Russet, salad and Okinawan sweet potato (nail polish is OPI, Romeo and Juliet)

Did you know you don’t have to peel those potatoes before you boil them? Right. All you do is wash potatoes and make a slit in the skin with a sharp knife all the way around the middle. Rinse and boil as usual

When done, hold potato under cold water, so you don’t burn your fingers and just rub the skin. It comes off in two pieces. Mash as usual.

If you absolutely must peel those potatoes as you and your mother have been doing for your whole life, then peel them the day before you are going to be cooking that big dinner and put them in a pot of cold water to cover. You can do this 24 hours in advance. (And don’t put potato skins down your garbage disposal, unless  you like jamming it up and having to call the plumber)

Or, another no peel method is to use those red potatoes with the thin skin. Just leave the skin on, boil and mash as usual. The skins make it interesting and rather festive. But if you are a purist, use the above method.

This also works very well for potato salad. Don’t bother to peel the potatoes before you boil them. Just slit skin, boil and peel off skin. Dice as usual. For potato salad I like to use the white salad potatoes, as they are firmer.

I recently discovered Okinawan (or Hawaiian) sweet potatoes. These have purple insides and are most delicious. I like these roasted with the skins on, as the skins are very good (and good for you). Costco sells a five pound box for $5.99.

While we are on the subject of easy peeling, here is one I like: Beets. Wrap each beet in foil. Place on baking pan in 375 -400 oven for about 40 min or until you squeeze and it gives. Rinse in cold water and the skin comes right off.

Another easy peel is to put a tomato on a fork and swirl it around boiling water a minute or so.  You don’t want to cook the tomato. Run under cold water and the skin will peel right off. Then cut in half and squeeze out the seeds. All you have is the flesh and it is not bitter and much nicer in salads or whatever.

Time is money. There are only 24 hours in a day and you don’t get any more, no matter what. So if you can save a few minutes here or there, you can have time for something else. (Or nothing).

I am very lucky, because I am good at multi tasking. I cook two things at once, chop things in the cuisinart, make the most of oven heat by baking several things at the same time, and generally try to be efficient with time. I figure I “save” about twenty minutes a day.

This is what I do with my twenty minutes. For the past thirty five years, I have been “spending” twenty minutes every morning after I wake up, meditating. I learned transcendental meditation in 1975. I feel it keeps me on an even keel and gives me more energy during the day.

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