Fall is here and the weather is slowly starting to turn chilly. Cold weather is the perfect time for comfort food, and sometimes the most comforting food is also the simplest. Take, for example, a baked potato; crisp skin on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. Dress it up if you like with sour cream and bacon, or keep it simple with a pat of butter. Sometimes the baked potato is overlooked in favor of mashed, roasted, gratin, or fried potatoes, all delicious, too, but there is nothing quite like a perfect baked potato.
Any potato is delicious baked, but the Russet is the classic baked potato. Jerry Rutiz at the Wednesday Santa Monica Farmers’ Markets grows Russets and keeps them in cold storage after they are picked. This way, the starch turns to sugar and results in a sweeter potato. Russets are starchier than most varieties of potatoes, so they get even sweeter in cold storage. Jerry grows Stampede Russets. They have a nice flavor and are usually unavailable in stores, but they are a variety preferred by home gardeners. To eat a Russet you do not need to peel off the skin, in fact, keep the skin on because that is where most of the nutrients are. Just be sure to scrub the potato well. In addition to baking, Russets are also wonderful fried and mashed.
SPECIAL EVENT: The next Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Library Panel is Thursday, November 13, from 7-9 p.m.: A Garden in Every Yard: Bringing Edible and Sustainable Plants Out to Play.
A discussion with Jimmy and Logan Williams, owners of Hayground Organics; Marilee Kuhlmann from Comfort Zones Garden Design; Tara Kolla from Silver Lake Farms and designer of Kim Boyce’s edible yard; Kim Boyce, former pastry chef of Spago and Campanile, and vegetable monger for Coastal Farm. Moderated by Russ Parsons, Los Angeles Times writer, and author of How to Pick a Peach: The Search for Flavor from Farm to Table. Stay after for market treats prepared by Kim. This is a free event and will take place at the Santa Monica Main Library in the MLK Jr. Auditorium.
NOTE: The Saturday Downtown Market will be closed the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The other Santa Monica Farmers’ Markets will be open Thanksgiving weekend.