However, future mornings of sliced avocado on English muffins may be in jeopardy.