Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Something SO simple, But, I don't know how to make

I'll admit it: I don't know how to make mashed potatoes.  Simply because it is always a guessing game.  Add but to taste, add milk TO taste, add salt TO TASTE.  There has to be one way to make it and it taste good.  I don't have time for guessing, or to taste.  So I went to google this time.  

Google never lets me down...there were a few things that I need to sort out first (well just one): no cream.  Who in the world keeps heavy cream on hand?  (Rachel Ray if you ever read this, if you are reading this I KNOW you keep it on hand, and I should know better!!!)

So now that that is taken care of...

Question number one: how do I know when the potatoes are done?!?!
Answer: when the fall apart
(lord help me please)

I was worried that hubby wouldn't like them, his only complaint: add more cream cheese :D

This is the recipe I used, but you probably already have a recipe that you enjoy, or you just make it with the "add to taste concept"!

What You Need

2 teaspoons salt
1 large Yukon Gold potato per person (about 1/2 to 3/4 pound apiece) 
1 tablespoon butter, or more as desired
1/2 cup milk or cream, or more as needed
1 ounce cream cheese (optional) 
Freshly ground black pepper
3-quart pot (or larger) 
Wooden spoon 


1. Fill a pot with water and stir in 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Decide how many potatoes you want to use. (I was making enough for two people, with some leftovers, so I used about 1 1/4 pound Yukon Gold potatoes.)
2. Peel the potatoes. Cut them in half, then in quarters, lengthwise. Then cut the quarters into thin strips. You can chop them finer, if you feel like it; the finer they are, going into the water, the easier they will be to mash later. Slip the potatoes into the boiling water and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are falling-apart tender.
3. Meanwhile, choose and warm your dairy. Now, this is decision time. For modest weeknight mashed potatoes, a tablespoon of butter (or a little olive oil) and 1/2 cup of milk per pound of potatoes will be plenty of dairy. It will help the potatoes be creamy and smooth, and bind everything together. But if you want a more decadent experience, then by all means, dial it up! Switch out the milk to cream, and add an ounce of cream cheese or even a dollop of sour cream. It's up to you. The more fat, the creamier they will be. But whatever you choose, warm it first, before adding to the potatoes. Warm the milk or cream in the microwave, and let any cream cheese or sour cream warm to room temperature.
4. When the potatoes are quite soft, drain them completely and return them to the pan over medium heat. Add the butter and cook for a few minutes over medium heat, stirring the potatoes rapidly and vigorously to help any residual water evaporate. You also want to break the potatoes up and smash them with the spoon. You can employ a fork to help, if you like, but you shouldn't need a ricer or a masher unless you want ultra-smooth potatoes. Just cook, stir, and smash.
5. When any remaining water has evaporated, and the potatoes are quite smashed up and smooth, it's time to add the warm milk or cream, as well as any other dairy you'd like to throw in. Pour the milk in slowly, stirring constantly. Keep stirring and cooking until the potatoes are quite hot, creamy, and smooth. Turn off the heat, season to taste with pepper and salt, and dish them up! (You can also keep them warm in the top half of a double boiler.)
Additional Notes
• Once all the milk is incorporated you can use a heavy whisk, if you like, to break up the last chunks of potato.
OK, your turn! How do you make mashed potatoes? Do you ever make enough for just one person, or for two? Do you add chives or other herbs into a basic recipe like this? Or cheese, perhaps?

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