A-peeling Video

I recently received an email from Elaine Sangl Nelson, who once upon a time was my co-worker here in the Daily Globe newsroom. Although I know Elaine well and have no reason to doubt her, I have to admit being a bit leery of the link she sent, which was to a video, but I eventually got around to watching it. It demonstrates one of the coolest kitchen tips I’ve ever seen.

The text of the email touts the video thusly:

This is really great.  I am going to try it the next time I want mashed potatoes or potato salad!  If you take the time to watch this, you will not only be glad you did, but you will forward this to all your daughters, sisters, moms, etc.  Just when you thought you knew everything about boiling potatoes ….

To all who love making potato salad but hate peeling the boiled potatoes, here is the solution for easy peeling. This will BLOW your mind.  It works.  We do learn something new every day.

What made me initially suspicious was the link was labeled “Dawn Wells Potato Peeling Video.” If the name rings a bell, it’s because Wells is most famous for playing MaryAnn on the “Gilligan’sIsland” TV show. Wells is also an alumnus ofStephensCollege, which operates the Okoboji Summer Theatre in the Iowa Great Lakes Area, and she recently made a guest appearance in its production of “Steel Magnolias,” opening up the summer theater season down there.

So what the heck is she doing peeling potatoes on a video? Wells is now a resident of Idaho, and as such has been enlisted to promote that’s state’s claim to fame — the potato. You can watch the video here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7375897927147969009#

But for those who don’t have Internet access or don’t want to take the time to watch her presentation, here’s the potato-peeling method Wells demonstrates:

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.

Take largeIdahorusset potatoes and use a sharp knife to score around the potatoes circumference, right through the middle.

Drop the potatoes into the water and cook for about 15 minutes, until tender.

 Use tongs to remove the potatoes, one by one, and drop immediately into a large bowl of ice water. When the potato is cool enough to handle, about 10 seconds or so, use your hands to slip the jackets right off the potatoes.

Wells’ demonstration makes the process look quite slick. You can bet I’ll be trying this the next time I make potato salad, because peeling the potatoes either before or after cooking can be time-consuming and frustrating.

We printed plenty of potato salad recipes last year, when some of you readers submitted your favorite versions of the summertime staple. Here, however, is one more recipe for a more diet-friendly salad.

Enlightened Potato Salad

Cook and peel enough russets to yield 8 cups cubed (½-inch) potatoes. Pour 1/3 cup oil-free, reduced-calorie Italian dressing over potatoes; sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and toss to coat. Refrigerate, covered, for several hours or overnight.

Prepare two 8-ounce cartons cholesterol-free liquid egg substitute, thawed, according to package directions for scrambled eggs, cooking thoroughly until no longer moist, but not brown. Chop scrambled eggs into small chunks; add to potatoes along with 1 cup drained sweet pickle relish, ½ cup thinly sliced radishes, 1 cup thinly sliced celery and 1 cup chopped onions.

For dressing, combine 1¾ cups reduced-calorie mayonnaise, one 8-ounce carton plain nonfat yogurt, 2 tablespoons prepared mustard, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon celery seed and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Stir enough dressing into the potato mixture to coat all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve.