I love potatoes and I bet you eat a lot of them too. The 2015 Potato Harvest Tour was put on by the Idaho Potato Commission and getting to go on it was a dream come true for me. I love to see farms and how things get from a large farm to the stores where we purchase it.
For full disclosure, my trip was paid for by the Idaho Potato Commission, but I was not required or compensated to write this post. I just wanted to share some of the fun bits with you here since you weren’t able to tag along with me.
It’s to be expected, but I saw more potatoes than I ever imagined I would in one place. Giant potatoes, little bite-sized potatoes, even potatoes being processed for freezer packs and dehydrated for instant mashed potatoes.
We went to farms, storage facilities, and even visited a potato museum. Yes, there is really a such thing as a Potato Museum in Blackfoot, Idaho.
Our first night was spent at James Hoff Farm where we learned about potato farming and storing potatoes. Potatoes are so sensitive to temperature and need to have air circulating.
The whole warehouse in the background will be filled to the brim with potatoes. Trucks come fresh from the field and the conveyer belt layers them perfectly in the warehouse. I had no idea how savvy the computer programs on machines could be before this tour.
It’s carefully temperature controlled. Those tubes in the middle right of the photo above are placed in the tall mounds of fresh potatoes to make sure they are still fresh when they get to our kitchens.
Don Odiorne is with the Idaho Potato Commission and is the man all the food bloggers love. He knows everything there is to know about potatoes from growing them, to storing them, and all the ways they come into your kitchen. Plus, he’s just an all around nice man.
He took great care of all of us and was so sweet about making sure I had something vegan to eat at our dinners. Well, him, Linda Whittig, and the rest of the harvest tour team. I ate vegan easily this trip with them looking out for me!
It was wonderful to spend so much time with my friend Jackie Gordon who writes The Diva Who Ate New York. There’s not a more entertaining person to sit next to at dinner and I loved hanging out with her. She’s not vegan herself, but she made absolutely sure nothing non-vegan ever got sat in front of me. Is 50 too old to be adopted?
This was our first dinner in a beautiful hanger full of fun small airplanes. They grilled me some beautiful portabellas. Dinner the next night was at Jakers Bar and Grill. While there’s not much vegan on the menu there normally, the chef made me a 3-course vegan meal and I bet he’d do the same for you if you call ahead.
The potato fields are oddly brown when it’s harvest time. This is because the plant above starts to die back when the potatoes underground are ready to harvest.
There are so many large trucks and machines that do the back-breaking work.
This is my new friend, Sabrina from The Tomato Tart, posing in front of the Spudnik – pun very much intended! She’s a gluten-free blogger, does branding work, and is really wearing a straw hat with a potato logo on it.
Getting to hang out with a group of fabulous bloggers and food professionals was great. Sometimes it felt more like a vacation than my real vacation did!
It was amazing watching potatoes go through the cleaning and sorting processes in the potato plants that we toured.
And to see rooms full of pallets of potatoes bagged and ready to be shipped to your local store.
Or just wall to wall potatoes. Believe it or not since my trip I’ve been craving potatoes even more than usual. I’ve made so many potato dishes and keep thinking up more.
I love potatoes because they make quick and easy meals that really fill you up.
After all our hard work they took us to stay one last night at the fabulous Sun Valley Resort. When I walked in my room I was in awe. I had a view of the mountain and a bathroom big enough to live in. I really wish we had room in ours for 2 sinks and the gigantic bathtub that was there.
It’s a beautiful property with mountain views, multiple restaurants, and a skating rink. I, of course, went straight to the spa store to buy some bath salts. And you know what? They even had some that was clearly marked vegan. I couldn’t ask for a better treat.
Our gracious hosts from the Idaho Potato Commission arranged a private dinner for us in the most scenic cabin on property. Cabin is an understatement since it had multiple large rooms, and a bar that served the best huckleberry vodka cocktails.
I was served a salad, and polenta triangles with Brussels sprouts and other fresh veggies. My dessert was a delightful bowl of fresh berries. All that plus cocktails, wine and great company.
Now back to our recipe. These potato enchiladas are so easy to make. You can make your own enchilada sauce like I did or you can use your favorite store-bought kind. The one you can buy at Trader Joe’s is vegan, spicy and has a great flavor.
My enchilada sauce is still in the experimental stage, but once you taste these with its comforting, fluffy filling you’ll know why I had to give you the recipe as soon as possible.
I like to serve this with steamed brown rice mixed with salsa verde and chopped cilantro. I also always make one of my favorite (not) refried bean recipes.
Serves: about 18 enchiladas
- 3 large Idaho baking potatoes, cut in chunks (about 4 cups)
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon liquid smoke, to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- 18 corn tortillas
- enchilada sauce, about 3 cups
- topping for serving, optional
- diced avocado
- chopped cilantro
- cashew cream
- vegan cheese
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and oil a casserole pan or cover with parchment paper to make this recipe no oil added.
- Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until they can easily be pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes depending on how large your chunks are.
- Drain in a strainer over a large mixing bowl to catch the cooking liquid. Transfer the potatoes into a metal mixing bowl and mash with 1 cup of the cooking water and nutritional yeast.
- Add more cooking liquid if needed and mix in the salt, liquid smoke and black pepper.
- Soften the tortillas in the microwave or over the hot mashed potatoes. This will keep them from breaking when you roll them.
- Spread a layer of enchilada sauce all over the bottom of the casserole dish. Then take a corn tortilla, spread a thick layer of the potato filling in the middle of it and gently roll it up. Place in the casserole dish and repeat until it's full. You may need more than one baking dish depending on the size you have on hand.
- Spread the rest of the enchilada sauce on top of the rolled corn tortillas. Cover with foil and bake for
- to 30 minutes or until the filling is piping hot.
- Use a large spatula to serve the enchiladas and top with your favorite toppings. Serve with a side of refried beans to make a comforting and filling meal.