Better Bites

My experiments in healthy eating, cooking, and living

Potato and Tomato Medley & the Truth About Potatoes

Bean and potato stew

My fondest memories of potatoes are the mashed potatoes that appear on my grandparent’s large maple-wood Thanksgiving table each year. A large portion of my plate is taken up by those light and fluffy potatoes. That meal wouldn’t be complete without them. While I love mashed potatoes, I also love them baked, twice-baked, as potato skins, scalloped, and fried. They can be eaten with almost anything and add substance to lighter meals. I know that white potatoes aren’t the healthiest choice, but I thought the downsides ended there – apparently I was wrong.

I didn’t know there was much to know about potatoes, until I began reading Michael Pollan’s book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Apparently potatoes are grown using such harsh pesticides (one particularly harsh chemical called Monitor, is used for bug-control), that farm workers aren’t able to go near the field for days after a crop is sprayed. If they do, they risk serious illness. After those few days, people are able to go back into the fields. Eventually, when the crop is harvested, it is brought to large containers or sheds, where it’s stored for about six months (or until the potato becomes ready to eat and nontoxic to its consumers). The truth is pretty, isn’t it?

How is this okay? If the pesticides are so harmful that people can’t even approach an area where they have been sprayed, then why are we putting them on our food? Why don’t more people know about how we really grow potatoes in America? These are some of the questions that began to swim around in my head as I read Pollan’s chapter about potatoes. All I know, is that I can no longer support the good old regular spuds from the grocery store. I’ll add potatoes to my organic only list, as are other produce items from EWG’s dirty dozen list.

Bean and potato stew 2

Potato and tomato medley: 

*Serves 2

Ingredients: 

2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil

1 to 1.5 cups of organic yukon gold potatoes, diced

1 large garlic clove, diced

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1/4 tsp of salt, freshly ground pepper, and garlic powder

1/2 tsp of oregano and basil

1 can of diced tomatoes

1 can of cannellini beans

1 fresh loaf of whole wheat bread, sliced (or your favorite GF bread/this would also be good over rice)

Method:

1- Fill a sauce pan with water over high heat. When the water begins to boil add the potatoes. After about 10 minutes the potatoes should be softened. Drain the potatoes.

2- Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil to the pan. When it’s heated add the garlic to the pan. After about a minute or two (or when the garlic just begins to brown around the sides), add the peppers to the pan. Let them cook for about 5-7 minutes before adding the potatoes to the pan, along with the beans, tomatoes, and spices.

3- Let the mixture heat through and the flavors combine. At this time, toast the slices of bread. Top the bread with the potato mixture. Enjoy!

After eating this, your belly will be happy and your mind will be put at ease (if you use organic potatoes anyway!).

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